Mallorie Nasrallah’s misguided defense of serial harassers and misogyny in the skeptical community

Please note that at Mallorie’s request, as Google indexes are returning potential business contacts to this page when searching for her name, I have retitled the post. The URL can’t change for indexing purposes, but the title itself has been changed from ‘Mallorie Nasrallah says “I like it when #mencallmethings”‘ — playing off a Twitter hashtag that was popular when the post was written.

That’s the only takeaway message I can get from this open letter to the skeptic community, which apparently came as a direct response to her active participation in this discussion at Greta’s.

In the comments on my ill-received but well-intentioned (but as Classical Cipher is fond of saying, intent is not magical) post regarding whether we should differentiate between a person being “a misogynist” and “exhibiting misogynist behaviour” yesterday, Mallorie Nasrallah chimed in. She claimed that the people involved in dissenting from the idea that there is a patriarchy, or that certain actions are misogynistic or enforcing of that patriarchy, might not dissent out of privilege, or out of misogyny in the sense of hating women, but just because they came to different logical conclusions.

She then went on to pen this open letter, which she sent to me via Twitter apparently hoping that I would amplify it. I didn’t. She is apparently friendly with some far bigger movers and shakers in the skeptic community though — Penn Jilette tweeted a link to it a few hours later, lending a very large audience to her letter in a hurry, most probably because he likes the idea she expresses.

Jen McCreight has already torn this letter to shreds for what it is, as has Megan Wells. It is a gigantic strawman argument about what women are actually complaining about with regard to the sexism in the community, and how awful it must be to men who hear that the way they treat women is wrong and needs to change. Sure, it certainly must be awful for a person to find out that those jokes they make about anally raping a fifteen year old girl are unacceptable. It must be so horrible to discover that that time you told Greta Christina to fuck herself with a knife, that it might have been slightly impolitic. But that’s not what this is about.

There is evidently a misapprehension of the problem in Mallorie Nasrallah’s experience. The problem in her estimation is not that there are honest-to-goodness misogynists and misogynist-enablers in the community, who in aggregate make a substrate that new members of the community would find to be unwelcoming. The problem in her estimation is, rather, that pushback against this endemic sexist behaviour is too scattershot and too willing to lump all men together; that too many otherwise good men who just want to joke and cajole with people and embrace the gender roles that say males should be dominant, sex-seeking cavemen, will be caught in the crossfire if an all-out war between feminists and misogynists breaks out.

Of course, I think such a “war” is already happening, and while the feminists are fighting by consciousness-raising, by showing people instances of misogyny and sexism and disturbing epithets hurled as a matter of status quo, the folks on the other side of the fence are complaining primarily about how politically correct we have to be if we’re to avoid ticking off those histrionic wimminz and because of it we risk a slippery-slope toward a dystopian future of fascism and thought police.

I have said that I have a lot of sympathy for people who have had differing experiences and that I believe we should be wholly accurate in defining what people do, damning them for exactly what they are and not what they might be. Others find calling people what they might be to be fully acceptable given their personal experiences of just how much of this nonsense they’ve had to fight. The flaw I exposed in my thinking yesterday was one of expecting that everyone should have the same patience as me, that everyone CAN have the same patience as me, and that reasonable people might not recognize patterns of behaviour quicker than I could. This is, in effect, a failure of empathy. Despite that flaw of over-patience, of giving the individual trolls too much rope, I am extremely comfortable in saying the following.

The hashtag #mencallmethings is effective because women on the internet have been systemically attacked for being women for a very long time, and the offenders are primarily men. Some men have joined the field to say that yes, this is a real phenomenon, and yes, the offenders are primarily male. I am one of them. I have also been called a number of things by many of the same men, who just want to continue shaming women for being women and don’t like that I’d dare agree with these women that they’re out of line. Some women have joined in on the fight as well, for the other side, having decided that they like the gender roles and the crude sex-based humor and the various nasty horrible things that people sometimes say. The stuff that they try to pass off as “just a joke”, that regardless makes a knot in the stomach of most of us who happen upon it while reading casually.

I suspect that the women like Mallorie aren’t this type of woman. I suspect she is the type of woman who just doesn’t see these instances of the more horrible types of sexism and misogyny we point out all the time. And by that, I do not mean that she has not seen them pointed out to her. She sees these instances of egregious trolling and it evidently does not register for her. She apparently read the Reddit thread that I’ve covered in context of Rebecca Watson’s role as whistleblower, where Lunam was told to “bite the pillow, I’m going in dry”, and “blood is nature’s lubricant”, and they evidently did not impress upon her psychology as sexist. They did not impress upon her psychology as rape jokes, but rather as “just a joke”. They did not suggest anything but collegiality with a girl whose post was “about her asshole” (rather than about her Christmas gift), and attempts to tell them otherwise are entirely because the offenders are men.

To wit:

If your jokes or teasing manner offend some people, so the fuck what? Someone will always be offended by jokes, never let them make you believe that you are guilty of something worse simply because of your gender. If you want to make boob jokes thats fine by me, you have after all been making dick jokes since you were old enough to make jokes. Plus they are funny as hell.

To you, Mallorie, maybe being told that you’re a shrivelled old cunt is just fine, probably because it hasn’t happened to you. Maybe being told that you should stop complaining about people calling you names because “it’s just going to antagonize us” leads you to side with the people who are causing the offense. Maybe you’ve got some sort of Stockholm syndrome going on and you think if you just make nice with all the nasty fucks out there who can’t see a woman on the internet without calling her a cunt, maybe you’ll be exempted from that kind of thing. I don’t know what your experience is, but you’re denying that other women have had other experiences, and you’re denying that any of these things that women have been called, primarily by men, are damaging.

And then there’s this gem, which is beautiful in its multifaceted nature, exhibiting both right-headedness and simulaneous strawmannery. It is this gem that the howler monkeys will find particularly useful and heartening and comforting, and this gem which, while ultimately correct, is a significant point of outrage among feminists.

If you want to go free and uncensored among a group of like minded people, if you want to try to acquire sex from a like minded person, awesome, do it, sex and friendship are amazing. You are not a monster for wanting these things. You are not a monster for attempting to acquire them.

It is a point of outrage among feminists because nobody ever said you can’t try to hook up with like-minded individuals. Not even during Elevatorgate, where the whole point of the conflagration was that you should break the ice in some way other than by using shameless predatory tactics on a person (who, incidentally, just got done saying she would not be receptive to them). Get to know them first. Find out if they’re like-minded in matters of hooking up. Realize that your attempt at hooking up has consequences for the person that is your target as well as yourself.

Attempting to hook up with members of a group of like-minded individuals is perfectly fine. It’s good. It’s beyond okay — it’s laudable. If you can only hook up with people by first telling them to fuck themselves with a knife, though, I’d really rather you stay out of the general public and hole yourselves away with like-minded individuals.

If Mallorie Nasrallah is okay with this kind of person, if she would want to hook up with someone who would call her a twat for expressing an opinion that doesn’t match his, or who ignores what she wrote altogether so he can call her ugly instead, she’s welcome to do so. Telling all skeptic men that there is, in fact, no problem with sexism because she, one woman, is okay with the sexism she sees — that’s something else entirely.

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Mallorie Nasrallah’s misguided defense of serial harassers and misogyny in the skeptical community

281 thoughts on “Mallorie Nasrallah’s misguided defense of serial harassers and misogyny in the skeptical community

  1. 251

    Liam, how many atheists convention speaker rosters have you looked at? What were the gender ratios? When–given that a large part of the focus of this convention is history–were they held?

    In other words, where is your case that this convention is being exclusionary instead of making up for a lack elsewhere? You are basing your complaint on some kind of evidence instead of just telling me that no guy could ever go to something colored pink, right?

  2. 252

    Nice non-sequitur, the fact that you had to resort to this appears to me to be an admission that you don’t actually have any reasonable counter to what I said, and what I said was sound.

    No, Liam, what you said placed you firmly into the “oh I’m so oppressed, look, all those people working hard to get minorities and underprivileged groups into all areas of society, how should I get anything now” camp that you don’t deserve any other response.
    I think everybody except you understood that.
    I don’t argue with people who claim that affirmative action is racist.
    It’s not because they have a point, it’s because they’re so dumb they couldn’t draw a line between them if they had two.

  3. 253

    Liam, how many atheists convention speaker rosters have you looked at? What were the gender ratios? When–given that a large part of the focus of this convention is history–were they held?

    In other words, where is your case that this convention is being exclusionary instead of making up for a lack elsewhere? You are basing your complaint on some kind of evidence instead of just telling me that no guy could ever go to something colored pink, right?

    From what i have seen looking through past conventions they tend to be anywhere between 25%-50% female. 25% being a bit lower than a proportional representation of women in the community.

    The exclusionary principle is simple, the convention is using CFI resources (which is for a large part funded by donations) to hold a conference that for the most part will appeal to a minority of members, and which anyone but that minority have been excluded from a participatory role. The ‘pink’ comment was in relation to people suggesting to Mallorie that no ‘pinkification’ was occuring, and that we weren’t trying to pander to women, just be more welcoming to them.

  4. 254

    No, Liam, what you said placed you firmly into the “oh I’m so oppressed, look, all those people working hard to get minorities and underprivileged groups into all areas of society, how should I get anything now” camp that you don’t deserve any other response.

    I am all for equal rights and equal treatment for everybody, sadly you are not.

    I don’t argue with people who claim that affirmative action is racist.
    It’s not because they have a point, it’s because they’re so dumb they couldn’t draw a line between them if they had two.

    Lol, you don’t argue with anyone who would suggest that a policy which regards people not based on merit, abilities or anything else but purely based on race could possibly be racist.

    Becuase i would be willing to say that the entire history of racism has relied exactly on that, selecting and excluding people not based on merit of ability but upon race. That is exactly what sexism is in many cases too. If you as a woman are not selected for something(whether it be a job, a college placement, a grant, etc.) based on no other reason but because you are a woman that is a clear case of sexism.

    But it doesn’t count if it’s the other way around.

    The whole thing rests upon the absurd idea that we can undo the evils of racism and sexism, the unequal treatment of people based on arbitrary birth conditions such as race or sex, by treating people unequally based on arbitrary birth conditions such as race or sex. That we can bring about equality by treating people unequally.

    Perhaps in 1865 when slavery abolished, there were some who thought we could even things out by assigning white slaves to black people. But they probably didn’t because it should be obvious that you can not bring about equality through enforcing inequality, that was the exact horrible policy that got us where we were in the first place.

    I don’t believe there is a gap in ability or potential between races or genders, I think the absolute best thing we can do is to treat everyone equally. If a boss hires someone, they should not exclude someone because they are black because that is racist, that works with white people too, if a boss doesn’t hire you because you are white, that was a racist act. The absolute best outcome is the outcome in which the merits of both individuals are weighed and the one who is best is selected.

    Another problem with this affirmative action idea is that it requires reliance on that ruling class, whether it be the dominant position of male, or of white. Those being pandered to through affirmative action have now become a subject of the policy of the very people who were originally dominant over them.

    If we enforce a 50/50 quota on speakers at conferences(except for the all women ones) which some already have then what we are saying is “women, there is no way you could match us through merit, so we will throw you a bone and let you have some extra seats” “we were looking for speakers for this conference, we know there aren’t as many talented women as men, so we made it policy to find exactly 50/50 so we would have to find them” Any self respecting person should reject such patronisation and show themselves to be capable without being handed a bone by those who are dominating you. Break free from the bond of male domination and show yourself to be completely capable yourself. This can and would work if people were treated equally regardless of race or gender. It is also a reasonable possibility, but not as long as we think it is good policy not to, as you and some others think.

  5. 256

    So Liam, where do you stand on white supremacists advocating that we also have a White History Month?

    Egalitarianism is the end goal, not the path to it.

    Egalitarianism wont be the end goal if the means are exactly the opposite.

    I don’t really think there should be a white history month, to be honest, I’ve not been in the US very long, so i don’t know anything about BHM, or what people do durign the month. Do people only learn about black history in school for a month? If that is the case i would oppose even black history month, because it would come at the cost of education for everyone. Yeah, i really don’t know. If black history month somehow betters the lives of blacks without trampling on the opportunities of others, i don’t oppose it.

    Im going to expand on my last rant though, because it is important.

    The President of our local SSA is a female. Why is she the president? because she is fucking awesome, because she is intelligent, organised and driven, more so than any of her opponents. That is why she is in that position. Considering that, the most insulting thing i can imagine saying to her on that subject would be “you are in that position because you are a woman” “We felt it was necessary for our image to be welcoming to women, that is why you are here” “your talent was only a marginal consideration, and if we didn’t have this policy, and we only went by merit, John Smith would be president instead”

    She is in that position because merit, had it been affirmative action, any pride in that position, and feelings of accomplishment or mandated legitimacy would be invalid.

  6. 257

    So the current situation with speakers is not full representation. The historical situation was worse. And you’re all upset that this is exclusionary? Excuse me, but where are all your internet comments that the rest of the conventions out there are unrepresentational and need to be fixed? Are you really trying to tell me that we can fill a 100% female speaker roster–with only the first group of women invited because they all said yes–but can’t manage even parity on the rest of the conventions without insulting patronage? Where do all the talented women speakers go when they’re not at a woman-centered convention? They evaporate?

    Knock off the talking points and pay some attention to what’s actually going on around you. You might notice the contradictions before they embarrass you.

  7. 258

    While you’re at it, Liam, shouldn’t you also decry the discriminatory practices that these conferences engage in when they refuse to show anything but skeptics and atheists? What about all those UFO believers and priests and rabbis? Why don’t they get a say too in this pure meritocracy where everyone gets to speak based only on their merit?

  8. 259

    So the current situation with speakers is not full representation. The historical situation was worse. And you’re all upset that this is exclusionary? Excuse me, but where are all your internet comments that the rest of the conventions out there are unrepresentational and need to be fixed? Are you really trying to tell me that we can fill a 100% female speaker roster–with only the first group of women invited because they all said yes–but can’t manage even parity on the rest of the conventions without insulting patronage? Where do all the talented women speakers go when they’re not at a woman-centered convention? They evaporate?

    Knock off the talking points and pay some attention to what’s actually going on around you. You might notice the contradictions before they embarrass you.

    Im wondering why we need to enforce parity in the first place? Why can’t we accept the best and brightest and not choose or not choose someone based on an arbitrary birth characteristic?

  9. 260

    While you’re at it, Liam, shouldn’t you also decry the discriminatory practices that these conferences engage in when they refuse to show anything but skeptics and atheists? What about all those UFO believers and priests and rabbis? Why don’t they get a say too in this pure meritocracy where everyone gets to speak based only on their merit?

    Damn, and here I was expecting a reasoned response to what i wrote. Don’t get your hopes up, they say.

  10. 263

    Im wondering why we need to enforce parity in the first place? Why can’t we accept the best and brightest and not choose or not choose someone based on an arbitrary birth characteristic?

    Because we have biases, and when we pretend to judge everyone on merit and be blind to every other factor, our biases shine through in the results. Like the way you apriori accept that a man-dominated lineup is the result of “accepting the best and the brightest” without bias for arbitrary birth characteristics.

  11. 264

    @jason

    Right, so i was correct when i said that the CFI(funded by donation) is hosting an event that deliberately excludes participation by a vast majority of the skeptical community and a majority of donors. :

  12. 265

    Right! Who needs those minorities anyway!?

    Why don’t you head on over to Black Skeptics and complain that they’re excluding whites, and that by only including blacks they’re serving as Affirmative Action and that this is somehow “reverse racism”?

    Or you could also just fuck right off.

  13. 266

    Because we have biases, and when we pretend to judge everyone on merit and be blind to every other factor, our biases shine through in the results. Like the way you apriori accept that a man-dominated lineup is the result of “accepting the best and the brightest” without bias for arbitrary birth characteristics.

    We have biases. So lets enforce another bias…

    My acceptance that there would be more male speakers if we did it based on merit is the result of the real fact that there are far more men in the community than women, if men and women are both equally competetent(which those advocating for AA apparently do not believe) then we should see a number of outstanding members of the community somewhat proportional to the numbers in the community.

    Just as i expect a predominantly white lineup, because there are less minority races in the community. I do not think we should enforce an equal representation of each race, at the exclusion of other factors.

  14. 267

    Because hosting a conference themed toward showing people that there are enough capable women speakers to fill a card == enforcing an anti-privileged-person bias.

    The fact that you’re rankling about this shows every inch of your male privilege. If you add up all the conferences CFI has done, and count out all the men and all the women, I bet you’ll come nowhere near the background population of even the skeptic/atheist community, much less the human race itself.

  15. 268

    Right! Who needs those minorities anyway!?

    we needz more minoritees so we dont look rasist!

    If people want to join, they will join, why should we go looking for minorities? why are they any more valuable than anyone else who wants to join?

    Why don’t you head on over to Black Skeptics and complain that they’re excluding whites, and that by only including blacks they’re serving as Affirmative Action and that this is somehow “reverse racism”?

    Because that is dumb and completely not what I am talking about.
    Nor is it at all relevant to affirmative action.
    Unless they were demanding that each skeptical conference be made of 50% black people, regardless of their actual represenation in the community.

    Or you could also just fuck right off.

    Come to freethought blogs, but if you disagree with us you can fuck off

  16. 269

    Because hosting a conference themed toward showing people that there are enough capable women speakers to fill a card == enforcing an anti-privileged-person bias.

    Is that what it is? showing that there are enough women to fill a conference? Is that what this is about?

    The fact that you’re rankling about this shows every inch of your male privilege. If you add up all the conferences CFI has done, and count out all the men and all the women, I bet you’ll come nowhere near the background population of even the skeptic/atheist community, much less the human race itself.

    Do you think we should hold conferences exclusively filled with minorities for the next X years until its all ‘evened out’?

    Honestly, if there was a policy with the CFI in the past to deliberately exclude women from positions, there would probably be some reasonable argument for penance, especially if women were donating to the CFI while an exclusionary rule was being enforced. The reality is that the skeptical community is predominantly white male, (just as most atheists in the US are white males) and even moreso in years past. And the most prominent characters have been white males. Do you think those running the CFI are a bunch of racist misogynists who had it out for women, and now need to tip the scales opposite?

  17. 270

    Do you think those running the CFI are a bunch of racist misogynists who had it out for women, and now need to tip the scales opposite?

    Lordy, that’s a fecal encumbrance of stupid.

    Ever hear of unconscious bias?

    How about other cognitive biases, like Status quo bias, Stereotyping, Selective perception, and the Bias blindspot?

    While you’re looking those up, you may want to think long and hard about how and why exactly the existence of this conference removes skin from your nose.

  18. 271

    Do you think we should hold conferences exclusively filled with minorities for the next X years until its all ‘evened out’?

    Riiiiight. Because one conference is instantly, magically, all conferences forever and ever, amen.

    we needz more minoritees so we dont look rasist!

    If people want to join, they will join, why should we go looking for minorities? why are they any more valuable than anyone else who wants to join?

    I see. They need to be more valuable to be worth not excluding. And their worth is entirely based on how it makes us look to the rest of the world. Fascinating.

  19. 272

    We have biases. So lets enforce another bias…

    Compensating for known biases is not “enforcing another bias”. This “inclusiveness is bigotry” thing you’re doing is practically Orwellian.

    My acceptance that there would be more male speakers if we did it based on merit is the result of the real fact that there are far more men in the community than women, if men and women are both equally competetent(which those advocating for AA apparently do not believe) then we should see a number of outstanding members of the community somewhat proportional to the numbers in the community.

    Why should we accept the supposed (I don’t have time to check) underrepresentation of women in the community as a given, rather than try to achieve parity?
    It’s a vicious cycle: few women in the community -> few women speakers -> lower appeal to women -> few women in the community
    Why settle for that?

    If people want to join, they will join, why should we go looking for minorities? why are they any more valuable than anyone else who wants to join?

    Because they have a different life experience than the majority and can offer a different perspective than the majority on many issues, including a *unique* insight into issues concerning that particular minority. Minorities typically understand the majority better than the majority understands minorities.
    And no, if people see that their demographic, or its issues, are underrepresented in the community, they will not join just to listen to the majority talk. They have enough of that just living in society.

    Do you think we should hold conferences exclusively filled with minorities for the next X years until its all ‘evened out’?

    Why the hell not?

    Yesterday, when I was reading this (Thoughts from a diversity hire), I had a feeling that soon enough, I’ll be linking someone to it. Please read it, Liam.

  20. 273

    Also:

    Right, so i was correct when i said that the CFI(funded by donation) is hosting an event that deliberately excludes participation by a vast majority of the skeptical community and a majority of donors. :

    It doesn’t exclude men from participating, just from speaking. If you find that you are not as interested in participating in a conference that has all women speakers, well… Now you know what’s been keeping women away, huh?

  21. 274

    Lordy, that’s a fecal encumbrance of stupid.

    Ever hear of unconscious bias?

    How about other cognitive biases, like Status quo bias, Stereotyping, Selective perception, and the Bias blindspot?

    Thats fine, we no longer have to worry about any of these hidden biases, because we have one we can openly enforce.

    While you’re looking those up, you may want to think long and hard about how and why exactly the existence of this conference removes skin from your nose.

    Well one being that CFI recieves donations, so it has a responsibility to reasonably represent those donors. I have about as much problem with it as you might if there were a conference called “men in skepticism” where the topics were how we need to celebrate our achievements in founding secular organisations and how its really great that there are so many men in skepticism”

    Riiiiight. Because one conference is instantly, magically, all conferences forever and ever, amen.

    ah, the ol’ quotemine trick. My response was directly to Jason who suggested counting up all the men and women in past CFI conferences. That would only really be relevant if you wanted to balance it out. But you don’t really care do you…

    I see. They need to be more valuable to be worth not excluding. And their worth is entirely based on how it makes us look to the rest of the world. Fascinating.

    Clearly not my position, as it was a satirical jab. But again, you don’t actually care about my position, misrepresenting me and attacking the straw man is easier.

    We have biases. So lets enforce another bias…

    Compensating for known biases is not “enforcing another bias”. This “inclusiveness is bigotry” thing you’re doing is practically Orwellian.

    Exclusiveness is now ‘inclusiveness’, that truly is orwellian.
    I’m not going to rail against them, because what they want to do with their own time and resources is their business, but i find it strange that women are considered under-represented in the community. When we seem to have both inclusive media and female exclusive media. We have freethought blogs, which is both male and female oriented, then we have skepchick which is for females, we have the Atheist experience, again men and women, then we have “atheist bitches” women. We have skepticon for example, then we have women in skepticism. Is there really a shortage of ‘inclusiveness’ for females? there seems to be plenty of representation both in mixed and female oriented secular media. I don’t think people would accept(nor would i be bothered listening to) a male only show. But that is best saved for another time.

    Why should we accept the supposed (I don’t have time to check) underrepresentation of women in the community as a given, rather than try to achieve parity?
    It’s a vicious cycle: few women in the community -> few women speakers -> lower appeal to women -> few women in the community
    Why settle for that?

    There really at this point isn’t much if at all an under representation, as i said above there are plenty of female oriented media, as well as the regular male and female oriented. TAM last year had exactly 50/50 which by the exact exact numbers, id say was by design. There are less women atheists overall these are due to a number of cultural factors that are for the most part out of our control, I believe the number is somewhere between a 40-60 to a 20-80 difference depending on how you measure it. So we are trying to create an artificial parity out of what is a real numerical minority.

    If we were in the game of trying to deconvert people(which some are), i can certainly see targeting minorities and women as a fruitful exercise, but i can’t see women oriented events, rather than actual practiced skepticism and secularism actually deconverting many people.

    Because they have a different life experience than the majority and can offer a different perspective than the majority on many issues, including a *unique* insight into issues concerning that particular minority. Minorities typically understand the majority better than the majority understands minorities.
    And no, if people see that their demographic, or its issues, are underrepresented in the community, they will not join just to listen to the majority talk. They have enough of that just living in society.

    Well right now you are making assumptions on a large group of people based on nothing but their race or gender. Are we trying to be a group that welcomes skeptical minded people? or are we interested in being full of minorities? I’m sure that minorities do know what its like to be a minority better than someone who isnt a minority, but how is that relevant to anything? Honestly i like to listen to people if they are interesting, sometimes that happens to be a man, sometimes that happens to be a woman, sometimes that happens to be a mexican, rarely is it an instance where i listen to them BECAUSE they are a mexican, man or a woman.

    I think when we start treating people as individuals with unique life experiences that can be based on hundreds of factors, rather than grouping large numbers of people and assigning their vale based on the colour of their skin or the size of their gamete. Then that will probably be the most welcoming of communities.

    Why the hell not?

    Because a deliberate policy of exclusion for the sake of inclusion is counter productive.

    Yesterday, when I was reading this (Thoughts from a diversity hire), I had a feeling that soon enough, I’ll be linking someone to it. Please read it, Liam.

    Thanks. I read it. And i understand her point, however you cant walk both sides of the street, either we can accept people purely based on merit which may or may not end up with less diversity, or we can select people due to gender or the colour of their skin. If you want to select people due to gender of racial reasons you can not at the same time deny it if someone says “you are here because you are a X”. You can’t have it both ways. To say that to someone i expect would be extremely insulting and devaluing, no one should have a right to say it, because we shouldn’t be doing that. See my earlier post about the president of our local SSA as an example.

    It doesn’t exclude men from participating, just from speaking. If you find that you are not as interested in participating in a conference that has all women speakers, well… Now you know what’s been keeping women away, huh?

    AAARRGH it was me all along! Just eliminate me and we wont even need affirmative action.

    But yes, you are correct, i am not interested in participating in a conference that is specificially exclusionary, but mostly because i am interested in science and skepticism, and a back slapping party of discussions and celebrations of the many contributions women have made to the secular movement is really not interesting, to me or probably people who go to conferences because they are interested in learning about science and skepticism that isn’t just self referential.

  22. 275

    @Forbidden Snowflake

    I feel like saying more about the link you posted. Because it did get me thinking and because you seem like you are interested in a reasoned discussion. (Thank you.)

    I do think that a diversity of viewpoints can be good, but i don’t think they necessarily rest with being a minority. We might find for a speaker a muslim woman who escaped horribly tyranny of islam in her country, and she would certainly have a unique and valuable experience to share, but that unique experience does not come about simply because she is a minority, i may go to that same country as a white male and be locked up by religious police and have an experience worth sharing, even though i am white and male. That is why it is important that we take people as individuals and take those individual experiences by their merit too, and yes quite often being a minority can bring about that experience, but it is not arbitrarily the case.

    Also in her post she talks about the difference between the perception of a neutral blogger, and perhaps a ‘female blogger’, i think a lot of this perception can be linked to how one represents themselves. You can’t go to “skepchick”.com without instantly being given the impression that you are reading female literature, the fact that it was pointed out so apparently probably means that it is going to be a female oriented viewpoint. If natalie reed puts ‘gender and sexuality’ in her little title picture, straight away you get the impression that the viewpoint is going to be themed along those lines, same with ‘black skeptics’. Where as the example used of Richard Carrier blogs, you get no immediate impression of what the theme or viewpoint of the subject matter may be, beyond the fact that he has some nice credentials. These aren’t views that the readers impose themselves, (at least not in all cases) they appear to be in many ways self-imposed.

  23. 276

    If that is the case i would oppose even black history month, because it would come at the cost of education for everyone.

    Ah, yes, you hear it straight from Liam:
    Learning all about white history (which is what most history classes are about. Non-whites usually only feature as people to be conquered, exploited, enslaved and killed) is education. Learning about black history is a waste of time.

    Oh, also, do you think that you can make a comprehensive list of, say, the top speakers for atheist conventions and give somewhat objective criteria as to why that list is correct?

    Do you also think that for every position to be filled there is only one qualified person (and explain why in case of better positions those happen to be disproportionally often straight white cis men?)?
    Do you think that if 500 people apply for 1 position that 499 are actually not qualified and able to do the job they applied for and only the one who got hired does?

    Lol, you don’t argue with anyone who would suggest that a policy which regards people not based on merit, abilities or anything else but purely based on race could possibly be racist.

    Ah, so you actually think that affirmative action gives jobs to people who are absolutely not qualified, don’t have the necessary education and skills and “merits” (others than being white and having a penis*) instead of saying that if you have 5 positions to fill and 100 qualified people who’d like to fill them that 2 of them should be PoC?
    You are either:
    -very stupid
    -very naive
    or
    -just a plain old biggot.
    My guess is that you’re the latter.

    Oh, and talking about “objective” meassuring, did you know that by simply making women to tick a box that indicates their gender before taking a math exam, you make them score lower because of stereotype threat?
    And that if you give men an incentive to pay attention to other people’s feelings they become as emphatic as women?
    No, you didn’t?
    Well, guess you should simply learn something before you talk out of your ass and ignore science because you’re as ignorant about sociology as a creationist is about evolution.

    *Sorry for the cis-genderism here

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    Fascinating, Liam. That stupid “we have inclusive media and exclusive media–but only for minorities” argument was made by Earl on my blog. Are you the same person or just backing each other up in stupidity? Or is it dishonesty, because I have a really hard time thinking you can’t see all the media with only men represented. For example, we have one of those all-male podcasts right here on FtB.

    Also, I don’t have to quote mine you to look bad when you tell me that talking about women’s contributions to secularism isn’t talking about science and skepticism. Or maybe I should make this more obvious for you: That’s only true if you assume up front that women don’t contribute to science or skepticism.

  25. 279

    “I am way late, but selling out your own for social approval =/= having a husband and identifying with race struggles more than feminist ones. WOC do not have to ally themselves with the specific causes I feel are the most important, but that doesn’t mean it is okay for anyone to thrown women under the bus. The latter is what I take issue with.”

    Wait. WHAT?
    So a black woman is “selling out her own” if she doesn’t side with other women? Are you meaning that her “own” is not identifying first with black issues? That it is okay to throw a black men (be it friend, son, spouse, etc) “under the bus” at the behest of a woman? Period?

    Check your white privilege, woman.

    Signed,
    A WOC (yeahhh boyyy)

  26. 280

    For skeptifem only:
    “No, White radical feminists are not on our side. They are a part of the problem because they can’t see past their own Whiteness long enough to see that their story is not our story. Do I really have to remind them that they were only able to have their consciousness raised, because we were watching their damn kids? Do I really have to point out that ever step they have climbed towards equality with White men has been because they have been standing on our shoulders?”

    http://www.womanist-musings.com/2011/10/once-again-white-radical-feminists-miss_24.html#more

    Enjoy.

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