Movement atheism is not a cohesive entity. Heads of orgs like American Atheists, in full-throated promotion of people like Jaclyn Glenn — especially those videos that attack movement feminists for being too firebrandey and poisoning movement atheism with all their “social justice warrior” stuff — they’ve evidently chosen sides. Let’s not mistake that there are, in fact, sides to choose in what amounts to a fundamental division between feminists and antifeminists within atheism. AA has chosen, expressly, the side of the antifeminists, and they’ve framed the issue such that the antifeminists are the ones demanding we stop talking about feminist ideas and the toxic anti-woman environment that these antifeminists inculcate in our movement.
Feminists are told to stop fighting. Antifeminists are asked absolutely nothing — they’re the “reasonable” ones for demanding that the status quo be maintained.
The surest way to earn my enmity, my directed criticism, is to ask us to stop other fights so we can pretend we’re all one big happy big-tent family. It’s what bugged the hell out of me about courting secular pro-lifers at CPAC, it’s what bugged the hell out of me about the ongoing, constant, concerted attacks of big atheist vloggers like Thunderf00t and The Amazing Atheist against feminists despite the absolute hash they make of logic and reason and empathy in doing so. It’s what continues to bug me about basically every organization demanding that we go big-tent and allow every atheist in so we can all talk about how much God don’t real, but don’t you dare talk about the social impact of how we treat half the human fucking race. Not to mention every other issue that gets derided under the umbrella of “Social Justice Warrior”, like trans rights, gay rights, race issues, and every other aspect of humanism that involves having a shred of empathy for your fellow human being.
The necessity of feminism is evidenced by the comments everyplace it’s mentioned in anything but a negative, straw-feminist casting (take Laci Green’s recent video’s comments, for example). Especially so any time it’s mentioned in atheist settings, because there are precious few that aren’t expressly antifeminist and expressly anti-any-social-justice-but-secularism in bent, thanks to the vociferous libertarian quadrant of our “community” demographics.
There is no one single community. This inter-atheist fighting is necessary because we have coalesced communities around shared ideals, and there’s a shit-ton of you atheists out there who share almost no ideals in common with me outside of “god don’t real”.
I will not throw my other principles under the bus to be part of your hideous granfaloon.
Nearly twenty years ago, when I was a sixteen year old wide-eyed innocent who believed the human race is generally good, I was victimized by someone’s lies. I told the story on this blog in hopes of achieving some measure of catharsis for myself, and providing real support to others for whom the same sort of lie had damaged their lives. However, I recognized later that the reason I got off so easy actually meant many people who were really hurt would never see justice, and that this was a problem with society that I would have traded more personal pain to see righted.
Today, someone who ostensibly agrees with me on the existence of the overarching problem with society threw those lies back in my face, attacking me because I disagreed with her that transgender folks should be protected from her attacks, in an effort to poison my Google search results for my name. That someone is Cathy Brennan. And she’s in totally appropriate company in the attempt at poisoning my search results — the same slander is also posted on A Voice For Men. Continue reading “Quick, while I have the TERFs and MRAs distracted, go solve all the problems!”→
I noticed you’re having a hard time balancing user issues with dealing with harassment and dealing with privacy. I further noticed you had a good idea for a change to a function that solves one class of issues, but that had side-effects that made another class of issues dramatically worse.
I think I have found a reasonable solution for your problem.
Oh, and there are some more tweaks I can offer to help fix other outstanding problems, if you’ll listen.
In observing the way the skeptical and secular communities have melted down lately over the merest hint that some of its top members might have occasionally behaved in manners that are not beyond reproach, I’ve come to the realization that certain members of our community think that all this “rage blogging” about “drama” is about trying to steal power from other people; that the communities upper echelons are populated entirely by people who think they’re reliving a secular Game of Thrones. The political machinations, the people who are willing to sell out their principles, the people who have no such principles to begin with who rise to power, and all the toadies… toadies everywhere… who will swarm on anyone who dares scandalize someone’s scandalous behaviour. It’s all very tiresome to watch, especially when some players are willing to excuse every bad behaviour even while they’re admitting that behaviour actually happened as stated.
Carrie Poppy has been extraordinarily well-placed in some of the bigger scandals regarding sexual harassment and sexual assault recently, in having been employed as communications director for JREF and having resigned after six months due to, let’s say, philosophical differences with DJ Grothe, president of the organization. Well, if you can classify her stating her reasons for leaving as mere philosophy, being his “constant duplicity, dishonesty, and manipulation”.
So people rushed then to attack Carrie Poppy, to destroy her as an irrational harpy with a bone to grind and an axe to pick against Grothe. So when she recently decided to suggest that women should generally stay away from TAM because the JREF was unlikely to treat any incidents with any level of seriousness, people naturally resorted to the same trope — that she was trying to destroy TAM and JREF.
This one’s gonna be REALLY long. Sorry folks. May want to skip this one altogether, in fact. It’s just me mud-wrestling with someone who doesn’t deserve the attention, because I have a stake in this particular fight.
Previously, I showed how AVfM, Paul Elam and Birric Forcella must absolutely know that men getting thrown in jail or otherwise having their lives ruined is a mathematically miniscule problem compared to the problem of unpunished rape, using some basic math intentionally skewed to advantage the claims of MRAs. Even with all of the tilts in their favour, I calculated that 10% of innocent men would end up in jail, while less than 5% of actual rapes would result in rapists seeing even a day of jailtime. While those numbers are appalling, the problem of 95% of rapes going unpunished is slightly larger than (the artificially inflated) 10% of innocent men going to jail.
That essentially proves AVfM are fighting the wrong demon, and they must know it. This sort of math is inescapable.
But what’s more is, they’re doing it because they think that feminists are fighting for 100% of rape claims to result in convictions. I know of absolutely no feminist who’s ever said that a person should be damned based on a mere accusation, not even the most radical of feminists, whom I’m sure recognize that such a structure could result in them being thrown in jail by a spiteful accuser out for revenge against them. I’d personally rather have less of ANY sort of crime, either false rape claims or rapes. I’d rather justice be served as close to perfectly as humanly possible, in absence of a sky-daddy to do all the omniscient judging for you.
But you simply can’t fight false rape claims by loosening the system such that it’s impossible for ANY rapes to see justice. Nor, vice-versa — you can’t tighten them to the point where false rape claims land innocent men in jail. The problem here is, there’s precious little evidence that innocent men ARE landing in jail, and there’s plenty of evidence that real rapists are walking all the damn time.
A funny thing happened yesterday. I started seeing hits from Reddit. A *lot* of hits. Fully a fifth of my traffic came from a particular thread on Reddit — despite my being in a slow blogging period, posting my one post I managed very late in the day, and despite the long tail on my bigger posts already waning.
(In other words, by “a lot” of hits, I mean ~400. About what I’ll get from posting a video of a turtle doing something cute.)
It’s not a secret that I like JT Eberhard. I think he’s a generally savvy guy. He’s good at atheist activism. He is good FOR atheist activism. He is very much pro-equality, and he generally doesn’t take any nonsense that is directed at him.
He’s got a serious feminism problem, though. Not that he’s anti-feminist — on the contrary. Just ask him. The problem is, he is not good at feminist activism. And he is not good FOR feminist activism. And when feminists tell him so, he is apparently turning, one at a time, against them. In this, I see JT going very, very wrong, despite all his claimed good intentions. I am remiss if I do not attempt to help him right this wrong, even if it takes some frank observations and tough words and hurt feelings. Continue reading “Pattern recognition”→
I just didn’t notice the cult-like hold my fat, lumpy, old body had on the libidos of the young women in the group. [– PZ]
Don’t be silly. The attraction isn’t physical. It’s just that feminists completely forget their misandrist, anti-sex dogma and go ga-ga for any man who recites feminist talking points. I can’t tell you how many times the following scene has happened to me:
Shrieking Feminist Harpy: “HELLO? How dare you say hello to me, you oppressive tool of the patriarchy! Security!”
[security guards arrive, women of course, because companies are now afraid to hire men for fear of being sued by Feminazis]
Guard 1: “What seems to be the problem here? Is this penis-haver oppressing you?”
SFH: “Yes! He just came up and started speaking to me! And he was looking at me, too! I think — [sniffs] — I think he was about to [whispering] ask me for coffee”
Guard 1: “That’s a violation of article IX, Section 2, paragraph (b), clause 6 of the Anti-Harassment Policy.”
Guard 2: “You’re going to have to come with us!”
Guard 1: “What?”
Me: “No, really, I meant wait a second while I check my privilege. Done now, thanks. You see, I think she heard me say ‘hello,’ but what I really meant to say was ‘sorry.’ As in, ‘sorry for being part of the patriarchy.’ Of course, intent doesn’t matter, and the fact that I thought I heard myself say ‘hello’ is probably just due to my privilege, so I’m sure she is correct. Please take me away and punish me for the sins of all men.”
SFH: “Ooh, tell me more!” [flutters eyelashes]
Guard 1: [cooing] “I didn’t know you were an ally!”
Guard 2: “Maybe we can all ‘punish’ each other for the sins of all men”
Me: “Sure, why don’t we go somewhere private and discuss… intersectionality?”
Something I’ve noticed very prominently recently in these wars amongst atheists and secularists, wars waged over our daring to suggest that maybe us feminists might also want a say in how women in the community are generally treated, is that every time one particular section of our community dislikes something, they find it sufficient to build up mythologies around it in an attempt to destroy it, rather than challenging the ideas on their merits. This subset of our rationalist community invents things from whole cloth to demonize the people they want out of the movement.
It has happened with Freethought Blogs, Skepchick, Atheism Plus, and just about every person associated with both the ideas of secularism, skepticism or atheism, and the idea that maybe we need to sort our house out if we ever hope to be welcoming to people other than the stock-in-trade of the community, the semi-affluent cis white male. It has happened with me a number of times. It has happened with Ophelia more times than I can count, and Stephanie, and Rebecca Watson, and PZ Myers. To people who disagree with A+, like Natalie Reed. Even to people who had never heard of any of these fights before.
It has happened and will continue to happen to every person who dares to say “I disagree” to any “leader” in this so-called leaderless movement, on any topic approaching social justice. I mean, with that sort of temerity, surely they’re just asking for a river of shit to flow over them, amirite? Surely they’re dishing “it” out, so they can take it (never mind that we’re amplifying “it” by many orders of magnitude)?
And so it goes that an incident in which I was involved tangentially, and briefly, kicking around some anti-feminist goobers on Facebook until their break with reality became blatant and too overwhelming for me to deal with, was morphed by certain elements’ mythologizing into a concerted effort to shut down a forum and silence free speech.
I’ve long advocated that the best way to deal with trolls — though I use this term relatively loosely, I generally mean a slightly broader category of troll than the average internet user who thinks creating sockpuppet accounts to harass and slander individuals is the only thing that actually amounts to trolling (and that it can’t possibly come from people within the movement!) — is to confront them. Take their words and use them against them. Force-feed them with why they’re wrong — even if they won’t accept it, bystanders will.
The only way to change society and push back against the small fringe of vocal misanthropes who manage to amplify their messages artificially, who abuse technology to make their fringe opinions seem far more prolific than they actually are, is to directly challenge their fringe opinions and explain why they’re wrong, hurtful, unworthy of dialog, morally atavistic. And when the messages get too abusive, you stop them from appearing in your well-curated online space in order to limit the amount of damage to passers-by they can do with their “trolling”.
Don’t feed the trolls: it’s probably the most common refrain in online discussions, especially when dealing with misogynists in feminists conversations. The idea is that the best way to deal with sexists is to starve of them of the attention they’re so clearly desperate for. Besides, we think, why sink to their level?
But the high road is overrated. It requires silence in the face of violent misogyny, and a turn-the-other cheek mentality that society has long demanded of women. A vibrant feminist movement has ensured women don’t take injustices laying down offline—so why would we acquiesce on the Internet?