A fifteen year old girl posts a picture of herself on Reddit r/atheism holding a copy of Carl Sagan’s Demon Haunted World, which she took to post to Facebook originally. She didn’t know she was evidently transgressing unwritten and sexist-by-design social rules by posting her picture, and thus was being taught the lesson that she should have “worn a burka”, in her words. She ended up on the receiving end of hundreds of comments upvoted by thousands of users involving all manner of hateful and diminishing speech. Rebecca Watson pointed this situation out on Skepchick with the usual inflammatory results, since everything that Rebecca Watson ever points out must be wrong because it was pointed out by Rebecca Watson. Bloggers everywhere leapt on this conflagration, hoping to sway a closely-allied community into fighting back against the atheist and skeptic communities’ problem with sexism.
Then I started to notice a new trend in various blog posts’ comment threads, both here and at Greta’s. It’s a trend I’m not terribly sure I like. It is the conflation of enabling misogyny, and being a misogynist.
Continue reading “Vilifying dissent”