(TW for brief mention of rape)
This post is dedicated to the bravery of Ms. Rebecca Watson
- you may not have known the storm you'd set off, but I salute your bravery in both attending the con, and in speaking up.
ETA: I have specifically enabled anonymous comments, but anyone not on this LJ's friends list will be screened. Haters, just save it. Not interested. You won't get out of moderation, and I won't read past the first hateful thing I read.This.
(Uppity, Mr Myers? Really?)*
It will surprise few that my favourite take on it is Liss', over at Shakesville
Why am I not part of movement atheism?
Because we are told that if we want to be part of the movement, we have to put up with the "clueless" sexism of many of our fellow atheists. So clueless they preface their remarks with "Don't take this wrong," which sounds pretty knowing-of-wrongness to me. But if we must speak, we must do so politely and calmly.
Because if we do speak up, politely and calmly, saying "Hey, if we're in $SITUATION, it's really not a good idea to be hitting on me," we are virtually pilloried, the rotten fruit of sexist slurs being slung from every passing privilege-denying dude, and from as many more as they can gather with their WAT ABOUT THE MENZ RAEG ELEVENTY posts and tweets and tumblrs andandand...
Because if we don't speak up politely and calmly, we are ignored for being too rude.
Because if we don't speak up "rudely", we don't get heard at all.
Because if we get heard at all, we're "distracting from our purpose", which we stupidly thought with our silly ladybranez was "equality for all".
Because if we dare to distract, we are criticized for drawing attention away from the Much More Important Sexism in $RELIGION, thus explicitly denying the central core of feminist thought for nearly 50 years, that the personal is
political: our own experiences denied to our faces, told they aren't what we experienced, but what we're told
Because if we talk about our experiences, we are likewise pilloried, and must be defended, ad nauseam infinitamque
Because if we try to defend one another for speaking up about it, as we've supposedly been encouraged to do, the reaching for No True Scotsman fallacies would make the poet Burns weep (or Calvinball, as Ms. Marcotte
But most damningly, that even in the home of free thinking and rationalism, sexist privilege can be so in-ground that one of my feminist siblings probably wrote this post in 1965 for a mimeo machine, or 1920 to be set in type on a small press, or any of a number of previous centuries and technologies, about the same kind of men, for the same kinds of reason. It would surprise me not at all to know that in some hidden cave somewhere, a woman's scratched drawing of her view of her world was carefully coloured over with a picture of how many mammoths some man had killed. And probably showed him raping her while doing it, as her "reward" for speaking out.
Because this is what rape culture looks like: women silenced, bad men excused by "good" men, and goalposts that will never stand still for us.
So yeah: This is why I stay right out of movement atheism.
I encourage other women who've made that choice, or whose experience of misogyny leads them to limit their contact with movement atheism, to leave comments here. I say women, specifically, because while there are undoubtedly progressivist men who are staying out for the same reason, I want this to stand up as a post where atheist men in the movement can see just how many women they're leaving out, while they bleat on about how they want more women in the movement. Here's a clue, guys: if the reason you want more women in the movement is because you're at an atheist conference to get laid
, you're part of the problem
I'll be tweeting this post on @TheCaitieCat. I would be pleased if you'd be so kind as to spread the word.
* How thoroughly disappointing from someone I'd respected. And /sarc me no /sarcs, because there was no such indicator on the title, and it should have been all too clear that your readership remains strongly invested in their privilege, and this just basically told them they're right.
** Imagine that blinking, if you will.