For Atheists, #MeToo Might Be Too Little, Too Late

Amanda Marcotte lays out the anti-feminist bias hobbling our Atheist community. Speaking of feminist activists in our community, she says,

For years, these activists told Salon, they've been agitating against sexual harassment in the community and trying to expose the abusive behaviors of many prominent figures. For their efforts, they have been harassed, demoralized and often shunned — while the accused, including Krauss, continue to enjoy honored status in the community.
The women expected a positive reception for these gentle requests for basic respect, but Zvan said, "What happened instead was a massive backlash, and frankly, eventually, a pretty successful one."
"There was a big rise of people who decided that wasn’t good and that feminism was bad and that they had to harass women," explained Monette Richards, the president of Secular Woman, which was created in large part as a response to the hostility that feminists were experiencing.
Richards called it the "Great Rift,"...

A massive harassment campaign formed, organized primarily through a forum called the Slymepit, targeting anyone who spoke up against harassment or for feminism with a barrage of online abuse. It was, in many ways, a precursor not just to Gamergate, but to the army of Donald Trump-loving alt-right trolls on social media that followed. They employed the now-familiar tactics of dogpiling on Twitter, creating photoshopped memes to mock their targets, doxxing and ruining people's Google search results to make them unemployable.

But while that was terrible enough, what was really upsetting was the lack of support from institutional atheism and, in many cases, leaders exhibiting outright complicity with the harassment.

Scientist Jen McCreight mentioned, at the first Women in Secularism conference, that there was a whisper network of women warning each other about the men who were creeps in the movement. For her effort, online harassers drummed her out of the movement.

“There are a bunch of women who left entirely," Richards said. “I’ve seen a lot of women, especially, leave to go work with UU churches and stuff, because they would rather work with the faithful who aren’t jerks about harassment than they would be in a movement that condones harassing."

I feel as if Atheist Nexus isn't poisoned by sexism. At least not much. What do you think?

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Replies to This Discussion

Thank you, Ruth.

Your post here suggests a memoir I can do, thanks to a couple of women on my mother’s side of the family.

I hope you’re right that AN isn’t poisoned by sexism. Western society is, and may always be as poisoned as it is by racism.

I know too little of cultural history to guess at when romanticism replaced whatever preceded it. Can it be that the Law of Tooth and Claw immediately preceded romanticism?

Having read Mancotte’s article, I’m wondering if misogyny (gynophobia?) is more deeply embedded in the psyche of men who were once theists than their theism had been.

Re Mancotte’s “...but others worry that the hostility towards women speaking out is calcified and nothing substantial will change.”

Power concedes nothing without a struggle. —Frederick Douglass




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