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Switch to Forum Live View Atheist/Skeptic Culture Has a Sexism Problem
3 years ago  ::  Jan 10, 2012 - 5:39PM #141
SeraphimR
Posts: 9,208

Jan 10, 2012 -- 1:46PM, JCarlin wrote:


Jan 10, 2012 -- 12:38PM, BillThinks4Himself wrote:

Men are, by nature, sexist; so are women. It takes self-examination, and effort, to avoid the biggest mistakes while staying on guard against the tyranny of the small ones.


I would be interested in your definition of sexist. 


Simply an interest in having sex does not seem to me to be sexist just mammalian.  As a minimum considering a stranger of the desired gender as a sexual object is sexist.  Acting out on the basis of a sexual object determination is definitely sexist. In the elevatorgate scenario, both the man involved and the woman were in the same bar and either could have started a conversation without a hint of sexism by commenting on the meeting.  Where it went from there is unimportant.  But in the elevator they were two strangers, and a sexual suggestion was definitely sexist by my definition.  




If memory serves, all the gentleman did was invite the lady for a cup of coffee.

People with a mission to save the earth want the earth to seem worse than it is so their mission will look more important.


P.J. O'Rourke
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3 years ago  ::  Jan 10, 2012 - 7:30PM #142
NATAS
Posts: 836

 


Jan 8, 2012 -- 8:26PM, JCarlin wrote:


Jan 8, 2012 -- 7:36PM, NATAS wrote:


There is no reason that I am aware of that would justify atheist communities  to be sexist.  



 Living in a sexist culture would do the trick in the absence of awareness raising.  I have lived most of my life in a highly educated, rationalist culture where neither religion or atheism counted for much.  However, hidden and overt sexism was and is very much a part of the culture.  For the most part a gentle reminder is enough to raise awareness, but there are still pricks that think "NO" means not yet.  There are still prominent atheists that object to reminders that sexism is unacceptable.   




There are some atheists who base their sexism on evolutionary arguments.  Men reproduce cheaply and easily.  A man could theoretically have thousands of offspring.  Women's reproduction is expensive and difficult.   A woman will only have a handful of children.



This difference leads to differences in reproductive strategies, which lead to differences in social participation.




Well there proably are some atheists who base their sexism on evolutinary arguments. 


But they would be basing their arguments on evolutionary arguments and NOT ATHEISM.


 


Jan 8, 2012 -- 8:26PM, JCarlin wrote:


For sexism to be unacceptable, they would have to buy into a particular moral code and they don't see any reason to do that.  They are of the opinion that being  a supporter of feminists hurt their chances at reproduction, or actually, their chances at getting laid.


If you don't agree, don't argue with me, but argue with this fellow who is a staunch, but not militant, atheist.



Atheism per se does not have a "moral code".    I do not derive my morals from simply being an atheist.  However I do derive my moral code from being a Secular Humanist.  


Jan 8, 2012 -- 8:26PM, JCarlin wrote:


heartiste.wordpress.com/the-sixteen-comm...  



I saw nothing in the link to indicate that Poon was an atheist or that he derives his sexist attitudes from atheism.  Nor did I see anything about evolutionary biology.  


Here is his take on elevator gatehttp:


Jan 8, 2012 -- 7:36PM, NATAS wrote:


heartiste.wordpress.com/2011/07/13/potential-rapist-syndrome/





The comment that Richard Dawkins made had nothing whatsoever to do with atheism.  


The link described a woman atheist who was propostioned on an elevator by an "inept nerd".  


She felt uncomfortable about being propostioned and Dawkins made a satircal critisicism.  


It comes no where near a little girl on her way to school being called a whore because of the way she dressed, or a fifteen year old girl being sold by her brother to marry a man she didn't too marry and being beaten and tortured by the man and his family because she tried to escape.   




 

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3 years ago  ::  Jan 11, 2012 - 3:05PM #143
Faustus5
Posts: 2,022

Jan 9, 2012 -- 11:05AM, Lavengro wrote:

"... something as irrational as sexism ..."


That's the second time in this thread, Faustus5 (your post 110).  May I, for the second time, ask you to justify equating "sexism" with "irrational"?


I can understand that you don't like sexism; I can understand that sexism is unfashionable; but I don't see that it is contrary to reason, which is what I think irrational means.


I kind of have a rule: if someone has to ask a question like this, they are so beyond the pale that no attempt at an answer is deserved.

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3 years ago  ::  Jan 11, 2012 - 3:07PM #144
Faustus5
Posts: 2,022

Jan 9, 2012 -- 11:52AM, JCarlin wrote:


Jan 9, 2012 -- 7:39AM, Faustus5 wrote:

Is your grasp of logic so weak that you wouldn't realize that denying that sexism is a problem for the atheist/skeptic community entails that no sexism exists in that community?


A logical alternative is that sexism is not a problem.  See Shariah Law.  One would hope that a rationalist would not choose that logical alternative but the possibility exists. 


Exactly, that's why I put it forward in the sarcastic manner I did.

Moderated by Jcarlinbn on Jan 11, 2012 - 08:31PM
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3 years ago  ::  Jan 11, 2012 - 3:34PM #145
Faustus5
Posts: 2,022

Jan 9, 2012 -- 12:18PM, redshifted wrote:

What followed were kids messing around with each other (yes, some of them were way over the top and vulgar) and she was playing along with most of it.


Sure, she was at first, but if memory serves once things got to rape posts she started telling folks she was no longer feeling welcome. Either way: inappropriate and sexist behavior even if she was trying to put on a game face.


Jan 9, 2012 -- 12:18PM, redshifted wrote:

For instance, I've heard Jen at blaghag get offended because a man gives compliments on physical appearance. Is this sexism?


Context is everything.


She wouldn't like it if she was introduced as "the lovely Jen Mcreight" during the introduction of a talk on genetics. She has no problems accepting compliments when she shows off a dress in a blog post. (I follow the blog and her twitter account very closely, so I can attest that this really is how her mind works, and it makes sense to me.)


Jan 9, 2012 -- 12:18PM, redshifted wrote:

How are we defining it here? Anything that makes a particular woman uncomfortable regardless of how innocuous it is?


If it is truly innocuous, I don't think it would make her uncomfortable. Part of the problem is men simply not listening when told that behavior X is cringe-inducing, and deciding that THEY, and not women made uncomfortable, and the ones who get to decide what is truly innocuous and what is not.


Elevatorgate is a perfect example. Watson gave a talk at an atheist/skeptic conference about the problem of sexism in the community, specifically about how she and other female speakers were constantly sexualized or threatened. Then a guy from the conference follows her into a hotel elevator at 4 AM and invites her to his room once he's got her alone. Perfect example of not listening.


Jan 9, 2012 -- 12:18PM, redshifted wrote:

But if it's already in the minority, which I believe it is, then what's the big problem here? There will always be a few bad eggs in any group, but that doesn't represent the whole community.


Because of this, from Blag Hag, emphasis mine:


My first time attending a major conference had a dozen women coming to me independently to warn me about certain male speakers that I should be careful around. It was common knowledge to the female veterans who the aggressive and/or distasteful womanizers were, and they wanted to make sure some 22-year-old woman heard the warning. It was unnerving, to say the least. But for all I knew, it could just be gossip.


The more close friends I make, the more that comes out of the woodwork. The more specific examples of men – attendees and famous speakers alike – saying and doing things that cross the line. But they tell me to stay quiet. Because no one will believe them. Because they like the events overall and don’t want to ruin the experience by making people angry at them. Because they don’t want to lose their job or harm their employer. That was unnerving, too.



As for the "they are just a minority" idea, well, if you have a neighborhood and a handful of jerks reliably sit on a couple corners and harass select people, the neighborhood as a whole has a problem that ought to be addressed. (I'm paraphrasing one of the atheist/skeptic blogs written by a guy who recently posted on this problem. I'd quote him directly but the blog server appears to be down.


Jan 9, 2012 -- 12:18PM, redshifted wrote:

I really don't mean to trivialize sexism as a problem in general, but it's primarily a societal issue.


I don't think you are trivializing the issue. But a "societal" issue needs to be addressed one group at a time. It's just that people in the atheist/skeptical movement are only now starting to raise the issue to visibility.


Jan 9, 2012 -- 12:18PM, redshifted wrote:

The skeptical/critical thinking community has been very good about keeping it in check I think. How could it not? Its very nature is that of self-examination/criticism and internal error-correction.


You would think, but that doesn't appear to be true. Only recently a commenter in a feminist's blog made violent and crude comments directed at her and her readers, and when she criticized him for this behavior, an observing leader in the atheist/skeptical movement spent one sentence criticizing the guy who made the threats and then went on for something like 2,000+ words accusing the feminist of over-reacting.


And on and on it goes. Guys need to start listening. That's the most basic lesson.

Moderated by Jcarlinbn on Jan 11, 2012 - 08:30PM
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3 years ago  ::  Jan 11, 2012 - 5:33PM #146
redshifted
Posts: 2,283

Jan 11, 2012 -- 3:34PM, Faustus5 wrote:

Sure, she was at first, but if memory serves once things got to rape posts she started telling folks she was no longer feeling welcome. Either way: inappropriate and sexist behavior even if she was trying to put on a game face.



But how do we know the behavior came from within the atheist community? Considering Reddit has no moderation and is open to the public, couldn't most of them been trolls from outside the atheist subgroup? And even if we could prove they came from atheists, how do these few a-holes represent the community? And if memory serves, many of the offenders identified as teenagers. Hardly grown men. Btw, we're sort of interchanging atheist community with skeptic/critical thought community, but I think the latter is what we're really talking about here. Atheism itself doesn't really have anything to do with sexism.


If it is truly innocuous, I don't think it would make her uncomfortable. Part of the problem is men simply not listening when told that behavior X is cringe-inducing, and deciding that THEY, and not women made uncomfortable, and the ones who get to decide what is truly innocuous and what is not.



But does she speak for every woman? Does her being uncomfortable with behavior X make behavior X objectively sexist?Just for the sake of argument, let's say that when a man looks at her, she gets uncomfortable. Isn't there a point when it gets ridiculous? I'm honestly trying to understand how sexism is being defined here. I thought it had more to do with being discriminated against because of one's gender. 


Elevatorgate is a perfect example. Watson gave a talk at an atheist/skeptic conference about the problem of sexism in the community, specifically about how she and other female speakers were constantly sexualized or threatened. Then a guy from the conference follows her into a hotel elevator at 4 AM and invites her to his room once he's got her alone. Perfect example of not listening.



Yes, I've read about that. Is it not possible this was just some socially inept nerdy guy? Does it really have to be a glaring example of sexism? I wasn't there, so I don't feel comfortable drawing solid conclusions, but I hear there are plenty of socially inept nerds at those conferences.  


As far as the so-called sexualization and "crossing the line" that she describes; if true, it's very disappointing. But again, I'd like to know what constitutes sexualizing. What are the specific examples?Shouldn't there be some sort of objective standard we can look at instead of just,  "whatever makes someone uncomfortable?" Obviously, there's a clear difference between, "Hey, nice boobs, let's f*ck." And, "Hi, I like your outfit." 


Only recently a commenter in a feminist's blog made violent and crude comments directed at her and her readers, and when she criticized him for this behavior, an observing leader in the atheist/skeptical movement spent one sentence criticizing the guy who made the threats and then went on for something like 2,000+ words accusing the feminist of over-reacting.



Are you talking about the Greta Christina thing? Anyone can make a userid and post whatever. Isn't it entirely possible (probable?) it was a troll just trying to stir things up? Do all of these troll-like incidents on the internet warrant the conclusion that there is a special sexism and misogyny problem in the atheist/skeptic culture? Or is it just more evidence of trolls on the internet and sexism in general?

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3 years ago  ::  Jan 11, 2012 - 6:17PM #147
JCarlin
Posts: 6,403

Jan 11, 2012 -- 5:33PM, redshifted wrote:

But how do we know the behavior came from within the atheist community? Considering Reddit has no moderation and is open to the public, couldn't most of them been trolls from outside the atheist subgroup?


Any community has an obligation to police itself.  There are atheists posting and reading at Reddit and if they sit back and watch the shit hit the fan and don't say anything they can't really complain when some of the shit sticks. 

J'Carlin
If the shoe doesn't fit, don't cram your foot in it and complain.
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3 years ago  ::  Jan 11, 2012 - 6:23PM #148
redshifted
Posts: 2,283

Jan 11, 2012 -- 6:17PM, JCarlin wrote:

Any community has an obligation to police itself.  There are atheists posting and reading at Reddit and if they sit back and watch the shit hit the fan and don't say anything they can't really complain when some of the shit sticks. 



There were plenty of polite and supportive posts by people. Have a look:


www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/nq7s4/...

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3 years ago  ::  Jan 11, 2012 - 7:53PM #149
NATAS
Posts: 836

The simple question I would like answered is


What is there about "Atheism" that would cause an "Atheist" to be "sexist"?


I will not deny that there are "Atheists" who are "sexist".    But I do deny that "Atheists" are "sexist"  BECAUSE the are "Atheist" because I see no reason for being a sexist if you don't believe in god or gods.   


 

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3 years ago  ::  Jan 11, 2012 - 8:25PM #150
JCarlin
Posts: 6,403

Jan 11, 2012 -- 5:33PM, redshifted wrote:

As far as the so-called sexualization and "crossing the line" that she describes; if true, it's very disappointing. But again, I'd like to know what constitutes sexualizing. What are the specific examples?Shouldn't there be some sort of objective standard we can look at instead of just,  "whatever makes someone uncomfortable?" Obviously, there's a clear difference between, "Hey, nice boobs, let's f*ck." And, "Hi, I like your outfit."


  If the person is of the opposite sex and a complete stranger the former is worse than the latter, but imo both cross the line unless in a socializing context.  I think the comfort level of the target is relevant, but being hit on in an inappropriate setting is never comfortable.  The person being hit on must react somehow, and reacting to a stranger is always difficult.  A feminist I knew responded to any inappropriate hit with a big smile and "Go jack off." A few men got the message but most went ballistic.  Were they right to be offended?

J'Carlin
If the shoe doesn't fit, don't cram your foot in it and complain.
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