There has been a serious issue with discussing diversity and sexual harassment within the freethought community. I have written a post or two about the matter and it seems that even a year since the biggest blowup – elevatorgate – the sexism and misogyny has not abated. It seems some immature boys can’t let go of the fact that their harassment is stupid and wrong. I’m declaring right now that I will quit any group that ignores or condones harassment and I will personally shun any person who harasses for any reason or continually makes excuses for such behavior. I didn’t come to this decision lightly but it seems some just can’t move forward and they are holding our freethought movement hostage. Enough is enough.
The other day on the Atheist Revolution blog there was a post about an Atheist blogger filing a DCMA complaint against another “Atheist” blog. The name of the blog is “Elevatorgate”. When I saw the site my jaw dropped. The entire site was devoted to Ad Hominem attacks on several bloggers and activists in the Freethought community who complained about diversity and sexual harassment in the movement and those who supported the bloggers who complained.
This site is still active more than a year after the shit hit the fan in the Elevatorgate incident. I’m use to irrational theists holding a grudge that long but I thought atheists would be different. I was also shocked at the venom being spewed at people in the same family.
When I made the comment that I can see why a person being attacked by the site would file the DCMA, another commenter used the old “well they asked for it…” argument as if that made it okay to personally attack someone.
Attacking someone personally rather than just their ideas is why Ad Hominem arguments are false. You do it and you lose the argument. Only an irrational person would continue to do it.
Then I read a blog post by Jen McCreight on her “Blag Hag” blog:
I don’t feel safe as a woman in this community – and I feel less safe than I do as a woman in science, or a woman in gaming, or hell, as a woman walking down the fucking sidewalk. People shat themselves with rage at the suggestion that cons should have anti-sexual harassment policies. DJ Grothe, president of JREF, blamed those evil feminist bloggers for TAM’s female attendance problem instead of trying to fix what’s scaring women away (and then blocked me on Twitter and unfriended me on Facebook for good measure). A 15 year old girl posted a photo of herself holding a Carl Sagan book to r/atheism and got a flood of rape jokes in return. The Amazing Atheist purposefully tried to trigger a rape survivor. Paula Kirby decided we’ re all feminazis and femistasis. I’ve become used to being called a cunt or having people threaten to contact my employers because a feminist can’t be a good scientist. Rebecca Watson is still receiving constant rape and death threats a year after she said “Guys, don’t do that.” And mentioning her name is a Beetlejuice-like trigger for a new torrent of hate mail.
Groups of people are obsessively devoted to slandering Freethought Blogs as a whole because many of us have feminist leanings. They photoshop things to try to humiliate us, they gain unauthorized access to our private email listserv. And anyone associated with us feminists are fair game. People have tried to destroy Surly Amy’s business, and Justin Vacula has publicly posted her home address with a photo. One blogger who describes their blog as “rejecting the watson/myers doctrine” ridiculed skeptical teen activist (and feminist ally) Rhys Morgan for flunking his exams because he had severe physical and mental illnesses.
Though these people claim to love reason, no amount of reason will ever get them to admit that they’re wrong. So to them, all I have to say is have fun as you circle jerk into oblivion. Keep unintentionally or intentionally excluding women, minorities, and progressives while cluelessly wondering why you’re losing members, money, and clout. The rest of us will be moving on.
If you’re ready for this new wave of atheism, now is the time to speak up. Say that you’re ready. Vocally support organizations and individuals that are already doing it right. Vocally criticize the inappropriate and hateful behavior so the victims of such actions know you’re on their side. Demand that your organizations and clubs evolve, or start your own if they refuse.
How I Unwittingly Infiltrated the Boy’s Club & Why It’s Time for a New Wave of Atheism
Jen is right. If we men keep up with the sexism, the harassment, and refuse to admit we are wrong, then we will be alone in the “He-man Woman Hater’s” club that some think we must have.
I intend to do what I can to support feminism, diversity, and social justice in the freethought community. Calling a woman the c-word doesn’t make you more of man. Respecting all women as you would your mother or other female family members is the right thing to do and if you don’t know that then you need some help.
It smacks of hypocrisy if we don’t hold ourselves to the same standards as we hold theists.
I will quit any group that ignores or condones harassment or are generally controlled by assholes. If the leadership of the group has no clue why this issue is a problem then maybe they don’t need to be in the leadership.
I will personally shun any person who harasses for any reason or makes excuses or ignores such behavior. I will drop you from all the social media channels I participate in and I will not link to your blog or website if you have one. If I have to, I will go back into my archives and remove any previous link to your blog, website, or group.
If you want to discuss the issue in a rational mature civil tone without Ad Hominems then more power to you but if you want to be a Dick then I can spend my money and time elsewhere.
Enough is enough.
P.S. If you wish to comment on this post please read my comment policy. Rational mature comments are more than welcome.
2 Replies to “To My Freethought Friends: You Are On Notice”
No matter what one's position is on a topic–whether or not I agree with them, as soon they resort to ad hominem tactics (I can't even call those "arguments"), it's "game over" as far as I'm concerned. There aren't many bloggers who haven't been subjected to such attacks, and one has to develop a thick skin to put with them. But still it's distressing to have to encounter up with such crap.
The kicker is that when confronted about their insults, these commenters will then claim that it's nothing personal(!).
My recent post Power Points: Confronting Christian Privilege
Yep I've been there too and I do have a thick skin because of it. Someone once said I was "uninformed" because I didn't have a Phd like they did so my argument was not valid. I responded they should just call me stupid since that's what they meant.
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