But in the last year or two, there’s been a new and much uglier debate, centered around diversity, feminism and the place of women in the secular community. It’s no secret that atheists are dominated by white men, and an increasing number of people have noticed this problem and have been asking how we can broaden our appeal. But apart from the legitimate debates over how best to achieve this aim, the conversation has roused an ugly viper of prejudice: a faction of retrograde atheists who are violently opposed to any deliberate effort to reach out to women and other underrepresented groups.
A bunch of white men responded to an online opt-in survey about secularism.
What Adam Lee thinks is happening: white men are dominating secularism and scaring the chicks away.
What is really happening: white men, when not playing minecraft, are wasting their lives answering online surveys about atheism and really need more gainful employment.
I don’t think the anti-feminists have any real power to shape the direction of the atheist movement, but what they do have is a willingness to engage in intense campaigns of vicious, misogynist harassment against people who do. Several prominent atheist women, all intelligent writers or dedicated activists, who’ve spoken out on the subject have received a flood of harassing messages and threats, and some of them have either withdrawn from activism or have contemplated withdrawing rather than deal with this onslaught and the inevitable toll it takes on one’s mental health.
What Adam Lee thinks is happening: all the important secular female activists are surrendering to the hordes of men's rights activists!
What is really happening:
Jen McCreight stopped blogging for perhaps 30 days. She's since compared Adam Lee's favorite movement to Portland's feminist bookstore.
Natalie Reed left FreeThoughtBlogs to... blog somewhere else. The horror.
Ophelia Benson wrote another article in which she's the martyr to some bizarre cause.
Stephanie Zvan is busy imagining a world in which her blog is preventing rape
and Rebecca Watson wrote another click-bait article in which she accuses fans of Richard Dawkins of behaving like fans of PZ Myers.
The ending is great:
To be clear, I don’t think the atheist community will ever march in lockstep, nor would that be desirable even if it were possible. We’re too independently minded and disputatious for that. There will always be dispute about the focus and priorities of the movement, which is fine. But since we’re a community of rationalists and humanists, we ought to at least be able to agree that this behavior is unconscionable and shouldn’t be excused or defended. And I think we’re making progress: we’ve advanced diversity by leaps and bounds; we’ve brought anti-harassment policies to all the major conventions; and we’re talking about social justice issues as never before. But to truly rid ourselves of the haters, we have to bring about a deeper cultural change. This is a longer and harder slog, but if the secular movement is going to continue to grow and to build on the progress we’ve made, it’s an essential step and a challenge we can’t shirk.
Advanced diversity by leaps and bounds? How is success measured there?
Did you believe any of this bullshit pep-talk from a guy that believes Rebecca Watson is a great pillar of the feminist movement?
If you did, you can literally buy it.
You can have him show up at your conference and speak about this -
The connection between atheism and feminism. As atheism grows and becomes more diverse, the secular community has been wracked by infighting over feminist issues. This talk is an argument for for why atheists should care about women’s social, political and cultural equality and make it one of our priorities for activism.
The world has a problem, and Adam Lee has the solution.
He will speak to your sins.