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Posted by on Feb 10, 2013 in Uncategorized | 10 comments

Sexism on Friendly Atheist?

The Unbelievers movie trailer is out, and I can’t wait to watch the whole thing.

Now, Hemant Mehta the Friendly Atheist, just reviewed the trailer and had something to say about it:

The movie doesn’t appear to have any real plot, but it will have cameos by nearly two dozen celebrities (only three of whom, by my count, are women) who will presumably talk about why they’re atheists and why they support the work of Dawkins/Krauss.

As some people pointed out in the comments, it looks like he is suggesting there’s active discrimination against women on this film. But I can’t help to wonder – is there some kind of female-quota for anything in order to be labeled as equality-friendly?!?

Isn’t taking women into account because of their sex instead of because what they say or think what femtheists are against?

I still don’t get it: bad if you judge women because of their gender, and bad if you value them for what they have to say. Please, pick one, in order for us to know which one is it! You can’t have it both ways (well, they can -we’ve seen it-, but that’s quite hypocritical).

So, look, I’m Colombian and I’d love to know why Hemant’s count didn’t take into account how many Latinos are there in the movie -or why that count didn’t make it to the post-.

Do we need to start bullying fellow skeptics in order to be heard? Do we need to start playing the victim? What is it? I won’t do it -this is no Pharyngula, you see, we have arguments here- , but I’d love to know! As far as I can tell he didn’t care either for how many gays feature in the movie, for that matter.

By the way, I can’t tell this for sure, and I might be wrong on this one, but I get the feeling Hemant might be afraid of being bullied -and lose traffic- if he doesn’t include this kind of comments.

  • http://www.atheistrev.com/ vjack

    Hemant has never struck me as someone who would be anything other than who he in order to appease others. I think he’s done an outstanding job of staying out of the FtB/Skepchick/A+ nonsense. I sometimes wish I had followed his example in this regard more closely. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I really doubt Hemant would write what he does not believe in order to cater to these people.

    • http://de-avanzada.blogspot.com/ Daosorios

      That’s why I said I might be wrong, but I don’t get why he did that comment.

  • http://www.synapses.co.za/ Jacques Rousseau

    Given that there is a running debate regarding sexism & representation in skepticism, it doesn’t seem particularly problematic that Mehta mentioned that. Sure, it might be slightly opportunistic, and of course the whole debate (at least, the recent Shermer-inspired round of it) might have some weak foundations, but Mehta does at least have some reason, in the current context, for mentioning that. There is, by contrast, no debate on Latino representation in atheism. If you think there needs to be one, fine – but that would have no bearing on whether or not it’s legitimate to debate sexism in “the movement”.

    • http://de-avanzada.blogspot.com/ Daosorios

      Don’t you think the lack of debate of Latino representation says something about the whole discrimination debate within the A/S community?

      I don’t think there needs to be a debate on this, because the A/S community doesn’t have a representation, neither a sexism problem! It’s as inclusive as it can get!

      We can debate all we want, of course; and this is my stance.

      • http://www.synapses.co.za/ Jacques Rousseau

        Not really, no – given the much lower proportion of Latino folk (17%) when compared to census females (51%), and the low base off which we’ve measuring (public atheists), I don’t think much could be read into there being no/little debate about Latino representation.

        I didn’t express a view on whether there *is* sexism in the A/S community. I noted that there has been a debate on it, which is perhaps partly why Mehta mentioned the low number of females in the promo video.

        • Zardoz

          Just as an aside, the census on females no longer puts them at 51%. The census actually has them at 49.3% and dropping due to selective breeding, particularly in Asian countries.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_ratio

          Not that it makes a difference here.

          • http://de-avanzada.blogspot.com/ Daosorios

            Thanks for the info

        • http://de-avanzada.blogspot.com/ Daosorios

          Yes – there’s been a debate about it. But, how come the representation and inclusion debate boils down to males & females, leaving aside the LGBT community and Latinos?

          That’s my point – they don’t care about inclusion, but they’re harming the A/S community, the evidence being now Hemant has this watchful eye only for women-inclusion.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

    Hmm, I think you (and the people making those comments on my site) are reading *way* too much into what I considered a side comment.

    When I saw the list of celebrities in the movie, the gender imbalance was honestly the first thing I noticed. I’m not slamming the filmmakers, nor am I offering suggestions on women who should’ve been included and men who shouldn’t have been. It’s their movie and I look forward to watching it.

    Believe me, I’m not trying to appease any constituency, I’m not worried about losing readers, and I haven’t been bullied by anybody.

    But thanks for reading my site ever-so-carefully :)

    • http://de-avanzada.blogspot.com/ Daosorios

      I always read the Friendly Atheist, it’s a great site :)

      I find it… -how to put it?- worrisome to a degree the so-called gender imbalance is getting that much attention and that’s what your efforts and energy are being directed -unconciously, perhaps- at.

      Keep up the good work, and excuse me if I sounded somehow hostile to you! I didn’t mean it (notice I still called you Hemant).

      I hope you keep visiting Avant-Garde ;)