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Posted by on Jun 6, 2013 in Atheism | 20 comments

“We, The Women Undersigned, Feel Welcome…”

 

A sensible group of my fellow skeptics of the female persuasion have come up with a document that is basically the long-form version of Dr.  Harriet Hall’s inspired tee-shirt at the last TAM.  Here’s how it begins:

We, The Women Undersigned, Feel Welcome in Mainstream Secular, Atheist and Skeptic Groups.

We, as women of the secular/atheist/skeptic community, find that our claims are weighed on their merits, rather than weighed on our gender. We believe such courtesy must be afforded to everyone, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, political/ideological affiliation, community ranking or social class.

We do not find the community to be misogynist. We feel safe and welcome here. While sexism might occasionally show itself in isolated incidents, as it would in any community, we do not find such incidents to be in any way reflective of the wider movement.

And it goes on from there, mincing no words, calling out certain organizations involved in recent post-bloody-Elevatorgate kerfuffles, and expressing support for Ron Lindsay of CFI.  Hear, hear.  Mine was signature #86, with twelve countries represented so far.  Here’s the link:

http://www.skepticwomen.com/welcome-statement

20 Comments

  1. Hear hear! Let’s see how swifly the poor-little-victim crowd attempts to silence the voices of women who disagree with them.

    • Well, the site has already been trolled, by people signing with names like kick-my-cunt, Ophelia Benson, Paul Zachary Myers, and something-or-other McPoopypants. So they’ve just listed the silly names separately, and soldiered on. Somehow, I think this group recognizes the difference between trolldom and misogyny. :)

    • The trolling started when it ‘came out of beta,’ I believe. And I don’t mean the idiot trolls. I mean the feminists who got up in arms about it. And they went right to their silencing/shaming tactics which, of course, included whole rape canard.

  2. This was a long-time coming. I’m really glad women are finally speaking up. I went to an awesome meetup just last night in my community and couldn’t have felt more welcomed. I see sexism as a problem in the wider culture, but I’ve seen a lower rate of it in the skeptics and atheists I know.

    That being said, neither my experience nor the experience of those who say they’ve encountered more sexism than in the general population are any indication of what is actually true. We can’t know that until we have real, science-based data and that’s why I love that this letter calls for just such a thing.

    A blogger pointed to the biased and unscientific “Secular Census” that was populated by feminist atheists as an indication that women are being harassed. I thought that was funny. We said scientific survey, not “popularity contest.”

    • Please point me to where anyone says sexism is worse in the atheist community? I personally think PZ Myers is full of shit when he says the community is better than the norm.

      • I’m not going to do your homework for you. Go peruse Skepchick.

        • Oh I did, a long while ago… http://www.oolon.co.uk/?p=8

          No one could come up with a quote… I found plenty including PZ saying sexism is lower in the atheist movement than the norm. A pretty extraordinary claim he should back up. But cannot.

          • Oh good, you’ve already done your homework and then dismissed the examples provided as not good enough. I must commend you for taking “full of misogynists” as a direct quote rather than a paraphrasing of an argument made by said people. When Watson says conferences aren’t safe for women, or labels the trolls she gets as “skeptics” she gets a pass because she didn’t use the exact wording I did to describe her argument.

            You’re getting worse at this trolling, oolon, despite the amazing amount of practice you’ve had lately commenting in nearly every bigger named atheist blog.

          • So what’s your explanation of PZ directly saying not worse than normal, in fact better or less sexism… Greg Laden and Jason Thibeault agreeing on my blog that its a small number of people… Etc etc… Hardly marries with your account of the other “side” saying there is more sexism and misogyny than the outside world.

          • I’d say those statements are inconsistent with their actions and attitudes toward men. Greg Laden thinks all men are broken, are you really going to go there? Taslima thinks all men rape (and she’s a racist). PZ misrepresents the conversation we’re having about sexism as “whether women are fuck toys or colleagues.” I don’t know about the French-Canadian. Rebecca Watson and Jen McCreight both said that they are not safe with other atheists at events. McCreight said she’s safer walking down her street than at atheist conferences. They have painted the entire community as unsafe and hostile to women (while being hostile to women who disagree with them, of course).

          • So Katie no interpretation from you in regard to “actions” and “attitudes”? Dismiss peoples stated opinion and then extrapolate from your own point of view… Not a great way to get to the truth usually?

            PZ making a statement about men treating women as fuck toys is not in dispute. He did not say if he thinks atheists do it more. Clearly you are taking your own narrative and fitting little bits of information into it. Jen McCreights personal safety is nothing to do with her attitudes towards the wider community. She has been targeted for harassment despite taking Justins advice and ignoring the “trolls”.

            So all your examples are you taking things they have said about themselves or undefined groups of men and because *you* think this paints the whole community badly you assume they are “saying” that. Just like the people on TFs blog they all assert that this is the party line from FTBs but then have to resort to conspiracy theories to explain why it is never framed that way directly by anyone.

            As said on my blog they consider it a small number of assholes not dissimilar to any other community – still a problem and not to be ignored. But for some reason a bunch of people like yourself see even talking about it as more of a problem than the sexism. The availability heuristic is playing havoc with your rationality.

          • If I say in one breath that the skeptic movement isn’t safe for women and in another say, “Oh, it’s just a few individuals,” I’m being inconsistent. Nice try, troll.

          • I’ve seen nowhere where they say it isn’t safe for women as a whole, maybe you have, you won’t link to it though.

            Your only example was *one* person saying it isn’t safe for *her*. Or more accurately doesn’t *feel* safe. And why would they when they get a barrage of hate constantly. That is not indicative of the wider community — a couple of high profile people being singled out for hate. Surely they can speak about how they personally feel without people extrapolating to how everyone should feel or how they think everyone feels.

            Seemingly not in your case.

          • Thought of you Katie when Crommunist puts it very well here ->
            http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/06/12/just-a-few-loud-voices/#comment-244320
            “There’s a strawman argument that people are claiming that skeptics are worse than the general population”

            Weird how nearly everyone from “Free From Thought” blogs disagrees with you openly. If they really thought there was more misogyny in the community they would surely say this out in the open? *Conspiracy!*

          • You know colon is, quite possibly, the biggest douche-troll in the secular/atheist sphere and there is absolutely no point in engaging him since he’s a pathological liar?

          • Orly, do tell me more Moses… Like how you have been spreading obvious lies on Mick Nugents website.

            At least if you are going to be a troll you might as well own it and not project onto everyone else.

          • Super troll. Sad, when he and I started conversing, along with Aratina, I thought they would actually be reasonable. It’s clear they aren’t concerned at all with honesty, running off behind people’s backs after what seems like a good discussion, and then talking shit.

    • The Secular Census still hasn’t released a full breakdown of their stats, so we don’t even know the extent of the problem in their survey population.

  3. Ironic that Harriet acknowledged that her tshirt inflamed the hate towards Surly Amy and apologised for contributing to the hostile environment you claim doesn’t exist.
    http://skepchick.org/2013/02/chicks-tough-old-hens-and-roosters-oh-and-t-shirts-at-tam/

    “I apologize for putting the word skepchick on my shirt. I honestly did not intend to target the organization, but rather the concept of chick in general. I did not foresee the reaction, and I should have. My social skills have never been very good. If I had it to do over again, I think I would have just said “I’m a skeptic. Not a woman skeptic. Just a skeptic.” I sincerely regret that I inadvertently contributed to inflaming the harassment that was directed at you. I was truly appalled by some of the venomous over-reactions and egregious abuse that you were subjected to online. I felt very sorry for you and what you were forced to endure. There is no excuse for the behavior of your persecutors.”

    Good for her, she can at least see that while she feels safe and welcome her actions could well make others feel unwelcome.

  4. This is long overdue. I’d like to express my gratitude to everyone involved with this.

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