2/8/13

I Can Remain Silent No Longer

English: Blogger and Broadcaster
English: Blogger and Broadcaster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
(Note 02/12/2013:  vjack did not write this post.  If you'd look, you'd notice that his style is very different from mine.  Stop harassing him.  If you want to complain, do it in the comments section.  I am reading them.  Thanks.)

(Note 02/11/2013:  I can see how this can be read to contain the no true Scotsman, which I had hoped to avoid.  I, like most freethinkers I know, support women's equality and women's rights.  I know no one wants to hear a white man say this, but I am well tuned-in to the plight of women and the obstacles they face.  In the many lectures I've attended on the subject, I've heard some amazing people bring far more nuance to this issue than I've ever heard coming from the skeptic feminists, and I wanted to make that point.   I wanted to make the point that I don't see these self-described feminists practicing feminism so much as sexism.  I've never seen them pass on a chance to impugn men for the most ridiculous reasons.  If I had the no true Scotsman, they have the ad hominem in spades.  Thing is, men who are sympathetic to these causes are being turned away in droves while the sexists poison the well.  I have never attended an atheism conference, always wanted to be more active in that regard, but I doubt I will make the effort, and I know many fellows in the same boat.  It didn't have to be this way, but here we are, a movement splintered.  They can call it feminism if they like, but I call it sexism.  All people deserve respect for their basic humanity.  Back to your regularly scheduled post)

I usually try to restrict my posts to things at least sort of relevant to us godless Mississippians, but I need to cast a wider net here, and this is an outlet that will at least reach a few people.

I have ignored this hoping it will go away, but it is clear to me that it is only getting worse and to maintain silence about it is no longer feasible, so here it is:  I am horrified by the likes of non-academic feminists such as Rebecca Watson and her gang of bullies.  What a self-absorbed person Watson must be to continue to pour poisonous bile into the well that all of us, as atheists, must share.  I am horrified, truly horrified, by the damage she and her ilk are doing to atheism activism.  I am ashamed of the unreflective ignorance that permeates nearly everything that comes out of their keyboards.

Looking at Watson's Twitter feed, and this one that she promotes, one doesn't have to scroll very far to get his or her fill of bile.  It doesn't take long to see that she is not doing activism, but stoking the fires of sexism just for kicks, just for the attention.  I can find no other reasonable explanation for her behavior.  The sexism that is commonplace in her writing is appalling, and it is working against all of us.  She and her gang of bullies seem completely unaware that they are undercutting their own so-called feminist positions by continuing vilify, to make a mean-spirited joke of good men. 

If you have never had the experience of hearing a good academic feminist speak, a good sociologist speak, please do so.  You will understand that feminism is not what Watson is practicing, but instead awful hatred without critical reflection, seemingly without any thought whatsoever.  It is perfectly okay per her thinking to disparage males in the most sexist, degrading ways (Think Lorena Bobbitt), but the highest sin if anyone so much as offers her the slightest well-meaning criticism. 

She and her ilk have attacked some of the brightest and best in our movement, including Richard Dawkins, who was disparaged for being a "wealthy old heterosexual white man", Sam Harris, who is routinely misrepresented, if not slandered, by PZ Myers and his gang of trolls, and Michael Shermer, one of the most reasonable and nice men one could hope to meet, and who wrote this all-too-reasonable response to this mess. 

If any of these so-called feminists thought one iota about gender, took the responsibility to inform themselves before they opened their mouths, they would know that gender has a pernicious effect on both sexes.  They would know that no one gets a pass in this life.   Both men and women suffer from gender expectations, gender conditioning, gender biases.  Watson and her ilk are so uncritcal of their own ideologies, so ironically un-skeptical, that it never seems to have crossed their minds that both sexes suffer from culturally-sponsored stereotypes. But to them, to call attention to that, that men suffer too, is cause to callously giggle, which, ironically, highlights the problem men and boys face every single day.
  • Consider that studies show female babies are nurtured, spoken to, touched and caressed, far more than their male counterparts. 
  • Consider that children are abused, both male and female.  Consider that the violence perpetrated on boys tends to be especially violent because they happened to be born male.  
  • Consider that males who were sexually abused as children tend to repeat that behavior as adults, caught in a vicious cycle of victim-hood. 
  • Consider the boys are taught from their earliest inklings that crying makes them "sissy".   Consider the emotional stunting that such inculcates in our boys.  
  • Consider the higher rates of suicide among men, and ask yourself, would a more realistic emotional sensibility help that? If men were taught to deal with their emotions, to express them in a healthy way rather than hide and bury them, would such help men become better people? 
And how does our society treat those victims of masculine gender indoctrination?  Why, man up, of course.  Grow a pair.  The vicious cycle continues, generation after generation.  Examples abound, but suffice it to say, males suffer from gender, too. 

What the Watsons of the world fail to understand is that nurturing boys would help both sexes.  Of course it would.  We are all people, and what hurts men, hurts women.  What hurts women, hurts men.  This isn't a one-sided issue, and any feminist worth his or her salt knows that and it permeates everything they do.  

For emphasis, I'll repeat:  gendering harms both men and women.  If Watson and her gang of goons had one shred of education about those matters, took the time to do the research, took a course from a sociologist, they would know that, and they would stop propagating their sexism.  They are tinkering with forces they do not understand, and I am horrified about all the damage they are doing, not only to atheism, but to men and women the world over.

Their behavior, their vitriol, is appalling, ignorant, disgraceful.  I would rather spend time with the most virulent fundamentalists than spend one nanosecond with Rebecca Watson and her groupies.  Truly, they are uninformed bigots, and at every opportunity, their bigotry should be called out.  They should be marginalized so the adults in the room can get back to the business of making this a more reasonable world.   There, I said it, and I hope I can inspire you to say it, too.

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