Friday, October 26, 2012
Sexists in Atheist-Land
Rebecca Watson's Slate article is a must read, but will it convince everyone she's been treated abysmally? Ha! The problem with the sexists in atheist-land is that they cannot imagine that they have their own biases and blindspots. We're super-smart skeptics, right? If you look at what Watson has been through (if the Slate article isn't enough, look at her page o' hate) and think someone else (like Richard Dawkins) is the real issue, you should be suspicious of your desire to change the subject. Never mind the page o' hate--that's not the real problem (some seem to think). The real problem (they say) is that a year and half ago Watson was a tad rude to some other women at a conference. Or: the real problem is that she over-reacted to Dawkins' "Dear Muslima" comment a year and a half ago. Or: the real problem is that she once did something or other at some forum. Or: the real problem is that her supporters at Freethought Blogs don't run their comment threads in a completely fair and open fashion. My thought is--sure, let's let every problem have its day. But when does it get to be Rebecca Watson's day? How much more abuse does she have to be subjected to until it is her day? This worries me, as I think the answer might be that she has to be lying at the bottom of a river (think Tyler Clementi) for it to be her day. Then again, I think there are a bunch of people who would think even that wasn't enough. It would be her fault, somehow. Call it what you will--sexism, misogyny, anti-feminism, or just stupidity. I find it completely repellant.