Facing Up to Atheism’s MRA Problem

We’ve known for a while that there’s an ugly strain of aggressive anti-feminism within the larger atheist community. Now it appears that we know where they congregate: the “men’s rights activist” subgroup on Reddit ran a survey of their members, which found that the vast majority (94%) identify as atheist or religiously indifferent.

That came as a surprise to me, although the other numbers were more or less what I’d have expected. MRAs are overwhelmingly white (98%), between the ages of 17 and 20 (87%), and “strongly conservative” (84%). The only political issue they strongly support was marijuana legalization (94% in favor), while a variety of other causes (same-sex marriage, transgender rights, abortion, socialized medicine, minimum wage increases, gun control) attracted only single-digit support, giving rise to a political philosophy that could perhaps best be described as “libertarian only as it affects me”. (* Note – See end of post for addendum.)

Since this is a voluntary survey, the results could be skewed by self-selection or outright fraud, so we shouldn’t put too much weight on them. Still, these numbers are broadly consistent with other surveys of the same demographic. Russell Glasser sums up my thoughts:

So most MRA’s are irreligious, which doesn’t mean that most irreligious people are MRA’s. For example, if 16% of the population are atheists, and .16% of the population are MRA, then they could be 100% irreligious and still represent only 1% of of that group. But still: ick.

He suggests that the reason the MRA crowd is so dominated by atheists is that, if you’re a member of pretty much any of the world’s major religions, the patriarchy is built right in. The assumption of women’s inferiority and subjection is already established there, and men who want an excuse to feel superior to women needn’t make any special effort. On the other hand, the misogynists who aren’t religious don’t have that convenient excuse, so they have to explicitly argue for it – and that pretty much sums up what the MRA movement is all about.

I think this is true as far as it goes, and I’ve said as much myself. Still, it leaves open the question of what gives rise to that misogyny in the first place, if not religion. I wanted to venture some thoughts on that.

To me, there’s one fact that stands out: the shockingly low average age of the men responding to this survey. Even taking into account the greater internet uptake of younger generations, I’d have expected some of them to be older. And that, I think, is a big clue as to what’s really going on here. I’d wager that MRAism and atheism among this crowd both spring from the same source: the phenomenon of adolescent male rebellion, the arrogant and defiant “nobody can tell me what to do” attitude that crops up in every culture, combined with lived experiences of privilege which lead them to conclude that they deserve to be at the top of the heap, answerable to no one (remember, they’re also overwhelmingly white). To this crowd, both religion and feminism are perceived as constricting, as sources of unwanted rules; and sexism and religious skepticism are both means to an end, giving them excuses to reject those rules and justifying their feeling of superiority.

None of this would be a cause for concern, if it weren’t for the most common type of MRA “activism”: vicious, concerted mob attacks whose goal is to silence atheists, especially female atheists, who speak out on issues of social justice. For example, CFI’s Washington director Melody Hensley wrote recently about how she’d incurred PTSD from continual cyberbullying. Infuriated by the assertion that their threats and harassment were causing real harm, these awful people responded with a flood of additional threats and harassment. Your guess is as good as mine what point they thought they were making, but it does drive home the message that they’ll attack any real or perceived point of vulnerability to shut up anyone who says things they don’t like.

If there’s any bright spot in this, it’s that for all their embarrassing presence in atheism, the MRAs are very much an outlier group. Atheists as a whole are more diverse, far more liberal and vastly more pro-choice than this small and surly tribe.

Still, whatever their absolute numbers, we can’t and shouldn’t tolerate their harassment and the bad reputation they give to atheism as a whole. If we want to rid ourselves of them, I suggest that the atheist movement as a whole needs to do more to make issues of feminism and social justice a priority. We should be talking more about the importance of reproductive choice, racial and gender equality, economic justice and the social safety net (not least because poverty is a major contributor to the nastier and more dangerous kinds of fundamentalism). The more that we do this, the more these men will feel unwelcome, and the more they’ll drift away, seeking other ideologies that are friendlier to them. (Maybe Wotanism?)

This is a move we should be making anyway, for purely strategic reasons: because the atheist movement ought to be trying to appeal to as broad a cross-section of society as possible; and because the atheist and feminist movements have a common foe in religious patriarchy and we’ll accomplish more if we work together. But the fact that it will also drive off some of the movement’s more worthless trolls is a definite bonus.

Image credit: Shutterstock

* Addendum: Some MRAs have asserted that the survey I cited was trolled by automated submissions, based on its receiving a large number of answers in a short period of time. Stephanie Zvan, whose post I linked to originally, has already done the work of sifting these possibly spurious answers out, and it changes the results only slightly. With this change, the MRA demographic is somewhat older and more moderate, but still overwhelmingly white (87%), still overwhelmingly non-religious (70%), still overwhelmingly young (median age 20), still overwhelmingly in favor of marijuana legalization above all other issues (though socialized medicine and minimum wage increase now attract more support). As I originally stated, this is consistent with other surveys of the same demographic, and doesn’t affect any of the conclusions drawn in this post.

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • Guest

    *ahem* problem? It is an issue that people in the atheism community are against a certain social movement? I don’t identify as an MRA myself, but I know plenty of people who are and further more go against the faulty notions of pervasive patriarchy, the “privilege” lens, a notion of “well anyone who doesn’t agree with feminism are just trolls” and other failed notions of feminist dogma (a position I’m very much against.) These same sorry excuses are also used by religious to devalue the arguments of young atheists critical of their parents religion, though I thought that would be obvious enough to not need to be said. It is only a problem if you are for advancing a social position and imposing it upon atheism. It does not need combating any more than feminism derived from feminist doctrine, shown so well by other advancing social groups within the community like atheism+.

  • L.Long

    Atheism is about a non-belief in any gawd. But looking a some religious people who are acknowledged as very intelligent but have no problem believing in talking snakes and virgin birth. The same type of delusional thinking still exists in atheism. Reptilian overlords, UFOs, Nessie, and women aren’t worth much. Also dogma is written by men for men, so it mostly religion absorbs the women hating and passes it on, rather then generating the hate & bigotry

  • GCT

    So, prominent atheist women are subjected to abuse, threats, harassment, etc. and that’s not a problem for you? Fuck off. You’re part of the problem.

  • Russell Wain Glasser

    Adam, I just want to pass along something Stephanie warned me about before I finished my post. There are two sets of numbers on her post. The numbers near the bottom throw out a bunch of potentially spurious survey responses. The number of white young male atheists is still extremely high, but not in the 95+% range anymore. You might want to use those numbers, while noting the existence of the other.

  • http://fractalheretic.blogspot.com/ Fractal Heretic

    I’ve had to unsubscribe from so many atheist youtubers who seemed intelligent as long as they were refuting creationists, but expose their own stupidity as soon as they open their mouth about anything else, like feminism. People just seem to look smarter while standing next to creationists. I’ve been calling it “the Thunderfoot Effect.”

  • Antigone10

    Faulty notions of pervasive patriarchy?

    As of 2013, men had 85.7% of CEO positions and 83.4% of all board positions.

    80% of the world’s political power is in the hands of men. In the United States, men are 81.2% of the House of Representatives and 80% of the Senate.

    In News? Check these representation statistics: http://asne.org/content.asp?pl=140&sl=144&contentid=144

    In Hollywood? Of the 39 major releases, 1 was a woman directing.

    In literature? http://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/feb/04/research-male-writers-dominate-books-world

    So, what exactly would “pervasive” look like to you? If it isn’t overwhelming majority of political, ecomomic, and cultural power, what would it be?

    EDIT: Forgot military power. 85% men in the United States active duty military.

  • Ross Llewallyn

    Couple of thoughts from someone who is an increasingly reluctant but still active Reddit user who has dived head-first into /r/MensRights arguing with people…

    1. I wonder if the survey concerning social issues is accurate at all. I didn’t get the sense that the people I were talking to were anti-gay or anti-choice at all. They are of a mindset similar to me back in high school of not seeing far enough into other people’s experiences to be concerned about sexism or racism in the microaggression, pervasive cultural level.

    2. All of Reddit skews young, male, and white. So don’t think that this subreddit represents a full cut of MRAs. I wonder if other sites cater to an older group, or if they take their anti-feminism offline.

    3. Return of Kings or The Red Pill might have other demos that I’d love to explore and see the atheist fraction of.

    4. I believe there is a layer of idiotic, sexist rhetoric, but if you really press on people, you can find those who think they’re backed up by good evidence and argue intelligently. Some of these people are reasonable and can be swayed. Though they are unlikely the ones harassing. There’s a big spectrum in there.

  • Ross Llewallyn

    I might steal this terminology! :P

  • Robert

    and this is because an evil conspiracy of men forced women into jobs they freely chose, in fields like nursing and liberal arts? I can tell you as a history major everyone I talk to, male or female, KNOWS they aren’t going to get as big a slice of the pie as an engineer. If we could find a way to better raise the pay of any field not having to deal in science and technology that makes a pitiful amount, I would be all for that in the case someone finds a solution that is also economically viable given the sucky system we have. That way anyone on those fields, man OR woman, can get a better wage. What releases of Hollywood are you talking about? Films, last time I check, don’t have genders. As for books, these statistics do not (and the article points this out) doesn’t explain why. In fact, that would be somthing to look into as you’ve basically cherry-picked one statistic and ran with the rest of the neccesary data being assumptions. I will clarify, however, that women still face problems. As do men, blacks, whites, children, teens, and any demographic in one stat or other. In fact, everyone has some sort of disadvantage in society; if we didn’t we wouldn’t have any differences at all between individuals. Statistics do not make convincing arguments in this case.

  • GCT

    There’s also the wage gap, the gap in STEM fields between numbers of women and men, the fight for reproductive rights and on and on.

  • Robert

    So women (who by the way are graduating college more often) ought to choose to go into STEM. As for reproductive rights, that is a fight that women’s rights activists, not cultural theorists hell bent on an agenda, ought to champion. I’ll see you at the polls to vote out anyone who has voted against their constituent’s health at the election.

  • Azkyroth

    It is an issue that people in the atheism community are against a certain social movement?

    Yes, when that movement amounts to “women are human beings.” What the hell is WRONG with you?

    (And even if it wasn’t, the fact that they tend to express it by spamming rape and murder threats isn’t so great either, although it doesn’t affect you, so maybe it’s not a problem to you.)

  • Elizabeth

    Oh wow, an adult atheist who still believes in straw feminists. Don’t worry, they aren’t real.

  • Robert

    If that is how you choose to define feminism I’d say it is a pretty piss-weak definition. Simply describing one selling point of a product isn’t much of a good pitch; you leave out all the juicy details like how they want to go about achiveing equality, the various flavors the customer can try, the various specific positions and concepts that are used regularly within the movement; you know, the rest of the movement that people just might want to know about. As for people who “tend to spam rape or murder threats,” they are also a major problem. It isn’t like I’m equally going to support them, nor call them out as the major group. If I did, then I could also go on about #killallmen. Now I do have a chance of getting murdered and rape, so your last claim there is just silly.

  • Robert

    Well… if you can point to me a good number of feminists who do not support those notions I listed, then it should be relatively simple to prove me wrong, eh? In all my extensive time looking into the subject I’ve yet to find a single feminist who didn’t adopt that mindset. You’ll excuse me if I can’t be aware of specific positions I’ve never even heard.

  • GCT

    Yes, all feminists are man-hating lesbians who hate men and want to kill all men and rule over them (before and after killing them). Can you be any more of a clown?

    Feminism is about equality for men and women. It’s not that hard to figure out.

  • Elizabeth

    You have failed to explain how the notion of privilege is “faulty.”

  • Robert

    Mostly because my replies aren’t getting through. I’ll leave you with this because the moderator doesn’t seem to like me very much: my wording was off. Privilege, while it exists, exists at some degree for everyone, and not selectively or as a contest to be won by having the least amount of it. To frame it in such that way is sickening in my opinion.

  • Robert

    This is my last post as what I say keeps getting deleted for some reason. It is much more than that, from simple observation. I’m sorry if I gave you the impression I hate all feminISTS. I can’t hate an entire group of individuals, nor would I classify them as such. Merely the common tactics and individual specific arguments that feminISM supports.

  • Kenneth Polit

    I agree that the age demographic is very telling. 17 to 20? at that age we aren’t developed men; we are erections with feet. Most males of that age group still haven’t figured out how to keep the little head from doing the thinking instead of the big head.

  • http://www.calgarysecularchurch.org/ Korey Peters

    The Calgary Secular Church is an atheist organization, but we have excellent female participation. Half of my board members are female, my most passionate and committed advocates are female. Last week I was out of town, and two women stepped in and ran the entire service (and it was probably an improvement from when I do it).

    Why? I think it’s two reasons:

    1. We always try to focus on being positive. Yes losing your faith was traumatic. Yes we’re glad you’ve realized there is no God. But what are you going to do now? Where are you going to take your life now? What good are you going to accomplish in the world now?

    If people are angry about religion, I understand. That
    anger is a valuable and reasonable emotion, and I never tell people that
    they shouldn’t be angry (in fact, that very topic was my sermon in
    April!). But I always encourage people to move on from that (which was also the topic of my April sermon).

    2. We claim to be “family-friendly”. I don’t even know fully what that means, but the result seems to be that we don’t swear (very much), that we meet in places that children could/should be, that we are not angry (without directing it towards a positive result), that we work to be moral.

    In my experience, female non-religious people are willing and eager to get involved, but first we must show that we’re interested in making the world a better place.

    Sorry if I’ve posted all this before. I’m very proud of what the CSC is doing, and (unfortunately) I’ll take almost any opportunity to brag about the change we’re making.

  • GCT

    So women (who by the way are graduating college more often) ought to choose to go into STEM.

    Yes, it’s obviously their (the women’s) fault that STEM fields are old boys clubs, rife with sexism. I can’t see why a woman wouldn’t want to go into a field like that.

    As for reproductive rights, that is a fight that women’s rights activists, not cultural theorists hell bent on an agenda, ought to champion.

    Anyone who has a scintilla of morality ought to support it. But, let’s not forget that this only came up because of your incredibly asinine statement about patriarchy. Now, you’re going to try and hide behind atheism instead?

  • Robert

    “Yes, it’s obviously their (the women’s) fault that STEM fields are old boys clubs, rife with sexism. I can’t see why a woman wouldn’t want to go into a field like that.”
    Words sound pretty, especially when you use hyperbole without examples or exploring any practical motive.
    “Anyone who has a scintilla of morality ought to support it. But, let’s not forget that this only came up because of your incredibly asinine statement about patriarchy. Now, you’re going to try and hide behind atheism instead?”
    I admit the original was emotionally charged. But my comment isn’t asinine. To say that pervasive patriarchy is shit is only not descriptive enough; I’ll elaborate to you as I have the others and then leave as my replies were previously removed. The notion that there is a pervasive boy’s club isn’t completely true and is a vast overstatement. Women members of congress and the free voting turnout of women is enough to disprove this; it isn’t like women are any longer restricted suffrage. There are these practical issues that I personally think we need to support, just like you. But these aren’t signs of a complete failure of a giant all-encompassing culture, nor is the system rigged fundamentally to favor one sex over another. They are merely issues that, for practical reasons, are causing problems and need to be solved.

    As to your last point, me “hiding behind my atheism.” I don’t hide. If I did, I would have never commented. I wouldn’t have put my original comment that then needed clarification out for people to see. You can see it as backpeddling if you wish, but it is unfortunately normal for me to shoot my mouth off without rereading and that was my fault; an error I try to fix. In fact, I still stand behind my point that somehow MRAism needs to be combated at all. I still stand behind it all. Your precognition of me you’ll find are weak; I thank you for keeping me honest but you can feel free to leave the character assassination at the door.

  • ahermit

    When I was a student in the `80s the engineering department was a notorious bastion of sexism. Any woman who dared to enter the department had to be prepared to be subjected to a level of harassment, dismissive attitudes and outright hostility that no male student would ever have to deal with (unless he was gay…)

    Sadly, from what I hear, things haven’t changed all that much…http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/mcmaster-student-group-suspended-over-sexist-violent-degrading-songbook-1.2508250

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/engineering-paper-offends-women-1.168738

    So if the reason that women “freely choose” not to enter certain professions is not because of a lack of interest but because of an unwillingness to be subjected to such abuse can you really say that the choice is free, or that there isn’t a problem?

  • GCT

    and this is because an evil conspiracy of men forced women into jobs they freely chose, in fields like nursing and liberal arts?

    No, it’s a societal issue (called Patriarchy) where we assign gender roles to specific fields due to sexist stereotypes.

    I can tell you as a history major everyone I talk to, male or female, KNOWS they aren’t going to get as big a slice of the pie as an engineer. If we could find a way to better raise the pay of any field not having to deal in science and technology that makes a pitiful amount, I would be all for that in the case someone finds a solution that is also economically viable given the sucky system we have.

    It’s not about the money, it’s about us (as a society) chasing away women who could otherwise contribute in other ways than the ones that have been selected for them based on bullshit stereotypes. I’m sure you don’t like being stereotyped for being an atheist, so don’t turn around and do it to women.

    What releases of Hollywood are you talking about? Films, last time I check, don’t have genders.

    Now you’re being intentionally daft.

    I will clarify, however, that women still face problems.

    How fucking magnanimous of you.

    As do men, blacks, whites, children, teens, and any demographic in one stat or other. In fact, everyone has some sort of disadvantage in society; if we didn’t we wouldn’t have any differences at all between individuals. Statistics do not make convincing arguments in this case.

    So, if the statistics point to women making less money than men for the same jobs…well, stats are unconvincing because men have problems too. Oh, poor, poor men!

    Yes, everyone’s got problems. Some groups, however, have historically always had worse problems and still do. Fighting for equality for all includes women, and it doesn’t help to simply shrug your shoulders and claim that everything is fixed, or as good as it’s going to get, when such start inequality exists. Your male privilege is showing.

  • GCT

    If that is how you choose to define feminism I’d say it is a pretty piss-weak definition.

    Well, it is sort of the minimum bar. It’s amazing how many people are like you, however, in that they fail to even be able to clear that hurdle.

  • Sean Sherman

    Thank you for your support of basic human decency.

  • TommyNIK

    Not THIS atheist. I know history thus I know that women are one of the most oppressed minorities in the US and the world. In many places they STILL are.

    Indeed….just listen to some of the conservative politicians today and you’ll see misogyny in action.

  • ColoradoSkeptic

    ” The more that we do this, the more these men will feel unwelcome, and the more they’ll drift away, seeking other ideologies that are friendlier to them.”

    In my opinion, you don’t make them unwelcome, you just make people more disinterested. It’s all about what people want to hear about and learn about, and if someone wants to join an American Atheists discussion, or a Center for Inquiry discussion, they expect well…discussion on atheism, and skepticism, there might be times to talk about reproductive rights and historical gender inequalities, but making those topics centerfolds for atheists in general is bound to turn off people who just aren’t interested in discussing those topics.

  • Ruby Dynamite

    “Now it appears that we know where they congregate” – I’ve known where those douchebags congregate ever since The Amazing Atheist was caught red-fecking-handed posting in the damn /MensRights/ subreddit. That came weeeellllll before all of the many incidences of Thunderf00t sticking his foot into his mouth up to the nutsack with his videos crammed full of anti-feminism rhetoric stemming from nothing but his own bitter, butthurt white dude privilege. xp

    Of course, back then, TJ threw his weight around, as always, and made with the tantrums and arm-flailing and recriminations and everybody went back to what they were doing and tried to pretend it didn’t happen. Either that, or they joined his side. Make no mistake, it is a far, far, *FAR* more prevalent problem than you’re making it out to be, here.

    You guys wanted to know more about sexism in the atheist community, you could have talked to some actual women who are/were a part of it. >.<

  • RichardSRussell

    The thing that always struck me as odd about accusations of the “atheist movement” being anti-feminist is that I spent a goodly chunk of my life as an atheist activist in atheist organizations started and run by women — to the extent that I occasionally wondered where all the men were.

    While atheism per se implies nothing whatsoever beyond “I don’t believe in any gods”, atheist movements certainly do have a choice as to where they want to find their allies, and I for one feel much more simpatico with feminists than with the Men Ready to Attack mentioned in this article.

  • Mimmoth

    Well, I see what you mean about that MRA problem.

  • GCT

    IOW, you hate it when people point out that equality has not been achieved, most likely because you don’t like the fact that you will lose your privilege.

  • GCT

    Oh, yeah, I’m so sure that you’re so put upon by all those other non-white, non-male people with all their privilege over you. When you decide to join reality, let us all know.

  • GCT

    Words sound pretty, especially when you use hyperbole without examples or exploring any practical motive.

    So, are you denying the huge gap in STEM fields or the sexism that has been pointed out numerous times, or are you just ignorant and speaking up without knowing what the hell you’re talking about (which is just another example of mansplaining)?

    But my comment isn’t asinine. To say that pervasive patriarchy is shit is only not descriptive enough; I’ll elaborate to you as I have the others and then leave as my replies were previously removed.

    You’re right. Asinine isn’t a strong enough word to describe how stupid and malicious your bullshit is.

    The notion that there is a pervasive boy’s club isn’t completely true and is a vast overstatement.

    Not supported by the facts.

    Women members of congress and the free voting turnout of women is enough to disprove this; it isn’t like women are any longer restricted suffrage.

    Not supported by the facts.

    There are these practical issues that I personally think we need to support, just like you.

    Not supported by the facts.

    But these aren’t signs of a complete failure of a giant all-encompassing culture, nor is the system rigged fundamentally to favor one sex over another.

    Not supported by the facts.

    As to your last point, me “hiding behind my atheism.” I don’t hide. If I did, I would have never commented.

    Claiming no patriarchy exists and then hiding behind ‘well it’s not in the definition of atheism’ when called out on it? Yeah, that’s hiding. You know the facts don’t support you.

    In fact, I still stand behind my point that somehow MRAism needs to be combated at all.

    Yup, because as long as women theoretically have the right to vote they should learn to live with death and rape threats, right? Fuck off.

    Your precognition of me you’ll find are weak; I thank you for keeping me honest but you can feel free to leave the character assassination at the door.

    I don’t need to character assassinate you; you’ve done a bang-up job all on your own. You’ve loudly proclaimed that you are a sexist MRA asshat without me having to say a thing.

  • http://newstechnica.com David Gerard

    I am quite proud that RationalWiki has a consistent track record of telling these types to just fuck off.

  • http://oolon.co.uk/ oolon

    Stop making yourself sick swallowing your own straw. Even the anti-sex work, anti-trans radical feminists who are a small minority with the most extreme views don’t espouse the view that to “win” is to have the least privilege. The aim is for everyone to share the same privileges.
    http://skepchick.org/2014/05/no-one-wants-you-to-apologize-for-your-white-male-privilege/

  • Elizabeth Roy

    I think the ideal situation is having those discussions – feminism, race relations, LGBTQ activism – available in atheist discourse. For example, American Atheists convention has a panel on LGBTQ activism and International activism, but (unless I missed it – always possible) there’s not one on feminism, reproductive rights, etc. Why not? There’s certainly enough interest. Maybe it would help, maybe not. But at least we’d be talking about it regularly.

    Although, personally, I don’t particularly mind if people who harass and make death threats are disinterested in being part of these discussions. They’re not exactly exemplary people who give atheism a good name.

  • Elizabeth Roy

    Oof. You’re brave to do that, I can’t handle the casual abuse.

    Well, like he said, we can’t really put too much weight on it. Tend to agree with you that the people I’ve come across aren’t misogynist or homophobic in principle (and in fact get rather offended at being called such) but rather act that way as part of their daily lives. Pervasive microaggression is an excellent way to put it – the problem being, of course, that it adds up.

    Do you have exact data on demographics of Reddit users? very curious.

    Unfortunately, your last point doesn’t match up with my experience. It’ve found that the people who can argue most intelligently and seem reasonable are the most hostile – maybe because they believe so strongly.

  • ModVAVet

    *slow clap*

    GCT is my hero, now. :D

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I suspect outright fraud with the survey results. They’re just too skewed.

  • HematitePersuasion

    I just had a thought. I’m not wedded to it, I just want to through it out for consideration –

    – but one of the most irritating straw men that religionists use against atheists is that atheists just want to do whatever we want without any responsibility or morality. I’m sure everyone knows some subset of that argument class.

    And here we have the MRA nutjobs, who wish to retain all the privilege and status bestowed on them by the religiously-inspired cultural norms as well as reject any form of religious obligation to moral behavior (regardless of how twisted).

    Anyone else see a connection here? Or is this just a fever-dream of mine …

  • Elizabeth Roy

    It’s the basic definition of feminism. Is it a piss-weak definition to define atheism as “not believing in God”? I would say no. Feminist certainly don’t agree on how to achieve equality, nor do atheists all agree on how to promote the separation of church and state. To believe that all members of one group are exactly the same in their thoughts and behavior is the first step to dehumanizing that group. Atheists spend a lot of time fighting against that, as do feminists, people of color, women, men, etc.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Minorities. Right.

  • Ivy Shoots

    Since it is the religious right who are promoting Bible-justified male primacy and a roll-back of women’s reproductive rights, these topics should be important to atheists.

    “People who just aren’t interested” tend to be people who aren’t affected by them and don’t care that others are. Their selfishness doesn’t automatically trump the desire for fairness and equality the rest of us feel. If you’re disinterested, go your own way.

  • Science Avenger

    “Statistics do not make convincing arguments in this case.”

    To who pale face? If you have a splinter, and the woman next to you has a broken leg, that amounts to “everyone has problems” to you? Or put another way, when was the last time you were pulled over for Driving While White? Or is DWB just a PC fiction to you?

  • Weeblo

    And further, I find feminists who both emphatically assert that privilege is this win-or-lose contest, and those who admit that it’s not, and both assert that all feminists share their opinion on the matter.

  • Science Avenger

    “Privilege, while it exists, exists at some degree for everyone”? Agreed. But is it so hard to see that degree to be far FAR greater in areas of far fr more importance for a lesbian black woman than for my strapping straight white male self? As a recovering MRA who was swayed by the data and some discussions with female scientist friends, I suggest you go seek said evidence and conversations, and stop pretending the theories in your head have much value. They don’t.

  • Science Avenger

    Well in all fairness, refuting creationism is a pretty low intellectual bar. It shouldn’t shock us that a large proportion of atheists, or any other group, has difficulty with more challenging topics.

  • Antigone10

    I don’t know if you’re the same as the guest poster above, but I’m going to guess you are. My apologies if this is correct.

    You’ve identified as an atheist, so I’m sure at some point or another you’ve played the game “What would the world look like if there actually was a god” or alternately, “What would convince you that god was real.”

    I’m not asking you to say that there is a system that favors men over women and delineates roles based on gender to our (humanity’s) greater detriment (ie, patriarchy). I’m just asking you: what do you think the world would look like if that were the case?

    You said statistics don’t make a convincing argument. You say that individual people talking about things that have happened to them don’t make convincing arguments. You have brushed aside the fact that being a woman and trying to get into any sort of power causes a massive amount of harassment. What is the evidence you’re searching for? What would it look like to you?

  • brian_x

    Don’t underestimate the power of abject hero worship in all this. Fanboys trying to whitewash people like Tf00t, TheAmazingAtheist, and GirlWritesWhat are common sources of vandalism on RationalWiki and TVTropes.

  • Antigone10

    I realize you’re intentions are good here, but I don’t buy this.

    I feel like it’s pretty damn insulting to teenager in particular and men and general to say that the sum of their experience can be reduced to “wanting to have sex”. Are teenagers ignorant as hell and generally hormonal, as a group? Absolutely. But teenage boys seem to also be motivated by (in no particular order and with no particular person) : homo-social behavior, getting good grades, playing video games, doing each particular hobby, personal ambition, positive adult reinforcement, and general empathy.

    The problem isn’t that teenagers want to have sex, or even in particular that boys want to have sex. The problem is that their wanting to have sex is used as an excuse for harassment and in some cases rape. The problem is that girl’s desire to have sex is minimized and/or demonized.

    Plenty of teenaged boys manage to get through their teenage years and early adulthood, while still wanting sex, and not being assholes.

  • DreamingRainne

    As I understand it, there’s an “Atheism+” which openly embraces progress/intersectionality (such as feminism) and was designed to forswear these MRA/conservative types, rather than bothering to make peace with them.

  • Eldritch Edain

    The average Reddit user is a male in his 20s. So, it’s not surprising that an unscientific poll of Reddit users would favour this demographic. But it says nothing about the real demographics of MRAs.

  • Stephan Brun
  • Nathaniel

    Are you suggesting that we need to unskew these polls?

    Maybe we should run that proposal by President Romney first.

  • Karin Karejanrakoi

    “Waaaaa, da menz haz problemz tuu, an’ ye’re not playin’ fair if ye’z dun give as much attenshun to da menz as ye do to da wimminz!”

    That’s called whingeing here in Australia. /many men eventually get over it – I only hope you do too.

  • Karin Karejanrakoi

    Well said!

  • Doomedd

    “While atheism per se implies nothing whatsoever beyond “I don’t believe in any gods”, atheist movements certainly do have a choice as to where they want to find their allies, and I for one feel much more simpatico with feminists than with the Men Ready to Attack mentioned in this article. “

    I don’t know about you, but the reason why I have a beef with religions is not only because they are wrong, is it because they are harmful. When I encounter atheist MRA, I don’t see an ally, I see a nonreligious sexist bastard. Allying with MRA is, for me, betraying one of the reason why am proud of not being Catholic anymore.

    I have the distinct impression that MRA (and other intolerant type) want to reforge society privileges to their liking, I just want to abolish privileges.

    In a way, MRA are like pretender to the throne, they want it. We are like democratic rebels, we want to abolish the throne. The Egyptians had taught us something recently, we should be cautious of our allies.

  • Doomedd

    I suspect those results show something disturbing and we shouldn’t put our heads in the sand.

  • David Andrew Kearney

    At the risk of sounding obvious (particularly given Adam’s reading of Atlas Shrugged): could there be a good mix of Objectivism in the MRA groups? When I’ve met a fellow atheist who held noxious positions, I’ve often found that Objectivism is the culprit.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    It’s pretty easy to screw up an online poll.

  • Yumi Ishihara

    “Feminist dogma.” Lol. Yes, those rape threats we get literally every single day in our twitter feeds isn’t a problem. Silly feminists, it’s just good-natured fun! No problems here, no sir.

  • Yumi Ishihara

    Yeah, don’t ever step foot into an MRA forum with a vagina. In my experience, it is 100% guaranteed you will be threatened with violence, rape and cyber-stalking for having the gall to attempt to debate them in a civil manner.

  • Yumi Ishihara

    I think a lot of them are just angry they have been shot down so many times while attempting to get a woman’s phone number.

  • A Real Libertarian

    Your numbers are wrong.

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AkhjNis7dDamdFlSRjdaNE8tQ25KOUk0b0R3ck8yV0E&usp=sharing#gid=4

    90.2% are Male.

    90.5% are White.

    66.7% are “No Religion”.

    31.8% are between the ages of 17-20.

    7.3% are “Strong Conservative” (“Conservatives” of all types are 18.2%, “Liberals” of all type are 21.9%).

    Issues have the following support:

    Marijuana Legalization: 77.4%
    Homosexual Marriage: 39.0%
    Trans Peoples’ Rights: 36.5%
    Abortion Remaining Legal: 46.7%
    Socialized Medicine: 57.6%
    Minimum Wage Increase: 53.7%
    Increased Gun Control: 29.1%

    And David Futrelle?

    You’re actually citing that rape apologizing hack?

    He told a rape survivor that it wasn’t rape because he wasn’t penetrated:
    http://tamenwrote.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/open-letter-to-david-futrelle/

    With all this, are going to reconsider your point?

  • Elizabeth Roy

    People like you bolster my faith in humanity :-)

  • Leum

    From the exact same article you posted, he also retracted this statement

    But I’ve been convinced by the comments here that this is
    probably overoptimistic on my part. If made-to-penetrate needs to be
    called rape to be taken as seriously as what has traditionally been
    called rape, then it should be called rape.

    So, yes, I have changed my mind on this. Made-to-penetrate should be classified as rape.

  • A Real Libertarian

    Which is great, it shows people can be taught how men are raped as much as women.

    At least in the past 12 months in the USA as per the CDC’s 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (Pages 18-19, Tables 2.1 and 2.2):

    http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_Report2010-a.pdf

    Now I think Adam should redo the column with the accurate numbers.

  • mildlymagnificent

    “The notion that there is a pervasive boy’s club isn’t completely true and is a vast overstatement. ”

    So your argument amounts to saying that because there isn’t an impregnable, armour plated barrier to every single field of endeavour in any and every time and place that women might try to join in a male-dominated activity, then that’s all OK.

    If you look at it from the other side, it doesn’t have to be a smooth, impervious force field repelling each and every woman who tries. It only needs to be hard enough, nasty enough, often enough, for all but the few hardy souls to decide that it’s not worth the effort and the heartache to persist.

  • GCT

    You have a problem with using the word “minority?”

  • GCT

    In my opinion, you don’t make them unwelcome, you just make people more disinterested.

    And their actions actively drive people (women and other minorities mostly) away. That is not acceptable. And, if saying so drives away others who aren’t as vocal, well too bad. If they are more interested in making sure that we don’t upset the harassers, then they’re no ally of mine.

  • GCT

    From your source:

    Nearly 1 in 5 women (18.3%) and 1 in 71 men (1.4%) in the United States have been raped at some time in their lives, including completed forced penetration, attempted forced penetration, or alcohol/drug facilitated completed penetration.

    Yup, 1 in 5 is totally the same as 1 in 71.

  • ReadsInTrees

    If I had to guess I’d say they were just taken aback by the term “minority” used for a group that makes up about half of the population. Maybe “oppressed group” would have been a more accurate term.

  • ReadsInTrees

    Agreed. I was an administrator for an atheist group, and over time I began to realize that the head of the group was one of these MRAs. He always argued in a way that came across as intelligent, but whe it came to feminist topics he often used circular logic or refused to actually address the points being made by the other side. During one such debate (on his own FB page, unrelated to the group) the debate got so heated and he was so outnumbered, that he reacted by demoting me as an administrator from the group and then got all defensive when other group members objected.

    From this particular encounter, I wonder if many of these MRA atheists have a need to feel persecuted. The rest of the world is so focused on helping downtrodden groups, that these MRAs are left going, “What about me?” In this case, being a straight, white, thin, male must have left him with few opportunities to feel oppressed. I wondered if being involved in the atheist movement gave him that needed amount of “persecution”. He was certainly ready to point out the wrongs against men, like unfair child support or false rape claims.

  • clever_sobriquet

    I’d wager their average IQ is on the low end as well.

  • freemage

    This. Many atheists (including much of the movement ‘leadership’) have spent their lives being ‘the smartest guy in the room’–not by virtue of their intellect, but rather because of the paucity of the opposition. This has convinced them that they are super-special snowflakes who are somehow immune to Dunning-Kreuger.

  • Russell Wain Glasser

    Unskew the polls! President Romney approves.

  • 8888888888888888

    The problem isn’t the term, it’s the usage. There are more women than men.

  • A Real Libertarian

    No, 1.1% is the same as 1.1%.

    Table 2.1, 12 Month, Weighted %, Rape = 1.1%

    Table 2.2, 12 Month, Weighted %, “Made to penetrate” = 1.1%

    Unless you’re claiming “Made to penetrate” isn’t rape?

  • A Real Libertarian
  • GCT

    No, what I’m claiming is that you are taking away the wrong message. If what you are saying is true, then the ratios of women and men who have been sexually abused would be closer than 1 in 5 and 1 in 71. The numbers for certain things seem rather close for the last 12 months, which would probably be a statistical anomaly, else the lifetime numbers would more closely agree. You’ll also note that it says that too few men reported rape to get numbers for them.

    IOW, your claim that men are raped as much as women is bullshit.

    Now, can you stop with the “what about the menz?” whining? You don’t have it worse than women. I’m sure you don’t worry about walking to your car at night in a poorly lit parking area, walking home at night, or having something slipped into your drink, for example. So, stop with the bullshit whining and come back when you grow up and can converse with the adults.

  • eyelessgame

    Given the handle of the troll on this thread, yup. (Granted, not all libertarians are Objectivists, but these days you don’t find a lot of libertarians – obnoxious ones, anyway – who haven’t read AS.)

  • eyelessgame

    Adding the pieces up – some things young white males tend to be:

    - Sexist pigs (not that older men can’t be, but younger men are more likely to be (a) bad at interpersonal relationships and (b) desperate for/insecure about sex, which is exactly the fertilizer that grows MRAs)

    - Self-professed atheists (let us be frank here: there are atheists like us, and then and there are “atheists” who are teenagers who haven’t quite grown up and will wind up back in whatever church they started out in but in the meantime have found that saying “atheist” feels all grown-uppy and independent and fuck-youey and shocks the parents)

    - Libertarian (because a young adult healthy straight white man is much more likely not to see the point in all the aspects of life that are there to help you stay functional in society when you’re not all of those things)

    - Redditters

    So I think there’s not too much to be surprised by at the overlap.

  • A Real Libertarian

    The numbers for certain things seem rather close for the last 12 months, which would probably be a statistical anomaly, else the lifetime numbers would more closely agree.

    Or because memories aren’t as clear at 30 or 40 years as they are at 1 year.

    You’ll also note that it says that too few men reported rape to get numbers for them.

    “Made to penetrate” is rape.

    It’s just not “legitimate rape” according to the CDC’s definitions in “How NISVS Measured Sexual Violence” (page 17) I’ve posted it at the bottom of this comment.

    Can you understand how saying

    CDC:Rape is defined as any completed or attempted unwanted vaginal (for women), oral, or anal penetration through the use of physical force (such as being pinned or held down, or by the use of violence) or threats to physically harm and includes times when the victim was drunk, high, drugged, or passed out and unable to consent. Rape is separated into three types, completed forced penetration, attempted forced penetration, and completed alcohol or drug facilitated penetration.
    - Among women, rape includes vaginal, oral, or anal penetration by a male using his penis. It also includes vaginal or anal penetration by a male or female using their fingers or an object.
    - Among men, rape includes oral or anal penetration by a male using his penis. It also includes anal penetration by a male or female using their fingers or an object.

    CDC: Being made to penetrate someone else includes times when the victim was made to, or there was an attempt to make them, sexually penetrate someone without the victim’s consent because the victim was physically forced (such as being pinned or held down, or by the use of violence) or threatened with physical harm, or when the victim was drunk, high, drugged, or passed out and unable to consent.
    - Among women, this behavior reflects a female being made to orally penetrate another female’s vagina or anus.
    - Among men, being made to penetrate someone else could have occurred in multiple ways: being made to vaginally penetrate a female using one’s own penis; orally penetrating a female’s vagina or anus; anally penetrating a male or female; or being made to receive oral sex from a male or female. It also includes female perpetrators attempting to force male victims to penetrate them, though it did not happen.

    Is bigoted?

    Now, can you stop with the “what about the menz?” whining?

    Have you ever wondered why so many survivors dislike feminism?

    Because that would be it.

    You don’t have it worse than women

    Apparently No True Woman would ever be concerned about rapists who have the wrong (or should I say right) genitals.

    I’m sure you don’t worry about walking to your car at night in a poorly lit parking area,

    Ha.

    walking home at night,

    Ha.

    or having something slipped into your drink, for example.

    Tell it to James Landrith:

    http://jameslandrith.com/content/view/3998/79/

    So, stop with the bullshit whining and come back when you grow up and can converse with the adults.

    The Adults who deny and blame and shame rape survivors?

    Because I’m pretty sure it’s those who demand the inconvenient victims go away so that their ideology may remain pure and unquestioned who need to grow up:

    http://tamenwrote.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/when-rape-is-not-rape/

    http://tamenwrote.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/when-rape-is-not-rape-is-not-rape/

  • A Real Libertarian

    If you’ve talking about me, I’m a communist.

    That’s why I take equality seriously.

  • A Real Libertarian
  • Azkyroth

    You sound as though you think we ought to “make peace” with them, which is an idiotic position, because they have made it clear they will only accept a “peace” that consists of the social justice side completely capitulating. And “making [them] a sandwich lol.” “And a blowjob lolol!1!”

    Please tell me I’ve misread you and you aren’t actually that naive and/or callous.

  • Azkyroth

    That would only be true if privileged white cis mostly straight men who would rather not confront their privilege are your working definition of “people” and the women, ethnic minorities, non-straight, non-cis, and disabled people (and people with more privilege, but who give a shit about those without) who are currently being made disinterested by the unwillingness to discuss issues relevant to their lives don’t count as “people.”

  • Azkyroth

    Don’t be so literal.

  • Azkyroth

    Can we please stop this idiotic equation of male sexuality with misogyny? It’s actually a BIG piece of the problem.

  • GCT

    Or because memories aren’t as clear at 30 or 40 years as they are at 1 year.

    So, you think that rapes happen at the same rate (even though male rape didn’t warrant enough reports to register a number) but men somehow forget about it while women don’t? And, that these statistics are completely made from a 12 month study? I can’t tell whether you’re just dumb or playing that way in order to be a troll.

    “Made to penetrate” is rape.

    It’s a subset of sexual abuse, yes. So what? More men are “made to penetrate” than women. Again, so what? Women, over their lifetimes, are much, much more likely to experience sexual abuse than men (1 in 5 vs. 1 in 71). Stop trying to claim that the numbers are equal. It’s dishonest.

    Can you understand how saying……Is bigoted?

    No. I don’t see how it’s bigoted to define their terms and make categories of different types of sexual abuse. Complaining about the menz and trying to lie about the frequency of abuse in order to downplay women’s issues is rather sexist though. IOW, you are the sexist bigot here.

    Have you ever wondered why so many survivors dislike feminism?

    Because that would be it.

    Right. Because on a thread about women’s issues you feel compelled to come in here and try to make it all about you and imaginary men’s issues because you’re a sexist asshat, but I’m the bad guy for pointing out that you’re a sexist asshat that’s using a worn-out sexist tactic? Fuck off.

    Apparently No True Woman would ever be concerned about rapists who have the wrong (or should I say right) genitals.

    This doesn’t even make sense. You’re trying so hard to prove how much of a sexist asshat you are that you’re now spouting gibberish. Don’t worry, mission has already been accomplished.

    Tell it to James Landrith:…

    If you honestly worry about such things, then perhaps you should talk to a professional about your paranoid delusions. The simple fact of the matter is that for every single story you can drudge up, there are multiple stories about women. The bottom line is that women are much, much more likely to be attacked then men. Deal with it.

    The Adults who deny and blame and shame rape survivors?

    The only person doing anything remotely close to that here is you. You’re the one downplaying a real issue that women face. Linking to a similar troglodyte MRA troll as you doesn’t support your position one bit. In fact, it simply paints you with the same brush and makes you look worse.

  • Azkyroth

    Citation for someone framing it as a contest to be won by having the least amount of it?

  • Azkyroth
  • Azkyroth

    It makes him uncomfortable, of course. Like, duh.

  • Azkyroth

    Citation?

  • Azkyroth
  • Teasaidh

    Thank you for writing about this. This has been an enormous and frustrating issue for me and many of my frienda as we try to find safe places online to be both female and atheist. I have left many of the atheist groups on FB because it is simply not worth the mental and emotional energy. Nearly every post would be filled with angry men slamming women and blaming us for their problems. You can imagine what the response was like when any of us spoke up or posted something about ssxism in the atheist community.

    After one particularly terrible experience of being attacked on a thread by over 15 male group members, I left there, and started my own group specifically for people who are both atheist and feminist. It has become a wonderful group of people who can safely discuss topics of all sorts with out fear of being attacked for their gender, having their opinions and ideas ignored because of their gender, and enduring all manner of verbal and psychological abuse at the hands of our fellow atheists. Yet, so mang men lament the lack of female atheists. Oh, we are here. But as long as these mysogynistc attitudes continue to dominate the community, we will continue to seek private places where we can safely engage.

  • Science Avenger

    Which is precisely why when they finally find a place where they have some success, say at Atheist conferences, their reaction to having their behavior there challenged will be intense and often irrational.

  • Science Avenger

    Explain. I see the culture mixing the two being a big piece of the problem, and we men getting more healthy attitudes about sexuality a big part of the solution, no?

  • Azkyroth

    I suppose that felt good to write.

    However, we’re not all guys here, misgendering people for rhetorical effect is kinda shitty, this is not at all the first time Adam’s discussed the misogyny problem in the atheist community, DJ and others have gotten quite a bit of pushback and criticism (even though, yes, not enough, claiming that “‘everybody’ went back to what they were doing is flatly counterfactual even weighed as hyperbole), and most of those of us here who aren’t women who are/were a part of the atheist community ourselves do talk to them, or read what they write.

    What does this sort of elision accomplish?

  • Azkyroth

    I’m sure you don’t worry about walking to your car at night in a poorly lit parking area, walking home at night, or having something slipped into your drink, for example.

    ….I do. Well, the first two, anyway. :(

    The general point stands, though.

  • Azkyroth

    *sigh*

  • Science Avenger

    I’m not sure Objectivism gives them the noxious positions as much as it tells them those positions are OK to have.

  • Azkyroth

    I assume Robert’s characterization stems from a less-than-half-understanding of the “argument” (read: fact) that having privilege can distort your viewpoint, particularly of the experience of living without it, and therefore, while it does not make you a “worse” person in a general sense, it does make you less qualified to speak on certain topics, and obnoxious when you insist on doing so as if you were qualified regardless.

    And/or that it can be a part of being a bad person when you pretend it doesn’t exist and that people who don’t have it only experience worse outcomes because they’re lazy or “make bad choices,” as Robert does with women in STEM below.

  • Science Avenger

    “Which is great, it shows people can be taught how men are raped as much as women.”

    Yeah, if they just fell off the turnip truck and landed on their head.

  • Ruby Dynamite

    “However, we’re not all guys here, misgendering people for rhetorical effect is kinda shitty,”

    You’ve never said ‘you guys’ in a general sense, then? Ever? I wasn’t misgendering anybody.

    “(even though, yes, not enough, claiming that “‘everybody’ went back to what they were doing is flatly counterfactual even weighed as hyperbole),”

    When I said ‘everybody went back to what they were doing’, I was specifically referring to the atheist community on YouTube. I don’t pay attention to what blogs get up to in regards to talking about the subject.

    “What does this sort of elision accomplish?”

    More importantly, what has your reply accomplished? Not a whole lot, especially since you seem dead set on mischaracterizing my comments. Typical.

  • Sally Strange

    I’ve been meaning to contact you about something related to that. Dang. I don’t have my resources in front of me. There is one page that shows clear evidence of MRA/anti-feminist/anti-social justice tampering, though. And my suggested edit – a very mild “there is controversy about this issue” – was rejected without comment.

  • Science Avenger

    Robert also doesn’t seem to understand that the penalty for making bad choices tends to be far greater for non-whites. As a teenager, I was pulled over while driving and got nothing more than a warning a good half-dozen times prior to my first ticket. The number of black men who can say the same could meet in a phone booth. On one occasion I and 3 cohorts were caught in a graveyard at midnight (yes, we were weird), and got off with a mild scolding from the Sheriff. Can you imagine if we had all been black?

    The problem is that its hard to notice something that never happens to you. Absence is taken for granted.

  • http://newstechnica.com David Gerard

    RW has the same problem as Wikipedia, i.e. it is literally true that nobody actually runs it, it’s just who shows up. And those pages tend to attract trolls like flies, so some people are given to hair-trigger reversion :-( If there’s a problem you seriously want to call attention to, note it on the article’s talk page. Tell ‘em I sent you ;-)

    RW is *HIGHLY* imperfect. Some of it is just terrible. But we do try not to completely suck ;-)

  • Science Avenger

    “I wonder if many of these MRA atheists have a need to feel persecuted.”

    The only thing my former self needed was for these losers to quit blaming me, society, history or the stars for their failures and inadequacies in life. I worked hard and made it, why can’t they do the same instead of living in the past and whining about a bunch of stuff that happened long before we were born?

    In retrospect my attitude was akin to Shaquille O’Neals in an old commercial where he says “People told me I couldn’t make it, and look at me now. You can do it too.” Sure…right after you make me 7 feet tall…

  • Sally Strange

    Oops, replied to wrong comment.

  • Sally Strange

    WANTING sex doesn’t cause misogyny by itself. Wanting sex, coupled with the belief that they are entitled to it, and a complete lack of understanding of the concept of enthusiastic consent, causes misogyny (or misogynist behavior if you want to be nit-picky about it).

    (Reposted in the right spot)

  • Incogneato

    Yes, that’s called intersectionality. Congratulations, you’re one of the dirty feminists you despise if you believe that.

    Maybe you should have listened to what those feminists were actually saying. It seems you are in full agreement with them.

  • Incogneato

    I would be in prison right now if I was black.

    Privilege is as real as the air, and just as hard to notice when you have it.

  • Incogneato

    Yet you have no problem with assassinating the characters of every feminist in the world.

    You hypocrite.

  • Incogneato

    Patriarchy is not an “evil conspiracy of men.” That you think it is only proves that you don’t actually know what patriarchy means, and are choosing a straw definition that is basically used by nobody but the same worthless MRAs who busy themselves with harassing women.

    I’m sure you pride yourself on your steely resolve to face the truth that there’s no god, and yet you refuse to face the truth that women catch a lot more shit than men.

    In fact, everyone has some sort of disadvantage in society;

    THIS IS WHAT FEMINISTS BELIEVE YOU ASSHOLE.

  • sinmantyx

    Oh, the for love of all that is holy – do NOT send them to Wotanism. It’s already full of nazi.

    Just shit on my cultural heritage with MORE bigots.

    *grrrrrrr*

  • Azkyroth

    Do I really need to explain how simplistic equation of male sexual desire with misogyny and “men getting more healthy attitudes about sexuality” are mutually exclusive? Positing the former precludes the latter.

  • A Real Libertarian

    even though male rape didn’t warrant enough reports to register a number

    “Made to penetrate” is rape.

    You are trying to claim “It’s not rape when a woman does it!”

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DoubleStandardRapeFemaleOnMale
    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DoubleStandardRapeFemaleOnFemale

    It’s a subset of sexual abuse, yes. So what? More men are “made to penetrate” than women. Again, so what? Women, over their lifetimes, are much, much more likely to experience sexual abuse than men (1 in 5 vs. 1 in 71). Stop trying to claim that the numbers are equal. It’s dishonest.

    So you’re claiming only rape is sexual abuse?

    Because the quote is

    CDC: Nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the U.S. have been raped [Note "Made to penetrate" is excluded] at some time in their lives.

    No. I don’t see how it’s bigoted to define their terms and make categories of different types of sexual abuse. Complaining about the menz and trying to lie about the frequency of abuse in order to downplay women’s issues is rather sexist though. IOW, you are the sexist bigot here.

    So you see nothing wrong with claiming holding someone down against their will and jamming penis and vagina together isn’t rape as long as the woman is the one doing it?

    Separate but Equal is reviled for a reason.

    Right. Because on a thread about women’s issues you feel compelled to come in here and try to make it all about you and imaginary men’s issues because you’re a sexist asshat, but I’m the bad guy for pointing out that you’re a sexist asshat that’s using a worn-out sexist tactic? Fuck off.

    This thread is calling “Facing Up to Atheism’s MRA Problem”, I’m sorry we’re discussing stuff you deem “MRA”.

    P.S. See “Derailing” http://tamenwrote.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/on-derailment-2/

    This doesn’t even make sense. You’re trying so hard to prove how much of a sexist asshat you are that you’re now spouting gibberish. Don’t worry, mission has already been accomplished.

    You assume I’m a man because I actually care about rape victims, no matter how inconvenient their rapists gender is.

    If you honestly worry about such things, then perhaps you should talk to a professional about your paranoid delusions. The simple fact of the matter is that for every single story you can drudge up, there are multiple stories about women. The bottom line is that women are much, much more likely to be attacked then men. Deal with it.

    First you shove male victims into the “Made to penetrate” ghetto.

    Then you ignore them because “The bottom line is that women are much, much more likely to be attacked then men.”

    Neatly substituting “attacked” in place of “raped, but not ‘Made to penetrate’ “.

    The only person doing anything remotely close to that here is you. You’re the one downplaying a real issue that women face. Linking to a similar troglodyte MRA troll as you doesn’t support your position one bit. In fact, it simply paints you with the same brush and makes you look worse.

    So I’m the one who denies and blames and shames rape survivors, but you’re the one dismissing them as “troglodyte MRA troll[s]“?

    P.S. Is Hanna Rosin a “troglodyte MRA troll”?

    Because she’s made the same point:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2014/04/male_rape_in_america_a_new_study_reveals_that_men_are_sexually_assaulted.html

  • A Real Libertarian

    1.1% of American women raped in the past 12 months.

    1.1% of American men “Made to penetrate” in the past 12 months.

    The only difference between rape and “Made to penetrate”? What genitals are involved.

    I don’t think such blatant discrimination is OK.

    Do you?

    See pic for source.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    I forget who first made this analogy, but it’s a good one: If skepticism is a video game, figuring out that creationism is wrong is beating level 1. That’s just the beginning, and you’re supposed to go on to apply the same method to more challenging domains: corporate or government propaganda, or economic policy, or criminal justice. Skepticism has a place there too! And yet there are people who strut and pound their chests about beating the first level, people who think that the simplest and easiest accomplishment is also supposed to be where the video game ends.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    So noted, although having read Stephanie’s post, I don’t think I fully understand the basis on which she threw out the possibly-spurious results. In any case, even doing that yields more or less the same numbers.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    Your kindness is appreciated, although I’d rather be complimented for something more noteworthy than showing a minimal level of human decency. :)

  • A Real Libertarian

    Adam, I have to ask you.

    Is “Made to penetrate” rape or not?

    Because I can’t figure out why the assailants gender matters to the definition of rape.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2014/04/male_rape_in_america_a_new_study_reveals_that_men_are_sexually_assaulted.html

  • Russell Wain Glasser

    As far as I understand it, a few hundred responses were submitted at first, then many thousands were submitted quickly with odd inputs, like only one or a few questions answered the same way over and over again. This is the source of the suspicion of trolling.

  • eyelessgame

    I always worry that I’m not being clear enough when I write, and given your reaction it looks like in this case my worry is justified. I was observing that compared with the general population, you’ll tend to find more libertarians, atheists, and MRAs among young straight white men, and there are reasons (different in each case) why each should be so – as an attempt to explain the statistics Adam is listing above: the observation that MRAs tend to be libertarian, atheist young men.

    I hope it’s clear I’m not imparting a similar social value to each category, only correlations with the age/gender demographic. But perhaps I’m digging myself a deeper hole and should just stop, since it’s not clear I’m doing anything more than repeating Adam’s observation. :(

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    Ah, that makes sense. Still, given that throwing out those entries changes the final numbers relatively little, it’s hard to imagine why the MRAs are so insistent about it.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    I wonder if the survey concerning social issues is accurate at all. I didn’t get the sense that the people I were talking to were anti-gay or anti-choice at all.

    It’s possible that their low rate of response to gay rights and abortion questions is a sign of indifference rather than active hostility. Only caring about the issues that directly affect them would fit with the general demeanor of this group, I think.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    Definitely Lewis’ Law in action.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    It is an issue that people in the atheism community are against a certain social movement?

    No, it is an issue that people in the atheism community are engaging in organized harassment campaigns against women under the banner of “men’s rights”. This was mentioned prominently in my article; it took a major feat of selective attention for you to ignore it.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    As noted to Russell upthread, the modified results change the final numbers slightly, but not significantly enough to matter to any conclusion I drew in this post. Also, for whatever it’s worth, the claim that the survey was sabotaged is no more than a guess.

  • janipurr

    how many times do you have to be told that you interpreted the numbers incorrectly before you can admit you are wrong? Not to mention that the vast majority of male sexual abuse is committed by other MEN.

    Are all Libertarians this stupid?

  • J-D

    The gender of the assailant should not be relevant to the definition of rape.

    The merits of this position are unaffected one way or the other if it is advocated by MRAs, and advocacy of the position would not exculpate or extenuate the MRA behaviour that Adam has referred to.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    Yes, nonconsensual sex is rape. You should thank the feminist movement for making this the case: feminists successfully pressured the FBI to change an archaic definition that made it legally impossible for a man to be raped (#7).

  • A Real Libertarian

    The corrected numbers are:

    90.2% are Male.

    90.5% are White.

    66.7% are “No Religion”.

    31.8% are between the ages of 17-20.

    7.3% are “Strong Conservative” (“Conservatives” of all types are 18.2%, “Liberals” of all type are 21.9%).

    Issues have the following support:

    Marijuana Legalization: 77.4%
    Homosexual Marriage: 39.0%
    Trans Peoples’ Rights: 36.5%
    Abortion Remaining Legal: 46.7%
    Socialized Medicine: 57.6%
    Minimum Wage Increase: 53.7%
    Increased Gun Control: 29.1%

    According to you

    a variety of other causes (same-sex marriage, transgender rights, abortion, socialized medicine, minimum wage increases, gun control) attracted only single-digit support, giving rise to a political philosophy that could perhaps best be described as “libertarian only as it affects me”.

    With the corrected numbers, it tuns out a majority support Socialized Medicine and a Minimum Wage Increase.

    The least popular (Increased Gun Control) gets 29% and Abortion Remaining Legal gets 46%.

    Trans Peoples’ Rights gets 36% and those not on the Gender Binary are 2.5%. I think the latest estimate for America as a whole is 0.1%.

    Total “Liberals” outnumber total “Conservatives” 21.9% to 18.2%.

    “Strong Liberals” outnumber “Strong Conservatives” 10.1% to 7.3%.

    “Liberals” outnumber “Conservatives” 11.8% to 10.9%.

    As far as I know, there was no sabotage, there was a computer error where all the empty spaces were filled in with the same profile.

    I think you should look over this again.

  • J-D

    ‘None of this would be a cause for concern, if it weren’t for the most common type of MRA “activism”’, Adam wrote. Did you miss that bit? Harassment/bullying is the problem; and it’s a problem wherever it’s happening, whenever it happens, whoever is being bullied, whoever the bully is, and no matter what theoretical or ideological positions anybody involved may be associated with. Everybody ought to be against harassment; not because there’s some special relationship between atheism and opposition to harassment (even if there is), not because there are strategic advantages in opposing harassment (even if there are), but because harassment is wrong.

  • A Real Libertarian

    Really?

    I was called a “troglodyte MRA troll” for pointing that out.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    Most likely because, in my experience, people who raise the issue of male rape in this context are often attempting to distract and derail by implying that feminist organizations are hypocritical unless they devote exactly as much time and effort to it as they spend on any of their other causes. I’m not convinced that this description doesn’t apply to you as well.

  • A Real Libertarian

    In my experience “derailing” consists of bringing up rape victims that weren’t being considered.

    As far as I can tell there is no “proper time” for talking about them.

    And, well…

    The largest manifestation of rape culture I can find is classifying “Made to penetrate” as non-rape, because if you look at the numbers they’re roughly equal nowadays.

    http://tamenwrote.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/on-derailment-2/

    (Tamen doesn’t like people saying “only men can stop rape” because he couldn’t stop his. And he doesn’t like being victim-blamed)

    Pages 18-19:
    http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_Report2010-a.pdf

    P.S. Please don’t respond “Your source says ‘Nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the U.S. have been
    raped at some time in their lives.’ ”

    1. We’ve agreed that “Made to penetrate” is rape, so those numbers are obsolete for excluding them.

    2. Those are lifetime figures and decades of “Women don’t rape men! Women don’t rape men!” takes its toll on memory.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    You’ve done nothing to convince me that you’re not attempting to derail this thread. This will therefore be the last comment about it.

  • Guest

    Really? Freaking TVTropes of all places?

  • Elizabeth Roy

    It really sounds to me like the two of you are basically saying the same thing…male sexuality equals misogyny is bad. Male sexuality being confused with misogyny is bad.

    Especially considering the comments made from both of you above, I think that you may have just misunderstood.

  • Elizabeth Roy

    No, I think DreamingRainne was being supportive of Atheism+’s disinterest in doing so. Or at least I read it that way. But, I could be being overly optimistic.

    I should check Atheism+ out, though.

  • Elizabeth Roy

    I think your rephrased observation is much better…there’s definitely a value implication to “sexist pigs” lol. In fact much of what you said was value-laden. I do understand your general point, though, and I think that the relationship between those characteristics is valid.

    I, personally, take issue with much of what you said, but particularly with the pervasive “REAL atheists” vs “idiot young men atheists” idea. The fact is, just because it’s all of those rebellious things you said doesn’t make the position less legitimate at the time. My boyfriend became an atheist around that age. Atheism means, simply, not believing in god. It makes no statement on WHY. Anyone who doesn’t believe in god is a “real atheist.” The “us” vs “them” really doesn’t move us forward.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    I agree with pretty much all of this, for what it’s worth. For instance, I’ve always thought that Satanism as a nontheist belief system comes from that same “shock the parents” mindset. It feels very defiant and rebellious, but why are you going to such lengths to wrap yourself in the iconography of a religion you claim not to believe in?

  • Elizabeth Roy

    That’s an excellent point. Unfortunately, I think that there’s a prevailing image of atheists all being white cis straight men (I would add young and upper-middle class). It doesn’t even occur to many people that atheists outside of that definition exist, let alone that they might be being excluded.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    I’d put it this way: there are good reasons and bad reasons for becoming an atheist. The validity of atheism itself, as a philosophical position, isn’t affected if some people become atheists for bad reasons; but we can draw conclusions about the reasoning skills of those people.

  • Elizabeth Roy

    I agree that we can draw conclusions, but that wasn’t really my point – my point is that any person who does not believe in god is an atheist, and that distinguishing between atheists based on their reasons for nonbelief is divisive, futile, and a diversion from more important issues. As I said, I think his general point about the overlap is valid. Just the whole “You’re not a REAL X because Y” in any context makes me twitch.

  • J-D

    No discussion is interesting to everybody. Whenever people have a discussion, no matter what the topic, there will be some people who are not interested. That’s not a reason for the people who are interested to refrain from having the discussion.

  • dizzi90

    Yeah, The Amazing Asshole was my first of those. Elevatorgate sure cleaned up my subscriptions overview page.

  • dizzi90

    Love the analogy.

  • KennethJohnTaylor

    Why is it so surprising that MRAs are atheists? It’s all derived from the same fiercely individualistic core principle held by Libertarians/Objectivists: The outright contempt for any authority whatsoever.

    These people hate being forced. They fiercely resist any group that tries to tell them how to live, how to behave, how to act and especially how to treat others. It doesn’t matter what that group is, whether it’s political, social, commercial or theological, if that group forces them to do anything, they will either push back or dig their heels and refuse to do it.

    So feminism telling them how to treat women is no different than if it came from the church or the government (either through conditioned morality or legislation).

    And yes, most of them are going to be young and college-aged because Ayn Rand made them realize that society has no right to tell them they aren’t permitted to be self-righteous assholes (without consequence).

  • GCT

    No, you were called a troglodyte MRA troll for a couple of reasons:
    1. You are trying to shift the focus away from women’s issues by talking about rape of men
    2. You’re lying about the statistics in order to claim that men are raped as much as women
    3. You’re linking to MRA sites in support of your dubious claims
    4. You’re constantly whining “What about the menz?”
    5. Now, you’re lying about why you were called a troll.

    I’m sure I can come up with other reasons as well.

  • GCT

    Because “minority” in this context means an under-represented and/or oppressed group. I should think that was patently obvious to anyone not trying to misunderstand.

  • GCT

    “Made to penetrate” is rape.

    You are trying to claim “It’s not rape when a woman does it!”

    No, you dishonest cretin, I’m talking about the CDC reported numbers.

    So you’re claiming only rape is sexual abuse?

    No, you dishonest cretin. How you got to that is wholly beyond me. Saying that X is a subset of Y else is the exact opposite of saying that Y consists of only W. This just highlights your dishonesty further troll.

    So you see nothing wrong with claiming holding someone down against their will and jamming penis and vagina together isn’t rape as long as the woman is the one doing it?

    I see nothing wrong with it so long as the terms are clearly defined in the report. Personally, I would consider it to be rape but we were talking about the CDC report and their definitions. By their definition it’s another instance of sexual abuse, but they specifically don’t define rape in that way. Note, they also don’t define it that way for women you dishonest cretin.

    Separate but Equal is reviled for a reason.

    Which has nothing to do with this you dishonest cretin. The closest is your invalid attempts at false equivalence.

    This thread is calling “Facing Up to Atheism’s MRA Problem”, I’m sorry we’re discussing stuff you deem “MRA”.

    Yes, the MRA problem, which you seem to be a part of. Any time a thread starts to discuss this problem or a women’s issue, jerks like you pop up to try and make it about yourself and men. This is trolling.

    It’s basically like you coming into my house and taking a shit on my floor. When I tell you to GTFO, you claim that I’m the unreasonable one and that’s why people hate homeowners. Fuck you.

    You assume I’m a man because I actually care about rape victims, no matter how inconvenient their rapists gender is.

    I assume you’re a man because in 99% of the cases it’s men coming to act like assholes. Yes, there are some women out there who are also MRA trolls (just as there are women who fight against reproductive rights, etc.) This is an unfortunate and pernicious effect of patriarchy.

    And, you don’t actually care about rape victims. You care about whining, derailing threads, and being a dishonest troll. Also, you can be a sexist asshat regardless of gender. You’ve proven that you are one regardless of your gender.

    First you shove male victims into the “Made to penetrate” ghetto.

    Then you ignore them because “The bottom line is that women are much, much more likely to be attacked then men.”

    Neatly substituting “attacked” in place of “raped, but not ‘Made to penetrate’ “.

    Coming from the person that claims that men are just as likely to be raped because 1 in 71 of them are sexually abused as opposed to 1 in 5 women. Stop lying about what I said, what I’m saying, and while you’re at it, go fuck yourself.

    So I’m the one who denies and blames and shames rape survivors, but you’re the one dismissing them as “troglodyte MRA troll[s]“?

    Yes, you are a MRA troll and a sexist asshat. Fuck off. And, yes, you are the one downplaying rape, no matter how sanctimonious you try to act about it. Fuck off.

    P.S. Is Hanna Rosin a “troglodyte MRA troll”?

    Because she’s made the same point:

    A. She’s not making the same point.
    B. She’s not on a thread about MRA assholes trying to derail it like an asshole.
    C. She’s not trying to take attention away from women’s issues by yelling about rape like you are, you asshole.

    Should I go on?

  • Jeremy Shaffer

    Given how often it is trotted out to easily dismiss atheists, your twitch reaction is right but I think what eyelessgame said was still valid. I say this only from my own experience.

    When I was about 17 I identified as an atheist but only because I was operating under a completely fallacious definition of “atheist”. I had been raised with the belief that everyone believed in god, even if they didn’t know it, and atheists were just people angry at god. This is far from uncommon among religious groups. At the time I never questioned that belief but I was growing more and more discontent with the religious environment around me. At the time it seemed God was responsible so I called myself an “atheist” to denote my anger at him.

    It was less than a year later that I realized it was more the people around me rather than God that I had become disenchanted with. At that point I stopped calling myself an “atheist”. Over the next ten years I looked into other religions and beliefs, never finding any of them compelling. It wasn’t until the idea that one could be without a belief in a god or gods was pointed out to me that things started to make sense. As odd as it may seem, that idea just never occurred to me.

    Now I am an atheist, a real one, but I could have easily been one of those “I used to an atheist…” believers, similar to what I think eyelessgame was getting at. There were plenty of others I grew up with who were like that too and have mostly since become “I used to be”‘s, with varying levels of smarminess. In my case and theirs, questioning whether we had been real atheists wouldn’t have been a No True Scotsman because we weren’t. That said, it isn’t something we should immediately reach for without doing some serious inquiring first. Even then we should be careful about throwing it out there.

  • Science Avenger

    I don’t think tossing around obvious bullshit statistics in an attempt to derail a discussion and asking red herring questions is OK. Next I suppose you’ll be claiming that whites were lynched as much as blacks.

  • eyelessgame

    I realized it was going to be a problematic thing to say almost as soon as I said it. Someone can be right for the wrong reasons – and the *existence* of people who “play at atheism” specifically to be a teenage rebel is something we ought to acknowledge, imho.

    I have met religious folk (fewer these days, but lots while I was growing up) who honestly believe that that’s all atheism is; they see teenagers leave their faith temporarily and return to their religious traditions once adult/married/parenting, so they believe that atheists are all “immature” or “just rebelling against God” because that matched their actual experience. Understanding that such “lipstick atheists” do exist is, I think, important.

    (Of course that wasn’t my main point, and the way I phrased it was definitely prone to taking away a different message, and I apologize for the bad phrasing.)

  • Elizabeth Roy

    Oh, I definitely agree with that, I’m not denying that people like that exist…they can be *painfully* obvious. I just question the usefulness of such a response on our part. Which is better, reacting with the same superiority and condescension that they’re probably rebelling against, or being inviting and welcoming? It seems a shorter step from “God can’t exist because he let this terrible thing happen to me” or whatever to rational, objective atheist after due consideration (a ‘solid’ atheist, if you will) than it is from strong believer to solid atheist. It seems like other movements have demonstrated similar patterns of rejecting those they didn’t see as TRUE members, and it didn’t do them any favors.

    Though, granted, as this entire article/comment section reinforces, this is probably the least of our concerns. Still.

    And, like you, I have no idea whether I’m making myself clear. Oh, well.

  • Incogneato

    Yes, by definition. Nobody with an ability (and inclination) to accurately understand statistics and complex systems can possibly be a libertarian.

  • Incogneato

    Wow. You contrasted “you guys” with “actual women.” That is very clearly and obviously saying that you don’t believe any “actual women” are here. Don’t pretend otherwise; that is lying.

    And what does this accomplish? Well, maybe you’ll decide to be more honest and think before you write in the future. but mostly it just accomplishes planting a flag on some hypocrisy in case someone else doesn’t notice it. Maybe the readers too will be motivated to not do that, I dunno. It’s also a little fun and easy, so why not?

  • Elizabeth Roy

    I’m just gonna throw this in here, because I love it, and it sounds like you would like it. And because I think everyone should read it. http://whatwouldkingleonidasdo.tumblr.com/post/54989171152/how-i-discovered-gender-discrimination

  • Ruby Dynamite

    “That is very clearly and obviously saying that you don’t believe any “actual women” are here. Don’t pretend otherwise; that is lying.”

    No, what that means is that I seriously doubted that they talked to any women, which is exactly. what. I. said. How you can interpret it as a lie is beyond me. Unless, of course, you just don’t like the thought of anyone daring to question your precious bloggers, hmm? Probably closer to the truth, that one.

    “And what does this accomplish? Well, maybe you’ll decide to be more honest and think before you write in the future.”

    I’m being completely honest. It’s people like you who are getting their backs up over some perceived dishonesty.

    Also, I find it particularly telling that – in the comment section for an article about the sexism problem in the atheist community – women are being harassed for daring to speak up. Real nice. Way to be part of the solution, assholes.

  • Incogneato

    The same reason that the go-to response when some public figure is caught on tape saying something horrible is to say they were taken out of context. Take Cliven Bundy, who insisted that his words were taken out of context, but when you take the extra step of listening to everything he said you realize that the context doesn’t change his meaning one tiny bit.

    It’s rhetorical chaff; something to add a little confusion to the issue. Often this chaff isn’t meant to change how outsiders see it, but to give insiders who don’t want to believe whatever uncomfortable truth was revealed an out from having to confront it.

    This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, since once you get MRAs out of their cozy little pits where they can indulge their misogyny, rhetorical chaff is pretty much all they have. Just look at A Real Libertarian; he comes to a thread about the online abuse his lot perpetuates, and all he throws up are skewed rape statistics. I doubt he convinced anyone here of anything, but now he can go back to reddit for virtual high-fives after pwning some dumb feminists, and he can avoid facing the fact that he’s part of a group devoted solely to making women miserable.

  • Science Avenger

    Great article, real eye-opener. It mirrors stories I’ve been told by the women scientists in my life who talk about the different reaction they get when their papers/comments are under their initials instead of their very female names.

    Just one question:

    What’s a CV?

    Yeah, I’m old.

  • Science Avenger

    “However, we’re not all guys here, misgendering people for rhetorical effect is kinda shitty…”

    Actually, hard as it is for us non-millenials to accept, “guys” no longer implies “has penis” as it used to. And if you think that is hard to get used to, try the penisless calling each other “dude”…

  • Science Avenger

    Oh contrare, I was a libertarian for most of my life and I have those skills in abundance (and indeed, make use of for a living). What libertarians lack to a fault is a thorough education in the history of the consistently failed experiments that they think are novel virgin ideas.

  • Science Avenger

    “So you see nothing wrong with claiming holding someone down against their will and jamming penis and vagina together isn’t rape as long as the woman is the one doing it?”

    Am I the only one that reads that and wonders if the person who wrote it has any understanding of human physicality/sexuality? It reminds me of the many jokes we told as 10-year-olds that were only funny because we were all virgins.

  • Elizabeth Roy

    Nah, probably just american lol. Curriculum Vitae – like a resume, but usually with a stronger educational focus. More commonly used outside the U.S. So you’re likely to see a CV for a research position or some such.

  • Elizabeth Roy

    “WTF YOU FEMINISTS HAVE NO SENSE OF HUMOR CHILL OUT WHATS YOUR PROBLEM”
    …etc. Except usually with a lot more typos. And profanity. I admit that I fail to find the humor in rape and death threats.

  • LeftSidePositive

    I would also argue there’s a lot of room for religious influence in why these guys are so misogynistic, even if they themselves are atheists. If they had a religious upbringing, it probably came with a lot of misogyny, as it is just baked in to most major religions and the most popular/powerful interpretations of them. Lessons learned about the world in such a context would include a lot of that sex negativity and misogyny, even if the rationale were not explicitly religious. Also, why they might likely jettison beliefs that inconvenience them, they have no incentive to think critically about the gender roles they were taught.

    Even if some of these young men did not grow up in religious homes themselves, there is still so much cultural misogyny in our media, politics, and social dynamics (much of it arguably influenced by religion over the last few centuries) that it easily could have been internalized, even if it didn’t come from an explicitly religious source.

  • Azkyroth

    No, what that means is that I seriously doubted that they talked to any women

    This would be the same “they” you just a moment ago insisted wasn’t intended to imply that none of the people here were women.

    Make up your mind.

    Also, I find it particularly telling that – in the comment section for an article about the sexism problem in the atheist community – women are being harassed for daring to speak up. Real nice.

    Criticism is not harrassment, and you are not being criticized for “speaking up.” You would, if you had any interest in the facts rather than the narrative you’re constructing for your own satisfaction, find numerous people speaking up, some contradicting the blogger or the community consensus, who are not criticized in the same fashion, because the objection is not that you are speaking up but that you are misrepresenting, in an increasingly severe fashion, the content of posts and comments you’re allegedly responding to in order to feel justified picking a fight. You started out with simple self-indulgent elision, but now you’ve crossed the line between Intellectual and Regular dishonesty.

    Way to be part of the solution, assholes.

    Given that the subject of this post results ultimately from one movement’s failure to keep its adherents honest or impose expectations of behavior on them…thank you.

    Speaking of which, I’m told “butthurt” is a homophobic slur. Just sayin’.

  • Azkyroth

    It bloody well does when you then follow it up with asserting that “they” have never talked to a real woman. Come fucking on, are you really going to tell me it’s not obvious to you that that statement is complete nonsense unless the people being addressed are assumed to exclude “real women?”

  • Gehennah

    There are a few Patheos blogs here that are pretty female friendly. But if you post a link to your facebook group I’d love to join.

  • Ruby Dynamite

    And allll of that self-aggrandizing blather still doesn’t change the fact that the above article doesn’t contain a single quote from a female atheist, either about the community’s problem with misogyny, or about how a solution should be approached in the hopes of fixing it. Which is my problem, as I’ve stated several times before. There’s nothing dishonest about my posts, but again – you guys are more interested in convincing yourselves that you’re right than listening to someone that has experienced the very thing this article is about.

    But please, do enjoy your echo chamber with my compliments.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    It’s true, I don’t generally write to feminists I’m acquainted with and request that they contribute to every piece I write on my blog about feminism. However, I follow many excellent feminist writers, and I’d be happy to direct you to their blogs if you’d like. Did you actually disagree with my diagnosis of the problem or my suggestion for how to fix it?

  • J-D

    That gives the impression that you’re suggesting that only women should express views about problems with misogyny and that men should restrict themselves to quoting what women have to say on the subject.

    That may not have been your intention, but it’s an impression you’ve given. If it’s not what you meant, I would hope for some clarification of how your meaning was different from that mistaken interpretation.

  • Science Avenger

    No, no it doesn’t. Words mean what they mean, you don’t get to change them based on your own preconceptions or your convenient misrepresentation of what was said, which was ” actual women who are/were a part of it”, not “real woman”. He could easily have been including women who were not part of it in “guys”. MAYBE he only meant men, or maybe he didn’t, but the fact remains “guys” has penis any more.

    This fulfills my semantic noodling for the day, on to mmore substantive topics…like how many angel you guys think dance on pins.

  • Ruby Dynamite

    “It’s true, I don’t generally write to feminists I’m acquainted with and request that they contribute to every piece I write on my blog about feminism.”

    Maybe you should give some thought to doing it, then. Especially if some of the feminists you know are also in that unique Venn diagram crossover of feminist, woman and atheist. Because with something like this, it’s absolutely imperative that you involve the people you’re talking about. Otherwise, you’re doing exactly what the misogynists are doing: talking over female atheists’ heads like we’re not there and *nobody* appreciates that. Like a sex-positive feminist buddy of mine says: “Nothing about us, without us.”

    I think your suggestions are sound, *however* I also do think that it’s not just about bringing up more socially-minded topics more frequently (although that is very helpful), it’s also very important to be willing to call others out on their shitty behavior. Yeah, it might cause friction, but a united front with zero tolerance for this stuff is what’s needed. You have to set the standard and stick to it.

    Here’s a quote from an article — Fake Geek Guys: A Message to Men About Sexual Harassment by Andy Khouri over at Comics Alliance — about sexism and harassment in comics/fandom that I think is pretty damn relevant:

    “You see, each of these women — and they’ve been echoed by others including Kate Leth and Heidi MacDonald — explained something to the Seattle crowd that I thought I knew but never truly understood before:
    This isn’t their problem, guys. It’s ours. We have to solve it.

    Sexual harassment isn’t an occupational hazard. It’s not a glitch in the complex matrix of modern life. It’s not something that just “happens.” It’s something men do. It’s a choice men make. It’s a problem men enable. It’s sometimes a crime men commit. And it is not in the power nor the responsibility of women to wage war on this crime.

    It’s on us.”

  • Azkyroth

    The actual sentences used explicitly differentiated between “you guys” and “real women.”

    Also, “He?” See my post that started this digression.

  • Azkyroth

    Wouldn’t it be kind of a patronizing tokenism if you did?

  • ortcutt

    Atheism isn’t an organization. Atheism doesn’t have a problem any more than non-smoking has a problem because Hitler didn’t smoke. Our society has a problem though, and these sexist Paultards are that problem.

  • Incogneato

    Oh come on. SHE (not he) specifically contrasted “you guys” with “actual women.” SHE said, very deliberately and specifically, that the set of “you guys” does not contain actual women. That is the plain meaning of the words SHE used in context. I guess it’s possible that “you guys” was meant to include women who are not actual, but again, come on.

    Everyone here is well aware that guys can be used to refer to women as well. In this case it was very pointedly used to refer to people who were not women. Please stop ignoring the context.

  • Incogneato

    So you doubted that the women you’re now claiming were included in the group of “you guys”… talked to any women? Why would a woman have to talk to a woman in order to get a woman’s perspective? And no, Adam Lee is not my “precious blogger.” The only thing precious to me is truth, and you’ve been crapping all over it in extremely trollish fashion.

    And yes, it is a problem that women are harassed for speaking up. That is a problem, which everyone here knows because of
    this: http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2012/10/sexism_in_the_skeptic_community_i_spoke_out_then_came_the_rape_threats.single.html

    and this: http://skepchick.org/2013/08/atheism-sexism-and-harassment-the-price-of-speaking-up/

    and this: http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/06/more-documenting-the-harassment/

    and this: http://freethoughtblogs.com/blaghag/2012/08/how-i-unwittingly-infiltrated-the-boys-club-why-its-time-for-a-new-wave-of-atheism/

    and dozens more posts that most people here will be familiar with. People besides you, apparently.

    But what’s not a problem is women being criticized for being dishonest, using poor logic, or otherwise being wrong, as you are. That’s what the movement is supposed to be all about. If anything, for me to refuse to criticize women in this way would be sexist, since I’d be treating women with kid gloves even though they are adults who can obviously handle the idea of being wrong, as everyone is from time to time.

    That you would conflate the sorts of harassment that women have documented with someone politely pointing out that you wrote something stupid leads me to believe that you’re actually an MRA troll, since you generally only see harassment trivialized like that by them.

    A real skeptic should be glad when their errors are pointed out.

  • Incogneato

    That’s because, I assume, Adam was writing for an audience who is already well familiar with women’s stories of harassment in the atheist sphere.

    We all have listened to people who have experienced this harassment. If you have further stories to tell, I’m sure I’d like to hear them. If you’re just going to use their theoretical existence as a cudgel to use to make us shut up, though, you can just mosey on. If you have such a problem with men discussing this problem, this is obviously not the blog for you, seeing as it’s written by a man who often talks about the problem.

    I’m more and more convinced that you’re a slymepit troll, though.

  • Incogneato

    Fair enough. I guess I should have said “inclination to apply those skills to social and economic systems.”

  • Incogneato

    Pulling examples from other women’s blogs could be useful if this was a post about the problem’s existence, but at this point I think most people in this sphere have moved past the question of whether sexual harassment is a real problem. If bloggers have to stop and retell the history of the last three years in the atheist movement every time they want to talk about it I doubt much blogging is going to get done.

    But yeah, if the quotes were pulled simply because a blogger thought he needed quotes from women, I’d call it tokenism. I threw up some links on the off chance that Ruby is being sincere here and is actually unaware of how well documented this harassment already is, but they’re really not needed in the article.

  • Psycho Gecko

    I don’t believe there’s any evidence to support the claim that atheists are only atheists because they dislike being told what to do by some authority, nor is there any evidence that churches in general promote feminism, nor is there any evidence that them being fiercely conservative means they’re also libertarian. Or at least I don’t consider marijuana legalization to be the one issue that declares someone libertarian.

  • Psycho Gecko

    Be prepared to be demonized. To hear the MRA types talk about it, it’s full of bullies and feminazis and people who think they own atheism and so on. They may be a minority, but they’re certainly a loud one.

    It’s unfortunate that there’s so many sexist atheists out there, considering how much we in general consider ourselves to be on the more sane and rational side of thinking. This includes some of the more famous atheists out there. It really sucks to see someone who was otherwise intelligent and/or funny in his videos start claiming that feminism ruins atheism or that it’s not rape if a woman has been plied with lots of wine or that rape accusations are as unreliable as the gospels if they’re anonymous or telling a rape victim they deserved it and he hopes it happens again. Not naming names, though. Just saying, the kind of people who stick their f00t in that sounds Amazingly like they never stopped praying to a Deity.

  • Psycho Gecko

    Yeah. They consider criticism of AmazingAtheist’s stuff about rape to be an example of “Hate Dumb”.

  • KennethJohnTaylor

    I didn’t say atheists are atheists because they dislike authority. I said these particular atheists are atheists because they dislike authority. There are many reasons why someone might become an atheist; many paths to take. For these people, it’s their staunch individualism.

    I also didn’t say churches promote feminism. I said to these people, it wouldn’t matter where the feminism came from, they would oppose it.

    And yes, there is strong evidence that links MRA with libertarianism/objectivism (especially the sane fact that, in Rand’s own writings, objectivism is consistently portrayed as abusively misogynistic). It’s a common pattern that people have noticed called Crank Magnetism:

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Crank_magnetism

  • ADHDJ

    The internet is kind of like the Costco of bad ideas. People don’t go there planning to pick up a 50 gallon jar of mayonnaise, but hey, you’re already there, and at that price, you’d be a fool not to buy!

    I don’t know if I’d use the phrase “staunch individualism” to describe those people, though. As a normal part of human developmental psychology, a person needs to make a break with society’s norms and feel like they established their own identity.

    For most of us, we go through a period between ages 12-14 or so where we’re utterly insufferable shits because of this innate need to individuate ourselves. Some people don’t make it through that necessary process, but fundamental human psychology requires them to feel like they have. So they end up with a psychological need to regard themselves as individualists, when in fact the precise opposite is true: they haven’t gotten past the “you can’t make me”/”I believe in whatever’s gonna piss you off” stage that we all must go through before we can begin to establish a mature, robust sense of individual identity.

  • PeteyGLaFlare

    Hmm, thats weird, I support MRM but am not atheist. A vast majority of r/mensrights posts are not misogynistic, and often misogynistic comments are downvoted. It’s about improving gender relations, not attacking women’s rights. Feminism is often brought up in mens rights to respond to unfair attacks made by feminists, that is not to say all of feminism is invalid, but it is important for both men and women to reject specific claims which widen hate and division rather improving gender relations. I am not saying everyone associated with men’s rights does this, same goes for feminists, however the idea behind mens rights in general is not misogynistic.

  • J-D

    It is not ‘important for both men and women to reject specific claims which widen hate and division rather [than] improving gender relations’. It is important to reject claims that are not _true_. If true claims have the effect of increasing hate, that may sometimes be a reason for caution in expressing them, but it is not a reason for rejecting them. For that matter, sometimes widening divisions is the right thing to do.

  • PeteyGLaFlare

    The quote you referenced was related to the part earlier in the sentence which I specified “unfair claims” ie untrue clues, things out of context, etc not just ones that someone doesn’t want to hear. So I do agree, it is important to reject untrue claims, and that includes generalizations and false “facts”. I should have been more specific in my wording.

  • Christopher R Weiss

    The problem with men’s rights groups are that their arguments are typically based on anecdotes or jumped up statistics. I worked on child support systems, and when looking at the numbers, the case is clear – the need for a men’s rights movement is non-existent. Add in rape and domestic violence, and I am left saying what are you talking about? With the possible exception of a growing academic performance gap between girls and boys, it is very difficult to point to any gender related issues where men *in general* are in a weaker position than women.

    Coming back to the question of atheists who participate in the MRM, all I can say is who cares? I have been an open atheist for most of my life. I didn’t even meet another open atheist until I got to college. I never joined an atheist club or participated in a movement, and none of the atheists I know belong to any atheist organization. Consequently, cajoling atheists as if we were some bloc misrepresents atheists as a group. Most have the same concerns as anyone else when they grow up – a job, a family, a mortgage, etc. If the majority of MRM participants are angry white adolescents, they will eventually grow up. Is it even worth trying to fix it?

    Let’s look at numbers. Assuming there are 2.5% admitted atheists in this country according to demographic polls (this is probably low), this means there are at least 8,000,000 atheists in this country. Find an organization that represents even 1% of atheists?? Hint: They don’t exist. This is the atheist movement? Really? FFRR has 20k members – 0.25%. American atheists has even fewer members, and so on. There is no “atheist movement.”

  • J-D

    There are atheist organisations, and if harassment is taking place within those organisations, then it’s an immediate problem for those organisations and their members which they have an interest in trying to fix. Harassment anywhere is always a problem worth trying to fix.

  • Christopher R Weiss

    You completely missed my point. This is not a problem for the “atheist movement,” because there is no atheist movement. There are individuals who are atheists as well as some clubs who barely represent 1 in 400 atheists.

  • RedneckCryonicist

    I fall into an older demographic (50-something), but I feel a lot of sympathy for the resurgent patriarchy in the Manosphere. And I think they don’t “assume” female inadequacy versus feminist delusions about women’s capabilities based on some random prejudice; these men have observed female inadequacies. That means these men show an orientation to empiricism. They’ve committed what Steve Sailer calls the thoughtcrime of Noticing.

    And I laugh when I see liberal atheists’ biases and blindspots in this area. For example, I read the following in Guy P. Harrison’s book, 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God, p. 105:

    Probably most of the belief systems that humankind has ever come up with have included outrageous injustice to women. Many religions have this injustice boldly written into their sacred texts for all to see. They don’t just condone it, they demand it!

    Well, gee, Guy, did this consensus about how to keep women in line happen through some kind of mysterious accident? Not a single religion came up with modern liberal feminism, even by chance? Or does it instead say something important about the experiences of the human species as it has struggled to stay in business for thousands of years in a harsh and dangerous world? If so many men who never knew each other or who had no way of learning about each others’ doings had converged on similar views of women based on what they learned in the school of survival – well, did that happen by mistake? Or does it say something about what men have had to learn the hard way about dealing with women?

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    I approved this comment only to serve as an example of what I haul out the banhammer for: namely, the kind of misogynist stupidity that some people somehow still think is acceptable to utter in public. This individual will not be returning as a commenter.

  • DreamingRainne

    Your interpretation (of my intent) is correct.

    It’d be nice to make peace with them, but, simply put, it’s not worth the effort.

  • Fallulah

    Please send me the like to your facebook page! I am a proud Feminist Atheist!

  • Fallulah

    Considering all the gender selection abortions and such going on in the world…there are now more men than women worldwide.

  • paizlea

    You sound so reasonable, it’s almost as if you don’t hate women.

  • Sally Strange

    Thanks, now I just have to dig up the research I did about it.

  • J-D

    You completely missed my point. You used the words ‘who cares?’ and ‘Is it even worth trying to fix it?’ There are some people who have excellent reasons for caring and for whom it is well worth trying to fix it, even if you personally may not happen to fall into that category.

  • Christopher R Weiss

    It is not an “atheist movement” problem, as the author suggests. How else do I need to phrase this?

    Men’s rights movement is an oxymoron. If some adolescent white males wish to partake, they will find themselves isolated and criticized until they grow up and join the adults. Those that don’t will continue to suffer the consequences. So… what is there to fix?

    I am picturing Don Quixote on a horse tilting at windmills with the acronym “MRM” on the building.

  • Christopher R Weiss

    While I see your point, I wouldn’t give someone like this a forum to post such utter nonsense. The sexist discrimination we see written into religion reflects our hunter gatherer days when humans had to tear their lives from the ground and fight daily for existence. Modern economies and culture have completely eliminated this bias toward physical strength and physical aggression. This poster’s observations are based in anachronisms and pure misogyny.

    I find it ironic that people like this believe women are inferior. What we are seeing now as women are being discriminated against less is a surge of women in professions such as medicine, lab sciences, and law. One of my daughters is a second year med student, and her class is over 60% women. Tech is the one area in the US where women are still not advancing as quickly as in other fields, but this is not true in countries like China. What is happening now is a growing gender gap in education, where women tend to be better educated than men.

    I see fear and loathing and self-hatred in posters like this “man.” A real man realizes that gender is irrelevant when it comes to societal roles and worth, and this trend is only getting stronger. Since women on average are smarter and more capable in the knowledge based economy, there will come a time when the power struggle will tip the other way and remove any notion that women are inferior in any way. Modern misogyny is based on the fear that there will be no place for men in the future.

    Only a liar would say that there are no differences between the genders. Obviously there are from a physical perspective. My point is that the time when these physical differences mattered has long since passed, but idiots like this have not made the connection.

  • GCT

    So… what is there to fix?

    The fact that these troglodytes are actively driving women away from atheism with their rape and death threats. If you don’t think that’s something that needs to be fixed, then you are also part of the problem.

  • Merari

    I think that men’s rights are just as important as women’s rights. I think that both sexes should be treated fairly and without gender bias. I also think that in both camps there are a few loud advocates for what should not be labelled rights advocates but rather privilege advocates, people who believe one gender should have an upper hand and that this is not a desirable thing.

    Perhaps we should do away with both men’s rights and feminism and start calling it human rights instead.

  • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

    The rape threats indeed represent a significant problem.

    Contrariwise, there are feminists who appear to be hair trigger in demonizing anyone who questions the underpinnings of their viewpoint. While I suspect this tendency to summary dismissal is somewhat environmentally justified by the number of frivolous challenges from MRAs, the reactions nonetheless appear dogmatic in the sense of the degree of difficulty in getting someone to reconsider the foundations of their position. (I’m pretty dogmatic about the Axiom of the Sum Set myself.)

  • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

    It may not be cause-and-effect, but instead 3rd element common-cause.

    Specifically, higher testosterone level precedes and correlates to higher desire for sexual activity and sexual aggression. Furthermore, until about age 25, the frontal lobes generally and anterior cingulate cortex particularly have not fully developed their adult-level connections to the rest of the brain, limiting the ability for reflective inhibition. This combination is more or less what

    Kenneth Polit’s idiom was crudely expressing.

    Contrariwise, there’s plenty of room for environmental conditioning to mitigate this.

  • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

    The data I’ve seen suggests you’d probably lose a little on that bet. Accounts of MRAs seem to resemble traits associated to high Social Dominance Orientation — which I conjecture is the underlying phenomenon. While SDO appears (doi:10.1016/j.intell.2010.12.001) to have a modest but significant negative correlation to verbal ability, correlation to IQ-measured g appears both minimal and insignificant.

  • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

    You might want to look into the research on Social Dominance
    Orientation. While they did not measure it directly, there are a couple
    anomalies in the study by Altemeyer and Hunsberger which would be
    well-explained by group-joining atheists tending high-SDO as well as
    low-RWA. There are other traits atheist groups have tended to show (IE: disproportionately male) which would also be explained.

  • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

    It looks like they’re an example of high-SDO types. You might look into the work of Altemeyer on both authoritarians and atheists.

    Studies examining the relationship between SDO and religiosity have found the two essentially uncorrelated — which means that there should be about the same fraction of high-SDO “asshole” types as within the religious. You’ve probably noticed the existence of the latter….

    More speculatively, high-SDO atheists may tend to be more willing to exhibit non-conformity, making them more noticeable, which in turn may contribute to the stereotype.

  • J-D

    Even if it is true that there is no problem of ‘harassment within the atheist movement’ (because there’s no ‘atheist movement’), that still doesn’t mean that there is no problem of harassment.

  • Sally Strange

    You’re making a compelling case for locking all young males up in concentration camps.


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