Here Come the Secular Women

This is the cover of the latest issue of The Humanist:

Molly Stone illustrated the cover (with design input from Lisa Zangerl) and she describes the process of creating it here.

As always, select articles from the issue are available online and on this site.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://profiles.google.com/tychabrahe Lauren Eve Pomerantz

    Since when is Gloria Steinem a voice of secular women?  I associate her with feminism only.

    • Dudley Do RIght

      welcome to Hemant Mehta’s and PZ Myers “New Atheist World Order”.

      Once again, a great notion of a cohesive atheist community is getting co-opted by splinter groups.

      This is why the atheist/secularist movement will fail. It will become too muddy with other special interests and lose sight of the actual function.

      • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

        There is no discussion of atheism here. This is about secular women, not atheist ones. While many secularists are also atheists, many are not. Atheism is hardly a prerequisite for secularism. You can be sure that there are many religious women who are concerned about the ramifications of recent attempts to move our government away from secularism, and to base law on religious ideas.

        There is no “atheist/secularist” movement, not least because there is no atheist movement.

        • amycas

           I beg to differ on your last sentence. There is an atheist/secular movement. There are groups specifically aimed at serving/building the atheist/secularist communities such as the SSA as well as local meet-ups, there are political lobbying groups such as CFI, there are conventions we participate in such as Skepticon and TAM where we hear from leaders in the atheist/secular movement, there are protests (both large and small) such as the Reason Rally. I could go on and on. What do you mean there is no atheist movement? Or did I completely misread what you said?

          • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

            I refuse to recognize that such a thing as an atheist movement is even possible. There are many movements that are organized by atheists, of course, or where most members are atheists.

            As a non-belief, it makes as much sense talking about atheist movements as it does talking about aunicorn movements. And frankly, I think treating atheism as some sort of movement is very harmful to the interests and goals of most atheists.

            I don’t see any of the example you give as atheist events, nor as representing atheists in general. They are about secularism, or freethought, or skepticism, or in some cases even anti-theism or anti-religion. But not atheism.

            • Paul_Robertson

              I think that’s a very important distinction. Too often these terms are used interchangeably when really they have very different meanings, secularism/atheism in particular. It leads to all sorts of confusion, and is, I think, harmful to each of the discrete causes that are conflated in this way.

            • Paul_Robertson

              Cont… (interrupted before)
              That said, I do think that there is room for genuinely “atheist” issues. For example, providing moral support for atheists qua atheists, or seeking to improve the public perception of atheists are two issues that I would consider to fit this bill.

              • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                I agree. There are certainly things that atheists can do as atheists. But that is quite different from some “atheist movement”.

                • amycas

                  I call it the atheist movement because it has not only cons and protests, but entire communities starting up to support atheists-both local and national. You can call it whatever you want, but that’s how I see it.

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

        … What the hell did I do?

        • Tainda

          Shooting the messenger comes to mind lol

        • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

          What… you didn’t create the “New Atheist World Order”?

        • amycas

           I, for one, welcome Hemant’s New World Atheist Order. Now, where do I get my free t-shirt?

          • Antinomian

            Will there be robots?

            • amycas

              You can’t have an Atheist New World Order with robots.

    • RobMcCune
  • Atheistcon

    What is this garbage about the “conservative war on women” being used in a magazine presumably about humanism and skepticism?  I understand that most atheists and non-religious people are liberals (I’d wager many adopt liberalism, especially feminism, as a pseudo-religion), but the use of the aforementioned phrase implies that all atheists must buy into the given liberal rhetoric.  

    Atheism and liberalism may be corresponding ideologies (I disagree), but atheist publications should not conflate them to so callously.

    • Kacie

       Yeah, because believing that a clump of cells has a soul has NOTHING TO DO WITH ATHEISM amirite? amirite?

      • The Other Weirdo

         Yes, you are right. It has nothing to do with atheism. Atheists tend not to believe in souls, except possibly as metaphors. So why yell about it?

        • RobMcCune

          Wouldn’t an atheist not want a fictitious religious notion legally mandating invasive medical procedures that have no scientific basis? 

          Just sayin.

          • The Other Weirdo

             True, but it, in and of itself, is not an atheist issue.  People want it to be, but wanting isn’t being. Then we get articles decrying how complicated the atheist movement, what with all these conflicting ideologies, and how people burn out after trying to work with all of them.

            • RobMcCune

              Ok, so the only atheist issues are discrimination against atheists, and the non-existence of gods, if I understand correctly. By this standard, does that mean atheists can oppose a policy of teaching creationism, since it proposes the existence of a deity, but cannot oppose a policy that bans the teaching of evolution?

            • allein

              Perhaps, but it is certainly a secular issue, which is what the magazine cover is about.

    • RobMcCune

      Sorry it took so long to realize this, but it’s a humanist magizine, not an atheist or skeptic magazine. There really is no problem if you disagree, unless you consider your self a humanist. 

      Humanist define themselves by what they believe in, unlike atheists and skeptics who are defined by what they do not believe

  • Theresa

    I’ll refrain from commenting on the other posts complaining about this issue.  I think it is great that they are giving attention to a very big concern for many secular women (and men!).  The fact that there will be so many complaints on this issue just highlights the fact that it is needed.  Arguing about semantics?  Is that all you people have?

    • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

      The fact that there will be so many complaints on this issue just highlights the fact that it is needed.

      That’s the first thing that came to my mind seeing the rather strident and overly defensive responses that showed up so quickly: that kind of response clearly points to a fear of secularism, a fear of liberalism, and a fear of feminism – all of which serve to both explain and justify the existence of a group operating in the intersection of feminism and secularism.

      • Theresa

        I think this is exactly right.  These issues do not fall exactly under the atheist realm of concern (plus, this is a HUMANIST publication!), however, how can we expect to counter religion and all the harm it has done if we still adopt the same backwards policies and traditions religion has used to oppress people?  That there is such vitriol in response to anything to do with feminism, sexism, sexual harassment, and the need to address inequality within the atheist community shows we have a long way to go before we can move forward.

  • Skizzle

    In what way are they “hold[ing] strong on the conservative war on women”?  Virtually everything Republicans want, they get (especially south of the Mason-Dixon line).

  • http://bunnystuff.wordpress.com/ Jaimie

    Labels are making things rough in this regard. I can see why tolerant atheists want to back away from the “atheist” label because we all know that there are many angry a–holes that just want to fight and mock religion. Well guess what? I don’t. Some of the people I most dearly love in the world are religious. I don’t care what they believe, I love them unconditionally. I think we must make a clear distinction for those atheists who are approachable to all.


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