BuzzFeed: The 21 Things Atheist Girls Love

Buzzfeed’s Natasha Vargas-Cooper has compiled a listicle of 21 Things Atheist Girls Love. What’s on the list? Here’s a glimpse:

We should keep in mind this is all about entertainment and it’s not to be taken all that seriously… but there are some items on the list that are bound to upset people.

Like #1 on the list, Christopher Hitchens, who argued that women aren’t funny, and “the concept of free will,” which isn’t exactly specific to atheist women… or even atheists… or even women. I also thought it was interesting that no female freethought authors/thinkers appeared on the list (it’s not like there’s a complete lack of options).

Anyway, the whole thing is easy to criticize — the commenters certainly hold little back — but I’m not sure there’s much that could’ve been put on this list that wouldn’t have upset at least some individuals. Hell, is there anything that all “atheist girls” like?

The problem may just be with the headline itself. It’s inviting criticism before the list even begins.

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://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Hell, just saying “atheist girls” instead of “atheist women” in the title is problematic. Would anyone refer to atheists who are male as “atheist boys”, intending to include anyone over the age of 18 or especially 21? Females over the age of 18 and especially 21 are not girls; they are women. They are adults. Refusing to refer to females as adults is just another symptom of patriarchy in the US.

    EDIT: Oh for fuck’s sake, people, I’m not condemning the whole thing as anything but silly. The title is problematic, but it’s not a big deal. It just means that as little weight as I’d give a silly Buzzfeed list anyways, I’ll give it even less.

    • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

      For what it’s worth, I commonly refer to women, in my age range and younger, as girls. This is contrasted by referring to myself and other men as guys.

      It’s amazing how the dastardly patriarchy managed to corrupt me and my language. Thanks for the insight.

      • onamission5

        It would be a contrast if you commonly referred to yourself and other guys as “boys” or if you referred to women as “gals,” since the inference from guy is someone who is your peer and the inference from girl is child/childish.

        • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

          Does it ever matter what the person using the word thinks or means? Because I don’t use either of those words strictly as you described.

          • HollowGolem

            I’d be tempted to take the Carlin approach, and judge words only based on desired meaning, rather than some perceived interpretation independent of the context or intent of the speaker.

    • roz77

      You’re grasping at straws here.

      • Billy Bob

        That’s what internet radfems usually do. No one would care(not even sane feminists) if no one actually brought it up because they realize how insignificant it really is. When these internet warriors start fighting for causes that actually change things, I’ll listen to them.

    • Kellen

      I’m 27, and I’ve never had a problem being called a “girl.” I just like the way the word sounds. I only stopped using “girl” to refer to a grown female around people I don’t know because this *thing* popped up and I don’t want to offend anybody. But I always thought it was kind of weak. Women get called plenty of things intended to diminutize (is that a word?) and degrade them; I never saw “girl” as one of them.

      Of course, growing up watching old movies where the phrase “Hello, boys” was often directed towards grown men, maybe I’m coming from a more egalitarian POV.

      • Billy Bob

        “I only stopped using “girl” to refer to a grown female around people I don’t know because this *thing* popped up and I don’t want to offend anybody.”

        I tried that for a little while, but after someone said I was a misogynist for saying “females”(not in a demeaning manner either), I stopped caring. I don’t go out of my way to offend people, but I’m not going to walk on eggshells because some thin skinned pansy gets offended by nearly everything.

      • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

        Your “hello boys” remark brought to mind the title of Jen McCreight’s (in)famous post, “How I Unwittingly Infiltrated the Boy’s Club & Why It’s Time for a New Wave of Atheism.”

      • Negathle

        I wasn’t that sensitive to it until I read a men’s study book (Manhood in America). The author noted that the disparity that women are more commonly referred to as girls than men referred to as boys *except* with black men, who are often called boys by white men, regardless of the age disparity.

        Even though the power balanced have changed, we still retain the language patterns, and I noticed my own personal use when talking to my pets. I now ask boyfriends not to talk to me like they would their dog (“Good girl”, etc.).

    • Kay McMann

      That was my immediate reaction as well.

    • Billy Bob

      Another whiny feminist throwing a hissy fit over insignificant shit no one would care about if they didn’t bring it up.

    • closetatheist

      For what it’s worth I completely agree. I’ve noticed bathrooms in the same establishment labeled “gentlemen” vs “little ladies”…why not ladies? its condescension in the guise of cuteness.

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

    I must be the wrong type of person to appreciate this.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

      Have no fear, it is not you. Most of what Buzzfeed publishes is pure shit.

      • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

        Reading this list was my first visit, so I can’t confirm your assessment. I will note your opinion though for future reference.

  • Persephone

    I have a sense of humor, and I don’t much care for that article. But then again, I don’t like most lists of “things that (group) loves,” because they’re not particularly accurate.

  • Tel

    “The concept of free will” being on there is actually not a bad item, though it could have been worded better. Although theists and men and others may have free will, it is women who are often put down and restricted by religions. Having freedom to do as I please now that I am an atheist girl is important to me.

    That said, I don’t like that list. Most of those are either not gender-specific or are stereotyping women, and it’s not funny enough to get away with it.

    • baal

      I’m with Dan Dennet on free will. long video The short version is that free will is a useless concept. I agree. The sooner we stop letting religionists use it to solve the problem of evil the better.

  • Omega192

    Was the “concept of free will” thing supposed to be a joke? Last I checked studies have shown it’s pretty unlikely it exists at all, and if it does it’s in a very limited scope. Perhaps it meant free will as in not being bound by patriarchal religions.

    • Emmet

      “Studies have shown”? Tell me, how does one go about studying free will?

  • roz77

    Geeze people, it’s just Buzzfeed. It’s a joke.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

      If anyone takes Buzzfeed serious, they need to re-evaluate their life.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      Of course it’s a joke. Jokes, fringe sites, not-serious “news”; it still impacts how people see things. It’s still popular media. So, how it presents certain groups of people still matters. It’s an incredibly silly list that is only insulting by how absolutely ridiculous it is; clearly someone put almost no thought into it.

      • roz77

        You’ve got to be kidding me. It is supposed to be a silly list. I think it’s rather sad that you spend time bitching about patriarchy regarding a site like Buzzfeed when there are actual, worthy feminists ideals for you to be concerned about in the real world.

        • Billy Bob

          But that would take work. We all know internet warriors don’t like working toward goals.

      • Billy Bob

        Anyone want another reason I don’t take internet feminism seriously?

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          How about “because it takes more mental effort than I want to put into anything wimmenz-related unless it’s sitting at a computer telling chicks on a blog they aren’t doing anything, paying dickishness forward because some girl was mean to me somewhere once, and having passive-aggressive hissy fits and projecting them on to other people to camouflage them.”

          Too wordy?

      • 3lemenope

        Perhaps it might work better if we could, to gobbledegook it up a bit, ‘problematize without condemning’? I agree that there are several things about the article which jump out as being warning bells from a feminist mode of analysis, but it is not sufficient to treat the text as though it were just floating in text-space, as it is situated with a particular author who created it.

        Those details matter. A few reasonable assumptions later we can know that the author is female, and we can only hope writing an article like “what atheist girls love” also an atheist, making the situation more of a simple extrapolation problem (i.e. the author assuming “I am a female atheist, I know what I love, therefore I know what female atheists love.”) I’d be much more hesitant to map any sort of diagnosis of patriarchy or what-have-you on a single person somewhere on the Internet known only through a Buzzfeed list they created, because if it is merely a projection of what she loves only she knows through what idiosyncratic gender lens she’s projecting them.

        So there’s nothing wrong with calling attention to problematic elements, but it gets dicier when, given such a paucity of relevant facts, the normative condemning element is brought in. There simply isn’t enough there there to justify it, IMO.

  • Malcolm McLean

    There;s no natural connection between atheism and contraceptive use. In fact a Darwinian would be more inclined to not use contraceptives (whilst advocating them for everybody else).

    • 3lemenope

      That does not follow. What matters is not offspring but successful offspring, and contraceptive use makes it easier to make child rearing a planned activity, which makes it more likely to be successful.

    • kaydenpat

      And your evidence is …?

    • Kodie

      That’s not really well thought through, Mal. You are conflating eugenics with Darwinism. There is a natural connection between wanting to fuck guilt-and-responsibility-free and atheism, the counterpart being to marry very young as a horny virgin and squeeze out as many play-doh playkids as you can. Darwinianly speaking, religion is not genetic, so they still have to be molded into shape. Other than that, I’m sure their make-up is well-fit for human survival as long as they’re fed well enough in the early years.

      • Malcolm McLean

        Eugenics is pretext for Darwinism. We’ll improve society if we get “good” genes into the next generation. Defining “good” as mine. (Of course you also want to mate with good genes, which complicates the strategy).
        Contraceptives are for losers. They’re things you should advocate that everyone else uses, whilst having as many children as you can yourself. You don’t have to spread your parental investment evenly if that’s the issue. Send one to Eton to be a “big stakes punt”, and release ten onto the streets to become welfare queens in the hope that some will survive.

        • Kodie

          I think you understand nothing. It’s not a prescription to go out and beat everyone else at mating.

          • Malcolm McLean

            It kind of is. The idea is that our genes impel us to actions which would have led to mating success, in the evolutionary environment.So people tend to eat too much fatty food, because for a hunter gatherer fat is hard to obtain. So for men there’s the argument that you can cheat nature by having sex, but not the baby. But it doesn’t work for women, who can easily obtain sexual intercourse, but not resources invested in their children. Does it really work for men, or does the failure to actually reproduce catch up with them eventually?

            • Kodie

              I don’t know what bogus articles you’re reading, but you have a gross misunderstanding of evolution. That is what humans are great at, apparently. One guy figures it out, and everyone else tries to leverage the information as if they’re supposed to do something with it. You want to have babies? Have babies. If you can’t meet someone or you’re sterile or they are, then you’re genetic information gets weeded out. Evolution is an observation. “Cheating nature” in the form of birth control is technology. Having children is burdensome for men and for women, even if you wanted them. That’s a problem and contraception is the solution manufactured, just like you wanted to kill a buffalo and you make a spear, or you want to talk to your friend on another continent, and you log onto skype. You didn’t invent skype. It’s an observation that people separated want to stay in communication – writing a letter was ok, but calling on the phone was much better. Having children, like I said, is a burdensome, life-and-resource-consuming task for one parent or two, and the trade-off used to be the woman was sold and bought and kept as a housekeeper and child-rearer. That’s not enough freedom for women. Having an unplanned pregnancy has always been an obstacle for adult humans, and patriarchy was how they settled that. Buy yourself a pure virgin and keep her in a home, which she would otherwise not have, not being able to work anywhere or learn anything at school towards a career. Punish women for wanting equality with men, and call that god’s word. Marriage is a form of birth control in a world where men have to make a contract to be responsible for their own children, and blame the woman because a man won’t trust his children are his unless she’s a virgin when he marries her. Abstinence toward this end is also a form of birth control; shame is also a form of birth control – it’s mind control and threats and they do work for a small percentage of women. Religion as a whole works this way.

              Our genes, as far as I know, do not impel anything other than what we look like and other stuff like likelihood of having certain diseases or defects. If you can make it to 20 in the caveman era without dying of whatever is wrong with you, and you don’t fall off a cliff or get eaten by a bear, you could probably mate and then die. A long life is not required to pass on your genes. Sex is a natural impulse, like hunger. Eating a lot of fatty foods is because it tastes really good and actually has some addictive properties. Also, it’s cheaper, and easier to get and prepare. It’s not at all because we’re fattening up for the winter months. With regard to the disparity in sexes and the burden of childbirth only on one of them, marriage is a contract, and like I said before, a man who wants a guarantee of some sort before signing that contract would, in the archaic sense, suspect a non-virgin of carrying some other man’s child, which would ruin his whole intent on extending his patriarchal lineage. He can’t love and refuses to pay for children who aren’t his, and he can never be sure, unless he marries a virgin and threatened her comfortable lifestyle.
              Since the woman had no other prospects than marriage, back in the day, if she wanted a home to live in, she had to abstain, “or else.” There was nothing else important about her.

              So you’re saying it’s because she got stuck withchild that she should keep her knees shut. Back to the part about technology – we don’t need marriage. We have DNA proof, should the male party inquire as to the paternity of his children. He’s not free. If she wants to be free of this outcome, birth control and abortion are fine. There is a stigma amongst the religious about this because they prefer to do things the hard way and refuse to join the modern world. It’s because they’re superstitious. It’s because atheists are not superstitious that there is no stigma against sex, contraception or abortion. Marriage and purity and patriarchy are forms of birth control, they’re just unnecessary hoops to jump through to please god, but really just other people. Atheists, again, do not care to please these people.

        • Bradshaw

          The whole point of evolution is that we don’t need to try to get good genes into the next generation, it happens automatically. Good genes being defined as genes that make an organism better at surviving in its environment and better at having offspring. Even if we tried our hardest not to evole, we still would, as long as 1) people varied genetically and 2) some people had more children than others.

        • RobMcCune

          Eugenics is pretext for Darwinism.

          No, no it is isn’t. Not if you have a basic understanding of Darwin or the word pretext.You’ve gotten at least one thing (if not all 3) completely wrong.

          Defining “good” as mine.

          Even the most narcissistic eugenicist went beyond that. Making stuff up and patting yourself on the back for it is precisely why most of your posts are nonsense.

          Send one to Eton to be a “big stakes punt”, and release ten onto the streets to become welfare queens in the hope that some will survive.

          Please tell me you don’t, and will never, have children. Also, if that’s humanities biological imperative, why don’t we have litters? Primates evolved to have fewer offspring, and are doing just fine.

          • Malcolm McLean

            Of course eugenics is a pretext for Darwinism. Eugenicist claim to be motivated purely by a desire to improve the human species. But it invariably turns out that their genes are the favoured ones. Maybe not absolutely always, but Galton, for example, was quite eager to find examples of “genius” is his own family (the Wedgewoods, who to be fair were a genuinely talented bunch),

            • Kodie

              So… some people misunderstand? It’s still not what evolution is.

            • RobMcCune

              You’ve just repeated your assertion and described eugenics, where the so-called “Darwinism”?

            • baal

              “Eugenics” went out sometime around 1920. tick tock

        • Baby_Raptor

          Are you on crack or were you home schooled?

          I’m going with home schooled, because eugenics is a common argument of theirs.

          • RobMcCune

            Maybe crack was his home school version of ritalin.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      There are no Darwinians, dimbulb. And no, Those who understand and thus accept Evolutionary Theory do not follow your caricaturish, ignorant version of it.

    • Guest

      Evolution is not our god. We don’t need to do what we think it ‘wants us’ to do. The theory of evolution is a description of the world, not a prescription for it. I believe in the theory of gravity but I still travel by airplane. In the same way I believe in the theory of evolution but I don’t spend my life trying to get as many children as possible. Evolution is not a person and doesn’t care what we do. We’ve evolved the ability to make decisions and weigh up outcomes so we are free to decide how to spend our lives in a way that an animal acting on pure instinct isn’t.

    • baal

      ‘darwinians’ of your definition Malcolm, do not exit.

  • HollowGolem

    I’d like to note that Hitch also, at one point, said that the single strongest marker in the progress of a civilization is the level of agency women had over their own lives. Also, his statements about women being “not funny” had some misogynistic undertones, but looking back at his clarification, I don’t think he realized the implications, even as he attempted to make the surface accusation less abrasive (he didn’t say that women -can’t- be funny, just that society doesn’t have the same set of pressures on them that it does on men, and the pressures on men tend to result in men being more clownish).

    • heaphase

      It’s too late, the scarlet “M” has already been placed upon him

      • Helix Luco

        cry harder about how prosecuted you all are

  • TheFlynnMom

    So, about the article. I get that it’s tongue-in-cheek, but I guess I expected the humor to be wittier and more cerebral. I wanted to read it and think, “That is so funny! And true!” But it was neither. I was also hoping it would put “Atheist girls” in a better light in some way since we atheists are kind of pariahs in this society. You know, make us look intelligent or witty somehow. Kind of a waste of an article, if you ask me.

    • Kodie

      Buzzfeed articles do not really get cerebral. It’s mostly cute animals and nostalgia from the 90s. The authors approach other topics with the same shallow manner. Cracked is a lot higher quality and pretty interesting, depending on which author is writing, much of the time, except for the comments.

      • wombat

        Cracked commenters aren’t too bad, or at least, they could be so much worse.

  • Ryan Hite

    You have to be really careful with the article there, people, especially the ones who are not the brightest Christmas bulb on the tree, will actually take this seriously. Pastors might even take this seriously if they are dumb enough to realize that this is a joke…

  • Kodie

    The problem may just be with the headline itself. It’s inviting criticism before the list even begins.

    Buzzfeed is pretty cheap like that.

  • advancedatheist

    Abortion and contraception really mean that atheist girls want hookups with thugs, sociopaths, narcissists, etc., while rejecting the overtures of “boring” atheist guys who, say, invite them to their hotel rooms for coffee.

    The contrast between traditional christian stereotypes about atheists’ promiscuity versus the reality of sexual rejection for most atheist men continues to amuse me. At least you could interpret the myth of the swinging male atheist as an unintentional way of expressing admiration for him.

    • Shockna

      “The contrast between traditional christian stereotypes about atheists’
      promiscuity versus the reality of sexual rejection for most atheist men
      continues to amuse me.”

      Any actual evidence on that? If it’s going to be an anecdote fight (aren’t they always?), most of the atheist men I know have damn healthy sex lives.

  • One atheist girl

    1. I’ve never read anything by Hitchens. I admit his ‘woman aren’t funny’ article put me off him.

    2. I do like birth control, not necessarily for the reason you might think, but because I used to get the depoprovera injection which meant I spent my college years blissfully period-free.

    3. Fuck yes, this one is totally fucking accurate.

    4. Not American, can’t relate.

    5. Yes, especially if David Attenborough is in them, or Brian Cox.

    6. I like all the shades of the rainbow.

    7. Never seen it.

    Okay, bored now, skipping through the rest of the list:

    I like Stephen Fry and I vote liberal. I’m indifferent to secular holidays, I’m against abortion and I hate Quentin Tarentino’s movies, I think they’re overrated and misogynist.

    I think the list is too long and some of the things are too random. It should also be called things american atheist girls like, for clarity. I’ve never seen anything with Bill Nye the science guy, for example.

  • captain_picard

    I was hoping for something like “auto-tuned Carl Sagan” to be on the list. But, honestly, who doesn’t love that? Putting a porn star on this list instead of Carl Sagan makes little sense to me, an atheist woman. Also once my old boss met Bill Nye and said he was a jerk!

  • rg57

    Like #1 on the list, Christopher Hitchens, who argued that … “the concept of free will,” …

    You’ve lost me. What did he say about free will?

  • Larry Meredith

    Atheist girls love being treated as a human being.

    • Baby_Raptor

      I do indeed like being treated like a human.

      It makes people less afraid I’ll bite them.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Well…I *do* like my birth control.

  • jcm

    Also:

    * 25 Things Mormon Girls Love

    * 38 Things Catholic Girls Love

  • meekinheritance

    Wasn’t there an article/survey/census a few years ago that showed religious people have more children? I sometimes wonder if humanism will ever win out when the religious folks outbreed us. Can’t use birth control, can’t abort unwanteds… yeah, abstinence works. Oh, it didn’t? Oh, well. Chalk another one up to G0d!
    (I am in no way suggesting that women shouldn’t be in control of their bodies.)

    • Rob U

      Wasn’t there an article/survey/census a few years ago that showed religious people have more children? I sometimes wonder if humanism will ever win out when the religious folks outbreed us.

      Granted there are small pockets of religious people which make
      having large families part of their faith
      tradition
      , but they’re actually on the fringes.

      For most families the number of children they have often depends far more on the society, its culture, and the economical and environmental conditions they find themselves in. Here in North America, I’m from Canada, most families I’ve seen seldom have more than two kids. Even in families where religion is quite important they will seldom have more than two, and its not at all uncommon for the religious to use some form of birth control to keep it that way.

      Sure there are exceptions, my sister has three and my Grandmother on my father’s side had sixteen, but from what I’d seen that’s actually quite rare. But don’t take my word for it, here’s some numbers from Stats Canada (I’m Canadian remember :-) ) showing the average number children per family.

  • David Mock

    I think what happened is that the author is an atheist woman, who applied all the things she likes to all atheist women. On a side note, #20 and #21 contradict each other.


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