Jumping on the sexism train. Again.

Jumping on the sexism train. Again. January 3, 2012

Okay, I’ve decided to read this post by Mallorie concerning sexism in the atheist/skeptic movement. You know, the post that one man tweeted about…

I’m going to throw my voice into the fray and see what happens.

For as long as I can remember I have been welcomed in to communities which were generally considered
“sausage fests”. If not for the constant noting of this fact I would have never noticed. You guys were always just
my friends.

Me too! I love the atheist/Skeptic community, and feel more at home here than I ever have anywhere else in my life, ever. The atheist/skeptical community has brought more joy to my life than I can image, has taught me a great many things, empowers me to go out there in the world to kick some ass, and offers respite from the drudgery of the credulous masses.  I have made the closest friends, strengthened friendships I had before becoming an atheist, and developed greatly as a person. I feel more respected in the atheist/skeptic community than anywhere else. Everybody rocks!

As I’ve gotten older these subcultures have become more vocal about wanting to include more women, the
discussion has become “how can we make the community more welcoming to women”.

As a woman who has been here all along this is distressing to me, I love you guys for who you are, from my
table-top strategy gaming group though my political debate forum right in to the skeptical community. You have
never been anything but awesome and welcoming. Who made you think you weren’t?

Could you please elaborate on why you might feel distressed that certain parties of your group want there to be more women in your group? That seems like an okay goal to me.

Again, same experience. I have always felt welcomed. However, I have heard from other women that they do not feel welcomed. Lots of other women. I’m a very open-minded, alligator-skin kind of person who can take as much as she can dish out.  Hell, just last night I was walking through a Wal-mart, openly discussing pornography and coyly threatening to ratchet-tie my friend to his wheelchair so I could have my way with him. My friend welcomed such debauchery, but to say that to some passing stranger would assuredly not be welcome. Context and friendship, consent and knowledge matter.

You sound like you enjoy the same kind of humor, so I bet the two of us would get along swimmingly. Yet, I can’t ignore the rising tide of voices. I can’t ignore the overtly sexist comments made on the forums in response to people pointing out instances in which they were made uncomfortable.

I am here, in my various communities because I like you guys, and I like the basis of the movement. The idea that
you have to set time aside to cater to me, because my vagina imbues me with some special needs is becoming
increasingly insulting. These communities are about our minds, not our genitals and as far as I can tell my mind is
just like yours.

I can somewhat see your point here. I’m not a delicate, fragile flower, and think being treated like one is sexist. I prefer blunt, aggressive people and I am a blunt, aggressive person. I’ve always gotten along better with men. I wouldn’t ask for anyone to set aside time to cater to me either. I haven’t seen any evidence of women asking men to set aside time to cater to them, though. Where have you?

More recently I have noticed a trend among men in my communities, you seem to have been told that you’re
awful and need to change. Again, apparently because your genitals imbues you with an inescapable assholism.
Please never believe this lie.

Certain people, acting in particular ways, have been told that their behavior made other people uncomfortable.  The men who make rape jokes to strangers on the internet or call Rebecca “Twatson”, the men who threaten Greta Christina with violence or rape, those men are awful.  Some women are delicate fragile flowers who can’t stand the idea of someone disagreeing with them over anything, those women are awful. I don’t know about you, but I’m seeing very little of the latter and a lot of the former.

Along the normally distributed bell curve of behavior, there are going to be some dudes and some ladies at either end of the spectrum who behave unacceptably. Most people will easily and comfortably fall in the middle. I don’t see people asking the guys in the middle to change. I see people asking the guys at the end of the bell curve to change. Besides that, a lot of men are agreeing that something needs to change – what’s up with that?

I also have a little bit of irony to share. My local skeptics group and I have discussed “toning down” the sexual jokes, conversations and PDA at Skeptics at the Pub events because we’ve made some MEN uncomfortable. It’s not really about genitals, its more about behavior and who is doing most of it. I’m still not sure I crossed the line, but I at least heard when my comrades had to say.

When people say, “I’m not an asshole, I’m just blunt. If you can’t take the honesty, can’t take the heat, then get out of the kitchen” that doesn’t help. Sometimes assholes are assholes and sometimes the kitchen is just plain on fire. Sure, the kitchen fire is no match compared to the heat of a star,  but it’s still going to burn you. I assume you probably don’t think there is no such line of appropriateness that could ever be crossed, or no time in which comments/behaviors are inappropriate.

With all my heart I beg you to not make monsters of your gender. I like your jokes. I like your humor. I like the
casualness and ease that no gender distinction has allowed us all over the years.
You have never hurt or insulted me, you have brought me years of joy, wonderful debate, and stimulating
conversation. By forgetting to see me as a woman, you have treated me as an equal, as a comrade, as a friend.

That’s been my experience as well. I’ve never been offended by a personal joke, and to be honest I wasn’t all that offended, personally, by the rape jokes aimed at the reddit woman. I did think, however, that some of the responses crossed the line into sexism when people pointed out that the jokes were inappropriate. I think the response is the larger problem, not the originating comments.

If your jokes or teasing manner offend some people, so the fuck what? Someone will always be offended by
jokes, never let them make you believe that you are guilty of something worse simply because of your gender. If
you want to make boob jokes thats fine by me, you have after all been making dick jokes since you were old
enough to make jokes. Plus they are funny as hell. If you want to go free and uncensored among a group of like
minded people, if you want to try to acquire sex from a like minded person, awesome, do it, sex and friendship
are amazing. You are not a monster for wanting these things.  You are not a monster for attempting to acquire

I don’t think anybody has claimed men are monsters for wanting or attempting to acquire sex. When did that happen?

Shit, I’m going to have to use a religious analogy again. Damnit:

Let’s pretend for a moment that we’re Christians, and we’re gay. Let’s pretend for another moment that we belong to an affirming church, one that accepts gays and doesn’t think the Bible has a problem with homosexuality. Let’s say some other gay people go, “you know, it would be really nice if Christians quit saying my sexual orientation is a sin”. Those other gay people then are barraged with death threats, rape threats, excuses, and all of the blah blah that has come out of those originating comments.  Those gay people then go on to say that Christian communities have not always been so accepting of gay people, and wishes they would change.

We though, say that we like the Christian community and don’t want them to change. That Gays shouldn’t be such delicate flowers.

I type this with all of the warmth and sorrow of someone entangled in the most beautiful of bromances.
I love you guys. And I’d like to slap the silly assholes who have given you the idea that you have mistreated me.

I haven’t been mistreated either! I love the skeptical community. But I can see that other people have, and that makes me sad. I don’t like to see other people mistreated: It’s not nice.

Here’s another analogy. Most Catholic alter boys aren’t molested. My dad wasn’t molested as an altar boy. Yet for him to ignore the experience of other boys…

With all of my heart I beg you: Do not change. Do not change for me, do not change for someone else. You’re
wonderful, just the way you are

If the day comes when you censor your language around me, when dick/fart/vagina jokes are not allowed
because of my delicate gender, my heart will break as I wave goodbye in a search for a more open, natural,
candid community that does not insist on seeing me first for my gender.

I love dick/fart/vagina jokes too! Clearly, you have an intimate and awesome relationship with a bunch of Skeptidudes, and that’s awesome! But maybe, just maybe, there might be a time when those jokes go over the line. Maybe not with you; maybe with a newcomer. I might joke with my black friends about race, but for the sake of fuck, I might not make the same jokes around someone I don’t know well.

And if you want to tease me because I am shedding a little girlish tear though an odd smile as I type this, thats ok
too. But don’t ever stop being you.

I did not enter this relationship with the intention of changing you all. I am enough of a grownup to know that is a
terrible idea. I entered because I love science, truth, questioning, and curiosity. I love candor, and occasionally
rough humor, I love the ingroup demeanor we have with eachother. And I have stayed because you never
insisted on seeing me as a girl.

You seem to imply here that the people who are asking men to change their behavior are not grown-ups. The Skeptical movement sets out to change people’s minds about things all the time. That’s part of the reason the Skeptical movement rocks.  Where would we be without the voices speaking up against religion, anti-vaxxers, alternative medicine, quack science? Where would we be without the voices chorusing for gay rights, for the rights of children, for freedom from religion?

I came because I love what we are about, and I love you guys too. Don’t ever adulterate yourselves in an attempt
to try to lure more vagina possessing patrons. I can think of nothing more tragic and disingenuous.

Keep joking with me, keeping being open and awesome and curious and funny, keep trying to fuck me, because I
cant think of any reason why I would rather fuck someone else, we are after all human. I assure you I’ll return the

I’m in an open marriage, and I wouldn’t mind if other guys in the skeptical movement tried to fuck me as well (assuming they aren’t too INTIMIDATED…), but other women have closed their doors, and if they say, “quit trying to fuck me”, then the guy who keeps pushing deserves to be ousted. The least aggressive appropriate thing to do would be to kindly explain our lack of appreciation for his advances. That explanation shouldn’t be met with such condemnation.

In conclusion:
Don’t ever let someone make you feel bad for being you, for being male, for being funny, don’t ever believe the
lie that us delicate girls cant take being hit on, cant keep up with the filthy jokes, cant argue you blue in the face,
and need special treatment.
I love you guys.
Don’t change.

Wait, who said girls can’t take being hit on? Did you read Lunam’s response to the shitstorm on Reddit? Who said we can’t keep up with filthy jokes? Who said, especially, that we can’t argue men blue in the face?


Learn more about Christina and follow her @ziztur.

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