A new piece published by the Houston Chronicle titled “Female atheists fight for equality in freethought movement” focuses on the upcoming Women in Secularism 2 conference (which I will be attending and reporting live via Brave Hero Radio thanks to gracious donors).
The article claims the Women in Secularism 2 conference, among other goals, aims to “combat those in the secular movement who have shown hostility toward emerging feminist secular champions.” Melody Hensley, organizer of the conference, in the article, says the “conference will show people that there is something missing if women aren’t recognized as part of the secular movement.” According to Hensley, women face “adversity” and “hostility” in the secular community.
Do people in the secular community face “hostility” and “adversity” simply because they are women? I don’t see evidence to support this assertion and have not been shown such evidence. I am not even sure how one can possibly demonstrate that people face “hostility” and “adversity” because they are women despite the claims being voiced by particular bloggers who believe women are under siege in the secular community – so much so that so-called anti-harassment policies need to be adopted by conferences so that women can feel safe.
As I have explained in many venues including various pieces authored on this site, various women (and men) identifying as feminists face “hostility” and “adversity” because people perceive repugnant behavior, bad ideas, and hypocrisy.
One of the problems is that people are attempting to hijack the secular community with belief that the community should be concerned with their particular agenda having nothing to do with atheist activism, separation of church and state, improving the visibility of atheists/secularists, and advancing arguments against religious-based claims – usual foci of the community.
Another problem is that particular bloggers — rather than responding to arguments and discussing ideas — elect to engage in witch hunts whilst attacking people and refusing to defend ideas. Those who dare to openly disagree with particular bloggers are branded as sexist, misogynists, rape apologists, racists, homophobes, and whatever other label tickles the fancy of ‘social justice warriors.’
Feminism, as represented by various vocal bloggers in the secular community (some of them attending or speaking at the upcoming Women in Secularism 2 conference), has not manifested as ‘the radical notion that women are people too’ or ‘a movement of gender equality,’ but rather shows its face as an ideology intolerant of disagreement, filled with malice, quick to cry abuse and harassment when people finally take a stand and start to ‘fight back’ through open disagreement, and willing to censor others rather than responding to ideas.
…which brings me back to the Houston Chronicle article. The author of the article — without unfortunatly providing a direct link to my piece in which I was quoted — mentioned my name and a short line from a blog post I authored in August of 2012 titled “Atheism has nothing to with feminism or pro-choice positions” — a response to feminist Amanda Marcotte — in which I argued that atheism is only a label to describe someone who lacks belief in any gods – nothing more, nothing less. This is no “adversity” or “hostility” on my behalf, but rather my insistence that it is nonsensical to assert that atheism is ‘consistent’ with feminism, pro-choice positions…or anything else for that matter.
I am very excited for the upcoming Women in Secularism 2 conference and am looking forward to hosting episodes of Brave Hero Radio after each conference day live from Washington D.C. I hope you will tune in and join the conversation through calling in or chatting!
As always, feel free to leave your comments below.