I’ve been woe-ing and grumbling about my gig getting cancelled in Bradford on Avon this Saturday. I like Bradford on Avon, it is a beautiful town, the most beautiful in all England, and I’ve been to quite a number.
A bugger to park in though.
Anyway, my mood was further aggravated by a charming and lovely post by a friend of a friend in the skeptic community. The post is here, it is well written and thoughtful and entirely brilliant. I would have written something like this myself maybe as recently as last year.
What is clear is Mallorie Nasrallah hasn’t experienced any of the massive amount of shit that some women, including myself, have gotten recently for defending a position against violence and the threat of violence. This vitriol is largely written by the male sex, threatens rape and murder and seems to be targeted solely at the female blogsphere. It is proper nasty and I’ve only had a taster (one death threat and six or seven emails telling me to shut up with reference to my genitals, my boobs with details of what holes they would stick it in first).
If you just go along to a skeptic or atheist event you might look around and think it is a bit weird that everyone is mostly male and nearly all white, but you forget about it because everyone is so charming and sweet so it doesn’t seem to matter. My experience has been the exact same as Mallorie Nasrallah, at the meetings there is no problem and the idea that I would be tiptoed round just because no one wants to offend me, it well… it offends me!
There have been incidents however, not wishing to bring up elevator-gate again, where women have been made to feel uncomfortable after they specifically have stated their wish not to be made to feel so. I have not experienced this at skeptic meetings in anyway at all, but just because it doesn’t fall into my direct experience personally doesn’t mean it should be shut down as a conversation point.
It also is a massive distraction from the real question. Christ on a cracker, it isn’t unreasonable to point at a crowd of skeptics and ask yourself why the majority of them are white men! You have to admit, something is wrong. This is a movement that embraces science and critical thinking over stereotyping and generalisation. What the hell is going on?
Labelling all men as misogynist is as untruthful as it is unhelpful. But it continues to surprise me that talking about this subject is seen as ‘trying to change men’ and trying to ‘fuck up the skeptic movement’, rather than a topic that the majority of us can agree on. The lack of women in the skeptic and atheist movements is a problem. Rebecca Watson is trying to tackle that and should be applauded, not hounded.
The rape threats female bloggers get might have nothing to do with the lack of women at meetings. But the people who have the nerve to suggest that we are the ones spoiling everything deeply unfair. No one leapt to the defence of the Christians threatening Hitchens and Dawkins. They were applauded as brave. We stand up for our concerns and get told to put up and shut up in as graphically violent a way as possible… in a way a man never would be, or could be.
And if that wasn’t girly enough for you then, I’ve decided I’m going to train douglas to attack the internet trolls.