Feminism: the radical idea that women are human beings. You’d think there wouldn’t be people who, in this century, not only have a problem with that idea, but they are gleefully rolling around in a virulent hatred of all things feminist and inclusive.
I’ve been a feminist for 40+ years now. I’ve seen strides taken and I’ve watched the backlash as the move to take away bodily autonomy from women sees more and more success. There was one area, though, where I felt pretty damn good, and that was in the atheoskeptic sphere. I’m a regular member of the commentariat at Pharyngula (I’m Caine, Fleur du mal). Now, I’ll be the first one to say that Pharyngula isn’t for everyone. It’s a rough and tumble place, where we take no prisoners. We expect evidence on the table and valid arguments. If you don’t have those, you won’t like it there. At all. Most of us tend to have armories of naughty words and we use ’em, too. All that said, the commentariat there has worked long and hard to make it a safe place for *everyone* – all genders, all orientations, all races, all ages, all abilities – with no tolerance for ableism or any other type of bigotry. If you march in mouthing bigotries, you’ll find it a difficult place for you to be, let alone get in a word edgewise or any other -wise.
Now, about 2 years ago, the atheoskeptic sphere erupted in a volcanic, noisy mess. Why? Because a woman, talking about being hit on at conferences and not wanting to be hit on at conferences, spoke about being hit on (after giving a talk about not wanting to be hit on) in a hotel elevator at 4 am. She concluded with “Guys, don’t do that.” *Boom* There was the sound of many heads exploding and the great divide was begun. There was a large group of people, men and women, who took serious exception to that and started a campaign of harassment and threats which has continued to this day. Every woman blogger who had anything to say about the matter was subjected to the same treatment.
Then, not long ago, the issue of harassment policies (or the lack thereof) at atheoskeptic meetings/conferences came up. Holy shit, you would have thought we were talking about going out en masse to murder babies. The same group of sexist assclam idiots who were already busy with their harassing and threatening of women (and men who are also feminists) had yet another head explosion and started screeching how we were trying to police everyone, we’re horrible bitches who don’t want anyone, ever, to hook up or flirt or have any sort of fun whatsoever for eternity.
There was one attempt, after another, after another, after another, to explain that no, that’s not what we’re doing. Didn’t work. The reactions went to the extreme and the harrasment, distortion and lies started up and haven’t stopped. Many videos have been made, a whole lot of shit has been flung and there’s no sign of the harassment stopping, doesn’t matter what we do. (See Amy Roth on that one.) We’ve heard about how us uppity bitches are insistent that a certain someone apolgize for being white and having a penis. We’ve heard about what killjoys we bitches are, how hysterical we are, how shrill we are. We’ve heard all about the nefarious plans we feminazis have for the men. It’s all crap and we’re damn tired of it, to say the least.
*Whew*. Was that last paragraph long enough, or what? Okay, I am getting to the point here. There’s a petition. If you are an atheist, or a skeptic or a humanist or other secular type, please sign it. Even if you aren’t involved in any groups, on or offline, please sign. We’d really, really, like to have the secular community at large reflect inclusiveness of all, with a bright neon sign saying “assclams swimming in smegmarmalade sauce not welcome”. So if you can help by taking a moment, please do. I thank you.