The Gender-Infused Dialogue

Over on Maria Maltseva’s blog, she’s been discussing the “abuse” that Rebecca Watson has been getting and suggests a lot of reasons why she’s likely getting it.  I happen to agree with most of what she says, but in the comments, I start to have problems.

This is hardly the first time I’ve talked about this, but it keeps coming up everywhere I read.  Apparently, Rebecca is hitting the tour circuit, spitting out the same old, tired and likely entirely false claims from the past.  Some guy she can’t identify might have asked her out for coffee in an elevator, if it ever happened at all, and she just knows he could have been a rapist so guys shouldn’t do that.  People are mean to her, never mind that she started off by calling men misogynists and suggesting that they’re unable to control themselves around her amazing feminine wiles.  Women shouldn’t be objectified, except when she makes money off of posing in nude calendars.  Don’t call her on her hypocrisy, she’s a self-empowered woman… except she’s not, she’s a terrified little girl who sits in fear and changes her routine because people on the Internet speak mean to her.

This is all nothing new, it’s why the Atheism+ movement needs a “safe place” where they can hide and comfort each other that the big bad world isn’t out to get them because, let’s be honest, they all think we are.  They claim there is rampant sexism in the atheist community and I will agree with them wholeheartedly.  The problem is, it’s not coming from us, it’s coming from them.  The radical feminist bullshit that has taken over the Atheism+ movement is blatantly sexist.  Of course, they don’t see that, as far as they’re concerned, sexism can only be perpetrated by men, usually wealthy white “privileged” men.  The same thing happens in the liberal racist circles.  Racism can only be perpetrated by white men.  Even if a black man is doing exactly the same thing, it’s not racism.  Usually, it’s “social justice”.

But let’s start at the beginning and examine why Rebecca gets so much abuse.  First off, most of it is hardly abusive, it’s well-deserved criticism, but let’s be honest, for many of these precious little flowers with delicate egos, any challenge to their belief systems is viewed, almost exclusively, as a personal attack.  Secondly, as I’ve discussed before, as hard as it is to believe, there are trolls on the Internet and Watson’s group has turned responding to these trolls into an artform.  Most people simply recognize trolls for what they are, refuse to feed them and move on without giving the morons a moment’s notice.  Not Watson.  No, she and her cohorts set out a 12-course feast for the trolls, they wholeheartedly embrace the trolls.  Why do they do that?  Because the longer the trolls stick around, the more she can point at their trolling as proof that she must be on to something!  It’s a reciprocal relationship.  She whines about sexism.  The trolls show up and act sexist.  She brings attention to the trolls as proof that she must be right.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

So why are these attacks “sexist”?  Because Rebecca Watson and her ilk framed the entire debate that way!  I’m sure that had she and her compatriots decided they wanted to have a dispassionate, calm, rational discussion of sexism as it might apply to some within the atheist community, things would have been different.  Like tends to be met with like.  However, she and her group went out, started attacking every male in the group, calling them misogynists, suggesting they might all be rapists, seeing every disagreement as a threat, etc.  What the hell does she expect?  They set the ground rules, they fire the opening salvos and they get an appropriate response.  Of course, this is the typical liberal mindset, “nothing I do is ever wrong, it’s got to be someone else’s fault!”

Someone pointed out that PZ Myers doesn’t get sexist threats, he gets religious threats.  Yup, for the same reason.  He’s a general asshole to the religious so they respond in kind.  Rebecca Watson and the feminist brigade are general assholes to men so they get responses in kind.

It’s all been part of the giant Rebecca Watson attention-whore machine.  She’s spent a year jumping up and down screaming “Look at me! Look at me! I got raped… um… accosted… um… propositioned… nothing at all happened to me in an elevator!  Look at me!”  She’s been on a Pity Party Parade through the atheist community and now that most people are tuning her out, she’s off to non-atheist venues like Slate and Huffington Post, desperately looking for even more attention from people who aren’t sick and tired of listening to the same old stories time and time again.

In the end, I can’t find anywhere to place much, if any blame but with the Rebecca Watson camp.  If they are really so convinced that the atheist community is such a horrible, sexist place to be, why are they still here?  Do I see them cancelling their paid speaking engagements?  Nope.  Do I see them voluntarily walking away from places like FreeThoughtBlogs?  Nope.  Do they stop whining about sexism on their blogs?  Absolutely not.  It’s their way to preach to the faithful and bring in that all-important ad revenue.

Let’s be honest, getting attention and making money is what this is all really about.

7 thoughts on “The Gender-Infused Dialogue”

  1. Kudos for pointing out the general tactic. It's much the same as the way Fox News and conservative pundits can essentially cast doubt on say, Obama's nationality or religion, or "You didn't build that!" or other non-troversy, and let tea party whackos do the real dirty work. And it's also the same way some liberal outlets can pimp their own obvious biases, as you pointed out with "binders full of women", etc. As long as there are enough rabid commenters and blinkered activists to carry the torches, the actual instigators, who knew what the result would be and counted on it, can maintain plausible deniability and a facade of "But all I said was 'guys don't do that' and LOOK AT THE HATE!!!". As long as there are enough commenters that are true believers, one can simply drop a single innocent-looking little turd into the bowl, and the masses will churn it up into a great river of shit, enough to cover the whole blogoshpere twice over.

  2. Another great post, but small nitpick. "Nothing I ever do is wrong, it's got to be someone else's fault" is the mantra of true believers and zealots of ALL types, and is by no means a "typical liberal mindset" any more than it is a "typical conservative mindset" Unless suddenly World Net Daily and Fox are big liberal outlets. Every last republican who has made a racist Obama joke or conspiracy theory tries to blame their racism on liberals or Obama himself, and it doesn't fly for me when conservatives try it either. (Of course, there are also liberals who try to make EVERY statement seem racist, but there has been plenty of the genuine article as well) It's not a "liberal" problem, it's a people problem. There are still nazis who blame the jews for WW2 for fuck's sake. But in this PARTICULAR case it is, of course, batshit crazy liberals at the wheel. I can lay aside my own biases and easily admit this, every time I see it happen. I don't need to pretend it's a "conservative" thing, but I easily could if I only looked in one direction.

    1. I hope you can at least admit that a lot of the people who have tried to keep the discussion civil and honest, who have given honest criticism of the dishonest tactics, who have asked for evidence when applicable, have often been other liberals, who were already hanging out on liberal blogs. We're still here too, and more and more are speaking up when they see their political stances misused and misrepresented by zealots. In some ways it's a strength, in some an exploitable weakness, but most of us moderates and civil libertarians do actually try to promote reason and honesty among the outspoken, rather than just throw them under the bus and be done….it's the ideological zealots, often a loud numerical minority, who are always willing to demonize, denounce, and throw others under the bus for any sin against their dogma, as we have clearly seen with this whole mess.

      Keep up the good work! The world needs common sense, from any available source.

    2. No, you are right, it is used by a lot of people but it seems to be very, very prevalent in liberal circles. It's never your fault. Society is to blame. Yadda yadda yadda. Yes, you do get the far-right losers whining about "the devil made me do it", but politically, you find these people share a lot of views with the left too.

      Of course, none of these groups ought to be respected for using these tactics. Everyone is responsible for their own decisions.

      1. Oh, c'mon now, it's more than "the devil made me do it" on the right….I think on the right, it often takes a form of victim blaming (which can be a very real thing, despite it's overuse by some). It does actually happen you know. I can't count the times lately on facebook and elsewhere I've seen all kinds of conservatives blaming Obama for racially dividng the country…no kidding, they can't even admit that there even is such a thing as a racist republican, and it is ALL due to being baited by Obama….even though they can't point out a SINGLE thing he's done to inflame them. There are people who try to say that Obama mentioning Trayvon Martin, or doing a "fist bump" is the cause of all the racial tensions, and is more racist and bigoted and inciting than people calling him a black panther secret muslim terrorist or saying "put the white back in the White House."

        1. While I agree, the religious are pretty ridiculous at it, just look at the Muslims and their "I saw skin! You didn't cover up every inch of your skin! Therefore, I'm completely justified in raping you and it's all your fault!" Yeah, it's absurd, but no more absurd than things the liberals do. They try to claim that blacks can't be racists, yet can make extremely racist comments (post on this coming Monday, I think). Certainly, Obama's religious background contains blatant racist pastors and the like, yet the liberals don't want to look at these comments and call them on it, to them, only white people can be racist, just like, to the feminists, only men can be sexist.

          The whole mess is absurd.

  3. In the story of the Samarian woman at the well Jesus in a counter cultural kind of way cuts through racism and sexism. When we put our identity into race gender or sexuality above that of others there is usually conflict

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