Skeptics and sex (well, gender)

There have been a couple of spats among atheists in recent days that sort of seem connected.

There’s Skeptifem’s rant (and I mean that in a good way) about the “white male privilege” attitude of Bill Maher and other prominent skeptics/freethinkers/etc., with which PZ Myers agrees (sort of), but says the problem is merely that male atheists tend to be “confident that equality is the right answer, appreciating everyone, male or female, working to promote rationalism in society, and then smugly assuming we’re done when we’re not.”

I suspect the real problem is that, like members of pretty much any oppressed and/or disenfranchised minority, atheists often think prejudice is something other people have, and that they themselves are immune to it (or immune to being called out on it).

Along somewhat the same lines, Stephen Prothero holds forth on how maybe it would be good for atheism to have more prominent female voices (and for the male voices to be less prominent), since everyone knows girls are made of sugar and spice and all that. OK, that’s not exactly how he put it, but it’s not all that far off.

So Amanda Marcotte tears Prothero a new one, pointing out that expecting female atheists to be less aware of theistic nonsense or less articulate about calling it nonsense is just as sexist as the religious nuts who say women can’t lead religious nuts because they don’t have, well, nuts.

(cartoon via Dr. Jim’s Thinking Shop & Tea Room)

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Dr. Jim on December 9, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Thanks for the link to the Thinking Shop. The place where I got the cartoon from was here:

    I do not know why female atheists are less well recognized than their male counterparts. From my experience women tend to read and think as much and as well. Why so few atheist books and public lectures by women? Are there fewer books by women written or fewer accepted for publication?

    I’m not sure how many links I can add here without getting this comment sent to the foul depths of the spam-hell, but there are a number of good atheist blogs written by women.

    Google, or check the thinking shop link in the OP for the blogs by

    One Minion’s Opinion
    Greta Christina (who, I think has addressed the gender issue in the atheist community as well, IIRC).
    Angie the Antitheist
    Blag Hag
    That Atheist Bitch


  2. Posted by limadean on December 9, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Rebecca Watson gave a great talk about women in skepticism at Skepticon II this year:


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