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Where Are All The Atheist Women? Right Here - Comments

DamianIcely's Avatar Comment 1 by DamianIcely

I would to see the figures for male/female membership of this website. I'm not sure about total membership but I certainly notice a lot of active women.

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 14:56:51 UTC | #542584

sdando2000's Avatar Comment 2 by sdando2000

So it seems that the original blog post by Monica Shores which this post is refuting suggests that atheists are the mysoginists and racists.

"Sadly, there’s little indication that atheists are receptive to the suggestion that they might benefit from diversifying in color or gender. But unless they commit to fostering true inclusivity, they may continue to invite “deconverts” with one hand while pushing many away with another"

Wow... Really? This just boggles the mind considering the the religious alternatives.

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 15:08:26 UTC | #542591

Shawn Lawrence's Avatar Comment 3 by Shawn Lawrence

Comment 2 by sdando2000 : "Sadly, there’s little indication that atheists are receptive to the suggestion that they might benefit from diversifying in color or gender.

As if the supposed "lack of diversity" is intentional?

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 15:19:05 UTC | #542592

Absinthius's Avatar Comment 4 by Absinthius

We really need to stop letting them get away with the assumption that, like with religions, atheists are a likeminded movement.

Atheism is the ABSENCE of ridiculous superstitions, everyone who doesn't believe in superstitious nonsense can call themselves an atheist, there are no other criteria, no people who make rules to decide who gets to 'join the club'.

Exactly the same what that everyone who isn't a neurosurgeon is an aneurosurgionist... or whatever the word can be. There is no way you can generalize aneurozurgeonists... on any bases other than them not performing neurosurgery on a regular basis.

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 15:27:08 UTC | #542598

green and dying's Avatar Comment 5 by green and dying

Comment 1 by DamianIcely :

I would to see the figures for male/female membership of this website. I'm not sure about total membership but I certainly notice a lot of active women.

Compared with the number of men, though?

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 15:29:31 UTC | #542599

Hideous Dwarf's Avatar Comment 6 by Hideous Dwarf

It would be interesting to know the number of women who are currently recognised as leaders of the world's religions. No names are springing to mind, but of course, they're usually not allowed, are they?

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 15:31:32 UTC | #542600

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 7 by AtheistEgbert

"Is it accurate when the media portrays the atheist movement as a club for old white men?"

The anti-atheist agenda among the media will resort to anything to propagate their hate and propaganda. The new justification is 'consensus' because there are so many anti-atheist articles written, that now forms a consensus from which to write yet more anti-atheist articles.

What makes this comparison so absurd is the track record for hatred against women among religions. Women are second-class citizens as portrayed in the Koran and the Bible. Women are considered unclean and practically evil in both religions too.

Calling new atheism a 'white' movement is really a kind of reverse racism and bigotry that isn't even supported in reality. It is part of a desperate and pathetic smear campaign because what new atheists have to say can't be argue against with reason or facts.

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 15:32:54 UTC | #542603

Cestriana's Avatar Comment 8 by Cestriana

A similar question to this was posed on Rdnet some months ago when somebody asked why women were more inclined to be religious than men. One or two responded by suggesting that it was because women are less capable of original and independent thought and as such are less intellectual than men, hence the reason for the disparity.

I'd say that you don't need to be a high-flying intellectual to come to the conclusion that all relgion is nothing more than mumbo jumbo.

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 15:36:36 UTC | #542605

chezzyd's Avatar Comment 9 by chezzyd

I'm a woman!!! LOL

p.s. They just don't get it do they.... Atheism is not a religion dumbasses! Of course religion is far more inclusive where women are concerned, just so long as you are a virgin and don't try to take the bish's job away from him.

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 15:39:26 UTC | #542608

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 10 by Nunbeliever

Where are all the (prolific) atheist women? I think this in a way a strange question. Where are all the female religious leaders? Where are all the female leading scientists? Where are all the female leading politicians? Where are all the female leading intellectuals? Where are all the female business leaders... the list could go on and on. The sad fact is that white middle-aged men more or less rule the world. At least the western world. The reason why there are not that many prolific female atheists out there is the same reason as why there aren't that many prolific female persons in positions of power out there in general.

Of course a rational movement like the atheist movement ought to be, in my opinion, forerunners when it comes to promoting gender equality. Still, atheist live in the same society as others.

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 15:45:28 UTC | #542610

green and dying's Avatar Comment 11 by green and dying

Agreed, Nunbeliever. Though it absolutely doesn't mean we should just be resigned to it.

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 15:51:25 UTC | #542611

mirandaceleste's Avatar Comment 12 by mirandaceleste

Comment 4 by Absinthius :

We really need to stop letting them get away with the assumption that, like with religions, atheists are a likeminded movement.

Atheism is the ABSENCE of ridiculous superstitions, everyone who doesn't believe in superstitious nonsense can call themselves an atheist, there are no other criteria, no people who make rules to decide who gets to 'join the club'.

Exactly the same what that everyone who isn't a neurosurgeon is an aneurosurgionist... or whatever the word can be. There is no way you can generalize aneurozurgeonists... on any bases other than them not performing neurosurgery on a regular basis.

Of course anyone can become an atheist. That's not what Jen is discussing here, though. Her article, and the article which inspired this response, are about the atheist movement (activism that is driven by a person's atheism), not atheism itself.

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 15:52:55 UTC | #542614

Sajanas's Avatar Comment 13 by Sajanas

I find it more curious that there should be more religious women than there are atheist women. Lets face it, they tend to face a pretty bum deal from most of the major religions. My girlfriend became an atheist as a very young age because she was unwilling to accept the Bible's assumptions that she was impure, or somehow not as good. I suspect a lot of religions get by through providing women with a lot of organizational posts while at the same time excluding them from positions of higher authority (like the Anglicans and their 'controversy' over having women bishops). I've known a lot of women (including my mother and both my grandparents) to simply convert to their husbands religion, rather than stick with their own. Its kind of a new thing in the world for women's religious opinions to be really counted at all, so its only a matter of time before women atheists start to rise to the same levels of prominence as the current batch.

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 16:13:15 UTC | #542618

Obi wan kolobi's Avatar Comment 14 by Obi wan kolobi

It's not like there is, or should be an "atheist outreach program" targeted at women and minorities. Women certainly have played a major role in free-thinking organizations, and though none of the "four horsemen" of the "new atheism" just happen to be females, I'm not sure why that matters.

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 16:26:50 UTC | #542625

Ania's Avatar Comment 15 by Ania

Comment 10 by Nunbeliever :

Where are all the (prolific) atheist women? I think this in a way a strange question. Where are all the female religious leaders? Where are all the female leading scientists? Where are all the female leading politicians? Where are all the female leading intellectuals? Where are all the female business leaders... the list could go on and on. The sad fact is that white middle-aged men more or less rule the world. At least the western world. The reason why there are not that many prolific female atheists out there is the same reason as why there aren't that many prolific female persons in positions of power out there in general.

Of course a rational movement like the atheist movement ought to be, in my opinion, forerunners when it comes to promoting gender equality. Still, atheist live in the same society as others.

I totally agree. I don't know if women are raised to be that way or if it's something biological that makes them less ambitious in those directions of life. My hunch is that it's way more of cultural/oppressive influence, considering that in countries such as Sweden, where gender equality is actually enforced and acknowledged at one of the highest levels of any country in the world, you actually get as many women CEOs leading giant corporations as men.

(Sweden btw is also the most atheist country in the world - at around 80% - also on of the healthiest in terms of social structure and standard of living)

Whatever other women want to do with their lives is up to them. I will definitely strive to be a leader in my field at least.

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 16:38:36 UTC | #542629

green and dying's Avatar Comment 16 by green and dying

Comment 14 by Obi wan kolobi :

It's not like there is, or should be an "atheist outreach program" targeted at women and minorities. Women certainly have played a major role in free-thinking organizations, and though none of the "four horsemen" of the "new atheism" just happen to be females, I'm not sure why that matters.

Of course it doesn't matter to you, I doubt you've ever had to look particularly hard for prominent role models of your own gender in any field or movement. Therefore, everything must be fine!

You know part of what the critics are complaining about is people insisting "there is no problem, how dare you?!?!???"

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 16:46:00 UTC | #542635

blitz442's Avatar Comment 17 by blitz442

Comment 10 by Nunbeliever

The sad fact is that white middle-aged men more or less rule the world

I would like to know the distribution of female posters on this site around the various topics and discussions. I suspect that you will find that certain gender-neutral topics, such as here and here, are greatly underrepresented by female posters compared to other topics. If true, why should this be? Is the disparity evidence of sexism by the male posters on these topics? Maybe women would love to participate in these topics, but have grown up in a sexist society that has discouraged them from scientific or broad conceptual thinking? Or maybe, just maybe, there are no sexist barriers; females are simply much less interested in this sort of non-practical, hyper technical, or very abstract subject matter, and would rather spend their time on topics they deem much more important and interesting?

Those who automatically suspect that some type of sexism going on whenever they see a disparity in participation rates that favors men over women (but curiously no sexism exists when the reverse is observed), and therefore by implication men are at fault and corrective measures need to put in place, need to realize that this is increasingly becoming a knee-jerk, inaccurate, and harmful way to look at the Western world.

Even if every trace of sexism favoring men was erased from the world, I would not expect the numbers of prominent female rationalists, skeptics, and atheists to rival those of males, just as I would never expect the number of female posters on this site to rival those of males.

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 17:29:44 UTC | #542655

rrh1306's Avatar Comment 18 by rrh1306

Comment Removed by Author

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 17:45:27 UTC | #542659

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 19 by InYourFaceNewYorker

I too have wondered why more atheists tend to be penis-carriers than not. Obviously this article is a good contradiction of that assumption, but I still have noticed it. In New York City Atheists, most of the members are penis-carriers. I don't go that much (mostly because it really is a lot of old people-- nearly none are younger than 60) but when I have I tend to be either the only non-penis-carrier there or one of two non-penis-carriers. I guess then I wonder if women are more likely to be religious than men. If that is the case, then why?

Of course, the other possibility is that penis-carriers tend to be more outspoken than non-penis-carriers, whether because of testosterone levels, cultural expectations, or both...

Julie (a non-penis-carrier atheist who is more outspoken than most penis-carriers) :)

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 17:55:24 UTC | #542663

opposablethumbs's Avatar Comment 20 by opposablethumbs

Comment 17 by blitz442

Even if every trace of sexism favoring men was erased from the world, I would not expect the numbers of prominent female rationalists, skeptics, and atheists to rival those of males, just as I would never expect the number of female posters on this site to rival those of males.

Begging the question. Sexism is very deeply ingrained - I suspect that it is actually very difficult even to imagine a society free of it, just because none of us have ever experienced one. It's perhaps our most "common sense" prejudice, the one where we can't see the wood for the dense forest in which we've all grown up. But we do know that human beings are at least capable of shedding blinkers - after all, racism used to be just as much a universal "common-sense" position based on "facts" about inferior/superior intelligence, lack of intellectual capacity etc. Religion used to be almost universal, and just look at us now... (well, better than we used to be, at least!).

Some of Ursula K. LeGuin's sci-fi and short stories for adults are quite good at imagining a new way of seeing, which often just brings out how difficult it is to question or even be aware of our own almost unconscious assumptions, let alone untangle the subtlety with which they influence people's thinking and behaviour.

Not an absolute there-can-be-no-differences-EVER position, by the way - just that I think we're not very good at seeing what if anything they might be in that hypothetical sexism-free world

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 17:56:14 UTC | #542664

Emmeline's Avatar Comment 21 by Emmeline

Another prominent woman to add to the list:

The late Claire Rayner, former President of the British Humanist Association.

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 18:07:28 UTC | #542665

mgjinich's Avatar Comment 22 by mgjinich

Atheist women? I am one of them!!! Actually, to be technically correct, I am a Radical Agnostic!

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 18:08:14 UTC | #542667

blitz442's Avatar Comment 23 by blitz442

Comment 20 by opposablethumbs

Begging the question. Sexism is very deeply ingrained - I suspect that it is actually very difficult even to imagine a society free of it, just because none of us have ever experienced one. It's perhaps our most "common sense" prejudice, the one where we can't see the wood for the dense forest in which we've all grown up.

Is sexism like some mystical force? You can't really detect it, but you just KNOW that it surrounds us and influences our every decision?

That sounds to me like a black person accusing me of being a racist, despite that fact that they cannot detect any racist behavior on my part. "Even if you don't demonstrate any racism, you grew up in a racist society. Racism is so deeply ingrained, you know, it's there even if you can't see it. You are still a racist." Can't argue with that logic. But at some point, it becomes so miniscule and non-influential that it outlives it's usefulness as an explanation for disparities between groups

Not an absolute there-can-be-no-differences-EVER position, by the way - just that I think we're not very good at seeing what if anything they might be in that hypothetical sexism-free world

I gave as an example the disparity between female posters on certain topics on this very site. Do you actually think that sexism explains any of the difference? If so, is it sexism on the part of the male posters?

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 18:12:48 UTC | #542671

Layla's Avatar Comment 24 by Layla

This article reads as though the author thinks Shores was failing to recognise the existence of atheist women. Shores was pointing out that we're underrepresented not that we aren't out there. The point of the original article still stands.

How many prominent atheist women could you name? Did you know all those women in the article above? I could have only named Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Male voices vastly outnumber those of women on this website. Why is that?

How many times do people on this site make sexist comments about women and receive no censure? In my opinion that contributes to an atmosphere unwelcoming to female posters.

The sexism among atheists is not in anyway due to their being atheists, of course, but the original article didn't actually imply that.

I have noticed the way that Richard Dawkins makes a positive attempt to include women in his use of language and I'm very glad he does.

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 18:14:24 UTC | #542672

blitz442's Avatar Comment 25 by blitz442

Comment 24 by Layla

How many times do people on this site make sexist comments about women and receive no censure? In my opinion that contributes to an atmosphere unwelcoming to female posters

So "sexist comments" and an "unwelcoming atmosphere" explains disparities in the gross number of male and female posters on this site. Does it explain the disparities within the different topics on this site? If women shy away from a particular topic, is it because the male posters were sexist?

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 18:19:08 UTC | #542674

Layla's Avatar Comment 26 by Layla

Comment 17 by blitz442 : Even if every trace of sexism favoring men was erased from the world, I would not expect the numbers of prominent female rationalists, skeptics, and atheists to rival those of males, just as I would never expect the number of female posters on this site to rival those of males.

And why the hell not?

Perhaps it's because you think women, no, sorry, "females", are simply much less interest in this type of ..hmm..intelligent topic?

Please! Speak for yourself!

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 18:20:34 UTC | #542675

green and dying's Avatar Comment 27 by green and dying

blitz442, there's no need to be so defensive. No one is personally accusing you or all male posters of deliberate malice. Not everything is actually about you.

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 18:24:22 UTC | #542677

blitz442's Avatar Comment 28 by blitz442

Comment 26 by Layla

And why the hell not?

Because at large, more men are interested in this shit than women, or rather, women just don't get as jazzed up about it as men. I don't know why, but I highly doubt that it has anything to do with sexism.

It's ok that men and women tend to like different things. We don't have to strive for some ridiculous, forced parity on every single area of human behavior and interest.

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 18:27:10 UTC | #542680

green and dying's Avatar Comment 29 by green and dying

Well, seems like we're going to get some excellent examples in this thread of why women don't always feel included in these spaces. Sad, because I think it's been MUCH better since the new version of the site.

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 18:32:38 UTC | #542683

Logicel's Avatar Comment 30 by Logicel

Bias is not a mystical force. It has been studied extensively. A recent study shows that as society becomes more egalitarian, people still may hold bias, but they do not act on them. However, when they are tired or stressed, like when drunk or hungry, they can say or do sexist/racist statements/acts. In that case, the study shows that it is much better to not brand such people as racists or sexists, but to simply point out that such behavior is not congenial to good societal relating. When done in this manner, such behavior will many times be disregarded. If the viewer of such behavior thinks that such behavior is that of a bona fide racist/sexist, then they will not correct the behavior. A vicious circle is set in motion.

However, it has been shown to be very difficult to do that in certain atheist circles. It has been pointed out many times that sexist comments do not make you a sexist in the sense that all you do is try to oppress women every chance you get, but such spoken bias is still problematic.

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 18:32:40 UTC | #542684