Rebecca Watson

Rebecca Watson (Photo from here: )

Skepchick founder Rebecca Watson has been awarded the Blag Hag Most Influential Female Atheist of 2011 Award!

The awarding blogpost is here.

The acceptance speech is here.

I’m very happy Rebecca won this award, and I’m also glad Greta Christina came in a strong second. The other women on the list were all deserving of recognition as well.

And when I look at this list I am not left feeling that there are any particular men that should be added as tokens. Funny that. (Especailly funny if you go read Rebecca’s acceptance speech!)

Females, especially younger women and girls, are not as welcome in the Atheist Community as are men. There are indeed many women who are atheists, and many of those are quite active. But to be a woman active in the atheist community, two things are almost always, I think, true: 1) You are not allowed to forget that you’re a woman before you’re an atheist, and not in a good way but in a stereotyped, sexualized, objectified and exploited way; and 2) one of your main jobs as an activist, blogger, writer, or speaker, may very well be dealing with sexism not only generally but in your particular field of interest as well.


I would not have thought this necessary but I was wrong. A “Community” is like a neighborhood. Pertinent to the present discussion, no matter how many female-welcoming (or even indifferent) people live there, and no how many non sexist, non misogynist, pro-feminist, female-friendly places, subgroups, places to go or places to be or things to do there may be in that neighborhood, if many of the street corners and parks and other public spaces are habitually occupied by groups of dick-headed immature women hating misogynists who harass and bother and abuse any women that show up in that neighborhood, then the neighborhood is not welcoming to women. A community is like a neighborhood, and our community (of atheists or skeptics) is a lot like that neighborhood I just described.

And what I’m saying here applies as well to the Skeptical Community, quite possibly because the Atheist and Skeptics communities have quite a bit of overlap.

I have proof of that last point: That female atheists address issues related to sex and sexism more than men. I looked at the last three substantive (i.e., not a random YouTube clip) posts of all the male bloggers at and the last six of all the female bloggers (there are so many more male bloggers that I was worried about sample size) and categorized them. Here’s the chart I came up with:

female bloggers blog more about sex, sexism, and glbta issues

Bloggers by type vs. topics blogged,, recently

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And now, the final installment in this series of posts (the previous installment is here).

Picture of Richard Dawkins Scowling

This is Richard Dawkins. There are about 27,000,000 atheists and other sorts of non-believes in the United States.

Richard Dawkins didn’t do any damage to himself. Most of the people who were going to buy his books will still buy his books, he’ll continue to pack lecture halls as he travels around giving talks, and he’ll continue to have the kind of influence that he has had for several years now, which is by and large a very positive one, on the way society approaches things like religion, atheism, and skepticism.

But he has probably lost some colleagues. His treatment of both the issues surrounding Elevator Gate and his treatment of his colleague Rebecca Watson was appalling. And yes, Rebecca and Richard were colleagues. The two of them have traveled similar circuits, sat on panels together, and so on. Despite what star struck fans may think, Richard Dawkins does not actually live in an utterly different world than the rest of us. He still puts his pants on one leg at a time, and he is still part of a community of people doing similar, and overlapping things. Continue reading

Continuing our discussion (see Making sense of our fights on the Internet, Power and Presence on the Internet and Elsewhere, and A Spectrum as a Slippery Slope and OMG Hitler is a Nazi!!!!) …

I was at a local event recently where a group of sex-positive third-wave feminist women had traditionally used a certain amount of overt sexuality to raise some money. They had been doing it for a few years and had gained a certain reputation and a certain following. A friend of mine who knew of their work but did not know them personally joined in during this most recent event and volunteered to work the door, as it were, to help to relieve some of the visitors and participants of a little cash (this was a fundraiser). I was not present for that part of the event but some of the people involved, who had been involved for several years, later said to me that they felt my friend had gone a bit over the top in her performance. I asked for a description of what concerned them, and when I heard it I had to laugh a little. You see, over the years, these women have changed their own act from a more to a less sexy parody version of themselves, toning it down and calibrating, for a number of different reasons. The young woman who joined them this year had calibrated her own approach to their reputation and not to their current approach. She was a blast, as it were, from the past, and that was a little shocking. Continue reading

… continuing ….

When Rebecca commented about Stef McGraw’s commentary in her talk at a the CFI Student Leadership Conference, at which Stef was in attendance as a student leader, there were those who complained that this was unfair; Rebecca has a big presence and a resounding voice on the Internet and in the Skeptics and Atheists communities, and for good reason. Therefore, when she speaks critically of a person or a person’s ideas, where that person has less of a voice, who is less well known or less well established, that could be seen as somehow unfair, or at least, uneven. Continue reading

After the Big Bang, more or less evenly distributed stuff and energy somehow became slightly unevenly distributed, which caused a kind of Universal Angular Momentum to set in which gave early heterogeneity and structure to everything that existed. The lightest elements formed more or less spontaneously, but in order for heavier elements to form matter had to get sufficiently clumped in stars that massive gravitational forces changed light elements into heavy ones. Perhaps if the initial clumping and spinning of stuff in the very early universe was a little bit different, the whole universe would have come out differently, in detail if not in other more profound ways. Or at least, I’d be wearing a blue tee shirt instead of a black one right now and I’d be using vim instead of emacs to type this blog post.

When Elevatorgate happened, the ensuing Universe Known as Rebeccapocalypse was shaped and determined by a number of early events that have caused the final result … well, not the “final” result, but the result that we are stuck with as of this writing … but had those first few days of Internet activity been a little different things might have come out a different way.

Here I would like to do two things. Continue reading

This is what Kurt Metzger wants Rebecca Watson to look like. Misogyny? Fetish? Hard to say.

Answer: When her burka comes back from the dry cleaners!

De-dum dum…..

Now THAT was funny. Unlike Kurt Metzger. Kurt has suggested that women can avoid feeling sexualized by sticking to purdah. That’s when a woman covers herself from head to toe, inclusively, with cloth. It is a practice of patrarchical, misogynist societies in which women are totally controlled by men, often subject to brutal violence, and even killed for not knowing when to shut up or breaking barbaric and absurd rules. Kurt Metzger is a comedian, so what he said can be taken as a joke. Whether or not it can be taken as funny is an otter matter.

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