Friday, 7 September 2012

Urgh, bloody Atheism Plus...

If you've been following the whole Atheism Plus mess, you probably know that Jen McCreight, its creator (or one of them, anyway, she seems to be the most senior of the leaders they keep assuring us they don't have), has - for the time being - stepped back from blogging.  Her reasons can be found here; that link to her own words, by the way, is a courtesy she did not extend to me when she and someone called Veronica chose to assume I was five years old for having the temerity to say something an "old, white man" happened to agree with, seen here.


(This is a tweet posted some time ago by a woman now complaining bitterly that her attempt to make atheism more inclusive has been poorly received.  I wonder at what age she loses the right to an opinion - or does the age qualifier only apply to (white) men?)  I was amused to learn that apparently the way to deal with a woman who disagrees with you is to pat her on the head and explain to her very gently why she might be just a little bit silly to think she doesn't need defending from all the big nasty men out there.  But I digress.

The other day Rebecca Watson posted a Tweet saying... ah.  Oh.  Well, I was going to quote it exactly but I appear to have been blocked by the "fearless" leader of SkepChic (a fact I submit without comment).  If anyone can find the tweet itself please let me know and I'll edit, but essentially it was words to the effect of "Don't feel too smug, misogynists, you may have forced one woman blogger off the internet but I'm going to be twice as gobby now to make up for it!".  Anyway, last night after another tweet (which, of course, I also now can't quote directly) along the lines of "Idiots are having a go at me about A+ but it's nothing to do with me. Must have been a new feature in the Harass Rebecca Daily" I must confess I momentarily lost patience and replied telling her to get over herself.  Within a couple of hours - and again, I report events as they happened without speculation on causal links - I received a tweet from a follower telling me that I've now been screencapped on Watson's blog, too, which you can see here.  (If you haven't come here from Twitter, I'm @Whoozley so I'm the one who said "I'm a woman & an atheist blogger, & never experienced sexist abuse from fellow atheists. Maybe because I don't assume they're misogynists?".)

Now, that tweet that Richard Dawkins RT'd the other week has got me a fair bit of shit, which is a little ridiculous when you bear in mind that all I actually did was effectively to say that I hadn't experienced the problem they were all talking about (still haven't, incidentally) and suggest a possible reason for this perceived disparity in experience.  I wouldn't call the tweets I've been getting "abusive" because that would be pretty demeaning to people who actually are being or have been abused - but some of it's been fairly hysterical and distinctly disproportionate to what I actually said. (N.B.: Please don't read any of this as an attack of the "poor me"s. I said what I said, I stand by it, and if people wish to disagree with it whether rationally or frothingly they have every right to do so. If you don't like taking shit for what you say in a public forum, don't fucking say it.)

On Watson's post, now, I find myself screencapped along with a number of individuals I would be inclined to describe as significantly nastier than I have been.  There's a bit of a contrast between me saying what I said - to the world at large, by the way, it wasn't addressed to anyone in particular - and a person who instructs Watson to kill herself, or expresses hope that she will be raped.

What conclusion can I draw from this?  Well, let's see; I haven't used language anyone might consider objectionable, I haven't called anyone names, I didn't even aim that comment at an individual. So how have I been elevated to the ranks of those who call Watson a cunt and suggest it would do her good to be raped?

As far as I can see, all I have done wrong in the eyes of the feminist bloggers behind Atheism Plus (and Watson's post is itself evidence that she is not uninvolved in it, by the way) has been to disagree with them. Does that truly warrant stacking me up with the genuinely nasty commentators?  I can't stop it happening and wouldn't have the right even if I could, but certainly I think her doing so belies the claim the A+ers have been making ever since Richard Carrier's hilariously jingoistic post (outlined and linked here) that they don't have a "with us or against us" mentality.

There are some points I would like to make to Atheism Plusers, should any happen to read this:

1: A person who objects to the solution you propose is not automatically part of the problem.

2: It is possible do be described as a whiny twat, a brainless cunt or whatever else without having been the victim of misogyny.  Possibly the person saying it is just a dick (oops - is that misandrist?), or possibly - just possibly - you should consider the possibility that you are actually speaking or acting like a whiny twat/brainless cunt. Ownership of a vagina doesn't confer immunity against being a wassock, and it doesn't mean  you can't be a twat any more than ownership of a penis means you can't be a dick.

3: All over the world, right now, millions of women are directly experiencing abuse, oppression, rape, mutilation, even murder. An email telling you to kill yourself is not cool, but it doesn't put you on the same level of victimhood as someone who's been raped or a woman who's had her clitoris hacked off with a stone, either. I'm sort of revolted to find I actually feel an impulse to apologise to you for pointing that out.

4: I don't need protecting, thank you. Nor do lots of other women. I don't feel even slightly threatened by the atheist community, and I'm not going to lie about that just to avoid upsetting you.

5: Our feminist ancestors didn't spend centuries fighting against the constraints of a male-dominated society so that we, their daughters and granddaughters, could be free to conform to the expectations of a group of feminists instead of to those of men. That is not how this works. Furthermore, if you expected me to join your club because I'm a woman too, that doesn't make me the sexist when I refuse.

6: You might be oversensitive. No, really. It is entirely possible for someone to think you're an idiot - or even a twat or a dick - without that opinion being in any way related to your sex.  It is entirely possibly for someone to think you're wrong without it automatically being the case that they think you're wrong because you're a woman. On the plus side, though, this also means it is possible to defend yourself when someone tells you you're wrong by means more sophisticated than calling them a misogynist.  You could actually, you know, explain how their reasoning is at fault instead of making an unfair assumption and making them feel wronged.  As you are now experiencing first-hand, causing someone to feel unjustly maligned does not make them inclined to value your opinion.

7: You can't market yourself as an inclusive movement if you're going to deliberately exclude people, whether that's by directly attacking "old, white men" or more duplicitously by holding yourselves apart from "humanists" (and importantly, if you're going to try to be sneaky about it in that way, don't be dumb enough to actually point out that the two groups have a significant overlap). You also can't claim to speak for gay people, black people, disabled people, transgendered people, Latino people or any other group you describe (rightly or wrongly) as "marginalised" if all the world's going to hear from you is endless bitching because you're a woman and you got called a nasty name.

8: Yes, there are sexist twats out there, both male and female. We know that, they're everywhere, and any person who says they've never experienced sexism hasn't been paying attention.  But just as "nasty email" =/= "rape", so "inadvertently sexist statement" =/= "woman hater".  Intentions matter, and believe me - at this stage, Atheism Plus cannot afford to be disputing that point.


Edit: Snowrunner has very kindly provided me with a link to the Watson tweet I couldn't get for myself - I had the gist right but not the exact words, so if you want to see for yourself it's here. Thanks, Snowrunner!

59 comments:

  1. Welp, as of now Amanda Marcotte has that cap of your tweet in her piece on RAWstory.com. Get ready for some more attention

    What bugs me is that they do not want to admit A+ is a feminist movement. There is no atheism in the forums or the other spaces.

    Excellent post.
    Stay Black, Stay Strong! =)

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    3. Thank you for your (marginally confusing) words of encouragement, you're very kind.

      If anyone's interested, this is a link to the post you mention: I find it baffling that my single tweet defending the 99% of men who're decent people has been enough to tell someone I'm a "woman basher" with daddy issues. On the other hand, if that sort of baseless pop schlock amateur psychology is what they fall back on, I sort of can't help taking that as a commendation!

      http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/09/07/its-really-time-for-the-harassment-to-end/

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  2. I took a screenshot of the Watson tweet, it's here:

    http://i.imgur.com/lG1Dx.png

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  3. Here’s the other tweet: http://cl.ly/JIh4

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  4. Nailed it!! I think you got it right!!

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  5. SoggyMog, your experience very closely parallels the experience of Stef McGraw, who, as unfortunately too few people know, was perhaps the first of the many many people who have been maligned by Watson and who people have reacted in defense of. This is *not* new behaviour. It has been going on for over a year, and then some. See this excellent summary of events: http://freethoughtkampala.wordpress.com/2011/09/11/elevatorgate/ (the rabbit-hole is very deep on this one....)

    I'm not glad that this has also been perpetrated on you, but I am super glad that you've taken the time and energy to speak out about it forthrightly and honestly. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you for your kind feedback. I've been hearing from a few women who've experienced far worse than what I'm getting from the FTBloggers, and I find it a little sickening - not to mention deeply puzzling.

      I confess I am still unable to see how refusing to fabricate stories of victimhood at the hands of nasty atheist men makes me a gender traitor, a sufferer of "daddy issues", insecure or any of the other things that've been said about me. I think I'm quite lucky in that I don't live in the USA so there's not a great deal they can do to me.

      Thank you again. xx

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    2. Stef was not the first, Watson has a long history of drumming up hatred against people and trying to destroy them personally and professionally. See e.g. her despicable campaign against the respected scientist Laurence Krauss, accusing him of trafficking in child sex slaves. http://www.thearmchairskeptic.com/2011/05/rebecca-watson-engages-in-demagoguery.html She is a very vindictive woman and an extremely nasty piece of work.

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    3. Holy hell... thanks for this, Ray, I had no idea!

      Why is it that if the alleged victim is female and the alleged perpetrator male we don't need anything like evidence or proof to publicly hang him?! It's just bizarre, and it's insulting - VERY insulting, actually - to the women among us who prefer to be rational in our dealings with people, of whatever gender or sex.

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  6. Sick to the back teeth of BlagHag, PZ, Benson, and co.
    They're not just divisive, they're incredibly arrogant as to the real problem. (They are the problem).

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    1. Right on! I couldn't agree more. The condescension from PZ and BlagHag have chased me away from Atheism and Secular Humanism, in the social sense. Commenting on BlagHag in particular has been extremely maddening. The thing that drives me wild is how much they eat it up when people clearly kiss their asses. Now we can understand how Christians feel every time Pat Robertson opens his stupid face.

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    2. If you want a giggle, go to the atheism plus site and look up the thread on "chill girls". We're just poor, slightly dim little bimbos who need educating, apparently. Much attention is paid to means of doing this without patronising us, which may be the funniest thing I've read in this whole debacle.

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    3. Their answer seems to be that if you disagree then you are uneducated and they provide you with reference material to educate you. Then having read their stilted platform if you still disagree you are a bigot.

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  7. Talk about picking on the wrong person. Outstanding response to RW's unreasonableness.

    If you're not already actively involved in the atheist community it is my hope that, for the benefit of us all, you become more so from now on. :)

    Best regards,

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    1. Thank you, that's very sweet!

      I'd love to be more involved in the atheist community; it's sad that so far all my time has been absorbed in arguing that I'm allowed to be!

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  8. Amanda Marcotte is painting a smug, self-satisfied picture of what a quisling you apparently are for men in her article and even more so in her comments.

    The fact that she paints an entire picture of you from the text of one single tweet is enough for me to write her off in my book.

    That and she declares misandry a "nonsense" word.

    I'm a recent doubter of some Feminist thought by way of looking up a term I couldn't make heads or tails of. "Radscum"

    Searching for what that insult means led me to some of the vilest writing I've ever seen. Written by both a subset of LGBT activists and some of the feminists they mean to insult by using the term.

    It's certainly been an eye-opener but unfortunately of the sort that makes me want to flush my eyes out.

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  9. Uggg.
    I went over to Marcotte's blog post related to this. Any comment that disagreed with narrative and gave reasons for disagreeing were called "derails" by Marcotte herself.

    Or her followers re-wrote what the author says in what their imagination thinks the poster said.

    I really enjoyed this post and will share it (although doubtful via Twitter...too many people will equate me with hating women even though I am one.)

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    1. Nah, they just call you "Chill Girl" or a "dick" for not signing from the same song sheet. Oh, and if it is twitter they'll just block you for that same audacity.

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    2. Remember, Marcotte's the person who said that people who though the Duke Lacrosse team might be innocent were "rape loving scum."

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    3. Brian, that's a new one on me (I'd never heard of Marcotte before she wrote about me). Could I possibly impose upon you to ask for a link, do you think?

      Thanks for your words of support, guys, they're much appreciated. xxx

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    4. Apparently, the gist of the arguments against your post is "YOU may not be a victim, but a lot of us are! And you have to respect our victimhood!"

      This is really, really inspiring stuff for the movement to get women equal treatment and equal respect... crying whenever anyone threatens their sacred victim status.

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  10. "I'm the one who said "I'm a woman & an atheist blogger, & never experienced sexist abuse from fellow atheists. Maybe because I don't assume they're misogynists?".

    While I agree with your list of points at the end of your blog, I can actually sorta see where they're coming from on this. I think they've read it as you saying the "abuse" is DEFINITELY sexist, and that they were asking for it by assuming misogyny. Which would IMO understandably be aggravating. No-one deserves actual sexism.

    Whereas what I suspect you meant was that the remarks being labelled as "sexist" and "misogynist" are legitimate objections that are being passed over - i.e. not actually sexist, misogynist etc.

    "3: All over the world, right now, millions of women are directly experiencing abuse, oppression, rape, mutilation, even murder. An email telling you to kill yourself is not cool, but it doesn't put you on the same level of victimhood as someone who's been raped or a woman who's had her clitoris hacked off with a stone, either. I'm sort of revolted to find I actually feel an impulse to apologise to you for pointing that out."

    You mean the Richard Dawkins ElevatorGate argument? I suspect that won't go down well either. What I will say is that the not-at-all-leaders of Atheism+ don't seem to be above using the there-are-worse-things-you-know argument themselves when it suits them, like Greta Christina's appraisal of what kinds of divisiveness people focus on:

    hxxp://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2012/08/30/atheism-plus-and-some-thoughts-on-divisiveness/

    I'm sure it is possible to care about *gasp* more than one issue at once!

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    1. No what they read, and if you look at the comments it becomes very very clear, that she just isn't "tuned in" to the "plight" that all these women atheists suffer on a daily basis and by her dismissing it she's a "chill girl" and an apologist for the patriarchy.

      The reality is that unless you agree with everything they say you clearly are against them and you are against them because they are women ergo, you must be one of the "THEM" that they don't want in THEIR group.

      If those wouldn't be grown people it would actually be amusing.

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    2. Fair enough. I'll confess I've not read the followup comments, admittedly.

      Life's too short.

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  11. It's amazing. On Marcotte's blog someone pointed out, politely, that "psychoanalyzing [you] based on a single tweet goes a bit far". The response is to deny any presumption, and the entire thread is filled with her telling other people what they actually meant to say which she sits on her high horse.

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  12. I just want to say thank you for being one of the few reasoned voices in this debacle. Its a shame you were dragged into it but after reading this i am certainly glad that you were.

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  13. I am so glad I found you. This whole thing about A+ gives me a headache. Don't the A+ers know that nobody likes the kid that sets the grade curve? Seriously, I'm a grown woman, and from my impression of the fellas generally involved in the atheist blogs and conventions, I just don't see a threat. Stupidity, silliness, false bravado, showing off? Yep. But in the end, they are mostly just foolish sci-fi geeks, I ain't afraid of no nerds!

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  14. Excellent post.Nice to hear another reasonable opinion on this subject.

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  15. Excellent post. Hugs and stay brave! Atheist conventions are totally non-scary compared to most anywhere else you might happen to be. As for troll comments online, they land directly in the laps of those who pay them attention. There's a reason "Don't feed the trolls" is a thing. xoxo

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    1. Hi Maria,

      Wonderful to hear from you, thank you for your words of support! I understand you've had a pretty hard time yourself with some of this stuff (far worse than I've been getting). Would you be willing to DM me your email address on Twitter so we can have a chat? (Confidential, of course.)

      Thanks lovely. xxx

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  16. Oh, as an aside, they did manage to silence McGraw, unfortunately.

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    1. Just keep in mind, when they do it they do it for the "greater good".

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  17. Well done, SoggyMog. You've put it much more succinctly than I ever could.
    I must confess that I don't understand McCreight at all. She puts out a manifesto in which she essentially accuses anyone unwilling to join their group as being against women's rights, LGBT rights and the rest, and wonders why she cops huge amounts of flak. Of course, the nasty stuff is uncalled for and wrong, but the criticism is certainly deserved. Then, to top it all off, she spits the dummy, takes her bongo and beats it. What did she expect?

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  18. It's probably hard to imagine how utterly absurd the whole thing looks from outside. How pointless the whole issue seems and how ridiculous the talibanism and the "with me or against me" cries can sound.

    In any case, thank you for being the voice of reason. One would expect that all atheists would try to be the voice of reason, but unfortunately, unreasonable, stalinist atheism is there also.

    Reason cannot abet sexism, racism or any kind of injustice or abuse of the strong against the weak. Nor can it be an accomplice to witch-hunts and fallacies aplenty. Nor an enemy of free speech and an alibi for mob behavior. Nor the weapon for the weak to abuse others.

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  19. Well done Lucy.

    I think this post has just become essential reading, along with Paula Kirby's "Sisterhood of the Oppressed" statement, for anyone still wondering what all the fuss is about.

    When I was growing up Feminists were strong women who demonstrated by their actions and strength of their arguments that they needed to be taken seriously, today all I am seeing from the McCreight, Watson, Benson, Christina stable is whining, an enthusiasm for playing the victim card and calling anyone with an opposing argument a misogynist or enabler.

    The suffragettes would be turning in their graves!

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    1. That's almost the bit that bothers me the most, Prepagan. I have an aunt who was in her day a *genuine*, trailblazing feminist (and secularist, actually); among other things, she was the first woman ever to be promoted to a particular level of (very senior) post in the UK civil service, back in the sixties. What she would make of A+'s brand of self-pitying bleating I hate to think.

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    2. Excellent comment. My mother was very similar, a pragmatic feminist who took little interest in victimhood & academic theory as she was busy successfully taking on the patriarchy in the NHS. I don't think the A+ crowd realise how US-centric it all is, but everyone is apparently supposed to know all about US academic feminist jargon, plus a smattering of US high school insults & buy into it 100%, cultural or intellectual differences can sod off.When I first encountered A+ I was broadly sympathetic, but the more I read(Carrier's infamous blog was the last straw) the more I cringed.

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  20. Have you heard that Carrier has apologized for some of his tone? Its true.

    Of course, some people aren't big enough to accept his apology and get over it, which only means they were never with A+ causes to begin with.

    Poor guy, being bullied like that. :(

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  21. Well, I was going to post a comment generally agreeing with you but explaining how I'm still bemused by much of this argument, and felt your somewhat strident tone wasn't really helping matters (a strident tone rarely wins over people who disagree with you, it tends to put them off; it usually just wins over the choir and some of those sitting on the fence). But since I randomly can't go back and edit text I've written in this comment box when using my iPad, and I won't have access to a PC for weeks, I drafted it in Notes. Then I found it won't let me paste into this comment box either. Annoying.

    Still, perhaps no bad thing, as in the light of new evidence my opinions have changed somewhat. I posted on Rebecca Watson's blog asking why she was lumping your perfectly polite tweet in with vile, abusive foul-languaged bullying and trolling, and pointed out that this made it look as though she considered even disagreement on the intellectual level to be the same as bullying and abuse. I hit "post" and the message I got back was "your comment is awaiting moderation", or something to that effect.

    And you know what? That was last night. My comment still hasn't appeared, but someone else's has. It seems that she will allow sycophantic comments, or mouth-frothing comments that disagree with her and are easy to shoot down, but not calm, collected, polite skeptical questioning. I'm not now going to post the comment I drafted for your blog because I now think I understand what your beef is, and think that in general you've managed to remain incredibly calm and collected considering these people's intransigence and unwillingness to listen. I still think some of the criticism of A+ you RT on Twitter is pushing the boundaries a bit, though.

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    1. Hi Kieran, good to hear from you in more than 140 characters!

      I will concede that I've perhaps been a little guilty of deliberately winding people up about this whole thing, because honestly at this stage the more infuriated they get the more ridiculous they look. Marcotte's post, for example, better highlights the judgmental, misandrist and jingoistic attitude of the A+ movement than I ever could.

      I know I keep saying it, but again if you step back and look at what I *actually* said in that tweet - that wasn't directed at anyone in particular - the level of response it's generated is beyond ludicrous.

      xxx

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  22. By the way, just to avoid alias confusion, I'm @Kieran_Madden on Twitter :)

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  23. Following on from your previous blog about what's wrong with A+ being the implication that we all have to join just to prove we're "not a dick" there's been something else bothering me about the whole idea, and thanks to Cameron Roberts' blog (@Falsum), which I stumbled across yesterday after you and I both had a bit of a debate with him, I think I've put my finger on it.

    Cameron, in a very long-winded way, basically says that religious people say that atheists can't have a moral code, and that Atheism+ is a way of tying a moral code into atheism. Which, on the surface, sort of seems to make sense.

    Except for one important point: the implication that people who join a group that has a moral code (like most religions) actually live by that moral code. My experience is that most don't, even if a few at least do try. Furthermore, just because a group has a moral code doesn't keep the arseholes out, so an attempt to create a group to give people who aren't arseholes a "safe space" in which to discuss issues is pointless and condescending.

    A+ isn't a rebranding of atheism, as some have claimed. It's a rebranding of humanism, only without humanism's broad base, rich history and inclusiveness. A+ adherents have had plenty to say about the problems of sexism within the atheist community - something I can't comment on for lack of experience - but as far as I can see they have little to say about what's wrong with humanism.

    If we need a label that says "I don't believe in God but I'm not a dick," what's wrong with being an atheist humanist?

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    1. Absolutely, Feanor, I agree completely.

      The only argument I've yet seen against simply using (or even adapting!) the label "humanist" is pretty well summed up in McCreight's tweet as shared in the OP. Pretty much sums it up for me.

      Bluntly, I think there's a lot of ego at play here - they want to think of themselves as trailblazers and progressives, and they've got so carried away with that idea they've totally failed to notice there's nothing remotely new about their values. So what's the response when someone politely raises their hand to say "hang on, we've been doing this for years"? "Well, you're a man/sister punisher". And they have a go at the rest of us for not being inclusive enough?!

      Right then.

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  24. Well, became a member just to show some support from another female atheist(A black one at that,lol). I share in your opinion about SkepChic/A+'ers. Hope those nutters will soon find another chew-toy (Perhaps one actually deserving of their wrath, if there is such a thing.). Thank you for a female voice from this side of their imposed divide.

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    1. Hi Cristall,

      Thanks for your support. I have to say, I've been pleasantly surprised by how many women have been willing to speak against the A+ers - not least because it inevitably makes them/us a target for all sorts of bizarre and completely unjustified accusations!

      xxx

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  25. I read the Rebecca Watson blog post where she equates her feminism work with saving a stray cat. Thanks, Watson. I wasn't even aware we all needed saving.

    Of course, her bio at the end says she leads a team of "skeptical female bloggers." I've been told by her ilk tht using "female" is sexist and to use "woman" instead. I think she's a secret MRA sent to make women activists look bad.

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    1. Hahahahaha - I have to admit, Katie, I hadn't seen the cat thing quite in that light!

      Actually, I have a stray I've sort of half-adopted too; he can't come in the house because he's an entire tom and he sprays everywhere (plus he beats up my two cats), but he has a bed in the garage and food left for him every day.

      You're right, though - it would never have occurred to me to use him as an analogy for all the millions of first-world women who're downtrodden, overlooked and in desperate need of my protection if only they could be made to realise it!

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  26. You hit the nail on the head! Those are the exact reasons I will not join the atheist+ movement. It's so nice to read a blog by someone with a rational head on their shoulders.

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  27. When I saw your tweet in RW's blog I was confused. If that was what she was referring to as hateful misogynist attacks then, well, I don't know. The logic circuits in my brain are smoking and about to blow. I am glad you have been able to state so clearly a rational response.

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  28. The brilliant thing about A+ is that it poisons the well for disagreement almost perfectly. It's like "Pro-Life". If you're against them, you must be against life. WHY ARE YOU PRO-DEATH.

    So because you're in disagreement with A+, you must be against equal rights for all, etc.

    It's really brilliant, in a twisted sort of way. But in any event, it allows them to dismiss all disagreement as coming from misogynists, chill girls, etc.

    I'm still rather proud of how Ophelia used her massive philosophical skills to crown me a "Vicious Piece of Shit".

    I almost want to make T-shirts for it: Ophelia Benson Hates Me.

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    1. Well, that's the beauty of claiming ownership of virtue; anyone who questions you in any way is delcaring themselves the enemy of all that is good and true. And as such, they can be dismissed without actually addressing their arguments!

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  29. Jesus fucking christ.

    I'm not sure what posessed me but having failed to post a few comments on RW's blog, because she vets everything and blocks anything that disagrees with her in a well-argued way, I had a bit of spare time over the weekend so I weighed into the discussion here after seeing some guy who wasn't great with words being completely pilloried: www.rawstory.com/2012/09/07/its-really-time-for-the-harassment-to-end/.

    I ended up wasting a third, maybe half of my weekend debating with these nutters. A few engaged with me properly but most did their best to vilify me because I dared suggest that if they're in social environments they should expect social interaction, or because I took issue with the statement that "From the cradle, men are told that they are better than women and that women are there to serve them."

    I was even told by the writer of that article that "100 of the men who insist on the label 'some' be attached to posts where it's implied by context are in the group being criticised."

    REALLY?!?

    I ripped her apart for that one and never got another response from her but all my other posts were picked apart for the slightest error of language that could possibly be taken to interpret that I was saying something I clearly never meant to say.

    Don't get me wrong, I was warned, so I'm not complaining. But this has been an interesting experience for me. I'm kinda glad I did it, although I'm a bit concerned that despite my best of intentions I was drawn into saying or implying things I didn't really mean and thus may have done damage to my (our?) cause instead of having helped it. I'd be grateful if anyone could give me some honest feedback - the discussions are long though.

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    2. It makes me want to cry, it really does. One literally cannot disagree with - or even in the mildest terms query - what these people say without being hung out to dry as a misogynist (if you're male) or a sister-punisher/"man-ally" (if you're female).

      There are two points that have occurred to me since writing the OP above; they're probably don't justify their own new post (although correct me if you think otherwise), but I'll mention them here.

      1: I am not VAIN enough to be the FTBlogger brand of feminist. I realised that from the discussion you got pulled into, Feanor, it was fascinating in a sick sort of way. I don't see how these people can go through life thinking the only possible reason a man could speak to them is because he wants to hit on them. The example I remember is "watcha reading?" in a coffee shop, which elicited the somewhat disproportionate response "fuck off". Now, I don't deny for a moment that some - possibly even most - men who approach women they don't know do so at least partly with the hope that they might get laid. I'm CERTAIN that happens a lot. But I can't see the mentality; on the one hand, I'm not vain enough to assume every man on the planet wants to shag me, and on the other hand my opinion of myself is not so low that I consider my body the only part of me in which a man could possibly feel an interest. I just find it bizarre.

      2: A related point I want to make about the knee-jerk "fuck off" response some of these women claim they have is that I can't see much to distinguish it from the caricature of the hilariously sheltered straight guy who goes to a gay bar for the first time and spends the entire evening with his back pressed to the wall because he assumes every other man in the room will rape him given half a chance. We would rightly call such a man homophobic, whether we found it more insulting or amusing. Why is it OK for A+ers and their ilk to make precisely the same assumption about every man who speaks to them? Who the HELL do these women think they are?!

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  30. Let me get this straight.
    RW blocks you from her Twitter feed but feels entirely justified in screencapping your tweets?

    Late to the party but glad I discovered your blog.

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  31. Excellent, reasoned and, more to the point, reality based post. I had the bad form to try and inject a bit of commentary regarding how the A+ leaders were doing serious damage to their supposed cause by there overly aggressive and broad brush approach. I was promptly dismissed and shoved over into the 'obviously misogynist' group. The net result was my researching the various forums, including A+ itself, and came away with the inescapable conclusion that the group leaders are inherently ego driven Orwellian Stalanists. What a frightful bunch.

    I am not a participant in the convention scene, but I found a post by someone who is particularly interesting. They theorized that A+ is being driven by the desire to control and monolize the convention circuit by vilifying the competition. Not sure if there is anything to that, but it does not take much of a stretch to see the potential.

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  32. Do you suppose all this nonsense from the A+ & Skepchick crowd is peculiarly American? I have a sense it is.

    One minute people were arguing the toss about skepticism and atheism, the next it was the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade and either you paid obeisance or you were persona non grata.

    I'm hoping it won't last. Either the current Myers/Watson crowd get bored and or grow up; or else everyone else recognises them for the cliquish irrelevent bores they are and ignores them.

    Fingers crossed.


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