Atheism and sexism

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The atheist population is skewed towards having more men than women (see: Atheism and women). In addition, racial minorities in the Western World are underrepresented within the atheist population (see: Western atheism and race).

Atheist women currently experience a considerable amount of sexism and harassment from atheist men. For example, in 2014, the prominent atheist PZ Myers said of fellow New Atheist Richard Dawkins' attitude towards women: "At a time when our movement needs to expand its reach, it’s a tragedy that our most eminent spokesman has so enthusiastically expressed such a regressive attitude.”[1] In 2014, the prominent New Atheist Sam Harris said that atheist activism lacks an “estrogen vibe” and was “to some degree intrinsically male”.[2]

Writing on the sexism within the atheist community, atheist Victoria Bekiempis wrote in a Guardian article entitled Why the New Atheism is a boys' club:

Annie Laurie Gaylor, who founded the Freedom From Religion Foundation with her mother, Anne Nicol Gaylor, in 1978, sums it up succinctly: “One word — sexism.” Gaylor’s husband, Dan Barker, who helms the organization along with her, is usually the one invited to speaking engagements, despite her longer tenure as the organization’s leader and her numerous books on atheism.[3]

Katie Engelhart in her July 21, 2013 Salon article Atheism Has a Women Problem wrote:

Around the time that the Dawkins-Hitchens-Harris tripartite published its big wave of Atheist critique, historian Jennifer Michael Hecht published “ Doubt” and journalist Susan Jacoby published “ Freethinkers“—both critically acclaimed. And yet, these women, and many others, failed to emerge as public figures, household names. “Nobody talked about [Doubt] as a ‘phenomenon,’” Hecht has noted. “They just talked about the book.” What gives?

The lady Atheist has a troubled history....[4]

Atheism and rape

Atheism and mass rape

Melody Hensley and harassment from atheist men

On May 15, 2014, the Washington Post reported that Melody Hensley, executive director of the Washington branch of the Center For Inquiry, was "diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after a vicious flood of online and social media attacks that included threats of rape, murder and photographs of dismembered women. Many of her harassers, she believes, are men in the secular community."[5]

Rebecca Watson and harassment from atheist men post Elevatorgate

Post Elevatorgate controversy, at an atheist convention, Rebecca Watson claimed:

Hundreds of atheists have informed me that either they wanted to rape me, someone should rape me so that I will loosen up or that no one would ever rape me because I am so ugly".[6]

In July 2012, Watson declared: "It get regular rape threats. I get regular rape and murder threats".[7] Furthermore, in August 2013, Rebecca Watson said that post Elevatorgate she received a flood of rape threats and she continues to receive rape threats (see: Atheism and rape).[8]

Additional information

For more information please see:

Sam Harris and charges of misogny

Like his fellow new atheist Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris has raised the ire of feminists.[9][10][11]

In 2014, Harris said that atheist activism lacks an “estrogen vibe” and was “to some degree intrinsically male”.[12]

On October 3, 2014, Salon magazine published an online article titled, Atheism’s shocking woman problem: What’s behind the misogyny of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris?[13] On September 20, 2014, the feminist blogger Libby Anne wrote an article entitled Is Sam Harris Sexist?[14] Atheist Sam Fincke wrote a piece entitled On Sam Harris’s Reply to Feminist Critics.[15]

In his defense, Harris published an article on his website titled, “I’m Not the Sexist Pig You’re Looking For”[16]

Atheism and the sexual exploitation of women and children

The infamous pornographers Hugh Hefner and Larry Flynt are both atheists.[19][20][21]

In 2003, Arena magazine magazine listed Flynt as #1 on the "50 Powerful People in Porn" list.[22] Flynt is paralyzed from the waist down due to injuries sustained from a 1978 assassination attempt by the serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin.[23][24]

For more information, please see: Atheism and pornography

Barna Group study

The Barna Group found that atheists and agnostics in America were more likely, than theists in America, to look upon the following behaviors as morally acceptable: pornography; obscene sexual behavior; illegal drug use; excessive drinking; sexual relationships outside of marriage; abortion; cohabitating with someone of opposite sex outside of marriage and obscene language.[25]

For more information, please see: Atheism and pornography

Atheism and child pornography

See also: Atheism and child pornography

Historically, atheistic societies/individuals have played a significant role in the production and usage of child pornography (See: Atheism and child pornography).

Godless China and gender discrimination

The New York Times reported: "According to corporate records examined by The New York Times, fewer than 1 in 10 board members of China’s top 300 companies are women. That measure, significantly smaller than the proportion of women on corporate boards in the United States..."[26]

See also: China, atheism and gender discrimination

China has the world's largest atheist population.[27][28] See also: Asian atheism

The current atheist population mostly resides in East Asia (particularly China) and in secular Europe/Australia primarily among whites.[29] See: Western atheism and race

The New York Times reported:

Chinese women are losing ground in the work force compared with men, their representation falling steadily with each rung up the professional ladder. Women make up 44.7 percent of the work force, but just 25.1 percent of people with positions of “responsibility,” according to China’s 2010 census.

At the very top, their share falls still further.

According to corporate records examined by The New York Times, fewer than 1 in 10 board members of China’s top 300 companies are women. That measure, significantly smaller than the proportion of women on corporate boards in the United States...

“Chinese law doesn’t define gender discrimination, so how do you even argue a case?” he asked. “It’s very, very difficult to get one into court.”

Companies need not bother with subtlety in job advertisements. A maker of security cameras seeks sales managers: No women need apply. A company that sells box cutters is looking for a human resources manager: male, age 25 to 35.[30]

Atheist feminism

See: Atheist feminism

See also

External links

Notes

  1. Richard Dawkins has lost it: ignorant sexism gives atheists a bad name by Adam Lee, The Guardian, September 18, 2014
  2. Richard Dawkins has lost it: ignorant sexism gives atheists a bad name by Adam Lee, The Guardian, September 18, 2014
  3. Why the New Atheism is a boys' club
  4. Katie Engelhart, July 21, 2013 - Salon article Atheism Has a Women Problem
  5. Women in secularism: Got a problem with that?
  6. PZ Myers and the Art of Shameless Dishonesty
  7. FreeThoughtBlogs and PZ Myers
  8. Sikivu, Ophelia, and Rebecca — who says atheism lacks women stars?
  9. Atheism’s shocking woman problem: What’s behind the misogyny of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris? by Amanda Marcotte, Salon magazine, October 3, 2014
  10. Is Sam Harris Sexist? by Libby Anne at the blog Love, Joy, Feminism, September 20, 2014
  11. Atheist writer Sam Harris faces backlash over 'estrogen vibe' comments by Heather Tomlinson, Christianity Today, September 17, 2014
  12. Atheist writer Sam Harris faces backlash over 'estrogen vibe' comments by Heather Tomlinson, Christianity Today, September 17, 2014
  13. Atheism’s shocking woman problem: What’s behind the misogyny of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris? by Amanda Marcotte, Salon magazine, October 3, 2014
  14. Is Sam Harris Sexist? by Libby Anne at the blog Love, Joy, Feminism, September 20, 2014
  15. On Sam Harris’s Reply to Feminist Critics by Daniel Fincke, September 16, 2014
  16. “I’m Not the Sexist Pig You’re Looking For” by Sam Harris, September 15, 2014
  17. Flynt writes, "I have left my religious conversion behind and settled into a comfortable state of atheism": see the epilogue of Flynt and Ross
  18. "I am not saying he don't believe in God. I am just saying I don't believe in God. That puts me at odds with him." Larry King Live, January 10, 1996
  19. 10 celebs you didn't know were atheists, Salon 2-23-2010
  20. Flynt writes, "I have left my religious conversion behind and settled into a comfortable state of atheism": see the epilogue of Flynt and Ross
  21. "I am not saying he don't believe in God. I am just saying I don't believe in God. That puts me at odds with him." Larry King Live, January 10, 1996
  22. Larry Flynt - One News Page
  23. Flynt and Ross, pp. 170–171.
  24. Larry Flynt - One News Page
  25. http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/5-barna-update/58-practical-outcomes-replace-biblical-principles-as-the-moral-standard
  26. In China’s Modern Economy, a Retro Push Against Women by DIDI KIRSTEN TATLOW and MICHAEL FORSYTHE, New York Times, FEB. 20, 2015
  27. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics (Zuckerman, 2005)
  28. A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live, Washington Post By Max Fisher and Caitlin Dewey May 23, 2013
  29. A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live, By Max Fisher and Caitlin Dewey, Washington Post, May 23, 2013
  30. In China’s Modern Economy, a Retro Push Against Women by DIDI KIRSTEN TATLOW and MICHAEL FORSYTHE, New York Times, FEB. 20, 2015