Atheist feminism

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Annie Laurie Gaylor is an atheist feminist. She is co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Gaylor’s husband, Dan Barker, who heads the organization along with her, is usually the person invited to speaking engagements, despite her longer tenure as the organization’s leader and her many books on atheism.[1]

Atheist feminism is a type of feminism whose advocates are atheists (see also: Atheism and women).

Feminists who are theists often belong to religious bodies which practice liberal theology. In addition, some feminists practice goddess worship.

Ernestine Rose was a feminist and she was also an atheist - well before today's label of "atheist feminist" existed.

An example of a modern atheist feminist is Annie Laurie Gaylor. She is the co-founder and co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Gaylor’s husband, Dan Barker, who is co-president of the organization along with her, is usually the one invited to speaking engagements, despite her longer tenure as the organization’s leader and her many books on atheism.[2]

Atheism, women, men and atheist feminism

Since most atheists lean left politically (see: Atheism and politics) many atheist women are feminists. However, atheist feminism is rejected by a large segment of atheist men given that a significant majority of atheist are men and that the men's rights movement has many atheist men within it (see: Atheism and women).[3] Reddit is a popular place for atheists and a Reddit survey found that 94% of Men's Rights Movement supporters indicated that they had no religion (see also: Reddit atheism).[4] YouTube's most popular atheist is TheAmazingAtheist who is a men's rights activist. Another popular YouTube atheist Thunderf00t is very critical of feminism within atheism (See also: Atheism plus).

Atheism and women's rights

See also: Atheism and women's rights

Sikivu Hutchinson on the the Me Too Movement and organized atheism

See also: Atheism and the Me Too Movement

In 2018, David Silverman was fired from the American Atheist organization after allegations of financial conflicts and sexual assault.[5] See: Firing of David Silverman from the American Atheists organization

In his book, Fighting God, Silverman indicates that he is a “proud feminist.”[6] See also: Atheism and sexism

In an article entitled Hiring of Accused Atheist Leader Is Reminder That #MeToo Is Still Needed in Organized Atheism, the atheist Sikivu Hutchinson wrote about the hiring of David Silverman by the organization Atheist Alliance International:

The recent decision by Atheist Alliance International (AAI) to hire the former leader of American Atheists, David Silverman, to its executive director position is yet another indication that this business-as-usual rehab strategy also applies to movement atheism, which can be just as corrupt, cronyistic, and swaggeringly hostile to women as corporate America.[7]

Concerning Silverman's scandals and subsequent firing, atheist and feminist PZ Myers said, "It's a terrible day for organized atheism."[8] Myers spent $1200 for a lifetime membership with American Atheists because he was impressed by the way Silverman went after the “anti-feminist” atheists.[9] See also: Decline of the atheist movement

Atheist feminism and sexism within atheist population

See also: Atheism and sexism

Atheist feminism criticizes the widespread sexist beliefs/behavior by atheist men (See: Atheism and sexism and Atheism and rape and Atheism and social skills).

Atheist feminism and its commonalities to feminism in general

Atheist feminism, like all feminism, denies or downplays differences between men and women. Most atheists support abortion (see: Abortion and atheism). In addition, like all feminism, it is an ideology that causes an alienation in affection by women for men.

Elevatorgate and friction between atheist men and women

A 2011 portrait of Rebecca Watson. Watson is an atheist and a feminist.

See also: Elevatorgate and Atheist conferences

Elevatorgate is a term commonly used to describe a scandal involving new atheist Richard Dawkins' 2011 comments made to atheist Rebecca Watson which are perceived to have been inappropriate by a sizable portion of the atheist community and to the public at large.[10] Watson is a feminist.[11]

Within the atheist movement post New Atheism and the Elevatorgate controversy, there has been a lot of conflict between atheists concerning feminism. One of the results of the conflict was Richard Dawkins losing a lot of public support and support among the irreligious (see: Richard Dawkins' loss of influence).

The new atheist Sam Harris has also angered many feminists. In 2014, Harris said that atheist activism lacks an “estrogen vibe” and was “to some degree intrinsically male”.[12]

Atheist feminism related online schism

See also: Atheist factions and Atheists and antisocial behavior

The forerunner of the feminist Atheism plus movement was the online Elevatorgate controversy.

The Guardian wrote about Atheism plus and the reaction of many atheists on the internet:

In the passionate world of American atheism, the venom usually directed at believers has now been turned against the wrong kind of atheists...

It took 700 years from Constantine renaming Byzantium in his own honour to papal legates circulating letters of anathema that split the Roman and Orthodox churches. Atheism, in its public, online life, has started exchanging internet anathemas – perhaps we should call them inathemas – in little more than a decade.[13]

Post Elevatorgate and Atheism plus, the conflict between atheist feminism and anti-feminism atheists continues. Two of the most anti-feminism atheists are YouTube atheists Thunderf00t and TheAmazingAtheist.

Wendy Marsman leaves atheist movement due to sexual harassment within the movement

In 2018, the atheist Wendy Marsman, founder of the Women Beyond Belief podcast, left the atheist movement due to women being sexually harassed within the atheist movement and fellow atheists being reluctant to speak out about it.[14]

Atheist feminism and its view of religion

When told that Red Army soldiers sexually assaulted German refugees, the atheist Joseph Stalin declared: "We lecture our soldiers too much; let them have their initiative."[15] See: Mass rape of German women by the Soviet army

See also: Atheist feminism and religion

It is extremely common for atheist feminists to see religion as the main source of sexism and oppression in the world despite: the widespread sexism within the atheist population/atheist movement; irreligious men engaging in more domestic abuse than religious men (See: Irreligion and domestic violence); the most secular countries of Europe have significant domestic violence problems (see: Secular Europe and domestic violence); and atheistic communists regimes have been the most murderous and repressive regimes in world history (see: Atheism and communism and Atheism and mass murder and Atheism and forced labor and Communism and religious persecution).

Many atheists have a poor knowledge of atheist history and/or engage in historical revisionism (see: Atheism and historical illiteracy and Atheism and historical revisionism).

Atheism and mass rapes

Atheism plus

See also: Atheism plus

Atheism plus is a largely defunct faction of atheism which holds to a liberal/progressive political agenda. It developed out of the atheist and political ideology of Freethought blogs and was partly a response to the New Atheism and to the Elevatorgate controversy.

Atheism and the Me Too Movement

See: Atheism and the Me Too Movement

Atheist feminists/progressive atheists attempting to get Atheist Alliance International to fire David Silverman

See: Atheist Alliance International's hiring of David Silverman


See also: Femen

Femen is a Ukrainian radical feminist activist group which is now based in Paris. According to the Washington Post, "Femen’s members consider atheism to be a fundamental tenet of the group’s ideology."[16]

Femen engages in topless publicity stunts/protests. Femen was one of the first radical feminist organizations to gain transnational media publicity.

Academic study on feminism and American, atheist men

The abstract for the 2013 academic journal article Do Atheism and Feminism Go Hand-in-Hand?: A Qualitative Investigation of Atheist Men’s Perspectives about Gender Equality published in the journal Secularism and Nonreligion declares:

Drawing upon semi-structured interviews with 10 self-identified atheist men in the

American Midwest, this qualitative study explored their perspectives regarding atheism, gender, and feminism. The data was analyzed using consensual qualitative research methodology (Hill, Thompson, & Williams, 1997). Results indicated these men had a proclivity for freethought—a commitment to questioning things and prioritizing reason over all else. They believed gender differences were primarily due to cultural and social influence in society. Gender inequality was highlighted as a problem within the U.S. and throughout the world, however this belief did not necessarily lead to being feminist-identified. There appeared to be a pathway linking their intellectual orientation, atheism, and belief in gender equality.[17]

Books on atheist feminism

  • Atheist Feminism by Cara Collins, ISBN-10: 131238493X

See also

External links


  1. Bekiempis, Victoria (Summer 2011). "Why the New Atheism is a boys' club". Bitch Magazine, no. 51. Retrieved from September 26, 2011 edition of The Guardian/CommentaryIsFree.
  2. Bekiempis, Victoria (Summer 2011). "Why the New Atheism is a boys' club". Bitch Magazine, no. 51. Retrieved from September 26, 2011 edition of The Guardian/CommentaryIsFree.
  3. Confirmed: “Men’s Rights Activism” Is For Misogynists Without God, Raw Story
  4. Confirmed: “Men’s Rights Activism” Is For Misogynists Without God, Raw Story
  5. This Firebrand Atheist Was Just Fired After Allegations Of Financial Conflicts And Sexual Assault
  6. David Silverman was a “Proud Feminist”
  7. Hiring of Accused Atheist Leader Is Reminder That #MeToo Is Still Needed in Organized Atheism by Sikivu Hutchinson, Rewire News
  8. David Silverman fired from American Atheists by PZ Myers
  9. David Silverman was a “Proud Feminist”
  10. Rebecca Watson (July 5, 2011). "The Privilege Delusion". Skepchick
  11. Atheist writer Sam Harris faces backlash over 'estrogen vibe' comments by Heather Tomlinson, Christianity Today, September 17, 2014
  12. Is American atheism heading for a schism? by Peter McGrath, The Guardian
  13. Leaving the Atheist Movement - New Focus for the Podcast by Wendy Marsman
  14. Roberts, Andrew. "Stalin's army of rapists: The brutal war crime that Russia and Germany tried to ignore", Daily Mail, 24 October 2008. 
  15. Meet Femen, the ‘naked shock troops of feminism’ who greeted Trump with a topless protest in Paris, By Antonia Noori Farzan, Washington Post, November 12, 2018
  16. by Rebecca D. Stinson, The University of Iowa; Kathleen M. Goodman Miami University; Charles Bermingham, The University of Iowa; Saba R. Ali, The University of Iowa, Secularism and Nonreligion, 2, 39-60 (2013)