Not a great weekend for atheism
There are times when I ask myself if I really want to be a part of this “scene”. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it’s usually caused by people acting like a bunch of children. Case in point: the entire atheist blogosphere has been abuzz dominated by Rebecca Watson’s “I was hit on in an elevator” story. This non-news got even more attention when she chose a keynote address to call out a fellow atheist blogger who had made a video suggesting her story was simply vain bullshit. This, as you might have guessed, caused a collective meltdown.
Since this little incident, the words misogyny, sexism, and “male privilege” have been floating around, and they aren’t going away. Richard Dawkins wrote a fairly snippy response to this stupidity, and was subsequently lambasted by PZ Myers and Blag Hag who said he trivialized the issue of sexism in Western society by calling attention to the rest of the world who has it much worse. I’ll admit it’s a bad argument, but the general point Dawkins was trying to make was the women in these other countries would kill for even a smidgen of the same rights enjoyed by women here. If you don’t think that’s relevant, then hey, I think your “privilege” is showing!
What we’ve learned with this experience is there is no real agreement in the scene as to what consitutes sexual harrassment. Why is this surprising? What unites us is merely a common disbelief. The rest is still up for debate, and while I think it is necessary to talk about the rights of women here and around the world, I sincerely disagree with the definition of sexism presented by both SkepChick and Blag Hag . I also think anyone who read the Dawkins response can appreciate that some people are more interested in the big picture than whether or not some dude in an elevator acted inappropriately.
Can we all get back to fucking work now?
NOTE: So, after this whole mess, how many of you are less likely to go to a atheist conference now?