Atheists with vaginas.

I am so pissed off. I didnt get out of the lab until quarter till 6 tonight, so there was no friggen way I could get down to OU to see Barker (feed/potty Arnie, feed/potty me, 15 mph on I-35… I would have gotten there by the time his presentation was over. Why the hell is it that on Friday nights I have loose, whatever plans, I can sneak out early at 4, but the Friday I want to leave early, I end up being wrapped up in BL-3 till 5 fourty-fucking-five???? RAAAAAGE!!!)

So I was all hyped up for some quality atheist entertainment, and Im at home instead.

So Im going to bitch about w00mynz in atheism.

————

PZ is awesome.

He gave me (and other female atheists) plugs on Pharyngula, and irl/online interviews when we were nobodies (I HAS BLAG I R FAMOOSE NAU!!!), and he hasnt even been properly certified by SciBlogs REAL Feminists(TM)*!

My first link from PZ was on my debate with Lenny Horowitz.

Please note he made no mention of ‘Guys shes a girl we need to support her!!’

He didnt say anything about my gender.

Just my arguments and a general ‘Hurrah!’ for support.

*thumbs-up*

While later he and I a conversation on bloggingheads– We both threw back lots of ideas for things to talk about, and PZ was very adamant about giving me an opportunity to talk about being a woman in science.

Well, the thing is, I probably have a very different view of that than most people (not just women), so I didnt really want to, but PZ kicks ass and wanted to give me the opportunity.

*thumbs-up*

I would be crushed if I found out PZ didnt really like (or even listen to) my debate, but felt the need to link to more female bloggers, and I was good enough.

I would be crushed if I found out PZ didnt really want to talk to me on blogging heads cause we could clear the air on epigenetics, or he wanted to lol about our antics with Creationists, but just scanned his blog-roll for some female, cause he felt ‘man guilt’.

So when atheist/skeptical groups are looking for speakers, I want them to say ‘Oh Ive heard Abbie gives really good presentations on Creationism… maybe she will give a speech about being a scientist in a Red State!’ or ‘Weve never had anyone talk about HIV Denial, Abbie would be informative and funny!’

I would even be happy if they said ‘Abbie is hot! Lets get her to perform a Rock Band concert for scholarships to AAI!’

*wince* I would rather be run over by a bus than be picked randomly off a list of ‘FEMALE ATHEISTS’ to fill a guilty diversity quota. “Um… I guess Abbie can talk about Creationism… we have 900 other people talking on it… whove been doing it longer… and were at Dover… but… um… shes got a vagina… soooo….”

I dont think this is what PZ means in his post at all, but I think it could be an easy knee-jerk reaction for organizers of these events– “AAAH! We need more women!! Name more women!! Who? Ill Google her! Good enough– whats another one???”, so Im saying it straight up:

You want me for my expertise/perspective/body, fine.

Dont ask me just because Im female.

That would make me feel stupid, useless, and used.

Note– WOOMYNZ opinions offered on ERV might differ from your local WOOMYNZ, so please consult and react accordingly.

* WHITE D00D!!! WHIIIIITE D0000000DE!!! D0000000000000DE!! *collapses in a pile of shoes, puke, and delusions*

Comments

  1. #1 Zarquon
    November 20, 2009

    But it would be bad if you were ignored, overlooked and dismissed if you had an innie not an outie.

  2. #2 HP
    November 20, 2009

    Way back in the late ’90s, before the rise of blogs, I spent some time on what then passed for the Skeptical/Atheist Internet. Groups like SCICOP and pre-Plait JREF, etc. I gave up on it, because I realized that a lot of the guys who were skeptical about UFOs and ghosts and creationism were the same voices that were skeptical about things like, oh, idunno, human equality and dignity. There seemed to be a real kneejerk/reactionary strain in organized skepticism that just went “Rarrrrh!” about everything, including women and minorities.

    There’s a lot more voices now in the Atheist/Skeptic communities — G.W. Bush played at least as big a role in the rise of Reason as Dawkins ever did — but these old, white, contrarian men haven’t gone anywhere.

    A big part of the continued secondary role for women and minorities in organized atheist and skeptic communities is that honest-to-God sexism and racism are rampant. People aren’t so vocal about it now as they were ten years ago, but the bigots haven’t left.

    It’s not going to change until enough people make enough of a stink. Preferably with references.

  3. #3 Sili
    November 20, 2009

    You’re completely right, of course.

    But …

    I hope noöne I or anyone suggested are selected solely for being women. What I at least hoped to accomplish is that these people are put on the list of qualified, interesting, intelligent &c speakers, before any choices are made.

    The problem arises when people put together a programme of the same-old same-old, and then someone goes “Hey guys! We need some tits here!”.

    So … Iono really. I guess I’m hoping that by kicking up a fuss and suggesting names, women won’t get overlooked simply for being women.

    But I may well be naïve. Hell knows I’m not good with women.

  4. #4 Firemancarl
    November 20, 2009

    To honest, this whole thing reminds me of the batshit insane female firefighter who was pissed no women firefighters died on 9/11- believe it or not, she made huge waves in the firefighter community because of her idiocy. isn’t it a double edged sword? If you say “Hey, here’s a female scientist/ atheist…”, the backlash is because it was pointed out that it’s a woman speaking and if you don’t …

    I like your blag, not cause you hott ( I think you are ) , but your snarky posts make me lolz & you “dumb down” the tech talk enough for knuckle draggers like me to undstand the info and …*gasp* learn! Keep up the good work!

  5. #5 Science Avenger
    November 20, 2009

    Abbie, I had the pleasure of sitting across from Dan Barker at dinner at the Texas Freethought Convention, and I’ll tell you that you are more sorry you missed him than you realize. His presentation/performance was impressive, and he was a downright nice and interesting conversationalist as well. My only complaint was he had to leave early to prepare for a debate, and didn’t get to join the post party party.

    And just so you won’t get too pissed at me for rubbing your nose in it, believe it or not as I was listening to the speakers and wondering who would make a good one, you sprang to mind. We DFWers apparently made an impression, because we were chosen to host the next convention. Maybe you could join us. But I warn you, we drink heavily.

  6. #6 Optimus Primate
    November 20, 2009

    Not to worry, Abbie. I seriously doubt anyone is ever going to call on you as the Token Chick. And if they do, I pity them!

    But you know, even if they do, don’t let it affect your self-worth a bit. I didn’t take an interest in an entirely foreign (to me) area of biology because you have lady bits; I took an interest because you’re a fascinating and enthusiastic and unique communicator with a wicked sense of humor. And I liked your puppy.

    The lady bits are just, like, frosting. :P

  7. #7 Glynn
    November 20, 2009

    As a white dude, I have to say that I gravitate more towards the other old white dudes because I’m always worried I’ll be mistaken for someone who likes a certain blogger or whatever because I’m attracted to them. And I’ll be honest: Smart == Sooper Sexay. Smart white dudes, though, less than sexay.

    Note I said white dudes, because I want to have Neil Degrasse Tyson’s babies.

  8. #8 Jason Dick
    November 21, 2009

    You want me for my expertise/perspective/body, fine.

    Dont ask me just because Im female.

    That would make me feel stupid, useless, and used.

    Sounds good. But just as a counterpoint: I would wager to guess that the majority of sexism is quite unconscious.

    Speaking for myself, for instance, I know that I behave somewhat differently to different people based upon their gender, perceived race, appearance, voice, and other things. I honestly try not to, but it seems that I am not always able to keep all sexism/racism/whatever out of my decision-making. Over time, as I notice I make one mistake or another in this regard (and thus wrongly discriminating against someone), I try to correct my behavior so that I’m being less discriminatory.

    From that perspective, it seems to me that many organizations have unconsciously overlooked women who are equally capable as the men they have invited. So it wouldn’t be bad, from my perspective, if they said, “Hey, we’ve been overlooking all of these great women. To balance things out a bit, we should invite a few of those that are as capable and accomplished as the men we’ve invited previously, and hopefully in the future we can be more conscious of our own gender biases here, dropping them altogether in time.”

    Of course, any organizations that have been intentionally sexist, those that genuinely believe that women are less capable or whatever, aren’t going to be convinced by PZ’s argument anyway, and will just continue on in their sexist ways.

  9. #9 John Danley
    November 21, 2009

    And you’re irreducibly hip.

  10. #10 Alex
    November 21, 2009

    But, um, if I want you for your body, wouldn’t gender count? :)

    I agree with PZ on this; there’s this hidden subtle unfemaliarity (hmm, can I haz patent nu wordz?) in the atheist world. I’d love to speculate on why that is, but I’m a guy and will definitely get it wrong as you got me thinking of your body and all … *sigh*

  11. #11 Daniel Schealler
    November 21, 2009

    Y’see? This is the stuff that makes me wonder what the fuck is going on.

    It’s just something I’ve picked up out of the cultural miasma that I’m supposed to nicer to teh wimminz so they can get an equal footing with us strapping and virile menfolk.

    And I’ve always thought that was kinda fucked up and condescending, cause, like, it implies that women are poor wee frail things that need our testosterone-endorsed patronage in order to get ahead. But whenever I read up on the topic, I generally come away with the impression that as I’m white and middle-class with a college degree and a penis, therefore everything is my fault. And I should be very, very sorry. About everything.

    Then I read something by a woman that I’ve noticed for an
    accomplishment other than writing about feminism, and I come away thinking I was right all along about that syrupy condescending crap.

    Fuck it. Thanks erv: I’m gonna stick with my first impression on this one.

  12. #12 Daniel Schealler
    November 21, 2009

    All that said, I also like meeting atheists with vagina.

    +1: I like atheists.

    +1: I also like vaginas.

    So so an atheist with a vagina is like a +2 win for me. ^_^

  13. #13 gillt
    November 21, 2009

    There needs to be a sea change. Like religion, there’s way more women in the labs I work in and am familiar with while men run the show. Maybe it’s generational and maybe we’re gonna have to give it a push.

  14. #14 Ritchie Annand
    November 21, 2009

    I didn’t want to wade into that swamp over on PZ’s :)

    I dunno – to me, it’s two separate issues. As long as women have the opportunity to do what they want (not always the case, of course; almost everyone seems to have one horror story), and that includes not being made to feel weird, then there isn’t a big problem: the issue ends up being interest, and you really can’t make people be interested in things.

    The other is to take a look at over or under-representation in a field and try to figure out the causes. Assuming that it’s lack of opportunity, or worse, assuming that people are choosing representatives with the same sexism that is presumed to be blocking the opportunity strikes me as unfounded smearing.

    It would be like screaming at women going into Nursing to tell them that they don’t have to be forced to go into Nursing and expecting a revolution instead of “who’s that crazy person?” looks.

    Who knows what magic formula goes into making people popular, but goodness knows people can list off the reasons they like PZ, Hitch and/or Dawkins quite apart from their gender. Accomplishments, ability and fortune. I don’t know any famous primatologists apart from Jane Goodall for pretty much the same reasons.

    I like it when bloggers and casters touch on things that I’m concerned about in the way that I’m concerned about it. I prefer to listen to Dan Barker over Annie Laurie Gaylor, for example, because, having listened to their podcast for months, his ex-insider indignity resonates a lot more with me than Annie’s always-outsider indignity.

    I come here in particular because I loved your infiltration of the anti-vaxers conference, and because you tweak the DI folks, Behe in particular, so wonderfully. Goodness knows I learn a thing or two about viruses and genetics every now and again, too!

    For that and more, I’ll keep coming back, ‘cos I want to see what happens next :)

    I’m probably not making my point sensibly tonight :) Proper sleep will not come until wife and baby are home – and, for a while thereafter, not even then :)

  15. #15 Toidel Mahoney
    November 21, 2009


    Atheists with vaginas

    Since the religion of atheism/evolutionism denies the existence of teleology, what is so important about having a vagina in this worldview, since it is just another hole with no distinguishing characteristics from any other hole?

    For the truth, click here!

  16. #16 Toidel Mahoney
    November 21, 2009

    Something wrong with the hyperlink:

    Go here:

    http://www.fixedearth.com

  17. #17 Greg Laden
    November 21, 2009

    I would like to point out that Genie Scott has a vagina. So, she’s been doing it longer, was at Dover (more than just “at”) AND has the vagina.

    Anyway, here’s what I think is funny about this (funny strange?) to me. If I think about the people who are in-the-trenches activist atheists that I personally interact with … not commenters on my blog, not people who are “out there” somewhere … people that I see face to face, regularly conspire with, break bread with, in the Atheist/Skeptics community, way more than half are females.

    I was surprise to hear this a few months back: I was being interviewed in-studio at MN Atheist Radio. My wife happened to be with me and the producers asked her if she would record an ad spot for them. They said that there was a perception that atheists were generally male so they liked to have female voices on the ad spots.

    Meanwhile, I’ve done about four shows with MnAtheist. In one I was interviewed by a man (Y on Y action). In another I was interviewed by a woman. In another I was interviewed by a woman. In another, a woman and I interviewed a woman.

    As usual, of course, the top dogs are more often men than women in part of the movement: Dawknis, Randi, Myers, Hitchens, etc. But my experience in US based Fighting of Creationism has been very different: Mostly women. Not just Genie but lots of others including many of the activists in Minnesota like Melanie Reap and Rusty Low.

    On the third hand, when PZ and I shared the millionth comment party at the Black Forest Inn in Minneapolis, about half of the responses indicating that people would come to the party were female, but almost every single person who actually came to the party was a man over 55 years of age with a long large beard.

    Maybe on the internet, nobody knows you’re ZZ Top….

  18. #19 firemancarl
    November 21, 2009

    what is so important about having a vagina in this worldview, since it is just another hole with no distinguishing characteristics from any other hole?< \blockquote>

    I soooo beg to differ on that!

  19. #20 The Curmudgeon
    November 21, 2009

    Abbie writes the best titles in the blogosphere!

  20. #21 KemaTheAtheist
    November 21, 2009

    I think Abbie is one of the sexiest women around. And, it should be noted, I’ve never seen a picture of her. I just find intelligence to be extremely sexy. Looks are secondary.

    I want someone who I can have a conversation with… having a lot of something under the bra does hurt either though.

    Hey! I was talking about her heart (literally and metaphorically), guys. She needs to have a good HEART! *mutters under his breath* Like anyone’s going to believe that…

  21. #22 Robert Bruce Thompson
    November 21, 2009

    Anyway, here’s what I think is funny about this (funny strange?) to me. If I think about the people who are in-the-trenches activist atheists that I personally interact with … not commenters on my blog, not people who are “out there” somewhere … people that I see face to face, regularly conspire with, break bread with, in the Atheist/Skeptics community, way more than half are females.

    It’s not just face-to-face. I just sat down and listed the atheists whose blogs/videos I read/watch regularly. My Favorite Five are pretty representative of all of them.

    PZ Myers
    Abbie Smith
    Ophelia Benson
    Cristina Radacovici (zomgitscriss)
    Pat Condell

    The top ten split 5:5. The top twenty 11:9. It doesn’t seem to me that there’s any shortage of women actively posting about atheist issues, and from what I know of the popularity of their sites, it doesn’t seem they’re being ignored, either. The racial breakdown is another thing entirely. There just don’t seem to be many Blacks or Asians actively posting about atheism.

    Not that I think anyone should care what color or sex someone is. I started reading Abbie’s blog just after she joined SciBlogs. Until she gave it away in one of her posts, I didn’t know or care if she was male or female; I just liked her writing. And it wasn’t until a couple of months ago that I saw a video she did. Until then, I had no idea if she was Asian, Black, or White. And I don’t know on what basis anyone should care.

    I think Abbie nailed this exactly.

  22. #23 Wes
    November 21, 2009

    I think that the issue with the dearth of womenfolk at atheist events isn’t about merely finding more envaginated unbelievers. I think the worry people have is that this results from and/or perpetuates subtle forms of sexism, which result in unintentional marginalization of women. Atheists are not immune to sexism, so it’s something we need to be on the lookout for. I comment a lot over at Ophelia Benson’s place, and she seems to be of that opinion, and I think she’s got a point.

    However, I understand the distaste some people have for the issue. Unfortunately, a small cadre of rather nasty people at science blogs have given pro-fem causes a bad name. No one wants to be associated with childish, abusive asswipes (PhysioProf), chowderheaded dingleberries (Isis) or people who too frequently react rather than think (Zuska).

    They aren’t doing anyone any good by throwing the word “misogyny” around at any one who gets on their bad side. It reached the heights of absurdity when Isis stupidly called Salty Current a proponent of “white male privilege” and posted a lengthy, self-righteous lecture to her on her blog, apparently oblivious to the fact that SC is 1.) Female, 2.) Honduran, 3.) A pro-woman activist, 4.) Well known at PZ’s place for her insightful comments about subtle, often unrecognized forms of sexism. And Isis’s idiotic attacks on Phil Plait were a big face-palm, too.

    But, anyways, don’t let the bad apples turn you off from the issue as a whole. The lack of female representation in the atheist/skeptical movement really is an issue that people need to be aware of and work to correct.

  23. #24 BAllanJ
    November 21, 2009

    I think there are 2 competing ways of looking at things like this.

    Sometimes you’re looking for one person to do a job, like give a talk, and you should pick the best available individual to do that job. Other times you’re trying to put together a team to do a bigger job. The best team isn’t necessarily the best individuals (eg1: The best baseball side isn’t made by selecting the best 9 players because you might end up with only catchers…eg2 if your trying to make a supreme court that can see all sides maybe you need people from more than one type of background).

    So it comes down to what is being looked for. If we’re trying to create a team of top atheists who can explain how atheism enriches our lives to a broad audience, maybe we should push for diversity. If you’re just looking for one speaker, kind of hard to go for diversity.

    The problem here is that people are trying to say there’s a team that isn’t balanced, when the team was all picked as individuals. It was unlikely to be balanced. The reasons for the imbalance are many… some more obvious and some less so and lots are being bandied about… but I think it was very unlikely to be balanced even in a perfect world.

    Not sure I was clear here… I’ll come back later and see how I did at explaining, or if I need to fix my thinking.

  24. #25 Joshua Zelinsky
    November 21, 2009

    There seems to be a related issue in that there is a certain fraction of the female skeptics and female atheists make a point to use their gender deliberately. One obvious example would be say zomgitschriss on youtube, easily the most popular female Youtube atheist. Her persona is quite bluntly using the “I’m female and sexy!” element.

    And then you have people like Rebecca Watson who is obviously female but the only way that really comes up is that she’s trying to get females more interested in skepticism.

    And then you have people like Abbie who approach that in a very different way in which being female comes across as incidental to the skepticism, critical thinking, and really cool science.

    I’m not incidentally even sure that PZ new or cared about your gender when he first linked to you. I certainly started reading your blog before I saw any post indicating that you were female. I guess I just don’t think about gender that much. That’s the real key, regardless of gender, people who speak intelligently about interesting things will get noticed (generally). The real problem is that certain forms of sexism may make it harder for females to get noticed given the same level of output. That’s something that we need to be careful about. But that’s not a reason to go out of our way to include females if they wouldn’t make the normal criteria for inclusion.

  25. #26 Tyler DiPietro
    November 21, 2009

    I tend to pay attention to females who don’t exclusively blog about feminist issues or the “experience of being a woman scientist” (as if that were some singular thing). So off the top of my head I tend to pay attention to you, Ophelia Benson, Tara Smith, Rebecca Watson, and Stephanie Zvan. I avoid Isis and Zuskaids like rape.

    Just looking at my saturated blogroll, it’s absolutely dominated by male bloggers. However, there was absolutely no deliberate attempt on my part to exclude bloggers that were female. Over time, it just ended up that way. There are definitely issues with the under-representation of women in science, but the solution is not for men like myself to seek some utterly artificial balance. The solution, in my mind, is for the women currently in science to promote science and critical thinking among their peers. That way a new balance can grow organically within the scientific community over time.

  26. #27 Rogue Medic
    November 22, 2009

    One of the important parts of science is controlling for variables. Some variable that may not be well controlled for, in spite of any affirmative action policies, are gender and race (or perceived race).

    Science is about accepting that we have biases that we are not aware of. Science is about actively seeking to minimize the influence of those biases.

    We do not think that we are behaving inappropriately, when we try to minimize the influence of biases in research. Contrariwise, we think it is incompetent to not actively attempt to control those biases. Why should we pretend that having a single gender and race dominate the list of speakers on a topic is not an example of bias? Are the audiences for these speakers dominated by any particular demographic? Is there a good reason for this? Coincidence? Is there something, other than gender and race, about the less commonly chosen speakers that leads to them being overlooked (that is assuming that they are being overlooked)?

    In The Wisdom of Crowds, James Surowiecki makes a good case for increasing the diversity of sources of information when making decisions. While this is not the kind of decision making he was writing about, it seems relevant. Similarly, we should not limit diversity to gender and race. We should not limit diversity to the superficial.

    And I think that atheism is the wrong term. I prefer to tell people that I am just not superstitious. I do not see any particular reason to limit the superstitions I do not believe in to any particular category, just because that category appears to be dominated by organized superstition.

    Should I list everything I do not believe in, based on the prevalence of organized superstitions, or just state that I am not superstitious?

  27. #28 foxfire
    November 22, 2009

    Hey Abbie – you are giving up on the Barker presentation at OU? Did no one record it? Can ai haz it on U Tube? Can ai sez it at your blog?

    On the female scientist atheist blogger thing. Try being born in the early 1950s, telling people you wanted to be a paleontologist at age 7 and watching them smile sweetly (oh isn’t that cute) and telling your parents she will “grow out of it” (the stories go on). Some stuff has changed and a whole lot of things remain to be changed. Women like you will fix that inequity. There is a good side to having to be better to be considered equal. Here is a conjecture:

    FACT: Many sex-discriminating educational roadblocks have been eliminated, such as boys take shop and girls take cooking, and the introduction of the idea that “Dora” can be the name of an explorer, as well as “Dave”.

    FACT: The “traditional values” forces that resist such ideas fight hard. How many female *and* male kids in high school still consider throwing out the word “geek” as an insult… most, from what I’ve seen recently. Teh gurlz can haz a 2fer on teh science (science bad + gurlz dum and for can haz baybees).

    HYPOTHESIS: In our current society, females who succeed in any traditionally male occupation, be it science, medicine, engineering, business, etc will have to be exceptional to be considered equal. Once they succeed, they will be called upon as role models because of their success. They will resent the fact that they are being called upon because of their sex. Despite the inequity, exceptional women will continue to combat ignorance and superstition.

    SUPPORTING DATA: See Abbie’s post above.

    In conclusion, I’d like to add a name to the exceptional women that appear in the above comments: Carolyn Porco, the individual who is promoting the Cassini project. Richard Dawkins seems to think she is a good candidate as the next Carl Sagan.

  28. #29 Cain
    November 22, 2009

    @15 Toidel
    At least the nut job showed up to remind us all that regardless of our differences, debates, and disagreements there will always be something to bring us together.

    We are all fucking psyched to not be those assholes.

  29. #30 foxfire
    November 22, 2009

    @29 Cain

    I wonder how long it will take before it (Toidel) realizes that its pitch for teleology, “For the truth, click here!”, is about as functional as the philosophy.

  30. #31 Jeff Knapp
    November 22, 2009

    It took me a while after reading your blog before I realize that you were a gerrrl. I just liked what you had to say and especially the attitude you said it with; seemed to match my way of thinking and attitude pretty closely.

    Now that I know that you are a scientist with a vagina instead of a penis, guess what? I still like what you have to say and the attitude you say it with. And it still gels with my attitude and outlook.

  31. #32 Azkyroth
    November 22, 2009

    However, I understand the distaste some people have for the issue. Unfortunately, a small cadre of rather nasty people at science blogs have given pro-fem causes a bad name. No one wants to be associated with childish, abusive asswipes (PhysioProf), chowderheaded dingleberries (Isis) or people who too frequently react rather than think (Zuska).

    I think the problem is more fundamental than that: any social movement or institution with a prescriptive component can, and given enough time will, be infiltrated and, if left to its own devices, eventually hijacked entirely by bullies for the sole use as a forum and instrument of “personal power projection” – IE, “throwing their weight around.” Not only does power corrupt, the promise of power – any kind, any level – attracts the corrupt. PhysioProf is probably the most blatant example of this I’ve ever encountered in any group, but the others aren’t much better.

  32. #33 Azkyroth
    November 22, 2009

    what is so important about having a vagina in this worldview, since it is just another hole with no distinguishing characteristics from any other hole?

    *cough*virgin*cough*

  33. #34 becca
    November 22, 2009

    Dude, we all know female atheists are godlike creatures- completely imaginary. You are so totally a middle aged white heterosexual protestant dude trying to make it looks like atheists are all bad spellers who think there is no sexism in the world.
    I’m on to you, “abbie”

    /sarcasm

    P.S. Tyler- yet you mention them at every available opportunity. I shall take that as a request for rape.
    *rapes tyler with a pointy rambone*

  34. #35 Tyler DiPietro
    November 22, 2009

    wat

  35. #36 Tyler DiPietro
    November 22, 2009

    Oh I get it, I mention Zuskaids and Isis at every opportunity. I don’t think that’s a fair assessment, I mention them when the context is appropriate, such as when one of their compadres comes here and decides race baiting is an appropriate form of argument (or one of them does it).

    Anyway, I tend to avoid reading their blogs. I don’t preclude myself the right to snipe at them from a distance.

  36. #37 Tyler DiPietro
    November 22, 2009

    On the other hand, I do appreciate the raep tiem.

  37. #38 Stephanie Z
    November 23, 2009

    Abbie, until the publishing companies are giving book deals to as many atheist women as men, until the media interviews as many women when atheism is in the news, until the current generation of atheists reaches middle age and the women in it can’t be dismissed as kids–until all that happens, don’t worry about these invitations.

    The problem isn’t that they’re asking you only because you’re female. They’re not. Anybody who doesn’t know how engaging you are isn’t allowed to invite speakers. The problem is that there are a large number of factors “conspiring” to keep the guys’ profiles higher.

    I ran into this recently when putting together a list of skeptical resources. I had no trouble coming up with just as many women as men, and there was no general difference in the quality. In fact, if I wanted to put together a podcast that wasn’t going to risk sounding dry, I’d start with the women. But the men had more books out, had blogs with higher readership, were more likely to get paid for their skeptical work…and were far more likely to be invited to speak somewhere.

    If someone is asking you to speak as a woman and an atheist, it just means that they came up for air long enough to say, “And get Abbie. She rocks.”

  38. #39 Luna_the_cat
    November 23, 2009

    I find it odd that people who (rightly) dismiss criticism of “New Atheists” being too loud/strident/in-your-face/shrill/what-have-you on the grounds that being accomodating and “nice” doesn’t always get you cookies –or pay off in terms of populational attitude changes– and also, some things are worth being loud about in order to show the people still fighting that battle that they have support…

    …are sometimes also ones who criticise Zuska and PhysioProf for being too loud and obnoxious and “reacting” too much, on what -obviously- doesn’t need to be an issue like that.

    Different approaches pay off. Some of us need and appreciate the Zuskas in life, because they are loud about subtleties of discrimination which otherwise just get shrugged off.

  39. #40 DAM10N
    November 23, 2009

    It could be just an illusion brought on by small sample size, but some of the very best atheist debaters on the circuit are female (Marianne Talbot, Janna Levin, and Heather MacDonald come to mind) whereas almost all of the worst atheist debaters out there are evidently on stage as a proxy for male sexual display (l00k @ my hUUUge g0nadz!) or else as a result of having more testosterone than sense. Okay, I suppose that is a bit sexist, but I’ve rarely ever seen men that can perform up to the level of the aforementioned women in a debate about theism.

  40. #41 DAM10N
    November 23, 2009

    p.s. We all missed you at the Dan Barker event! Hope you can make it to Nick’s.

  41. #42 ERV
    November 23, 2009

    My dislike of the SciBlogs REAL Feminists(TM) has absolutely nothing to do with their ‘stridency’. In their case, ‘YOU THINK IM TO STRIDENT’ is an excuse to ignore more problematic personality defects.

    Example from The Atheist Community: I *like* the Blasphemy Challenge. I *dislike* the RRS– they are white trash losers using atheism to leech off others so they dont have to get a mother fucking job like the rest of us. Oh wait, ‘Kelly’ did finally got a job as a whore for a while. Oh wait, no, got fired from that. White trash losers. My dislike of RRS has nothing to do with how ‘strident’ they are about atheism, but thats what they scream when people dont like them.

    Likewise, Zuska is a souless, loveless shell of a human, and I dont particularly want her to associate with anything Im interested in, whether its women in science or Firefly (not that I think she likes Firefly– the use of the term ‘brown coat’ is CLEARLY a term meant to glorify Nazi ‘brown shirts’). Though I do love the irony that I *am* a young female scientist, yet she has shown zero interest in me/my career/or general mentorship, yet clueless white d00000000ds, like say, oh, John Lynch and John Wilkins (you know, two names picked at random) have been fantastic mentors and friends of mine for ages.

    CP is just a giant parody of himself. *shrug* Being ‘critical’ of CP is like being ‘critical’ of Spencer Pratt.

  42. #43 Prometheus
    November 23, 2009

    When I read the title I thought Abbie was announcing announcing a Atheist/Discovery Institute holiday mixer.
    .
    .
    .
    I was gonna bring a covered dish. *sad face*

  43. #44 Luna_the_cat
    November 23, 2009

    Zuska is a souless, loveless shell of a human

    Wow, way to show your maturity there. Suggestion: maybe she doesn’t pay attention to you and your career because of your staggering judgementalism towards a number of other women in science (not just towards her).

    I think I’ll go back to not frequenting these parts myself. You have a fine science brain, but you are not always just a shining example of humanity yourself.

  44. #45 Wes
    November 23, 2009

    Abbie,

    I agree 100% on the RRS. I can’t stand those assholes. And it has nothing to do with how strident they are. It’s because of how stupid and immature their gimmicks are.

    Luna_The_Cat,

    And as for Zuska, Isis and CP, my loathing for them again has nothing to do with their stridency. I’m a big fan of Ophelia Benson, who is just as stridently feminist as they are (in fact, more so–she’s actually written a book called “Does God Hate Women?”–how much more strident could you get?).

    My complaint against the unholy trio of pseudo-feminism is how idiotic they are. They just mindlessly lash out with accusations of “misogyny” without even bothering to check the facts first. Like I said above, I have been unable to read Isis’s blog since her misguided attacks on Phil Plait and Salty Current. I have zero respect for her, not because she’s stridently pro-woman, but because she’s an unthinking blabbermouth who makes herself look like a fool in public, and I don’t want to be associated with that. Their brand of feminism isn’t about righting injustices or raising awareness–it’s just about lashing out at anyone who crosses them in any way. It’s stupid, and I want no part of it.

  45. #46 Luna_the_cat
    November 23, 2009

    Huh. So because Wes feels that they have unfairly targeted some, Wes also feels entitled to pass judgment that they are only “pseudo” feminists, who have no “real”interest in injustice? And, of course, “idiotic” because they are the *only* ones in Sciblogs who have ever reacted poorly to something where more consideration might have been better….

    Seriously, do you people ever read what you write with an objective eye for the level of vitriol you are pouring here? And you accuse Isis and Zuska of “lashing out against anyone who crosses them”. [goggles at you in some disbelief]

    These are human beings. So you do not share their life experiences, and thus do not share their reactions. It seems to me that you and Abbie both use this as a basic reason to dismiss and belittle their reactions as not being “valid.” That’s frankly just crap. Maybe someday Abbie will be grown-up enough to understand this.

  46. #47 ERV
    November 23, 2009

    heh. Someone call Merriam-Webster! ‘Numerous’ should apparently be defined as ‘none’ now.

    LOL!

    Name one woman scientist Ive wrongfully called out in a post on ERV.

    One.

    The only person remotely close to being ‘staggering judgementalism towards a number of other women in science’ is my posts on Rebecca Culshaw. Shes a mathematician (not a scientist) and an HIV Denier. I cant believe youre this upset over my posts on an HIV-1 Denier, luna.

    Oh wait, or do you mean Sheril Whats-her-face? So, me thinking a vapid, aborted scientist, running about calling themselves a scientist is fine when Im making fun of Casey Luskin in countless posts, but a side comment about Sheril is liek, so sexist?

    Maybe you should read my blog and learn about the kick-ass women who are Top Dogs in virology, astrobiology, and HIV-1 research before you call me sexist and ‘naive’, bitch.

  47. #48 Azkyroth
    November 23, 2009

    Different approaches pay off. Some of us need and appreciate the Zuskas in life, because they are loud about subtleties of discrimination which otherwise just get shrugged off.

    If the Zuskas and PhysioProfs restricted their attacks to actual instances of discriminatory actions or attitudes, I don’t think many of us would object – I wouldn’t. My issue with Zuska isn’t that she’s assertive or uncompromising, it’s that she’s spiteful and intellectually dishonest – she pretends that people who call her on being spiteful are only objecting to her assertiveness, and she habitually viciously lays into anyone who has the misfortune to say something that vaguely reminds her of someone else that she’s angry at (often for good reason) as if the inadvertent poster actually were that person and to the best of my knowledge has never, ever, ever even acknowledged the mistake (see here, #s 39, 40, 43, and the lack of any kind of response at all for a relatively mild example), and while her unsavory intellectual habits are usually confined to comment threads, she occasionally makes posts like this.

    If PZ habitually laid into, say, Dungeons and Dragons players for the stupidity of their “Religion,” I don’t think many of us would defend that, either.

  48. #49 Luna_the_cat
    November 23, 2009

    Azkyroth:

    I see a qualitative difference between the “spitefulness” you are complaining about in the posts/comments you’ve linked to, and in what has just been demonstrated in comments above. You don’t?

    Abbie:

    Not going to get into this, seriously, but thank you for proving my point.

    (Incidentally — last time we tussled, you took me to task for not addressing you directly on your blog. I take it you’re not exactly pleased either when I do.)

  49. #50 Facevampire
    November 23, 2009

    I might risk sounding uninformed here, but who is CP?

  50. #51 ERV
    November 23, 2009

    HAHAHAHA!

    Wes, you ‘feel’ SC was ‘wrongly targeted’.

    You only ‘FEEL’, SC is a Honduran woman well known for being a ‘pushy’ feminist on the top SciBlog in the world. Really, youre just a CLUELESS WHITE D00D AND YOU WILL NEVER GET THAT SC IS REALLY A MAN!! You will never get the experience of a real, smart, outspoken woman scientist turning a HONDURAN WOMAN into A PRIVILEGED WHITE MAN!

    AAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Facevampire– CP is Comrade Physioprof. He a white knight that puts ‘FUCK’ in every sentence to be ‘edgy’. Its weird. *shrug*

  51. #52 ERV
    November 23, 2009

    … Soooo… your ‘point’ is that you dont read my blog, but you feel you are in a position to judge me as a female misogynist, despite no evidence to support your claims, and actual evidence to the contrary?

    Um… touche?

  52. #53 Azkyroth
    November 23, 2009

    Azkyroth:

    I see a qualitative difference between the “spitefulness” you are complaining about in the posts/comments you’ve linked to, and in what has just been demonstrated in comments above. You don’t?

    I do. We’re complaining about things people have ACTUALLY said and attitudes they’ve ACTUALLY demonstrated.

  53. #54 Azkyroth
    November 23, 2009

    … Soooo… your ‘point’ is that you dont read my blog, but you feel you are in a position to judge me as a female misogynist, despite no evidence to support your claims, and actual evidence to the contrary?

    Um… touche?

    Eh, four out of five letters right isn’t bad.

    (Couldn’t resist. ^.^)

  54. #55 Prometheus
    November 23, 2009

    Awwww are we picking on Zuska and Isis today? *pulls up comfy chair*

    I think if they have a coherent message they do the message a disservice by being absurdly dull. Even if you liked the lyric originally, a broken record makes you despise both the sound and sentiment.

    Zuska seems to devote all her time these days to scribbling glaringly incorrect second wave essentialist feminist literary critiques of portions of television commercials. I am starting to think she is home bound by agoraphobia, a self diagnosed imaginary illness, has been crippled by her own indolence or all of the above.

    Isis divides her time equally between describing her infant’s bathroom antics, leeching youtube music videos, blaming her miserable underlings for her lack competence at time management, paperwork, lab security protocols….what-have-you and responding to apocryphal e-mails sent by an apocryphal e-mail fan base her stats do not support.

    PhysioProf is an over compensation machine. I don’t know what happened. If the self hate truly reflects an appropriate level of mea culpa I never never ever ever ever want to know what happened. The inside of that skull must look like sub-text notes for a Thomas Harris novel.

    They each seem to be their own most frequent commenters but I suspect they don’t read each others blogs despite their fetish for ‘solidarity’.

    I can’t figure out why they were handed a well lit stage for their crap because they sound like what would happen if Erma Bombeck banged a Stevedore at some point and laid eggs in Andrea Dworkin’s warm damp back fat.

  55. #56 ERV
    November 23, 2009

    Nooooooo we arent picking on them.

    We are defending ourselves against the accusation that people who are ‘for vocal atheists’ are ‘against vocal feminists’.

    *They* were put forth as examples of Proud Feminists that Male Atheists (and I guess me) dont like cause theyre all uppity, when in fact, my dislike of them has nothing to do with their position on ‘women in science’.

  56. #57 Zarquon
    November 23, 2009

    It’s Dr Shoes support for Catholicism that makes me wonder if Dr Shoes feminism is more of the ‘I got mine – fuck you’ kind

  57. #58 Prometheus
    November 23, 2009

    If I find them repetitive, soul crushingly boring and taking up space better served by…well….a potted plant…am I denigrating ‘women in science’?

  58. #59 becca
    November 23, 2009

    erv- Zuska loves me. I’m sure you’d see she’s not at all loveless if you just got to know her!
    Why can’t we all just get along?
    /geek social fallacy #4

    Seriously though, whether you like her or not has nothing whatsoever to do with whether you think she might be doing something useful. There are certain bloggers/commenters who I think are utter jackhats (‘personality defects’ doesn’t begin to cover CPP), but still frequently add something to the conversation.

    To be perfectly honest, erv, you do come across as sexist and naive. Responding to “you’re being cruel” with “I’m not a sexist, you bitch” is not exactly mature (full disclaimer about my biases: I may have an illogically negative emotional reaction to the term ‘bitch’ as a noun, which was passed down to me from my mother, who once pulled me out of a daycare because a nasty little boy was using it to address all women).
    But then, most people are sexist and naive from time to time. Myself most certainly included. Such traits are not permanent fixtures of identity for anyone capable of mustering enough empathy to try to learn from other people’s perspectives.

    Wes- I cross them all the time. I try to specifically call them out if I see them drawing a general conclusion from a specific incidence when they are wrong about the specifics. (which does happen. Frequently.)
    However, if I spent all my time calling out bloggers of all stripes who use a specific annoying instance as an intellectual jumping off point, I’d never do anything else. Even erv does it- see ‘turning crazy into learnin’. Is that post any less valuable and informative if the crazy person already knew everything erv said and erv totally misrepresented them? (not saying you did on this one, erv. However, I’m sure most of us occasionally provide correct information that is tangential to what somebody wanted us to respond to)

    Azkyroth- In the comment thread you linked to, I can see that Zuska misunderstood you and responded somewhat harshly, and by the time you’d corrected the record she was done with the thread. I think it’s a very sad misscommunication, but it doesn’t make her spiteful. Spiteful would be like calling you nasty names when you pointed out you meant something differently from how she read it (and for the record, I remember that comment thread, and what you meant was *not* immediately obvious to me from your first comment).

    I am also genuinely perplexed by your linking to the “‘science as a religion’ isn’t a totally useless analogy” post as an example of spite.
    Is it spiteful to point out that everyone involved in the whole sordid Unscientific American exchange ended up looking ugly at least once? Even if you have a horse in that race, and think one side was OBVIOUSLY much worse, can you really defend every statement on Your Side?
    Or is it because of where you think Zuska stands on the larger political battles between the sneeches with stars scientists who are skeptical as an identity and the sneeches with no stars scientists who are skeptical merely as a habit of mind?

  59. #60 Tyler DiPietro
    November 23, 2009

    I’m surprised that nobody has mentioned the fact that neither Isis nor Zuskaids ever blog about science on a site called ScienceBlogs. I have no problem with religion bashing and politics and what have you on any of the blogs here, but never having any scientific content makes the subject matter of your blog seem a little peripheral to the intended motif of the site.

    (To be consistent, I would also have to complain about Dispatches for this. However, Dispatches is high quality, so I give it a pass.)

    In general I have no problem with absolutely wrathful feminists, as long as they’re honest. Isis and Zuskaids have both displayed rank dishonesty in their tactics that just makes me want to wretch. A classic example of such is when Isis took the words of a Discover editor out of context to make it seem like he was saying something derogatory about black people.

  60. #61 Wes
    November 23, 2009

    Huh. So because Wes feels that they have unfairly targeted some, Wes also feels entitled to pass judgment that they are only “pseudo” feminists, who have no “real”interest in injustice? And, of course, “idiotic” because they are the *only* ones in Sciblogs who have ever reacted poorly to something where more consideration might have been better….

    For one, this has nothing to do with what I feel. Isis’s habit of using feminism to lash out at people who disagree with her, calling them misogynistic apologists for patriarchy without even bothering to notice that they are ethnic minority women who have a reputation for their feminist activism. This is a well-documented fact. She has done it more than once. She is not promoting feminism or righting injustices. She is using the labels of “misogynist” and “white male privilege” as clubs to attack people. I call that pseudo-feminism.

    For another, yes I’m passing judgment. What’s wrong with that? I’m not mad at them for passing judgment. We all have to pass judgment at times. I’m mad at them because they use feminism as a way to attack anyone who disagrees with them. Getting to your next point…

    Seriously, do you people ever read what you write with an objective eye for the level of vitriol you are pouring here? And you accuse Isis and Zuska of “lashing out against anyone who crosses them”. [goggles at you in some disbelief]

    This has been said more than once: Zuska et al are not being criticized for their stridency. I like stridency. Stridency is necessary sometimes. Dawkins is strident. I like that. Ophelia Benson is full of vitriol for people who promote sexism in the guise of religion. I think she’s awesome. The issue is not about being too strident or vitriolic.

    What I don’t like about them is that their stridency is completely misguided, childish and petty. It’s the same with the Rational Response Squad that Abbie brought up earlier. It’s not their vitriol that turns me off. It’s the fact that they seem to be just using atheism as a way to pull silly, idiotic (and sometimes sexist) stunts and gimmicks that I don’t like. They’re pseudo-rationalists. They claim to be supporting science and reason, but in actuality all they’re doing is using science and reason as a way to attack people.

    These are human beings. So you do not share their life experiences, and thus do not share their reactions. It seems to me that you and Abbie both use this as a basic reason to dismiss and belittle their reactions as not being “valid.” That’s frankly just crap. Maybe someday Abbie will be grown-up enough to understand this.

    No. That’s positively absurd, and it’s the cowards way out of a debate.

    I do not share their reactions because I realize that calling a female Honduran feminist an apologist for white male privilege is mind-bogglingly stupid. I don’t share their reactions because I am not a petulant, childish buffoon who thinks that merely swearing at people constitutes an argument.

    Their reactions are not valid in any context or in relation to any “life experience”. There is a real difference between being strident and being an unthinking, abusive asshole.

  61. #62 Kristjan Wager
    November 23, 2009

    Going back to PZ’s point – it’s not about inviting people because they are female, but rather about not not inviting people because they are female.

    In other words, it’s about addressing the cultural sexism, which make white men get rated higher than other people of equal (or better) worth.

    Unlike what some commenters at the original Pharyngula thread seems to think, this is a well documented trend. Study after study shows that people (men and women) rate the work of men higher than the work of women. E.g. when evaluating two equal CVs, the CV of the male with be perceived more impressed than the CV of the female.

  62. #63 Luna_the_cat
    November 23, 2009

    Wow. Just…wow.

    At the risk of fanning the flames…

    Azkyroth: Zuska misunderstood you, and sniped at what she thought you said.

    That is in contrast to Abbie, her, declaring her “soulless and loveless”

    One is an argument over concept. The other is a direct personal attack, not to mention unjustifiable insult, one echoed several times over above this post.

    Are you seriously telling me you don’t see the difference?

    …By the way, Abbie, the link that you removed from the comment, to Zuska’s post about her older relative — that was there for a reason. First to point to, this is the woman who you have insulted as “soulless and loveless”, and second to illustrate the point that I was making about life experiences colouring reactions. The point that having lived through shit can make one overreact sometimes — but that it isn’t either always valid or your place to declare it wrong.

    Speaking of which: you seem to be unable to separate your professional quarrels with people from personal attacks. Since you brought up Sheril, fine — let’s go with that a moment. You had plenty of reasonable complaints about her book and her writing in general and her portrayal of PZ. But when it came to her being squicked out by a professional colleague whom she had formerly admired announcing to her that he would allow her to have sex with him and help him cheat on his wife, you launched into her as an attention-seeking whiner who wanted people to gang up on male nerds. Way to go, there; surely not a misrepresentation, and not sexist at all…. Seriously, it also seemed that because you personally wouldn’t have been bothered by it, you felt free to dismiss and belittle anyone who was. That came through quite clearly in later discussion in fact.

    Zuska and Isis write about the experience of women in science. This may come as a shock, but that goes way beyond you, and many people have exactly the experiences they write about and try to drag into the light. You don’t like them, fine; the kind of vicious personal attacks you launch and encourage from others, and blithe, arrogant dismissal of the experiences they represent, is way beyond the boundary of acceptable, imo.

    And Prometheus: I’m sure you delight in your poetical creativity, but you add nothing of value. You’re just an asshole, here. I doubt you even read what these bloggers write about; you appear to be entertaining yourself with what is in your own head.

  63. #64 ERV
    November 23, 2009

    Luna, why dont you ask Zuska why I dont like her.

    Id be interested in hearing her response to you.

    She either A) fesses up to a Very Bad Thing, apologizes to the offended parties (not me, incidentally), and we all get over this, or B) she makes up BS, never says sorry, and we keep playing this ‘game’ on SciBlogs, forever.

    Until then, Zuska and links that drive traffic in her direction, are not welcome.

    Secondly, your characterization of me-Sheril are massively distorted. Is that what you think happened? Your lack of elaborating on your ‘numerous’ accusation, Im assuming this is your only point?

    Thirdly, I dont read Zuska or Isis. The last time I read Isis she was on Blogger, and it was a science post. I dont know why you think Im critiquing their blogs. Others might, but not me. I dont read them. My problems with them are off-blog, and frankly, I dont know why you care.

  64. #65 Luna_the_cat
    November 23, 2009

    Re. my “misrepresentation” of you:
    Sheril’s post:
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2009/03/25/singled-out/
    Where and how it was brought up in your blog, which made me angry:
    http://scienceblogs.com/erv/2009/07/congrats_on_the_transformation.php#comment-1763957
    and your response:
    http://scienceblogs.com/erv/2009/07/congrats_on_the_transformation.php#comment-1764101
    And the “clarification” you provided later:
    -/2009/07/yesterday_morning_i_sent_abbie.php?utm_source=combinedfeed&utm_medium=rss#comment-1789339

    That’s truly all I’ll say on the matter. Either you’ll figure out where my interpretation comes from or not.

    …No, it isn’t my only example, but it genuinely wasn’t my intention to spend the rest of this thread picking over examples of your attitudes.

    Incidentally, I don’t believe I made any statement on your reading Zuska’s or Isis’s blogs — I didn’t think you did. I was responding to Prometheus, which is why I prefaced that section of my last comment with his name.

    I’d like to make this clear for the benefit of several of your commenters above: it’s clear you don’t like Zuska or Isis on the basis of how you perceive they have misunderstood and mistreated other bloggers. I do not personally see much difference between their behaviour and Abbie’s, as noted above, except that their language tends much more toward criticism of what they think was said, not schoolyard insults towards the person (most of the time); your distinction seems to be you like and agree with Abbie so you are amused by her beating up on people, and gleefully participate, but since you don’t agree with the others the same behaviour (or somewhat less so) on their part is therefore Not OK. That’s the way it comes across to me, anyway. But my point is, like becca says above, they still add a great deal of intelligent discussion of real issues. I really, really don’t like you blowing them off as pointless and useless. Basically it seems like since you don’t perceive the kind of embedded subtle prejudice they talk about, you don’t think it’s real and they’re all just making it up or something. That’s kind of a problem.

  65. #66 ERV
    November 23, 2009

    Thanks for looking up the links. I stand by all of that.

    No, it isn’t my only example…

    Sure looks like it.

    how you perceive they have misunderstood and mistreated other bloggers

    Yeah, like how Isis ‘perceives’ my criticism of ‘Unscientific America’ as atheistically motivated… no wait… SEXISM! It was SEXISM! And how she ‘perceives’ Honduran women as rich white men. See, we all just have different ‘perceptions’.

    And its actually not about how she treated ‘certain bloggers’. Its about hypocrisy, and what I want in my mentors as a young female scientist. Like I tried to explain to Dr. DumDum Isis regarding ‘Unscientific America’, if Zuska had done what she did to anyone, including Dr. DumDum, I would still be mad at Zuska. You know, this would be so much easier to discuss if Zuska was proud of herself.

    But, Im bored with you.

    Youve left no substantial comments at ERV in the past year and a half, and now youre bringing up 6 month old drama for god knows what reason, as if anyone cares. Might as well start a thread on Charlie the Unicorn next– at least that would be a nostalgia win.

  66. #67 Tyler DiPietro
    November 23, 2009

    I don’t understand what it is about this that’s so hard to understand, Luna. We all seem to agree that we don’t like Isis and Zuskaids because of their repeated dishonest and baseless accusations of “misogyny”. I could give two shits about their “life experiences”, that’s not tolerable.

  67. #68 Wesw
    November 23, 2009

    except that their language tends much more toward criticism of what they think was said, not schoolyard insults towards the person (most of the time)

    Huh?

    Here’s an example of why I don’t like Zuska (from another blog run by someone Abbie doesn’t like but I do; but that’s not relevant):

    ZOMG! She writes about her kid! Well that is just awful. And her general tone rubs you the wrong way? And you were forced to read her blog, you say? Oh wait, no, you weren’t. But how kind of you to share your sniping, barely disguised misogyny here with all of us. And it’s good to know how far, far above it all you are. Otherwise we would never have known how incredibly superior you are to teh wimminz who are so stoopid as to blog about kidz ‘n’ skienz. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Posted by: Zuska | March 9, 2009 4:17 PM\

    http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2009/03/the_wit_and_wisdom_of_dr_isis.php#comment-1454039

    That was later followed up by one the other “If I don’t like you, you’re a misogynist” assholes:

    but DingoJack, by your own logic Zuska is free to think you are an assbag misogynist and to write that on these here free intertoobz…so why are you whining? I’m sure you are a big boy and can take that pinprick of criticism with aplomb…

    now me, I’m a convert to the whole cult of parenthood thing so I understand your point of view. I think it churlish to need to express it under a post of Ed’s giving props to Isis but that’s not to say I don’t understand your poorly controlled impulse.

    of course since I also have the fervor of the convert, you remind me that I must do more daddy blogging in the future. if nothing else simply to piss off the assbag misogynists…

    Posted by: DrugMonkey | March 10, 2009 3:55 AM

    And yet another:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!1111!!!! HILARIOUS!!!!!!!

    You do know that Dr. Isis grew up poor, right? And that it’s possible to air complaints over trifles without being unappreciative of what you have? (Especially on a blog! These are venting grounds, here!)

    My father grew up poor and my mother grew up destitute. Determined not to subject their children to that kind of suffering, they established a comfortable middle-class lifestyle before my sister and I were born. It is impossible for them to dispense with their constant awareness of money and what life is like for people without it. Yet they complain about the most ridiculous things sometimes. Sometimes more than sometimes. It’s called being human.

    Moreover, Dr. Isis frequently (if not always) voices her complaints with self-awareness and self-deprecating humor. Which is how her regular readers know that she comes from a hardscrabble background in the first place.

    Obviously, you don’t have to like her. But I wasn’t going to let that slide. I have the “pleasure” of interacting with whiny privileged people all the time; Dr. Isis is definitely not one of them.

    Posted by: Juniper Shoemaker | March 10, 2009 1:19 PM

    Read that thread and tell me if there’s anything, anywhere, from anyone in it that warrants that kind of response. It even occurred within a thread praising Isis, for Christ’s sake. And one of the people being called a whiny privileged misogynist is, in fact, female.

  68. #69 ERV
    November 23, 2009

    Actually, me and Ed are cool now. See, funny story, he took a pot-shot at someone I think is nice, and instead of running off and making a front-page SciBlog post about what a shithead Ed is (like Dr. DumDum did for MEEE!! **KISSES!**), he and I bitched eachother out for a bit, we still dont agree on that topic, but now we are at a normal ‘whatevs’ level.

    Drama averted, surprised anyone remembers it! Ur old skool!

  69. #70 Azkyroth
    November 23, 2009

    Azkyroth- In the comment thread you linked to, I can see that Zuska misunderstood you and responded somewhat harshly, and by the time you’d corrected the record she was done with the thread. I think it’s a very sad misscommunication, but it doesn’t make her spiteful. Spiteful would be like calling you nasty names when you pointed out you meant something differently from how she read it.

    Which she HAS done, to other people and at least once to me, in threads I don’t have immediately to hand as examples, generally when the objects of her bile have expressed any degree of being hurt or offended by being lashed out at based on a misunderstanding. You’ll notice I chose my words carefully in my response to avoid expressing anything fo the sort.

    And, really, she was “done with” a thread, on her own blog, as of an hour and four minutes after her last post, with comments accumulating at a perfectly manageable rate, that continued for several days after that posting? I think this interpretation of her reasons for not responding is…excessively generous. Especially since, every time I’ve been in the situation where I laid into someone based on misunderstanding them, even if I didn’t intend to continue debating any of the points in the thread I’ve at least responded with something like “sorry – call it a pattern matching error.” That wouldn’t have killed her, and it’s kind of the minimum that intellectual honesty demands in that kind of situation. I don’t think, especially given her behavior in other instances, this can be read as anything more generous than “shoot first, acknowledge questions never.”

    As for her post on the Unscientific American affair, I admit I didn’t wade through it all, but the opening:

    You should never, ever criticize something a New Atheist says about science and religion. Never tell them maybe it’s not the best idea in the world to just go on about science/evolution + religion in whatever way, at whatever time, in whatever manner, for whatever reasons. In fact, you cannot criticize the speech of New Atheists even if your goal is not to tell them to shut up, but to suggest that they might get their message across better and more effectively if they tried delivering it in a different manner than the one they’ve been using, because suggestions like that are CENSORSHIP and it is telling them to SHUT UP and that is WRONG and MEAN.

    is such a blatant, childish misrepresentation of the objections to Mooney and Kirshenbaum’s book and thesis, and the general feelings and attitudes of critics thereof, that it illustrates both spitefulness and intellectual dishonesty admirably. When I asked her in the comment thread whether she cared about anything other than “Scoring points” it was rhetorical; that post was answer enough. (By the way, the issue isn’t that “no one is allowed to criticize anything a new atheist says,” it’s that, as science considers its fortunes in the war against ignorance, all Mooney and Kirshenbaum have to offer is a Dolchestabbelegende).

    On the others: Isis I have avoided since I read about three posts of hers and concluded that her tone and persona rubbed me the wrong way so hard they might as well have been made of steel wool, and despite Ed Brayton’s enthusiastic endorsement, nothing I’ve seen or read has corrected my initial impression. The shoe thing elicits eyerolls and concern since I’m raising a daughter, the tone I can get from any high school cheerleader thank you very much, and I don’t think she adds anything to the discussion for me.

    CPP I’ve sparred with a bit in various blog posts, and adds nothing to the debate period. I can get the same from different high schoolers, though the image of a (white?) male yelling “ALL OF YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP AND LET ME TELL YOU WHAT THE WOMEN THINK” makes me snicker.

  70. #71 Azkyroth
    November 23, 2009

    …Abbie, any idea why my comments keep getting held up for moderation? Even the ones without links? O.o

  71. #72 becca
    November 23, 2009

    So, I’m honestly curious here, how would folks here define “misogynist”? Can you point to some examples of misogyny? Can you see it from people you otherwise agree with?
    Does anyone have a better term than misogyny for actions/attitudes/behaviors/approaches that contribute relatively very minorly (in and of themselves), to women in science feeling uncomfortable/out of place/unwelcome? Or to women’s contributions not being recognized as on par with mens (since that would seem to be germane to the original topic)?

    From my perspective, I’m seeing reasonable people having unreasonable disagreements. I’ve already been informed, rather tartly, that I just don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes that makes all nastiness make sense.
    And from what little I’ve been able to grok about the (in bloggospheric terms) ancient history behind this, I’m very sympathetic to Abbie’s perspective.

    At the same time, you folks seem to be trying to make the case that people I find to be *generally* acceptably easy to reason with are:
    (mind-bogglingly) stupid/(unthinking, abusive) assholes/hypocritical/(intellectually)dishonest/glaringly incorrect/intolerable/petulant, childish buffoons/absurdly dull/indolent/self-hating/spiteful/viscous/self-righteous/bad apples/childish, abusive asswipes/vapid, aborted scientist/bitches/ chowderheaded dingleberries/people who too frequently react rather than think/rather nasty people…
    Seriously? I’m not that good at dealing with people- if they were as awful as all that, I’d have pissed them off and gotten banned from all their blogs long ago.

  72. #73 becca
    November 23, 2009

    See, that’s the thing, Azkyroth. You didn’t read the whole post. Which is perhaps why you characterized it as *about* Unscientific America. I don’t think that’s an accurate assessment.
    Not that you’re required to respond to the whole thing- I stated over there that I thought her “grad school = cult” quip was hilarious, even though it was quite tangential. Still, I didn’t ask her “don’t you care about anything other than dissing grad school!?!”
    How am I supposed to take you seriously as a Scientific Seeker of Truth if you don’t analyze the data you have available? Isn’t cherrypicking bits of data one of the easiest ways to introduce false information, in the form of biases, into your understanding of phenomena?
    There was obviously more to the post than scoring points, even assuming that is what she was doing (I, for one, do not think she made it overly obvious in that post whether she thought either ‘side’ was incorrect, which is rather a minimum necessary component of engaging in a competition in which there are points-unless you think she’s trying to start a new war of Zuska vs. PZ+MooneyandKirshembaum? Which would be a logical reading of that post, but confusing given the general context.)
    It looks weird to ask rhetorical questions you have an incorrect answer to.

  73. #74 Wes
    November 23, 2009

    So, I’m honestly curious here, how would folks here define “misogynist”? Can you point to some examples of misogyny? Can you see it from people you otherwise agree with?

    Misogyny means hatred towards women. It can sometimes be very subtle. And I think it would be a mistake to pin it down to any one example or definition. There probably isn’t any one set of forms it can take.

    I’m not so much concerned with the proper definition of misogynist than I am with abuse of that term. If someone calls someone else a misogynist without any evidence at all that they feel hatred towards women, that’s wrong.

    The examples I posted above suffice as examples of abuse of the term “misogyny”. There is no misogyny in that thread, nor is there anything that might be reasonably interpreted as misogyny. Zuska is just using the term “misogyny” as a way to attack people. And her mindless followers just regurgitate it.

    Does anyone have a better term than misogyny for actions/attitudes/behaviors/approaches that contribute relatively very minorly (in and of themselves), to women in science feeling uncomfortable/out of place/unwelcome? Or to women’s contributions not being recognized as on par with mens (since that would seem to be germane to the original topic)?

    It’s important to distinguish between misogyny and sexism. They’re not the same thing. A person might be sexist without being misogynistic (though not vice versa).

    I think one important distinction to recognize is the difference between making women uncomfortable and making a woman uncomfortable. In the thread I linked above, no one said anything to make women as a group feel uncomfortable. Rather, they expressed their distaste for a particular blog by a particular person.

    There really isn’t anything in that thread that strikes me as either sexist or misogynistic. Hell, one of the two people complaining is a woman.

    This gets back to my original objection to Abbie’s post (yes, I did start out objecting to her, but Luna made sure to flip me around real quick).

    A lot of gender inequality is not deliberate. It takes place without people’s knowledge or intent. It’s an issue that needs to be addressed, but behaving like an asshole is not the way to address it. There really is some very latent, unconscious sexism in the atheist/skeptic movement. Abbie is downplaying it, but I think it’s there.

    From my perspective, I’m seeing reasonable people having unreasonable disagreements. I’ve already been informed, rather tartly, that I just don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes that makes all nastiness make sense.

    I don’t know what Abbie saw behind the scenes. What I’m saying just has to do with what I’ve seen on the public side of science blogs.

    And from what little I’ve been able to grok about the (in bloggospheric terms) ancient history behind this, I’m very sympathetic to Abbie’s perspective.

    At the same time, you folks seem to be trying to make the case that people I find to be *generally* acceptably easy to reason with are:
    (mind-bogglingly) stupid/(unthinking, abusive) assholes/hypocritical/(intellectually)dishonest/glaringly incorrect/intolerable/petulant, childish buffoons/absurdly dull/indolent/self-hating/spiteful/viscous/self-righteous/bad apples/childish, abusive asswipes/vapid, aborted scientist/bitches/ chowderheaded dingleberries/people who too frequently react rather than think/rather nasty people…

    Yes, those are accurate descriptors. (Assuming you mean “vicious” and not “viscous”.)

    Seriously?

    Yes.

    I’m not that good at dealing with people- if they were as awful as all that, I’d have pissed them off and gotten banned from all their blogs long ago.

    Posted by: becca | November 23, 2009 7:17 PM

    If you’ve been interacting with them at their blogs, then it’s no wonder you haven’t received the treatment. It’s directed towards people they know precisely nothing about, such as Phil Plait and Salty Current. That’s why I keep insisting that it’s stupid, abusive, and counterproductive as far as feminism goes.

  74. #75 Azkyroth
    November 23, 2009

    Does anyone have a better term than misogyny for actions/attitudes/behaviors/approaches that contribute relatively very minorly (in and of themselves), to women in science feeling uncomfortable/out of place/unwelcome? Or to women’s contributions not being recognized as on par with mens (since that would seem to be germane to the original topic)?

    Some instances of this are motivated by misogyny; others would be better characterized as “unconscious sexism,” “tone-deaf,” “egocentric,” or “blinkered.”

    “Ambiguous,” “poorly phrased,” or “entirely innocent” would all be perfectly fitting descriptions of some of the comments the bloggers discussed above have been known to label “misogynistic,” though, which is kind of what’s being complained about here.

  75. #76 Luna_the_cat
    November 23, 2009

    Abbie:

    I don’t comment regularly anywhere any more; I haven’t got the regular time to commit to it. I don’t usually comment here because I don’t generally enjoy the high school atmosphere here, nor am I under any illusion about being welcome. Nevertheless, I responded upthread where it seemed other commenters were saying that Zuska and Isis were Not True Feminists and Bad For Feminism, and not representatives of valid viewpoints. Then you jumped in straight off with the namecalling, and things went downhill fast.

    You’re bored with old stuff? You brought up Sheril, I just supplied the detail. Plus, your loathing of Zuska goes back to, what, the kerfuffle in February?

    I note, also, that you castigate Zuska for not admitting wrongdoing, retracting statements or apologising….while engaging in precisely the same behaviour.

    (FWIW, I also don’t see her engaging in, tolerating, or encouraging namecalling of you, over at her blog.)

    Azkyroth: I read that blog post of hers, and to me it looked as if that opening was a mashup of every New Atheist argument since the beginnings of the whole “New Atheist” label, not pinpointing the Unscientific American issue. Do you think it’s possible that you might misinterpret things to, based on developed sensitivity?

    Speaking of which, Tyler, life experiences very much inform how people perceive and interpret things that are said and done by others, which shapes how people then react. Your failure if you don’t get that. People who have had too much and too persistent experience with sexism and discrimination tends to interpret anything ambiguous as being more of the same — and far more is ambiguous than the folks saying it generally realise. Someday when it isn’t 1am here I’ll find and send you a link to a rather interesting discussion of racism in writing (not on Scienceblogs, it was over on Livejournal, some time back) which might give you some clue as to how that works. I found it educational myself.

    Also, it doesn’t so much matter if the people saying something identify it as sexist, so much as it does whether the people hearing it do. And the attitude I frequently run into of, “well, Normal Men don’t see that as sexist, so Those Women are just oversensitive and making things up to be victimised about”….yeah, that doesn’t work.

  76. #77 Tyler DiPietro
    November 23, 2009

    “People who have had too much and too persistent experience with sexism and discrimination tends to interpret anything ambiguous as being more of the same…”

    Maybe they do. It doesn’t justify their absolutely loathsome behavior.

    If I’ve “experienced” lots of women being aggravated on their menstrual period I can’t make that my default assumption when I don’t approve of a woman’s behavior, and I can’t justify it based upon my “life experiences”.

  77. #78 Rystefn
    November 23, 2009

    This. This is one of the many reasons I keep coming back here. The OP, the comments… ok, so that’s more than one. Shut up. It made sense before I said it.

    Just so you know, if it means anything coming from some random jerk on the internets, if you were giving a talk anywhere I could actually make it to, I’d make it my point to be there, and it wouldn’t matter a lick to me if you were a man, woman, or three-headed Martian.

    Alright, that’s a lie. If you were a three-headed Martian, that would be like a million times the incentive to be there, but I stand by the rest of this comment.

  78. #79 becca
    November 23, 2009

    Actually Wes, I do think that post had comments that reflect attitudes that will disproportionately make women uncomfortable.
    In fact, many feminists would argue that the entire perception that raising kids and associated trials and tribulations are NOT IMPORTANT is a direct RESULT of the fact women have historically been more absorbed with these things. That is, if women do it, it must be dumb/boring/contemptible.
    Thus, because misogynists tend to be dismissive toward parenthood, and because being dismissive of parenthood affects women more dramatically, I can at least see the rationale behind calling out dismissive attitudes toward parents as misogynistic.

    (side note, cause it’s driving me nuts. Anyone who thinks “ZOMG, see a woman SEZ IT! SEE! can’t be misogyny! has NOT thought very hard about the Right-wing Republican “Straight” men who are ALL ABOUT the Christian Morals until you read about their wide stance and everyone smacks their foreheads and says “oh! Classic closet-case self-loather, I can’t believe I missed it!”.)

    That said, I can see why you’d only use ‘misogynist’ for situations in which evident emotional hatred is involved. In fact, this is closer to my personal preference for the use of the word. Just remember that insisting that one’s own extremely literal definition for a word is the only reasonable way of using it is the hobgobblin of overly rigid vocabularies.
    (come on, do ya really wanna get that literal? Cause I’d love to call you a liar for saying someone “is an asshole”… everyone *has* assholes, of course, nobody *is* one. Although, I guess I don’t *really* know what’s on the other end of the series of tubes. You think there are typing anuses out there? Besides Tyler, I mean.)

    “If you’ve been interacting with them at their blogs, then it’s no wonder you haven’t received the treatment. It’s directed towards people they know precisely nothing about, such as Phil Plait and Salty Current. That’s why I keep insisting that it’s stupid, abusive, and counterproductive as far as feminism goes.”
    So you think they are nicer to me because they know me? I admit, I am HIGHLY likable.
    Oh wait, no I’m not. Generally speaking, I like a fight a lot more than the average bear commenter. Ergo, a reasonable person will give an unknown more benefit of the doubt than how they treat a known Picador.

    I tend to think that the reason I don’t receive such treatment is that I am capable of empathy and usually up to looking for common ground. Moreover, I’m willing to accept that other people have different communication styles/norms/preferences and I enjoy working on my flexibility in communication. I’m pretty sure you can do the same (indeed, you seem to be doing so here), so I am still left wondering why reasonable people are being unreasonable.

    Azkyroth- you absolutely have a point. Also, some of those are good descriptions (tone-deaf is extremely useful, in my opinion).
    The trouble is, most of us (particularly when an accusation has been leveled against us) are really, REALLY bad at distinguishing between “this is a discriminatory thing to say” and “this person is sexist/racist/homophobe/misogynistic/ect.”
    And I do understand calling a particular attitude or behavior misogynistic. Let’s say woman A is exactly as assertive as man B. Let’s say person C says “A is such an obnoxious bitch; B is such a good leader”. This is textbook unconscious sexism. Further, if person C absolutely loves lots of women who behave in a way C approves of- C is not a misogynist by any literal definition (note- C may be female). But I simply cannot blame A for feeling frustrated, and attacked, and quite possibly like C hates her as a woman. In this sense, it’s misogyny.
    Regardless of whether you’d classify that case as Misogyny or Not Misogyny, can you at least see both sides?

  79. #80 Rystefn
    November 23, 2009

    becca, you left out the part where quite a lot of people can’t tell the difference between a “discriminatory thing to say,” a thing that could have been discriminatory. It’s an important distinction, and assuming the former without a good reason is wrong. Unless I’m completely missing something, I think that’s the accusation being leveled at Zuska, Isis, et al.

    “That might be taken as discriminatory,” is a statement of which it is easy to see both sides. “That’s a discriminatory thing to say” is often less so.

  80. #81 Tyler DiPietro
    November 23, 2009

    “Thus, because misogynists tend to be dismissive toward parenthood, and because being dismissive of parenthood affects women more dramatically, I can at least see the rationale behind calling out dismissive attitudes toward parents as misogynistic.”

    And I would say that this reasoning is basically an invocation of the composition fallacy.

    Besides, I’ve seen many more cases where enthusiasm about parenthood is indicative of misogyny. Christian fundamentalist misogyny is more or less only enthusiastic about women when they’re in maternal roles. So my perception in this case doesn’t match your’s.

  81. #82 Wes
    November 24, 2009

    Actually Wes, I do think that post had comments that reflect attitudes that will disproportionately make women uncomfortable.

    I strongly disagree. That thread had two posters (one of whom is female) saying they don’t like parenting blogs. That’s not hatred of women. It’s an expression of personal taste. Neither one of them is saying that child-rearing is unimportant. They’re saying they don’t enjoy blogs about it.

    And, yes, it does matter that one of the posters is female. Given the insistence on “personal experience” that is used as an excuse for abusive and unthinking behavior towards others, it is entirely relevant if the person being unthinkingly abused is herself, say, a Honduran feminist (to use an earlier example). The personal experience gambit completely breaks down when the person you’re abusing has more personal experience than you do.

  82. #83 windy
    November 24, 2009

    I am also genuinely perplexed by your linking to the “‘science as a religion’ isn’t a totally useless analogy” post as an example of spite.
    Is it spiteful to point out that everyone involved in the whole sordid Unscientific American exchange ended up looking ugly at least once? Even if you have a horse in that race, and think one side was OBVIOUSLY much worse, can you really defend every statement on Your Side?

    Um that post is just a transparent attempt at ‘gotcha’.

    If you have no idea what I am talking about just Google any of the following in combination: Mooney, Kirshenbaum, PZ Myers, Unscientific America.

    …(b) contrary to all your poor injured airs, my post is not about PZ.

    So she is talking “about” PZ et al, WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE, but the post is not “about” PZ. Well maybe not all of it, but clearly a part of it is.

    I would probably just be dismissed as a “Pharyngulite” if I said this over there, but I considered DSW a word-twisting intellectually dishonest buffoon based on his dishonest representation of the kin/group selection debate, long before I read anything he said on religion. Just look at Bob O’Hara cleaning his clock here.

  83. #84 becca
    November 24, 2009

    Wes- yeah, because looking after “parasitic growths” is SOooooooooooooooooooo important. Why don’t you start up a “how I look after my tapeworm” blog then?
    DingoJack is a jackass. Leni is mostly expressing a personal view, and I’m not sure Zuska was even replying to her.
    If we want to get technical, the only thing DingoJack actually exhibits is Fear of children (‘little horror’). Which I think does come off as hatred of children and parenting (and it has every right to hate them in it’s own life, but it’s ridiculous to say it’s attitude should be seen as utterly innocent personal preference to moms)
    Tyler- Yes, all the Americans that hate Muslims but only identify, target, and commit hate crimes against dark-skinned Muslims are all JUST anti-religious. Racism is just imaginary. Yes. Because all bigots have an exact and accurate idea of exactly what about the “other” scares/threatens/disgusts them.
    Look, for analysis purposes it would be NICE if people didn’t conflate different loosely coupled traits. But most people responding to moms talking about there kids are gonna get preconceptions of parents and preconceptions of women garbled.
    Just as your tone always gets garbled with a particularly /b obsessed ex boyfriend in my mind. Thus earning you raep tiem.

    windy- see my comment on NOT asking Zuska why she’s interested in NOTHING other than dissing grad school. Think. Wash, rinse, repeat.

  84. #85 Tyler DiPietro
    November 24, 2009

    “Yes, all the Americans that hate Muslims but only identify, target, and commit hate crimes against dark-skinned Muslims are all JUST anti-religious. Racism is just imaginary. Yes. Because all bigots have an exact and accurate idea of exactly what about the “other” scares/threatens/disgusts them.”

    This doesn’t have anything to do with what I said! You basically said that you could see the reasoning behind calling traits sometimes coupled with misogyny misogynist. I just pointed out that you can also infer the same thing about the opposite trait. It’s a faulty metric, which is especially bad when it comes to an accusation like misogyny.

  85. #86 windy
    November 24, 2009

    windy- see my comment on NOT asking Zuska why she’s interested in NOTHING other than dissing grad school. Think. Wash, rinse, repeat.

    Not a fan of brainwash, thanks. And I already covered that aspect in my comment – if she starts airing some ‘issues’ in the beginning of the post, it’s disingenuous to expect people not to say anything on that, even if that’s not the main part of the post.

  86. #87 becca
    November 24, 2009

    windy- Put down the straw. Nobody was posting and expecting people to not comment on a particular phrase in their post.
    I actually think it’s cool to say something on a particular bit that is interesting to you even if it’s highly tangental, (again, I cherrypicked a particular phrase to respond to).

    However, it’s either insane arrogance or disingenuous in the extreme to take the one bit you care enough about to respond to and use that to say that the post was entirely about one thing (e.g. scoring points on PZ).

    Tyler- it has everything to do with what you said. Let me explain:
    “Yes, all the Americans that hate Muslims but only identify, target, and commit hate crimes against dark-skinned Muslims are all JUST anti-religious. Racism is just imaginary. Yes. Because all bigots have an exact and accurate idea of exactly what about the “other” scares/threatens/disgusts them.”
    Yes, all people that hate parents but only identify, target, and refuse to hire women parents are JUST anti-parent. Sexism is just imaginary. Yes. Because all misogynists have an exact and accurate idea of exactly what about motherhood scares/threatens/disgusts them.

    (incidentally, I don’t see all the socially conservative religious folks to be that different- many of them are using the “importance of the traditional family” as a smokescreen for devaluing women’s work. That said, I also know some socially conservative people [who may or may not also be religious] who deeply believe the division of labor with women holding down the homefront and men working outside the home to be a proper reflection of each gender working at their most efficient. Provided they recognize that what works for their family might well not apply to anyone else, I don’t take much issue with this.)

    I’ll grant it’s not a perfect metric. There’s certainly not a 1:1 functional correlation (just as there *are* anti-muslims that will complain about light skinned muslims, there are people who will be assholes to fathers because they are fathers).
    However, it’s NOT a totally batshit crazy irrelevant metric.

    Basically, it seems to me that some people (probably especially women) exhibit dismissive attitudes toward parenthood in order to prevent negative stigma of parenthood from attaching to them.
    You want to see it in action? Ask a large group of PhD students about parenting. You will find at least a few female students that say that if they become PIs,they will NEVER hire women who even might want children, because they are Sick and Tired of others having to pick up the slack when somebody is on maternity leave.
    In that case, there’s no misogyny in the emotional sense, and no sexism in the reasoning process itself, but if everyone felt very strongly this way, virtually all women would have trouble advancing in any career. That’s a pretty misogynistic culture.
    THAT is the kind of point that Zuska et al are trying to make. If you don’t like how they make it, I can sympathize. If they end up sounding like they are blaming one person with this sort of viewpoint for the entirety of the misogynistic culture, it’s not logical and potentially way too harsh. On the other hand, it is ok to expect intelligent people to be able to think through the repercussions of their attitudes.

  87. #88 Rystefn
    November 24, 2009

    becca, I know it’s not terribly germane to the content of your posts, but you should really look into the difference between “its” and “it’s” as well as “there,” “their,” and “they’re.” You should have learned this in third grade.

    As to you post @84, when someone is garbling an incoming message in their own brain, it’s not the responsibility of the speaker (typer?) to accept abuse about the faulty interpretation. After one attempt to explain by anyone making the point, any further attacks are willful ignorance.

  88. #89 Tyler DiPietro
    November 24, 2009

    “Yes, all people that hate parents but only identify, target, and refuse to hire women parents are JUST anti-parent. Sexism is just imaginary.”

    No, I never said this. I didn’t say anything remotely like it. You’re quickly descending into the same tactics that I loath when used by Isis and Zuskaids. First, you vastly expand the definition of misogyny to include dispositions that might, somewhere down the line, in other individuals, engender results that disproportionately affect women. Then, when someone calls you on it, you contract it to something that is unambiguously misogyny. This is stupid, and dishonest.

    It’s the targeting of women that is misogynist in this case. In the case of criminal justice and race it is not necessarily laws that are racist, but biased enforcement is. These distinctions are crucial.

  89. #90 becca
    November 24, 2009

    Rystefn- both speakers and listeners can garble messages.

    Tyler- First, please learn to distinguish between misogynist (person) and misogynistic (action/behavior/attitude/thought/belief). I’m not calling *anyone* a misogynist. Second, I don’t understand why you consider it so loathsome for a particular position to be characterized as misogynistic. Would sexist be less emotional for you? Bottom line: we *all* have biases and are susceptible (to varying degrees) of vilification of the “other” (which means many things in different contexts). Virtually all of us can be sexist or racist at times. Pointing this out is not always a personal attack.
    And you’re so right about the law not being racist. I mean, Brown vs. Board of Education was completely unnecessary because there is nothing racist about segregation, after all “separate but equal” is, by definition, equal.
    Oh wait, no, it isn’t. And probably never could be. Sometimes the problem is *just* in a particular enforcement of a law. Other times, the law is so universally problematic that it is disingenuous to pretend it is a Right and Just law.

  90. #91 Tyler DiPietro
    November 24, 2009

    “And you’re so right about the law not being racist. I mean, Brown vs. Board of Education was completely unnecessary because there is nothing racist about segregation, after all “separate but equal” is, by definition, equal.”

    OMFG!!! I said that laws themselves weren’t necessarily racist, that doesn’t mean there aren’t such things as racist laws. Am I being trolled?

  91. #92 Rystefn
    November 24, 2009

    becca, I never said, nor even implied otherwise. That said, if one person repeatedly takes statements which are specific, and takes them to broadly apply to all women (for example), and to accuse separate speakers of misogyny in multiple cases, then who is likely garbling things? A dozen people sending different messages, or the single person receiving the same wrong one over and over?

  92. #93 Wes
    November 25, 2009

    Wes- yeah, because looking after “parasitic growths” is SOooooooooooooooooooo important. Why don’t you start up a “how I look after my tapeworm” blog then?
    DingoJack is a jackass. Leni is mostly expressing a personal view, and I’m not sure Zuska was even replying to her.
    If we want to get technical, the only thing DingoJack actually exhibits is Fear of children (‘little horror’). Which I think does come off as hatred of children and parenting (and it has every right to hate them in it’s own life, but it’s ridiculous to say it’s attitude should be seen as utterly innocent personal preference to moms)

    This is a great example of how “misogyny” is attributed to people based on the fact that the attributer knows precisely nothing about the person.

    You read so much into the particular terms DJ uses in that single post. But if you had been reading Ed’s blog, and were familiar with DJ’s writing style (he’s a regular poster), you would never have made such a claim. Every post DJ makes is deliberately sarcastic and ironic. It’s his shtick.

    There is no misogyny in that thread. Zuska’s and her followers’ abusive behavior is completely unwarranted. The fact that you tried to pin “misogyny” on DJ’s use of terms like “little horror” just proves my point: This tactic is directed against people about whom one knows nothing.

    You should attempt to gain a little more personal experience with a person before you attempt a gendered hermeneutic of their word choice.

  93. #94 becca
    November 25, 2009

    Rystefn- your bias is incredibly blatant.
    A dozen people sending different messages, or the single person receiving the same wrong one over and over?
    You’ve already decided who is wrong, and you seem to care in the slightest to examine any evidence on either side. Your post is a tautology.

    Wes-
    Why on earth is it OK for DJ to be sarcastic and ironic, but “abusive” when Zuska does it? How does someone who presents herself as specializing in “puking on shoes” *not* have a rep for being sarcastic and ironic? What about her comment was substantially different from DJ’s approach? The double standard is mind boggling.

    One of the points of feminism as an academic discipline is that we can learn a little more truth by applying a gendered hermeneutic. Though I rarely find it a useful exclusive philosophical framework, it *is* useful for examining some types of one’s own implicit biases- a good habit of mind for a scientist. That is my essential point. I’m not saying that everything Zuska says is right. I am saying that there is this philosophical framework called feminism, and what she’s doing is one brand of it, and it has some utility.
    Just as DJ’s asshattery has some utility. I took your point to heart, and started reading some of DJ’s other comments on Dispatches (an abortion thread came up- I have to say, I like a lot of DJ’s points on that one). But DJ’s whole schtick is not just “sarcastic and ironic” it is “dripping with sarcastic disdain”. Maybe that thread was a bad example, but DJ seems to positively relish heaping scorn upon people. Which is fine (particularly when done reasonably intelligently or amusingly, which DJ achieves at least part of the time), but it means DJ is a very poor choice of example if you are trying to prove that Zuska calls out people who are NOT hateful.
    Are you really interested in arguing that a misanthrope can’t be a misogynist?

  94. #95 Toidel Mahoney
    November 25, 2009

    Besides, I’ve seen many more cases where enthusiasm about parenthood is indicative of misogyny. Christian fundamentalist misogyny is more or less only enthusiastic about women when they’re in maternal roles. So my perception in this case doesn’t match your’s.

    Evolutionists, whose women have shod feet and barren wombs, look with pity or contempt at Christian ladies creating the new life they hate so fiercely. They might feel so superior now, but the hand that rocks the cradle will eventually rule the world! It is only a matter of time before the childless spinsters of evolutionism make their final descent into the Lake of Fire and the disciples of Darwin will lose their control of the media, the schools, and the judiciary. There will be just too few of them! Then those who love Jesus will rule and reign as he intends us to do!

  95. #96 Rystefn
    November 25, 2009

    Becca: your bias is incredibly blatant.
    You are aware that there’s a difference between bias and reaching a conclusion, aren’t you?

    You’ve already decided who is wrong
    Huh… I guess not. Looking at the arguments presented, coming to a conclusion, and then stating that conclusion is not bias. Check a dictionary if you think I’m wrong.

    you [don't] seem to care in the slightest to examine any evidence on either side.
    Odd… I’m pretty sure I read every comment here and followed all the links to other conversations anyone put up in defense of their case. Do you think it’s my responsibility to look up evidence for your position for you? If this were a more important disagreement, I might do it anyway, but I just don’t care enough. Whether or not bloggers I don’t know, read, or interact with in any way are oversensitive bullies doesn’t affect me enough for me to look further into it than their advocates will bother to present. Sorry.

    Your post is a tautology.
    Again, I think you should check a dictionary on this one. I recommend Miriam-Webster, but Oxford puts out a very good one as well, by all accounts.

    Thinking about it now, when combined with the previous comment I made about your English, I feel I may be doing you a disservice. If you are relatively new to the tongue, I’ll apologize for all comments I’ve made which negatively reflect on your usage of the language, and sincerely offer to aid you in whatever way I can in your mastery of English and will do my best in the future to work with you on avoiding misunderstandings.

  96. #97 becca
    November 25, 2009

    Rystefn- your statement boils down to: “who is wrong? The person who is assuming the wrong message?”
    If you wish to reach a conclusion, I suggest a statement, such as “Zuska is wrong.”. However, you won’t convince anyone because you haven’t actually put forth any support for your position.
    The fact that she finds misogyny multiple places says nothing about whether she is correct or not. Unfortunately, there is not one sole source of misogyny in this world.

  97. #98 Anton Mates
    November 26, 2009

    Evolutionists, whose women have shod feet and barren wombs, look with pity or contempt at Christian ladies creating the new life they hate so fiercely.

    Darwin had ten kids.

  98. #99 Rystefn
    November 26, 2009

    becca – your statement boils down to: “who is wrong? The person who is assuming the wrong message?”
    Not at all. My statement boils down to “which is more likely: a group of people to make the same mistake in unrelated actions, or one person to make the same mistake several times?” If the difference is too subtle for you, I don’t know how to simplify it more than that.

    If you wish to reach a conclusion, I suggest a statement, such as “Zuska is wrong.” I’ve already reached a conclusion. That’s like saying to me: “If you wish to reach Seattle…” I’m already here. Your advice is superfluous.

    However, you won’t convince anyone because you haven’t actually put forth any support for your position.
    This statement has no bearing. I’m not trying to convince anyone, and I’m not sure what made you think I am.

    The fact that she finds misogyny multiple places says nothing about whether she is correct or not. Unfortunately, there is not one sole source of misogyny in this world./i>
    No one here is claiming otherwise. Are you simply making a couple of unrelated comments, or knocking down straw men? Honestly, I cannot tell.

  99. #100 Wes
    November 28, 2009

    Why on earth is it OK for DJ to be sarcastic and ironic, but “abusive” when Zuska does it? How does someone who presents herself as specializing in “puking on shoes” *not* have a rep for being sarcastic and ironic? What about her comment was substantially different from DJ’s approach? The double standard is mind boggling.

    Are you saying that Zuska was being sarcastic when she accused Leni and DJ of “barely disguised misogyny”? Does the same go for Drugmonkey and that other wanker who accused them of misogyny and “privilege”?

    Because, unless that’s what you’re saying, I don’t see the “double standard” you allege I’m applying. DJ was being sarcastic with terms like “little horror”, as is his shtick. Zuska was not being sarcastic in calling him and Leni “misogynists”, as is her shtick. I like DJ’s shtick better.

    One of the points of feminism as an academic discipline is that we can learn a little more truth by applying a gendered hermeneutic. Though I rarely find it a useful exclusive philosophical framework, it *is* useful for examining some types of one’s own implicit biases- a good habit of mind for a scientist.

    My phd adviser is an accomplished academic feminist in the science studies, so I don’t need your lecture. There’s a big difference between applying feminist values to one’s approach to the issues, and just attacking people as “misogynists” based on no solid evidence at all.

    That is my essential point. I’m not saying that everything Zuska says is right. I am saying that there is this philosophical framework called feminism, and what she’s doing is one brand of it, and it has some utility.

    No. Going on blogs and insulting people for no reason is not a “philosophical framework”. It’s just childish, stupid behavior.

    Just as DJ’s asshattery has some utility.

    DJ is not an asshat. CP and Drugmonkey? Yeah, they’re asshats. But not DJ.

    I took your point to heart, and started reading some of DJ’s other comments on Dispatches (an abortion thread came up- I have to say, I like a lot of DJ’s points on that one). But DJ’s whole schtick is not just “sarcastic and ironic” it is “dripping with sarcastic disdain”. Maybe that thread was a bad example, but DJ seems to positively relish heaping scorn upon people. Which is fine (particularly when done reasonably intelligently or amusingly, which DJ achieves at least part of the time), but it means DJ is a very poor choice of example if you are trying to prove that Zuska calls out people who are NOT hateful.

    Provide me with an example of DJ being hateful. And remember, Leni was also attacked in that thread.

    Are you really interested in arguing that a misanthrope can’t be a misogynist?

    No. But I am interested in arguing that calling people “misogynists” based on no evidence at all is not a good way to advance the feminist cause. If the goal is gender equality, then the attacks need to be directed towards those who stand in the way. Going onto blogs you don’t read and calling people you know nothing about “misogynists” based solely on their criticism of one of your friends is not going to accomplish this.