How to Not Attract the Babes May 31, 2011

How to Not Attract the Babes

The women in our movement aren’t asking a lot.

Those of us who are aware of the sexism need to call it out when we see it and do everything we can to not add to the problem.

If we say or do something wrong — and I’ll be the first to admit I’m guilty of that — let’s hope it’s unintentional and that the offender is quick to apologize.

(via atheistcartoons)


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  • Ah yes, I remember this conversation from Atheist Revolution, http://www.atheistrev.com/2011/02/becoming-more-accessible-to-atheist.html

  • I’d have to say that my local group appears to be a Pickle Parade.

    That being said, the only rationalism book I’d have with me on a deserted island is Jennifer Michael Hecht’s Doubt: A History. It is soup herb.

  • Claudia

    After the last round about sexism in the community, I don’t know that I have the stomach for more “hysterical, whiny, crying, childish, oversensitive, politically correct” flame-wars.

    I’m glad to see that this particular incident was resolved well. Though an up-front apology would have been best I totally understand the knee-jerk instinct to become defensive, so he still gets kudos in my book for coming clean as soon as he had time to think about it with a cool head. I too have noticed the tendency of many atheist men in the online community of mentioning ZOMGitscriss or xxxThePeachxxx andgoing straight to how “hot” they are. AndromedasWake is hot and so is TheoreticalBullshit, but they don’t get that as the main commentary about them. Not that you aren’t allowed to notice or every comment on the attractiveness of someone of a compatible gender (ZOMGitscriss definitely wants you to notice), but it’s telling when this appears to be your chief interest.

  • Roxane

    I have before me an invitation to attend the next FFRF-Albuquerque meeting, because I sent them a donation for a billboard. I’m not sure that I’ll go, but it isn’t for fear of sexism. It’s because I can’t imagine what the meeting could possibly be about, and I am informed that atheist meetings tend to be tedious, repetitive and depressing. I also hear the complaint that they tend to be full of boring old people, and even though I AM a boring old person, my needs for socializing with my own ilk are already met by my knitting, quilting and spinning groups, where the “boring” part is at least mitigated by being able to see what everybody is making.

    I know I ought to go and see for myself, but I can’t quite muster the energy of activation to do it.

  • Sexism is an issue…? Maybe I just need to hang with the community more. I think the alternative, however, is more extreme. Burkas, anyone…?

  • jose

    “At least we’re not worse than the Taliban” isn’t a very compelling argument.

  • Minus

    I think we will have made progress when it is the men who call out the men for their gross sexist remarks. At present, it appears that this type of criticism falls in the realm of women’s work. I am a man who has been watching this dynamic play out for forty years with little improvement. I was underwhelmed by Eller’s “apology” which apologized for what he said, when it is what he thought that is the problem. It’s easy to change your words, harder to examine and change the way you think.

  • David Diskin

    Roxanne,

    Many routine/business atheist meetings ARE boring.

    But I’ve been to a ton that were fun, too. Check out Meetup.com or Facebook for any local groups, or ask the folks at that meeting you mentioned.

    Here in Sacramento and the Central Valley, we have the boring meetings, but we also have social potlucks, trivia nights, movie nights, game nights, volunteering events, and more. Someone even just started up a dating scene.

  • Annie

    Sexism is a societal issue, and atheists are part of that greater society. I must say, I think atheist groups do a much better job at calling out sexism than our country as a whole. I think that is largely due to some very informed and well spoken atheists who happen to be women.

  • I’m not sure what an FFRF conference is like, but the AHA Conference this year featured a lot of students and young people. The secular movement is making slow but steady progress in attracting more young folks. That and I for one (I’m 26) like the geezers. I mean, Dawkins isn’t young, neither is PZ, nor Dennett, nor even Hitch, and those older atheists know how to have a good time!

  • Danikajaye

    With sexism in general I often find it is a “Can’t see the forest for the trees” type situation. A lot of the sexism I experience is only very minor but the there are so many of these small things that it can be quite overwhelming.

    That is part of the problem with dismissing the smaller concerns. They are part of a much broader picture and to change this overall trend the smaller issues need to be addressed.

  • Who made that cartoon?? That’s a really cheap shot, not just at male Atheists, but females Atheists, and Atheist groups.

    You could sure start an issue going with such a cartoon…sheesh! I’m sure glad this isn’t really a serious issue, but wtf is with that cartoonist?

  • Chris Hagan

    Now granted that I am sure sexism is a bigger problem in the direction of males to females, make no mistake that it happens the other way too. As an (apparently) attractive male, I know what it is like to be treated simply as a sex object through the use of comments at work by female coworkers, inappropriate touches that are not invited and etc. It goes as far as people assuming that I sleep around a lot simply because I am attractive, and making plenty of comments about all the escapades they imagine I get into. People actually spread rumors about me and all these different women that have worked here in the past that I supposedly have had sex with. There is no grain of truth to any of the stories either.

    Obviously it is probably not as degrading toward a male as it would be for a female, since in general society would view these sort of things as positive for a male – a man who has sex with a lot of women is often seen positively, women not so much. But regardless, the comments and touching is not welcome and still makes me uncomfortable at work. And all the stupid stories definitely don’t make me feel better about myself.

    My point is basically this… people need to be mindful of everyone around them because inappropriate behavior happens all the time and perhaps sometimes people aren’t aware they are doing it or they somehow think that is ok for them to do it when it really is not. Just because you might think that certain attentions toward a person are complimentary does not mean that the person in question will see it the same way. I think there is a lot more to a person than just the way they look and maybe it is a reality that society will base most of their assumptions about someone solely on how they look, but that is definitely not a fair reality in my opinion.

    So if sexism in the atheist movement is a big problem (I don’t know because I’m not that involved) then everyone… just think about what you say and do before you do it. Is it really that difficult? And if someone tells you something you are saying or doing is inappropriate or offensive, rather than simply say “you should not be offended/it was meant to be a joke/etc” maybe you should start a dialogue to figure out not just why what you said or did was offensive but to figure out why you didn’t realize it was an inappropriate thing to do?

  • Jeremy Diamond

    Who made that cartoon?? That’s a really cheap shot, not just at male Atheists, but females Atheists, and Atheist groups.

    I don’t think it’s a cheap shot. I don’t think it’s funny, but there is a grain of truth there.

    Take any college group. Sex is the number one driver of social life on campus. I’m not saying that every guy (and girl, for that matter) who joins an atheist club is doing it to get laid, but young people have a mentality of always being on the lookout for eligible mates. That’s our biology at work. We congregate where there are other eligible mates. If there aren’t any… well, we’re much less likely to show up.

    This is all tacitly understood by group leaders (even if they don’t recognize it). If they want people to show up, they have to attract a diverse and well-balanced group.

  • Nick

    “Who made that cartoon?? That’s a really cheap shot, not just at male Atheists, but females Atheists, and Atheist groups.” – Joe Zamecki

    That comic always has cheap shots in it. It can often be quite racist, too.

    Hemant, you should never post that “artist’s” garbage here. But I do think sexism is bad.

  • Just so it is clear gentlemen. The modern feminist is instructed in a program of Womens Studies that promotes the idea that any sexual language is demeaning by definition. If you meet one of these indoctrinated fem-bots just nod at them and smile. Do not say a word and you may escape with your life.

    Also, never volunteer to speak about the topic of women in atheism. You run the risk of being roasted on the spit for use of words such as “female”.

    If you feel you are being misjudged as a sexists pig DO NOT DEFEND YOURSELF. This will be seen as manslpaining and will just provoke the beasts to attack further. Step away immediately and proclaim that you were insensitive and are so sorry you said what you said. Claim that it is hard for you to change the speech patterns you learned for being raised in a Christian household.

    Good luck boys… you will need it!

  • Kari

    Wow, John D. Way to buy into the patriarchal stereotype of feminists.

  • Oh… no problem Kari. I am used to being stereotyped by feminists. They are good at it.

  • Kaileyverse

    I’m a modern feminist who has never taken a gender studies class… Stereotype BLOWN.

    Yes – some “feminists” are sexist jerks, and some men are sexist jerks. Some women use horrible and derogatory terms like “sexist pig” which is bad for both men and women (and pigs) and some men “man-splain” instead of really thinking about what they said or did and why it was sexist.

    Men and women aren’t “against” each other. It isn’t a zero-sum game where any gain by women is a loss for men or vice versa.
    Avoiding or being sarcastic about conflicts regarding sex and gender gets us no where. It might be painful and uncomfortable for all of us to recognize our own privileges and accept that other people don’t have those same privileges as we do – but it is one of the only ways for us to create dialogue and generate mutual understanding.

  • agreed Kaileyverse – perhaps Hemant should realize this cartoon is not very helpful. Bringing up the same incident over and over gets a bit tedious and feels like badgering.

  • Parse

    Gee, John D, with an attitude like that, I can’t imagine why anybody would mistake you for a sexist pig. I’m sure it’s all a big misunderstanding on the part of the ‘indoctrinated fem-bots’ and ‘beasts’. They truly are monsters for not accepting your token apology and bulletproof excuse for not changing your behavior. How dare they ask that you actually consider their points or maybe even change your behavior!

    John D, for you I’d suggest a preemptive defense, by not typing any comments for them to react to. That’ll guarantee you escape with your life.

  • No worries Parse – I have a very thick skin. I have no objection to someone asking me to change my behavior. I reserve the right to laugh if I think the request is silly. Is it okay if I laugh when someone objects to me using the word “female”? I hope so… because I can’t help but laugh in this case.

    I also reserve the right to laugh at the idea that women are intentionally rejected by atheist men. It is silly to assume it is the fault of men that more women are not active in atheist groups. This message gets played over and over again.

  • vltava

    I’m a feminist, and I haven’t been indoctrinated by a Women’s Studies course. I’m not even female.

  • Douglas Kirk

    John D.,

    If you don’t want to be a pariah, don’t repeat stupid, factually incorrect bullshit. In the same vein, if you don’t want to be called a sexist, don’t say sexist things.

    Oddly, I’ve never had any problem talking with “modern” feminists…

  • Kenny

    Yawn. This is such a boring issue.

    All this hysteria over nothing. I hate political correctness more than anything, and all this walking on eggshells is getting to an extreme level.

    I feel SO SORRY for these attractive young people being recognized as such. What a disaster that is.

  • Freemage

    JohnD:

    I also reserve the right to laugh at the idea that women are intentionally rejected by atheist men. It is silly to assume it is the fault of men that more women are not active in atheist groups. This message gets played over and over again.

    Thanks for making it clear you’ve never once actually read the complaints involved; it helps identify you as naught but a troll on the issue.

    To-wit, the argument is NOT: “women are intentionally rejected by atheist men.” It is, in fact, very much the case that the feminists (women and men alike) who speak up after these incidents occur are assuming that the men they are calling out are NOT creating offense deliberately.

    If we thought that, then there’d be no point in complaining at all–a person who is deliberately trying to drive you off obviously doesn’t have any intention of listening to you. Rather, the operating assumption is that the men who are being called to task actually are sincere in their desire to have more women in the movement, but are unaware that some of their own language and behavior is undermining that very goal.

    So JohnD, beat, beat, beat that strawman to death all you want. It gives the rest of us something to point to and laugh at.

  • Oh dear Freemage – I have viewed all the videos and took note of all the comments. One of these “offenses” was actually a case where the man speaking said that a female blogger was “very intelligent and good looking” (I am paraphrasing). The speaker also claimed that the fact that this person is good looking certainly does not hurt their blog popularity. This comment was taken as offensive by some of the self described feminist liberals.

    I was quite surprised anyone was offended and viewed the comment and apology three times. Even in the apology the man said “Oh, as I said, this blogger is very intelligent”. He finally wrote a second apology and claimed he was being insensitive and learned the error of his ways. All was forgiven by the liberal feminists. He is now one of the good guys. Witnessing this makes me feel like I am viewing a bunch of aliens at work… so mysterious… so unpredictable…

    Perhaps part of the problem is that liberal feminists cannot accept that some women are considered “good looking”. Is it a goal of liberal feminists to claim that looks do not matter? Perhaps. This is a futile and immature goal. Many men will just shut the hell up and keep our thoughts to ourselves. Just be warned, men who are not allowed to share their thoughts and feeling will not make for very good allies.

    I really would love to meet with Susan Jacoby (a very accomplished writer in my opinion)… but I will avoid Jen and Greta like the plague. Blog celebrities don’t do much for me I am afraid.

  • I’m a “modern” feminist. I’m also male, straight, fiscally conservative, libertarian (with a small”l”), gun owner, combat veteran and I like to eat tasty animals.
    Now, I’ve run into a few obnoxious feminazis here and there, but wouldn’t you agree that they don’t even come close to the number of boorish, misogynistic turds on the other side of the aisle? Tell me you were just yanking a few chains and weren’t serious. C’mon, you don’t really think that your depiction of feminists was an accurate representation…do you?

  • John

    G Monster – I do not think that everyone who calls themselves a feminist is guilt of the crime of hyperbolic political correctness.

    I am really tired of a certain group of liberal feminists who relish bashing men while claiming sexism is the reason why more women are not part of the “atheist movement”.

  • Freemage

    JohnD: Well, I tried to give you credit, by assuming you were simply ignorant, having failed to read the actual conversations involved. Instead, though, if I’m to take you at your word that you did in fact read it in great depth, I’m forced to conclude that your misstatement of the underlying assumption of the “liberal feminists” you so enjoy deriding (to-wit, that they somehow believe men are ~deliberately~ trying to push women away from the movement) is not the result of ignorance, but rather either a reading comprehension fail, or deliberate mendacity on your part.

    Since I have no interest in conversing with either a liar or fool, I shall likely decline to continue this conversation further.

    Once again:

    I also reserve the right to laugh at the idea that women are intentionally rejected by atheist men.

  • @John,
    gotcha

  • John

    Freemage – mendacity… good word.

  • If we say or do something wrong — and I’ll be the first to admit I’m guilty of that — let’s hope it’s unintentional and that the offender is quick to apologize.

    I agree 100%. Not one of us is perfect and we can all learn from our mistakes.