Archive for May, 2014

I see myself as a skeptic, but I hesitate to associate myself with atheist groups. There are reasons for this.

563768_342904879141739_1630566303_nFor one, taking advice from musing velociraptors is questionable at the best of times.

I was a fan of Christopher Hitchens despite his faults, and still enjoy prominent atheists like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins. I recognize that organized religions are detrimental to us as a species, yet it seems as though a great many vocal atheists take a sexist page from the religious handbook (arguably the very worst of religion).
I have no problem with offending people with the truth — to jar people into reality.
I think it is fantastic when Harris and Dawkins openly challenge religious doctrine and its defenders and I do not begrudge them their insistence to call into question people’s personal ‘anecdotal’ experiences (one cannot debate against such perspectives). It is important to be ‘militant’ about challenging people to communicate in a logical fashion, as worthwhile debates simply cannot exist otherwise.
That is why the seemingly inherent misogyny of the online atheist is so especially troubling.

558119_418315591586115_1109174470_n“God told me we should be together!”

A great many well-subscribed atheist Youtube personalities are very fervently anti-feminist. I realize that the only binding principle that actually unites atheists is a lack of belief in gods and that all other topics including gender, ethnic and political issues are fair game to break ranks on. However, one would think that atheists would want to distinguish ourselves from the many negative elements of religion, foremost of which are undoubtedly regarding women and gender-roles. Not so, says The Youtubes, as popular atheist uploaders such as Thunderf00t and self-titled ‘The Amazing Atheist’ demonstrate with their anti-feminist rants. They object to the idea that women (majority of the world’s population) could possibly have a unique perspective. To them, it is sexism itself to allot ‘special treatment’ to this historically (and modernly) enslaved and oppressed half of humanity. They enjoy using their magnified voice to take statements out of the context of centuries of oppression and generally projecting themselves (fat, balding white-men) as victimized BY women. Even mainstream atheist icon Richard Dawkins himself got into hot water not only dismissing but actively mocking the concerns of female atheists at a skeptic convention some years ago (as if women in ‘first-world’ countries should just shut up because women elsewhere have it worse).
Evidently, sentiments of sexism or racism are just as alive in the atheist community as they are doctrine in their religious counterparts. I could never find common-ground on the subject of dismissing basic human liberties. It is precisely because I would not that I find myself an atheist today.

391087_440066362751771_1805497146_n                                                    Is there an atheist on the recliner to the left?

But fear not, for not all is lost. Male-atheist ‘Cult of Dusty’ recently decried sexist statements on his videos in defense of fellow outspoken atheist Jaclyn Glenn. Of course, both of them share a ‘fashionable’ knee-jerk reaction against feminism while in the same breath praising equal rights. Perhaps they should take some notes from the seemingly sole shining online example: atheist Rebecca Watson?  It is clear, that even among the most open-minded (popular) atheists, there needs to be a reconciling of values between the non-believers and the rights-activists if there is to be any future of common-goal within either group.

 

“The abuse of women and girls is the most pervasive and unaddressed human rights violation on earth.”                     – Jimmy Carter

I consider myself a feminist.

1794583_1411270042456098_24096862_n                                                                  “Any day now…”

As such, it is blatantly obvious that I depart rather starkly with others of my associations due to my degree of perception of feminist issue.
For one, I do not — as some feminists do — shy away from openly naming the institutions and groups directly responsible for the many layers of woman-hatred that are prevalent in even the most progressive of nations worldwide. Whereas many feminists are quite content to react to single individuals’ sexism, I find myself among others (particularly atheists, be they associated with feminism or no) as having no qualms about calling out religious groups and specifically patriarchal (predominantly monotheistic) religions in general as the leading causes for misogynistic social axioms that have been indoctrinated into the human populous over the course of history. This far-reaching pervasiveness seems to inexorably seep into the fabric of all nations – to varying degrees.
Further, and much more radically, while all but the most fringe feminists dream of gender equality, I feel that such a goal aims not nearly far enough.

29542_593199634029363_415837869_n                                                                             “Ta-Da!”

Females are not just part of an arbitrarily ostracized religious group, or members of a perpetually beleaguered nation, nor even part of a brutalized ethnic group. No, women are ALL of these and constitute 51% of the TOTAL human population (and that is not taking into account the rampage of femicides in some of the most populous countries on earth). Considering that throughout the course of our entire species, females have been the targets of atrocities due to either accidental membership in an outlying group/ethnicity/nation, or targeted specifically because of their gender, it should be easy to persuade even the most staunch Men’s Rights Activists that women have been the single most oppressed group of humanity in all of time. (Unfortunately, such convictions are late in the coming)
Being that 99% of all the truly horrifying violence in this world since time immemorial has been initiated, perpetrated and continued by males, I feel that women asking ‘equality’ with us men is in itself a great inequity.

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Please do not mistake my position for insecurity or self-loathing. I am quite satisfied with my existence as is. In fact, sharing the trope of my gender, I consider myself to be an unflinchingly vain individual. While I’ve always surfed the edges of poverty, indeed in some cases diving right in, I have nevertheless been immeasurably privileged in my life, enjoying such experiences as earning the status of veteran, becoming a well-traveled linguist, and being the owner of a small business. No doubt, all this is due in large part to the accident of birth that is my male sex, heterosexual orientation, and Russian ethnicity. While I feel no particular personal guilt, I find it appalling on the most innate depths of both reason and morality that more men not merely do not share my view, but are actively working against even the most basic progress of women’s right to exist. Surely given all of history, if one cannot stand to concede my admittedly extreme views, one can at the very least take the time to listen and sympathize with the vast number of regular, reasonable, and rightly troubled feminists – women and men.