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Females, especially younger women and girls, are not as welcome in the Atheist Community as are men. There are indeed many women who are atheists, and many of those are quite active. But to be a woman active in the atheist community, two things are almost always, I think, true: 1) You are not allowed to forget that you’re a woman before you’re an atheist, and not in a good way but in a stereotyped, sexualized, objectified and exploited way; and 2) one of your main jobs as an activist, blogger, writer, or speaker, may very well be dealing with sexism not only generally but in your particular field of interest as well.

And what I’m saying here applies as well to the Skeptical Community, quite possibly because the Atheist and Skeptics communities have quite a bit of overlap.
Females Are Not welcome in the Atheist Community. January 5, 2012 at 11:46 pm Greg Laden. Females, especially younger women and girls, are not as welcome in the Atheist Community as are men. There are...
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There is definitely far too many atheists/skeptics out there who are sexist and yes what happened on reddit was awful and NOTHING excuses it, however I think the reddit problem was more the fact that that sort of thing happens whenever a female posts her face there in ANY of the channels. It's not like you can keep out non-atheists there. It's a wretched hive of scum and villainy.

That being said, male privilege makes me nauseous. We need to educate atheist/skeptic men, I think they are capable of learning.
+Gyan Gather actually, what he's saying is that more than most other communities, Atheists are aware of privilege and the problems it causes and are working to do something about it.

When was the last time you heard a non-UU religious community discuss male privilege and its stultifying effects on women?
I, for one, welcome our female overlords... Thank you for writing this, even though you were fighting a cold. The bottom line is, some males are testosterone-driven jerks who treat females badly, whether they are atheist, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Skeptics or otherwise. I'd like to think we're not all like that.
Reddit and YouTube are the lonely, hateful, misogynistic capitals of the internet. What happens there can't represent the "atheist community" (if there is such a thing).

I didn't really understand the second-last paragraph though. If permission is given, it's not rape. Or was that just an analogy?
why is there even an atheist community? Sounds like another religion. Better to just not participate in any of this nonsense.
There's an atheist community because of the pernicious effects religion has on people. To the extent that you think that magical thinking harms others and this bothers you, you're a member.
As a male geezer, I don't know what I'm talking about, but I doubt this is true in our Cincinnati group, FIG.
I'm not an atheist though. I don't belong to any of these religious categories. So what now.
+stephen woloszyn : Why is there any type of community? First and foremost, people enjoy the company of their peers.

Secondly, and particular to the atheist community, atheists rally together to try to stem the tide of religious groups influencing public policy.
Can't I just ignore religion, and anytime anyone tells me they think alien beings brought down magical tablets to earth, I can just call them stupid. And then make sure they are not allowed to make decisions?
+stephen woloszyn Now ... go forth - lead a good life. Do unto others as you would have done unto you. Always try to make the world a better place. Enjoy!
"And then make sure they are not allowed to make decisions?"
And how do you achieve that on your own? Sure - use your electoral vote carefully - but that won't cover all the bases. Stem cell research, abortion, AIDS policy, birth control, who may marry whom -- all these important issues are dogged by dogma. How does a single person tackle all that?
I didn't say that, I'm saying that I don't have to be an atheist to join together with intelligent people to make change in the world. Id rather join "logicians". Sounds cooler too.
Yeah! Let's threadjack! Why call yourself 'atheist'? I just call myself 'Ian'. Wait... what was this thread ACTUALLY about? Let's talk about that instead.

I love seeing the knee-jerk reaction of people who are like "oh yeah, some people are totally sexist. It's awful. Luckily I'M not like that because I'm just totes special." If you're not struggling against it, you're part of it. We're steeped in it, and unless you're swimming against the tide you're going along with it.
I think its the wrong approach anyways, instead of unifying on what you do not believe in, we should unify on something we can all agree on. Logic. So if we just follow logic, it will solve all of our problems. Including math.
It got thread jacked, because this article is dumb.
Too dogmatic? Atheism is a simple concept: the rejection of the belief in the existence of deities. No dogma required. If you believe it then you're an atheist. If you're not comfortable with the label then that's on you.
But look at how the article describes it. It's not about the definition of atheism. It's about the atheist "community" which is why this entire article/thread is stupid and derailed. Later.
Like it or not there is an atheist community, and many in it complain about the lack of female participants while repeatedly doing things to drive them away. And then they get upset when their sexist behavior is pointed out. For a group that prides itself on reason many have a huge blind spot, and we're trying to get more atheists to understand. That's it, nothing dogmatic about it.
The thread gets derailed because people are being stupid and derailing it.

+Johnny Rivas - do you think there is merit in pointing out the similarities between anti-feminist arguments and anti-atheist arguments? One would presume that atheists are familiar and dismissive of bad anti-atheist talking points, but I find them eerily similar to the nonsense that is pressed into the service of the "what about the menz" position.
Can any of you even site the source this article is using, because I cannot. is not a legitimate website source, this guy made up this entire graph. So im an atheist in the fact that atheist are not welcoming females, because as far as this article is concerned there is no evidence to support that.
"I ignore the problem, therefore it doesn't exist." Glad to know you're on our side there, Stephen.
+Ian Cromwell there is definitely merit in anything that would get male atheists to understand how their behavior is alienating women. Unfortunately there are those who are incapable of accepting the possibility that they can be wrong about anything; it's a very human fallibility and there isn't much we can do about it.
+Ian Cromwell didn't say it didn't exist, I said this article is bogus. You are all talking about something based on an article with bogus facts. Find a real source and discuss there.
One last try for Stephen: suppose a black guy says that he's atheist and a bunch of the atheists start making repeated comments about his skin color, maybe making jokes about fried chicken or whatever. It's all harmless fun right? And then when this guy complains about it they all try to blame him and say he's being too sensitive. That's the kind of problem we're facing as atheists with women right now.

You can either see there's a problem and be willing to look into your own behavior to find a solution, or you can just go on pretending there isn't a problem and keep trying to derail the discussion (all while complaining about the derailing, which tells me you're trolling but I'm trying to give you the benefit of a doubt). It's up to you, sir.
Today, polls seem to indicate that tight controls on religious belief eventually give way to a society with God-fatigue. The "British Social Attitudes Survey" published in 2011 shows those who describe themselves as "non-religious" rose from 31 percent in 1983 to 51 percent by 2009.

See I just sited a source with "facts". You are making claims about all atheist communities, with no facts. According to this article atheism is on the rise. In men AND women.
The claim that women are not welcomed into atheist communities. Where is that coming from?
Examples were given. If you want statistical data then you're not going to find it. This is what's called an OPINION, voiced by both men and women who have seen far too many examples of sexism among atheists. If you decide to ignore them then that's on you.
No examples were given, that's my entire point. You are all perpetuating a stereotype that may not even really exist except in your own personal experience. The fact that you seem to think your small worlds truth holds up for the entire world is pretty much the definition of religion. You can have an opinion on women not being allowed into atheist community, but don't present that occurrence as widespread or fact, when the only example given was a bogus stat sheet made up on a guys blog. You are essentially ignoring the opposite, that women are welcomed with open arms into the atheist community. Furthermore, people are sexist, not atheist.
Cite, pedant. Cite. You're not being "skeptical", you're being an ass. Someone expressing a personal story does not need to back it up with a RCT, and when there are MULTIPLE similar stories, it is not showing equipoise to simply state that without a scientific study you will simply assume the problem is fake.

Sexism in the atheist/skeptical community is real, and you're part of the problem. The sooner you realize that, the better.
No examples were given? Did you even read the article?
Look at the original article posted, it is absolutely MADE UP. Sexism is a problem in the entire world. It has absolutely nothing to do with atheism.
Okay even though you're trolling I'm going to point out where you're wrong just in case anyone else actually believes you. The article posts many links to very real examples of sexism (sprinkled with a lot of mansplaining). These incidents are not made up, you claiming they are doesn't make it so.
in the article, the one you obviously didn't read
They are all links to blogs of other people linking blogs with opinions. A website that doesn't even exist was used as the basis of this article, "the graph".
Here you go Stephen:

"Cite a source saying that Christians are anti-gay! Just because SOME people say they are, doesn't mean they ALL are! I know lots of Christians that aren't homophobes! You think your small worlds truth holds up for the whole world. Well nuh-UH! It's doesn't!"

Fuck, do you even listen to yourself?
Opinions, and screen shots and links to examples of sexism, but like I said hopefully no one will just take your word for it and see for themselves.
+Ian Cromwell Christians have openly stated they are anti-gay. I don't recall atheist openly stating anything about anti women.
I recall reading that "the plural of anecdote is not data". I also find curious that mysoginy is clearly addressed but accounts of misandry are underreported. I read Rebecca Watson's blog entry, and to be honest I think she's been cherrypicking comments a bit too much. Sure, there were pretty offensive comments in there, but what do you expect from a nearly unmoderated medium such as reddit? You can't be for freedom of speech and censorship at the same time, and then again there's practically no age limit in that website.

Then the problem becomes more of the medium rather than the community per se. As far as I know reddit lacks of an icon to distinguish a female contributor from a male one so that we can distinguish the male from the female population, and people assume that the speaker is a male. Perhaps this is part of the problem.

I also agree here with stephen woloszyn: Sexism is a problem with the world, not necessarily with atheism.

On the other hand, Rebecca mentioned a negative comment about the reddit community called "Men's rights". I have read quite a few posts in that community, and they're not misogynistic in any way - they only address that men are often subject of abuse, but due to the feminist agenda currently running in the U.S., they're often ignored or minimized (there was one video of a study where a stranger male yelled and pretended to hit a female and this was quickly reported - when the roles were reversed, the abuse was ignored, and even cheered up; that should say something about the current state of affairs in our world). It's my conclusion then, that Rebecca inadvertedly has exaggerated the misogyny present in forums, while ignoring the existing misandry in other forums, or the posts and comments calling for respect. I think there is a perfect explanation for this: Confirmation bias.

This is a complicated problem, and there are valid points addressed by both sides. On a personal note, I think that flagging an entire atheist community over a few posts and comments written (and voted) by anonymous people whose ages and beliefs are not clearly identified, is misleading. After all, reddit is called "the hivemind" for a reason.

Perhaps we should try to take off our tinfoil hats and denounce the particular aliases that have written offensive and misogynistic comments, instead of demonizing an entire community.
Rick it's both a problem with society and with atheists. For the reddit problem I agree (and have stated) that you can't contribute it ALL to atheists, but it's the subsequent mansplaining from people who claim to be atheists (including in Rebecca's blog) that illustrates the problem of male privilege in the atheist community.

Is there misandry in the feminist community? Sometimes, but that doesn't excuse misogyny in the atheist community. When you start complaining about that in response to charges of sexism you feed into the whole "but the menz" line of excuses.
+Johnny Rivas I've never excused misogyny - it is wrong, after all; I'm just saying that in an unmoderated medium you can't blame everyone for the wrongs of the few.
It's not about blaming everyone, it's about trying to get men to understand how their words are alienating women.
It's a bigger problem in atheist communities than others:

Atheists are so self-congratulatory about how rational we are, that we completely ignore the flaws in our arguments about sex and gender. I encounter this time and again with racism as well - because we've assured ourselves that we couldn't POSSIBLY be that way, we find arguments to prop up our a priori conclusion that there is no problem. Then when those arguments are thoroughly skewered, we get petulant and demand scientific proof, rather than examining the biases that have been pointed out to us. Then we ignore the people who are talking about it, or introduce bizarre red herrings like "well there's misandry too", or "sexism exists everywhere" in order to deflect the discussion.
Other than spreading the word, Rick, I'm not sure. I think the key is to reach out rather than lash out (as is always the key IMO). Yes, there is lashing out a-plenty and it's unfortunate, but I don't control the dialog.
Perhaps we should ask said forums to explicitly forbid sexist comments in their guidelines.
It won't work in forums such as reddit, and really I don't think you get anywhere by prohibiting speech. I think it's better to convince people of the problem and try to get them to understand why such rhetoric is not acceptable. Reason will prevail among the truly reasonable.
I agree that there are many vile sexist atheists on the interwebs like reddit and also youtube. But I'm getting tired of this notion that at skeptical and atheist conferences, sexism is rife. This is absolute BS, I've been to one atheist conference in my life and have never been among more educated and respectful people, granted I'm male and am therefore not truly aware of the scope of this. Sexism will be everywhere, heck, even in the House of Parliament in the UK just recently, a report of unacceptable behaviour and attitudes towards female MPs.

We males just need to be more conscientious around our female counterparts and treat them with the respect they give us in return.
I object with your qualifier "just", Steven. While being conscientious and respectful is the bare minimum we can do, we have to be COMBATING sexism in our community. When someone says/does something sexist, don't let it slide. Lack of dissent is assent in the face of a society that is awash in these biases. If everyone simply said "that's not cool" when someone says or does something sexist (and doesn't accept "it was just a joke" as an excuse), we'd build incredible social pressure. As it stands now, that isn't happening.
+Rick Garcia - banning is problematic. It doesn't solve the problem, just drives it underground (or forces people to get more creative in their language). I'd rather know where/who the racists/sexists/homophobes are so I can show them why they're wrong.
I think everything said here is valid, as long as no one jumps to the conclusion that atheist by nature are more sexist than non atheist. I think that's the danger of this article and line of thought.
+stephen woloszyn That's it! That's what I was trying to say!! (And if I offended any woman in any way with my arguments, I apologize, it wasn't my intention)
This is a gigantic problem. If I may point out something, there are 65 comments (mine is #66), and not one of them is from a female. That is a piece of data that needs a rational explanation.
Definitely not more sexist than non-atheists, just resistant to the idea that there is a problem with sexism among atheists (and that in turn it's alienating women).
Well the use of the term "a female" is problematic enough, but I'll leave that there.

I don't know if atheists are more sexist than theists (probably not), but sexism is a larger problem in the atheist community than it is in most others. It's a fine distinction, but it has to do more with how issues of sexism are handled more so than people's innate attitudes (which aren't really that important to the discussion).
66 comments no (openly) women. Just sayin'
Pedantic Ian, so am I. Agreed, I also have a contention with the word "just" when seen in the context you pointed out. I did not mean to say that is the ONLY thing we need to do.

You will never get rid of sexism completely Ian, that's like trying to wipe out racism completely, rather impossible. The fact that women are fundamentally different than men, there will ALWAYS exist a level of male/female "tension". How I deal with it is being constantly aware of how I treat women, it works! Not that I restrain myself from vulgarly sexualizing women all the time but that I understand my male temperament and that I might inadvertently say/do something inappropriate. How do you suppose we deal with sexism at conferences Ian?

Like I conceded and agreed before. There is a level of sexism I never knew existed before on the internet. Whenever you see ANY female making a video on youtube, you can bet your salary the top comments will be something like, "I wanna see your titties" or "This bitch belongs in the kitchen" vile, vile, vile and inexcusable!
Evidence? Hard facts? Have you not been paying attention? Did you read the FUCKING POST???? It is loaded with links. Go read the post, check out the links, then comment on the post if you still need hard facts.
+Steven Spray - "how do we deal with sexism at conferences". This is a good question, and one that has been addressed a few times. The simplest, most effective thing men can do to deal with sexism at conferences (or anywhere, really) is to call people out on it. Don't simply not do it - be an active part of the solution. There are many people who are afraid to speak up for fear of being singled out - many of them are women (so I've been told). By saying that sexism isn't a problem that only women should comment about, you make the environment less intimidating for people who already may feel excluded. Someone says something sexist, call him on it.

The second thing (maybe this should be the first thing) is to listen when someone (particularly women) calls you out on something sexist, even if you don't agree. Instead of offering a million explanations of why it's not a big deal, or why they're wrong, or why they're overreacting, simply say "I could be wrong about this, and I will think about it."

Neither of these things is hard to do, and they will make a huge difference in the social climate.
Don't we do that already though? And is that not the expected attitudes we expect from everyone BY DEFAULT?
+Chris Young Women aren't commenting because we know this already. It's the guys that have to wrap their heads around it.
I wholeheartedly agree with your second paragraph Ian and that is THE problem, men are naturally biassed and don't immediately see if indeed something inappropriate happened!
I've been reading, but didn't feel the need to comment because I live it. So, basically, what +Betsy McCall said.
+Steven Spray - I don't think there is nearly enough out-calling of sexism. I base that opinion on what I am told by female members of the skeptic/atheist community. We are getting better, in my eyes, but we're not there yet. It still takes (most often) a female blogger to point out an example of sexism after the fact, rather than someone getting jumped on in the room for, for example, making a crack about beach volleyball.

What you call "biased" I would call "privileged", but I think we're talking about the same underlying phenomenon. The reaction to getting called out needs to change though, which isn't natural bias but a cultural response. If someone tells me I stink, my reaction is to sniff myself, not to demand an air analysis.
Though I will say that misandry, even though it's seemingly small in comparison to misogyny (no citations, just personal experience), does seem to get overlooked or even cheered on, as though it's any less demeaning than misogyny. I have to wonder if women misandrists were victims of misogyny themselves.

I am glad, though, that judges in divorce proceedings now seem more likely to view each parent equally and not assume that guardianship should always rest with the mother.

Baby steps. Always baby steps. I'd like to see some leaps.
Pointing out men are "privileged" is damaging in my opinion(even IF true) and screams inequality. Implying women are ...? No. Men are naturally biassed because they have penises and women have... do I really have to explain my use of "naturally biassed" here Ian? I don't see myself as privileged, that would be rather patriarchal.
Whether or not you see yourself as privileged is immaterial to whether or not it's true. Male privilege exists. It is a cultural phenomenon, not a chromosomal one. And the word you're looking for in that ellipsis is "underprivileged". Recognizing one's own privilege is key to understanding how hir actions may have unintended consequences (like sexism). It wasn't until I recognized my own privilege as a man that I really began to viscerally "get" why some of my positions were sexist.
Ian I think I agree with everything you say, I might just be caught up in semantics. Brianne, I tried to buy my wife peperspray for self defence one day because I knew gunlaws here in the UK prevent you from arming yourself with them. I quickly found out that they were not readily available. I phoned the police(not their emergency helpline!) and it turned out that even just carrying peperspray is illegal in this country. Using it will result in jail time even if attacked!! I asked the PC what I can get my wife to protect herself and he said I can get her a whistle, can you believe that?!
Brianne, given that the incidence of misogyny is many times higher than that of misandry, I think it is extremely likely that women who exhibit misandry have prior experience of misogyny.

Note added in proof: My open office word processing doesn't even recognize the word misandry.
G+ didn't either. I even verified my spelling. :o(
That is in the same category if not more serious than peperspray. Use it and you risk being charged with GBH!
+Steven Spray That's insane! I'd take some serious martial arts classes, if I were your wife, so she can be lethal with only her body. You too!
Pepper spray is not very useful if someone wants to hurt you. And, speaking as a martial artist and someone who's taught self defense, many martial arts are NOT at all suitable for self defense. That's why it's an art.

What seems to be forgotten in your discussion is that women are most at risk from people they know. In other words, date rape. Spousal abuse. Those are the two most common forms of violence against women in the 1st world. And I can cite references on that, but frankly it's late and I can't be assed. Look it up yourselves ;p

You are putting the onus on the woman to defend herself--rather than looking at how sexist/misogynistic culture may make men more likely to harm women (or other men). And what men can do to stop other men from behaving badly.
I am in no way putting the onus on the woman to defend herself. I fully agree that we need to take preventative measures through education and psychology, if need be. However, there is no way in hell I'm not going to arm myself with whatever I need to take care of business.
I read his blog. Read that when he posted it.
The first rule of life is nothing is sure and you need to fight for the things you want and believe in.
And a rule of G+, if you're going to edit your comments, let people know so a) they don't miss anything and b) you don't look like shady.
I keep an electric flyswatter at close hand. The old and good kind with the parallel alternating charged wires.
"On the other hand, Rebecca mentioned a negative comment about the reddit community called "Men's rights". I have read quite a few posts in that community, and they're not misogynistic in any way"

Are you kidding me? /r/mensrights is incredibly misogynistic, as is reddit as a whole. According to mensrights on reddit, feminists are eeeevil creatures threatening to destroy men. I just went to the first page and I found this gem of a thread:
Top voted link from this month:

"I honestly think that Ayatollah Khomeini was less insane than modern Western Women." +45

I'm not going to bother posting links to sexism on reddit in general because it's just too easy to find.
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