Misogyny Without Mysticism

This BuzzFeed article addresses something I’d been wondering about recently, which is misogynistic atheists. While a logically possible position, it just seems weird in light of the fact that the major group that’s historically been discriminated against by the major world religions is women. Even when women played a significant part in starting a religion (shout-out to Mary Magdalene and Khadijah, among others), men have generally found a way to use it to enforce what they see as traditional gender roles.

Hey, my wife just sent me a link to this very disturbing page recently. With religion behind you, you can claim that it isn’t just YOU who thinks women should be subservient to men and provide sex whenever they’re asked for it; it’s the Almighty Lord of the Universe who thinks that.

Atheists and agnostics can’t very well use this argument. You’ll still occasionally get people insisting women are less rational than men, presumably because of their hormones, which is obviously total crap when you take into account how irrational and belligerent testosterone makes men behave. And now there are commercials on television insisting some men don’t have enough testosterone. I don’t know the medical science behind this, but my initial reaction to these is one of horror. Of course, neither men nor women are completely controlled by their body chemistry, and pretty much everyone thinks their position is the rational one. The article suggests that this misogyny is somewhat ingrained in atheist and skeptical communities for the same reason it is among comic book and video game fans, which is that they were at first dominated by guys. Now, there’s a huge difference between simply not knowing any girls who share your interests and actively shutting them out. There’s probably a certain amount of sexism involved in the former, but it isn’t entirely conscious and probably has more of a chance of being recognized and avoided as much as possible.

But then you get the Men’s Rights guys who insist that women are a lot of whiny crybabies while simultaneously expressing how devastated they are about the upcoming Supergirl television show, because that’s apparently not a matter of emotions.

One reason this interests me is that I identify as an atheist and a feminist. Both of these terms can be somewhat controversial, which is why I generally only use them when online or among friends. I’ve recently come again upon something about how men SHOULDN’T identify as feminists, which is the exact opposite of what I usually see. In some ways, I think this attitude is more or less buying into the idea that feminism isn’t about equality, but about women trying to conquer the world. I don’t entirely understand the no-male-feminists argument, but from what I’ve gathered it has something to do with feminism being a women’s movement. To me, feminism and the women’s movement are related, but not the same thing. Similarly, atheism just means you don’t believe in supernatural forces controlling the universe, and doesn’t necessarily indicate a position on public policy. Neither one automatically makes you part of a club, and while I address atheism and feminism from time to time, I don’t consider myself a member of either community, if such things even exist. I can’t help but wonder if the women-only feminists are mostly just bothered by men who try to use the feminist label as a bragging right or a pick-up line, as if basic decency is something that should instill pride. And no, I don’t think flirtation is inherently bad, but repeated unwelcome flirtation is. Hey, I get that we straight men tend to have our minds turn to sex when noticing attractive women, but I also like to think we’re respectful enough not immediately put those thoughts into action.

This entry was posted in Feminism, Gender, Prejudice, Religion and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Misogyny Without Mysticism

  1. Pingback: I’ll Be a Dirty Word | VoVatia

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