And then, picking up where Adam Lee left off, Ophelia Benson wrote this post in support of his erroneous assertion that I had monolithized movement atheism. It starts thus:
So all the irritated or difficult or especial feminist types think all of atheism is sexist to the core and hostile to all but the most compliant and Hot women, right?So, right from the opening line, I am an "irritated or difficult or especial feminist type." Neat! I guess she hasn't heard yet that I'm also famously uncharitable.
No. Not at all.
Adam Lee has a post on the subject.
He starts with a post by Melissa McEwan that lists a string of rules (in the form of tweets). I'm not all that fond of strings of rules.
Immediately, that is followed by mischaracterizing my expressly solicited list of advice—which has been republished by PZ Myers, who asked the question to which it was a response—as a "string of rules" as if they were presented with some expectation that they be followed in spaces other than my own. (Which I have repeatedly said over the last week was explicitly not my expectation.) I got asked how movement atheist spaces can be more welcoming to women. I replied with some suggestions. Now I am being cast as a rule-making enforcer. Neat!
It goes on from there, with Ophelia quoting Adam's cherry-picked post in order to make the argument that I monolithized movement atheism to call it universally misogynist.
Which, as an aside, if I believed, I wouldn't have wasted my time making a list of advice for "atheist men who genuinely want an answer" to the question about making their spaces more inclusive. If I were a person who went about making "rules" for an entire movement of people I didn't believe were remotely amenable to them, I would be a very silly person indeed.
But never mind the evident curiousness inherent to that logic. I mean, geez, you know how those irritated or difficult or especial feminist types are. Don't even bother trying to figure them out!
Anyway. Fifty comments into her comment thread, after many of her commenters noted that Adam's post was an intellectually dishonest piece based on selective quoting, Ophelia writes:
Urf, I never wanted to get into this level of detail, I didn't know it was going to be this detailed. Maybe I got it wrong.Followed by:
Yes much too detailed. (I took a look at that post.) I didn't mean to get into a whole huge thing. I thought it was a relatively small detachable point, and I found it interesting, so I said about it. Maybe I'm all wrong. I'm sure as hell not saying "movement atheism is just fine and I feel totes welcome inside of it."So, basically, in the middle of some visible percentage of mainstream movement atheism having a week-long referendum on how unfair, uncharitable, cold, passionless, fascistic, oversensitive, hysterical, stupid, fat, ugly, and deserving of rape and death I am, yet another movement atheist decided she couldn't be bothered with the pesky details of it all, which I have been carefully documenting with backlinks in every subsequent post, before piling the fuck on and just presuming that Adam Lee was right in order so that she could make a "relatively small detachable point" about an assertion I didn't even actually make.
But I'm interested in things like overgeneralization. I always have been. It's what got me into this, more than ten years ago. Sometimes I really am just thinking about that, and not making some larger political point, let alone a gotcha.
A lot of virtual ink has been spilled over the last week arguing that feelings aren't evidence, that this is about my hurt fee-fees or my being offended, that no one should be expected to change hir behavior because of someone's feelings or perceptions, that some feelings are wrong, and so forth and so on. It has been asserted that I am documenting this because I have a grudge, or because I don't like the people involved, or other variations on being oversensitive and taking it personally.
No. The reason I am documenting it is because this is the exact dynamic I was talking about in the first place. Whatever feelings about this dynamic I have are a result of repeatedly cycling through it. Patterns should mean something to people who prize rational thought and evidence. Systemic marginalization can be objectively assessed, and that is the endeavor I've undertaken here.
I've never said I was hurt. I've never said I was offended. I've never made this personal. I said I was alienated for demonstrable reasons. Framing this documentation into the thrashing petulance of a difficult feminist is a discrediting strategy, a choice made in contravention of all evidence to the contrary. For the people who use the next breath to argue that rational evidence trumps feelings, that is a curious choice indeed.