June 5, 2013

A Letter From Skeptic Women

Skeptic WomenThanks to West Coast Atheist for bringing this to my attention. It seems that there is finally a clear public statement of opposition to how some self-described feminists in the atheist community have been behaving, one written by women for women. It comes in the form of a letter by Skeptic Women explaining that have found the atheist, skeptic, and secular communities to be safe and welcoming.

It is important to note that the letter does not deny the reality of sexism in these communities. The authors acknowledge that it is sometimes problematic but suggest that incidents of sexism should not be interpreted as indicating that the entire community is sexist or misogynistic. They also call for the under-representation of women and minorities to be addressed "without reliance on ideological adherence and appeals to emotion."

The letter expresses concern with how "the great rift" has affected women (and men):
We have found ourselves marginalized by certain actions and moral proscriptions emerging from Skepchick, Freethought Blogs, Atheism Plus and even Secular Woman. In regard to this sphere, we do feel silenced. This ideological camp claims to speak for women, but refuses to listen to us. It has also spoken hatefully of some people - women and men - without allowing them an opportunity to contest those claims. Examples include censorship of blog post criticism, frequent assumptions of guilt by association, and the popularity of a meme mocking communication efforts: "Freeze Peach." This behavior creates a divisive, unwelcoming atmosphere which has a chilling effect on open discussion for women and men.
The letter goes on to express disagreement with the efforts of Amanda Marcotte and others to have Dr. Ron Lindsay removed from his position with the Center for Inquiry.

Skeptic Women is seeking female signatories. If you identify as a woman, check out the letter and see if you agree. A link to the letter has been shared on Reddit/atheism, and Skeptic Women has a Facebook community.