I must admit all the hype about sexism in the atheist community has me asking questions. One of the biggest being where I should or would stand in some circumstances. I want to be seen as a lady, which most men do. I want to be treated as a human, which I see a lot of as well. I see the women in the atheist movement and most of them are strong minds, with backbones to support that, but what about just being us?
For most of history women have been the leading religious parties in the home. We have been the ones to care for the kids and the worries of food, and cooking and cleaning. Along came the bra burning of the sixties and women set the world on its head. We marched forward telling men we would not be second class citizens and property. We found the strength to be educated and hard working. Even if it means less down time and relaxing. We were and are in for it. We gained momentum and strength in numbers.
Move forward to the seventies. Women were starting to take control. No longer seen as just the secretary, but suddenly fighting their way up some very big ladders, trying to find a way to the top. What we found was a glass ceiling. It stopped us from going all the way to the top, just because we have ovaries. Most women were seen as expendable because later they would marry and have kids, giving them less time in the office, and more time with the family. While we had leaped ahead we were still behind. Now along came the nineties and then the new millennium and women like Oprah were making headlines as the highest earning woman in the world.
Now comes the women of atheism and what we want/need. I have heard a lot of talk about misogyny and men thinking rape is the solution to women getting out of “line.” I find it absurd that any man would want to talk that way, but I am very sure they exist. Just like I am sure women who hate men exist. I quite frankly don’t see the need to patronize each other here. We are all adults, and if a man offered to have me raped, or rape me I would think of him as some sick bastard. It is not about him being a man, or me being a woman. It is about some people in this world having issues with reality. I would also find my self questioning how many of these men really were atheists. After all it is easy to pretend on the internet, and a lot of people do. They also say the most vile and outrageous things I have ever heard.
There seems to be a lack of accountability on the part of people spewing garbage on the net. One look at various blogs, You Tube, Face Book will tell you that there are some people with pent up rage out there. Some I never want to come face to face with. Due to the fact I just wonder how deep crazy goes. But that is not the majority. The majority is just pointing out facts and being drowned in emotional outbursts.We seem to have thrown rational discussion to the side. We might take a note from out English brothers here and try choking down a little direct honesty.
Which brings me to my point. Can I have it both ways? Do I take it on the chin for dealing with whatever comes my way? Or do I let my gender stand in the way. I have seen nothing but support from the atheist community. After all I call myself the Godless Vagina. I am here in the open, free to take shots at. But not many have, and what I have seen is men who act like little boys, and women who can’t handle my name for thinking it is classless. But I am pretty damn proud of being an atheist. No Christian will ever call themselves the God Filled Vagina. Nor will any Muslim ever dare to come close. I am part of the unique, and diverse crowd that is atheist.
I am inspired by the likes of Greta Christina who was one of the first women I knew in atheism. I am inspired by Dr. Dawkins, who’s books helped free me from the bonds of ignorance. I have enjoyed the direct and straight forward approach of Staks Roche. Those were the atheists who first got my attention. Now I see so many strong atheists. Strength seems to be a common thread in atheism. In mental capacity, and candor.
There is a necessity within our growing group to not let the benign distract and destroy. To not tolerate abuse, but be teachers. I don’t believe every atheist has been a well educated one. Nor do I live with the delusion every one will be. What I live with is the reality that some very flawed humans exist as atheists just as they do theists. I can see a place for improvement, and focus. More atheists should spend time teaching. We have a hungry audience. So why not feed them the best information we can. I can see we have been, and we are getting more people to question, but lets keep going. We can have it both ways. If you want men to learn to respect us, then we need to first respect each other.
All the atheist women should be resolved to not let anything distract them. I am sure Ayan Hirsi Ali has had threats and e-mails that might turn all of our stomachs. Yet seeing her in public, and speaking out makes me feel stronger. I am in no way saying any woman has to swallow crap, but we need to be leaders and teachers. Most of the garbage I see on the net I would dismiss as nothing more that the filth of people who suffer from high amounts of self loathing. They are the people who find anyone to distract from their life of self pity. I am sure the ladies of American Atheists and all other organizations can see we play a vital role here.We can be teachers and guides, but not if we get distracted. Our focus should be on being leaders and still beautiful bright women. We should not sacrifice our strength on the altar of fighting. It makes our part look unpleasant and irrational. Looking at women like Cristina Rad, I know we are smart, we have class, and taste. We have our place, and room to grow. So we should use it wisely, and educate men and other women on just how strong atheists are and what we can do when we challenge all of us to be better people.
We have a bright future as atheists, and we should all be proud to be here, to have become thinkers, and to be united to help other people think too.