Women and Disbelief

Darwin FishA long-running critique of the New Atheist movement has been how strikingly male-dominated it is. Victoria Bekiempkis over at Bitch Magazine explores the intersection between feminism and atheism:

Women are God-fearing and don’t challenge institutions. Men, on the other hand, are skeptical and rational, and go out of their way to publicly call bullshit on faith and religion — which is why today’s well-known secular thinkers, especially in the ranks of the New Atheism movement, are all male.

These statements should sound ridiculous because, of course, they are. From Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the founder of American Atheists, whose 1963 Supreme Court lawsuit brought an end to prayer in public schools, to Sergeant Kathleen Johnson, who started an organization for atheists in the United States military, to Debbie Goddard, founder of African Americans for Humanism, countless women have worked as successful atheist activists. They’ve penned books, run organizations, and advocated on behalf of religiously repressed citizens. But you might not guess that from the popular portrayal and perception of atheism in America, which overwhelmingly treats the contemporary class of non-God-fearing freethinkers (also known as secularists, skeptics, and nonbelievers) as a contentious, showboating boys’ club …

Read the whole story via Bitch Magazine

26 Comments on "Women and Disbelief"

  1. Atheism being represented as a male-only thing is a deliberate tactic. Men are already getting flack from feminists everywhere, and making it look like atheism is male-only, is an attempt to feminists angry at atheists too.

  2. Atheism being represented as a male-only thing is a deliberate tactic. Men are already getting flack from feminists everywhere, and making it look like atheism is male-only, is an attempt to feminists angry at atheists too.

    • Jin The Ninja | Oct 16, 2011 at 5:45 pm |

      Okay, What?

      and if i understand your implication (muddled amidst your incomplete thought), wrong.

      read the post.

    • I’m thinking you do not know what feminism is, otherwise you wouldn’t have made such an absurd statement.

  3. Anonymous | Oct 16, 2011 at 9:45 pm |

    Okay, What?

    and if i understand your implication (muddled amidst your incomplete thought), wrong.

    read the post.

  4. I’m thinking you do not know what feminism is, otherwise you wouldn’t have made such an absurd statement.

  5. If you could talk to Ms. O’Hair now, she’s changed her mind.  http://atheistlegitimacy.blogspot.com/

  6. If you could talk to Ms. O’Hair now, she’s changed her mind.  http://atheistlegitimacy.blogspot.com/

    • Jin The Ninja | Oct 17, 2011 at 12:07 am |

      This thread is about the intersections of feminism and atheism. It is not about christian legitimacy or ridiculous self-aggrandizing links to mis-interpreted theological hypothesis’.

  7. Anonymous | Oct 17, 2011 at 4:07 am |

    This thread is about the intersections of feminism and atheism. It is not about christian legitimacy or ridiculous self-aggrandizing links to mis-interpreted theological hypothesis’.

  8. Anonymous | Oct 17, 2011 at 10:59 pm |

    Fine, but I wonder what percentage of buyers of New Age books are women. And what is-up with astrology.

  9. Fine, but I wonder what percentage of buyers of New Age books are women. And what is-up with astrology.

    • Jin The Ninja | Oct 18, 2011 at 12:40 am |

      If i find an interesting story about feminism and new age spirituality from a legitimate source i’ll be glad to post it, but what does that have to do with feminism and atheism?

      • Appreciate the response. Yeah just reminded of the (unfair and stupid) image of women as being less rational, less empirically minded, less scientific and more prone to superstition, irrationality, religious and “spiritual” ideas, etc. by this piece. While I don’t think women in general are less crazy and ignorant in their beliefs than people with dicks I do think the sales figures show a much larger % are, for whatever reasons, into New Age bullshit. And astrology.

        • Jin The Ninja | Oct 18, 2011 at 3:23 am |

          I am not sure i understand your above response.

          This piece was written for an issue of Bitch Magazine a radical feminist/anti-racist/post modern/pro ableist/anti fascist periodical. In no way does this article assert women are less inclined towards scientific rationality- it rather explores how the modern Atheist movement is male-dominated and that the feminist voice is ignored or mocked by some/many of it’s public figures, and puts into context women in the history of atheism.

          I, myself, am not an atheist, but am a feminist, and this has been a long running critique of my own of the atheist movment. That is not to say i think being an atheist is illegimate intellectually or morally (because i certainly do not), but because of the polarisation of discussions on religion on disinfo, i thought it would be interesting to see the discussion an article of this sort could elicit.

          While I do recognise that women are a major demographic of the so-called ‘New Age’ movment, which encompasses a wide variety of beliefs sometimes unfairly catagorised under the mantle (i.e. wicca and neo-paganism), I think this has more to do with the lack of substantial women-centered spirituality in mainstream culture than with irrationality. 

          • Sorry, No I knew your article is absolutely not claiming women are less inclined toward scientific rationality. Quite the opposite. You’re attacking the idea that “women are God-fearing and don’t challenge institutions. Men, on the other hand, are skeptical and rational, and go out of their way to publicly call bullshit on faith and religion — which is why today’s well-known secular thinkers, especially in the ranks of the New Atheism movement, are all male”.
            What I was saying is that I  (or meant to say, ok) is that I agree with you but I was wondering out loud why lots of women are into New Age shit. Anyway.Good point about so-called “New Age” (should be in quotes because none of it is new). Women are probably drawn to some of that like wicca, neo-paganism, etc.  because it is more women-centered.

          • Jin The Ninja | Oct 18, 2011 at 1:23 pm |

            Thank you for the clarification!

            I appreciate your thoughts and that we could have a civil discussion. I apologise for mis-interpreting your previous post!

  10. Anonymous | Oct 18, 2011 at 4:40 am |

    If i find an interesting story about feminism and new age spirituality from a legitimate source i’ll be glad to post it, but what does that have to do with feminism and atheism?

  11. Anonymous | Oct 18, 2011 at 5:23 am |

    Appreciate the response. Yeah just reminded of the (unfair and stupid) image of women as being less rational, less empirically minded, less scientific and more prone to superstition, irrationality, religious and “spiritual” ideas, etc. by this piece. While I don’t think women in general are less crazy and ignorant in their beliefs than people with dicks I do think the sales figures show a much larger % are, for whatever reasons, into New Age bullshit. And astrology.

  12. Anonymous | Oct 18, 2011 at 7:23 am |

    I am not sure i understand your above response.

    This piece was written for an issue of Bitch Magazine a radical feminist/anti-racist/post modern/pro ableist/anti fascist periodical. In no way does this article assert women are less inclined towards scientific rationality- it rather explores how the modern Atheist movement is male-dominated and that the feminist voice is ignored or mocked by some/many of it’s public figures, and puts into context women in the history of atheism.

    I, myself, am not an atheist, but am a feminist, and this has been a long running critique of my own of the atheist movment. That is not to say i think being an atheist is illegimate intellectually or morally (because i certainly do not), but because of the polarisation of discussions on religion on disinfo, i thought it would be interesting to see the discussion an article of this sort could elicit.

    While I do recognise that women are a major demographic of the so-called ‘New Age’ movment, which encompasses a wide variety of beliefs sometimes unfairly catagorised under the mantle (i.e. wicca and neo-paganism), I think this has more to do with the lack of substantial women-centered spirituality in mainstream culture than with irrationality. 

  13. Anonymous | Oct 18, 2011 at 12:55 pm |

    Sorry, No I knew your article is absolutely not claiming women are less inclined toward scientific rationality. Quite the opposite. You’re attacking the idea that “women are God-fearing and don’t challenge institutions. Men, on the other hand, are skeptical and rational, and go out of their way to publicly call bullshit on faith and religion — which is why today’s well-known secular thinkers, especially in the ranks of the New Atheism movement, are all male”.
    What I was saying is that I  (or meant to say, ok) is that I agree with you but I was wondering out loud why lots of women are into New Age shit. Anyway.Good point about so-called “New Age” (should be in quotes because none of it is new). Women are probably drawn to some of that like wicca, neo-paganism, etc.  because it is more women-centered.

  14. Anonymous | Oct 18, 2011 at 12:55 pm |

    Sorry, No I knew your article is absolutely not claiming women are less inclined toward scientific rationality. Quite the opposite. You’re attacking the idea that “women are God-fearing and don’t challenge institutions. Men, on the other hand, are skeptical and rational, and go out of their way to publicly call bullshit on faith and religion — which is why today’s well-known secular thinkers, especially in the ranks of the New Atheism movement, are all male”.
    What I was saying is that I  (or meant to say, ok) is that I agree with you but I was wondering out loud why lots of women are into New Age shit. Anyway.Good point about so-called “New Age” (should be in quotes because none of it is new). Women are probably drawn to some of that like wicca, neo-paganism, etc.  because it is more women-centered.

  15. Anonymous | Oct 18, 2011 at 12:55 pm |

    Sorry, No I knew your article is absolutely not claiming women are less inclined toward scientific rationality. Quite the opposite. You’re attacking the idea that “women are God-fearing and don’t challenge institutions. Men, on the other hand, are skeptical and rational, and go out of their way to publicly call bullshit on faith and religion — which is why today’s well-known secular thinkers, especially in the ranks of the New Atheism movement, are all male”.
    What I was saying is that I  (or meant to say, ok) is that I agree with you but I was wondering out loud why lots of women are into New Age shit. Anyway.Good point about so-called “New Age” (should be in quotes because none of it is new). Women are probably drawn to some of that like wicca, neo-paganism, etc.  because it is more women-centered.

  16. Anonymous | Oct 18, 2011 at 5:23 pm |

    Thank you for the clarification!

    I appreciate your thoughts and that we could have a civil discussion. I apologise for mis-interpreting your previous post!

  17. Heathgarrard | Oct 18, 2011 at 9:43 pm |

    Kind of like how all the breast cancer awareness crap is a heavily politicized girls club

  18. Heathgarrard | Oct 18, 2011 at 5:43 pm |

    Kind of like how all the breast cancer awareness crap is a heavily politicized girls club

Comments are closed.