Whoa: New Atheism is strangely inhospitable to insecure women

Whoa: New Atheism is strangely inhospitable to insecure women

[Ed. – Making thermonuclear war on parody.]

At first blush, it would seem that an atheist movement would be exactly the sort of thing that would attract many women. After all, much of the oppression of women—from forced veiling to restricting abortion rights—is a direct result of religion. …

But despite the natural and cozy fit of atheism and feminism, the much-ballyhooed “New Atheism” that was supposed to be a more aggressive, political form of atheism has instead been surprisingly male-dominated. The reason has, in recent years, become quite apparent: Many of the most prominent leaders of the New Atheism are quick to express deeply sexist ideas. Despite their supposed love of science and rationality, many of them are nearly as quick as their religious counterparts to abandon reason in order to justify regressive views about women. …

Sam Harris, a prominent atheist author who has previously  been criticized for his knee-jerk Islamophobic tendencies, recently came under fire when he added women to the category of people he makes thoughtless generalizations about. … “There’s something about that critical posture that is to some degree instrinsically male and more attractive to guys than to women.” He added, “The atheist variable just has this— it doesn’t obviously have this nurturing, coherence-building extra estrogen vibe that you would want by default if you wanted to attract as many women as men.”

There was an immediate uproar among female atheists, and understandably so, as Harris didn’t even consider that it could be atheism that has a problem, instead immediately assuming that the problem is women themselves. [Actually, I didn’t hear Harris say anyone has a “problem.” He expressed an abstract assessment about incompatibility.  But Marcotte’s reaction is typically…feminine-regressive.  (Asawoman, I am authorized to say that without it being hate speech.) – Ed.] … His strategy for disproving accusations of sexism was to engage in more sexist declarations, in the time-honored bigot strategy of saying it’s not bigotry if it’s true.

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