In Defense of Rebecca Watson

This is one of my posts when I was at Freethought Blogs.

I don't usually speak out about what's going on in any atheist community because I'm not really a part of them. To be a part of one demands becoming a member of an atheist organization and/or attending their meetings and actually knowing the people involved (if it's to be described as a community), which I'm not really involved in, even though I'd like to be. I do my thing. They do theirs. To update my readers Rebecca Watson (aka Skepchick) is calling attention to a blatant form of misogyny via the expressions of rape toward a 15 year old girl on reddit, something you can catch up well enough in Ed Brayton's post and link. My assessment follows.

First off let it be said that I am a dyed in the wool feminist, as much as a man can be. One of the major reasons I do what I do is because of what religion has done and continues to do to women. It appalls me to no end. But when I first saw the picture of that girl holding Sagan's book that her grandma gave her I thought she was pretty. It was nothing more than that, especially when I learned she was 15 years old. I suspect many men thought so. Now place that into context with an internet porn culture where you have young hormone driven anonymous men commenting and trying to be funny with it, and you'll likely have problems probably unrelated to the fact that they are atheists. I doubt very much any of the ones commenting would ever do anything hurtful toward that girl, although we can't be sure at all. But their gross basement type comments do create a climate that Watson is absolutely correct to object to even if most atheist men are not like that at all, especially older more mature men who never darken an atheist meetup group or get involved beyond internet debates.

Watson is being criticized for saying things she did not say. So let me put this simply and bluntly.The atheist community needs the Watson's who call attention to these kind of issues! While even I think she may overgeneralize at times she is a consciousness raiser. To be a consciousness raiser means just that, she wants people, all people, not just atheists, to be more respectful of women, and no one should disagree with that at all.

Again, we need her and others like her. Get. Point. The.

[First Posted 2/23/12]