Friday, February 11, 2011

Ecclesiastes 1-4

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Ecclesiastes 1 - No mention of any women.

2:7-8 - "I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house; I also had great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and of the provinces; I got singers, both men and women, and delights of the flesh, and many concubines."

Ecclesiastes 3 - No mention of any women.

Ecclesiastes 4 - No mention of any women.

My Comments

Ah, for now at least it is nice to have a break from the rampant sexism of Proverbs. I know I'll get bored after a while if this lack of women keeps up, but for now it'll be nice to end a blog post without a huge ball of rage in my throat.

Though it's not really very exciting to be reading more groveling "Oh God you are so wonderful! I'm such a sinful, selfish wretch without you!" verses. Those always make great reading. -_-


Unrelated, but I am uncertain if anyone has heard the hoopla that is going on on the atheist blogs about this panel that went on at American Atheists SERAM. The blog posts I had read about this (this post at Blag Hag is the only one I will link to because I think it is the only one that actually understands why people are upset about all this) have already upset me. But the video that I found today has made me cry.

A panel that began to discuss sexism and making women feel more comfortable in the atheist movement, where men outnumber the women 5:1 and the vast majority of voices heard are men, is already a recipe for disaster. But then it only gets worse. Women are constantly referred to as "females" and "girls" while men are "men", "males" and "guys" (never boys). Men go off about how it's biological for them to hit on women they meet and since atheist group meetings are places they can make sure the women aren't Christian they feel this rationalizes them wanting to hit on women at these meetings. And when the only woman who actually stands up to address an issue of sexism that is happening RIGHT THERE (the terminology used to refer to women, which was troubling in its quantity) she is literally mocked and laughed out of the room. Seriously, when you asked someone, "What can I do to make you more comfortable in the group?" and they reply, "Well, something you could do is stop referring to me like I'm an animal because it makes me feel undervalued," the correct response is not, "That's a stupid suggestion, why would you even bring that up." It should have gone more like, "That is an interesting thought and I was unaware of how this was making you feel. Maybe we can discuss this issue further and see if there is more to this." Some members of the atheist community like to say that sometimes you have to be a dick and ridicule someone so that they will understand that something like religion is ridiculous. Like how kids laugh at their peers who still believe in Santa Claus. I, to be honest, do not think this is always the best route to go and should definitely not be heralded as some masterful and wonderful discussion tactic. If you start to treat every opinion and belief that doesn't match yours as automatically wrong and invalid, you become unwilling to listen to those who have real concerns (ie. women concerned about very real sexism) and you will eventually lose those whom you were trying to attract (ie. women who wish to be active in a community that shares their lack of belief in a deity in a country that is overwhelmed by the religious).

This issue is not about whether women would want to be referred to as "females" or "girls" or "women" or how the hell we are supposed to know if referring to women as such will upset them. The issue is that even when a woman stands up to address an issue she has, instead of discussing the issue she is mocked. Her issue is seen as petty and ridiculous and she is dismissed. This panel seems to send the message that women should just sit down and shut up because men are just built to be this way and it's you're problem if you get offended because they're all just being Nice Guys(tm) and you don't have any reason to be getting so upset.

This is why I tend to never bother with actual feminist discussion in atheist environments. Because they are usually comprised of a majority of men (who have never once tried to do any research on sexism or the feminist movement) whom dismiss the issues that are bothering women (or atheists of color because trying to discuss racism in the atheist community is just as frustrating) because those problems are silly. The atheists are so much better than those conservative Christians so they can't possibly be sexist or racist, right? Trying to educate a privileged white guy about his privilege when he honest to dog thinks he is way better than those other privileged white guys simply because he isn't in a privileged religion is far more frustrating than talking to a wall.

So I seethe. It feels pointless because the a lot of the women in the atheist blogging community are trying to say that this isn't an issue about whether women want to be called "female" or "women" but an issue of whether women can add to the conversation at all. Whether the majority of us (not just the atheist women who hold higher positions in the community, since there are many) can have a say in how we would like the communities to be. I don't even think the women with more power and voice in the community can speak much about sexism without getting a lot of guff from the men because they shouldn't be talking to the men in the community but just the jerks and the creepers and the dicks. Most of the atheist men are really Nice Guys (tm) and if they happen to mock you with a sexist joke they don't REALLY mean it, they were just being funny and you shouldn't get so upset about it. I mean, really, who gets all offended at a simple joke, right? You can see how much the appreciate a female voice leading them when the woman on that panel maybe got to say at most 3-5 sentences. When you bring up sexism it's suddenly all about how men are ruled by their biology and they can't help it if they wanna have sex all the time and women are just quieter, more in the closet and don't feel like coming out to events.

Honestly, when they say stuff like that they really just sound no better than most religions. Men want sex because that's how God made them so women are responsible for keeping men from having sex with them (unless they are married). Women are just naturally meant to be quiet and not try to voice their opinions or real concerns because they were just meant to be quieter and not debate.

That woman left that panel not because these men were calling women "females" and "girls" but because this panel was obviously not going to be about women and their real concerns and what needs to be done and what attitudes need to be changed in order to make women feel comfortable and welcome in the atheist community. She left because the panel and everyone else in the room laughed at her "petty" comment. Because no one would listen to her or try to keep her in the room even when she was at a panel that was basically discussing how to stop women from wanting to leave the room. Because that panel was basically turning into a discussion where dude's patted themselves on the pack for not being one of those "dicks" at the meetings who harassed women.

I would have stormed out with her.

I do not wish to get into this debate as it is right now. I do not want to hear anymore whining about how stupid it was that she was offended by the panel saying "female" and that this whole issue isn't worth talking about. You are missing this woman's point entirely. And honestly, I'm not going to talk or discuss anything with someone who seems to purposefully be keeping themselves ignorant of the actual issue at hand.

The atheist community is pretty much steeped in just as much sexism as the religious community. I have not gone out to join an atheist group because, from what I have seen, I would definitely not feel comfortable or welcome. If they can't even sit and listen to one woman speak her piece at a panel without laughing in her face (and from what I've seen it looks like the rest of the atheist blogging community would have laughed and mocked right along with them), then I really want nothing to do with it.

I just wanted to say my piece in a place where I know I cannot be silenced. And right now I am too pissed off to deal with those whom cannot comprehend what actually happened at that panel to try and get into any of the comment sections at any of these atheist blogs.

Monday: More Ecclesiastes

1 comment:

  1. "Because no one would listen to her or try to keep her in the room even when she was at a panel that was basically discussing how to stop women from wanting to leave the room."



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