When the Scofields and Karen Armstrongs of the world talk about how the new atheists just aren’t aware of the liberal, tolerant, sativa smoking, feminist, genderqueer god concept, my response is “I don’t believe in that motherfucker, either.” She’s just as poorly evidenced as the old fashioned patriarchal god. She’s also not the predominant god concept impacting the African American community.
I don’t see an either or proposition between advocating for rational thought, where beliefs are based on evidence, and confronting issues of social justice. The idea that black people should be left alone in their clinging to Jesus due to their history of oppression smacks of just as much paternalism as what Scofield accuses the white new atheists of here.
The people who are asking “is feminism skeptical” are not, in fact, asking whether or not feminism itself is skeptical, they are asking whether being a feminist is compatible with being a skeptic. Given the vast number of people who claim both, I’d say so.
I’d even go so far as to claim that if you’re anti-feminist, if you like the gender roles or the patriarchal society we live in just fine, or if you just want people to shut up about how women are oppressed, you are in fact evincing an unskeptical attitude in your unwillingness to examine your personal cognitive biases.
Yeah, that’s right, that’s what I said. Soak it in. It’s more skeptical to be a feminist than it is to act contra feminism.
Here’s why people sometimes claim that the skeptic community has a problem with feminism.
We have here a professional skeptic who is willing to:
- use circular logic: he argues that the reason why most girls’ toys are pink is because most girls’ toys are pink
- rely on false claims: his argument above relies on the fact that most dolls are pink because their skin is Caucasian. In other words, one of his premises was that beige=pink.
- quote studies with well-known flaws: he quoted an evopsych argument for innate color preference in women for pink, despite its terrible methodology and inadequate analysis.
- fail to do any research in the field he is writing about: while he eventually admitted that the study above was wrong, he continued to deny that the pinkness of girls’ toys had something to do with gender roles, and deny that society enforces gender roles rather clearly. He asked me and another commenter: “You seem to be assuming that Riley has people around her (other than her dad, of course) who force or urge her to conform to gender roles. Do you have any evidence of this in Riley’s case? Or do you just assume that all girls experience that pressure? If so, why?” This displays a complete ignorance of the gender study field and any of the research done in it, stuff he should have read before writing anything about gendered distinctions in society. Even after being barraged with studies by myself and another commenter, he continued to deny it.
- not even watch in full the video about which he is writing: in order to refute a commenter pointing out that Riley, in the video, had expressly stated that girls don’t have to buy girl toys, but that nonetheless marketing tricks them into it (what seems to me as a naive expression of gender roles are laws but there is significant societal pressure), Radford responded with: “Listen to the first ten seconds of the video and see what you think it says. If I’ve got wrong, I’m not the only one; see this piece on Jezebel, which quotes her as asking ‘Some girls like superheroes, some girls like princesses! Some boys like superheroes, some boys like princesses! So why do all the girls have to buy pink stuff and all the boys have to buy different color stuff?’” Not only was that not in the first ten seconds of the video, he completely ignores the rest of the video in his analysis. Maybe he watched it in full, but, if so, he is then guilty of cherry-picking to support his cause.
all to be able to deny that feminists linking to this video are right when they say it talks about gender roles. You know, those things where we expect one gender to do one thing (say, like pink) and one gender not for no biological differences as part of a web of sexist gender stereotyping that can be incredibly damaging to the physical and mental health of nonconforming individuals?
In other words, we have a professional skeptic who acts unskeptical in almost every way, while lecturing other people to do so, just so he can rebut a well established part of gender theory. Yes, this is a problem.
Thankyouthankyouthankyou. I’m really tired of this brand of anti-feminism being labeled “good skepticism” by self-professed rationalists with strong misogynistic bents. Heina just had a great post about this whole issue of sexism in the skeptic community over at Skepchick, and I highly recommend that everyone go read it.