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Male Dominance is Harmful to the Ideals of Atheism/Humanism
Posted: 08 August 2014 05:27 PM   [ Ignore ]
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NOTE: Though anecdotal observation can have real merit and truth in its foundation it is understood that I have no peer reviewed data to support the initial premise that, there is a huge issue with male dominance in the atheist/humanist community.

So, for the sake of argument about this reality lets accept this as fact and continue with the core of my point; Male dominance in our atheist/humanist community is absolute conflict with the Humanist ideals and harmful to a reason agenda.

———

I know not all atheists claim humanism as a paired partner in their pov but many do and I want to point out that humanism and atheism are both logic base ideals of free thought and reason with the goal of a better society as a whole for everyone.
However, the logic fail and denial of this issue (atheisms male dominance) in and of itself is as harmful as the logic fail of myth believing and religious control. As a humanist I submit that you cannot be a humanist and not be a feminist (supporting equality for women) because as humans we all deserve equal treatment and respect. It is in our best interest to support the human ideals that best serve our human needs and that can’t be done without equality. 

So, what is to be done about this male dominance attitude and even overt misogyny that permeates the atheist/humanist community? How can such logical people be so completely clueless on this issue and how do we make effect change?

The following is an experience I suffered at the hands of the local male dominated atheist community. This cannot continue or we will not evolve into a viable force of reason in our society.

The things I have seen and heard for myself as well as directed at myself and others were so harmful and toxic that they literally threw me out of my local atheist community as effectively as riding me out of town on a rail for asserting myself to organize an atheist women’s support system run and organized by only secular women. I and we were vilified and called horrible names, had lies spread about us, told we were sexist because we didn’t want to discuss our most intimate female issues with men. We and our male supporters (yes, there were several but not nearly enough) were kicked off of the groups social network page so our voice of dissent could not be heard and we were refused the right to vote in the groups election even though we were members in good standing.

I have been absent from my atheist community for two years now. I was very active and loved the community I needed so much. When I was drove out I suffered the loss of friends, community and I was so vulnerable by the disassociation that I became depressed and could barely function except to work and give myself basic care. Slowly I worked my way back to normal life with my therapists help and my shear determination not to let others break me but I miss it terribly. There are several friends who are still in the local group who say the core group of people who were so nasty and mean have all been pushed out after their control agenda was finally found out. Though there are still several of them within the group but not in positions of leadership any longer. My few friends still active have tried to get me to come back into the group again.

I have a strong desire for the community but fear a repeat of the betrayal, because I do feel betrayed. They talked of reason and yet misogyny is not reasonable. They talked of how horrible the control that the church dominates over it’s flock yet they fought for that same control over our group and over me and nearly crucified me for defying it. Loyalty and truth are my most respected virtues they crushed both. So far my fear has outweighed my desire to belong but my loneliness is weakening my resolve. I want an atheist family. I want to be able to have the ability to seek a life partner from among secular like minded people and in Oklahoma that is so difficult.

I want this male dominance to go away so I can feel safe in my own community.

I am at sea and I still fear the natives on the only land in sight.

MzLee

(Sorry, this issue took so many turns. It’s been churning in my head for some time now and once I started spewing it sort of just all came up. Please just respond to what interests you, if any, and leave the rest as flotsam and jetsam. Thx)

[ Edited: 08 August 2014 05:33 PM by MzLee ]
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Posted: 08 August 2014 09:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I’m sorry this happened to you. I myself am trying to understand how my inclinations are basically misogynistic. I am not very adept at spotting it, but I’m trying to learn. I think that the ability to apply an absolutely logical approach to all of our thinking is very difficult. At least for me, it is a skill I will always need to improve upon.  The most logical thinker among us will still fall back on old, illogical assumptions with out realizing it.

As a gay man, I really have to “try” to understand women and remind myself that however they choose to be, it is none of my business. I’m not one of those cliche gay guys who has lots of female friends. Every experience I have with a women falls through a very judgmental filter established by how I grew up to perceive women and who or what they should or should not be.

The best I can do is to notice when something that a woman does or says brings up an abrupt reaction in me. Then, I try to sort out the logic behind my reaction. I still don’t really figure out all that often. That can take a lot of time, and it happens so regularly that I sometimes just have to tell myself “cut the shit and place this all in terms of personhood”.  Everyone is a person first, and what ever else they are does not diminish or alter their rights as a person. My reactions are my problems not theirs.

Maybe I’m full of it, but I really don’t know many women and none of those relationships are on a level where we could discuss this stuff. I have not been able to wrap my head around what is and is not misogyny enough yet, so I don’t feel capable to call anyone out when I think they are crossing that line. But I do think I see that line being crossed all the time, and yes I mean here of this forum. I don’t think I can intelligently confront it though.

I hope you are able to return to your group and make it a safe and supportive place for you and other women. And, who the fuck gets to decide who is in and who is out in an atheist group? That sounds more like a religious cult than a group of enlightened freethinkers to me. I’m just sayin.

[ Edited: 08 August 2014 09:56 PM by Handydan ]
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Posted: 09 August 2014 03:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I don’t understand. Seems like you would have enough people (feminists and effeminate men) to start your own group. So what’s the problem? I know it’s more fun to be surrounded by alpha guys, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

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Posted: 09 August 2014 08:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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So you can feel safe in your own community? You don’t feel safe?

You described it as an Atheist Group…so it had nothing to do with Humanism?

Everybody has their own definition of Humanism. That’s evident even by the rules laid out in this Forum.

Unfortunately the concept of Humanism is becoming an Umbrella Group for all kinds of “outlets”.

Political outlets. Wedge issue outlets…social issue outlets.

It’s no surprise really. I can see how the general concept of Humanism could be construed
to be sanctuary for disparate groups seeking acceptance.

It’s showing on this Forum increasingly it seems.

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Posted: 09 August 2014 10:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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MzLee - 08 August 2014 05:27 PM

I want an atheist family.

Might have a better chance of winning the lottery. I wish my family was also an atheist family, but that religious movement got most of my family caught up in that blind faith and creation BS. God and I had a problem in that every time I help the kids with houses, cars and debt. It wasn’t me, it was God making me do it in their minds, and God was answering all their prayers and got all the credit. I would see the kids making bad choices, but I was told god would take care of them and they were not worried. So God and I now have an understanding, I am tired of carrying his ass and I have stopped doing his work. The kids had quite a shock when they got in trouble and I no longer bailed them out. I would instead reminded them that god would take care of them, just have faith. We get along much better now.
 
My whole family and relatives would like nothing better than a faith based religious family and look at what they got stuck with!  LOL

MzLee - 08 August 2014 05:27 PM

I want this male dominance to go away so I can feel safe in my own community.

Something wrong here. Men can never agree on anything but sports and cars. Women seem to always agree on everything. You can only be intimidated if you let yourself.

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Posted: 09 August 2014 10:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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MzLee - 08 August 2014 05:27 PM

I am at sea and I still fear the natives on the only land in sight.

MzLee

This is your whole problem right here.
If you can only see One Land in Sight you need to broaden your horizons.(Wow-an unintended and truly excellent play on words there… LOL )
You should feel you can go to any land.
And you can. And there you will be.

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Posted: 09 August 2014 11:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Handydan - 08 August 2014 09:38 PM

I’m sorry this happened to you. I myself am trying to understand how my inclinations are basically misogynistic. I am not very adept at spotting it, but I’m trying to learn. I think that the ability to apply an absolutely logical approach to all of our thinking is very difficult. At least for me, it is a skill I will always need to improve upon.  The most logical thinker among us will still fall back on old, illogical assumptions with out realizing it.

As a gay man, I really have to “try” to understand women and remind myself that however they choose to be, it is none of my business. I’m not one of those cliche gay guys who has lots of female friends. Every experience I have with a women falls through a very judgmental filter established by how I grew up to perceive women and who or what they should or should not be.

The best I can do is to notice when something that a woman does or says brings up an abrupt reaction in me. Then, I try to sort out the logic behind my reaction. I still don’t really figure out all that often. That can take a lot of time, and it happens so regularly that I sometimes just have to tell myself “cut the shit and place this all in terms of personhood”.  Everyone is a person first, and what ever else they are does not diminish or alter their rights as a person. My reactions are my problems not theirs.

Maybe I’m full of it, but I really don’t know many women and none of those relationships are on a level where we could discuss this stuff. I have not been able to wrap my head around what is and is not misogyny enough yet, so I don’t feel capable to call anyone out when I think they are crossing that line. But I do think I see that line being crossed all the time, and yes I mean here of this forum. I don’t think I can intelligently confront it though.

I hope you are able to return to your group and make it a safe and supportive place for you and other women. And, who the fuck gets to decide who is in and who is out in an atheist group? That sounds more like a religious cult than a group of enlightened freethinkers to me. I’m just sayin.

Thanks for responding. smile

I’m sorry you don’t have many/any female friends so that you can discuss these kinds of things. Friendship that are open and sincere are my favorite learning environment. Let me say if you have anything you wish to talk about please feel free to message me. I’m very “person” friendly (always had female and male friends I could talk to) and that is why I have so much difficulty dealing with women being treated as submissive or less than. Damnit, even other women do this (drives me right up the wall).

The fact that you are aware of some issues you have with women is great because with awareness comes the desire to learn to do differently. It doesn’t mean that it will be easier. You seem like a very nice person and have always been very respectful on this forum to women so I don’t think you are as off the track as you think. I’m sorry your experience with women as you grew up was not a positive one. These things shape you in ways we can’t imagine. I also am sensitive to this male dominance thing as my experience with a very domineering father (lucky for me he wasn’t religious)  was not very positive so I have to check myself for my auto-response to some aggressive men.

BTW, I do not think that dominating and misogyny are the same necessarily. Some people are dominant or aggressive types and it applies to any gender. Even then I have met some like that who were still respectful and encouraging to the less dominant people in the group.

I guess I’m just looking for a fix or a way to deal with this so I can rejoin my atheist/humanist community. It is more prevalent in the atheist community group but is also and issue in the local humanist group as well. This I don’t understand at all. They are all gung-ho for human rights in far away lands and political pontificating but will turn right around and walk and talk right over every woman in the group. 0.o

I like this fo because most of the people here do not condescend to women or treat them in a “less-than” way. I appreciate that especially when I’m posting on a subject I may not know much about. We all have to learn somewhere and it’s much nicer to receive an education in an environment of respectful friendliness.

MzL

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Posted: 09 August 2014 11:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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George - 09 August 2014 03:54 AM

I don’t understand. Seems like you would have enough people (feminists and effeminate men) to start your own group. So what’s the problem? I know it’s more fun to be surrounded by alpha guys, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Yes, we tried that but there weren’t very many of us because most people who left the other group just bowed out completely. Also the other group is very large and even bigger now. They have a variety of activities and things going on several days a week. Some just waited a bit and went back to it. The few who tried to start another group did well for the first year then events just dropped off and no one seemed to want to be active with it or the volunteering so it just fell apart. They still do have a FB page but it most is just a reposting of other atheist events.

Not sure what you mean by this comment, “I know it’s more fun to be surrounded by alpha guys, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

MzL

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Posted: 09 August 2014 11:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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MikeYohe - 09 August 2014 10:29 AM
MzLee - 08 August 2014 05:27 PM

I want an atheist family.

Might have a better chance of winning the lottery. I wish my family was also an atheist family, but that religious movement got most of my family caught up in that blind faith and creation BS. God and I had a problem in that every time I help the kids with houses, cars and debt. It wasn’t me, it was God making me do it in their minds, and God was answering all their prayers and got all the credit. I would see the kids making bad choices, but I was told god would take care of them and they were not worried. So God and I now have an understanding, I am tired of carrying his ass and I have stopped doing his work. The kids had quite a shock when they got in trouble and I no longer bailed them out. I would instead reminded them that god would take care of them, just have faith. We get along much better now.
 
My whole family and relatives would like nothing better than a faith based religious family and look at what they got stuck with!  LOL

MzLee - 08 August 2014 05:27 PM

I want this male dominance to go away so I can feel safe in my own community.

Something wrong here. Men can never agree on anything but sports and cars. Women seem to always agree on everything. You can only be intimidated if you let yourself.

My family is atheist. I meant my “atheist/humanist” group family. I want my community back.

I’m just tired of always having to battle for equality, fight to be heard, fight to be recognized, fight to be considered. I want to just be a person standing along side other persons doing whatever it is that needs doing.

MzL

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Posted: 09 August 2014 04:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Haven’t read this yet, but I have read a lot about gray hair old men getting it that they are harming the movement. They are participating in changes that need to be made. Hopefully people who were once turned off by atheist groups will come back and find there is more to offer now.

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Posted: 10 August 2014 11:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I agree that humanism needs feminism, but atheism itself does not. It’s been said many times on this forum, but atheism is just lack of belief in deities, and that lack of belief can accompany virtually any other life stance.

Also, atheism is likely to remain a boys club, because women are more religious than men. This is a fairly common complaint in the “atheist community”, but the PC based fear that many atheists possess makes any discussion difficult.
http://www.livescience.com/7689-women-religious-men.html
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/201009/why-are-women-more-religious-men-ii
http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608102.001.0001/acprof-9780199608102

[ Edited: 11 August 2014 03:07 AM by mid atlantic ]
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Posted: 11 August 2014 03:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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MzLee - 09 August 2014 11:19 AM
George - 09 August 2014 03:54 AM

I don’t understand. Seems like you would have enough people (feminists and effeminate men) to start your own group. So what’s the problem? I know it’s more fun to be surrounded by alpha guys, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Yes, we tried that but there weren’t very many of us because most people who left the other group just bowed out completely. Also the other group is very large and even bigger now. They have a variety of activities and things going on several days a week. Some just waited a bit and went back to it. The few who tried to start another group did well for the first year then events just dropped off and no one seemed to want to be active with it or the volunteering so it just fell apart. They still do have a FB page but it most is just a reposting of other atheist events.

 

 

Maybe you should think about this in more detail, some disturbing answers might come to you.

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Posted: 11 August 2014 10:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Okay, I read the OP and only have a procedural point for now, although I’m very sympathetic to the general issue. If this organization had any kind of by-laws, what you described was a serious breach. Since the men were eventually dispelled, I’m guessing there was a procedure. Unfortunately, those things take time and a lot of people are usually hurt before justice prevails. Also unfortunately, rules of order are not taught in High School, for most of us, it is trial and error. I could have saved myself a lot of frustration if I’d just known a few things like “call the agenda”. Anyway, I’m afraid the only answer to this problem is making rules and having more people understand them. If just two or three in a meeting know the rule book well enough, they can dominate the meeting. That’s what those guys were doing and it’s actually not that hard to beat them at their own game.

Harassment law is pretty mature now and the latest is move is toward just plain anti-bullying. They don’t need to specifically mention sex or race. I’m not sure how it works if your by-laws don’t have a specific clause about treating each other with respect, but really, if you propose that your organization recognizes everyone’s right to be respected and defines what bullying is and a process for dealing with it, who is going to fight that? Would you re-elect a board members if they said they would not support such a rule?

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Posted: 11 August 2014 02:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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MzLee said

“I want this male dominance to go away so I can feel safe in my own community.”

It will never go away. It is a determined feature of humans—it’s human nature. We can only try to mitigate its effects.  If you need male dominance to go away to feel safe you will never feel safe. We have to think of other ways to keep ourselves safe—working with the reality of male dominance.
Lois

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Posted: 11 August 2014 07:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Handydan - 08 August 2014 09:38 PM

I’m sorry this happened to you. I myself am trying to understand how my inclinations are basically misogynistic. I am not very adept at spotting it, but I’m trying to learn. I think that the ability to apply an absolutely logical approach to all of our thinking is very difficult. At least for me, it is a skill I will always need to improve upon.  The most logical thinker among us will still fall back on old, illogical assumptions with out realizing it.

As a gay man, I really have to “try” to understand women and remind myself that however they choose to be, it is none of my business. I’m not one of those cliche gay guys who has lots of female friends. Every experience I have with a women falls through a very judgmental filter established by how I grew up to perceive women and who or what they should or should not be.

The best I can do is to notice when something that a woman does or says brings up an abrupt reaction in me. Then, I try to sort out the logic behind my reaction. I still don’t really figure out all that often. That can take a lot of time, and it happens so regularly that I sometimes just have to tell myself “cut the shit and place this all in terms of personhood”.  Everyone is a person first, and what ever else they are does not diminish or alter their rights as a person. My reactions are my problems not theirs.

Maybe I’m full of it, but I really don’t know many women and none of those relationships are on a level where we could discuss this stuff. I have not been able to wrap my head around what is and is not misogyny enough yet, so I don’t feel capable to call anyone out when I think they are crossing that line. But I do think I see that line being crossed all the time, and yes I mean here of this forum. I don’t think I can intelligently confront it though.

I hope you are able to return to your group and make it a safe and supportive place for you and other women. And, who the fuck gets to decide who is in and who is out in an atheist group? That sounds more like a religious cult than a group of enlightened freethinkers to me. I’m just sayin.

Dan,

I saw this and thought of you and your desire to modify how you think or perceive women. I think this is so dead-on for what real misogyny is like.

http://m.tickld.com/x/next-time-someone-says-women-arent-victims-of-harassment-show-them

MzLee

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Posted: 11 August 2014 11:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Thanx MzLee, that was great. It helped to see more clearly how misogyny exists in the context of an assumption that most of us don’t realize we have gone along with; the assumption that the world is a male world that women enter as allowed or tolerated by men. It reminds me of how I had to explain to a straight friend that gay people are trying to live in a world that is defined and owned by straight people. It is a kind of “privilege”, that separates different kinds of people particularly when the “privileged” don’t see or acknowledge it.

Interestingly, they tend to feel wronged when this “privilege” discussed or exposed. They don’t want to acknowledge that it exists, but they feel persecuted when it is proposed.

[ Edited: 12 August 2014 03:36 PM by Handydan ]
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