As atheists, we often criticize the sexism found within religion. I think it is important to point out sexism when we see it. However, I think atheists can be quite unfair when it comes to accusing the religious of sexist.
Atheists often criticize religions for sexism because of the sexism in the religion’s holy book. This sexism is problematic, and does need to be pointed out, but we also need to realize that a lot of religious people don’t accept the sexism within their holy book. Most religious people are far more progressive than we give them credit for. As such, we should criticize the sexism in the book without telling people that they must be complicit in the sexism of their religion because of the sexism within the holy book.
Atheists also often complain about entire religions being sexist because of the sexism of an outspoken minority. Yes, there are loud groups that openly spew sexism, but that doesn’t mean the entire religion is sexist. I think we need to be willing to accept that being religious doesn’t make one a misogynist.
However, my biggest concern is how willing so many atheists are to ignore the misogyny within our own circles. Again, we should call out misogyny when we see it. That means we should call it out regardless of who has said it. Enough of the double standards. Yes, the Duggar family is misogynistic. Yes, Pat Robertson is sexist, as is Bryan Fisher. Yes, the Phelps family is also misogynistic. But so are a number of atheists. Thunderf00t doesn’t get a pass when he attacks women simply for being feminists because he’s an atheist. Richard Dawkins doesn’t get to brush off rape allegations (that weren’t even against him) because he’s an atheist. Why is it that so many atheists who are willing to criticize Islam for the sexism in Islamic countries are willing to then turn around and troll Free Thought Blogs with sexist and hateful language simply because Free Thought Blogs is willing to promote Feminism? Does that scream double standard to anyone else? It’s not okay for Muslims to be sexist because they’re religious, but it’s okay for atheists to be sexist because atheists aren’t religious and you’re just fighting off the evil feminazis, right? Sexism is sexism regardless of who says it, and for what reason.
This is one reason I stopped going on YouTube. The atheist community of YouTube is largely misogynistic, with a large number of them supporting A Voice For Men (if you haven’t heard of them, I envy you). When I find a good atheist video on YouTube, I find the comments full of sexism and trolling, and the likes have usually suffered as a result of the trolling. This disappoints me greatly, and it makes me feel unwelcome within a community that I used to enjoy greatly. In fact, the online atheist community has gotten so bad that I pretty much ignore it altogether. The infighting over feminism has made it not worth even bothering with. And when I read the comments that atheists have written, they are often worse than anything I’ve heard a religious person say. Hell, I’ve heard atheist women say that they know they’ve made it big when they get their first rape threat. Seriously? Women within the atheist community are threatened with rape when they get too outspoken? But the Bible is terrible and sexist because it says that women shouldn’t speak in church? WTF?
I’m tired of these double standards. I’m tired of the atheists who give the religious such easy fodder when they want to say atheists can’t be moral. And I am done with the misogyny. Something needs to be done, and atheists need to stop giving excuses for the atheists who spew sexism. We need to stop ignoring the issue and start dealing with it.