Unfortunately, misogyny* still exists. That it exists and should not is about the only thing that Rebecca Hamilton gets right in her Public Catholic post "The Atheist Boys Club and Online Misogyny as Sport." She gets so many things blatantly wrong that I will have to stick to just a few.
The implication in the title and throughout this short piece is pretty clear: Atheists as a whole are prone to sexism. Actually, that is a blatant lie. Atheists seem to have a far better record on civil rights as a whole and specifically on gender issues than virtually any other group that can be identified. This is not to imply that we should be patting ourselves on the back. There are still sexist individuals among us and we should be dealing with that. Hamilton also never bothers to get into what might contribute to an individual developing a sexist mind-set. There is nothing in atheism that would lead to or maintain such a view. This failure of insight is particularly irksome considering that she is Catholic. You know, that church who's hierarchy recently found it necessary to attack Girl Scouts and Nuns. The same church that steadfastly refuses to even consider ordaining women as priests. How is that not institutionalized sexism? Atheism has never done that.
There is, of course, what seems to have sparked her willfully ignorant rant and serves as the whole basis for her bogus claims. Hamilton sites two female bloggers as proof without ever looking much further. Even though I do not agree with Jen McCreight's manner of dealing with the sexism she has had to put up with I do respect her. I have read Blag Hag and will miss her contributions there. Hamilton's use of this situation is rather disingenuous. There have been a variety of other atheist bloggers who have written in support of her and in opposition to sexism in any form. One of the loudest and most frequent defenders of civil rights and gender equality has and continues to be PZ Myers, a man. Hamilton also lamely attempts to use Leah Libresco, "Leah Libresco, who blogs at Unequally Yoked and bills herself the 'geeky convert' wrote a fascinating post last week about online misogyny from the atheist perspective." Leah is not and never was an atheist. Her "conversion" was no such thing. As I have commented in a previous post, I read her blog when it was in the atheist section of Patheos and never understood why it was there. Even though she did seem to have some doubts that is not the same as outright disbelief in God. Basically, she was not writing on sexism from an "atheist perspective." If Hamilton had any interest in such a perspective she could have easily found any number of female bloggers. How about Greta Christina? No, that would not serve the purpose of painting all atheist as sexist. Back in 2008 Greta wrote, "And yet I'm finding that I feel more at home -- more welcomed, more valued, more truly understood -- as a queer in the atheist community than I do as an atheist in the queer community." What? She, according to her post "Being an Atheist in the Queer Community", felt welcome in our community as a lesbian (a female homosexual)? See how easy it is to use a single example.
It is also rather telling that she only briefly speaks about atheists. Just enough to smear us and then moves on to talk about society and "misogyny" in general terms. Apparently she was confident that the association would carry on without question. She ends with a list of what "Christians" should not do. Catch that? Not people, citizens, or human beings. Apparently, the rest of us don't really matter. The list is still worth noting, though. First on the list is "Do not engage in misogynist attacks against women." Does this mean Hamilton will now be compelled to oppose all Catholic bishops? The second on the list, "Do not go to websites that do this," is also rather convenient in light of the fact that most of her examples come from atheist or atheist associated sites. It would be difficult for people reading her post to figure out that she is a bigoted hypocritical lying asshole if they follow her advice.
*Misogyny is an extreme form of sexism but is not actually a synonym for it. In the first place, sexism can be aimed at men as well as women where as misogyny is specific to women. Also, as horrible as sexism (no matter who it's aimed at) misogyny is far worse. It goes far beyond discrimination and harassment. It frequently involves physical abuse and even murder.