I consider myself a feminist.
A lot of people would turn away at this point. Feminism seems to have any number of stereotypes floating around it. Bitch, feminazi, slut, prude, crone, somehow all manner of bizarre and often contradictory words go floating past when feminism is mentioned.
I had always thought that my movement, the atheist, the rationalists, the promoters of reason, were largely immune to this kind of stereotyping. Of course, any given group once it gets large enough is going to have its assholes; I just always thought that in our group these were a sometimes-vocal but almost irrelevant minority, to be simply ignored or shouted down when they arose.
This is the definition of privilege. I do not experience sexual harassment, or discrimination based on my gender, and so it was invisible to me. But now it's coming out, and I've been shocked at the depth of the reaction.
Opposition to anti-harassment policies? Victim blaming? Name calling - cunt, slut, bitch, whore, prude, ugly? Rape threats? DEATH threats?
This goes on in a community dedicated to rationality?
Apparently it does. And apparently it's far, far more widespread than I would ever have thought.
Now that it's begun coming to light that this is as large a problem as it is, now that awareness is skyrocketing, it's become time to do something about it. And Jen McCreight has initiated just such a thing: Atheism+. Third-wave atheism. We're not just atheists; we're atheists, PLUS we're against misogyny. PLUS we're against racism. Transphobia. And so on down the line.
I couldn't be more excited. This is exactly what I thought the atheist movement was in the first place. Some have claimed it's just a rebranding of secular humanism, and on the surface that seems true, but the distinctions are there. I've never really thought of myself as a humanist - even though I'm the secretary of my local humanist group, and certainly hold myself to the humanist standards. But I've always been more vocal about my nonbelief than anything; I wish my atheism to be at the forefront when self-identifying. And with the advent of atheism+, that's exactly what I can do. This may be enough to re-kindle my interest in maintaining this blog. I hope I manage to stick around this time.