I apologize in advance. I love to hear myself type.
I've been to a handful of conventions (mostly anime or game conventions), and I think almost all of them are close to the same, no matter what the topic is. If it's not something that's specifically geared towards women, there tends to be noticeably more men present than women. I haven't looked at actual demographics, mind, but just a few glances around the larger rooms is enough to say that yes, there's a notable male dominance. It makes me wonder, is this really something about "atheism is a male-dominated pursuit"? Or is it merely that women are less likely to go to conventions in general?
Okay, now let me just say, religion is pretty much geared towards men. The whole thing is a celebration of misogyny and hate, of 'many wives' and 'rule of thumb', and how many sheep can you sell your daughter for. And church is pretty much a convention that you attend once a week. And yet, female attendance is far more prevalent today than male. Here's the numbers:http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/religion/2008-07-23-males-church_N.htm?csp=34
So how is it that women are more eager to attend a testosterone fest like church than an atheist convention? The answer as I see it is this. Atheism has long been the realm of the highly educated. Philosophers and secular leaders were more likely by far than peasants, historically, to be humanists, deists, or outright atheists. If that logic follows, it makes sense that females are late to join the atheist movement due to their historical lack of access to higher education. In our world, at least in the US, women are now graduating with college degrees at far higher numbers than ever before. I propose that would mean higher numbers of recruits to the atheist ranks, and the article I previously posted implies this, with a 40% attendance rate last year. So why are the numbers dropping?
Why are women less likely to go to conventions? It's a mystery! If only there were some way to find out what they're thinking... maybe if there's something about convention environments that makes them feel uncomfortable.
By Jove! Perhaps you're on to something!
I'm going to assume that no, there wasn't a significantly high amount of harassment at the previous year. That means that the reason for so many people leaving is because of the perception of harassment.
"Perception of harassment" is exactly why I get scared when I get lost in certain neighborhoods in Baltimore. Fear is real. And it is driving women away from atheism.
Now, let me say one thing: I am all for equality, I am all for both women's rights and men's rights, and the rights of anyone that doesn't fall directly into either category. I'm all for the rights of black people, of white people, of... whatever color everyone else is.
However, I am not for mixing the two. There are atheists that don't agree on some of these issues (and before you try and say that they must be horrible people, let me point to the conversation we've had in the Adria Richards thread and point out that not everyone is going to agree on issues, and that doesn't mean they're horrible misogynists), but I want to be able to stand with them on issues related to atheism, and not throw them out of the group because they don't subscribe to a certain philosophy on a completely unrelated topic.
I don't like this part of your argument at all. It smacks to me of the same thing that happened throughout the early 20th century. If women had not recruited African Americans to help them gain the vote, then women might not have gotten it. As it was, neither party was particularly powerful. And in the 60's, when the civil rights movement wanted help, women gave it, in some pretty amazing numbers. If you can't 'mix the two,' then don't. But a lot of us think it's a downright good idea, and we have historic precedence for it. So while you may not want to mix it up, I do. I want a little feminism in my atheism, and I think that I shouldn't have to be afraid to speak my mind on either subject, or both together.
So when there's clear issues with sexism in the atheist community, we should...?
...ah. We should sit down and shut up, and pretend there's no problem, or risk tainting our atheism with social justice. Right.
(sarcasm imported straight from Ephiral)
Here's something to ponder, for anyone. Just a theory of mine. Atheism is a huge huge circle lately. And it is disorganized, uncontrolled, and full of people who come from diverse backgrounds. I'm not arguing with either of you, just trying to present a different angle. Since atheism is such a hodge-podge of people, it makes sense that groups of people would want to recruit, to form factions. It helps to create a society with like needs. You can't just have one need, and to have a support system and group who agree not just with your lack of religious beliefs but also can condone and accept you as a person is useful.
Churches have done this for centuries, but instead of recruiting, they murdered, raped, and took slaves. You were forced by law to join, in a majority of cases all over Europe. But the fact is that they have done so, and it works. Does it then follow that it is a bad idea for others to take this model, to form factions according to their shared beliefs, ideals, morals?
Most atheists, for the last couple of centuries in areas where atheism wasn't punishable by death, have had a huge problem. The problem of "where do I go? Who can I talk to?" Why does it harm you or anyone else if atheists with a social agenda recruit? If they decide on a path, one that is as inclusive of different lifestyles and genders and etc.., why is that actually a bad idea? In fact, isn't it a good idea to provide a safe place, like a church ought to, to create a haven, for the people who want to talk about their common interests?
And to take this thought one step further, if the hypothetical you tells people they shouldn't do this, that it is wrong to do this, aren't you basically forcing your own will on them? Forcing them to accept only one aspect of their ideals and telling them that the rest of their fights can wait until you are done using them to fight the atheism fight?
"Atheism" is a pretty minimal criterion around which to base one's identity, and used as a sole criterion it doesn't at all guarantee that you won't find yourself in otherwise horrible, irrational and ignorant company whose only point of agreement with you is atheism. Social justice, on the other hand, can be (in various ways) a point of agreement between people of many different faiths and unfaiths.
This pretty much cuts directly to the point I was trying to make. You can't have an entire faction of people who believe that there is a God. They will argue about whether or not he likes alcohol, gays, shrimp, women, cheeseburgers, blacks, coffee, Jews, bacon... You get my drift. That's why churches form. Jewish, Muslim, etc. They all have a different set of dogma. The people at A+ seem to be following that model, but instead of Kashrut law or whatever, they are modeling their group on social acceptance.
Why is this bad?