Tuesday, July 03, 2012

A few questions about “#FTBullies” and sexism

| »

You know, with several ranking skeptics and several key members of the Freethought Blogs network in my daily reading list, I’ve found myself wondering about a few things as of late …

  • Why is it that just saying “Guys, don’t do that” about inappropriate advances gets characterized as an attempt to crimp male libidos everywhere? (Because guys can’t possibly show their interest in women in any way other than randomly proposing them at 3 AM?)

  • Why is honestly mistaking a hysterically written email for a threat and subsequently deciding not to attend a public event seen as being passive and weak? (Because devoting years to online activism isn’t enough if one isn’t also willing to enter potentially physically dangerous situations in person?)

  • Why is choosing to tackle the matter of latent sexism in the atheo-skeptic movement perceived as having misplaced priorities? (Because comparatively lesser problems shouldn’t be addressed until all the bigger ones have been dealt with?)

  • Why does agreeing with other writers on various (but not all) issues mean forming a “hivemind”? (Because people who find common ground are just part of an “echo chamber”?)

  • Why is open and honest criticism in a reasonable debate being construed as “bullying”? (Because writing pointy words about people and ideas is the same as beating them and stealing their lunch money?)

  • Why is choosing to ignore certain loudmouthed twerps on the Internet being equated to forcibly silencing them? (Because the right to free speech somehow includes the right to force other people to listen?)

  • Why is booting certain commentators for disruptive or antagonistic behavior akin to fascism? (Because “freethought” somehow translates to “free to have one’s assholery tolerated by everyone else”?)

  • Why does mentioning the existence of badly behaved individuals at public events without revealing personal details to avoid a career-crippling backlash get twisted into rumors about a secret “blacklist”? (Because if you don’t name all the names, you’re a coward who attacks people behind their backs?)

  • Why does “don’t harass other people” get turned into “don’t offend anyone”? (Because you can’t tell someone they’re wrong without being an obnoxious ass about it?)

  • And finally, why is the mere act of requesting (much less implementing) anti-harassment policies at public events seen as a bad thing? (Because just having a system in place to deal with bad behavior means ushering in a forcibly anti-sexual purity police?)

Inquiring minds and all that.

For anyone who doesn’t know what all this is about, just Google “#FTBullies” and laugh. And then weep.

Edit (07/04/12 7:19 PM ET) – Reverted post title back to the original.