Godless

Misogyny is pushing women out of atheist movement, feminist writer says

Atheists and those who oppose religion in government at a rally. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages)

The problem of sexism in religion has been well documented and thoroughly debated in all sort of venues. The issue comes up in different types of religions — just this week, Orthodox Jewish schools in London came under fire for erasing women from text books, and earlier this month the Baltimore mosque President Obama visited was taken to task by an Op-Ed writer in our pages for practicing “gender apartheid.” Believers and atheists might have little to nothing in common ideologically — except for one thing: pervasive sexism. Marcie Bianco, an avowed atheist since the age of 8 and a feminist writer, argues in an essay for the website Quartz that sexism and misogyny are rampant throughout the atheist movement, and offers up a recent example in which one of the world’s most famous atheists, Richard Dawkins, posted a video on Twitter that mocked feminists and Muslims. She also points out that while several observers have noted the problem, few have tried to explain it. Bianco theorizes that misogyny within atheism originates from two sources. “New Atheism’s element of sexism is both cause and consequence of the movement’s demographics,” Bianco writes, citing Pew research that shows atheists in America are largely white men. She argues that, like the male supporters of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders who have been dubbed “Bernie Bros,” male atheists simply resort to objectifying women. Of course, that’s only half of her intriguing explanation. The other evidence she presents involves a social theory that goes all the way back to the 1860s.

Read the full story at Quartz.

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