Richard Dawkins equates being alone in a lift at 4am with a strange man who suggests going to his room “for coffee” as a trivial annoyance, rather like riding with somebody chewing gum – quickly over and done with, no harm done, no possible threat to be concerned about, and certainly not worth talking about as part of the reason that women are underrepresented in the skeptical and atheist movements. Get the background from Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy (more from Melissa McEwan, PZ Myers, Jen McCreight, Amanda Marcotte, Greg Laden).
I’m with Rebecca Watson of Skepchick – nothing I can do can stop Dawkins being stinking rich and lionised elsewhere, but I will longer read, listen to or watch his work and will not recommend that others do either. How very disappointing, but sadly not surprising, that he turned out be such a smug, patronising git about more than just religious beliefs.
So here we are today. I am a feminist, because skeptics and atheists made me one. Every time I mention, however delicately, a possible issue of misogyny or objectification in our community, the response I get shows me that the problem is much worse than I thought, and so I grow angrier.[…]
This weekend when I read Dawkins’ comments, I was, briefly, without hope. I had already seen the future of this movement dismissing these concerns, and now I was seeing the present do the same.
What is the point in continuing?
That’s where you come in. You, dear reader, have been incredible. You posted in response to Dawkins on the Pharyngula thread, bravely battling both him and the hoards of clueless privileged people who didn’t get it. You emailed me to tell me to keep talking. You introduced yourself at SkepchickCon and told me how much you loved Skepchick and SGU. You wrote blog posts and made videos and were kick ass, and you made me realize that Dawkins is not the present. He is the past.
So many of you voiced what I had already been thinking: that this person who I always admired for his intelligence and compassion does not care about my experiences as an atheist woman and therefore will no longer be rewarded with my money, my praise, or my attention. I will no longer recommend his books to others, buy them as presents, or buy them for my own library. I will not attend his lectures or recommend that others do the same. There are so many great scientists and thinkers out there that I don’t think my reading list will suffer.
Despite the fact that I’ve seen hundreds of comments from those of you who plan to do the same, I’m sure Dawkins will continue to be stinking rich until the end of his days. But those of us who are humanists and feminists will find new, better voices to promote and inspire, and Dawkins will be left alone to fight the terrible injustice of standing in elevators with gum-chewers.