A post at Booklubbers highlights something that’s been really bothering me lately in the skepticism “movement”: the unbelievable amount of misogyny bubbling, barely hidden, below the surface. Various events have been covered elsewhere; see most recently all the stuff with TAM and DJ Grothe and Rebecca Watson – honestly, there’s way too much of it.
In the Booklubbers post, we are reminded that this is, unfortunately, not unique to skepticism. Shannon talks about it in the context of video games and in comedy, but it seems like these are all instances of something broader. Anecdotally: think back to the “what are you doing, the Archies are over there lady” mentality you can still find in the dank backs of some comic book stores. In the world of comic books, the hypersexualization of women is so “normal” that nothing seems to be able to stop it (and note also that the way men are represented in comics is -completely- different from how women are represented, though still sexualized) – (a good run-down is here). It probably has to do with the dearth of women who are penciling art – and the surplus of guys who like to draw buxom superheroines. Similar prejudices may account for the “boy’s clubs” of magicians or technical academic subjects, where the lack of a feminist viewpoint isn’t as apparent, but the major inequality in gender frequencies certainly is.
In any case, I wonder: Is this vitriol towards women something that arises out of male-dominated subcultures? Or is it something endemic to society, and the various instances arise out of a more general cultural malaise?
Whatever it is, I think the internet has helped amplify it. Look at the response to Anita Sarkeesian. Look at the how the atheism subreddit talks about Rebecca Watson, and the comments under any YouTube video with a woman in it, and the black pit that is /b/.
Something is broken somewhere.
What do you think?