Posted by: Bin VFA | July 4, 2012

The FTBullies, my take

Hey, I’m not naive.  I started this blog for me and maybe it will only ever have 1 dedicated reader (you know who you are <3) and that’s ok.  But, well, this particular post is a message to some people and whether or not they actually read it, I feel like it’s important to me to at least get it out there.

I’ve been following this whole discussion on the atheist and skeptics blogs about sexual harassment.  I’ve been listening to the atheist experience for a couple of years now which has led me to the Godless Bitches podcast, which is my absolute favourite podcast.  Strong, intelligent women discussing important issues is something I really enjoy listening.  Strong, intelligent men who are open and willing to treat women as their equals I enjoy just as much.  

Somewhere along the line I found links to some blog posts about the Women in Secularism conference and reading them was just so inspiring.  Since I realised/accepted/announced to myself that I was an atheist, I have had some interest in listening to/chatting to others who feel the same way.  Hence the Atheist Experience.  But the blogs from the WIS conference got me excited to get more involved in a way that nothing else had.  I imagined what it might have been like to have been there.  And after watching some of the talks on YouTube it was reinforced that it would have been a really inspiring environment to be at.  The videos are inspiring enough and have me thinking about how best to make a difference from my little corner of the world.  

Of course I live on the other side of the world and have various financial and other constraints which mean that getting to one of these conferences, especially in the US, is highly unlikely, but wow, a girl can dream, right?  And dream I have done and continue to do.  But for now I settle for reading inspiring blogs, tweets, etc.

So of course I have become aware of this whole discussion on sexual harassment and policies at conferences, etc, etc. And the thing is, I have been really pleased and impressed at the way most of the people I have seen in the community have approached the issue.  Women like Ophelia Benson, Rebecca Watson, Jen McCreight and Greta Christina as well as men like PZ Myers, Jason Thibeault and others, who, from what I can see have done nothing but be up front, thoughtful and honest and, most importantly in my opinion, refused to back away from dealing with the important issues even when others have made, or at least tried to make, things really difficult for them.

Anyway, what really triggered this post was that this was linked on my feed this morning and I guess I really just want all the people at FreeThought Blogs and Skepchick to know that there are people out there, and maybe a lot more than you know, that *do* appreciate you all continuing to push forward on these important issues and that some people, like myself, actually feel more inclined to want to try and attend one of these events some day, or at least begin to participate more in the online community, knowing that there are people out there working hard to make it safe to do so.  

So yeah, mainly, thank you for doing what you do and keep doing it.


  1. Just looking at the link you posted that you said spawned this blog. It is a sad statement indeed as clearly the person is/was looking for community of ideals and has not found it. However, the expectation that he had that people would be reasonable and rational simply because they are atheist is a misunderstanding of human nature. People transform over time, and some things they get right at certain times but not all of it at once. So even though levels of rationality and “humaneness” are achieved, not all “baggage” is removed upon the initial revelations/realisations. Truly rational people will evolve over time to form strong community and that comes from seeking sensible treatment and standards as these women and men have been seeking. Yes, it can be annoying to watch the bickering, but it’s because some people have not yet reach sufficient levels of realisation that simple sensible issues need to be pointed out. Those pointing it out wish they didn’t have to as much as we don’t want to read it, but still it needs to be done! Agreed, good on them for sticking up for what it fundamentally morally sound and anti-discrimination.

  2. Hey, hi. I got here via a rather less friendly post! Which I got to via another rather less friendly post that showed up as a pingback on my blog. I seem to be pissing a lot of people right now – so it’s nice to know that the feeling isn’t universal.

    • I just can’t fathom the negativity that has generated from this. I’ve been following it all for a while now and can’t see anything to justify the reaction you have all gotten. And it *is* people like you and Rebecca who inspire me to want to get more involved somehow in the community down here. If my post somehow made it all feel somewhat less awful, then I’m pleased :)

  3. [...] venomous anti-me post which included a link to another nomous anti-me post which included a link to a post by someone with a different take. I will share some of it with you because it is pleasant and it is nice to have pleasant things in [...]

  4. I got here via Ophelia, and I just wanted to say thank you for saying that! I don’t read a lot of blogs anymore but if you have a twitter I’d love to be friends– one vegan feminist atheist to another. :)

  5. Yeah they know some people appreciate them. They have the entire cult of skepchick and their own hords of minions that they freqently send to bully their oponents. Yep, don’t worry, they know they’re appreciated.

    • Citation needed for this allegation of sending people to bully others.

      I’m sure you’re equally vocal about the barrage of threats and abuse that Skepchicks etc get in their inboxes on a daily basis.

  6. Thanks for this – I got here via Ophelia’s blog. Good to have you on board.

  7. Thank you for writing this.

  8. Wow. When I was at the WIS Conference, I was hoping that it was the start of something that would have greater influence than just on those of us that could be there. And now I happen upon this entry (that I probably would have found eventually via Ophelia) and I can see that it really is having an effect. Hope either you can travel someday, or that a similar conference can eventually be held in your area.

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