The Hypocrisy of Antifeminist Atheists
I am an atheist and, as anyone who’s spent any amount of time with me will tell you, I am also a feminist. This is kind of an odd combination, given that many outspoken internet ‘anti-theists’ have also devoted their time to ranting about the evils of feminism. The Amazing Atheist is an example of this. I’d call him an excellent example, but nothing about TJ Kirk is excellent. But, hey, nobody said that atheists all have to think a certain way, especially because the only thing uniting the atheist community is our lack of belief in magical sky people. So while atheistic feminists are certainly unusual, they still exist. Let’s move on, then, because there’s something else I wanted to discuss today.
If for some reason the title didn’t clue you in already, the subject of today’s article is the hypocrisy that is found within the atheist community, particularly as it pertains to feminism. I am speaking, of course, about cherry-picking.
Outspoken atheists, myself included, will often berate religious people for cherry-picking their beloved holy texts. In my experience, this is mostly a Christian tactic, but I am positive that people of all faiths employ it. The exchange below is a common example of the sort of thing I’m referring to here.
(EXT-PARKING LOT, MID-AFTERNOON. THEIST AND ATHEIST ARE STANDING NEXT TO A CAR, DISCUSSING RELIGION)
THEIST: The Bible (or the Quran, or the Torah, or whatever), is a book of purely good things. It is an ironclad moral code. God is entirely good, as is His word.
ATHEIST: But what about the part where it advocates the murder of gay people? The KKK and the Sovereign Citizens are both right-wing, Christian terrorist groups, you know.
THEIST: I don’t believe in those things, so they don’t count. Not all Christians are hateful, intolerant bigots. Don’t lash out against an entire group of people based on the actions of a very loud minority. Stop painting with such a broad brush.
ATHEIST: All right, I get that. You aren’t an asshole, so that must mean that Christianity can be a force for good. It does often encourage people to aid the poor, after all.
(THERE IS A PAUSE)
THEIST: Incidentally, did you know that Pol Pot and Stalin were atheists? That must mean that you’re a violent, oppressive dictator, right? All atheists are evil!
ATHEIST (ANNOYED): You realize that’s the same thing you told me not to do, right? Painting with a broad brush?
(THEIST BEGINS TO WALK AWAY)
That’s a perfect example of both hypocrisy and cherry-picking from religious people. Every atheist has been on the receiving end of something like that at one point or another, and it pisses us off, mostly because it’s fucking asinine. The anger that arises from stuff like this has caused most atheists to rally against hypocrisy and cherry-picking, in any context. For the most part, I agree with the sentiment that these two things are always bad.
So why, then, do antifeminist internet atheists regularly engage in both of these practices, often at the same time? To illustrate my point, I’ve included another scene. Consistency for the win!
(EXT-PARKING LOT, MID-AFTERNOON ANTIFEMINIST AND FEMINIST ARE STANDING NEXT TO A CAR, DISCUSSING FEMINISM. FOR THE SAKE OF THIS SCENARIO, BOTH ARE ATHEISTS.)
FEM: My definition of feminism is equality for all genders. We seek to elevate women to standards men have already archived, thereby furthering equality for everyone. It’s an intersectional movement.
ANTI: But what about Sydney Greenheart, who believes that we ought to control the population on men in America by killing them. She calls herself a feminist, so she must be one, right? That means that the entirety of feminism is evil and obsolete. It should be eradicated, man.
FEM: The official name of North Korea is the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea, but we know that it’s really a communist dictatorship. Just because somebody uses a label doesn’t mean that label actually applies.
ANTI (NODDING): Okay, that makes sense.
FEM: See, now you’re getting it. Also, though, hold on. You just cherry-picked the most extreme example of feminism you could find to straw-man my argument. You wouldn’t want somebody doing that to you, right?
ANTI (NERVOUS): Well, no, I guess not.
FEM: Exactly. What you just did there is exactly the same as a religious person saying that all atheists are evil because Pol Pot and Stalin used the label. It makes even less sense in this context, given that Ms. Greenheart doesn’t meet the definition of feminism that I use. She’s a misandrist, pure and simple. I thought you were against hypocrisy. Whatever happened to that?
ANTI: Uh, um, uh, that’s different.
FEM: How is it different, exactly?
(ANTI BEGINS TO WALK AWAY.)
Just something to think about.