Misogyny – Not a Laughing Matter


For some time now, there’s been a rather heated discussion over the misogyny in the skeptical and atheist communities, and in society at large, and I’ll admit that I have tried to avoid posting on it since, for one thing, there are others better informed than I on the topic, and I felt the whole controversy diverts effort better spent on combating the cultural opponents of skeptics and atheists.

Just this morning Stephanie Zvan posted Would It Be Immoral to Rape My Friends? and about 6:00 AM this morning, a post on Martin Pribble’s blog, Rape is Never Funny popped into my inbox, and this comment in particular caught my attention.

Apparently, the wily commenter thinks he’s found a fatal flaw in the post, only to construct a zinger of a strawman that is irrelevant even if what he says were true: So what if the origin of misogyny isn’t religion and business?

First, what I read into Martin’s argument in the main post is he wasn’t implying that demeaning attitudes toward women started with with religion and business, but that they presently come from these institutions because these perpetuate and exploit such attitudes as a means of controlling people, especially women, and keep them from threatening the male-dominated power structure…

…such attitudes that originated in the societies in which the institutions of business and religion arose, and these institutions that sustain and promote misogyny. There’s no small amount of it in other areas of society either, even in science, skepticism and the atheist communities, and however we do it, it’s important to deal with the issue.

I think it’s a good thing that this is getting the attention it is, even in the more widespread popular culture, and no, rape jokes aren’t funny, including prison rape jokes. The domination and dehumanizing of others, sexual and otherwise, is no laughing matter and it’s against everything I stand for as a humanist, and this is philosophical ethics, not religious.

To paraphrase hip-hop artist Greydon Square, I don’t need a god to tell me that slavery, rape and murder are wrong…This is the f**king 21st century, not the 1st.

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4 thoughts on “Misogyny – Not a Laughing Matter”

  1. I somewhat disagree about rape jokes. As the point is often brought up, some people use humor as a coping mechanism. Rape jokes aren’t about normalizing rape, just as jokes about, say, Charles Manson aren’t about normalizing the existence of people like Charles Manson (I don’t know any jokes about Charles Manson).

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    1. You may disagree all you wish. Rape jokes are and have been primarily used to demean, threaten and belittle their targets. It’s telling how few people who’ve actually been raped or threatened with rape tell jokes about it.

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