Mallorie Nasrallah

Mallorie Nasrallah is an active atheist who recently had the gall – the god damned gall! – to say that other people do not speak for her. While anyone who has wasted their time reading the feminist shell games that have dominated the atheist community as of late knows, there have been a lot of accusations that there is some especially awful stuff that happens to women at atheist conventions and atheist websites. Sometimes this is true. Other times, such as when Rebecca Watson faced the horror of being asked a question, saying “no”, and having the guy take “no” for an answer, it is not true. The latter is the case most of the time. Mallorie recognizes this:

For as long as I can remember I have been welcomed in to communities which were generally considered “sausage fests”. If not for the constant noting of this fact I would have never noticed. You guys were always just
my friends.

As I’ve gotten older these subcultures have become more vocal about wanting to include more women, the discussion has become “how can we make the community more welcoming to women”.

As a woman who has been here all along this is distressing to me, I love you guys for who you are, from my table-top strategy gaming group though my political debate forum right in to the skeptical community. You have never been anything but awesome and welcoming. Who made you think you weren’t?

I am here, in my various communities because I like you guys, and I like the basis of the movement. The idea that you have to set time aside to cater to me, because my vagina imbues me with some special needs is becoming increasingly insulting. These communities are about our minds, not our genitals and as far as I can tell my mind is just like yours.

The point is obvious. Her experience has been horribly misrepresented by the feminists faction of the atheist community. They aren’t interested in presenting reality but rather an agenda-driven account of what is happening. Again, look at the Rebecca Watson case. A man asked her back to his hotel room. He did so in an elevator, indicating to me that he was likely too nervous to ask the question in front of a bunch of people and the elevator was his first chance. He should have re-thought that one, if only because it makes for an awkward situation, but regardless, when Watson said “no”, his response was effectively, “Okay”, and that was that. Not a bit of sexism or misogyny to be found anywhere. Any reasonable person – and that includes Mallorie – will recognize the facts as such.

I am writing about this for two reasons. First, I want to once again express my exacerbation at this conflation between atheism and feminism. Neither one has anything to do with the other. Moreover, “new atheism” is about the evils and harm of religion. That needs to be the primary focus. If other people wish to focus on feminism, do it elsewhere. Second, Friendly Atheist linked to Mallorie’s Facebook profile. (Mallorie responded in the thread and did so by logging in via her profile.) I sent her a message saying she did a good job on the article, and then I sent a friend request. She accepted. From what I’ve read (most of which is public anyway), she hasn’t gotten much professional publicity from this. That wasn’t her intent at all, plus her profession is photography so this sort of topic isn’t going to help much anyway, but I figured I would do what I could to promote her work. It actually is of a pretty good quality. Take a look here and here.

I’m glad we have voices like Mallorie’s. Strong women who don’t want special care taken for them is exactly what the rhetoric of the feminist movement is seeking. It just so happens that it is those outside the movement who recognize how to achieve this.

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6 Responses

  1. As a second thought on elevator guy, has anyone bothered to consider if he would do the exact same thing if he was gay and the other person was also a guy?

  2. This got me to finally delete Blag Hag from my bookmarks. I didn’t read it much anyway, but the last several times she’s just been ranting about “the patriarchy” and all that bullshit, and basically becoming everything she used to hate about feminism. This stuff is so tiring.

    On the upside, there’s this:

  3. “As a second thought on elevator guy, has anyone bothered to consider if he would do the exact same thing if he was gay and the other person was also a guy?”

    I actually hadn’t bothered to consider, but it is an intriguing question.

    If the other person was a guy and openly gay, I think a guy would be *more* likely to do the exact same thing. Far be it from me to make a broad generalization about gender issues, but guys are more comfortable with being propositioned for sex in general, and I think the proposer would recognize this.

    On the other hand, that might be the feminists’ point: Guys wouldn’t think how a woman would react and would act based on how another guy would react. It is still not worth the fuss and the accusations of misogyny which that particular event inspired.

  4. I did a satirical piece on elevator-gate back when it was a hotter topic. Likely the most trafficked post I made last year. Certainly the most comments.

    Watson was recently divorced before the elevator guy incident. I brought that up somewhere and I think it got me banned from every feminist blog this side of Pakistan. I don’t miss them much. It seemed a fair thing to examine…her state of mind…since everybody was so keen to focus on elevator guy and his inferred lascivious intentions.

    I only jumped in when Dawkins and PZ started squabbling. I love me some PZ, but Dawkins was spot on in his analysis. PZ seems specially beholden to these fanatic female skeptics. I assume it’s because he’s got a college age daughter. I also think he enjoys the attention from the ladies and though there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, I feel like it distorts his view on this subject.

    http://thetimchannel.wordpress.com/2011/07/11/attack-of-the-american-girlyban/

    Enjoy.

  5. And there was this bit of input from my side of the fence as well:

    Note to Skepchick: You’re a highly attractive and intelligent female. You’re in a BAR at four a.m. with a bunch of guys drunk on spirits and inspired by your smile. I’d be worried about the state of humanity if nobody took notice of you. Also, you’re gonna get plenty of “HATE” mail for being an atheist by religious people posing as skeptics. You’ll also get hate mail just because some people have nothing better to do. Not proof of anything except perhaps that the misogynist community is just as good at pharyngulating open public opening forums/polls as PZ often is.

    http://thetimchannel.wordpress.com/2011/07/04/skepchick-blues/

    Enjoy.

  6. To me, the question of “few women involved in skepticism” was always addressed from the wrong angle, i.e., “What’s wrong with skepticism?”

    The better question would be “What’s wrong with women?”–or, more fairly, “What’s wrong with the way women are raised and mentally conditioned in our society so that they wind up with so little interest in rational and skeptical thinking?

    I had the same reaction to questions about science and technology majors; we don’t need to make engineering “pink,” we need to fix the way girls are raised and educated so that they don’t see engineering as a turn-off.

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