Friday, February 17, 2012

Is Matt Dillahunty pussywhipped?

This popped up in my Twitter feed today.
I was curious, so I replied asking for a link. Never got a response. I saw the same post on the Facebook, but again, no link was listed, so I had to Google it.
I think Matt Dillahunty is pussywhipped. Don’t get me wrong, I like the guy and I enjoy listening to him on The Atheist Experience and The Non Prophets. He’s a very reasonable, rational guy…except when it comes to feminism. You see, he recently married a feminist, named Beth Presswood, who also occasionally appears on The Atheist Experience, but also has her own podcast with a few other women, called Godless Bitches. While that podcast has good points now and then, I don’t like how often Beth uses logical fallacies when talking about women’s rights issues. If there was a creationist or some other fundie nutjob using logical fallacy after logical fallacy, Dillahunty would be all over them and would not tolerate such bullshit. With his wife, however, he doesn’t seem to care.
The writer, Nicole Czanderna, is partly correct. Matt used to be just as rational about feminism as he was about anything else. One of the main reasons I admire him is his ability to think logically and rationally, but he has lost that ability when it comes to feminism. But, it is not because he is pussywhipped, but for another reason I suspect.

Some history:

In March of last year, Jen McCreight posted a conversation she had at an atheist meeting where a guy mentioned that more women in the atheist movement would equal more women to date. Matt joined in on the comment thread, and made a few interesting points.
Look, I almost fully agree with Jen and I’m a huge supporter of resolving this issue and eliminating sexism…Which is why I’ll point out the sexism in your response [referring to previous commenter.]– and in Jen’s.It’s completely understandable and normal – and acceptable – that people might want to increase their dating pool.Notice, though that he said “date”. It’s bad enough that Jen equated this with sex, but when you exaggerate it with crude nonsense, you really expose your own biases.When I was looking for someone to date, sex – believe it or not – wasn’t a concern. Dating, for me, isn’t about sex, it’s about looking for a potential partner, someone with whom you share common interests. It’s about finding someone who is intellectually stimulating, challenging and interesting. It’s about finding someone with common desires, interests and goals. It’s about finding someone to care about BEYOND sex.This frequent representation of heterosexual men as slobbering sex maniacs who objectify women such that “date” really equates to “boobies and blowjobs” is pathetic. It’s narrow-minded and sexist – and shameful … and it may hurt the cause even more than what “Guy4″ said.Are there guys like that? Sure…and there are women like that – and that goes for every sexual identity I’ve encountered.Jen is completely correct that this response from him is part of the problem, but it’s part of the problem because it tends to give the wrong impression – not because his intent is somehow base and repugnant. Your response is also part of the problem – because you’re alienating men by misrepresenting them as inconsiderate, sex-crazed pigs.This individual, like many others, may simply have been expressing frustration at the general inability for people in closeted minorities to find someone that they want to spend time with.
Jen never responded, at least not publicly. She did have an email exchange with him, which he mentioned on a Non Prophets episode (Air date 4/2/11. 4:00-4:20). Though I of course have no idea of the topic of their exchange. But, I do know that he started writing differently about feminism afterwards.

For instance, during an exchange on an Atheist Experience post regarding Elevatorgate, Matt had this to say:
His side of the story is irrelevant [Referring to Elevator Guy]. In fact, it doesn't even matter if he exists and this is entirely fictional. 
This sort of thing does happen, it's creepy and it's a problem that affects how likely women are to attend and participate in atheist/skeptic groups and events - and therefore it needs to be brought to people's attention. 
And this is just a mild example of some of the things that discourage women from participating.  
Your myopic, privileged oversimplifications demonstrate that you don't get question is, do you even care to TRY to understand, or are you just going to keep up the mansplaining. If it's the latter, there's no need to post.
 The stupid in this comment:
  1. EG's side of story is irrelevant.
  2. EG's existence is irrelevant.
  3. Claim that men hitting on women is driving women out of atheism movement with no evidence.
  4. Uses the word privilege.
  5. Uses the word mansplaining, ferchistsakes.
  6. Tells other commenter to shut up and go away.
Points three thru six are all crap that femtheists use frequently. None are rational, thoughtful arguments. They are just trite sayings used to belittle and demonize the opponents. Points one and two are just beyond stupid.

I cannot know the contents of Matt and Jen's email exchange, and I cannot know why he went from rational discussion beforehand to dogmatic femtheist speak afterwards. I cannot know if they are even related. But I can guess.

And, I will guess. Matt wants to be famous in the atheist community and be part of the in crowd. He wants to be buddies with Jen, PZ, Greta, and all the rest. He wants to be one of the popular kids. But, to join the in crowd, he cannot speak rationally about feminists issues, for the in crowd will brook no dissent. To be part of the in crowd, one must be dogmatic. One must be a femtheist. So, Matt has tossed aside his normal rational ways and joined in with the PZ and the gang. So, I don't think Matt has been pussywhipped. He just wanted to hang with the cool kids.

The whole gang at The Atheist Experience have abandoned rationality when it comes to feminism. Russell Glasser, one of the AE co-hosts, looked up Czanderna's blog, and sent Matt a tweet.

Now, A Voice for Men is a truly sick, disgusting site. The shit in charge once publicly promised to vote to acquit if he was ever on a jury for a rape trial. Sick, MRA bullshit. But, Czanderna did not link to anything like that. She linked to a post detailing some of the truly sick shit that radfems have said on some internet forum. She said about the radfems:
Most feminist may not be as extreme as what is depicted in the Agent Orange Files, but I certainly don’t see most feminist disapproving of such behavior, either. I want this to be seen. The scariest thing about these bigots is that they hold positions of power, and some of them even interact with children. These people need to be exposed and brought to light.
The Agent Orange Files detail some radfems advocating for killing off the vast majority of men. Genocide. Really. Read the files.

Linking to what may very well be the only post on A Voice for Men that is worth reading does not make Czanderna a misogynist. But, in a Facebook thread about Czanderna's post, Matt said: of the first responses I got was from Russell Wain Glasser who pointed out that he found her blog and that she was reposting mysoginst crap on it...
So, Russell misrepresented her blog (was he lying, or just lazy when it comes to research?) and Matt jumped to the conclusion that she is a misogynist. As of this writing (twelve hours after Matt's Twitter and Facebook posts), Matt had not yet checked Czanderna's blog. Yet he knows her well enough to call her a misogynist. A cursory glance at her blog shows that she likes cats and is a feminist. She just isn't a radfem.

He has proved her point that he gives feminism a pass when it comes to his usual rational discourse.

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