My view on sexism in scepticism is fairly clear. I think it exists, but I think it’s a reflection on society as a whole, rather than sceptics specifically, and I think it’s improving rather than getting worse, so therefore doesn’t need to be pushed as an agenda as hard as it is. However, I might be wrong, and it could be far worse than I’m aware of. I’ll admit that.
This post is not about discussing the debate’s points specifically, but to ask an open question that came to me when reading a twitter exchange between Jean Kazez and Jeremy Stangroom about Melody Hensley. That question is as follows:
Maybe I’m being idealistic and naive, but is there some way that those most prominent (i.e. with the largest reach in the community) skeptic/atheist speakers on both sides of this debate could somehow come together, in person, (or some skypeing) and talk through the issues rationally to decide upon a fair and balanced strategy going forward? People of prominence; PZ, Grothe, Kazez, RW, Hensley, and those doing the most widely read writing on the subject. It ‘might’ help reduce the friction and negative sentiment.
All the back and forth on blogs is only making it worse. Polarising the issue into extremes that don’t exist (i.e ‘If you go to TAM there’s a good chance you’ll get raped’ vs. ‘There’s absolutely no sexism at all’). Everyone has a valid point to make, and equally, most people haven’t considered or fully empathised with those of the opposing view.
Just my opinion, but I don’t think it’s going to go away any time soon if it only gets addressed on twitter and blogs in the form of sarcasm, short tweets, and partisan blog posts. How else will this rift begin to reduce rather than continue to widen?