Un-Skepchick: Being a role model for female skeptics

I’d like to share a recent message I was so very grateful to receive. It came from a mother whose daughters were the ones who were treated coldly by who they thought were role models, Rebecca Watson and her clique of Skepchick mean girls.

I am a 45 year old woman with two daughters, age 19 and 22. I just want to say thank you for being a role model and voice of reason. Many years back we attended TAM (the year of the surprise wedding) and my girls were excited to meet Rebecca. She and all the other Skepchicks totally blew my girls off. They felt like there was a huge click just like in high school. I told Rebecca later via email and was told it was our fault. Fortunately Harriet Hall talked with them as well as Barbra Drescher and they have continued to admire and friend them. We then heard you speak at a later TAM. THANK YOU! A young woman with such grace and presence. I just want to let you know that even though you may not even know, you are having a huge impact on young women and the voice of reason in skepticism.

It disappoints me to hear from people who attend skeptic or atheist conferences and have a negative experience with Skepchicks, but it no longer surprises me. I receive private messages and emails from women who were enthused to meet Skepchicks like Rebecca Watson, Amy Roth, Elyse Anders, only to find that they were ignored, brushed off, made to feel unwelcome or actually being spoke to in a rude or malicious manner. They write to me to express support in my critiques of Skepchick, and how they have a negative impact on women in skepticism.

My view has always been that the best way to be a good role model for women in secularism is to simply be a hardworking individual in your field. You don’t have to hit young girls over the head with the fact that you’re female. This is why I treasure skeptics like Barbara Drescher, Sharon Hill, Dr. Hall, Eugenie Scott, Carol Tavris, Eve Seibert, and many other talented contributors to the skeptic movement, who rarely focus on talking about women issues. They make great role models—to both men and women—because they do great work and are admired for it, regardless of their gender.

It makes it even more confusing that Skepchicks—skeptics who want to focus on promoting women in skepticism and ensure our community is welcoming to women—would so often be the very ones who make women feel uncomfortable and unwelcome.

33 Responses

  1. saramayhew Says:

    Un-Skepchick: Being a role model for female skeptics – http://t.co/OrMld8NuAA The unwelcoming clique of women like @rebeccawatson.

  2. Eshto Says:

    Un-Skepchick: Being a role model for female skeptics – http://t.co/wM1wIDXmlZ

  3. squamishsusan Says:

    Women can be nasty to each other. Stop. Support and enable. Un-Skepchick: Being a role model for female skeptics. http://t.co/yqO4KZxpWr

  4. IDoubtIt Says:

    Thank you, Sara. I’m proud to be an UnSkepchick. http://t.co/bcWutj1r7x

  5. DadaLives Says:

    RT @IDoubtIt: Thank you, Sara. I’m proud to be an UnSkepchick. http://t.co/bcWutj1r7x

  6. desertyard Says:

    Great shout out to some good female skeptics. MT @saramayhew: Un-Skepchick: Being a role model for female skeptics – http://t.co/TXRPT4vPlp

  7. Martymad0001 Says:

    RT @Eshto: Un-Skepchick: Being a role model for female skeptics – http://t.co/wM1wIDXmlZ

  8. BraveHeroRadio Says:

    Go @saramayhew Un-Skepchick: Being a role model for female skeptics – http://t.co/lsI27bC8cn

  9. SARAH_Global Says:

    RT @saramayhew: Un-Skepchick: Being a role model for female skeptics – http://t.co/OrMld8NuAA The unwelcoming clique of women like @rebecca…

  10. brian_carnell Says:

    RT @saramayhew: Un-Skepchick: Being a role model for female skeptics – http://t.co/OrMld8NuAA The unwelcoming clique of women like @rebecca…

  11. Sal3CT Says:

    RT @IDoubtIt: Thank you, Sara. I’m proud to be an UnSkepchick. http://t.co/bcWutj1r7x

  12. RichSandersen Says:

    More revelations about the #Skepchicks. They are not role models. They are spiteful, self-interested bullies. http://t.co/fEWssr2qP0

  13. RichSandersen Says:

    RT @saramayhew: Un-Skepchick: Being a role model for female skeptics – http://t.co/OrMld8NuAA The unwelcoming clique of women like @rebecca…

  14. Tigzy_J Says:

    RT @saramayhew: Un-Skepchick: Being a role model for female skeptics – http://t.co/OrMld8NuAA The unwelcoming clique of women like @rebecca…

  15. danielwaddell17 Says:

    Un-Skepchick: Being a role model for female skeptics – http://t.co/wFPRRl9xov

  16. gbarajas3 Says:

    RT @saramayhew: Un-Skepchick: Being a role model for female skeptics – http://t.co/OrMld8NuAA The unwelcoming clique of women like @rebecca…

  17. SinZero66 Says:

    RT @IDoubtIt: Thank you, Sara. I’m proud to be an UnSkepchick. http://t.co/bcWutj1r7x

  18. ttolhurst Says:

    RT @RichSandersen: More revelations about the #Skepchicks. They are not role models. They are spiteful, self-interested bullies. http://t.…

  19. christheneck Says:

    Sad if true. So far out of that crowd I woudn’t know RT @IDoubtIt: Thank you, Sara. I’m proud to be an UnSkepchick. http://t.co/ag5bPbF4Rd

  20. CommonCormorant Says:

    RT @saramayhew: Un-Skepchick: Being a role model for female skeptics – http://t.co/OrMld8NuAA The unwelcoming clique of women like @rebecca…

  21. AndyMeanie Says:

    Un-Skepchick: Being a role model for female skeptics http://t.co/8YL2pcPvRi via @zite

  22. ZoeJenB Says:

    RT @saramayhew: Un-Skepchick: Being a role model for female skeptics – http://t.co/OrMld8NuAA The unwelcoming clique of women like @rebecca…

  23. medtek Says:

    Un-Skepchick: Being a role model for female skeptics – http://t.co/Yulo2ZMIGr

    Was my same experience on several occasions.

  24. Daosorios Says:

    RT @saramayhew: Un-Skepchick: Being a role model for female skeptics – http://t.co/OrMld8NuAA The unwelcoming clique of women like @rebecca…

  25. Lonebeatle Says:

    RT @saramayhew: Un-Skepchick: Being a role model for female skeptics – http://t.co/OrMld8NuAA The unwelcoming clique of women like @rebecca…

  26. spinzig Says:

    RT @saramayhew: Un-Skepchick: Being a role model for female skeptics – http://t.co/OrMld8NuAA The unwelcoming clique of women like @rebecca…

  27. reneehendricks Says:

    Un-Skepchick: Being a role model for female skeptics – http://t.co/bQh6zBPo6m

  28. SkepDirt Says:

    Rebeccawatson confirms everything @saramayhew says in http://t.co/btAgb5EqIV but claims she caught Sara lying: http://t.co/HS3ZhBomsT

  29. telomericfusion Says:

    RT @SkepDirt: Rebeccawatson confirms everything @saramayhew says in http://t.co/btAgb5EqIV but claims she caught Sara lying: http://t.co/HS…

  30. ThePrussian Says:

    Have to say – that is pretty darn cool. You must be tickled pink!

  31. SITP Says:

    RT @saramayhew: Un-Skepchick: Being a role model for female skeptics – http://t.co/OrMld8NuAA The unwelcoming clique of women like @rebecca…

  32. Two-eyed monster Says:

    So…you lied.

    Why are you obsessed with RW again?

  33. Glenn Says:

    It’s not just women that you encourage. As a male skeptic, I have been horrified by the injection of 3rd wave, radfem intersectional Social Justice gobbledy gook into the movement. Now don’t get me wrong, if you want to be a social justice crusader (but yet are most likely not even able to describe Rawlsian Social Justice or say Nozick’s critique of it), have at it. Just don’t tell me that it has anything to do with being a skeptic. As DJ Grothe carefully points out, being and atheist and a skeptic and a humanist are separate things.

    When I first found the skeptical movement about 8 years ago, I finally found a home. The intellectual basis of it, the dedication to science and reason, the freethinking – it spoke to me. I was just so happy to find a group of people who I felt a commonality with. And then Watson came along. Interestingly, I had complained to Steven Novella at SGU/NESS ([email protected] – if you want to weigh in as to why Watson should be booted off his podcast) about Watson’s hamhanded science and overt politicization of skepticism before the elevatorgate incident. I was of course dismissed as a hater/misogynist – so I stopped listening.

    As time has worn on and the Atheism+ debacle began, I was personally horrified. My ‘safe space’ – the Skeptical movement – was infected by Progressive-Marxism (and if you don’t understand how Marxism intersects with 3rd wave radfem and the social justice movement, just ask and I’ll lay it out for you – one tidbit, Google Fourier, early socialist who invented the term feminism). I don’t trumpet my classically liberal views in the the skeptical movement – I just want to encounter reason.

    Coming across your blog as I have today gives me renewed hope. You seem to be doing actual skepticism, as are some other great women in the movement. Reading your posts, what comes through is that curious and smart nature that I love about skeptics. It’s clear you are an actual skeptic, not a political activist. Now let’s see if we can Novella to replace Wason with you on the SGU podcast? I’d love nothing better than running into Watson in a Starbucks someday, as she serves me a latte… She deserves a comeuppance more than most people.

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.