Today I was approached by a highly placed individual in one of the ever-mounting number of secular coalitions. He wished for Reasonable New York and specifically Feminist Freethinkers to join their coalition.
RNY has chosen not to join any national coalitions as we are simply a local group whose main mission is to help promote the local member organizations.
I thought perhaps Feminist Freethinkers might benefit from such a relationship. But I did my research and realized that it was not a good fit for us. I tried to explain this to him and all hell broke loose.
First he insulted FFNY exclaiming that we didn’t really “do anything”. Then he went on to defend his organization ending with this choice line:
“I’m starting to believe that the reason the secular movement doesn’t have more women is the women. Prove me wrong.”
Wow! In what universe does that create a welcoming environment for women?
I replied: “If you thought this approach would work you are dead wrong. It is offensive and ignorant. And it will be shared I can assure you.” To which he sent me an “Ethical fuck you.”
He spoke frequently of the “rage” and infighting within the movement and was clueless how he was contributing to it!
We certainly have our work cut out for us! There are many men in the secular movement who take this kind of hostile tone every time they are confronted with any pushback. I suppose in the early days of any movement, those that rise to the top are frequently large-ego white men. I really don’t know how we make any progress with people like that but the first step has to be exposure and an unwillingness to align ourselves with that kind of narrow thinking.
With every word he wrote he confirmed my initial sense that this was not a good fit. I can only hope that other women continue to stand up to him and that we create better and more inclusive avenues to explore.