One of the hardest lessons I ever had to learn was that just because someone agrees with you on one thing, no matter how important that thing is, doesn't mean they can't be a complete shit in some other way. And even knowing this doesn't stop it being disappointing when it happens. I bring this up because I want to talk about the arguments that arose out of ElevatorGate in the skeptic/atheist community over the last eighteen months or so.
Now, after all this time I don't have too much to add to the substance of the "debate" itself. From the links to the right, it should be easy to see that I come down on the side of Rebecca Watson and her allies in the whole affair. Really, I want to focus more on the fact that so many self-professed atheists proved to be uninterested or even hostile to feminism from a personal perspective.
I've long though of myself as a feminist; indeed, longer than I have identified as an atheist. However, my love of science and reason predates and is the common origin for both. In this sense I see the two concepts as related. I am an atheist because, given the evidence, I find the proposition that there is no god or gods the most likely situation. Similarly, I am a feminist because an examination of the evidence and history convinced me that equality of the sexes has certainly not been achieved, with men in the ascendant. Granted, that also requires a value judgement---that equality would be a worthwhile goal---but I can see no rational reason to reject that perspective.
So, obviously, I hastily generalised and assumed on some level that all atheists thought the same way. Despite knowing better. So, when everything erupted, I was disappointed. It's still a good bet that any thread on Pharyngula on feminism will bloat to hundreds of comments and feature many of the same tired arguments, which raises the question of why I still read those threads. (The answer is Bile Fascination, i.e. it's like watching a car wreck). On a purely personal level, I was able to learn about concepts such as privilege (in the sociological context) as a result of the whole affair. Still, I'm not intending to draw any kind of equivalence and suggest that compensates for the vitriol thrown at some of the people involved.