How Dawkins and Feminism Don’t Mix

Holly Foster

Dawkins, once the poster boy of rational thinking is slowly losing the plot. And he’s determined to take atheism down with him.

Richard Dawkins has always been like marmite. His absolutism has polarised people at both ends of the religious spectrum, his arrogance and intolerance more and more frequently blindsiding any rationale he may have. He has long used the word of science as law, an iron fist that cannot and should not be contested; it’s all black and white, right and wrong. But recently his attention has focused to a new area worthy of his contention – women’s rights, via his new tool of choice, the Internet.

Why has Dawkins suddenly taken such an interest in women’s rights? He cites himself as pro-feminist yet his ignorance in the understanding of women in modern society is astoundingly clear. Which woman benefits from placing a rape[1] case on some kind of comparative pseudo-scale? Who wants to be told that carrying a fetus with Downs’s syndrome is “immoral” and that it should be aborted? I can hardly imagine any woman (myself included) who would ever be appreciative of such advice. His ‘Dear Muslima’ letter[2], an open letter written to expose the flaws of modern feminism doesn’t offer any understanding or sympathy for the women facing any of the issue he brings up, his crude argument belittles the plight of other women, women who feel sexism of any shape or size is something that shouldn’t be tolerated. Dawkins, using ‘not-as-bad-as’ logic not only legitimises misogynistic behaviour but also morally justifies it too.

Dawkins uses the letter to push any issues to do with sexuality away from western societies. Genital mutilation and domestic violence are not the sole reserves of less developed countries and do not always come hand in hand; 20,000 girls in Britain[3] are thought to be at risk of FGM every year and two women die every week[4] from domestic violence. Hardly nothing for western women to complain about.

And yet he still can’t see why everyone is angry with him. Dawkins truly believes he’s fighting for the cause, he just doesn’t get that women in western society still experience sexism on a daily basis. It’s this narrow-mindedness that is the most damaging, his inability to see the progress needed in our society. Unfortunately his views are to some extent a reflection of the state of atheism, many female atheists reporting the commonplace of all male leadership or speakers at conferences. As atheism has grown, Dawkins has fallen behind and has struggled to keep up with change, often guilty of the same intolerance and extremist views he’s spent years accusing others of. Richard Dawkins’ reputation is slowly deteriorating.

Atheism needs a new hero.

[1] 29th July 2014 Dawkins tweeted ‘Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse.’

[2] (In response to his letter to her, the link to the original letter seems to have been removed).



How Dawkins and Feminism Don’t Mix

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