Feminist Women’s Attitudes towards Feminist Men in the Canadian Atheist Movement

In: Religion and Gender
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  • 1 University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

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Abstract

Scholars of nonreligion and atheism have become increasingly interested in how the atheist movement reproduces gender inequalities. This growing research area is especially concerned with atheist activism’s contradictory embracing of gender egalitarianism on the one hand (especially when embedded in a critique of religion) and the exclusion of women from atheist spaces. Limited information is available on male atheists who identify as feminist or who express agreement with feminist goals. Although some scholars have addressed the rejection of feminist claims within organised nonreligion, this article examines both men’s adoption of the feminist label and women’s attitudes towards feminist men in the atheist movement. Drawing from thirty-five semi-structured interviews with atheist activists in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, I show that some feminist women perceived feminist men as passive or guided by insincere motivations (primarily to earn the attention and approval of women within atheist organisations). These findings shed light on the dilemmas of feminist men in atheist activism and contribute to understanding the gender dynamics of some atheist organisations.

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