I received a personal email from blogger Ophelia Benson around 5 pm on Tuesday:
Hi again Becky,
I want to ask you a direct question, since you’re the one who named me as one of the too-dogmatic and other bad things feminists on your podcast – can you quote something too-dogmatic etc that I’ve written on this subject? I’ve just looked through my posts on DJ and I don’t see anything that seems very dogmatic.
Could you give a specific example on my post on the podcast or on yours or here but with permission to quote you? I think that’s only fair. You accused me of things so I think you should point to at least one example.
By 8:30 am Wednesday, Ophelia complained about my absent response on Greg Laden’s blog:
Becky’s responses are sometimes so underwhelming as to be absent entirely. She emailed me late Monday to request the rescue of a comment in moderation (because of links); I replied yesterday to ask her for an example of “dogmatism” from me, since she named me as one of the “dogmatic” feminists in the podcast. No reply. I find that deeply unimpressive.
Underwhelming I’ll take, but absent responses? After 6 comments prior having addressed Greg? Is 16 hours the time limit for whether I’m responsive on an issue? In light of my multiple follow–up responses in multiple arenas? I am interested in this topic, and dedicated to co-creating positive solutions, but I’ve got a day job!
You request that I quotemine for something “too-dogmatic”. Is there a spectrum of dogma? My argument isn’t that a little dogma is ok as long as you’re not a “too-dogmatic and other bad things feminist.” My argument is that feminism applied dogmatically, along with employing shame and zero-sum tactics of approach, work at cross purposes to eliminating misogyny and harassment in the atheist/skeptics community(ies). So I’ll give a few examples of how I see your writing as part of that larger observation. I’m not going to go looking for “too-dogmatic” things because that was never my argument.
In my original editorial I state: “Is our womanhood and feminism so holy that we cannot and will not open ourselves to criticism, discussion, and questions? Because the tone I’ve seen is unforgiving.” I could very well have linked the following comment on your Misogyny? What Misogyny? post as one example of this:
I don’t want to see [commenter] Justicar as a decent human being in one place despite knowing that he’s not one via what he’s said in other places.
This strikes me as dogmatically rejecting all ideas a person has based on experience/contact with them in another arena. If myself and a pastor got into a spat about evolution, but then the pastor said “I don’t even want to see evidence of you doing charity because I know that in another arena you deny the majesty and wonder of the Almighty Creator!” we’d easily identify that as dogmatic.
In your Both Sides post you criticize my saying that both sides are doubling-down. Your first commenter construes that to mean that I think both sides are equally wrong. You do nothing to dispel that and in fact provide tacit agreement by saying “I thought I’d try understatement for once.” You agree with commenter Deen that I think you’re too feminist, claiming, “Yep. All that misogyny stuff is bad, of course, but the really bad worrying terrible awful people are…the ones Becky named.” This dishonestly supports this narrative of “us” vs. “them” with me clearly on the “them” side. You have contributed to the narrative of 2 sides, “for” and “against”, affirming the very thing that I pointed out! When things are black and white (a characterization embraced by Stephanie ) it’s indicative of dogma.
In Stephanie’s post addressing our episode, you in three words reveal your tacit agreement with one of the most egregious characterizations of atheist men I’ve seen condensed into one paragraph (the 5th, if you’re following the links), bolstering an us-versus-them mentality.
I hope it’s clear that I don’t think feminism equals dogma, but that its application can be dogmatic. FtB’er Natalie Reed has a fine analysis of this phenomenon, which was only recently brought to my attention, in more general terms (not related to its application in atheist/skeptic circles on the issue of eliminating misogyny).
 True, I contacted Ophelia about a comment being left in moderation on her blog because I was concerned that the content may have been deemed objectionable (since subsequent comments had appeared sans moderation). Turned out it the links I’d included dumped me in the queue automatically, and Ophelia dropped me a quick email to say as much with a cordial explanation and apology. I’m not really sure how telling folks that I had comments awaiting moderation bolsters her assertion that my response is absent. This was a technical hold-up, just as were her comments on our post. Observe her similar request to Ask An Atheist on Monday just after 10 am (when incidentally all three producers are working at our paying jobs): “I have a couple of comments in moderation. Could you let them out? I’d like to set the record straight before a bunch more comments from the ERV gang come in.” That Mike Gillis guy, who Ophelia surmised just might have something to do with Ask an Atheist, caught the email and let her know it was held up by the Spambot detector and he’d approved her comments.
Update: Some links fixed.