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June 12, 2006

Allegation that Atheism Is a Male Thing? -- 2

Women atheists:
Ernestine_Rose.jpgErnestine Rose (who will be one of the major characters in this book)
Frances Wright
Harriet Martineau
George Eliot: "God, immortality, duty -- how inconceivable the first, how unbelievable the second, how peremptory and absolute the third."
Virginia Woolf
Simone de Beauvoir: "I cannot be angry at God, in whom I do not believe."
Madalyn Murray O'Hair
Barbara Ehrenreich: "As an adult I found out that there was a big tradition of blue collar atheism in America..."

Nevertheless, there remains that startling gender imbalance in my cast of characters. Who am I forgetting?

JM has just recommended : "Jane Ellen Harrison, one of the Cambridge myth critics at the turn of the century," and "the real or imagined character of Diotima in Plato's Symposium."

Posted by Mitchell Stephens at June 12, 2006 11:16 PM


Here's a book you may be interested in.

Women Without Superstition: "No Gods - No Masters"

Posted by: Josh at June 12, 2006 11:37 PM

I think it is more likely that feminists would have been atheists, though being a feminist is not a prerequisite for being an atheist.

The alpha male thing of religious belief is just a tad too obvious to most feminists.

Posted by: beepbeepitsme at June 14, 2006 9:18 AM

I agree with beepbeep that many feminists, both first and second wave, were/are atheists. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the free-thinking editor of the Revolution and among the most strong-minded of the suffragists, for example, said, "The Bible and the Church have been the greatest stumbling blocks in the way of women's emancipation."

Posted by: george at June 14, 2006 11:28 PM

Margaret of Navarre
Marie de Gournay

(both from Jennifer Michael Hecht's book.)

Posted by: Damien at June 16, 2006 12:37 AM

Interesting how some of those early-wave feminists were also rethinking religion in some interesting ways: e.g., Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science.

I'm thinking that Susan Sontag qualifies here, despite her upbringing and that she taught in a religion department... and Georgia O'Keeffe...

and Ani DeFranco.

Posted by: JM at June 16, 2006 4:44 PM

Well I was thinking there was gonna be a good comment, and instead, another ad for ringtones!

All the same, I use to post as Terebinth Tree at this forum but don't have the same focus these days. But here is a thread about this very subject of the male/female ratio if not in Atheism at large, then simply the vocal Atheist...

Posted by: Bonnie Kim at July 16, 2006 5:18 PM

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