USA Today ran a great piece on friendly atheism today. While it contained the typical "What's better: Aggressive, mocking tactics, or peaceful, accomidationist tactics?" false dichotomy, there's a new spin. Women, they claim, are bringing a softer side to the movement, and we should embrace their efforts.
Now, I don't think this is automatically stereotyping and saying that all female skeptics are passive and afraid to offend. Ariane Sherine is behind the controversial atheist bus campaign, and female bloggers can have some piss and vinegar in their posts (of course, I would never do such things *halo*).
But the article does have a point. Much of the work done by female skeptics (check out the list at the end of the article) has a positive spin, which can be easier for the general public to digest than stuff by Dawkins or Hitchens. Don't get me wrong - I think "aggressive atheism" is just as important - but that a good cop/bad cop sort of technique will work the best.
Should female skeptics forever be the diplomats? No, but it's an open niche we can fill for now. If this is the best way to start getting more integrated into the atheist movement, the ultimate goal being a 50/50 sex ratio and females whose names are as well known as Dawkins and Hitchens, I'll take it. Appreciation will continue to grow.
So congrats, ladies! Let's keep up the atheist girl power. (And Hemant. You go...guy?)
And no, I didn't make their list of awesome female atheists ;) Not yet, at least! Maybe the project I have planned for winter break will launch me out of the blogosphere (and yes, I included that vague hint because I'm evil).