Friday, January 1, 2010

Who was the most influential female atheist of 2009?

I've seen various end of the year polls floating around concerning atheism, but they seem to miss a huge part of the atheist movement: the ladies! So here's a poll focusing just on the female voices of atheism. Who do you think was the most influential female atheist of 2009? Here's some super short bios, in case you aren't familiar with some of them (this is a great way to learn about new awesome atheist women, too!)
I could go on and on listing awesome godless women, but I tried to focus on those who were active with their book writing/blogging/podcasting/various activities throughout 2009. That being said, my opinion could be flawed, and your favorite skeptic in 2009 may be missing from my list. That's why I've included an "Other" choice in the poll - feel free to comment with your write-in response!

So, what do you think?



*People using Google Reader or other RSS feed aggregators may not be able to see the poll. Please visit the original post to voice your opinion!

EDIT: For those of you asking where other awesome female atheists are, I've created a longer reference list.

170 comments:

  1. Oh so modest, Jen! I can think of at least one female atheist blogger missing from the poll! Happy New Year!

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  2. Great list, dwarfs mine.

    http://krissthesexyatheist.blogspot.com/2009/12/taco-fest-2009.html

    I vote for Annie Laurie Gaylor because FFRF constantly has numerous separation of church and state lawsuits. After I wrote my post someone suggested Sikivu Hutchinson and I was really impressed. Also don't forget to put yourself on the list.

    Good luck in 2010.

    Kriss

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  3. I guess great minds think alike, Kriss! You got included some good ones that I missed. And you definitely have a more interesting title than I do, hahaha.

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  4. Couldn't decide between Greta and Ariane Sherine. Ariane Sherine probably deserves it more, but Greta has influenced me personally more than Ariane Sherine. I voted for both of them and saw that they were both tied for the lead!

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  5. I voted for Annie Laurie Gaylor too.

    If you run this poll again for best looking female atheist I'd vote for Angelena Jolie, followed closely by Jodie Foster.

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  6. i'd love to vote for eugenie but, unfortunately, she's not an atheist.

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  7. Eugenie Scott describes herself as an atheist: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/02/07/EB75914.DTL&hw=eugenie+Scott&sn=001&sc=1000

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  8. I voted for Ariane. The bus campaigns that started from her initiative got a lot of fine press for atheism last year.
    Eugenie Scott has done wonderful work, but I consider her work to be pro-science, not pro-atheism. I wouldn't pick her for the same reason I wouldn't consider Bill Gates as an influential 'atheist'.

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  9. I voted for Annie Laurie Gaylor too, bcause of the way that she just smiled while Laura Ingraham was being an idiot in their interview, and also because the FFRF slogan in the State Capitols is offensive to Christians who just want to have a cute little baby over whom everyone oohs and aahs but serves as a reminder that God Hates Humans so much that he made us wait for 4000 years to give us a "Get Out of Hell Free" card.

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  10. What do I think? I think you're missing two great science writers: Natalie Angier and Olivia Judson. Good list otherwise, though.

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  11. I had to vote for ZOMGItsCriss, for all of the hard work she does on YouTube.

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  12. Maryam Namazie would be another great candidate.

    Thanks for including me! One gets so weary of the all-boy ones...

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  13. What about Kylie Sturgess from the Skeptic Zone and Token Skeptic?

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  14. Actually, Jenthesexyblaghag sound cool. It just rolls of the tongue.

    K

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  15. Go Ariane!

    I'd have voted for Carolyn Porco, though... Or for Ayann Hirsi Ali, hands down.

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  16. I think that Jen herself is one of the greats.

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  17. I vote for PZ Myers. I'm guessing, judging from the beard and all, that he doesn't qualify as a "woman," but I don't think we should be so narrow-minded. PZ is the king, er, queen, of all polls.

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  18. I voted for Ariane Sherine. The bus campaigns were huge.

    Thanks for doing this poll, Jen!

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  19. Also, I wish Margaret Downey were on the list, especially with all that she has done with her Tree of Knowledge project in 2009.

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  20. I voted for Susan Jacoby because she gets a lot of exposure on WashingtonPost.com.

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  21. Thank you. It bothered the hell out of me that there weren't any female atheists on those other lists, because there really should have been a bunch of them.

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  22. Voted for Ariane Sherine mainly because what she did made me think far more critically and got more involved in Atheism, and in turn Politics also. Also, she's replied to two of my tweets :)

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  23. Reading Greta Christina helped me deconvert this year and helped me feel comfortable with myself again. So thank you for providing the venue for me to express how grateful I am for her blog and also for the whole atheist blogging community! Happy 2010!

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  24. Crap. I meant to vote for Julia Sweeney, not one of the other women whom I also like, but who shall remain unidentified.

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  25. Thanks for the post, I haven't read most of these woman. Looking forward to reading them now!~

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  26. The most influential female atheist of 2009 is a genetically engineered furret.

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  27. Oh, you forgot to include Diana Hsieh in the poll. She has been preaching atheism for many years.

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  28. Wow, so many atheists I don't know about. I'll have to do the same with all the people from the men's poll and start looking these folks up.

    I voted for Greta Christina, because I do enjoy her blog very much so. I don't always agree with her, but she is very smart and passionate, and is the person I know the most of this list (except for Jen, who is not on the list herself).

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  29. Looks like your website is under attack from supernatural forces…


    http://isgodimaginary.com/forum/index.php/topic,40909.0.html

    you really need to add comment moderation to your blasphemy…



    Atheist:

    have you for but a moment considered that you have adopted a position against 98% of the human race, both past and present?

    do you think you are RIGHT and they are all WRONG?

    WRONG


    now listen to this arrogant puffed up son of a bitch....

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilWM7jIEN_k


    little scientist geek who would try to usurp God Himself!!!

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  30. Why is there no Valerie Tarico and Marlene Winell?

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  31. Well, there was a reason that Udo and I chose Margaret Downey's essay to lead off 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists. It's a very punchy piece that makes its points clearly and well ... and it typifies what Margaret did last year and does every year. Margaret should be on this list way ahead of some of the others (though I won't name names).

    Ophelia Benson had a book out and took a lot of the heat in the accommodationism debate, as well as having an essay in 50 Voices of Disbelief, and doing lots of other stuff. It's tempting to vote for her. Maryam Namazie had a HUGE year (yes, including an essay in 50 Voices of Disbelief), and should perhaps be the winner. She should certainly be on the list ahead of almost any of the people who are there (there's more than a whiff of replacing a male-oriented list with a US-oriented one ... which involves another kind of discrimination).

    But in the end, I vote for Ariane Sherine for her bestselling book and the continued success of the atheist bus campaign. And for getting listed here even though she is not American.

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  32. Had to go with Tracie and Jen from TAE. They may not have been the most influential on the list overall, but listening to The Atheist Experience really helped solidify a few things in my head when I had already let go of religion, but had yet to really consider myself an atheist or skeptic.

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  33. Man, a list like this and KATHY GRIFFIN isn't on it?? I can't believe such an omission! (especially considering how well-known she is, and well-known for her atheistic/anti-religion comments!)

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  34. Ugh, the anonymous a couple up was ... moi.

    - Russell Blackford

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  35. Margaret Downey and Ellen Johnson oughta be on this list, too!

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  36. Another vote for Kylie Sturgess here. Educator, motivator, publiciser, reporter and blogger extraordinaire. She would never blow her own horn, but I think she is the hub of all things skeptical in Australia. The amount of energy she puts into nurturing the rational community is amazing.

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  37. I voted for Other. That other is Ingrid Newkirk. She is completely selfless in her efforts to rid the world of cruelty to animals other than humans. Anyone conscious of how non-humans are treated in this world will understand that there is no room for any other philosophy but atheism.

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  38. I'm surprised that Laci Green (gogreen18) isn't on the list. She seems to be eaching a whole new generation of people in a pretty substantial way.

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  39. I voted for Margaret Downey.

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  40. Other: Ayaan Hirsi Ali

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  41. In terms of overall “reach” and influence, I’d have to vote between ZOMGitsCriss, or Ariane Sherine for her work with the atheist bus ads.

    It is indeed a shame that female atheists tend not to be as well-known or heard as the men. Ask any atheist about known atheists and you’ll get all the usual suspects: Dawkins, PZ, Hitchens, etc. We certainly have some very staunch and outspoken female atheists, so it really is odd that we don’t hear about them as often, even amongst atheist circles.

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  42. Common people, vote for Eugenie! :P

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  43. All worthy nominees. I'd add Lori Lipman Brown, from Secular Coalition for America.

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  44. ZOMGitsCriss

    such glorious sarcasm.

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  45. My vote is for PZ, of course. Can you imagine how happy he would be to win two different gender specific awards?

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  46. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  47. I voted "Other", and I request that my vote is counted for Ms. PZ Myers.

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  48. Other, and my choice is Mrs. PZ Myers

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  49. I voted "other" (Paula Kirby). She posts on the RDFRS site.

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  50. Though all of your list are deserving I'd say for 2009 it should be Ariane Sherine as her project has had huge _interantional_ impact and has inspired people to adapt it all over the world - truly global atheism.

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  51. Paula Kirby is also a panelist at the Washington Post faith panel blog and is British.

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  52. My "other" vote is for ZOMGItsCriss. If that IS her real name!

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  53. My vote for Ariane Sherine - a lot of great press for rational thought in the UK

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  54. I'm sure the other nominees are very worthy, but Ariene Sherene is hot, funny, smart, gorgeous - what's not to love about her! Long may she be the public face of atheism in Britain.

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  55. Other: ZOMGitsCriss from YouTube.

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  56. Another 'other' vote for PZ Myers.

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  57. I honestly couldn't decide on a singular vote, but the poll uses checkboxes instead of radio buttons and lacks any "choose one" terms, so I was able to vote for Ophelia Benson, Greta Christina, Anne Gaylor, Tracie & Jen from AE, Susan Jacoby (biased a bit by finding Age of American Unreason this year, but...), Lyz Liddel, Eugenie Scott (of course), and one Other vote. The Other vote is technically split between Ariene Sherene and, of course, Cristina Rad (better known as k-rina or ZOMGItsCriss; no idea if those are accurate but they're what she uses), but that's impossible to represent on the poll. As it was, I'm surprised at least Sherene isn't on the list (given the huge news-splash of her campaign), but at least there's an Other option to make up for it.

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  58. other: ZOMGitsCriss (youtube)

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  59. Can I just express how flattered I am to be on this poll list among women like Annie Laurie Gaylor and Eugenie Scott? I'm seriously flattered. When someone sent me an e-mail alerting me, I was just flattered by it. Thanks for doing this--and not just because I made the list with Jen P. It's nice to see women atheists being mentioned on something like this.

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  60. Did I mention I was flattered? ;-)

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  61. Jen and Tracie! If getting on live television isn't being influential than I don't know what is.

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  62. PZ OMG it´s Criss.
    kaida kane aka K-rina aka ZOMGitsCriss made bananaman sad in his pants with "Origin of Stupidity".
    And he is still crying.
    1,110,598 views on gootube.

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  63. I Voted "Other" for Paula Kirby.

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  64. If I could vote again(Now I wouldn't do that, would I?), I'd add Laci Green, Cristina Rad(ZOMGitsCriss),
    Ayann Hirsi Ali, and Paula Kirby.

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  65. Other: PZ Myers gets my vote. She's awesome.

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  66. I'm voting for Tracie Harris because of her fantasticly well reasearched, in-depth, yet concise pieces on the Atheist Experience, in particular the episodes on martyrdom and logical fallacies. We're all a little smarter for being able to count a brilliant thinker like Ms. Harris as one of ours.

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  67. PZ Myers by all means! She's more popular than The Beatles!

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  68. ZOMGitsCriss is my "other" vote.

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  69. Was "suck it Jesus" 2009 or earlier. Either way, my vote is Kathy Griffin.

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  70. Black Jack ShellacJanuary 2, 2010 at 3:11 PM

    Cristina Rad, aka ZOMGitsCriss.

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  71. Other: PZ Myers! The little whore will do anything for her 15 seconds of fame, like going to Winnipeg in January! She deserves a win here.

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  72. PZ myers is my vote

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  73. I'm with Joe and Veritas. Because well... I know you guys. Finding women atheists and freethinkers is terribly hard. I think that's why I enjoy reading your blog so much, Jen. You're my age, outspoken, and I can really relate to you. As far as the poll goes I voted for Susan Jacoby, because while I don't always agree with her - she's doing what I wish I was. Writing, writing, and educating. It is pretty sad that when you think of influential atheists, the mind instantly floats to a few men. This is something I think we need to work on, and I don't think we are going to accomplish it by being sweeter or kinder then our male counterparts. Females shouldn't have to be motherly to get taken seriously. Anyway - ranting now.

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  74. ZOMGitsCriss. And yes, "Atheist chicks are hot."

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  75. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  76. Other: Jill from I Blame the Patriarchy http://blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com/

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  77. For 'other' I would mention the awesome ZOMGitsCriss of Youtube fame.

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  78. I think you should win the other category, Jen. It's safe to say you've been the most influential female atheist blogger for me this year.

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  79. I vote for PZ Meyers. ... er, I mean Rebecca Watson. Sorry. Reflex.

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  80. Who was most *influential* is an empirical question. It cannot be decided through popular vote.

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  81. p.z.
    Why?
    Because he must win all online polls....
    ....and you must post a picture of him in a dress!

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  82. Other - PZ Meyers

    we want to see that dress!

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  83. I too vote for ZOMGitsCriss. She's fantastic.

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  84. P.Z Myers is the most influential female atheist of 2009! It's the sex appeal; he's just the most attractive female atheist, ever!

    Especially in a dress...

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  85. Missed out Maia Caron, http://www.maiacaron.com/

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  86. ZOMGitsCriss.. I can't agree more.

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  87. Great. I was just gonna go for OB (twice by now), but PeeZed insists I write him in.

    I hope you force him and Harris to go through with their penis fencing to determine who's the sexiest.

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  88. First, ERV should be here. Her blag is mainly about science, and arnie, but the had done great things against the troll army and has survived oklahoma/

    Second, DM, you dissapoint me. No goats on fire? I want my goats on fire NAOW!

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  89. Another vote for Kylie Sturgess!

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  90. Sorry for the typos. How do I remove the old comment and put in a titier one?
    Still be voting for ERV, tho.

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  91. Amanda Metskas, head of Camp Quest Inc. Also contributed to Raising Freethinkers this year.

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  92. Ayann Hirsi Ali gets my vote

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  93. Oh yea----Cristina Rad aka ZOMGitsCriss. A difficult decision though because of the quality and intelligence of every one on the list. Thanks for your labors and the poll Jen.

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  94. PZ Myers (because he would have to wear a dress) but for some unfair reason he is removed then the wonderful and now british Watson.

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  95. Paula S Kirby should be on the list.

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  96. Myers, unquestionably. She has the fastest Thesaurus in the Upper Midwest and the most accomodating rectum in Minnesota. Go girl!

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  97. A list of influential female atheists that leaves out Ayaan Hirsi Ali? WTF?

    (Also, who came up with the brilliant idea to disable ctrl-v and arrow keys in the comment box?)

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  98. My vote goes to Paula Kirby (not listed)

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  99. Black Jack ShellacJanuary 3, 2010 at 4:50 AM

    Yes, atheist chicks are hot, but his is one area where I can be persuaded to break with my convictions, and accept others strange philosophies.

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  100. I voted other: Ayaan Hirsi Ali (whom I'm mystified to not see on the list, BTW)

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  101. Probably little know outside of the UK - but Polly Toynbee should be on this list. Check this out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polly_Toynbee#Views_on_religion

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  102. Thank you for this.I read this on PZ Myers Pharyngula site this morning. My wife was just asking me at dinner last night, "How come you tell me all about MALE atheists, but never mention FEMALE atheists?" I was only able to cite Julia Sweeney and Annie Laurie Gaylor, but now I'm well-armed!

    --hamkap
    Preppygrams

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  103. Paula Z. Myers. Only because sHe said not to.

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  104. Other: P.Z. Myers

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  105. Definitely Ariane Sherine. Her atheist bus campaign went around the world. If that isn't influential, I don't know what is.

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  106. Abby Smith (ERV)

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  107. Okay, why is Ayaan Hirsi Ali not on here?

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  108. ERV, Abbie Smith gets my vote here.
    Ms Myers (Skatje) gets to grow 'til next year.
    Ayaan Hirsi Ali is no doubt influential, but has not crossed my horizon much last year.
    And whatsisname (Lou?) in the red dress is back at school, I hear.

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  109. ZOMGItsCriss, I love her youtube videos!

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  110. Picked Eugenie Scott, because I think she is awesome. The role she plays in preventing the degradation of science-education and education in general by religious nutjobs is very, very important. Eventhough I am not American and thus not directly threatened by said nutjobs, I want American kids to get good science-education nonetheless.

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  111. And yet another vote the PZ Myers.

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  112. His Tentaculous Highness, PZ Myers

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  113. I picked Annie Laurie Gaylor.

    BTW, thank for the link to "Surly" Amy Davis Roth! I love her work...bought two pieces today.

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  114. PeeZed Myers

    Imprinting. Too. Strong.

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  115. Shame on atheists for not even making Annie Laurie Gaylor the top 5. Someone that founded a foundation that works very hard to separate religion from government. Guess we can just blog our problems away... like PZ. Where are our priorities?

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  116. If PZ wins most influential female atheist he might as well win best four-sided triangle.

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  117. I vote for PZ Myers

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  118. One vote for Ms. PZ Myers! Dress, nine-inch heels, and flowing hair astride a fine specimen of Architeuthidae strictly optional but -- Oh, mam! -- what gams you have.

    Failing that vote, please check a box for Ms. Annie Gaylor.

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  119. I chose Ophelia Benson as I really enjoyed her essay in 50 Voices of Disbelief :)

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  120. Definitely PZ Myers

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  121. Abbie Smith (ERV) and Mrs. PZ Myers would have to be my tied votes.

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  122. PZ Myers
    htp://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula

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  123. Paula Kirby for her devastating Washington Post commentaries.

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  124. I don't understand why Aayan Hirsi Ali isn't on here, but a jewelry-maker is. When did one's level of influence start depending on material sales?

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  125. To everyone asking about Ayaan Hirsi Ali, I made a judgment call that apparently many people don't agree with. I thought most of her influential work (writing, being interviewed, etc) was done in 2008. I was looking for people who produced new stuff in 2009. She is definitely still a very important female voice for atheism, but that was my line of reasoning. I see now that many people were still influenced by her work in 2009, so she belonged on the list.

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  126. I bring you PZ in a dress.

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  127. I voted for Ophelia - her essay in 50 voices of disbelief was wonderful - putting succinctly something I'd been kind of struggling to put across for years. And Butterfliesandwheels is a regular stopping off point for me on my internet wanderings

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  128. My vote is for Jen - a liberal, geeky, nerdy, scientific, peverted atheist student

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  129. other - Paula Zacharee Myers

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  130. PZ is my other vote. He transcends gender. :)

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  131. Jason Failes said:

    "If PZ wins most influential female atheist he might as well win best four-sided triangle."

    Well. I dare you to present a finer specimen of four-sided triangles that dr PeeZed out of the non-Euclidian Rlyeh.

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  132. I'm sorry, but this list is garbage. I would hardly call most of these people "influential". There are plenty of female atheists who actually are. This is a good list of atheist bloggers and tweeters, but hardly the best of 2009. I love your blog, but I hard to add my 2 cents.

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  133. I voted for Ophelia Benson. Her blog at Butterflies and Wheels is smart and thought-provoking, her essay in 50 Voices of Disbelief, awesome, and her book on the harmful effects of religion on women: Does God Hate Women? should be a required high school text.

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  134. This isn't the Olympics -- women may not be able to compete with men physically, but they do not have that same disadvantage when it comes to intellectual pursuits. There's no reason why there needs to be a Top Female Atheists list. Let religions segregate us, let's not do it to ourselves.

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  135. I vote George Hrab!

    Vote George Hrab. He'll make you think he's a natural woman.

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  136. I had to vote for Ariane Sherine, because the atheist bus snowballed into a worldwide campaign, but Jen and Tracie from the ACA are doing a great job of making atheism, scepticism and secular humanism accessible.

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  137. PZ Meyers. We all know he wants to wear the dress!

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  138. ZOMGitsCriss !!!

    Most popular and most watched female atheist on Youtube 2009.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/ZOMGitsCriss

    Her most viewed video (over 1 million views):
    http://www.youtube.com/user/ZOMGitsCriss#p/u/0/fmHN3JtyUXg

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  139. I voted for "Other"

    The link below is to a youtube user named ZOMGitsCriss, one of the smartest atheists on the site.

    www.youtube.com/user/ZOMGitsCriss.

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  140. ZOMGitsCriss is not included on this poll??? ZOMG

    DJ

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  141. I'd like to add my weight to the missing ZONGItCriss.

    For shame!

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