Well isn’t this a pleasant surprise: Jen McCreight asked the BlagHag readers who they thought was the most influential female atheist of 2011, and they voted for me! MEEEEE!
They also voted for a number of other impressive people, like Greta Christina, Jessica Ahlquist, Maryam Namazie, Ophelia Benson, Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Amanda Marcotte, and the Godless Bitches Podcast team. Plus, the other Skepchick contributors got kudos in the nomination thread, with specific shout-outs to Natalie Reed, Maria Walters, Debbie Goddard, and Elyse Anders. If you’re looking for even more great women to start following, check out the comments for a lot of quality suggestions.
It’s flattering and also odd for me to be even included in a list like that. I know (from some of the surprisingly bitter comments that Jen had to delete from the announcement post) that some people feel I don’t deserve it, if only because I’m being rewarded for something that happened to me, as opposed to something I did. I find it very interesting that these people keep insisting on casting me as a victim, all while spitting on my supporters for, yes, making me out to be a victim. In fact, there was hardly a moment last year when I felt as though I was remaining passive, and those who supported me encouraged me to stay active and vocal.
Anyway, the important point is that I appreciate the recognition. I thank Jen and her readers, and all those who were an inspiration to me last year.
There is a tinge of sadness to my acceptance of this award. You see, while I may have won the “Screen Actors Guild Award of Atheism,” I was not even nominated for what is surely the “Oscar of Atheism,” The Hitchie, given out by the prestigious Examiner newspaper, which as we all know dates back to the early 19th Century when it published such noted writers as John Stuart Mill and Lord Byron.
The Hitchie, of course, is named for a true hero who we’re all familiar with. Taking a cue from Hitch’s strong moral fiber, award-giver Staks Rosch said he created his list of five Hitchie nominees based entirely on merit. Well, almost: “I tried to not pick the usual suspects (Dawkins, Harris, etc.),” he posted paradoxically, “because they always win these things and I wanted a more even handed award contest.”
He did make clear, though, that despite the fact that he was admittedly ignoring merit in order to even the playing field, he wasn’t going to make the field so even that any women or people of color [edit: other than George Takei and our dear friend Hemant Mehta, who insists that he is not just a very tan white person] could have stood a chance. Many commenters and several bloggers, like Ophelia Benson and Greta Christina, took Rosch to task for his suggestion that any woman or [additional] person of color on the list would have been a “token.” Rosch’s response to many of the commenters on BlagHag was, I’m sure you’ll agree, the only reasonable one considering his commitment to merit:
I think next year I’ll do it strictly by the numbers and Richard Dawkins can win it.
As for this year, the token non-Richard Dawkins winner was Friend of Skepchick Matt Dillahunty. Congrats to Matt! I should note here that if the Hitchie is the Oscar of atheism, then surely Matt is the Marlon Brando of atheism, since instead of accepting the award himself he sent a lesbian feminist to the ceremony dressed entirely in traditional feminist garb. He also pledged to use the surely substantial Hitchie prize money as a starter fund for a competing award ceremony called “The Bitchie,” which he says he named after me because, had he not, I just would have won it every year. Thanks, Matt!
Featured image can be seen & bought here. Hitchie statuette not available for purchase at this time.