This whole episode is an example of Welch's bit about how not to fight NMDs. You don't win by playing their games or posting at their blogs, you win by sitting back, pointing out their hypocrisy, lies, harassment, bullying and vileness, and laughing at them. That's the Pit's strength, and that's why this place has caught the eye of so many (even if they don't admit it).
It was a terrible idea to take them on directly by running a petition. To do that you are validating their stance, yet their official stance is a facade behind which they hide their real agenda - maintaining their monopoly of highly paid speaker positions in the US conference circuit.
Look, the basic problem we pitters face is that the word "feminism", though it has a very broad meaning, is widely interpreted by the general public as what we generally call equity or equality feminism (meaning equal rights for men and women, equal opportunity etc.)
To complain about "feminism" negatively affecting atheism and skepticism and you are off to a bad start. You are forced to go into a long winded explanation of the type of radical feminism you mean, all the while the FTB crowd are saying "but we are not rad fems, we are just ordinary feminists!"
It is really a winning strategy for them. I mean, look at them. Look at the incompetence, the obvious hypocrisy and the blatant bigotry, greed and viciousness.
Why are they still around?
Why is a dork like Watson getting invited all around the world to talk science?
It's because of their strategy to link a very fluid version of feminism to their cause.
Look at how Peezus defines their brand of feminism:
"Feminism: The radical notion that women are people"
It's a quote that pops up in various Feminism101 pieces you'll find scattered around the net and is originally attributed to the British journalist Rebecca West.
This is the idea that PZ Myers and the FTB crowd claim WE are opposing.
That women are people.
You know what ?
I don't oppose the idea that women are people.
What's more, I will take a guess and say that NOBODY that posts here thinks that women are not people.
In fact, going by PZ's description, the Slymepit is a feminist site!
I realize that PZ and his crew don't really think that feminism is simply believing "women are people".
It's clear to all that PZ really believes something more along the lines of:
Feminism is the radical notion that women are people, plus X.
X, itself, is composed of A plus B, plus C, plus D, which vary in definition and importance depending on the question at hand (rape culture, patriarchy, mansplaining, privilege, sex positivity, misogyny etc)
While I agree with Welsh that we should never take them on at their own game, but merely poke fun at their ridiculousness from the sidelines, I think it might be worthwhile to consider the similarities of the FTB side to a religious coalition.
They remind me of the religious right in the US, with Catholics allied with fundamentalist baptists. They have a cause that joins them but there are deep differences that will eventually tear them apart.
Despite the use of radfem language (mansplaining, privilege, rape culture etc) I don't think it is accurate to describe the FTB crowd as radfems.
They are mostly on the sex positive side of feminism, as opposed to the pornography negative side (nobody
calls themself sex negative). I would place only Ophelia and Taslima on the pornography/sex worker negative side.
The rest of them use the language and arguments of the porn negative feminists (radfems) whenever it seem necessary, for the simple reason that the radfem philosophy of patriarchy theory is like the flood geology of feminism. It is unfalsifiable - and therefore it seems the perfect tool to use in an argument since, like flood geology, it has easy canned answers to every problem posed, except instead of "God did it!"" you get: "you just don't get it due to privilege!", "you are mansplaining!", "rape culture!", "it's misogyny!")
What would happen if the Slymepit announced it was a feminist* site?
*PZ Myers plagiarized definition. (Feminism is the radical notion that women are people"
I suspect that they would be forced into redefining what they really mean by feminism - and that is bound to lead to problems because most of them don't seem to know what the various schools of feminist thought believe.
As a quick aside, have a look at the radfem101 page - notice all the catchphrazes that have become commonplace in online atheism since Elevatorgate.http://radicalhub.com/radfem-101/