Ophelia Benson is currently one of the most active voices for women in the contemporary New Atheist movement. A prolific writer, she operates a blog called Butterflies and Wheels currently located at the blogging group Freethought Blogs where she discusses a wide range of topics, including women's rights and abuses suffered at the hands of the religious, particularly with respect to Islam.

She also maintains her own organizational website, Butterflies and Wheels, where her blog originally ran under the title Notes and Comments. And she is co-author of the books Does God Hate Women?, The Dictionary of Fashionable Nonsense, and Why Truth Matters. PZ approves of Ophelia. [1]

Battles with Accommodationists[]

Benson has the distinction of having been banned from The Intersection relatively early in contrast with most New Atheists involved in an online skirmish with Sheril Kirshenbaum and Chris Mooney after they began attacking fellow atheists who were merely standing up for themselves against theist nonsense.

Being banned from The Intersection went on to become a genuine badge of honour for a brief period, The Intersection being one of those clubs people could legitimately brag about being thrown out of. Though, in the aftermath of l'affaire You're Not Helping and the subsequent parting of Kirshenbaum and Mooney, it arguably has become something less of a distinction.

Meme Generation[]

Ophelia Benson has played a keen role in the production of memes within the contemporary atheist community as well.

Gnu Atheism[]

Because of Benson's adversarial stance against The Intersection and accommodationism in general, her blog was one of the go-to places for freethinkers finding themselves banned or their comments held in moderation at The Intersection. As such, it was on Benson's blog where Hamilton Jacobi's comment coining the term Gnu Atheism first appeared, and it was from Butterflies and Wheels that the meme originally spread.

Evil Little Thing[]

When Rhode Island State Representative Peter Palumbo called 16-year-old Jessica Ahlquist an "evil little thing" on public radio, atheists watching her case and those helping with it went into an uproar over the inappropriateness of that comment. Benson blogged about it herself, urging people to listen in horror to an elected official say that about a young woman still in high school. However, it soon dawned on Benson that the phrase "evil little thing" would look great on a t-shirt as a rallying symbol, something that atheists could wear to show they stand with Jessica Ahlquist. JT Eberhard soon had created an online store to sell such tees, the profits of which would go toward a scholarship fund for Ahlquist. Sales of t-shirts saying "Evil Little Thing" on them eventually funded an $8,320 donation to the Jessica Ahlquist Scholarship Fund which was presented to her at the Reason Rally in March 2012.

Sexism and atheism[]

Ophelia Benson believes consensual flirting and consensual sex is something beautiful and healthy. She is also incensed about sexism and sexual harassment of women in some branches of the atheist movement. Benson believes that the atheist and skeptic communities should support victims of harassment and predatory behavior, and that more resources should be made available for dealing with these problems. [2]


As of August 2013 Ophelia Benson is outraged because Indonesia is considering humiliating virginity tests for high school girls. Just who would conduct these “virginity tests”? Just what sort of a creep would?

Benson is concerned that liberal nations like the UK allow Muslims to segregate the sexes in the name of religion and liberals would never tolerate racial segregation with similar excuses. Benson feels it's just a Liberal veneer.

See also[]


Adapted from Pharyngula Wiki