Nothing is wrong with shutting up and listening. It is a great skill to have, and you are right that we could probably all do a bit more of it.
But justified or not, telling someone else to "shut up and listen" may be off-putting, ineffective, and can at times even harm what could otherwise be productive dialogue. I think this was one of the good points Ron Lindsay made in his remarks at the conference. Another concerned the special knowledge to which you refer: "But having had certain experiences does not automatically turn one into an authority to whom others must defer."
Great post! You are absolutely right about the importance of thick skin and the ability not to take everything personally. The threat narrative that has become so popular in some circles makes me think that quite a few people need to read this.
Unfortunately, the process of how people are selected to speak at these things is not particularly transparent. It isn't like there is a peer review process in which potential speakers submit proposals and the best are selected by qualified reviewers. Sometimes the selection seems to be driven by perceived popularity, and other times it looks almost cliquish.
But more to the point, equality of opportunity does not seem to be the type of equality many in want. It sounds like Watson and her allies are more interested in equal outcomes (i.e., a certain percentage of the speakers must be women). This is where privilege comes in as well. If male privilege did not exist, then holding conferences like this probably would be perceived as sexist. Taking privilege into account, many do not see it that way (or are at least willing to overlook it).
What I find myself wondering is what a conference like Women in Secularism 2 would be like for a woman who was not a feminist to attend. I wonder if she would find it welcoming, safe, and relevant. From many of the tweets I have seen, I'm not sure she would be welcome. This leads me to wonder if the stated goal is far less important than what seems to be an unstated goal (i.e., indoctrinating a portion of the secular community with a particular form of radical feminism). I'm not sure this is what is happening, but I am beginning to think it is a possibility.
I think a "Men in Skepticism" conference would receive negative attention because most skepticism conferences already feature far more male speakers than female speakers and are probably more attended by men than by women. According to the organizers of Women in Secularism, one of the reasons to have these conferences was to give more women an opportunity to speak. I think this is a worthwhile goal.
From what you quoted from the FFRF statement of purpose, their mission is twofold: separation of church and state and educating the public on nontheism. I don't see them claiming that one is the logical consequence of the other. I see them saying, "Hey everybody, we are about these two things." I don't see this as a conflict. If a group were to be say that they were about atheism and feminism, that would not be a conflict either. The conflict seems to come into play when people demand that all atheist groups should include feminism in their mission because it is a logical consequence of atheism.
The organizational mission statements of these groups claim that these things logically follow from atheism? I wasn't aware of that. My impression was that most secular organizations specialize in different issues (i.e., each has its own core activities). Groups like Americans United or the Freedom From Religion Foundation focus on protecting separation of church and state. Others like the NCSE are far less concerned with church-state issues and instead focus on science education and advocacy. These groups aren't claiming that what they have chosen to focus on logically follows from atheism; they are just saying this is who we are and this is what we do.
That's probably true. There do seem to be some genuinely anti-feminist atheists. In addition, there is a contingent of atheists who are turned off by how some self-described feminists have been behaving (e.g., labeling women who disagree with some aspects of their ideology as "sister punishers" or "gender traitors"). It seems like it has been difficult for some to separate this from feminism, and I find that unfortunate because much of it seems antithetical to most forms of feminism.
If we routinely had prominent atheists claiming that science advocacy, church-state separation, and the like logically followed from atheism, I suspect we would hear more rebuttals.
One of the things I have personally struggled with is the relationship between atheism and progressive politics. In my experience, they have been intertwined; however, I have come to realize that this simply isn't true for everybody. There are plenty of politically conservative atheists. As much as I might like them to be connected, they are not - at least not in the sense that one logically follows from the other.
I think you are right about the distinction between atheism and what some refer as the atheist movement. This has been a source of confusion. The only reason I know of that "we single feminism out for debate" in this particular context is that we seem to have several prominent atheists arguing that feminism necessarily follows from atheism. Perhaps they do mean the atheist movement, but they aren't always clear about that. And like you said, none of this (i.e., feminism, science advocacy, church-state separation, etc.) is inherent in the concept of atheism.
After watching the few episodes I did, I don't plan to watch any more. It wasn't bad, but I don't think it is really my thing.