A Fantastic Response to Elevatorgate

WAIT! Don’t go away yet. This is worth it. This is a local group taking a controversial issue and addressing it directly.

The Fellowship of Freethought Dallas had their monthly meeting last Sunday (August 21st). According to Meetup, 83 people were signed up (but the actual number could vary quite a bit). They provided childcare for attendees (so bring the kids!) and had a potluck lunch after the meeting to keep the conversation going. The backdrop was set for the main event.

The topic of the gathering: “Elevator Etiquette.” Rebecca Watson‘s story. Richard Dawkins‘ response. Privilege (real and perceived). The treatment of gender/racial/ethnic minorities in our community and why they might stay away from us. All the conversations we should be having in response to what happened.

Reader Zachary attended the meeting and writes in an email:

I’d like to share this with a wider audience because I think it’s particularly events like Elevatorgate, which burn up so many electrons within the blogs and steal so much spotlight at conferences, that are best confronted by the extraordinary freethinkers, atheists, and skeptics who make up our grassroots organizations. If every conflict or scandal were handled throughout the community in the way that the FoFDallas handled Elevatorgate, then we’ve got nothing to worry about.

Here’s a helpful guide through the 83-minute video:

00:00 Alix Jules talks about the lack of diversity in the secular community
14:00 Dr. Justin Fisher gives background for Elevatorgate
20:00 Faithless Companions sing “Taylor the Latte Boy” by Kristin Chenoweth
27:00 Melanie Clemmer gives a brief tutorial on “Elevator Etiquette”
44:30 Dr. Justin Fisher leads the group in an activity to demonstrate the influences of privilege
56:00 Faithless Companions sing “The Prodigal Daughter” by Michelle Shocked
60:00 Dr. Jean Kazez reflects on the context preceding and surrounding Elevatorgate

Throughout the video, the speakers handled the topic with respect and civility (and even humor!) — I watched large bits of it last night and thought all the parts I heard were excellent. Hopefully, you’ll feel the same.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Misterstark

    I differ to the Amazing Atheist’s opinion on the matter.

    • http://www.facebook.com/keithacollyer Keith Collyer

      Do you mean you “differ from” or you “defer to” – very different meanings!

  • Anonymous

    I don’t have an hour and 23 minutes to spend on this. What is Elevatorgate?

    • http://twitter.com/TPRyan007 TPRyan

      This > http://coffeelovingskeptic.com/?p=602 > Watson being OTT, and Dawkins being rightly dismissive of her. Which, apparently, makes him sexist.

      • Leo Buzalsky

        About a month ago, I had to take an ethics refresher at my place of employment.  They had one scene in which a woman talked about how, when on business trips, her male boss would keep inviting her back to his room (sound somewhat familiar?).  This was categorized as “sexual harassment.” 
        The fact is much of the socially progressive world is on the side of Watson.  And, I feel bad for saying this, but if you like socially conservative values, maybe you should go join a church.  Other than the supernatural bits, you might fit in quite well.

        • http://twitter.com/TPRyan007 TPRyan

          Leo, thanks for the advice. You clearly don’t understand what I’m saying. Firstly, your story is not analagous, as the person in your example (the boss) is in a position of authority. In ‘elevatorgate’ the coffee guy is not. In fact, the argument could be that Watson has the authority, as she has more ‘power’.

          Watson speaks from a place of privilege. She speaks to an audience that many don’t have. She took a very minor incident and dismissed any alternative points of view on it. I suggest you watch the above video Hemant posted, and watch from 1:02:30 until 1:10:00 as she makes some very valid points. 

          • Anonymous

            She took ten seconds of a video to mention that someone made her feel uncomfortable.  If the incident was minor, then so was her initial commentary on it.  The people who took great offense to her comments are the ones who went over the top.

            • http://twitter.com/TPRyan007 TPRyan

              But in the context of the rest of her video she was linking it to her talks on misogyny – a very strong word. Watch the video above from around the 1 hour mark as it adds proper context to Watson’s agenda, whilst also agreeing that Dawkins was wrong, and why he may have little empathy for Watson in particular. 

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                It all depends on what definition of “wrong” Dawkins had in mind.     Was it criminal or rights violating?   What kind of wrong it was depends on motivation, and knowledge.

                The very fact that these women are arguing men can possibly know without the experience of being a woman actually bolsters a position that the guy was not doing anything wrong in the moral sense of the word.     Notice that Dawkin’s argument was loaded with heavy moral issues.    Some clueless chump going about asking a girl out in the “wrong” way is small potatoes in the big scheme of things.

                I think this is a bigger issue because the entire agenda here is to destroy a lot of much needed sophistication in moral understanding.

                Throw it all in the big meat grinder of “privilege” and accuse and entire population of moral inferiority.   Notice all the name calling when you challenge their inanity.

                • guest

                  Just out of curiosity…why would a woman – any woman – have the sort of “agenda” you keep referring to?  Why do you think RW or any of “those women” would have to gain by any of this?  Seriously?  You keep talking baout an “agenda”,  but what agenda, exactly?

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

                  Don’t bother, he’s just projecting like a drive-in movie theater.

                • guest

                  Haha  I know wmdkitty,  but even Troll fools have to eat!

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

                  Don’t bother, he’s just projecting like a drive-in movie theater.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  Male Privilege theory.

                • guest

                  RW will gain male privilege theory?  How does that benefit her, exactly?

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  It helps her do all sort of things from blaming other for her own failings, making her feel good about herself, bullying others, etc.

            • Eshto

              Nope, she’s not that innocent. She also accused the person of “sexualizing her” (whatever that even means), and put out a warning to all other guys to not do it.

              • Karen L

                Is it really so hard to understand  how she was ‘sexualized’?  I’ve seen this question asked a lot, and I admit I’m perplexed, as it seems quite obvious.

                EG treated Rebecca Watson as a sexual object rather than as a whole person.  How did he do this?  By seeing her as an object to fulfill his sexual desires without regard to:  her own clearly stated (earlier that very evening) desires not to be propositioned at conferences;  her expression of tiredness and wish to go to sleep (not socialize further); the discomfort that an approach in that time and place (4AM, elevator) would be likely to cause any young woman.

                Also, as a general thing, I think it’s safe to say (and this is backed up by research) that the majority of women do not respond well to propositioning by a stranger.  When the first words out of a guy’s mouth are an invitation to sex (and I don’t think it’s reasonable to suggest that ‘coffee’ at 4am  in a private hotel room did not imply sex), women do not usually respond positively, and may feel disrespected (at the least) or even threatened.

                • James Emery

                  I’d put out there that to imply that he definitely meant sex can only come from a viewpoint of necessarily-limited personal or anecdotal experience (having been a really, really awkward youngster myself at one point, I’ve made dumb moves like that myself in the past), but I also feel that it IS reasonable to assume that sex is likely what he was going for.  I certainly hope that he knows better at this point…

                • Karen L

                  If she’d accepted his invitation, and he’d raped her, how many people do you think would be saying “Well, what did she think would happen, going to a private hotel room at 4 AM’?

                • guest

                  This.

                • James Emery

                  Karen and guest,

                  That’s very true, and can’t be discounted.  However, it’s not an uncommon thing, either.  I’d go so far as to state that part of why men AND women would have that response would be because feminism hasn’t grown far enough yet, and both men and women still find the rape situation unlikely.  While I stand by the prospect that EG could easily have been an awkward kid, once awareness gets beyond a certain point, these situations will be less likely to happen.

                  TL;DR- I agree with your point too, but feminism needs to become more mainstream to help fix these issues.

                • Anonymous

                  That really is just a feminist myth.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

                  Wrong. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard “oh, well she must have been asking for it” (or similar) after a woman reports a rape.

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                Hell, she said in her video that she had just got done giving a long winded speech, a long bar dialog, and a parting comment about how men should act.   Her whole point in bringing up elevator guy was to forward her whole “male privilege” agenda in the first place.     So it’s not some innocent off the cuff comment.     

                • Karen L

                  Huh.  So you’re one of those who actually does object to the original video (which so many are saying isn’t the problem).

                  No one said her elevator remarks were ‘off the cuff’.  And she surely has an agenda — which is to have women treated as real, whole people, and not as sexual targets. 

                  In this specific case, she wants to get across to guys (many of whom still don’t understand) that propositioning strangers — particularly at certain times and places — is unwelcome behavior. 

                  Seems ‘innocent’ to me, and doesn’t necessarily require an acceptance of the concept of privilege to understand.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  I object to it in the context that:  a) She has this “pseudo-scientific” theory about why women atheists are “underrepresented”.   b) That and the whole male-privilege farce.  c) She’s got no problem posting naked pictures of herself on the internet to attract attention but at the same time wants to be taken “seriously” at conventions.  d) She’s using elevator guy in an attempt to support her theory via anecdote.

                  BTW, you have been pretty consistent in being muddle headed.   I never claimed anyone else said her arguments were off the cuff.    I just made a statement about her remarks directly.

            • Conspirator

              Actually things really blew up after someone made a blog post criticizing her overreaction to this guy approaching her in the elevator, and RW brought up those comments in a speech at some conference.  She, having a much bigger presence in the community, really went too far.

            • Neil

              I read all the comments of several different bloggers, including Watson’s…There was some very mild criticism about calling out the other blogger in public, and a bit of “ok, what’s the big deal?”  How is that taking great offense? 

              The only time I saw anybody “Taking great offense” was P.Z. Myers and Adam Lee, and many of their commenters, taking great offense that some people thought it was all a silly non-issue from the start.  And then some commenters very rightfully taking offense when they were compared to rape-gangs and sexism-enablers because they weren’t properly outraged.

              Please, feel free to show me any meaningful examples of otherwise reasonable men “taking great offense” at Watson.  I’ve seen plenty of outrage and offense-taking, but none of it in response to Watson directly. 

          • James Emery

            I’d join in not to excuse the incident, but to point out that what EG did would hardly stand up as sexual harrassment…  The standard for that is behaviors that are either 1) repeated, or 2) extreme.  Had he grabbed her, or verbally abused her, sure.  Had he followed her around and asked more than once, not taking no for an answer, then yes.  Asking her politely, once, and taking no for an answer, despite doing so in an awkward place, would definitely not pass muster in a courtroom, nor even likely lead to disciplinary action in a fairly liberal workplace.  Not jumping RW here, either…  As to whether he ‘sexualized’ her, it’s probably safe to infer from her response that his tone/body language implied it in her view.  I do think that ‘sexualize’, as a term, carries overly-strong connotations for the situation (unless he was clearly a predator/frat boy/whatever), but she was THERE, and he hasn’t stepped forward in his own defense.

            • guest

              I really appreciate this balanced response.  I don’t completely agree with you (I don’t agree that anyone accused EG of sexual harassment, though it all got rolled up in the ensuing storm),  but I greatly appreciate and respect this post and your other one above. Thanks

              • James Emery

                Sorry, the sexual harassment accusation seemed implied by Leo’s post up a bit.  That was what I was trying to correct :)  Thank you for the reply!

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

               “… but she was THERE, and he hasn’t stepped forward in his own defense.”

              You keep waiting for that to happen.

              Yeah, great deduction, the only reason he wouldn’t come forward is because he had the very worst intentions.

              … and she clearly isn’t someone with an agenda to push.   

              • James Emery

                That’s an impressive logical DERP you just made there, Brian…  Sorry, man, she might possibly HAVE an agenda, and I didn’t rule that out…  I will say, purely on my assumption of what I THINK you’re getting at, that the feminist movement, like the men’s rights movement, is too goddamned heterogeneous to be assuming some sort of stupid conspiracy theory.  If you’re just talking about her, personally, then MAYBE.  Not much real evidence to support that, either.  Don’t be an ass, you’re on the wrong comments page for that.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  Didn’t mention any conspiracy.    I thought this was the comment section of a skeptical site.   Excuse me for disagreeing with the idea his failure to come forward means much.    Apparently that makes one an ass.

                • guest

                  Maybe he has not come forward because he listened and understood how his advance could have upset or intimidated Rebecca and maybe he is standing back because he agrees with her!

                  The crux of the whole thing is that some men (like BM above) insist that it is women who hold the “power” in an elevator at 4Am because they can , in theory, say No to a man propositioning her after she has made it crystal clear all day that she is not interested in hooking up at the conference, not the larger, stronger man who has ignored her expressly stated wishes and has gone on to proposition her -  in a secluded place, late at night, in a strange city.

                  We have been urged repeatedly to think about the man’s feelings here -  the risk he is taking putting himself out there.

                  The assumption seems to be that RW has an agenda (how she managed to get EG to cooperate and proposition her in the elevator unwillingly, I cannot say)  and also great power over EG.

                  Let us analyse the risks: 

                  He decides he would like to hook up.  He voluntarily decides to take a chance and proposition a woman in an elevator.

                  She does not want to hook up and has said so throughout the day. She wants to go to bed and to sleep.  She cannot stop EG from exercising his voluntary decision to proposition her.  She must involuntarily be the recipient of the proposition.

                  He waits for a reply.  If she says No,  he will experience his own feelings of disappointment and possibly humiliation and anger.

                  She involuntarily considers her options now having to deal with this situation which was thrust upon her because of what EG desired.
                  If she says No,  she may experience a mildly uncomfortable few moments in an elevator with a disappointed and humiliated man,  or she may experience an angry tirade of condemnation from a seriously humiliated and angry man, or she may be attacked by a man who intended to have her with or without her consent from the start.. There is no way for her to know,  in that first flurry of weighing her options which one it will be.  More important, however, there is no escape and the illusion of her “power” is just that.  She may have the right to say “no” but whether or not that answer is accepted is up to the man in this scenario.

                  The illusion of female “power” is just that;  an illusion.  She oncan only say “no” if he says so.

                  That is the power of male privilege.  It is the power that BM and others like him are fighting tooth and nail to preserve.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  Maybe a lot of things.  Maybe, maybe.

      • http://lovejoyfeminism.blogspot.com Libby Anne

        Ah see, that’s why there was a conflict. I don’t think Watson was being “OTT” at all, and I think that Dawkins being “rightly dismissive” was actually him being a bit sexist. 

  • Chrissy Jones

    I thought we were done with this!

    • Conspirator

      I haven’t watched this video, but throughout this whole controversy one thing I was constantly reminded of was religion.  People who disagreed with RW and her supporters were often viciously attacked for daring to have a differing opinion.  It’s been sickening, disheartening, and really been pushing me away from the community.  And many times when posting about this I’ve been told I wouldn’t be missed, which I’m sure is true, but it’s still hurtful to hear people be so close-minded all the time.  Now I see this piece above, with hymns sung throughout the service.  I live in DFW, but I sure as hell won’t be attending these church services.  

      • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

        Yeah, it’s a lot like religion.  The guys who come up to hit on women in places like elevators share a lot in common with the proselytizers who come up and shove pamphlets in your hand. 

        • Neil

          Yep, equally harmless, if clueless, assholes who get lumped in with rapists and tyrants because some people can’t separate facts from agenda without compromising their righteous zeal.
           

          • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

            The problem is, you can’t tell the harmless & clueless from the batshit crazy & violent at first glance.  Sometimes, you can refuse the pamphlet and it’s fine.  And sometimes, you’ll be followed down the street and have your car windows smashed.  You don’t know, you don’t have any way of knowing, and that’s why it’s fucking creepy and uncomfortable.

            • James Emery

              Understand THAT feeling, and I can definitely see why it would cause problems in the other relevant situations… :/

      • Karen L

        How interesting. 

        See, I would have said that people who AGREED with RW and her supporters were often viciously attacked.  And that the response has been, for me, sickening, disheartening, and pushing me away from the community.  The response that’s made me feel this way is that of those attacking RW, not those supporting her.

        Where does that leave us?

        • Conspirator

          I don’t know what to tell you.  I can say that I was attacked for disagreeing with RW here and at PZ Myers’ blog.  I don’t visit the forums, so I don’t know what you saw.  

          I personally feel that RW’s initial video wasn’t a big deal, of course I felt differently after I saw some of her nude photos, because she does put herself forth as a sexual object so some of what happens is to be expected.  Still, her initial reaction didn’t come off as if she felt she was a victim of something horrible, rather that his approach was inappropriate, and considering this was the topic of her talk it was ironic and she wanted to highlight it as an inappropriate come-on that wouldn’t make women feel welcome at such events.

          It was everything after that made things worse.  And there were many of her defenders, PZ Myers and Phil Plait come to mind, who were vicious in attacking her critics.   Phil said she was a victim of potential sexual assault, which is ridiculous.  People commenting on this blog said the guy only wanted to fuck her.  RW’s attack in a speech at a convention against a female blogger who disagreed with her was also unnecessary and unreasonable.  She has a much more prominent position in the community and that person would not have an equivalent platform to defend herself.  It was bullying, plain and simple.  

          Furthermore, people like Hemant and PZ have made a lot of blog posts on this subject, all on RW’s side.  A ridiculous amount of posts have been made about a nothing subject.  And RW and her side should have just dropped a long, long time ago.

          • Karen L

            I agree that there have been a ridiculous amount of posts.  I’ve never commented so many times on any issue on any forum ever before.  I desperately WANT to feel welcome and comfortable in the atheist community so this matters to me. 

            There is so much in your post that I agree with.  And so much that I don’t.  It is interesting that many people pretty much agree that RW’s initial video was no big deal.  Some points that it seems we (and many others) agree on:

            * RW (in her initial comments at least) didn’t suggest that the incident was horrible, just kind of creepy, and she was just trying to make others aware.
            * EG was insensitive at best.  His approach given the time and place was inappropriate.
            * EG’s approach was particularly ironic given the recent subjects of RW’s talks.
            * The comments section of  PZs blog is not for the faint-of-heart.  It is common for people to be attacked viciously there for disagreeing with some people (on both ‘sides’ of the issue).

            I agree that PZ supported RW.  I disagree that Hemant did.  Or, more precisely, he supported her initial comments but not her response to Stef McGraw.

            Rebecca having nude photos out there (first I’ve heard of them) is completely irrelevant to EG’s behavior.  Suggesting that she’s put herself ‘out there’ as a sexual being makes it OK to treat her as a sexual object is the same kind of thinking that says a women who is dressed in something skimpy is ‘asking’ to be raped. 

            I haven’t seen Phil Plaitt’s comments.  But I think many people, in trying to explain why propositioning a stranger at 4 AM in an elevator is wrong, tried to explain that women feel anxiety in such situations because they feel more vulnerable to rape than in crowded, open  places.  Some people refer to the idea of ‘Shroedinger’s rapist’ to explain the woman’s point-of-view (that she can’t know if someone is a rapist until he actually attacks her), not to suggest that EG was, in fact, a rapist.  Unfortunately, many men took offense at the idea that a woman might perceive them as a potential rapist, based on a (perhaps) clumsy approach.

            The responses that *I* found particularly troubling were those from men defending the right to proposition any woman any time any place (the moral right, not the legal right) and expressing, essentially, frustration that women reject their sexual advances (saying that women have ‘all the power’ because they can say no).  Or expressing the idea that women don’t deserve to be treated with respect.  Or that women worrying about being raped have some sort of extreme and abnormal fear.  Or that there IS no misogyny in the atheist community (regardless of women’s own perceptions).

            But if you didn’t see many comments perhaps you didn’t see those.

             

            • Conspirator

              My point about her nude photos was badly worded above.  What I’m pointing out is that she seems offended that some are sexually attracted to her or express interest in dating her, etc., and she wishes they’d strictly focus on whatever it is she is discussing, and not be personally interested in her.  But she’s putting herself out there sexually, and so it’s to be expected that she will get some admirers. 

              One of the nude (or implied nudity) photos is here: http://coffeelovingskeptic.com/?p=602

              It’s like if a girl wears a push-up bra and a low cut top then gets upset about guys looking at her breasts.  OK, sure it’s rude to stare, but isn’t she putting them on display for a reason?  

              Really RW just picked the wrong thing to harp on.  She’s provided other examples of far worse behavior, people groping her and making lewd comments.  That’s much, much worse than a guy that said, in her words “don’t take this the wrong way, would you like to come back to my room for coffee”.  

              I have seen a few men that have issues, that can’t be denied.  They’re probably in the “OMG, my penis was mutilated when I was a baby” camp.  I tend to shut those guys out pretty quick.  

              But you know, I wouldn’t mind meeting like-minded women.  But now I don’t know where I can do that.  It is a problem if any women that attend atheist/skeptic events is constantly hit on.  But where is that line between being creepy and just showing interest? 

              • Karen L

                What you may not be aware of is how often women experience unwanted sexual behavior.  I used to work in a mid-size Midwestern city, and walk about 10 minutes from where I parked to my place of work.  (This was not a high-crime, ghetto area).   It was common — not daily, probably not even weekly — but still common to get wolf whistles, cat-calls, guys yelling out of car windows at me.  “Hey baby, want a ride?”, followed by  laughter.  You learn to not look, but then some guys yell ‘bitch’ at you since you seem unfriendly.

                I’m a fairly average looking woman, and I dressed in very conservative skirt suits.  Just in case you find that data point relevant. 

                At work (male dominated workplace) I didn’t encounter direct sexual advances, but lots of sexual ‘joking’ and double entendres that were uncomfortable, and tended to make women feel that they didn’t quite belong.  Jokes about the attractive blond who must have slept with someone to get her promotion.  Laughter at innocent comments that could be looked at in a different light.

                This is a sea that women bathe in.  Men are, I think, largely unaware.  It is not most men behaving badly, but one encounters enough men on a daily basis to run across the few that do with some regularity.

                Understanding this will help men understand why women get tired of being hit on, why they have a somewhat knee-jerk negative reaction to some behaviors.  But this doesn’t mean that women don’t want to meet like minded men too.  They just want to be treated as people first, potential sexual partners second. 

                Talk to women.  Get to know them, find out what their interests are, who they are as individuals.  Let them give some indication that they return your interest before asking for coffee, and ask for coffee in a public place, during the middle of the day.  Be the guy at the atheist convention that women feel comfortable with and respected by.  

                Of course, not all women will be interested in a relationship, or maybe not with you.  But if you act like you’re interested in a relationship rather than a sexual encounter, you’ll get a lot further.

              • TheGnome

                “It’s like if a girl wears a push-up bra and a low cut top then gets
                upset about guys looking at her breasts.  OK, sure it’s rude to stare,
                but isn’t she putting them on display for a reason?”

                Yes, of course, it’s not like she just wears what she likes. It MUST be done for male attention! So it’s totally fine if they’re rude assholes, it’s HER fault because the poor fellows just can’t control themselves and she’s responsible for their behavior!

                You may as well be saying, “It’s like a girl wearing a short skirt and then getting upset when a guy attempts to take upskirt photos. Sure, it’s rude to do that, but why would she have worn a skirt that short if she didn’t want everyone to take pictures of her panties?”

    • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

      Yesterday, while purchasing a screwdriver set at Home Depot, I had a guy come up behind me and say ‘Hey baby, you got somebody to helps you with that?’  When I said I had it covered, he responded, ‘Sokay baby, I’m just trying to talk to you’. I responded that I was in a hurry and started walking away.  ‘Fucking Dyke’ was the response I got yelled after me.

      Oh, how I WISH we were done with all this.  Wouldn’t that be lovely?  I could go run errands, or take public transportation, or ride an elevator without having to do the ‘should I do the nice smile thing or would that lead him on and net me another stalker?  Should I bluntly make it clear I’m not interested or is he going to respond by getting angry and possibly violent?  Should I point out the wedding ring or would that just get me treated to arguments as to why I should be willing to cheat with a stranger?’

      I could actually get from point A to point B without having to fend off any uninvited advances from folks who have serious difficulty understanding the words ‘not interested’.  Oh, to be done with this.

      • Chrissy Jones

        What kind of strange world do you live in where this happens every time you run errands, take public transportation, or ride an elevator? Do you live in an all male prison?  Maybe I’m just extraordinarily repulsive, but in my 26 years of being a female in America, it has never once happened to me, nor has it (to the best of my knowledge) ever happened to anyone I know. 
        I choose not to live my life as though every man I see wants nothing more than to rape and assault me. Woman is not synonymous with victim, no matter how badly Rebecca Watson wishes it were.

        • Rabid

          Even if the anecdotal evidence you assert (with it’s impressive sample size of one) is true, it’s still completely irrelevant.
          Unless you’re calling other women liars, in which case it’s not just irrelevant but also incredibly fucking stupid.

          • James Emery

            Rabid,

            You DO realize that both Within and Chrissy’s statements were made in the exact same context and your argument could apply equally to either, right?  Also, don’t be a dick.

          • Chrissy Jones

            Why is Rebecca Watson or WithinThisMind’s anecdotal evidence that men are rapists taken as (pardon my irony) gospel truth, but mine that neither I nor anyone I know (and I know more than zero people, so the sample size is actually a bit more than one) has ever been raped or assaulted or anything even close to that is apparently just cause for you to be a total a-hole? 

            • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

              Because the facts actually back us up, or have you completely not paid the slightest bit of attention to, well, the entirety of reality?

              1 in 6 women are sexually assaulted.

              1 in 6.

              You do know someone who has been sexually assaulted.  But based on your attitude, they probably have figured out it’s smarter not to mention it to you.

            • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

              Because the facts actually back us up, or have you completely not paid the slightest bit of attention to, well, the entirety of reality?

              1 in 6 women are sexually assaulted.

              1 in 6.

              You do know someone who has been sexually assaulted.  But based on your attitude, they probably have figured out it’s smarter not to mention it to you.

          • Neil

            You mean, it’s stupid and irrelevant, just like the singular anecdote that preceded it?  Or is that a privilege available only when it suits the narrative?

            I have good reasons to not doubt that such things happen all the time…I’ve heard similar tales from almost every woman who has known me well enough to confide such experiences.  But not one of them has ever said that it was a regular occurence, or that a lot of men did it, or that they thought most men wanted to act like that…it has always been presented as a single cowardly jerk using a random opportunity to be a pushy, threatening jerk.  I’ve never personally witnessed such a thing happen in my life, not because it doesn’t happen, but because it’s not widespread behavior in most parts of our culture and most men condemn it right along with women.  Pathetic, cowardly,  pigs like that certainly exist…but they do not define our whole culture at all.  That’s why they hide and wait for opportunities to arise where there will be no consequences.    

            Bringing it up as if it were a daily occurrence for most women sure does pack an emotional punch, though, which is the majority of what I’ve seen on blogs regarding this issue.
              

        • guest

          “I choose not to live my life as though every man I see wants nothing
          more than to rape and assault me. Woman is not synonymous with victim,”
          welcome to the club.  Oh wait, was that another strawman?  Thought so.

          • Chrissy Jones

            “I could actually get from point A to point B without having to fend off any uninvited advances from folks who have serious difficulty understanding the words ‘not interested’. ”
            How does that not sound like every man is trying to rape and assault her?

            • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

              There are 20 men on this bus.  One of them is an asshole who comes up and hits on me even though I am clearly not inviting any advances. 

              The ‘every man’ is your hyperbole.  Your strawman. 

              Also, I said ‘folks’, not men.  On a couple occasions, the unwanted attempts at conversation / advances have come from women.

            • guest

              Your straw “every” man is the reason why you are unable to empathize with the other human beings who are trying to be understood here.  No one said “every man” is a rapist or a sexual predator.  You said that. You created a ridiculous strawman, and then cried, “I refuse to live my life thinking every man is a rapist!”…that kind of thinking certainly is extreme and hysterical.  But that wasn’t the thinking here — except from you and some of the MRAs and MRA sympathizers.

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                Using the word “potential” widens it in scope to include any man who is approaching her.    They are using “potential rapist” as a synonym for “man”.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  You know you aren’t a rapist.  Exactly how exactly am I supposed to know?

                  1 in 30 men are rapists.  Now, let’s assume you come up and talk to me on the bus, while I’m minding my own business.  You’ve approached me uninvited.  You’ve already displayed a clear willingness to disregard my desires in favor of your own.

                  Can you give me a good, solid, rational reason why I shouldn’t assume you are a potential rapist and be on guard?

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  Problem is that Skepchick’s first video showed a total lack of concern of rape.    In fact, she was belittling the guy.  Hardly the behavior of someone concerned he might be a rapist.   If she were truly concerned then she wouldn’t want to antagonize him, since he can always find her later.

                   No she only played the rape card later, after some rather appalling behavior on her part.   Which includes what you are doing.   Trying to intimidate other women from going off the farm.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  So, no.  You can’t give me any sort of rational, logical reason why I shouldn’t assume you are a potential rapist, based on the warning behaviors you are already exhibiting.  Thank you once again for providing an excellent example of the problem.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  Yep, disagreeing with you is the sure sign of a rapist.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  Your reading comprehension skills need considerable work.  Well, actually, your intellectual honesty needs work.

                • TheGnome

                  “Don’t do that” = belittling the guy.

                  Your definition of belittling needs revising.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

            Since you can seem to bring yourself to actually read the comment she was responding to let’s review it: “… and net me another stalker? Should I bluntly make it clear I’m not interested or is he going to respond by getting angry and possibly violent?”

            The context is someone interested in sex and the person is referred to as a “stalker” and “violent”.   Sounds like a rapist to me.

            • guest

              No, fool.  It is you who are jumping to conclusions.  She is clearly expressing what fears are going through her mind as she runs through her options of how to handle this guy who will not leave her alone.  Like most women,  she has tried them all before and gotten the whole range of responses from sullen walking away to violence and everything in between. It is the UNCERTAINTY about how THIS particular man will respond to her efforts to end the encounter which makes her think of all the possible outcomes. Again, we cannot know just by looking at a guy if he is a rapist or not.  That is the ENTIRE point about why the elevator incident was creepy. But here is something to think about:  if a person has persisted in bothering you after you have given several pretty clear indications that you are not interested, it is not unreasonable to imagine that this person may also not be amenable to being even more sharply rejected.  A woman’s guard is up because experience, common sense and self-preservation tell her she would be a fool to do anything else.
              FYI,  nearly every encounter of this type ends badly; at best,  the guy calls the woman a derogatory name and walks away…at worst, well…
              How would you assess your options in that situation?  Oh wait, I keep forgetting, you have almost no risk of ever being in that situation, have almost zero risk of ever experiencing the fear that accompanies most women constantly during an encounter like this and oh yes,  most of all I forget that you just don’t give a shit about it – or women for that matter (does that include your mother, sisters, SO’s, I wonder? Or just random women who do not enjoy your protective feelings?). At the very least,  can you not try to imagine a woman you love (mother, sister, SO) being harassed in this manner and think about how she might feel?

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                Emote, emote, emote, non-sequitir, emote, emote.

                • guest

                  Haha.  Indeed. 
                  Wow,  the thought of young women today having to choose partners from a population of men that includes trolls like you is depressing in the extreme.

                • guest

                  wow,  I think I have come close to putting my finger on the source of all that “rejection” anxiety, and rejection rage among a minority of men.  The ones like Trolls who disrespect women and seem to actually hate them -  or, more likely, hate that you want them and that gives them what you perceive as “power” over you -  the kind of men who sensible, desirable women can tell do not approach them with good  or honest intentions and would never willingly choose for a partner.
                    And you know it, too, don’t you?  You know most women probably sense your antipathy and won’t want to say “yes” to you.  That explains the “fear of rejection/humiliation” (I always wondered -  as have most women I know -  because none of us have ever said No to a decent guy who asked for a date,  much less had any desire to humiliate him).
                  Is this why the door must always be kept open -  if persuasion and social pressure doesn’t force a woman to “be nice”,  then of course there are always darker avenues to explore -  and it is all justified because he “risked” his feelings and she dared to say “Please don’t do that.”

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  LOL, I’m married, and I get hit on by women quite often.   Not respecting irrationality doesn’t “disrespect women”.   More non-sequitirs.   Just because you can’t think straight doesn’t mean all women have the same problem.   My wife for instance.

                • guest

                  Haha.  I don’t believe you have a wife, Troll, but if you have one, I pity her…deeply and profoundly.

                • guest

                  Haha.  I don’t believe you have a wife, Troll, but if you have one, I pity her…deeply and profoundly.

        • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

          I’ll be blunt.

          Everyone woman I’ve ever encountered who has claimed she has never been the victim of street harassment has ultimately turned out to be lying, either to us or to herself. 

          I’m well aware that not every man is a rapist.  Only about 1 in 30 men are rapists. 

          1 in 6 women have been the victims of sexual assault.  I’m willing to bet 999,999 out of 1,000,000 women have been the victims of sexual harassment.  Including, yes, women you know.  Perhaps they’ve picked up on your scorn towards women who have been attacked/harassed and thus wisely decided not to tell you.

          • Chrissy Jones

            You’re making up statistics to try and match your hysterical outrage. It is impossible to have a reasonable dialogue with someone who does that. People like you are the reason so many women never, ever want to be associated with the term feminist. Commenting on this thread is pissing in the wind, so I’m done here. 

            • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

              ROTLFMAO.  Yes.  I’m making up statistics.  They’ve only been all over the news, they only get posted all over college campuses, etc… but no, I must be making them up.

            • TheGnome

              Oh, did you have stats that prove otherwise…?

              I didn’t think so.

        • Frank

          Thank you Chrissy!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=638289862 Kevin Jackson

    I was very impressed with the tone and also the actual evidence presented by the final speaker. Up till now, the whole debate has to my mind been shockingly similar to dogma. You’re with us or you’re against us — with very little of the nuance of what actually went on. My guess is that if the final speaker had made the point to Dawkins, she would have done it in a more informative and even-handed way and Dawkins would likely have responded more respectfully. Watson comes across as abrasive to me and I can easily see the same message being uttered by her and Dr. Kazez and being received differently. Perhaps it shouldn’t be so, but I think it is. My guess is also that if you asked how “slightly bad” the behavior was you could still find an argument in that subcategory. My guess is we all have done or said things that on reflection we wish we had handled better. That doesn’t necessarily make us bad people. I agree with the Doctor that both sides could have probably handled it better. I think knowing the lead-up to the comments made more sense of it than anything I had read previously.
    I could have done without the music :-)

    • Karen L

      Did you find Watson abrasive in her original video, where she (I thought quite calmly and politely) said ‘this incident made me uncomfortable, I wish guys wouldn’t do that’?  Or are you referring to later posts?

      Because I was really surprised at the number of comments that found Watson’s original comments somehow overreacting, or over-the-top.  They seemed quite understated to me, really.  I was amazed that people felt attacked by those comments.

  • http://twitter.com/TPRyan007 TPRyan

    Watching the people in this video raises another important point pointing to why the skeptic community could do better. 
    Going off on a different tangent to elevatorgate (as this has been done to death) one area that the skeptic community is definitely underrepresented in is in high quality Public Speakers. 

    The skeptic community is perceived (rightly or wrongly) as quite nerdy, and this is perpetuated by a lot of the speakers, especially the bloggers who are asked to give talks, as they talk in a very nerdy uncomfortable way, and not like a polished public speaker. Maybe some courses in public speaking or presentation skills could be put together by skeptic groups?

  • Achess

    The more I think about this, the more I agree with Dawkins.

  • Dglas26

    Do you know who is not being considered in all of this? Anyone notice?

    Elevator guy. I could be wrong about this, but I’m guessing there could be a person behind this label.

    Here’s someone who finds Ms. Watson attractive, for whatever reason, and wants to approach her. How does he go about doing so, without a panel coaching him on sensitivity (a matter which is admittedly subjective), and with special focus on Ms. Watson’s particular sensitivities, much less in a manner that will not end up in more than minimal personal humiliation (and yes, some do see rejection as personally humiliating)? How about public humiliation?Does anyone consider, even for an instant,  the possibility that maybe, just maybe, his intent was not to cause Ms. Watson to feel trapped, that he intended no discomfort at all. Does not “don’t take this the wrong way” suggest that he was deliberately, albeit clumsily, trying to avoid such discomfort? I see many, many mocking that, but not everyone is Shakespeare.I wonder what it is like being “elevator guy” right now? Vilified as a symbol of all that is insensitive about men, being depicted as *the* cause for why women do not go to atheist/skeptics meetings? “Elevator guy” is now an anonymous, amorphous, evil symbol. How fun must that be? Whoever he is, he has a life history too. That life history will impact what he does and how he approaches matters, including his approach to Ms. Watson. Tell me; has anyone shown any sensitivity to that? Has it even entered into anyone’s considerations, amongst all the talk of sensitivity?”Elevator guy” put himself at risk in a very personal way. He gave Ms. Watson power over him. Look what she did with it.Did you enjoy the questions with the stepping forward and backward business? Try this one:If you have ever deliberately avoided women (in any way, covertly or overtly) for fear you will be accused of something against which there is no defence, take a step backward.Why wasn’t this question in the professor’s list? Because it would alter the results contrary to his intent; it considers the feelings of the “non-minority” and there is an entitlement mentality about who’s feelings matter – a unseen “privilege,” if you will.People talk about sensitivity to the feelings and experiences of others. Is it possible it is being selectively applied…? 

    • Anonymous

      First of all, he is still merely “Elevator Guy.”  He is completely anonymous to this day.  That is NOT public humiliation.  He may feel embarrassed knowing that he’s the guy everyone is talking about, or for all we know he could be telling all his friends, “that was me.”  The point is, we don’t know, because he’s still anonymous.  Again, not public humiliation.

      • Eshto

        Wow, way to completely miss the point.

      • Dglas26

        Blitzgal, 
        Sadly, Eshto is correct, you did miss the point entirely here. Remember, we are talking about sensitivity to the feelings of others – you know, as if it matters. My sentence about public humiliation is about how a fear of public humiliation (being publicly rejected) might cause one to seek a more private setting for making one’s inquiries about whether someone else might interested in them. I had hoped that the proximity of that sentence to the rest of the paragraph would have made that clear.I suppose, if you didn’t catch that, the rest of the post was almost perfectly unintelligible to you. The irony is that I am speaking your language and you aren’t listening. We males are being asked to put ourselves in women’s shoes. Well, have you walked in “Elevator guy’s” shoes yet?Instead of just trying to argue with me, why don’t you try to understand the point? Is it possible you are still thinking in terms of who is right and who is wrong? If so, you will never understand my point.More importantly, however, is the idea that a social environment is a broad context of negotiated experiences,  interpretations, feelings and expectations many of which are varying degrees of subjective/inter-subjective. Assigning unilateral blame to any one person or group of people is an alienation technique that perpetuates the problem – a focus on and perpetuation of conflict. It is not men who are “the problem” nor is it women who are “the problem.” It is a damaged relationship of heightened umbrage between the sexes that will require cooperation and negotiation to resolve. Some people believe it all can be fixed by reassigning power, but that is still thinking in terms of power and conflict, rather than cooperation.This is  a subtle point, more subtle, perhaps, than “majority privilege” itself.

    • Eshto

      Dglas is right.

      It’s funny because as a gay person, I think a lot of people expected me to be on Skeptchick’s side in all this. But I’m not, and I don’t know of any other of my gay friends that were. Why? Because while we do know what it’s like to not have privilege in society and to be vulnerable in physically and/or sexual ways… we also know what it’s like to be accused of doing something inappropriate, even predatory, when we are NOT DOING ANYTHING WRONG AT ALL.
      I took lots and lots of gender studies courses in college. In comparison to those, this entire Elevatorgate discussion has been a tragic failure. The level of intellectual discourse has been low, to say the least. You cannot take a generalized sociological concept (majority privilege, which certainly does exist) and apply it to an individual person and circumstance. Male privilege is real in our society. That doesn’t mean every male who makes an advance on a female is attempting to exert power over another person. Majority privilege is intended to be a tool to study society on larger scales. To wield it as a weapon against an individual person is a misuse of social science, to say the least.

      • Karen L

        The discussions of male privilege came up, not to explain Elevator Guy’s behavior, but to explain Richard Dawkins’ (and that of other male commenters) difficulty understanding why Rebecca Watson was uncomfortable being propositioned at 4 AM in an elevator.  As such it made a lot of sense.

        • James Emery

          Oh, it came up for EG too… and RW, and Rose, and Stef, and damned near everyone at one point or another.  I’ve read pretty much every comment on the issue across probably 7 or 8 different blogs.  Not disputing your point about Dawkins, but there was a bit more there…

  • LordGodless

    It absolutely blows my mind that anyone still takes Skepchick seriously. Her primarily evidence of sexism in the atheist community is the emails she gets. Has anyone ever been on forums that are full of trolls? Ever venture to that corner of the internet (4chan)? If she comes on podcasts, youtube vids, blogs, whatever using sexist emails as evidence of how sexist people are.. guess what? She’s going to constantly get trolled by people sending her more sexist emails. And guess what? We have to pretend these emails she gets trolled on constantly are something to be taken ‘seriously’, as we are sexist pigs if we don’t. No, really, have you ever seen her on a panel talking about this? I don’t know how, in one of the most skeptical communities in the world, this woman is taken seriously. 

    • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

      I’ve left two atheist boards due to the massive sexism, which included such lovely claims as ‘rape victims choose to be victims’ and ‘look how she was dressed, what did she expect’.  These quotes were from long time forum members, one of which was actually a moderator.

      • LordGodless

        Just playing devil’s advocate here, but you know men can be raped too, right? Or is it sexist because it’s a woman that is a rape victim in the discussion?

        (Imagine, for a moment, that it had instead read ‘Look how HE was dressed, what did he expect?)
         sex·ism  1.attitudes or behavior based on traditional stereotypes ofsexual roles.2.discrimination or devaluation based on a person’s sex,  as inrestricted job opportunities; especially, such discrimination directed against women.I’m not certain that the scenarios you discussed discussing are indeed sexist, but then again I wasn’t there, I just thought I’d point that out.Furthermore, your reply has nothing to do with what I’m talking about.  I’m not claiming that sexism doesn’t exist in the atheist community. I am simply claiming that skepchick provides poor evidence, and I don’t know why she is taken seriously. 

        • Karen L

          Unbelievable.  Really, truly, unbelievable. 

          Do you seriously want to suggest that rape is not primarly a women’s issue?   Do you (or the men reading this blog) worry about going out after dark, about who will be around, about whether the area is well-lit?  Do you dig out your car keys and hold them in your fist as you walk to your car after dark in the city so you have some defense from an attack?   Do you worry that if you report a rape, others will say you wanted it, or had it coming based on your dress or behavior?

          No one is suggesting that sexism can’t be directed against men. 

          Your post is EXACTLY the kind of thing that will make women feel unwelcome in your community, make them despair of having men even care enough to attempt to understand.

          You seem to want to belong to a boys’ club, where you can sit around and complain about women, not find ways to make the community welcoming to all.

          • James Emery

            Hi Karen,

            He may also be responding to some residual feelings from some of the (again, fairly few) women who really did express misandric viewpoints during some of the long, hard shitstorm (I built a bomb shelter during it, true story!).
            To state that rape IS primarily a women’s issue is definitely true.  No argument with that from me here.  HOWEVER,
            1) Yes, some (I’d even go so far as to say MANY) men experience trepidation walking at night in the city.  I’ve held my keys exactly as you described before.  It wasn’t for fear of rape, though, anywhere near as much as fear of mugging or killing.  While the physical circumstances are similar, the emotional fear is something that many men probably wouldn’t readily relate to.  My apologies, as there are too many jackasses out there that won’t even try.
            2)Your second point, about people claiming you wanted it, or it was due to dress or behavior, are some of the primary circumstances in defending sexual assaults on both men AND women.  I’d note that the ‘he wanted it’ claim is probably a little more damaging to a male plaintiff than to a female, although more females are raped, so they’ve definitely got quantity going.

            Leaving those notes aside, please note that while I believe that sexual assaults on men need to be reported and remain in the discussion alongside sexual assaults on women, women definitely get the short straw on that.  More needs to be done, by both men AND women, to prevent this sort of awful thing.

            • Karen L

              But do you not understand how belittling LordGodless’s post was?
               
              This type of post has been the cause of so much of the pain and vitriol in this whole mess. 

              The subject of rapes comes up in the discussion to explain why women are uncomfortable being approached by strangers late at night in confined spaces.  Men don’t see a problem.  Women try to explain about the fear of rape.  Women point out that guys don’t have to worry about rape as a way to explain why they are having trouble understanding the women’s point of view. 

              So far, so good.  Then a man responds ‘men get raped too’, which just indicates that this discussion — for him at least — isn’t about understanding, it’s about winning.  And he doesn’t care who he hurts in the process.

              A comment like ‘Men get raped too’ is a slap to the face, a discussion ender.  A clear signal that the commenter has no interest in what’s right, or fair, or sensitive to others’ experience.  It’s disingenuous. 
               

              • James Emery

                Karen,

                Why must it be about winning?  Seriously, men CAN and HAVE been raped/sexually assaulted.  Women have been raped and sexually assaulted.  Obviously, it happens to women with much greater frequency.  This is a big, big problem that must be addressed.  It does not, however, mean that it’s somehow less evil when it happens to men.  That fact doesn’t mean that it NEEDS to be a discussion ender, however, and part of the poor reaction might be more to the (probably unintended) implication that it’s ONLY a problem for women.  Oftentimes, that seems to be the point that comes across strongly, although the woman speaking probably didn’t mean it that way (I tend to read and re-read things to try and understand what’s really meant).  Men DO feel belittled when their side of the pain doesn’t seem to be acknowledged.  Men HAVE been raped, and DO worry about it sometimes, given just the wrong set of circumstances.  As an example,  I had a cousin-in-law who was staying in my guest room.  She invited some fellow she barely knew back to the house (I wasn’t there that night), got him passed-out drunk, worked him until he was hard, and then rode him to climax, in an effort to get herself pregnant.  Before this sounds like hearsay to you, I found out about it because she BRAGGED ABOUT IT TO MY WIFE IN MY PRESENCE.  Thankfully, she didn’t get pregnant, and the guy had nothing further to do with her (she was very quickly booted out of our house, and SHOULD have been brought up on charges).

                Now, after I’ve purged that word-salad, yes, while I believe that what he said was fairly true, I do also believe that, in the context of LordGodless’ reply to Within, he WAS being disingenuous.  I was only trying to explain why he might be feeling that way.  It was thoughtless of him.  I was close to taking the same tacts a few times when all this discussion was going on, dealing with folks like WMDKitty and Morningstar9 and such over at PZ’s comments, and THEY could turn a possibly-sympathetic guy into a raging misogy-beast very quickly.  Please, don’t be like them.  Men will learn, if we can learn to teach without berating :)

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

                  Funny, I don’t recall ever speaking to you in over there.

                • James Emery

                  Don’t necessarily recall talking to you directly, just read a good bit of your stuff…  Might also have been at Greta’s, Jen’s, or Abbie’s, as I read all of them pretty frequently.  Hello, angry lady! :)

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

                  Most of which was in response to men going, “But what about TEH MENZZ??? WAAAAAH!!!”

                  The rest was in response to people calling me — a survivor of DV that included rape on a fairly regular basis — “paranoid and sexist” for being wary around men. You’d be paranoid, too, if you were abused…

                • Karen L

                  “Why must it be about winning?”

                  I don’t know, and I truly wish I did.  Every post I’ve made has been about trying to increase understanding.  Some other posters, though, are clearly much more interested in winning.

                  “It does not, however, mean that it’s somehow less evil when it happens to men”

                  Of course it doesn’t.  I have never said any such thing.   Wanting to focus — for the purposes of a particular discussion — on the issue of rape as it affects women, does not automatically imply that rape is less bad for men.

                  People who are trying to explain why women react to certain situations the way they do bring up the threat of rape to increase understanding.  Men who respond to this with ‘Men get raped too’ are demonstrating that they 1) don’t want to try to understand the point and 2) want to make this about them, rather than about someone else.  They are derailing the conversation in an effort to score points, rather than understand.  I feel very little patience for this behavior.

                  I think it’s quite obvious and reasonable to say that women are far more affected in our culture by rape and the fear of rape than men are.  This does not belittle the experience of men who have been raped. 

                  I agree that some commenters — on both sides of the issue — at Pharyngula and elsewhere are way too vicious, and that this argument style does not help.

                  I have always tried very hard to address facts rather than attack other commenters, and avoid behavior that could be called ‘berating’.  It sounds condescending when you advise me to avoid doing something that I’m not.

                • James Emery

                  Karen,

                  You seem like a reasonable person, and probably hold a hell of a conversation :) (Not coming onto you or anything like that).  While I DO think that it sounded like you were berating LG up there a little bit (not too badly) and I think you’re reading the company line into people’s intentions a bit, you’re level headed.  I might not totally agree with you, but damned if I don’t respect you.  Kudos.

                • Karen L

                  I appreciate your kinds words.  I don’t agree with all you say either ;), but I do appreciate your obvious effort to listen to all sides.

        • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

          Way to deliberately and intentionally miss the point.  I can’t help but wonder about the type of men that do this.

    • TheGnome

      Yes, because of course everyone sending her a shitty email must be a troll!
      What a convenient way to avoid acknowleding that there is any sexism amongst “reasonable” people.

  • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Tom Lawson

    I just remember the first thing my wife said when I explained ElevatorGate to her…

    “Wait, she calls herself ‘SkepChick’ and expects to be taken seriously?”

    ’nuff said.

    • guest

      Perhaps it is “nuff said in your house.  So, your wife assists in the degradation of other members of her gender.  That is about all that “said” about your exchange.
      Yes, no matter what anyone “calls herself” (or himself),  no matter what anyone wears, no matter where anyone walks, drives or travels -  in a society that calls itself “civilized”, anyone should be able to expect to be taken seriously.

      • Guest

        No. Absurd does not deserve to be treated seriously.

        • guest

          You’re right. All those men screaming and ranting and raving in response to a 10 second “Hey guys, please don’t do that, it makes women feel uncomfortable”  was absurd and did not deserve to be taken seriously. But, here we are.

          • Neil

            So, how many dozens of blog posts did “those guys” write anyway?  I DID see some prominent bloggers compare dissenters to mid-eastern rape gangs and rape apologists, because they didn’t think there was a big deal to be made…and dozens upon dozens of commenters joining the frenzy…   

            Who is doing all the ranting again? 

    • http://profiles.google.com/gemmaellen Gemma Mason

      Yeah, how dare she take a name that emphasizes her femaleness, huh?  Can’t take that seriously…

      • James Emery

        That’s definitely not something that should be held against her…  However, going back to when I was still a youngster, ‘chick’ was the sort of term used by the type of guys who WOULD be looked at as potential rapists…  I can see how it would be looked upon poorly by the 40+ crowd pretty easily.

        TL;DR:  Adults in the 80s and early 90s took the moniker ‘chick’ as an insult, usually

        • http://profiles.google.com/gemmaellen Gemma Mason

          Meh.  Fair enough.  I guess I also take it for granted that when people apply a term to *themselves* they don’t usually mean “Please use this term to discount me as a person” — even if it’s a term used by some people to diminish people with similar characteristics to the speaker.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

            How about when they post nude pictures of themselves on their blog to highlight the content therein?

            • http://profiles.google.com/gemmaellen Gemma Mason

              Well, one of SkepChick’s basic messages to women is that being skeptical doesn’t have to make you less sexy, so I’d say that’s on target.

              That’s the thing, isn’t it?  SkepChick wasn’t set up to defend women to skepticism (who’d have thought women needed defending to skeptics?).  It was set up to defend skepticism to women.  And then all of a sudden, those aspects that are defiantly feminine and even sexy, up to and including even the name, are suddenly a reason for skeptics to take it less seriously.  It’s a shame.

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                LOL, because we wouldn’t want skepticism to stand in the way of being sexy?  

                • guest

                  No we wouldn’t.   Every human being has a right to expression, sexual or otherwise,  without being made the target of abuse or intimidation.
                  What some men have implied is that she should not dare to express her sexuality: that if she does (or any woman does, I presume) then she is “asking for it”.
                  For you or Neil or whomever else brought up nude photos (I don’t know, I do not know RW blog),  the standard may be “Nude pictures?  She is free game”.  Another set of men may say, “low cut blouse?  Fair game”.  Another set may say, “Uncovered face/out in public? Fair game.
                  What point is acceptable for a woman and what point not?  Groups of high school runners go by my house every day in short shorts and nothing else.  Are those boys “asking for it” because they are virtually naked?
                  Just because RW’s nude photos made you or other men uncomfortable does not mean you can then project that discomfort onto her and say she “deserved” to accept unwanted advances in creepy situations and just shut up about it.

                • guest

                  And one further point on the alleged nude photos:  if she chooses to put her photos up that does not mean that any man who sees them is entitled to have her  – that she “advertised” and therefore must put up or shut up.
                  That wouldn’t fly in other types of scenarios (“Just a minute, Officer, you can’t arrest me! That porsche was on the lot -  on that rotating dais for pete’s sake! – I had a right to just take it!!”) ,  but many men seem to feel that in the area of sex,  their desires trump other peoples’ rights and feelings and that goes doubly if the other people have actually dared to enjoy their sexuality.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  No one said that.   However if you advertise don’t get all offended when you get inquiries.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  Thank you for proving beyond a doubt that your entire stance on this issue is rooted in misogyny.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                   You are truly insane.   I did not say anyone was “asking for it” as in rape.  

  • guest

    Wow, it just never ends.  Always, what about the men.  Always the refusal to see what is women’s experience every single day.
    Yeah, Rebecca Watson was the one in the position of “power” in an elevator at 4 in the morning with a strange man who is hitting on her.  Sure she was -  we all know that famous women, intelligent women, women in business, women in academia etc NEVER are victims of sexual assault or sexism.  Only nameless, faceless, powerless women (who probably deserve it, too) become these victims and only the victims of that vanishing minority of sexist, violent, monstrous men (unknown to anyone here). Yes, right.

    • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind
    • Guest

        “Always, what about the men”

      Um, well. If you people didn’t keep twisting everything ridiculously we wouldn’t have to bring in perspective for you!

      • guest

        Um well,  if some of “you people” didn’t keep assaulting women so ridiculously often,  we wouldn’t have to bring it into perspective for you!

        • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind
        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

          Are you claiming that “Guest” is a rapist in saying “you people”?   Because you certainly fit in the category of people who are “twisting everything ridiculously.”   So you are certainly in that category of “you people”.      I see zero evidence he or she is in your category of “you people” meaning rapists.

          • guest

            No, you fool.  Did you not see that I added “some of” before “you people” unlike Guest who lumped all of his targets together as “you people”.  I wonder who “you people” are to him?  And I wonder who has actually lumped whom altogether into one (apparently despised) group?

            • guest

              P.S.  A little hint:  “you people” might be “you feminists” or even “you women” to Guest. 
              I realise that neither you nor any of the other female-phobic men commenting on here whining and complaining about women having the right to say No to you are ever likely to hear us or give a flying fig about how we feel, but that doesn’t mean I am saying that you or Guest or most of the men I know are rapists.  They are not.  But the casual dismissal of what the women in their lives must live with every day -  the cruel indifference to the constant anxiety that most women experience whenever traveling alone just about anywhere – is something that makes me question character and humanity in a whole different way.  It is attitudes like yours and Guest’s which enable the rape culture to persist and even thrive.  And I am not convinced that you don’t like it just the way it is.

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                No one every said you didn’t have the right to say “no” to a proposition.   Why should I care about your feelings when they bear no relationship to reality?   Believe me, if I was afraid of women I wouldn’t be telling you that.   For someone concerned about “feelings” you sure so little concern for men who are afraid of rejection.   That’s the only intepretation of female-phobic that I could come up with that fits this conversation.

                Stop emoting and start thinking and I might take you seriously.

                • guest

                  I don’t give a flying fig if a troll like you takes me seriously.
                  Just for laughs, what is a man afraid of if he is rejected?  Feeling rejected/angry/humiliated…and all usually in private.  As the mother of 3 fine sons, I never want them to feel that way,  but they inevitably will.
                  What is a woman afraid of when weighing up the possible outcomes of rejecting a guy who propositions her in an elevator in a strange city at 4AM?  Humiliation (Dyke! Bitch!), rage from the propositioner, possibly violence.
                  These are the things both people are afraid of in that situation -  not what will happen,  but what they fear could happen.
                  When the other person is bigger, stronger and comes from a group where 1 in 30 of its members are statistically known to violently assault members of your group,  you have different fears.
                  Don’t try to draw a false equivalence between what a man “risks” in this situation and what a woman “risks”.

                  For another thought exercise (not for you, Troll,  but anyone who actually cares about other human beings):  Imagine you move to the most dangerous neighbourhood in the country.  The crime statistics are through the roof:  at least 1 in 4 residents report being the victim of assault or assault and robbery. You move into a crowded apartment building where you install a good solid lock on your door.  Many of your neighbours think this is sensible but a sizable minority berate you for putting hte lock on your door and accuse you of calling them criminals because you are putting a lock on the door.  They accuse you of hysteria because you want to try to protect yourself from the potential for a break-in crime.
                  That is kind of like what is going on in this discussion, only women don’t ever get to move out of that crummy neighborhood.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  … and so we learn from guest that anyone who disagrees with her emoting, just doesn’t care about people in general.

                  You couldn’t deduce your way out of a wet paper bag.

                • guest

                  Haha. You are such a fool.  It is almost funny.  Only it isn’t. You are a real human being behind the internet bravado – and real people must have to live with you on a daily basis.
                  Not, I hasten to point out, that you are a rapist,  but that you appear to be devoid of human empathy or normal human consideration for others,  except for others of your gender whose feelings must be safeguarded at all costs.
                  You are not just a fool.  You are a hypocritical fool. Reason and rationality, indeed! Hahaha. Fool.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  Honestly, when guys spend as much time defending male privilege as this asshole does, I do have to wonder.  Are they some of the guys that have coerced women into sex and/or otherwise rendered a woman incapable of consent?  Because it certainly seems like they are objecting to their behavior being labelled as wrong, to the point of cognitive dissonance.  I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if our troll here was a rapist and is furious it’s being pointed out that his stalker-ish behavior is actually wrong.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

                  Gonna go with “YES” on that one.

                  And I think this thread is done for.

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

              Like that matters.   How’s your sentence sound now:   “Um well,  if some of “you blacks” didn’t keep assaulting women so
              ridiculously often,  we wouldn’t have to bring it into perspective for
              you!”

              • guest

                It sounds about the same.  Violent assault from men comes from all racial backgrounds. It is a male aggression thing.  It isn’t limited to whites.  Further,  it is only SOME men (black or white) who commit these crimes,  which makes my statement continue to be correct and fair, while Guest’s was an all or nothing “You people”  …hysterical blah blah  let me teach you a thing or two…blah blah.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  “It sounds about the same. ”

                  racist

                • guest

                  Haha.  What a fool you are.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  “It sounds about the same. ”

                  racist

      • Anonymous

        That is the single most insulting response I’ve seen so far to any of this nonsense. Congratulations! Your prize is in the mail. 

        • guest

          If you are referring to my response, I’ll pass, thank you.

    • Dglas26

      Well, there’s a nice example of selective reading. One moment we are talking about feelings and perceptions and the next, when inconvenient, all that goes out the window.

      Actually she was in a position of emotional power, even if he was in a position of physical power. Try to think in terms other than mere brute force, please.

      • guest

        Try to think in terms of being trapped in an elevator at 4 in the morning with a stranger who is propositioning you, and has 50-100 pounds of muscle over you and then tell me what you would prefer to have -  brute strength or “emotional power”. 
        Are you willfully refusing to see that this could be a problem for a human being in this world,  or is it just that because that human being is a woman,  she just had better see things in your terms?

    • Neil

      Yes, those horrible men, asking not to be lumped in with rapists for the crime of insuffuicient outrage at n0thing.

      Of the dissenters, how many were railing against anything Watson said (a very few), and how many were defending their viewpoint against unfair comparisons made by all the articles AFTER Watson’s? 

      can you be honest for two seconds?  

  • Anonymous

    I really don’t want to invest another 90 minutes of my life on Elevatorgate so I will say what has been bugging me about this whole shitstorm, and move on.

    I don’t think Richard Dawkins was being sexist or “privileged” – he was probably bemused, as I was, that a post on Pharyngula about female genital mutilation might draw a few dozen comments, but a privileged white western woman being on the receiving end of a clumsy pass draw several thousand comments, many of them of a very heated nature.

    It must be said that Rebecca Watson had it in her power at several points to let the whole thing die the natural death it deserved, but instead she chose to escalate. Her initial response – “guys, don’t do that”, and then move on – was exactly right. But then she acted like an asshole towards a fellow female (and less privileged) blogger, she was called on it, and she needed a distraction from her own behavior. Within days she was calling for Richard Dawkins to be declared an unperson. Meanwhile, PZ was (dishonestly, IMHO) stirring the pot and Richard Plaitt was hysterically calling Elevator Guy a rapist.

    This isn’t the first time Watson has found it convenient to whip up controversy. A few years ago, her target was the physicist Lawrence Krauss, who had the misfortune of having a friend, Jeffrey Epstein, who was investigated (but never convicted) for allegedly having sex with minors. Krauss gave his friend the benefit of the doubt, which is what friends do. Watson attacked Krauss and insinuated all sorts of wild stories about Krauss holding orgies with underage prostitutes, which her followers lapped up with a total lack of skepticism.

    I look at Watson’s Wikipedia page recently, and it is obviously a vanity page written by either herself of a follower. Yet it gives no indication of how she rose to such a prominent and powerful position in the atheist/skeptical community. She started out as a street juggler and now, if you don’t mind, she has an asteroid named after her. But she appears to have no scientific credentials of any sort and it’s very difficult to see anything positive she has contributed. She is a polarizing and divisive figure who rose without a trace.

    It’s remarkable that the skeptical movement has a cult leader and cult followers who are prepared to tear anyone – including prominent atheist physicists and biologists – limb from limb at their leader’s bidding. Watson is, in a nutshell, the Sarah Palin of skepticism.

    • Conspirator

      “Watson is, in a nutshell, the Sarah Palin of skepticism”  Beautiful, well said.  There is something disturbing about the way people follow her.  It seems her main skill is being well-spoken, and people fall hook, line and sinker for whatever she says.  

      This is a woman that has put pictures of herself appearing naked on the internet, in one case reading one of Phil Plait’s books, and then says “don’t you dare sexualize me”.   

    • Anonymous

      “Her initial response – “guys, don’t do that”, and then move on – was exactly right. But then she acted like an asshole towards a fellow female (and less privileged) blogger, she was called on it, and she needed a distraction from her own behavior.”

      This is true.  However, you do leave out one part of the equation.  There was her initial response, and then there was the shitstorm that followed of offended guys who proclaimed that their “natural sexuality is being oppressed” merely because she said that something made her feel uncomfortable.  I totally agree with you that she subsequently acted like a jerk.  But you are remiss if you do not include the very heated response that she received from male skeptics to her mild initial response to the incident.  

      It is that over the top outrage by male skeptics that I reacted to most viscerally.  And I’m not exaggerating when I say that there were claims that male sexuality itself was under attack by her initial response.  The idea that a woman cannot even express personal discomfort without threatening male sexuality is the crux of the problem to me.

      • guest

        Exactly, Blitzgal.  I know nothing of Rebecca Watson and I do not follow her. This insane shitstorm came to my attention only through blogs like this and it was the ferocity of the male response -  the unbelievable viciousness – which made me go back and find out what the hell happened.
        That is the issue.  Not whether Rebecca Watson was a jerk later to this or that person;  not whether Dawkins was condescending or bemused about one issue being less severe than another. It was that the whole shitstorm even HAPPENED.  And that was driven by outraged men who were furious that their privilege of being free to hit on women any place any time should be questioned – ever.

        • Karen L

          Thank you — this is ABSOLUTELY the issue for me.

           I’d never read Skepchick before, and was only vaguely way aware of Rebecca Watson before this incident.  I hadn’t been to any atheist conventions, though I’d read a post or two on Pharyngula about women getting hit on and feeling uncomfortable at such events. I am familiar with being in a mostly male environment from my work, so this was interesting and troubling, but not something that would have kept me from attending groups or conferences.

          The response from men to Rebecca Watson and elevatorgate, however, has me feeling seriously uncomfortable about the atheist/skeptical community, and about whether I’d be comfortable at events.  Not Dawkins’ response (which was troubling in a different way).  The response of average guys, who defend their right to proposition any woman any time any place, and who insist that this behavior isn’t disrespectful to women (or perhaps that there’s nothing wrong with treating women disrepectfully).  Guys who don’t recognize that misogyny exists, or how they contribute to it.  Guys who have NO interest in understanding women’s point of view, period.

          To be fair, there were a number of men who were supportive, who understood why a woman would feel uncomfortable in the situation described, who thought that other men were responding badly.

          But the loudest and most persistent voices were startlingly misogynistic.  There was far more misogyny in the responses than in the original incident.  And trying to discredit Rebecca Watson as a way to try to discredit her point (as HughInAz) does above seems petty and hyperbolic (Sarah Palin!?), as well as logically flawed.

          • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

            It’s the reason I’d never attend events.  It’s the reason I don’t attend comic cons and the like either.  It’s why I’ve mostly given up playing WoW.  I’d like to go through a day without being insulted, degraded, and harassed for being a woman.

            http://fatuglyorslutty.com/

            This is why we keep having to have this conversation.

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

              Yeah, it has nothing to do with you making false accusations about others with no basis in reality.  Like when you claimed I hit on women in elevators.    Never happened.   You are the type of person who lies on the witness stand.   You aren’t credible.

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

              Yeah, it has nothing to do with you making false accusations about others with no basis in reality.  Like when you claimed I hit on women in elevators.    Never happened.   You are the type of person who lies on the witness stand.   You aren’t credible.

              • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                Funny.  Seems the only one here telling lies is you.

          • Neil

            I have to ask a question…where is all this venom?  My experience seems to be the exact opposite of yours and that of many others.  I saw relatively few men defending elevator guy on any site, and they were readily confronted by large numbers of women and men.  I read all the articles, and thousands of comments regarding this issue on several websites- this one, Daylight Atheism, Bad Astronomy, the several on Pharyngula, and the original two articles on Watson’s blog.  I heard a claim that there was a single “rape threat” on Watson’s blog, but it might have been edited by the time I got there, I never saw it or anything even close to it.  On ANY of these articles.  The few that were trying to offend, were not supported or appreciated by any large number on any side of the issue. 
              Again, maybe they were already edited, but the worst comments I saw were certainly no more rude or dismissive than Dawkins, and especially on Daylight Atheism and Pharyngula, the huge majority of comments by males were supportive, and at times quite heatedly defensive of those involved.  I also noticed a few women defending elevator guy or downplaying the incident, who were generally ignored(or called out in a large meeting). 

            So where was all this horrible venom I keep hearing about?  Because in dozens of posts and literally  thousands of comments, the worst, most insensitve comments I saw were no worse than the bulk of comments here.  No crude belittling of women, no gendered insults, nobody claiming some magical right to be immune from criticism of bad behavior, and nobody even really defending the elevator guy except to say “what’s the big deal?  Is the fact that a clueless jerk might hit on you really enough to scare all women away from atheist conferences?”  Comments like that were the absolute worst and most insensitive that I read, and were generally shouted down by a large group of men and women.  Apparently, only 100% compliance on all aspects of feminist thought is acceptable.  Bloggers would point to the one rape threat, or to a few rude trolling comments, and imply that all those who didn’t agree completely were part of THAT group, and nobody even needed to engage them.

            Aqlmost every last bit of dishonesty, hyperbole, exaggeration, name-calling, and shaming that I saw came from P.Z. Myers, Phil Plait, and Adam Lee, and the commenters on their blogs and Watson’s blog.  Plenty of charged talk about rape culture, potential sexual assualt, and the assumption that any man who hits on a woman who didn’t want to be hit on, or ever remarks about a woman’s appearance without thinking, is somehow claiming ownership of the woman.  Lots of politically charged feminist theory being applied with a paint gun, with any dissent, honest or otherwise, mocked and insulted.     

            On Daylight Atheism, Adam Lee snidely compared ( Does THIS remind you of anyone?) elevator guy and his few defenders to men in the middle east who physically assault and rape women on the street, or masturbate in public in front of unwilling women, and then tried to backpeddle, claiming to be misunderstood, and that these problems were all part of the “same spectrum of sexism.”   Now, according to some, cluelessly hitting on a woman in a potentially uncomfortable place, or failing to listen to and obey every last word a woman says,  is part of the “same spectrum” as gang rape and honor killings.  A “potential sexual assualt” no matter what.
               So, again, where exactly is all the venom? 

            So far, I’ve seen men (and some women) called sexists, rape apologists, potential sexual assaulters, unwitting tools of the patriarchy…I’ve heard countless claims of venom and irrational defensiveness, cluelessness and obliviousness, willful ignorance, defense of privilege….I’ve heard again and again how some of those dastardly MRA’s or rape apologists just “can’t let it go”, or can’t shut up about how they felt slighted by having their privilege questioned…yet on it goes, without one single dissident on the issue ever writing a single blog post.  Funny how that works.

            Somehow, in this kerfuffle, asking “what’s the big deal” is  more offensive, more aggressive, more venomous, than lumping insensitive or even unpleasant men in with middle-easten rape gangs, fundie fanatics, and serial abusers.

             

               

            • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

              And I’ve been called paranoid and sexist because I’m wary around men.

              Gee… ya think it might be because I’m a survivor of DV? Because I don’t know, at a glance, what this guy or that guy is thinking or intends to do?

              • JamesBond

                Maybe you should also be wary around black people too; i mean STATISTICALLY black people are 39 times more likely to commit a violent crime against white people than vice versa.

                You don’t know at a glance what a black person is thinking or what he’s intending to do, therefore you should probably treat him like he’s a statistic and not like an actual person.

                This whole elevator thing is such bullshit.

            • Karen L

              It is difficult to understand how you could have read every thread and missed the many nasty comments directed at women.  I don’t have time to go back and search threads for good examples (I haven’t really had time for the posts I’ve made today).  But these are the gist of a number of comments I read.  (I read PZ, Hemant, Skepchick, and a few other blogs during the height of the discussion, and many, though by no means all, of the comments.)

              *  Men have the (moral) right to hit on women any time, any place.
              *  If men didn’t hit on women all the time no one would find a mate and the species would die out.
              *  Women who feel uncomfortable when alone late at night with a stranger have some bizarre psychological problem with fear.
              *  RW and those who defend her are just being ‘hysterical’ (definitely a gendered insult).  I saw lots of reference to female commenters being ‘bitches’, and more than a couple of references to ‘cunts’.
              *  Rape jokes.
              *  Women who object to guys hitting on other women are just jealous, and probably too ugly to get hit on.
              *  RW is too ugly to hit on, she probably told the story to make herself seem more desireable.
              *  Women have no right to be treated with respect before they have earned it. 

              These are just the few that come immediately to mind.  They were often phrased much more crudely and colorfully, and got positive responses from some other guys.

              My overwhelming feeling after spending so much time reading various blogs and comments over a period of several days was one of — well, despair is too strong a word, but resignation isn’t strong enough.  I was enormously disheartened to encounter such unpleasant attitudes to women in the atheist community, and it made me feel like perhpas I didn’t belong.  (Nothing previous to this had made me feel this way.)  I also felt depressed that society hadn’t progressed as far in the last few decades as I’d thought. 

              I wouldn’t have expected any better from a right-wing religious community.  I did expect better from atheists.

              • Neil

                I saw some elements of the first three, although I think you’re generalizing, coloring, amd dismissing what they said in a rather convenient way…but I can honestly say that on Skepchick, Daylight Atheism, here, Pharyngula, and Bad Astronomy, I saw only a little of that and much, much  less to do with rape jokes, claiming women don’t deserve respect, or “she’s ugly” jokes.  Such things were certainly NOT the prevailing response on ANY of these sites, and if it seems to you like they were, maybe you should actually go back and read the comments like I did.  I think that conformation bias and intentionally uneven coverage by bloggers has given you and others a distorted view of the number of ugly sexist comments compared to reasonable ones.  But they sure do get remembered, especially when half a dozen bloggers keep bringing them up for two weeks straight!

                What I did see was a lot of bloggers and commenters taking a small handfull of trolls and sexists, and one rape threat, and applying that label and those motivations(or at least the guilt of being an “enabler”) to anyone who disagreed with them, however reasonably.  I am one of those that DOES read most or all of the comments attached to an article I find interesting…out of the thousands I read over two or three weeks, only a small minority, mostly one-time drive-bys and obvious trolls, were in any way confrontational, hateful, or obviously sexist.  And these few, especially the one rape threat, were repeatedly and dishonestly held up as totally average and  representative of the male response by every blogger involved except Hemant.  The vast majority of male commenters, no matter what “side”
                  were at least as respectful and objective as the comments on this very thread.   

                 I continue to see this very small minority of commenters dishonestly bandied about as if it was the prevailing male attitude, which it certainly was not and is not,  on any of these sites.  On every last one of those sites, there were many, many more men  showing support for Watson’s side of the issue, or at least being very reasonable and respectful in their doubts and questions, as opposed to those “attacking” her or showing disrespect for her or all women.

                I’m not saying these fools don’t exist…I’m saying that it looks to me like many bloggers and commenters have taken the worst of the worst (of which there are always a few, even if they’re just trolling) and tried to pass that off as the prevailing attitude of those who didn’t agree with them or think it was a big deal.  I think that emotional heat and confirmation bias have played a huge part in this, but there are some, namely P.Z. Myers and Adam Lee, who did everything they could to make any dissenters look like rape apologists- including direct and completely dishonest comparisons to rapists and violent abusers-  and plenty more commenters who ran with that dishonesty and milked it to score emotional points for their causes.

                There was no “huge backlash” to Watson’s articles…there was an insignificantly tiny “backlash” when compared to the whole, but there was also a whole lot of  “So What?”  That “So What” response
                was immediately followed by several prominent bloggers and dozens of commenters willfully, knowingly, and repeatedly lumping the “so what” people in with rape gangs, rape apologists, and anti-feminist activists.  And a few “so whats” had the unmitigated gall to COMPLAIN about being unfairly and dishonestly associated with rapists…go figure!
                 

                 

                • Karen L

                  Confirmation bias works both ways.  Those who feel attacked by  feminists are going to perceive those posts as a larger share of the total, just as those attacked by the MRA types will percieve those posts as a larger share of the total.

                  I’m willing to accept that the emotional impact of some of the really nasty comments magnifies their impact relative to their frequency.  But it would be unreasonable for you not to recognize that this is operating in reverse as well.  I’m quite confident that the commenters lumping the ‘So What’s’ in with the rape apologists were relatively small in number as well.

                  I also think that you’re signficantly under-representing the backlash to RW and other feminist comments.  I don’t think an ‘insignficantly tiny’ backlash would have generated the amount of discussion that has occured.  It seems obvious to me that some serious nerves have been struck, that deeply raw emotions uncovered.  I think it’s worth exploring why.  The ‘So What’ responses take on more significance when deep feelings of injustice are being expressed.

                  I have been reading atheist blogs for quite a while, and I do read as many of the comments as I can manage on the really interesting topics, though it’s hard when the number of comments on a single topic hits the high hundreds.  I’ve never been as uncomfortable with the general tone of men’s responses as I have with the whole ‘Elevatorgate’ mess, and it is my impression that I’m not the  only one who feels this way.  This cannot just be dismissed as overreaction.

                  It also is not justified to use words like ‘willfully’ and ‘knowingly’ about other posters or bloggers responses, unless you have some way of knowing what they were thinking.  You seem accuse other bloggers of a deliberately deceptive approach, which I think is unwarranted.  You don’t like their arguments or point of view.  Fair enough — argue back, using reason.  Don’t throw out unsupported accusations of mendacity.  It makes it hard to take you seriously.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  … but you are the only one making an argument susceptible to a charge of confirmation bias.  

                • guest

                  Possibly she is…because any argument based in reality is susceptible to biased interpretation of events in reality.  She is not saying her perspective may or  may not be biased, she is describing her experience. 
                  You, on the other hand, are not making an argument at all, and are denying reality completely. 
                  Since it hasn’t happened to you,  it doesn’t happen.
                  Haha. What a fool you are, Troll.
                  Rational and reasonable, indeed. Haha.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  Look, all I’ve done is comment in this thread, and I got an email saying ‘you just wish you were cute enough to get raped’

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

                  *hugs*

                • guest

                  Bounce that filth back to the scum who sent it and block the address forthwith.
                  You are awesome.  Thank you for your comments!

              • Neil

                I saw some elements of the first three, although I think you’re generalizing, coloring, amd dismissing what they said in a rather convenient way…but I can honestly say that on Skepchick, Daylight Atheism, here, Pharyngula, and Bad Astronomy, I saw only a little of that and much, much  less to do with rape jokes, claiming women don’t deserve respect, or “she’s ugly” jokes.  Such things were certainly NOT the prevailing response on ANY of these sites, and if it seems to you like they were, maybe you should actually go back and read the comments like I did.  I think that conformation bias and intentionally uneven coverage by bloggers has given you and others a distorted view of the number of ugly sexist comments compared to reasonable ones.  But they sure do get remembered, especially when half a dozen bloggers keep bringing them up for two weeks straight!

                What I did see was a lot of bloggers and commenters taking a small handfull of trolls and sexists, and one rape threat, and applying that label and those motivations(or at least the guilt of being an “enabler”) to anyone who disagreed with them, however reasonably.  I am one of those that DOES read most or all of the comments attached to an article I find interesting…out of the thousands I read over two or three weeks, only a small minority, mostly one-time drive-bys and obvious trolls, were in any way confrontational, hateful, or obviously sexist.  And these few, especially the one rape threat, were repeatedly and dishonestly held up as totally average and  representative of the male response by every blogger involved except Hemant.  The vast majority of male commenters, no matter what “side”
                  were at least as respectful and objective as the comments on this very thread.   

                 I continue to see this very small minority of commenters dishonestly bandied about as if it was the prevailing male attitude, which it certainly was not and is not,  on any of these sites.  On every last one of those sites, there were many, many more men  showing support for Watson’s side of the issue, or at least being very reasonable and respectful in their doubts and questions, as opposed to those “attacking” her or showing disrespect for her or all women.

                I’m not saying these fools don’t exist…I’m saying that it looks to me like many bloggers and commenters have taken the worst of the worst (of which there are always a few, even if they’re just trolling) and tried to pass that off as the prevailing attitude of those who didn’t agree with them or think it was a big deal.  I think that emotional heat and confirmation bias have played a huge part in this, but there are some, namely P.Z. Myers and Adam Lee, who did everything they could to make any dissenters look like rape apologists- including direct and completely dishonest comparisons to rapists and violent abusers-  and plenty more commenters who ran with that dishonesty and milked it to score emotional points for their causes.

                There was no “huge backlash” to Watson’s articles…there was an insignificantly tiny “backlash” when compared to the whole, but there was also a whole lot of  “So What?”  That “So What” response
                was immediately followed by several prominent bloggers and dozens of commenters willfully, knowingly, and repeatedly lumping the “so what” people in with rape gangs, rape apologists, and anti-feminist activists.  And a few “so whats” had the unmitigated gall to COMPLAIN about being unfairly and dishonestly associated with rapists…go figure!
                 

                 

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                “Men have the (moral) right to hit on women any time, any place.”

                 Show the post where someone was arguing that me could hit on a woman while she’s defecating in the woman’s room because that’s what your sentence means.     You aren’t the least bit careful with your words or thoughts.   

                • Karen L

                  What a silly and beside the point example. 

                  There were men arguing in broad terms that there was nothing wrong with hitting on women, regardless of circumstance.  And arguing it so vociferously that I wanted to start posing silly examples to them, just to see what they’d say (what about a woman out on a date with her husband?  what about a woman who’s lying in the street, having just been hit by a bus? etc.).  The tone at the time from one specific commenter left me unsure that he wouldn’t just say that those situations were perfectly OK!

                  People can say silly things when they’re trying to defend an ideological point.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  I have been hit on while out with my husband.

                  I was also hit on while in the ER, holding my crying son, waiting for permission to go back and see my husband.

                  So, yeah, some folks do see a lot of absolutely ridiculous situations as perfectly acceptable times to make an uninvited pass.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  Which doesn’t support her claim.

                  No more so than if I had claimed that women were arguing that all men should be castrated, and gave anecdotes of women who had castrated their mates.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  Ah, but you are an example of the behavior you are denying exists.

                  The only reason you have to be up in arms here is that someone suggested that you shouldn’t hit on women in elevators as it makes them uncomfortable.  The only possible basis you could have to object to that statement is a feeling that a man is entitled to hit on a woman whenever he feels like it regardless of her feelings in the matter.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                   You  fantasize

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  The claim was that someone made the claim “any time, any place.”

                  There are of course going to be differences of opinion.    Some guys are going to think a girl who hangs out a bar till four in the morning and posts naked pictures of herself on the internet, and does not object to sex outside marriage, just might be fair game in an elevator.   Especially if he feels that he has good intentions, like a consensual swap of pleasure.

                  Some women, as has been evidenced by the push back would tend to agree.

                  It’s dishonest to claim that  is equivalent to “any time, any place”.  

                  You don’t get to make an unchariable interpretation of someone else’s position, argue from there.   It’s called making a straw man argument.

                  Even if there were one guy out there who made such a claim.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  The claim was that someone made the claim “any time, any place.”

                  There are of course going to be differences of opinion.    Some guys are going to think a girl who hangs out a bar till four in the morning and posts naked pictures of herself on the internet, and does not object to sex outside marriage, just might be fair game in an elevator.   Especially if he feels that he has good intentions, like a consensual swap of pleasure.

                  Some women, as has been evidenced by the push back would tend to agree.

                  It’s dishonest to claim that  is equivalent to “any time, any place”.  

                  You don’t get to make an unchariable interpretation of someone else’s position, argue from there.   It’s called making a straw man argument.

                  Even if there were one guy out there who made such a claim.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  http://www.love-shy.com

                  Done.

                  Also, btw…these are the same folks who praised Soros as a hero and have seriously discussed that a law should be passed forbidding women from turning down sex.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  In the context of this debate as was ever so clear from my comment.  Any intellectually honest person would understand that.

                  That’s as honest as my claiming that you guys are arguing for pedophilia, and when challenged to prove it pointing to the NAMBLA site.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

                  You’re a troll. Please sod off.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  Says someone hiding behind a handle.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  The guys from that site have been involved in these discussions.  That’s the part you aren’t getting.

                  Or maybe you are, and are now pissed that I’ve cited your hangout as an example.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  You didn’t even link to a comment proving your claim.

                  You linked to the front page  of some bizzare web site.   Hardly convincing “evidence”.

                  Like I said, pretty much like pointing to a nambla site.

                  You’ve gone pretty far afield and gotten nowhere. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

        It wasn’t just her elevator comment.  It’s her entire agenda.    The elevator stuff was just the straw.     It’s the whole whiteness studies related white male privilege stuff.

    • http://profiles.google.com/gemmaellen Gemma Mason

      “Watson is, in a nutshell, the Sarah Palin of skepticism.”

      Shame on anyone who wants to use Sarah Palin in a sexist way to undermine women they don’t like.

      • NC

        Shame on anyone who immediately assumes the comparison was sexist. Imagine the author had said,

        ‘Dawkins is, in a nutshell, the George Bush of skepticism.’

        Would it have even crossed your mind to reply, ‘Shame on anyone who wants to use George W Bush in a sexist way to undermine men they don’t like’? Would that not be the height of paranoia and solipsism? 

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

      Sarah Palin juggles and falsely accuses other of pedophilia?   

  • Charles Black

    Then I wonder why we aren’t taken as seriously by the wider community as we should be,when we let a ridiculous non-issue such as “Elevatorgate” take up discussion instead of using for lets say discussing solutions for human caused global warming or fighting against abuses of power by the Christian Fundamentalists for example.
    Look all I’m saying is that if you want me to take this blog seriously let the issue die & promise never to speak of it again.

    • Chrissy Jones

      I wish I could like this 100 more times.

      • Kevin Jackson

        I’d say two things. 1) This is the first time I think that both sides were put in context (thanks to Dr. Kazez) Up till now, it seems like it’s been pick a side and you are an asshole whichever side you pick and 2) It is refreshing to see that (at times) two differing viewpoints can be expressed without resorting to bullying to one right answer. I think it is important to take into account what both sides think and arrive at a conclusion. At least then you are making an attempt to understand everyone else.

        • Mel

          Thank you Kevin.  It’s nice to know someone actually watched the video, or at least Dr. Kazez’s part, before posting.

  • Jen Funk

    I read a lot of atheism blogs but don’t usually look at the comments section since I see them through a reader. I haven’t read any of these comments either. I usually avoid comments on blogs in the same way I avoid the editorial page in the newspaper (mostly just angers me). I just wanted to state that I watched the video and thought maybe I should be counted as a female atheist since there seems to be a lack of them making themselves publicly known.

    • James Emery

      Welcome!  Please make yourself comfortable here, and always remember, there are jerks here… Just like everywhere else. :)  Feel free to ignore them.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

      I’d thought I should comment as a rational atheist because after watching that video I see so few of them are around these days.    

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1535286477 Roxane Farrell Murray

    Anybody else vaguely disturbed by the implication that we all need to go to Re-Education Camp?  Even if it just consists of watching an hour-and-a-half video?   It’s like we’re taking the “no true Scotsman” fallacy and making it a qualification for membership:  No True Atheist would ever behave like an insensitive jerk.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

      That’s what I found objectionable about this in the first place.   That and this leftist dogma that whenever there is any situation where the ratios of different types of people aren’t to their liking they assume there is some racism or misogyny involved.   People self select.   

  • http://twitter.com/aynsavoy Anne Sauer

    I wish that the majority of the comments on this post were actually about the content of this post. I’ve only been able to watch a couple segments of the video, but I think what the Dallas F0F did is really interesting and useful. 

    It’s a long video, so perhaps more substantial comments will come later, after more people have had a chance to watch it. But seriously–you don’t need to leave a comment to whine about EG being brought up again. That’s not the point of this post.

  • Colleen Speed

    Is there no moderate line to take on this issue?  I empathize with both sides that led to the actual event in the elevator. Guy thought he was being polite, did not understand or even cross his mind that his actions could be perceived as creepy. Rebecca points out how uncomfortable she was in the situation and said “guys, don’t do that.” probably to help point out that’s not the best way to get to know a woman.

    I could care less about the resulting shit storm after that comment when people on both sides blow the underlying concern out of perspective.  If you can’t empathize with a guy who takes the wrong approach to get to know a woman then you need to work on your empathy. Conversely if you can’t empathize that a woman could possibly feel uncomfortable being hit on in a confined space during a time when most people are sleeping, you need to work on your empathy. 

    Honestly both sides at this point have gotten so ridiculous and I don’t see how anyone can pick just one side.

    • Nena

      This. Definitely this. More of this, please.

      Guy on elevator = clumsy, creepy, but most likely unintentionally so

      Rebecca’s video = reasonable

      Everything afterward on both sides = insane

    • guest

      Yes, exactly right.  Your post is just how it should have gone.  Rebecca DID treat the guy with empathy.  She seemed to “get” that he was just utterly blind to his own privilege and the possibility of her discomfort;  likewise, she was uncomfortable and wanted to give it a mention -  maybe both EG and other guys could learn something in an easy, friendly way.  She said, Here’s what happened -  not the end of the world, but I was uncomfortable.  Guys, please don’t do that.
      THen -  the shitstorm.
      elevatorgate was caused by the rage of frustrated men.

      And, to paraphrase the condescending jerk who replied to one of my earlier comments -  that is why “we people” have to speak up now and then and put it all in perspective for you!

      • Guest

        For the millionth time, no one cares about Rebecca Watson’s first video. It was the CFI conference a week or so later where she gave a different speech when things started to grow out of hand and it was Greg Laden’s post  where he advised men to cross the street to get out of women’s ways lest they be suspect of being a rapist where things got nasty. And it was Rebecca Watson’s second video where she suggested that socially awkward men fuck dolls, because women just don’t want them where she became just as bad as her most radial defenders.

        Everyone defending Watson are straw manning the whole issue

        • Guest

          radical*

          • guest

            What would truly be radical (not to mention amazing, manly, brave and human) would be for one of you men to finally acknowledge that there might be another dynamic going on which is not related to your desires – and that – amazingly – a woman’s feelings in a situation like that might not be a rejection of YOU, personally,  but simply what she said it was:  uncomfortable.  For all the reasons that women are made uncomfortable, threatened, objectified etc every day of their (reproductively capable) lives.

            • guest

              Oh, and by “one of you men”  I mean one of you men attacking Rebecca Watson/whining “what about the men?” etc.
              Plenty of great men do not engage in this repulsive behaviour and for that I am truly thankful!

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                Plenty of women don’t engage in Rebecca Watson’s repulsive behavior, and for that I’m truly thankful.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  1 in 4 college women have either been raped or suffered attempted rape.84% of the women who are raped knew their assailants.57% of the rapes occurred on a date.Women ages 16-24 have 4 times higher risk of being raped than any other population group.1 in 12 male students surveyed had committed acts that met the legal definition of rape.16% of male students who had committed rape took part in episodes with more than one attacker’s gang rape.33% of males surveyed said that they would commit rape if they could escape detection.25% of men surveyed believed that rape was acceptable if: the woman
                  asks the man out; or the man pays for the date; or the woman goes back
                  to the man’s room after the date.

                  But no, the problem is RW’s behavior.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  On more statistic, 100% of people who have  the handle WithinThisMind have serious issues with men.  Only this statistic doesn’t lie.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  It’s like you can’t help yourself.  You’ve hit bottom, but have this compulsion to just keep digging yourself in deeper.

                  Why don’t you go back to the MRA forum you came from?

        • guest

          Everyone defending the vicious men who attacked her mild statement “strawmanned” the whole issue by falsely claiming that Rebecca Watson had accused EG of attempting to rape her.  And the follow up shitstorm was largely just that.  Men accusing Rebecca Watson (and any woman who asked them to please get that WOMEN ARE NERVOUS BEING APPROACHED BY A MAN IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES, NOT BECAUSE THEY ASSUME HE IS A RAPIST BUT BECAUSE WOMEN WHO ARE NOT CONSTANTLY VIGILANT ARE SO DEPRESSINGLY FREQUENTLY THE VICTIMS OF ASSAULT AND THERE IS no way NO WAY AT ALL TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A POTENTIAL RAPIST AND A DECENT MAN!!
          Yes, I was forced to use caps because there seems to be no way for me to just use italics or bold, which is what I would have preferred (sorry).  But emphasis is necessary.

          • guest

            Oops, forgot to finish….men accusing Rebecca Watson and any other women…etc…of accusing any man who approaches any woman anytime of being a rapist.  COme on, guys.  Come ON!  No honest person could have gotten that from the 10 second bit on the original segment.
            It was a shitstorm blown up by men who fear and resent women (she has the power to say NO to me -  that cannot be allowed!  Only men should have the power to say Yes, no, when, where, how, etc)  and then, yes, it appears that Rebecca responded like a jerk (a badly provoked jerk, mind you) and then the gloves were well and truly off and the free for all -  aka as elevatorgate shitstorm – ensued.

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

              There’s more context than the 10 seconds.    Her whole essence of  being is about how women don’t go to atheist conventions because of all the potential rapists.      She’s bringing up the issue of rape.  

              • Karen L

                Nope.  She brings up the issue of being hit on a lot, and how alienating that is, as an explanation for why women aboivd atheist conventions.

                 She only brings up rape in terms of rape threats that she receives in emails — from atheists.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  Factually incorrect since she brought it up in the case of the elevator incident.   She specifically invented a hypothetical of a “what if” she was a rape or sexual assault victim.

                  If we had to use such “what ifs” as a standard constraining our behaviors then we would soon find ourselves living in hell.

                  What if, ever black man had to treat whites “as if” they had been assaulted by a black?   Worse that this restriction would be justified based on statistics.

              • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                Do yourself a favor.

                Research the sexual assault/harassment statistics at conventions.

                It is a huge reason why women don’t go to conventions.  Not only do we have to risk the harassment and assault, but we also are well aware that if we try to lodge a complaint, we will be ignored, belittled, and/or further degraded. 

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  Why do you care? I’m a soulless male.   My penis makes my opinion superfluous.   Male privilege tells us so.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  I’m very sorry about your penis.  Perhaps you should consider therapy for your issues regarding your feelings about your penis.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  WithoutAMind, I’m not the one with an irrational ideology that has a concept like “Male Privilege” that allows me to dismiss an entire class of people.  You are.   

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  That cognitive dissonance of yours must be getting quite painful by now.  Do you need an aspirin or something?

        • Colleen Speed

          I’m not certain how my post got to be read as a defense of Rebecca. 

          I could care less about the resulting shit storm after that comment when people on both sides blow the underlying concern out of perspective.

          I simply can’t understand how so many so called rational or objective thinkers can’t look back at the source material and come to the same conclusion as me.

          Both sides flew off the handle and both sides show a startling lack of empathy or rationality which highlighted a fascinating division on issues other than religion within the atheist communities. 

          It is due to Elevator Gate that I stopped identifying myself as an atheist and now identify as a humanist.  It has become apparent to me that atheism does not imply my desire to understand and respect all people (man, woman, sexual orientation, or ethnic background) and their rational perspectives.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1370311919 Daniela Gonzalez

      Anyone who has actually looked into the issue knows that women are far
      better off, by almost every metric, in Western society. Feminism, in
      any of it old iterations or current vanguard, is so clueless, biased,
      and blind…

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.zamecki Joe Zamecki

    Side issues… Beware the Ides of Side Issues…

  • James Emery

    Compromise!

    How about this, since we’re on FA’s comments:

    Feminism is good!  Dworkin-et-al (a fairly SMALL portion of the feminist community, I’ll add) is not-so-good, and kinda misandric and abrasive.  Let’s keep that tone out of the conversation here.

    Men have rights too!  People who troll the comments, though, in an assholish manner, calling feminists ‘conservatives’ and such (WTF?) and claiming women are endangering their sexuality are bad.  Let’s keep that tone out of the conversation here.

    Discrimination runs both ways, and as much as some people would like to hide it, there WERE two sides to this story (more like eighty or so, really).  Both sides were correct to a certain degree, and both sides deserved respect.  It all went from meaningful discussion to shitstorm because we had people all over the freakin’ blogosphere calling people misogynists or feminine conservatives or potential rapists or uppity sluts or WHATEVER the derogatory term of the day was, and it JUST. KEPT. GOING.

    I propose we excise assholes with anger problems from the conversation.  No, really.  Some of them just don’t belong in the comment threads here.  Let PZ and ERV have them all (I love them both, but really, they both get off on that shit).

    On that note, we have people who recognize that the intents on both sides have massive numbers of possibilities, and were mostly unknowable.  We also have people that are all, “ZOMG RW IS A MISANDRIST’ and “Holy Dog-Shit, Batman, EG IS A RAPPIST!!!!111!!!!”.

    Give it all a rest.  Read up on causality, psychology, and mob mentality.  Also, love you all! :)

    Have a nice day!

  • Patrick Dunn

    why, hemant, why?

  • Anonymous

    I’m glad to see this thread has not devolved into the usual shouting match that typically accompanies any mention of the word “elevator”. I’m also really glad to see that most people have watched the video and, in that spirit, not rehashed the fucking “incident” again but actually used it as a way of discussing the issues of majority/minority status, priviledge etc.

    /sarcasm

    I loved the video and the approach. I especially liked the “priviledge” step forward and step backwards activity and would LOVE to see it done with a large audience and recorded. I think possibly the most important lesson I take from this is how important grass-roots groups are. Strong local groups where things can be discussed face to face are essential. On the internet hyperbole is the norm, misunderstandings and misrepresentations are rampant and “who wins” is far too important. Local groups aren’t immune to drama of course, but face to face things can be resolved more quietly (Rebecca and Richard have pretty much patched things up on a personal level, even as the internet wars rage on). People who have a community of real life human beings are also less isolated, which both gives them a sense of security (my pack will look out for me) and checks their less civilized behavior (I don’t want my pack to think I’m an asshole).

  • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

    I was sitting in an airport.  I had my kindle in front of me, and was engrossed in reading it.  I was also wearing my MP3 player, with my hair pulled back so that the earbuds were quite obvious.  I was not looking up or making eye contact with anyone.

    A man came over and started talking at me.  I didn’t realize it at first because, well, earbuds, mp3 player, kindle, not looking up.  He reached over and tapped me on the shoulder.  I took an earbud out and raised an eyebrow at him.  He asked me what I was reading.  I responded that I was studying and needed to get back to it.  He ignored me and started chatting about a book he’d read recently.  I tried several times to excuse myself from the conversation and was talked over each time.  Finally I got up, walked across the room, took another seat, and went back to my book, replacing my earbuds.  He walked over and called me a stupid cunt.

    Now, those of you defending elevator guy and saying that this kind of stuff doesn’t need to be talked about, please explain to me why exactly I was in the wrong in this situation, as several folks (all men) seem to think I was.  Please explain to me how this man’s desire to talk to me was more important than my quite clearly expressed desire to be left alone.

    I’ve been told I was rude in this situation by many folks I’ve previously considered to be reasonable.  That’s why we still need to talk about this.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

      Yeah, because it’s sooo rude to say, “Hey, I’m studying, please go away now.”

      /sarcasm

      • Anonymous

        “I responded that I was studying and needed to get back to it. ”

        But don’t let the facts get in the way of dismissing the discomfort of someone being harrased.

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

          Way to miss the sarcasm, there. I was agreeing with WTM.

          (Reading comprehension, get some, kthxbai.)

          • James Emery

            Would smacking him with the book have been bad? ;)

            • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

              Probably, yeah, but it’s very tempting at times. What kills me is when it’s obvious you want to be left alone, there’s always some jerkass — not necessarily male, or grown-up, for that matter — that doesn’t “get” that it’s impolite to bother someone when they’re clearly engrossed in another activity. Unless someone’s, like, dying, or the terminal is on fire, or something important like that, “nose in book” (or laptop, or kindle, as the case may be) generally equals “Do Not Disturb”.

              • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                Last year, the day after my sister died, I went to the library to return a book before I left for the funeral.  A man grabbed my arm and said ‘smile sweetheart, it can’t be that bad’.

                And of course, my ripping my arm out of his grasp and saying ‘what the fuck would you know?’ made me the bad person, the hysterical bitch who’d jumped down the poor innocent ‘nice’ guy’s throat.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

                  You showed a lot of restraint, there.

            • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

              Thwacking assholes upside the head isn’t covered by kindle warranty.  Beside, if I’d hit someone with it in an airport TSA would immediately ban it as a weapon.

              • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

                Ha!

          • Anonymous

            I did see the sarcasm tag, but I thought you were sarcastically berating her for not saying that. You’re right that it’s a comprehension fail though. Apologies.

            • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

              It’s cool.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

       Isn’t it kinda bigoted of you to assume you have to tell all male atheists about some rude guy on the train.   What’s that got to do with me.  I’ve never done that.    How about you tell the person who’s doing it to you at the time it happens.    Apparently the guy was clueless and since you feel the need to proselytize about this issue he was the perfect audience.   You missed your chance to give him, not every other male on the planet, a chance to hear you.

      • Karen L

        Are you being disingenuous, or do you not recognize the context for this specific example being given?

        The person sharing this example was addressing the broader context of the problem many women experience of receiving unwelcome and uninvited attention, and of the general societal expectation that women are supposed to always be “nice”, friendly, smiling, etc. (receptive?).

        She assumes she has to tell this because some male atheists don’t recognize that a problem exists.

        • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

          —-She assumes she has to tell this because some male atheists don’t recognize that a problem exists.—-

          We should thank Mr. Macker here for providing an excellent case in point.

          Once again, the problem has been twisted back around to make the women at fault.  Now, not only am I a ‘stupid cunt’ for not wanting to give the man in the scenario my undivided attention, I’m also a ‘bigot’ for daring to even present the scenario as a complaint.

          And that is why we still need to talk about this.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

            “Once again, the problem has been twisted back around to make the women at fault. ”

            That’s stupid.   I can share all sorts of stories with you about many examples of women behaving badly.   I don’t because I’m not bigoted enough to assume that you need to hear it.   I don’t extrapolate the behavior of the few to the many.

            • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

              Thank you again for providing such an excellent example of male privilege and additionally providing a pristine example of why we still need to have this conversations.

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                 Thank you for demostrating how the concept of “male privilege” is properly used.     Ad Hominem at its finest.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

          Who?   

      • guest

        No, you missed your chance to hear and understand another human being.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

          I understand.  I just think her expectations are stupid.

          • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

            Yes.  We acknowledge that due to your male privilege, you think it is stupid that a woman should be able to expect to not be harassed.

            That’s why we are pointing to you as an example of the problem.

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

              Don’t let anything I actually said get in the way of your lies.

              • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                Interesting.  And yet, you can’t point to a single thing I’ve said that’s actually untrue.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  You claimed that I thought it was “stupid that a woman should be able to expect to not be harassed” which is not the case.

                  I thought it was stupid that you think that every other male is guilty, and needs your lecturing.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  Your entire purpose here, which you’ve made clear to everyone, is to say that it’s stupid for women to expect not to be harassed.  You put the blame on the woman in the situation, rather than where it belongs, on the culture of privilege that teaches men they are entitled to harass women.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  False.   Read it again.     You run into some random rude guy at the airport and your expectation is that complaining to a bunch of atheists on the internet is going to solve that problem.     That’s a pretty stupid expectation.  You don’t even know if I go to atheist conventions, and your claiming I hang out on elevators.    Pretty detached from reality.

                  You assume that your perspective is infathomable because of “male privilege” but it’s totally obvious why you’d be upset with airport guy.

                  Meanwhile you are clueless about any other perspective.

                  You think that if a ran into some random rude black guy, then when to some black rights website to complain to them they are going to think I’m rational.   No they are going to look at me like I’m nuts and treat me like the ignorant bigot that I would be acting like.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  Thank you again for being an example of the very behavior you are denying exists.  You are the reason we keep having to have these conversations.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

          Here’s a true story and I’m not sharing it because I expect to change anyone’s behavior here, or want pity, or want to forward some theory about “black privilege”. 

          I’m eating dinner at a restaurant at the beach on a raised deck with my wife and my kids.   This restaurant is on a public beach so random people can walk by.   It dark.    So some black guy comes up to us talking between the railings and interrupting our diner.    He has some rather harebrained ideas about economics and he starts sharing them with us uninvited.      He starts debating us about that.  Pointing out how the restaurant chain we were in had so much, and he had so little.  Etc. 

          Just like the guy at that airport he wanted something from us.    He wanted to sell us some crappy junk.   This was part of his sales pitch.  At first we just tell him no we already have all we want.   He keeps at it.  Finally we explain to him that we are eating dinner, that we are paying extra for the atmosphere and that he is ruining all that.

          No doubt that this is rude.   Let’s be clear only an idiot wouldn’t get the fact it is.  

          Suppose further that I have this theory that he behaved this way because blacks in general are privileged.    Not something I came up with but something that’s taught in school.   Now suppose that black privilege theory teaches all sorts of irrational nonsense about how blacks have special privileges that no one else gets using evidence like this, or the fact that some dismiss whites when they talk about race relations, etc.

          Part of that hypothetical theory is that our society condones black privilege and therefore this behavior.   This despite the glaring evidence to the contrary, which is that exactly this behavior is considered rude.

          Now suppose I go to a convention that blacks attend, and mind you whites, but predominately blacks.     Or perhaps one where blacks take a greater interest than whites.     Now suppose that the blacks at these meetings have been accused of being racists (white hateres the analog of mysoginists) based on the flimsyist of evidence.   Apparently a black guy at one of these meetings had tried to sell a white something on the elevator right after that very same white had just got done explaining to all blacks and their white co-consipirators in oppressing whites that they don’t ever want to be approached with a sales pitch at conventions.

          Suppose further that the white person makes a point of bragging how much money they have (by waving it around on the interent- posing nude) and also makes a point of showing that Xism (whatever the club is about) should not be denigrated by whites because Xism is perfectly compatibile with making business deals (is sexy).

          Perhaps elevator black guy got confused by the mixed messages, but who knows.    In any case the white person who’s complaining about blacks uses this behavior as evidence that blacks are privileged, that there is a deep problem with Xism, and so forth.

          Note: Suppose the black guy on the elevator said “Don’t take this  like I’m trying to sell you something, but I’ve got some souvenirs I’d like you to see.”

          Suppose this wasn’t taken as a robbery but as pretty clueless behavior.   An attempt to sell trinkets when the person had just said they wanted to go to bed.

          Suppose further  that there was a kerfuffle about this.   That some people we’re quoting crime statistics about black on white crime and saying that’s and additional factor in why blacks shouldn’t approach whites to sell things.

           Now suppose that I a white person write a comment giving my above true story anecdote above and demand:  that those defending (or so I claim) elevator black guy should defend beach black guys behavior.

          Now suppose further.  That it wasn’t a guy wandering off the beach.   Suppose further that I was alone  waiting to be seated.  Supposed further that I was reading a book.    Supposed I raised and eyebrow to the notion a black guy might want to strike up a conversation with me when I’m obviously busy.   Supposed I try to excuses myself (and also supposed he’s not even trying to sell me anything).  Supposed I storm off and he comes up to me and calls me a cracker.

          Now suppose I went to the Xism group, and asked them to explain why that was rude on my part, just because somebody else, who the hell knows, told me I was rude.    Quite clearly expecting the whites to agree with me, because many whites had already been called race traitors when they disagreed to any degree with then entire package of nonsense I was promoting.

          Is failure to strike up a conversation with a bored person and “walking away” considered rude?   That’s debatable.   Depends on where you are.    In NY kicking him in the balls might be considered polite, while in Saudi Arabia you might be required as an unescorted female out of politeness to give him a blow job to keep him occupied.     So opinion will differ.

          Not sure why any of these differing anecdotes have to all have the same answer.    There’s plenty of them going around.

          The expectation that you are owed an explanation on a different circumstance, by a different group, is  ridiculous.    The expectation that they must find one behavior acceptable because they didn’t completely agree on another is ridiculous.

          Guys like Dawkins who said the guy didn’t do anything wrong didn’t necessarily mean it the way you take it.   He might have meant that it was NOT evidence of misogyny.   He might have had a different kind of wrong in mind.   He may have been referring to something different than what you have in mind.

          You don’t get to pick what other people think is important, nor do you get to pick what they mean.

          Your incident was trivial.   Worse shit happens  all the time.  Beach guy was in June.  I could have given you an incident with a woman if I wanted.   Some woman on the grocery line, someone at the video store, etc.

          I don’t date anymore but I can give stories about that too.  Like the woman in the bar who had a concealed squirt gun and was squirting me every so often when I wasn’t looking.   I don’t know if it was a lame attempt at attention, or she was just trying to demean me.

          Men don’t have a monopoly on stupid behavior.   Your expectations are irrational.

          I told that beach guy he was rude.   I told him a bunch of other things I’m not going to share here (or some predominantly black site) because I wouldn’t expect that to stop beach guys behavior.
           

           

                

          • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

            After you told him he was rude, did you get jumped on by many of the other black guys in the area and told that you should have been nice, or had your sexuality/ethics called into question, or threatened with sexual assault?

            No?

            And that’s why the situation is different, as I made clear in my post.

            My issue wasn’t directed at the man that came up and pestered me.  Assholes exist, as you are clear evidence.

            This is the part of my post you missed (deliberately):

            “I’ve been told I was rude in this situation by many folks I’ve
            previously considered to be reasonable.  That’s why we still need to
            talk about this.”

            I didn’t post asking for the guy who hit on me to be addressed.  I posted asking for all the guys who told me I was rude for not talking to the guy to explain themselves.  That’s what you aren’t getting.

            I was told, by ‘nice’ men, that instead of responding to the guy the way I did, I should have made conversation and given him my attention, possibly even my phone number.  Because to do otherwise wasn’t ‘nice’.  And THAT’S the issue.

  • Anonymous

    *places fingers in ears and begins to whistle, waiting for the flame wars to die down* Honestly, people on both sides of this are taking this way too seriously. I stopped reading all of the atheist blogs for about a month when all of this happened because I simply could not stand the useless squabbling and bitching going on(from both sides). Please, everyone, get over your egos, treat each other as equals, and move on PLEASE.

  • Lyra

    I really liked Dr. Justin Fisher’s activity.

  • Gues

    The real issue is strangers bothering us for things they do not need. It would be like EG asking me for $500 on the elevator for no reason other than just to have another $500.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

    Dr. Justin Fisher is an idiot who doesn’t understand what the word privilege means.    His example is stupid.  Is a black man “privileged” because a white woman clasps her purse in fear when he comes in the room?    That’s an example that fits his ridiculous example.   

    The take a step forward vs. backward exercise is asinine.     If your first language is English that doesn’t mean you are privileged in any bad way.    If you parents haven’t divorced that doesn’t mean you are privileged in any bad way.    So on and so forth.

    The idiot thinks that if you are able to complete college then you are privileged.   

    This is diarrhea of the mouth and mind.

    This is what is so offensive about jerks like this idiot and elevator gal getting up to the podium to try to educate us as supposed skeptics.   They’ve swallowed a false religion of their own and are trying to convert us.

    You want to complain about some jerk on the elevator then do so, but don’t act as if the entire group is guilty of it, and don’t sell us your stupid religion.

    • Anonymous

      OK you don’t like the privilege activity. You might not like this, but I’m just going to ask a few questions.

      A- Do you think that there are characteristics one is either born with or are imposed on you in your childhood (read: things you have no control over) that make your life easier or harder?

      Assuming you answered “yes” to the above then you believe privilege exists. So here’s a sci-fi hypothetical.  You are to be reincarnated as a baby within modern US society. With the knowledge currently available to you, you are given a form to fill out so that your birth meets your preferences. For the sake of this excersize you are trying to achieve the person with the easiest, healthiest, happiest life, the one most likely to succeed and get ahead. As such which of the following would you choose:

      1. Black or white.
      2. Male or female.
      3. Gay or straight.
      4. Rich or poor.
      5. Brought up by a single parent or by two parents (abuse not considered)
      6. Attractive or ugly
      7. Right or left-handed

      If you honestly can say that in terms of your calculation of which individual it would be most convenient to be, you find the choice in one, some or all of these cases to be  indifferent (as I assume you would for nº7, obviously there for contrast) then you are affirmins privilege. I’m sure that the best kinds of quesg that there is no privilege attached to those differences. However if
      you would choose one over the other (again, just in terms of giving you
      the better chance) then you are acknowledging that the characteristic
      you chose hations to reflect on that privilege can be debated over, but an activity that serves to reflect it in a visual easy to grasp manner certainly does not strike me as “diarrhea of the mouth and mind”.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

        In order to solve a problem you must first understand it.  The reason I am a skeptic (actually pan critical rationalist) is because I recognize my fallibility and wish to reduce error in my thought processes, my understanding.   There are certain rules I follow to do that.   One of those rules is not to misuse language so that I don’t commit common fallacies like equivocation, and over simplification.

        The word privilege has several meanings none of which apply in this case.   I know it is common for people to misuse the word privilege when they mean fortune but it is still an error and one that is fraught with danger.   This error has become more common because leftists over the years have accumulated quite a bit of Newspeak.   One of the words they have invented is underprivileged, which means misfortuned.   That does not mean the word privilege has the opposite meaning.

        I recognize the difference between privilege and fortune.   I am insisting on the proper use of English so that we do not confuse the two and thus oversimplify reality, or worse equivocate.   I am not denying the existence of either as you and other seem to believe.   None of those questions identified privileges.  Some were fortunes, some disadvantages, and others accomplishments.   Many depend upon subjective experience.  One persons ability to graduate from college is an accomplishment while another’s may be a fraud.

        I find these kind of word games offensive precisely because they are meant to confuse.  It is precisely the same game that Theists use when equivocating between the different meanings of the word faith, which are on the one hand, To believe without credible evidence, and on the other hand, To trust based on evidence.   Except in this case there is no alternate meaning of the word privilege to equivocate on, so the left has invented a new vocabulary where privilege means fortune.

        I also do not like it when a restrain on one person is confused for a privilege of another.   All three meanings, privilege, fortune, and restraint have moral implications that are glossed over when you confuse the words.

        For instance it is not correct to call an emancipated slave or freeman privileged over a slave if they are not legally allowed to own slaves.  Someone who is legally allowed to own slaves is potentially privileged, and slaveholder actually privileged.   Freedom is the natural state, and slavery is a restraint on that natural state.   Unless you are actively participating or supporting slavery the mere fact you are not a slave does not make you privileged.   So it would be improper to say that US citizens are privileged when compared to the citizen slaves of the many totalitarian communist countries around the world.   Properly the reverse is true.  Those citizen slaves are restrained.

        I also distinguish between privileges, restrains and fortunes that are natural, or artificial, and if artificial who caused them.     The latter have moral implications.  I may be restrained by gravity from flapping my arms to fly but there is no moral injustice that needs to be corrected, as opposed to when terrorism restrains me from flying on a plane out of fear.   A person constrained from finishing college because he is stupid bears no moral burden, whereas one constrained by laziness does.

        Reality and morality is much more complex that this, what you called, privilege exercise, and I would call, privilege masturbation allows for.

        I don’t find your Rawlsian sci-fi hypothetical any more helpful.  Rawls was mistaken about the nature of morality.

        In addition, your criteria for discerning “privilege” doesn’t even work.   It’s dependent on several levels of confounding factors.   What does happy mean?  I certainly would be happy being a slaveholder.   Yet, by this criteria the fact I would rather be a slave forces you to call the slave someone who is privileged.  

        Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack specifically included the ability to arrange your life so you can be mostly around people of your own race as a “privilege”.   Well a slave-master on a plantation actually has less opportunity than his slaves to be around people of his own race.   So using that criteria the slaves are privileged.

        Your own individual criteria are contradictory.   I’m supposed to choose such that “achieve the person easiest, healthiest, happiest life, the one most likely to succeed and get ahead.”   Many of these criteria run in opposite directions.  The easiest life, the life of a beach bum, is not likely to be one that succeeds.   The person driven to success may be less likely to be healthy, and dependent on career.

        You also fail to understand that some “unearned” advantages are deserved non-the-less.   Each giraffe did not “earn” the advantage of their long necks by achievement, and yet deserve the advantages they confer.  Why?  Because their genes are the source of those advantages and an individuals genes are a part of the self.

        The Rawlsian veil of ignorance doesn’t level the moral playing field precisely because it is ignorant.   In it’s attempt to level the playing field it goes to far.  The person making the choice has no means to make a moral choice precisely because it eliminates the ability to discern cause and effect, which is needed to assign both blame, and credit.

        You are totally mistaken in believing that you can use your hypothetical to identify privilege.    It’s superfluous anyway since we have perfectly serviceable ways to do that already.   Whites were privileged by Jim Crow laws, and blacks are privileged by Affirmative Action today.

        You also make a grave mistake in assuming that because whites on average may be more wealthy than blacks that has any moral implications for whites.   It does no good for a poor white man that some other white man lives off a trust fund.   To think an impoverished white person is “privileged” because of averages is no better than to be a stereotyping bigot.   To confuse those who’ve earned their wealth with those who have stolen it makes an even worse moral error.   Nor is the inheritance of earned wealth a moral failing.

        The reason many do not recognize all these facts is because they have an impoverished understanding of the world, reasoning skills, and moral beliefs.

        I find it very offensive when others use word games, designed to sucker others, in order to claim that I’m the one with moral issues.   It’s the other way round.

        No this isn’t open to debate.  It’s quite clear that an error is being made, and not by me.   If you think I’m making an error, which is certainly possible, then point it out.  Otherwise you are not likely to sway me.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

          That was supposed to be “I certainly wouldn’t be happy as a slave holder”.

          • guest

            In order to solve a problem you must first understand it.

            looks like you will not be solving this problem. Not only do you not understand, but you have made no attempt to understand.  In fact,  you’ve now gone out of your way to lecture everyone here on your own strangely skewed views on privilege (it doesn’t exist – except perhaps for blacks and women and other minorities who have stolen advantages over you!)

            I am sorry that I just gave up 5 minutes of my life to read that dreck above.  I saw it earlier and actually made time for it tonight, stupidly thinking “Hey this BM fellow feels strongly enough about this topic to craft a really long comment.  Maybe he is not a troll fool after all and I have been unfair to judge him as such. 

            Haha.  Foolish thought.  Thanks for the repulsive, mansplainin’, racist, bigoted, verbal diarrhea there, BM.

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

              “mansplainin”  Definition: a) Derogatory word used by misandrists and bigots.  b) The use of reason to tear apart emotional outbursts.

              • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

                Jog. the fuck. On.

                *pthbbbt*

                • guest

                  wmdkitty, it appears that BM is a loser who puffs his flaccid ego up a little by lashing out against what he hopes are female posters on comment threads like this.  I picture him in his parents’ basement typing away!  If he really is married, then pity the poor Mrs BM!  Imagine how it must be to live with someone who says “This is the way I like things and you better like it too -  or I will TEAR you down  – my reason over your emotional outbursts!”
                  Lucky for some of us, we have men who recognise that possibly an appeal based upon emotion is – you know – because there is genuine pain and painful experience there.  And, of course, a man who is not an emotional and moral cripple would respond to that with loving protective concern. Seriously doubt this Troll fool with his woman-hating AGENDA is capable of anything of the sort.  He is all about “FUck women who fear assault..what matters is MY feelings! I might want to hit on one and she can say NO and I might feel bad!”
                  Emotionalism, BM?
                  Indeed, losers like BM are not desirable mates,  but selectively fit they are because they prop up rape culture and benefit by it by snagging occasional partners who will do what they can to survive that culture,  or who are unlucky enough to never meet a better man.
                  And no, Troll fool, I did not just call you a rapist.  I called you a supporter of rape culture  – which you are, with a deeply ugly vengeance.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

                  This “my reasoning is better and more valid than your emotions (and/or safety)” thing is exactly what my abuser did all. the. time.

                  Also with the turning things around to make it somehow, well, anyone’s fault but his, because the mighty MAN can never be wrong, yeah?

                  Disgusting.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  Notice how you are discussing issues that have nothing to do with me.   That’s part of your problem you project behavior from one man to all men.   If disagreeing with you counts as abuse then you need more of it.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

                  *yawn*

                  I never said “disagreeing with me is abusive”. I’m just pointing out that your behavior in this thread just happens to be the behavior of an abuser. Shouting down, dismissing women’s arguments as “emotional”, claiming that your so-called reasoning is absolutely correct because you’re a man and that makes you superior.

                  Tell me, have you stopped beating your wife?

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  LOL, hyporite.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  News flash.  Rationality is not “Rape Culture”.    That a fact like this disturbs you is not my problem.  It’s yours.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

                  News flash.  Rationality is not “Rape Culture”.    That a fact like this disturbs you is not my problem.  It’s yours.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

    One would presume that since Watson is targeting the atheist community for special treatment that there is something about atheism in general or some specific atheist ideology, like Marxism, that specifically advocates threatening women with rape, and raping them.

    I can point to many places in Islamic religious texts where this is not only condoned but advocated.    Which certainly doesn’t reflect well on someone who advocates that particular ideology.   It doesn’t however make followers of other religions look bad.

    I certainly cannot condemn Islam for inciting Muslims to eat more than their fair share of bacon, even if I can do so for intolerant and violent behavior.    So I wouldn’t go to a Mosque to protest a bacon shortage.     Likewise I wouldn’t do so for issues for which Islam has no opinion.  

    So why exactly does Watson feel there is a special need to school atheists?   It can’t be that she is so foolish as to not get the fact that women self select against being atheists, and skeptics, can it?    Does she think we hold super special male only atheist pro-rape seminars?

    If there isn’t a general avocation of rape in atheism, then at least please point out some atheist ideology that is pro-rape.  Once identified I’m sure everyone will join me in condemning it.

    In the meantime it think part of the reason Watson gets hate mail is because her message is pretty hateful in it’s own right.   Who likes to have their group stereotyped as a bunch of criminals?   Especially if they are so strongly motivated by identity issues as to join a group and go to meetings. 

    I’m sure there are some idiot atheists out there thinking, “She already thinks I’m a rapist, so maybe that would lend credibility to a rape threat.”    I don’t have a very high opinion of atheists as a general class because such a large percentage are communists, and socialists.   Not exactly the badges worn by a deep thinkers.   So I’m never surprised at the idiocy of my fellow atheists.   Of course, I have about zero in common with most of them, so I don’t take it personally.

    • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

      —If there isn’t a general avocation of rape in atheism, then at least
      please point out some atheist ideology that is pro-rape.  Once
      identified I’m sure everyone will join me in condemning it.—

      Except it was identified, and you didn’t condemn it.  You defended it.  It’s nothing to do with ‘atheism’, but with the culture at large.  Atheists just aren’t immune and like to think they are.

  • Anonymous

    Like everyone on Rebecca Watson’s side you are missing the point.For about the previous two month Rebecca had been on a role complaining about sexism in the atheist community. She went to conferences and steered the conversation all the time to how horrible the atheist men were and never gave any real evidence (she cited a few emails, but they were mostly from religious trolls). Time and time again she asserted that atheist conferences were hell for women, like some kind of sexist gulag, never really giving other evidence, just claiming that other unnamed women agreed with her (even when other women disagreed with her about how terrible the atheist dudes were, she simple dismissed them out of hand).So people were very hungry for an actual example of the actual “misogyny” Rebecca kept ranting about so they could consider and debate the situation, but when if finally came it was utterly pathetic. Of course she got jumped all over, rightly so.

    • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

      Like everyone else who doesn’t get it, we’ve been there.  We’ve experienced the misogyny.  We’ve been harassed, assaulted, stalked, and raped.  We’ve had our concerns dismissed. 

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

        We’ve also been called “paranoid”, “sexist”, “misandrist”, and far, far worse for the “crime” of wanting to be safe in public spaces.

        • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

          And don’t forget, we are supposed to be flattered by the mistreatment.

          • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

            There’s a reason I left my ex…

  • Anonymous

    Like everyone on Rebecca Watson’s side you are missing the point.For about the previous two month Rebecca had been on a role complaining about sexism in the atheist community. She went to conferences and steered the conversation all the time to how horrible the atheist men were and never gave any real evidence (she cited a few emails, but they were mostly from religious trolls). Time and time again she asserted that atheist conferences were hell for women, like some kind of sexist gulag, never really giving other evidence, just claiming that other unnamed women agreed with her (even when other women disagreed with her about how terrible the atheist dudes were, she simple dismissed them out of hand).So people were very hungry for an actual example of the actual “misogyny” Rebecca kept ranting about so they could consider and debate the situation, but when if finally came it was utterly pathetic. Of course she got jumped all over, rightly so.

  • Frank

    If there were two gay men in the elevator and one asked the other if he’d like to join him for some coffee, would we care?  Would the man be called a sexist?  If there were two lesbians in the elevator and one asked the other if she’d like to join her for some coffee, would we care? Would the woman be called a sexist?  If there were a man and a woman in the elevator and the roles were reversed, would we care?  Would the woman be a creepy sexist?  This is ridiculous, a mountain out of a mole hill.  Are men aggressive and harassing to women?  All the time, but not in this case.  Ms. Watson needs to get a life. 

  • Nanofish

    Imagine going to a free thought convention with the hopes of actually hearing some lively conversation but instead you are transported to the 1970s talking about sex-crazed men and vulnerable women.  Imagine the horror of your conference being hijacked by cliche feminists pissed off at political incorrectness. Imagine the horror. 

  • B_stein

    What Dawkins did was indeed creepy and weird. Sounds like it was even planned-

       After a night of drunken revelry and stimulating, non-stop, pseudo-intellectual discussion, and mutual adoration of all the attendees towards one another, a 70 year old, British, intellectual, academic, corners and propositions a 20-something, hipster-chick in elevator. To add to the insult and injury, he creates a silly and transparent subterfuge, based upon sipping coffee in his lair and the continuation of same pseudo-intellectual jabber.

       Hipster chick predictably becomes ‘creeped out’ and offended. Understandably so. Thinking about Richard Dawkins naked, or even having a sex drive, would scare any rationalist thinker.

    Just a few comments I need to get off my chest here- Is Ms. Watson actually naive enough to believe rationalist academics types, are in full control of their penises and are immune to evolutionary-based,  sexual urges? Perhaps more importantly, does she believe rationalist/skeptic types are in any way better or superior to other folk in morals, character, etc? This is her fundamental mistake. I think this incident perhaps ‘burst her bubble’ a bit  that ‘skeptical types’ are above such coarse aspects of human nature. 

       Disclosure-  I am myself an engineer/scientist, cold rationalist, atheist, pseudo-intellectual, and I am in no doubt, in many regards, eerily similar to Ms. Watson and her crowd of skeptical skeptics, with one keen distinction-  I find that group of people, no more interesting and no more worthy of respect, adulation, or adoration, than anyone else. I find them just as annoying, if not more so, than born-again x-ians and their lot. The idea of “atheist/skeptic conventions,” groups, organizations, and such is quite nauseating to me. Replete with its heroes, best-selling authors, evangelists of the movement, etc.   I would not want to be in the same city as one of these gatherings, never mind the same hotel. It’s just a mutual-adoration, mutual-verbal-masturbatory, society. Surrounding yourself, because of the lack of intellectual security, and for reasons of self-doubt and comfort-zones, with a bunch of like-minded, clone-ish, people.  All eerily similar in their thinking and beliefs.
        Anything humans organize into a group, goes to hell in a handbasket, whether it is religion, politics, “skeptic societies,” etc.  In any case, I still have hope for Ms. Watson. If she is smart, she’ll become a misanthrope such as myself, and start to see the pettiness and hypocrisy within her own movement and crowd of people.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1370311919 Daniela Gonzalez

    Anyone who has actually looked into the issue knows that women are far better off, by almost every metric, in Western society. Feminism, in any of it old iterations or current vanguard, is so clueless, biased, and blind.


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