Jumping on the sexism train. Again.

Okay, I’ve decided to read this post by Mallorie concerning sexism in the atheist/skeptic movement. You know, the post that one man tweeted about…

I’m going to throw my voice into the fray and see what happens.

For as long as I can remember I have been welcomed in to communities which were generally considered
“sausage fests”. If not for the constant noting of this fact I would have never noticed. You guys were always just
my friends.

Me too! I love the atheist/Skeptic community, and feel more at home here than I ever have anywhere else in my life, ever. The atheist/skeptical community has brought more joy to my life than I can image, has taught me a great many things, empowers me to go out there in the world to kick some ass, and offers respite from the drudgery of the credulous masses.  I have made the closest friends, strengthened friendships I had before becoming an atheist, and developed greatly as a person. I feel more respected in the atheist/skeptic community than anywhere else. Everybody rocks!

As I’ve gotten older these subcultures have become more vocal about wanting to include more women, the
discussion has become “how can we make the community more welcoming to women”.

As a woman who has been here all along this is distressing to me, I love you guys for who you are, from my
table-top strategy gaming group though my political debate forum right in to the skeptical community. You have
never been anything but awesome and welcoming. Who made you think you weren’t?

Could you please elaborate on why you might feel distressed that certain parties of your group want there to be more women in your group? That seems like an okay goal to me.

Again, same experience. I have always felt welcomed. However, I have heard from other women that they do not feel welcomed. Lots of other women. I’m a very open-minded, alligator-skin kind of person who can take as much as she can dish out.  Hell, just last night I was walking through a Wal-mart, openly discussing pornography and coyly threatening to ratchet-tie my friend to his wheelchair so I could have my way with him. My friend welcomed such debauchery, but to say that to some passing stranger would assuredly not be welcome. Context and friendship, consent and knowledge matter.

You sound like you enjoy the same kind of humor, so I bet the two of us would get along swimmingly. Yet, I can’t ignore the rising tide of voices. I can’t ignore the overtly sexist comments made on the forums in response to people pointing out instances in which they were made uncomfortable.

I am here, in my various communities because I like you guys, and I like the basis of the movement. The idea that
you have to set time aside to cater to me, because my vagina imbues me with some special needs is becoming
increasingly insulting. These communities are about our minds, not our genitals and as far as I can tell my mind is
just like yours.

I can somewhat see your point here. I’m not a delicate, fragile flower, and think being treated like one is sexist. I prefer blunt, aggressive people and I am a blunt, aggressive person. I’ve always gotten along better with men. I wouldn’t ask for anyone to set aside time to cater to me either. I haven’t seen any evidence of women asking men to set aside time to cater to them, though. Where have you?

More recently I have noticed a trend among men in my communities, you seem to have been told that you’re
awful and need to change. Again, apparently because your genitals imbues you with an inescapable assholism.
Please never believe this lie.

Certain people, acting in particular ways, have been told that their behavior made other people uncomfortable.  The men who make rape jokes to strangers on the internet or call Rebecca “Twatson”, the men who threaten Greta Christina with violence or rape, those men are awful.  Some women are delicate fragile flowers who can’t stand the idea of someone disagreeing with them over anything, those women are awful. I don’t know about you, but I’m seeing very little of the latter and a lot of the former.

Along the normally distributed bell curve of behavior, there are going to be some dudes and some ladies at either end of the spectrum who behave unacceptably. Most people will easily and comfortably fall in the middle. I don’t see people asking the guys in the middle to change. I see people asking the guys at the end of the bell curve to change. Besides that, a lot of men are agreeing that something needs to change – what’s up with that?

I also have a little bit of irony to share. My local skeptics group and I have discussed “toning down” the sexual jokes, conversations and PDA at Skeptics at the Pub events because we’ve made some MEN uncomfortable. It’s not really about genitals, its more about behavior and who is doing most of it. I’m still not sure I crossed the line, but I at least heard when my comrades had to say.

When people say, “I’m not an asshole, I’m just blunt. If you can’t take the honesty, can’t take the heat, then get out of the kitchen” that doesn’t help. Sometimes assholes are assholes and sometimes the kitchen is just plain on fire. Sure, the kitchen fire is no match compared to the heat of a star,  but it’s still going to burn you. I assume you probably don’t think there is no such line of appropriateness that could ever be crossed, or no time in which comments/behaviors are inappropriate.

With all my heart I beg you to not make monsters of your gender. I like your jokes. I like your humor. I like the
casualness and ease that no gender distinction has allowed us all over the years.
You have never hurt or insulted me, you have brought me years of joy, wonderful debate, and stimulating
conversation. By forgetting to see me as a woman, you have treated me as an equal, as a comrade, as a friend.

That’s been my experience as well. I’ve never been offended by a personal joke, and to be honest I wasn’t all that offended, personally, by the rape jokes aimed at the reddit woman. I did think, however, that some of the responses crossed the line into sexism when people pointed out that the jokes were inappropriate. I think the response is the larger problem, not the originating comments.

If your jokes or teasing manner offend some people, so the fuck what? Someone will always be offended by
jokes, never let them make you believe that you are guilty of something worse simply because of your gender. If
you want to make boob jokes thats fine by me, you have after all been making dick jokes since you were old
enough to make jokes. Plus they are funny as hell. If you want to go free and uncensored among a group of like
minded people, if you want to try to acquire sex from a like minded person, awesome, do it, sex and friendship
are amazing. You are not a monster for wanting these things.  You are not a monster for attempting to acquire
them.

I don’t think anybody has claimed men are monsters for wanting or attempting to acquire sex. When did that happen?

Shit, I’m going to have to use a religious analogy again. Damnit:

Let’s pretend for a moment that we’re Christians, and we’re gay. Let’s pretend for another moment that we belong to an affirming church, one that accepts gays and doesn’t think the Bible has a problem with homosexuality. Let’s say some other gay people go, “you know, it would be really nice if Christians quit saying my sexual orientation is a sin”. Those other gay people then are barraged with death threats, rape threats, excuses, and all of the blah blah that has come out of those originating comments.  Those gay people then go on to say that Christian communities have not always been so accepting of gay people, and wishes they would change.

We though, say that we like the Christian community and don’t want them to change. That Gays shouldn’t be such delicate flowers.

I type this with all of the warmth and sorrow of someone entangled in the most beautiful of bromances.
I love you guys. And I’d like to slap the silly assholes who have given you the idea that you have mistreated me.

I haven’t been mistreated either! I love the skeptical community. But I can see that other people have, and that makes me sad. I don’t like to see other people mistreated: It’s not nice.

Here’s another analogy. Most Catholic alter boys aren’t molested. My dad wasn’t molested as an altar boy. Yet for him to ignore the experience of other boys…

With all of my heart I beg you: Do not change. Do not change for me, do not change for someone else. You’re
wonderful, just the way you are

If the day comes when you censor your language around me, when dick/fart/vagina jokes are not allowed
because of my delicate gender, my heart will break as I wave goodbye in a search for a more open, natural,
candid community that does not insist on seeing me first for my gender.

I love dick/fart/vagina jokes too! Clearly, you have an intimate and awesome relationship with a bunch of Skeptidudes, and that’s awesome! But maybe, just maybe, there might be a time when those jokes go over the line. Maybe not with you; maybe with a newcomer. I might joke with my black friends about race, but for the sake of fuck, I might not make the same jokes around someone I don’t know well.

And if you want to tease me because I am shedding a little girlish tear though an odd smile as I type this, thats ok
too. But don’t ever stop being you.

I did not enter this relationship with the intention of changing you all. I am enough of a grownup to know that is a
terrible idea. I entered because I love science, truth, questioning, and curiosity. I love candor, and occasionally
rough humor, I love the ingroup demeanor we have with eachother. And I have stayed because you never
insisted on seeing me as a girl.

You seem to imply here that the people who are asking men to change their behavior are not grown-ups. The Skeptical movement sets out to change people’s minds about things all the time. That’s part of the reason the Skeptical movement rocks.  Where would we be without the voices speaking up against religion, anti-vaxxers, alternative medicine, quack science? Where would we be without the voices chorusing for gay rights, for the rights of children, for freedom from religion?

I came because I love what we are about, and I love you guys too. Don’t ever adulterate yourselves in an attempt
to try to lure more vagina possessing patrons. I can think of nothing more tragic and disingenuous.

Keep joking with me, keeping being open and awesome and curious and funny, keep trying to fuck me, because I
cant think of any reason why I would rather fuck someone else, we are after all human. I assure you I’ll return the
favor.

I’m in an open marriage, and I wouldn’t mind if other guys in the skeptical movement tried to fuck me as well (assuming they aren’t too INTIMIDATED…), but other women have closed their doors, and if they say, “quit trying to fuck me”, then the guy who keeps pushing deserves to be ousted. The least aggressive appropriate thing to do would be to kindly explain our lack of appreciation for his advances. That explanation shouldn’t be met with such condemnation.

In conclusion:
Don’t ever let someone make you feel bad for being you, for being male, for being funny, don’t ever believe the
lie that us delicate girls cant take being hit on, cant keep up with the filthy jokes, cant argue you blue in the face,
and need special treatment.
I love you guys.
Don’t change.

Wait, who said girls can’t take being hit on? Did you read Lunam’s response to the shitstorm on Reddit? Who said we can’t keep up with filthy jokes? Who said, especially, that we can’t argue men blue in the face?

 

Learn more about Christina and follow her @ziztur.

About christinastephens
  • http://purl.org/NET/JesseW/SundryStuff/ JesseW

    I really hope Mallorie responds to this one. Well said.

    I particularly like how you are careful to ask for examples of the behavior that you haven’t seen (such as “women asking men to set aside time to cater to them” or “claim[s that] men are monsters for wanting or attempting to aquire sex”), rather than simply stating forthrightly, “this never happens!” Looking at the response Mallorie gave to Jen@BlagHag, she focused on that point — hopefully your questions will encourage her to provide her examples, rather than just get defensive about having her experience denied.

    • http://www.mallorienasrallah.com Mallorie Nasrallah

      Wish granted, scroll on down.

  • Zi Teng Wang

    Another blowup about feminism. Wonderful. Poll a real room of 100 skeptics, and 100 +/- 0.05 will be on Watson’s side about elevatorgate and the entire issue would be as solved as the healing power of prayer. But put it on the internet, and thanks to the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory, it’s battle lines drawn between the well-meaning crusaders who lack knowledge of the first anti-GIFT rule (don’t feed the trolls) facing off against the unstoppable hydra of GIFs.

    The internet is a place where you can say “hey anyone here ever been stalked by a purple rubber ducky that makes satanic noises and relocates itself to your nightstand every saturday night?” and it turns out there’s a support group.

    And yet people think “my anecdotal personal experience about X (religion/ sexism/ possessed ducks) will clear this issue up perfectly and contribute to the conversation!”

    Cue yet another tired, exhausting, 5 million-entry conversation thread.

    • bluesmoke

      I’m glad you know that the skeptical community well enough to dictate what people’s views would be on ElevatorGate. I suppose ive been lucky enough to be in a part of the community that values free thought. Ive heard many different views from different people, no two views the same. certainly not a simple hive mind agreement as you would suggest.

  • http://andythenerd.tumblr.com The Nerd

    “My local skeptics group and I have discussed “toning down” the sexual jokes, conversations and PDA at Skeptics at the Pub events because we’ve made some MEN uncomfortable.”

    It’s true folks – I was there!

  • Tony B

    Not to get off topic but Lunam’s response is self-aware, level-headed, and funny. Hopefully some blog or another has asked her for a contribution, I’d love to read more.

  • triamacleod

    I think the biggest problems are caused by outliers. People who don’t know enough to shut up when they are given social hints (or outright told their comments are over the line) and by others who do offend too easily and are very vocal about it.

    Granted, growing up with all brothers I’m probably not the best person to judge what is offensive to others but I truly believe that most of us are adult enough to deal with our differences without resorting to calls for brutality, rape or using the ‘all men are pigs’ brush.

    As for elevatorgate; to my mind she had a valid point of ‘guys, this isn’t cool, don’t do this’ She wasn’t condemning him as a person, just his actions at that point in time. As a woman I would agree with her that after hovering around someone at a bar and knowing she was now heading for her room, waiting until she is ‘trapped’ in an enclosed space is NOT the optimal time to ask for a hook up. To our minds (in this culture, at least) this is a sign of either an oaf or a rapist. Neither of whom we would wish to spend any time with. It seemed many of the people throwing a hissy fit over her ‘not cool’ comment were unenlightened folk who seemed stunned that a woman would be anything but flattered by sexual attention, whether it was wanted or not. Or ‘how dare you not worship my dick’ asshats.

    Most of the people I know, whether they agreed with her views or not, could see that she had a point that the fellow at the very least used poor social judgement as he had ample opportunity throughout the evening to ask to hook up without coming off so creepy.

    And really isn’t that what most of this is about? Accepting each others differences and celebrating our shared interests? Gender, Race, Education, Life Experiences, and such?

  • Godless Heathen

    Some women are delicate fragile flowers who can’t stand the idea of someone disagreeing with them over anything, those women are awful.

    One theme that seems to come up in these discussions (or, at least, has come up in this particular discussion) is whether or not women are delicate, fragile flowers.

    Of course, there are women who don’t like having their opinions challenged. I don’t think those women aren’t awful. It’s just how they are. Others aren’t like that. Oh well.

    However, what gets overlooked is that there are definitely sensitive men out there who can’t handle being disagreed with or told that they did something wrong. In fact, I’d bet that many of the men who get defensive or offended when the issue of sexism is brought up are the types who get offended very easily.

    Being sensitive is not confined to one gender. Nor is it a bad thing. It’s just the way some people are. I’d argue that the reason sensitivity is seen as a bad trait is because it has been gendered as a feminine trait and many people think femininity is bad.

  • Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    I’ve never been offended by a personal joke, and to be honest I wasn’t all that offended, personally, by the rape jokes aimed at the reddit woman.

    I absolutely understand that you’re not saying we’re not allowed to be offended by these jokes, Christina, so I’m not arguing with you by putting this out there. I just wanted to share an alternative experience because I think it’s useful to do that.

    I have been offended – well, more accurately, triggered and hurt – by rape/domestic abuse/”it’s not rape if” jokes by people whom I thought were my friends. They undoubtedly thought we were close enough for them to know what kind of jokes would be okay with me, because the same kinds of jokes had not been called out by me in the past. We were not, however, close enough for them to know that, for the entire preceding year while I was away at college, I had been dealing with a rapist and abuser, who used my lack of boundaries and my refusal to fight back against me, who frequented my home even after I’d finally told him to stay away from me because other people he knew lived there and I wasn’t willing to “make a fuss”. When I tried to casually suggest that my friends stop making these jokes, they pushed the jokes further by directing them at me – as “funny,” “jokey” threats. I tried my best to keep it light, but eventually I felt I had to let on that I had been raped.

    Interesting fact: It didn’t matter to them at all. They didn’t stop making the jokes, they didn’t stop violating my physical boundaries, they didn’t stop treating me in overtly sexual ways when I had explicitly said I wasn’t interested. We’re no longer close. Sometimes, I think, it’s possible to confuse “they just know me well enough to know I’m okay with it” and “I know them really well and also they don’t care if I’m okay with it.”

    As an addendum, I don’t appreciate being trivialized by women like Mallorie (again, not by you, Christina – you’re saying something different up there) by being called “delicate” for objecting to sexist treatment and not wanting to be treated in sexist or overly sexualized ways. Standing up for my right to have boundaries is significantly harder and takes a great deal more strength and toughness than it ever took to go along with what men expected of me.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

      You’ve made some really good points and I agree. I should have elaborated that while I was not personally offended, I don’t blame others for being offended. But, you clearly caught what I meant, so I appreciate that.

      Your experiences are just as worthwhile as anybody else’s, and are a good illustration of why you’re no flower. It takes a lot to stand up for yourself sometimes.

    • http://noadi.etsy.com Noadi

      Let’s also keep in mind that what happened on reddit was aimed at a 15 year old girl, a child who is not of legal age for things like drinking, voting, or having consensual sex, not a woman.

      • Tony B

        I don’t understand why this matters. Was something in the replies illegal? Was there something in there that would be OK to say to someone who was 18 but not 15? 15 year olds aren’t helpless babies and, if I remember anything about being 15, they actively despise being treated like children.

        • julian

          It wouldn’t be better but I think the demands she suck it up are especially idiotic considering this wasn’t an adult.

        • 24fps

          I can’t understand how you could possibly imagine that it doesn’t. Not only were the jokes made rape jokes, but child rape jokes. Doesn’t matter if the kid doesn’t like having a curfew or doing her chores, she is still a child. So you just take the grotesque and inappropriate and amplify it a hundredfold. Offering to violently fuck a kid won’t make her feel more grown up. What fucking daft reasoning.

          I have a daughter just a little younger than the reddit girl – not “woman”! – and if I ever caught up with someone who’d said anything like that to her, I’d rip his ears off and feed them to him. Anyone who would behave that way to a kid should have a cage at the zoo reserved for him (or her, all things being equal).

          Note this is not a condemnation of males for being male. It’s a condemnation of antisocial sons of bitches.

    • Tony B

      Just wanted to say that your “friends” were assholes. One of our social group really hates most physical contact and is really easily creeped out. Anyone not respecting her bounderies would be swiftly shown the door, not because we feel the need to protect her, but because if she get’s uncomfortable she’ll leave and she’s so goddamn awesome that we’d throw out just about anyone to keep her around.

  • http://throwthisbookatme.com H.D. Lynn

    It only takes a couple of assholes to ruin things. Bullies and trolls think everyone agrees with them. Yes, the majority of people are decent, but the indecent person? The one who will cross boundaries and cause real harm? That person thinks you’re all on his side when you crack a rape joke. And the thing is, you don’t always know who that person is. Being crass and having thick skin doesn’t make you unaccountable for your actions and your words. If you see yourself as some crusader for free speech, you might want to think about whose freedom you’re protecting.

    • SallyStrange, FemBrain in a FemBadge (Bigger on the Inside!)

      Incorrect, and this is the second time I’ve seen this falsehood repeated, so I’m going to demonstrate why it is wrong right now.

      One or two assholes can never ruin things on their own. They require an apathetic plurality to look on silently, approve vicariously, or just not pay attention, and then throw a terrible-twos style tantrum when asked to pay attention (ahem). If the response to assholishness is 100%, “Hey cut it out or go away,” it cannot ruin things.

      It’s up to us to figure out what the tipping point is. I believe there’s research showing that it really only takes one or two extra people to stand up for the victim to turn the dynamic around. I haven’t got it at the tip of my fingers, and I’m on my way to bed, but you get my drift.

      Asserting that all it takes is one or two assholes to ruin things is an evasion of responsibility. Do us all a favor, and abandon this specious justification for apathy.

  • Glynnis

    This is the best criticism of Mallorie’s post I have read all day. Thank you!

  • http://www.mallorienasrallah.com Mallorie Nasrallah

    First of all, Christina, thank you. Thank you for asking questions and not making assumptions.
    I hope to establish much in this response that has otherwise been diluted in my attempts to correct people about their assumptions. Thank you for that opportunity.

    I addressed two things in my note, and unfortunately statements largely intended to address point #1 were read as addressing point #2. I’ll explain.

    Point #1, the point that has been largely overlooked deals with “how do we make skepticism more appealing to women”. I hear it often, I’m sure you do too. Additionally I hear it in other communities I am a part of.
    Its clear from the context that the conversation about “appeal” does not only mean “stop rape, etc”. The suggestions as to how to bring in more women usually involve what I feel is a tragic watering down of the things I love most about the movement. When someone says “how do we get women more interested in science” etc. They are discussing changing the way we present science, or more broadly skepticism.
    This is terribly insulting, and distressing. The fact of the matter is there are already lots of women who are in the community and love it. We love science and debates, and we don’t mind being surrounded by guys. We don’t need our local atheists groups to host a “girls night out” (which was attempted here in Las Vegas). We don’t need to be bribed with skeptic PR that speaks to us, we are already here and we love it.
    I’m sure you can see how it is also insulting, implicit in the statement is the notion that women wont on their own come to love science, or a critical reality based world view.
    This in part is the special treatment I was speaking of.

    (if anyone thinks the above is a placation attempt please reread my note, its all right there)

    Sadly Point #2 (also an awesome point I think) obscured point #1. Probably because its easier to get pissed off about, or just more obvious.
    So point #2
    I do find it absurd that the personal standards of a handful of women in the community are being imposted on us all. I’ll be honest I have always heard “Rebeccunt Twatson”. And I have found it funny. That can piss you off, thats ok. But do NOT equate it with sexism. Find it in poor taste, whatever. I found some of the sex puns to Reddit girl funny as well, not the bloody ones, but the actual puns. I’d occupy her habitable zone etc.
    I don’t particularly want to rehash that mess so soon though, I hope its ok if I just let it stand as an example. I do not see either as sexism, I see them as clever humor (I do have a weakness for puns).
    And, I more importantly, I do not mind these things when pointed at me, nor do I find them sexist. I have a right to express this, and tell people that it does not hurt me, and that I am fine with it. Other women have the right to agree or disagree.
    On top of that when a handful of women start declaring how to approach us for sex, that is just absurd. Attempting to school men on whats ok and whats not ok should not extend past the obvious “don’t rape people”. I *like* being flirted with, I am fine with it, I am not threatened by men when I am alone with them, I actually really like the idea of a guy offering me some sex after a long day. Perfect nightcap for the non-drinker.
    So I, Mallorie Nasrallah, and anyone else who opts to join me has every right to declare to men “don’t think you’re harming me by wanting to sleep with me, I might want to sleep with you, so please don’t stop offering”.

    Theres more to both points, but I hope this clears it up a bit, Again thank you for asking me what I meant, rather than telling me. Your approach is awesome, and I am grateful that we can disagree without a bunch of attacks.

    • julian

      They are discussing changing the way we present science, or more broadly skepticism.

      What do you mean by this? I’ve seen geeks complain about similar things when it comes to computer science and IT and the complaints are always about things irrelevant to computers.

      If your concern is ‘bad’ skepticism or shoddy science that’s one thing. But if what you’re after is preserving a /b/ style atmosphere across the community then, sorry, we’re changing how we present science. That crap has nothing to do with science and I’m much more interested in encouraging skeptical thinking than I am in exchanging fat jokes.

      We love science and debates, and we don’t mind being surrounded by guys.

      Ok, stop. First of all, this sounds very much like a strawman. The women you’ve been deriding don’t mind being surrounded by men. (Some women do for entirely valid reasons owing to life experiences and legitimate concerns about sexual assault and harassment) And secondly, please do not lump all us men in the same bucket. Some of us are equally annoyed by all the faggot, gay and rape jokes.

      We don’t need to be bribed with skeptic PR that speaks to us, we are already here and we love it.

      This the same gibberish that I bought regarding science and minority groups a few years ago. It’s only guarantee is that anything that might bring such much needed ideas to the groups in need of them will be ignored.

      This in part is the special treatment I was speaking of.

      So outreach is special treatment? Gotcha.

      I do find it absurd that the personal standards of a handful of women in the community are being imposted on us all.

      Heh, I love how you’re many and tons of women and they are only a handful.

      I’ll be honest I have always heard “Rebeccunt Twatson”. And I have found it funny… do NOT equate it with sexism.

      Hmm. When kids in my junior high started calling me Jew-lian because I told them to knock off the jewish jokes do you believe they were being racist?

      I found some of the sex puns to Reddit girl funny as well

      That answers that question.

      On top of that when a handful of women start declaring how to approach us for sex, that is just absurd

      It does seem absurd for a handful of people to dictate how others can be approached for sex. I’d go even further and say it’s absurd for a handful of people to dictate that everyone must be open and available for sex.

      Attempting to school men on whats ok and whats not ok should not extend past the obvious “don’t rape people”.

      Lord if only these were my anti-PC days…

      Anyway,

      That’s absurd. Do you know how much you’ve just given your blessings for as far as sexual assault, harassment and abuse go?

      • julian

        Forgot to mention regarding ‘stopping all advice at don’t rape,’ rape an other forms of sexual violence are not the be all end of all of sexism. It makes no sense to take everything off the table because you don’t object to any of it.

      • http://giliellthinkingaloud.blogspot.com/ Giliell, the woman who said Good-bye to Kitty
        They are discussing changing the way we present science, or more broadly skepticism.

        What do you mean by this?

        They want to put it into a pink box. Also: Ladies’ Night: Get twice the data out of every experiment. Free perfume samples after every messy lab hour.
        [/snark]

    • Tony B

      Can you provide an example of someone “changing the way we present science”? I have never once seen anyone suggest doing that. All I’ve seen is people saying that they want to make skepticism welcoming to as many people as humanly possible. I cannot fathom why having bigger numbers could possibly be seen as a bad thing.

      Your statements really make it look like you just don’t give a shit about anyone who doesn’t think like you. Is there a place in the skepticism movement for women who don’t want to be hit on all the time? Do you see that some of the things you like are seriously off putting to a lot of people?

      • julian

        I cannot fathom why having bigger numbers could possibly be seen as a bad thing.

        I don’t get the whole loyalty to whatever culture they were introduced to first.

        Especially when that culture has nothing to do with skepticism, has several indications that it may be discriminatory and contributes nothing to group or community building. Seriously why would you want to defend this? If it were anything else, like, for example, baptism, most everyone would mock it as ridiculous. So why the double standard?

        Makes no sense.

    • triamacleod

      I do find it absurd that the personal standards of a handful of women in the community are being imposted on us all.

      So you’re the only one who is allow to use YOUR standards to decide how everyone else is to be treated? Arrogant much?

      If it gives you pleasure to hook up on a whim with anyone and everyone, more power to you, but surely you understand a good portion of women AREN’T looking for that. That when we go to a conference about science, we actually want to learn more about science, not be there for eye candy and propositions all night.

      I also don’t see how you jump from marketing conferences to be more friendly to women as ‘watering down’ anything. I only have what you’ve typed on this page to go by, but it seems YOU are the one jumping to assumptions that any change at all is bad and any person who is not like you is undeserving of a second thought.

      • http://www.mallorienasrallah.com Mallorie Nasrallah

        I’ll say this as many times as it takes, but I really hope this time you all can accept it.

        My note expressed my experiences, and stated my preferences.
        I do not have to toe the line and force my preferences to mirror that of others. I am asking no one to do that for me either.
        When someone says “guys don’t do this” and I disagree, I have a right to say “actually guys, I’m fine if you do this”.

        If you have an issue with my right to state a personal preference, and you wish to dispute that right, you have all of your work cut out for you.

        • http://www.mallorienasrallah.com Mallorie Nasrallah

          *tow the line. I am a horrible typist.

          As for examples of suggested changes in the community, I will attempt to locate specific podcasts where it is mentioned. I hope you understand I can not provide examples of the situations in which it has been mentioned in my day to day life. I did have a pretty funny massive argument with my Husband about it, I’m sure I could quote it to you if you wanted ;).
          I understand if you reject the anecdote that it occurs in my day to day life, but please while I respond to other people and look for the podcasts in question view some of the other remarks here and elsewhere on the internet, you will find I am not the only one who has gotten this impression.

          • SallyStrange, FemBrain in a FemBadge (Bigger on the Inside!)

            Actually, it’s “toe the line.”

        • RowanVT

          But you are not everyone. How welcoming would I find the community, having had 3 close calls with sexual assault, if a bunch of random males I’ve never met before simply walked up to me and expressed a desire to have sex with me? One would be awkward, two would be creepy, and a third would make me leave, never to return.

          This isn’t asking for special treatment. This is asking for simple human consideration. I don’t want some guy to walk up to me only because he wants to have sex. That tells me he doesn’t value my intellect. He doesn’t value any contributions I might make. It tells me he only values my vagina and whether or not he can stick his penis in it.

          • julian

            I think that’s the biggest point of contention here. Whether the default is everyone should be available for sex or whether the default is (because you have no way of knowing) you should hold off on the ‘So who’s up for the gang bang’ whenever a female colleague walks into the room.

    • Kierra

      I found some of the sex puns to Reddit girl funny as well, not the bloody ones, but the actual puns. I’d occupy her habitable zone etc.

      Little nitpick, but that’s not an actual pun. It’s sexual innuendo (innocent phrase that could be interpreted sexually), but since there’s no homophone or homographs involved, it’s not a pun. If you’re going to claim to be finding sophisticated humor in rape jokes, you should at least try to correctly identify it.

      When someone says “guys don’t do this” and I disagree, I have a right to say “actually guys, I’m fine if you do this”.

      Most of the commenters are just trying to get across that guys should be making some effort to determine if an individual woman they are interacting with is actually okay with it (where “it” can be anything from off-color humor to requests for sex). Not just assuming that all women are all equally offended/not-offended by a given type of joke and for/against random hookups. You know, treating us like individuals rather than automatons with a global instruction booklet.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

      Wow, there were a lot of replies to wake up to this morning. Thanks for responding, Mallorie!

      First of all, Christina, thank you. Thank you for asking questions and not making assumptions.
      I hope to establish much in this response that has otherwise been diluted in my attempts to correct people about their assumptions. Thank you for that opportunity.

      I think assumptions cause a lot of polarizing and strawmen, so I try to avoid those =D

      I addressed two things in my note, and unfortunately statements largely intended to address point #1 were read as addressing point #2. I’ll explain.

      Reading over your explanations, I can totally see how this is happening.

      Point #1, the point that has been largely overlooked deals with “how do we make skepticism more appealing to women”. I hear it often, I’m sure you do too. Additionally I hear it in other communities I am a part of.

      Yep, I’ve absolutely heard this question asked and have had this conversation before. The main thrust seems to be, “science and skepticism are awesome, but the percentages of people in our group don’t match up to population demographics. They don’t match up in that women and minorities are underrepresented. Why? Is it the subject matter, the way the subject matter is presented, some difference in women/minorities or some other social factor? We don’t think there is a difference in the way women/minorities think, so there must be something we can do.” etc.

      Its clear from the context that the conversation about “appeal” does not only mean “stop rape, etc”. The suggestions as to how to bring in more women usually involve what I feel is a tragic watering down of the things I love most about the movement. When someone says “how do we get women more interested in science” etc. They are discussing changing the way we present science, or more broadly skepticism.

      Hm. It seems you and I have had different experiences with this regard, so that’s interesting. In all of the discussions I’ve seen, I’ve heard, “in no way are we going to water down science, or water down our message, or make emotional appeals, or turn science pink/brown for the benefit of teh womenz and teh minorities”. I’m very curious as to what you’ve heard that is different. I totally agree: science/skepticism should not be watered down or its presentation changed to appeal to women. Mostly because that would indicate that women need to have science watered down in order to like science, which is itself a sexist idea.

      This is terribly insulting, and distressing.

      It sure as blue fuck is! I’m glad I haven’t really heard much of that, because if I did, I would surely call out whoever said it.

      The fact of the matter is there are already lots of women who are in the community and love it. We love science and debates, and we don’t mind being surrounded by guys. We don’t need our local atheists groups to host a “girls night out” (which was attempted here in Las Vegas). We don’t need to be bribed with skeptic PR that speaks to us, we are already here and we love it.

      I’m not sure if by “We don’t need our local atheists groups to host a “girls night out”” you mean that someone actually suggested that this was a need or that a girls night out needed to happen so women would want to be skeptics and I’m not going to make assumptions by what you meant, but here’s my take on such events anyway:

      I think that skeptics groups can benefit from a variety of different events which appeal to different folks. Here in St. Louis, we have Skeptics in the Pub. Not everyone is into the pub atmosphere, so we also have book club. Not everyone is into book club, so we also have ice skating. Not everyone is into ice skating, so we have lectures. Etc. We try to have a bunch of varied events, hosted at different times and at different locations so that everyone can find something they like. So, a “girl’s night out” event wouldn’t be out of the question at all

      I’m sure you can see how it is also insulting, implicit in the statement is the notion that women wont on their own come to love science, or a critical reality based world view.
      This in part is the special treatment I was speaking of.

      I wouldn’t be insulted if my local skeptics group just happened to have a girl’s night out because they thought it would be fun, but would probably be insulted if the conversation around organizing such an event was, “ladies can’t handle being around all these men, let’s give them a special space where they can be around their own kind” or something.

      I missed point #1, so I think maybe if you had been more specific about it, we all wouldn’t have herp-derped our way right over it.

      Sadly Point #2 (also an awesome point I think) obscured point #1. Probably because its easier to get pissed off about, or just more obvious.
      So point #2
      I do find it absurd that the personal standards of a handful of women in the community are being imposted on us all. I’ll be honest I have always heard “Rebeccunt Twatson”. And I have found it funny. That can piss you off, thats ok. But do NOT equate it with sexism. Find it in poor taste, whatever. I found some of the sex puns to Reddit girl funny as well, not the bloody ones, but the actual puns. I’d occupy her habitable zone etc.

      I thought some of the jokes were funny, too. I guess “Rebeccunt Twatson” is about as sexist as, “RichDick DawkDickenson” (or something) but this kind of derision maybe or may not be sexist in a larger context.

      So, here’s a definition of sexism:

      “Sexism, also known as gender discrimination or sex discrimination, is the application of the false belief that there are characteristics implicit to one’s gender that indirectly affect one’s abilities in unrelated areas. It is a form of discrimination or devaluation based on a person’s sex, with such attitudes being based on beliefs in traditional stereotypes of gender roles”

      So, the words “Rebeccunt Twatson” while altering the name of an individual to a derogatory sex-based name might not itself be sexism in the “false belief” sense, it is in the “devaluation” sense. In the context of an argument against her, it is certainly immature and does not add any persuasiveness to an argument.

      But when people say things like… oh.. “Though rkwatson may be a critical thinker, she made the commonly portrayed female mistake of making something out to be more than it was. If she had any confidence she could have declined without worry or if she was up for sex (assuming it would lead to that) she could have said yes or taken a raincheck. Her reaction SEEMS to stem from a feeling of weakness compared to him and having an unjustified fear of sexual predation. If you ARE weak, lift weights or join a self-defense course or something”

      Or… “fuck you cunt i hope you get fucking raped then shot shortly after”

      or.. “I’m going to make it my goal to rape you…fucking cunt. I’m going to rape all women who are feminists.”

      It definitely crosses the line into not-okay-land and sexism land.

      I don’t particularly want to rehash that mess so soon though, I hope its ok if I just let it stand as an example. I do not see either as sexism, I see them as clever humor (I do have a weakness for puns).

      I think most of the sexism came about when some people said, “hey, these rape jokes make me uncomfortable, please stop that” and the response is, “You feminazi cunt bitch I’ll rape you, you winy weakling making your female mistakes” etc.

      And, I more importantly, I do not mind these things when pointed at me, nor do I find them sexist. I have a right to express this, and tell people that it does not hurt me, and that I am fine with it. Other women have the right to agree or disagree.

      Of course you do. I’m wondering.. did someone say you don’t have a right to express your opinion? Because that would be wrong. Fuck them.

      I think maybe if you had been more specific that your post was about how men should treat you personally, people wouldn’t be so flipped about it. They think you mean, “men, keep doing what you’re doing to everybody”.

      On top of that when a handful of women start declaring how to approach us for sex, that is just absurd.

      Yeah, it kinda is. I don’t really see that happening so much, though. I more see suggestions. when Rebecca first posted about elevatorgate, it was DEFINITELY a personal suggestion and not aimed at everybody. But then people thought she was aiming it at everybody. Hence the shitstorm. I think though, that people are taking your writing as one woman, declaring how to approach women for sex. You’ve said you’re not saying that, so okay, but I think they are doing the same thing you’re doing. More or less.

      Attempting to school men on whats ok and whats not ok should not extend past the obvious “don’t rape people”.

      Well, some men actually asked if they could please be schooled. Its cool to school if they ask.

      I *like* being flirted with, I am fine with it, I am not threatened by men when I am alone with them, I actually really like the idea of a guy offering me some sex after a long day. Perfect nightcap for the non-drinker.

      That’s cool if it works for you, but I think probably most women would be uncomfortable with this, but it really is situational. Again, if you’re saying, “men, treat me, personally, like you’ve always done” then I totally respect that. but if you’re saying, “men, keep treating everyone like you’ve always done” then I would have to disagree. I’m pretty sure you’re saying the former, right?

      So I, Mallorie Nasrallah, and anyone else who opts to join me has every right to declare to men “don’t think you’re harming me by wanting to sleep with me, I might want to sleep with you, so please don’t stop offering”.

      Theres more to both points, but I hope this clears it up a bit, Again thank you for asking me what I meant, rather than telling me. Your approach is awesome, and I am grateful that we can disagree without a bunch of attacks.

      My approach: attack ideas, not people! =D

    • Cara

      I do find it absurd that the personal standards of a handful of women in the community are being imposted on us all. I’ll be honest I have always heard “Rebeccunt Twatson”. And I have found it funny. That can piss you off, thats ok. But do NOT equate it with sexism. Find it in poor taste, whatever.

      *sigh*

      Yes, you poor, deluded, exceptional, special girl, it is, indeed, sexist.

      Cripes. Are you ever going to be embarrassed when the clue stick finally hits.

      • julian

        I’m trying to think of a similar but not as sexist pun for Mallorie. My lack of creativity is making this difficult. Any suggestions?

        • Tracy

          Mammary?

    • Evan Bettencourt

      I can think the habitable zone joke is funny- because it is- while at the same time thinking that it’s monstrous to make it about a 15 year old girl posting a picture of herself on the Internet because she was proud of her new book.

      Remember the joke for an appropriate time AND call the idiot who doesn’t know when it’s inappropriate, an inappropriate idiot.

      Really, it’s not that complicated.

  • Christian The Skeptical Atheist

    Thank you for this, Christina. With so many others jumping off the deep end, declaring Mallorie some kind of vaginal terrorist for not believing that all men are in a perpetual state of rape-planning it’s really refreshing to see somebody engaging in civil conversation and just saying “I’m not sure I get this bit, could you please clarify?”
    Fair play to you.

    • julian

      Your friend just harped about not getting to see teh awesome arguing if we feminized skepticism and here you are complaining about rough words. Jesus but you’re a hypocritical lot.

      • SallyStrange, FemBrain in a FemBadge (Bigger on the Inside!)

        I’d put the plus one sign but I spilled wine and need a keyboard. So, plus one. Seriously. We want it rough and tumble–but not like that! Sounds like they want frathouse rough and tumble, not intellectual rough and tumble.

  • KreepyKritter

    Okay… I’ve been (sorta) following this whirling mess since this morning and I keep seeing rape being bandied about like it’s an acceptable way to strengthen an argument.

    Let’s get that bit straight before I go any further. My wife was raped when she was 12. My mother was raped by her uncle when she was 9. A very close friend was raped while she and I were in high school, the perpetrator was caught and convicted, in part because SOMEHOW his femur was broken with a blunt object. Later, I was accused (thankfully not in ear shot of any law enforcement) of raping a woman who had convinced herself, her family and her friends that she was gay… Surprise, there are hundreds of glorious shades of grey in the world. Long story short, she lied, because it’s hard to force yourself on a woman who has you pinned to the floor. Needless to say, a lot of friends were lost and I’m only not in prison somewhere because she knew she was full of shit and never let her family convince her to go file charges… Thankfully.

    Rape is not funny, the word rape is not a play thing and the idea that so many counter arguments have made use of the act and the term so lightly, and so far away from the original context of what began this landslide, is pretty disgusting from where I’m sitting. I’ve seen ‘rape’ slipped into a number of posts where it had no place.

    Show me where, in the original blog post, Mallorie either A) mentioned, B) condoned, C) encouraged or D) voiced acceptance of rape, rape jokes or rape related discussions?

    With the above in mind, I will point out that there is a difference between having blunt humor, making blunt observations, using crude humor, making sexual jokes and actual and active sexism. Sexism is the belief that, as a result of gender differences, some one of the opposite sex is incapable of something.

    Since we’re using anecdotes to prove points, let me share this one with you all. I have two kids, a boy and a girl. I’ve been accused of coddling my daughter and being rough on my son. I disagree. I expect the same things from both of them, to a degree. I expect good grades (relative to their individual abilities), I expect manners, responsibility, and I expect them to listen when my wife and I ask/tell them something. I expect my son to be able to suck it up as well as is sister does when he hurts himself (If she doesn’t shed a tear over two badly skinned knees, he can tough it out through a shot). I expect my daughter to be able to defend herself as well as her brother does (If he can talk his way out of physical altercations, she can walk away from two snotty kindergarteners).

    What I see being asked for is an end to sexist treatment. I hear a person asking that subject matter not be dumbed down just so there can be girls there, as if a cunt somehow hinders a woman’s ability to comprehend data, or makes a woman incapable of giving as good as she gets (verbally). I figure, anyone (regardless of genitalia) who needs this shit watered down is barking up the wrong tree and will probably drown. It also appears to me that the advice being given can be condensed into ‘Don’t change who you are just because some prick told you you might offend some chick whose thong is pulled up too tight’. The above statements are not mutually exclusive. One does not restrict successfully attaining the others.

    Men must accept that (99.9% of the time) rape is not acceptable source material for our jokes, and we must err on the side of caution the other .1% of the time. Women, in turn, must accept that (99.9%) of the time… men are going to say something blunt, crude, sexual, have a sexual thought, look at a woman’s tits/ass/lips/cameltoe and want to do something with it/them. We can’t help it. It’s that damned reptilian hind-brain telling us to procreate. That doesn’t mean we’re rapists on a hair trigger. Neither does it mean that all women think we are.

    In all, unless and until men and women can acknowledge one another’s equality, each to the other, there are going to continue being misunderstandings like this. There will continue being women who hear a dick joke and wither.

    For what it’s worth, Cipher, that guy was a dick and so were the fuckers who wouldn’t knock it the fuck off when asked. Thick skin can be a curse as much as a blessing, especially when it sets a false expectation with people whom we believe are friends. Fuck them… figuratively… not literally.

    • Tony B

      Still awaiting the slightest shred of evidence that anybody is trying to dumb down anything.

      • KreepyKritter

        Not saying I have it… Just saying that’s what’s being railed (and rightly so) against.

        • Tony B

          If there’s no evidence you’re tilting at windmills.

          • KreepyKritter

            I’m quixotic that way…

    • julian

      I’m only not in prison somewhere because she knew she was full of shit and never let her family convince her to go file charges

      This doesn’t make a false rape accusation better but you’d likely have gotten off.

      I have two kids, a boy and a girl. I’ve been accused of coddling my daughter and being rough on my son. I disagree.

      Not that this’ll be received well but, you could very possibly be wrong. We do treat them differently based on gender. Most people do so without realizing it (for example, studies that find mothers spend more time talking to girls than to boys or underestimate how steep an incline a girl toddler would be able to complete.)

      We can’t help it

      Oddly enough when I started wondering why I spent so much time peeking I realized I did it mostly because I felt I should. Probably explains the flaccid penis.

      It’s that damned reptilian hind-brain telling us to procreate.

      It really isn’t. A lot of that behavior (taking upskirt pics, demanding a woman show you her breasts, telling her tears are natures lubricant) seems learned rather than instinctual.

      • KreepyKritter

        So, wait… you’re equating a wandering eye and an imagination to sexual assault? Really? …

        • julian

          eh?

          What I listed falls under the categories you gave.

        • SallyStrange, FemBrain in a FemBadge (Bigger on the Inside!)

          Taking upskirt pics is the only thing that could remotely be construed as assault, but it’s not. Assault requires touching of some sort. Hello? Anyone home?

          • Anonymous

            Point of fact, assault does not require direct physical contact. You’re thinking of battery. The only essential elements of assault consist of an act intended to cause an apprehension of harmful or offensive contact or that does cause apprehension of such contact in the victim.

            Hence ‘assault AND battery’ being listed as two separate charges. So, yes, taking upskirt photos is a form of sexual assault, but not battery. Sexual battery would involve direct physical contact of a sexual manner, IE: intentionally rubbing against some one in a lewd and UNWANTED fashion, UNWANTED groping, etc. Threats of these actions would be considered sexual assault, actually carrying them out would be sexual battery. In either case, it’s a felony charge, and if your pictures happen to be of some one under the age of 18, it’s a federal offense. Let’s not pick at nits though… any of the above is criminal, and generally something that’s understood (when not welcome) as not acceptable in society. People who don’t understand that fact, and perpetrate those acts, are guilty of a crime. Whether an individual believes it or not isn’t at issue. Facts have the benefit of being unassailable, because they’re FACTS.

      • Vagabond

        Oddly enough when I started wondering why I spent so much time peeking I realized I did it mostly because I felt I should. Probably explains the flaccid penis.

        Um… On one hand, TMI.

        On the other hand, I am somewhat intrigued about possibility of such link.

    • http://www.mallorienasrallah.com Mallorie Nasrallah

      KreepyKritter, thank you for that, and thank you for understanding what seemed perfectly clear when I wrote it, but apparently is not to a number of people.

      and people, keep in mind, I didn’t put rape on the table, you did.

      • julian

        and people, keep in mind, I didn’t put rape on the table, you did.

        ::eyeroll::

        No you just laughed off those concerned about it along side all your buddies.

        And fuck you and your friends for lumping me in with you all. I don’t spend 99.9% of my time staring at women’s crotches, tits and asses. I’ve seen what it can do to some people.

        • http://www.mallorienasrallah.com Mallorie Nasrallah

          You need to calm down, and think “did anyone actually say that?” before you respond.

          • http://jadehawks.wordpress.com/ Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe

            you mean like this?

            . Women, in turn, must accept that (99.9%) of the time… men are going to say something blunt, crude, sexual, have a sexual thought, look at a woman’s tits/ass/lips/cameltoe and want to do something with it/them.

            The fact that KreepyKritter thinks with his penis (sorry, his “reptilian hindbrain”) doesn’t actually mean that’s a normal or typical condition for men. julian has every right to be pissed to be faced with such misandry

        • KreepyKritter

          I didn’t lump you in. It’s not a sexist statement to say that most men have sexual thoughts and/or make off color jokes and/or have wandering eyes and/or speak in a crude and/or blunt manner. It’s also not ‘Thinking with his penis’ to acknowledge that this behavior is more common among men than it is among women. Women are socialized differently than men, and as a result their behavior of women is also (commonly) different than that of men.

          It is a fact that men have a sexual thought, on average, of every 52 seconds (Brizendine — http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/003668.html ) and women, on average, once a day. This is not only normal, typical, and widely acknowledged, it was anthropologically necessary for the first 800,000 years of human evolution, and prior to that it was a necessary part of animal evolution as well.

          I did NOT say, nor imply, that all men are slaves to these facts. I also did not say, nor imply, that all men act on these behaviors (point of fact, I said exactly the opposite).

          Now, if people want to look for reasons to be offended, there are a number of factual reasons to be offended by what I have chosen to contribute. It’s brusk, argumentative, crude, and poorly written. It implies that I am proud of an implied criminal act, and also provides no evidence to support any of my claims. At best, it’s rhetorical. At worst, it’s a troll.

          By all means, be pissed off at the things worth being pissed off at. Don’t get angry because I restated accepted (peer-reviewed) scientific facts. Get angry because I did it without citations, or because I over simplified the facts provided.

          • KreepyKritter

            ETA: Apologies for that link above… but the references in the blog do provide evidence for the higher frequency of sexual thoughts in men than in women. Next time I’ll read further down the page… :p

          • julian

            I didn’t lump you in.

            Yes you did. You said ‘men’ and then you said ’99.9% of the time’ with no modifiers or anything to even suggest you weren’t talking about all men 99.9% of the time.

            It’s not a sexist statement to say that most men have sexual thoughts and/or make off color jokes and/or have wandering eyes and/or speak in a crude and/or blunt manner.

            You didn’t say most men or most of the time. You said men and you gave 99.9% of the time. Stop backpedaling. Own up to your fault and don’t repeat it again.

            There’s been a very big kickup about speaking for all people in a group, stereotyping them and telling them how they feel/respond to certain things. It seems hypocritical to be guilt of that when you count yourself among the people doing the kicking-up.

            It is a fact that men have a sexual thought, on average, of every 52 seconds… and women, on average, once a day.

            Look up ‘fact.’

            …it was anthropologically necessary for the first 800,000 years of human evolution…

            You should probably hedge your bets.

            I did NOT say, nor imply, that all men are slaves to these facts.

            You said women should accept that’s how men will be 99.9% of the time. You went on to say we can’t help it.

          • http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/ Stephanie Zvan

            KreepyKritter, I don’t think you actually read the post you linked to. It refutes your claims, not supports them.

          • KreepyKritter

            You can choose to be offended, or you can choose to actually see the message being offered.

            If I put my hand into a tank of pirahna and pull it out again unscathed, that doesn’t mean that some pirahna are not vicious flesh-eaters. The fact is, you’re risking your hand by putting it in the tank.

            If a scantly clad drunk woman walks down a street alone at night and makes it home safely that, also, does not mean that the street she walked down was safe.

            If we reverse these parameters, in both cases (I lose my hand/woman is attacked) it also does not prove that the final outcome will ALWAYS happen.

            If we accept and acknowledge that most men (yes, I’m sticking with 99.9% of the time) will NORMALLY do something that the average woman finds distasteful, we’re not saying, immediately, that ALL men are ‘slaves to their penis’. We’re saying ‘Hey, those are pirahnas, and they’re liable to eat your hand if you stick it in there’. This isn’t gender bias, it also isn’t lumping all men into a single group. It’s acknowledging that men tend towards behaviors that women tend to find distasteful. Tendancies in behavior, trends, averages, norms and the like allow for a bell-curve of behavior. The fact that a majority (hence the term norm) will undertake a behavior at one point or another doesn’t make it less true just because there is a minority that doesn’t.

            We have car insurance, home owner’s insurance and health insurance because some times life sucks. If you acknowledge the most likely scenario, plan for it and accept that it’s probably going to happen, then it’s not as shocking, and identifying something truly fucked up is easier and there tend to be fewer brush-fire rant-fests over what might have just been a thoughtless off-handed remark.

            Finally, to clarify, I’m not backpedaling. Backpedaling would imply that I’m trying to change my position. What I’m doing is called clarification, since it’s obvious my point was missed.

          • julian

            First rule of holes, KreepyKritter.

            You have said and are saying that crude, sexually aggressive and harassing behavior are salient to men. It is not only one of our most prominent features, according to you it’s also something we have no control over and something women need to get over.

            And you’ve gone from 99.9% of the time to only most of the time. That’s backpedaling. And I still find it incredibly infuriating that you get to say things that so grossly and unfairly stereotype all men with the full blessings of the anti-PC and post-feminism crowd, when I get called a mangina for pointing out how endemic rape is.

          • http://purl.org/NET/JesseW/SundryStuff/ JesseW

            While the original poster, and others, have noted that the linked Language Log post, titled: “Every 52 seconds”: wrong by 23,736 percent? is a rebuttal to Brizendine, not support for it, no-one has actually extracted and posted relevant quotations from it, for those here who haven’t bothered to follow the link. So I’ll do so now (emphasis added):

            On page 91 of The Female Brain, Dr. Louann Brizendine writes:

            … 85 percent of twenty- to thirty-year-old males think about sex every fifty-two seconds


            The end-notes for the quoted segment from p. 91 yield the following references:
            1. Bancroft, J. (2005). …
            2. Laumann, E. O., A. Paik, et al. (1999). …
            3. Laumann, E. O., Nicolosi, et al. (2005). …
            4. Lunde, I., G.K. Larsen, et al. (1991). …

            1. The abstract for Bancroft (2005) begins: … These two sentences are a good summary of the paper as a whole, which says nothing whatever about how often women or men think about sex.

            2. The abstract for Laumann (1999): … There is nothing at all in this paper about how often women or men think about sex.

            3. The abstract of Laumann (2005): … Again, there is nothing at all in this paper about how often women or men think about sex.

            4. I haven’t been able to read Lunde (1991), because Penn’s library doesn’t have the Journal of Sex Education & Therapy before the year 2000. But here’s the abstract from PsycInfo … In any case, the paper only deals with women, and so could not have included any relevant information about the frequency of men’s sexual thoughts. This paper is discussed briefly in Andersen, Barbara L.; Cyranowski, Jill M.

            Andersen and Cyranowski do, as it happens, report some other research that actually measured the frequency of sexual thoughts among women and men — with results totally at variance with Brizendine’s assertions:

            Data comparing the frequency of internally generated thoughts (fantasies) and externally prompted thoughts (sexual urges) among young heterosexual men and women indicate that men report a greater frequency of urges than do women (4.5/day vs. 2.0/day), although the frequency of fantasies were similar (2.5/day; Jones & Barlow, 1990).


            Adding up this study’s tally of undergraduate male sexual thoughts, we get 4.5 male urges + 2.5 male fantasies per day on average, for a total of 7 sexual thoughts, or one every (24*60*60/7 =) 12,342 seconds.

            Rebuttal might be too weak a word — complete, utter destruction and demonstration of fraud, mis-representation and massive ignorance might describe it better. KreepyKritter, thanks for saving me the time of having to post a link to it in a reply comment — if you haven’t yet done so, please do read the other posts on Language Log about Brizendine — this is hardly the only, or even the worst, screwup in her work.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/ Stephanie Zvan

      Here’s the funny thing about the “original post.” That isn’t where the discussion started. It started elsewhere, with Mallorie arguing that rape jokes and threats aimed at the teenaged girl (who also keeps coming up in discussion) were okay because they were funny, not sexist at all, and totally invited anyway because the girl in quesion mentioned her anus.

      Oddly, this “original post” doesn’t mention rape jokes in the list of things that make Mallorie love her community and not want it to change one little bit for anyone. Fart jokes, yes. Rape jokes entirely missing. But she still wants absolutely nothing to change.

      That’s why we’re talking about rape.

  • http://jadehawks.wordpress.com/ Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe

    Christina, I really think that was a mostly well-thought out response to Mallorie’s letter. But we really need to get away from the idea that whether rape jokes are bad and sexist or not is a matter of personal opinion, of “being offended” or not. Because it really isn’t. I’m not offended by rape jokes, but I do know what effect that sort of humor has in society, so I wish to see it disappear. Here are two useful citations on the topic:

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejsp.56/abstract
    http://psp.sagepub.com/content/34/2/159.short

    IOW, regardless of your subjective opinion of rape jokes, they cause harm

    • Christian The Skeptical Atheist

      If you go around telling any off-color jokes to people the first second you meet them or put them right on your business card then, yeah, they can certainly hurt people. I really don’t think anybody’s saying that Daniel Dennett should be opening up his lectures with them or that there should be a panel at TAM called “Rape Jokes: The Skeptical Community’s Preferred Form Of Humor”.

      These jokes, on the other hand, are fine in groups of friends who know where each others’ hearts are and think they’re funny. Jokes like these are not for everybody and people who go around telling them to strangers absolutely should be taken aside and told “Seriously, don’t do that.”

      But to sit here and debate whether rape jokes are a valid form or humor is to miss the main points.

      This whole thing has been distorted and turned into “You guys just want the skeptical community to be an unending torrent of rape jokes and misogyny.” when the original points were:
      “The skeptical community does not need little pink bows and an adorable koala mascot to appeal to women – saying that scientific thinking alone is enough to draw in men but not women is insulting.”
      and
      “When you join the skeptical community you don’t have to leave your sexuality at the door. We are all people and many people – men and women – are open to dating or sex.”
      I will add that these gatherings are not SOLELY for dating/sex, nor should they be, and boundaries need to be respected, but as far as places to meet like-minded people go, it’s a damn sight better than any bar.

      • Tony B

        These gatherings are not AT ALL for dating/sex nor should they be. They’re for skepticism. If you want to try and get laid at an event that’s great. All we’re saying is please show a little empathy and realize that many people would like be able to attend a skepticism event without being treated like they’re at singles bar. That’s the appropriate place to try to hook up, the hotel bar. Also, following someone out of the bar and asking for sex after you’ve cornered her in the elevator is creepy as all fuck and shouldn’t be done.

        • http://jadehawks.wordpress.com/ Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe

          following someone out who has, at that point, TWICE indicated that they didn’t want sexual attention (or, at that point, any attention at all), to only ask them when they’re in a social situation in which normal social conventions tell us to politely pretend the other person doesn’t exist (yes, even in Ireland; no, I’m not an American projecting). It’s, at best, jarring.

        • Christian The Skeptical Atheist

          I think we’re in agreement. I’m not saying we should turn the event into speeddating but if you meet someone, you start talking and there seems to be a mutual interest there’s nothing inherently evil about asking someone on a date later that night.
          As for the elevator guy, I can’t believe people are still talking about this. Yeah, it’s weird to get into the elevator with somebody and jump into “let’s go back to my place for ‘coffee’” but considering how he took her rejection (no hostility, no assault, respected her decision)he was just awkward at best, despite what the internet drama machine might call him (potential rapist, etc)

          • http://jadehawks.wordpress.com/ Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe

            you start talking and there seems to be a mutual interest there’s nothing inherently evil about asking someone on a date later that night.

            uh.. ok, now I’m going to be the confused European

            but if you just spent a certain amount of time in one-on-one conversation, isn’t that already a “date”? and what is the point of asking for a date when you’re basically already on one?

            or is this just an odd way of saying “let’s continue this conversation somewhere else/at a later time”?

          • SallyStrange, FemBrain in a FemBadge (Bigger on the Inside!)

            no hostility, no assault, respected her decision

            Is it possible that we might set the bar for men at atheist conventions just a TEENSY bit higher than this? Maybe?

          • http://jadehawks.wordpress.com/ Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe

            but considering how he took her rejection (no hostility, no assault, respected her decision)

            how the fuck am I supposed to know how a guys is going to take a rejection, a priori? Especially when he already broke two important social conventions and already didn’t take no for an answer twice?

            This is a “drunk driving isn’t dangerous, I made it home safe last night” form of argument from a single consequence.

      • http://jadehawks.wordpress.com/ Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe

        If you go around telling any off-color jokes to people the first second you meet them or put them right on your business card then, yeah, they can certainly hurt people. I really don’t think anybody’s saying that Daniel Dennett should be opening up his lectures with them or that there should be a panel at TAM called “Rape Jokes: The Skeptical Community’s Preferred Form Of Humor”.

        These jokes, on the other hand, are fine in groups of friends who know where each others’ hearts are and think they’re funny. Jokes like these are not for everybody and people who go around telling them to strangers absolutely should be taken aside and told “Seriously, don’t do that.”

        where do you get the impression this only works among strangers? did you read the papers I linked? Do you think those effects only work when the “men high in hostile sexism” mentioned in the articles hear rape-jokes from strangers? Or that you can be that certain that none of your friends is such a man? (because as CC’s post demonstrated, it’s not that easy to know)

        It’s a bit like the thing where even people who don’t know they know a rape victim probably do know one. Rapists and “men high in hostile sexism” are the same; you may not know you know one, so you may not know you’re encouraging their sexism. And certainly, for online situations on something as popular as r/Atheism, you could avoid the presence of such men only by magic
        - – - – - – - – - – -

        And: I wasn’t responding to any “the whole thing”. I was responding very specifically to the reactions that people had to that r/Atheism thread: that it only matters if you’re personally offended. Which, as I pointed out, isn’t true.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

      “IOW, regardless of your subjective opinion of rape jokes, they cause harm”

      I wouldn’t say that they always, in all circumstances, cause harm. But they sure CAN and DO.

      • http://jadehawks.wordpress.com/ Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe

        so you have reasons to dispute the studies I posted? or are you simply stating that when no highly sexist men are present, they can’t be influenced as the studies indicate? because if the latter, it would be helpful if you showed a mechanism for identifying these individuals (which, incidentally, would also help reduce incidence of rape, since women could stop becoming acquainted with them or even married to them without ever knowing these dudes will harm or rape them in the future.

  • Crow

    I see valid points on both sides of the discussion here but I would like to comment on one particular phenomenon I see repeatedly coming up.

    Quite often I see attempts to control the responses of people to certain ideas. Namely, there has been a lot of heated discussion about what the appropriate response to sexist comments should be. See Greta’s Post for example.

    I’m not prone to making rape jokes, or even laughing at them for that matter, but I really bristle when I’m told that even asking for clarification on why “Sensitive Subject A” is taboo or saying “I understand what you’re saying, what about this related thing” gets equated to being a misogynist or a rapist. A single post from a commenter, even if it fits the “Yes, but” mold, is not enough to declare someone a misogynistic rapist with MRA tendencies.

    Really, just as Christina pointed out, the issue here is not in the actual telling of rape jokes (which we agree are very often not appropriate) but in the response to said rape joke.

    And if you’re telling me that if I don’t have the proper response to something posted in some forum on the internet then I’m a bad person on a level with rapists and misogynists, then you’re just plain wrong.

    My only point here is that trying to control the responses of people who really are trying to understand a sensitive topic is not the actions of rational people who encourage critical thinking and learning.

    There is a difference between a misogynistic asshole and someone asking how a particular thread on Reddit is indicative of society as a whole. Some “Yes, but” questions are tolerable and appropriate and I am against people who want to condition the responses of intelligent people who are legitimately trying to learn more about topics that are truly significant to so many people.

    • julian

      Who called you a rapist in those discussions?

    • SallyStrange, FemBrain in a FemBadge (Bigger on the Inside!)

      And if you’re telling me that if I don’t have the proper response to something posted in some forum on the internet then I’m a bad person on a level with rapists and misogynists, then you’re just plain wrong.

      Who even says this? First of all, expressing a sexist or misogynist thought does not make you a Bad Person. Even if it does provide cover to rapists and misogynists.

      Second of all, see Jadehawk’s links above. Making rape jokes and using humor that relies on sexist stereotypes really does provide cover and support to highly sexist men and rapists (the latter is a subset of the former).

      My suggestions are:

      1. Pay attention to the speech and behavior patterns of misogynists

      2. Adopt speech and behavior patterns that are easily distinguishable from those of misogynists

      3. Listen to women–they generally have the most data about how misogynists behave

      Is that too much? If it is, then forgive me if I don’t bother giving you the benefit of the doubt, because it really doesn’t seem like that much to ask. Also, note that it’s a request. Nobody has any way of forcing you to do anything. The worst thing that might result from your refusal is some name-calling and general social disapproval. I really don’t get this freaking out over control stuff. You are of course free to do whatever you want. Doesn’t mean the rest of the world isn’t free to have an opinion about it.

      • Munkhaus

        “expressing a sexist or misogynist thought does not make you a Bad Person”

        but… misogyny means the hatred of women; expressing misogyny means your hate women, and I would say that makes you a bad person.

        “Listen to women”

        I do, and they tell me that your full of it.

        • julian

          expressing misogyny means your hate women, and I would say that makes you a bad person.

          It can mean many different things. Ignorance of what you’re saying/doing, thoughtlessness, general stupidity, ect.

          That said, I would agree you’re a repulsive person, Munkhaus.

          I do, and they tell me that your full of it.

          Right after BlagHag’s post on what’s-his-face too.

          • Munkhaus

            Any word can mean “different things” to you and your little mates Julian; you change the meaning to suit your your agenda.
            Your schoolground insults are boring Julian. Try to come up with something that either: has a point, or is witty.

        • http://jadehawks.wordpress.com/ Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe

          misogyny means hatred of women about as much as homophobia means fear of gays

          in reality, it’s a specific case of misanthropy (which is also not the hatred of people, being more commonly defined as dislike or mistrust of people). IOW, it’s the word for anti-women prejudice.

  • http://www.mallorienasrallah.com Mallorie Nasrallah

    Christina, I hope people tell you how refreshing you are often. I’ll admit I was near hating on FTB until we started talking.

    Reading over your explanations, I can totally see how this is happening.

    So as to avoid sounding like this is one big lovein I’ll leave the points we agree on at this: Thank you, and hell yes.

    Yep, I’ve absolutely heard this question asked and have had this conversation before. The main thrust seems to be, “science and skepticism are awesome, but the percentages of people in our group don’t match up to population demographics. They don’t match up in that women and minorities are underrepresented. Why? Is it the subject matter, the way the subject matter is presented, some difference in women/minorities or some other social factor? We don’t think there is a difference in the way women/minorities think, so there must be something we can do.” etc.

    While this is a legitimate question it does single women out, and demand that we consider some differences, these differences have only ever fallen along the lines of stereotypes in my experience, and really what else could they be?
    I hope you dont mind if I copy paste from a reddit reply I made:
    If the awesome science, the brilliant lectures, the intellectual dismantling of theology, the camaraderie, and the pursuit of truth isn’t enough to make them want to join, why would you cater to them…just to have them around? Do you think the above list is not enough to endear women to the movement? Truly equal treatment is not catering to one side, just to make sure its not a sausage fest.
    Additionally there are studies that show this discussion might be part of the problem:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125859207

    I’m not sure if by “We don’t need our local atheists groups to host a “girls night out”” you mean that someone actually suggested that this was a need or that a girls night out needed to happen so women would want to be skeptics and I’m not going to make assumptions by what you meant, but here’s my take on such events anyway:

    I think that skeptics groups can benefit from a variety of different events which appeal to different folks. Here in St. Louis, we have Skeptics in the Pub. Not everyone is into the pub atmosphere, so we also have book club. Not everyone is into book club, so we also have ice skating. Not everyone is into ice skating, so we have lectures. Etc. We try to have a bunch of varied events, hosted at different times and at different locations so that everyone can find something they like. So, a “girl’s night out” event wouldn’t be out of the question at all

    As I said, the LVA (Las Vegas Atheists) did attempt a girls night out, so yes, I do mean its been suggested.
    I am totally fine with different events, but I feel its wrong to deliberately exclude the vast majority of members with gender based events. I dont drink but no one has ever told me that I cant attend Skeptics in the Pub, girls night out pointedly says “no boys allowed”. I think it sends a number of horrible messages to both men and women.
    If women prefer the company of other women thats fine, but I personally do not want to be a part of something that deliberately excludes anyone based wholly on gender.

    I wouldn’t be insulted if my local skeptics group just happened to have a girl’s night out because they thought it would be fun, but would probably be insulted if the conversation around organizing such an event was, “ladies can’t handle being around all these men, let’s give them a special space where they can be around their own kind” or something.

    I missed point #1, so I think maybe if you had been more specific about it, we all wouldn’t have herp-derped our way right over it.

    Fair enough, as I said above I am a little insulted by events that exclude based on gender. And I do think “girls only!” events are inherently based around the idea that women should have a special place to mingle with their own kind. I dont see how something that deliberately excludes men could be anything but that.

    More importantly, we are skeptics, what does that have to do with gender? How is it fair to force the male gender out of an event? I don’t know if anyone noticed, but I meant what I said about being an atheist who just happens to be female, one has nothing to do with the other for me. And I like that. Its ok if others dont, but I do.

    I thought some of the jokes were funny, too. I guess “Rebeccunt Twatson” is about as sexist as, “RichDick DawkDickenson” (or something) but this kind of derision maybe or may not be sexist in a larger context.

    So, here’s a definition of sexism:

    “Sexism, also known as gender discrimination or sex discrimination, is the application of the false belief that there are characteristics implicit to one’s gender that indirectly affect one’s abilities in unrelated areas. It is a form of discrimination or devaluation based on a person’s sex, with such attitudes being based on beliefs in traditional stereotypes of gender roles”

    So, the words “Rebeccunt Twatson” while altering the name of an individual to a derogatory sex-based name might not itself be sexism in the “false belief” sense, it is in the “devaluation” sense. In the context of an argument against her, it is certainly immature and does not add any persuasiveness to an argument.

    But when people say things like… oh.. “Though rkwatson may be a critical thinker, she made the commonly portrayed female mistake of making something out to be more than it was. If she had any confidence she could have declined without worry or if she was up for sex (assuming it would lead to that) she could have said yes or taken a raincheck. Her reaction SEEMS to stem from a feeling of weakness compared to him and having an unjustified fear of sexual predation. If you ARE weak, lift weights or join a self-defense course or something”

    Or… “fuck you cunt i hope you get fucking raped then shot shortly after”

    or.. “I’m going to make it my goal to rape you…fucking cunt. I’m going to rape all women who are feminists.”

    It definitely crosses the line into not-okay-land and sexism land.

    Sometimes and insult can be just an insult, sure the name calling is sparked by dislike, but that dislike does not have to be gender based, or caused by false views of the opposite gender. When I call someone a cunt or a dick its because I am pissed at them, and one works as well as the other. My Australian husband was shocked to discover that lots of Americans see “cunt” as having anything to do with vaginas. I am in the same boat.

    As for the rest of it, I am happy to call actual rape and rape threats fucking evil as hell. And rude, really its uncivilized. I do not know the precise motives of every person who makes a rape threat, I will not presume to know them, and because of that I will not presume to say whether or not the threats are made out of blind rage, feeling attacked, just being as hurtful as possible, trolling, or sexism. I know what it feels like, but I can not know that person’s motive.

    I think most of the sexism came about when some people said, “hey, these rape jokes make me uncomfortable, please stop that” and the response is, “You feminazi cunt bitch I’ll rape you, you winy weakling making your female mistakes” etc.

    Fair, and again, I don’t know their motives in saying those things, and I am not a psychologist, I am not going to try to label it. It is a dick move, and that I think we’ll agree on. But I feel very strongly that there is no right to not be offended. And the best response is to just take away the power they hoped to gain via making a threat. I generally give the fuckers my address, or just say “then do it fucker” it calls their bluff (I am not saying all women should do this!). I do think deflating the threat is a much better response than to spotlight it and legitimize them.
    Its fine if you disagree, I really am only stating my feelings on the subject.
    Further, it is the internet, I can not presume to know who these people are, or whether or not they are even members of our community. I will say about the reddit post, correct me if I’m wrong but when something is trending…doesn’t it show up on the main page of reddit, not just in the sub? Its it highly possible that these were just b/tards out of a joyride?

    Of course you do. I’m wondering.. did someone say you don’t have a right to express your opinion? Because that would be wrong. Fuck them.

    I think maybe if you had been more specific that your post was about how men should treat you personally, people wouldn’t be so flipped about it. They think you mean, “men, keep doing what you’re doing to everybody”.

    People have equated it with me having Stockholm Syndrome. That can be nothing but a direct response to what is clearly a preference. The insult doesn’t work any other way. (see Lousy Canuck for this name calling).
    So apparently having a different set of standards = must have psychological problems. Which is so fucking fallacious I could hardly be bothered to address it.

    I did use personal pronouns though the entire letter, I really can not control whether or not people understand that when I say me I mean me. If there was confusion I would have been happy to clear that up, I have attempted to do so several times, these attempts have been disregarded. Additionally, most people have had no problem understanding it. If I make amendments for everything people might misunderstand I’ll have a dry obscure note, that loses my bro-love message.

    Yeah, it kinda is. I don’t really see that happening so much, though. I more see suggestions. when Rebecca first posted about elevatorgate, it was DEFINITELY a personal suggestion and not aimed at everybody. But then people thought she was aiming it at everybody. Hence the shitstorm. I think though, that people are taking your writing as one woman, declaring how to approach women for sex. You’ve said you’re not saying that, so okay, but I think they are doing the same thing you’re doing. More or less.

    I think we’ll have to agree to disagree here because when I hear “guys don’t do that” I hear someone telling guys how to behave. It was an unsolicited lesson in Rebecca’s on brand of etiquette. I don’t know how guys felt about being given that unsolicited, somewhat insulting advice, but as someone who is fine with guys doing that I was pretty miffed. “guys don’t do that to me” ok fine. But that was not ever the message.
    I think socially awkward guys are fucking adorable, lots of girls do, it was not fair to say it is, as a rule shitty.
    I used my voice to tell them that I was ok with it, to let them know that I am fine with it. Other women shared my letter as a means to voice their “I’m ok with it too” status. And hopefully guys saw it and realized that they didnt have to change to make friends or have sex, that there are lots of us who are happy with them as they are.

    Well, some men actually asked if they could please be schooled. Its cool to school if they ask.

    Ok fair, but you still dont get to make rules for how all women feel, you can explain your preferences, but not those of others.
    I will do my own schooling, which I feel I did in my letter :D

    That’s cool if it works for you, but I think probably most women would be uncomfortable with this, but it really is situational. Again, if you’re saying, “men, treat me, personally, like you’ve always done” then I totally respect that. but if you’re saying, “men, keep treating everyone like you’ve always done” then I would have to disagree. I’m pretty sure you’re saying the former, right?

    The message was more supposed to be “don’t think all women are like that, there are plenty of us who like you how you are, you don’t have to change for them to be appreciated” and yes also “don’t change for me, don’t think you have to change for me. One of my transsexual models once said to me “you have a lot of compassion for men”. After we had discussed what is generally expected of men. She was right, I do, I know it hurts to be told you’re socially inept, I know it takes a lot to put yourself out there, and I know rejection hurts too. I wanted them to know that not all of us resent their attempts, and not all of us find them socially inept. Some of us like them just as they are. I hope they heard me.

    My approach: attack ideas, not people! =D

    Well keep at it lady.

    • julian

      While this is a legitimate question it does single women out, and demand that we consider some differences

      some differences need to be considered. For example, access to information or preexisting issues that may prevent attendance or treatment if they do participate. No one is born in a vacuum and it helps no one to pretend they are.

      I dont see how something that deliberately excludes men could be anything but that.

      And yet behavior, practices and policies that disproportionately affect one gender are A-OK.

      If the awesome science, [1]the brilliant lectures, [2]the intellectual dismantling of theology, [3]the camaraderie, and [4]the pursuit of truth isn’t enough to make them want to join, [5]why would you cater to them…just to have them around? [6]Do you think the above list is not enough to endear women to the movement? [7]Truly equal treatment is not catering to one side, just to make sure its not a sausage fest.

      (1)Many of the brilliant lectures, books and articles I’ve read sound like what you’d consider giving women/minorities preferential treatment.
      (2)And yet the dismantling the stereotypes (such as men spend 99.9% of their time chasing pussy) are off the table for criticism.
      (3)After that entire reddit fiasco is this really what you wanna go with? The feeling of camaraderie may not be as universal as you believe it is. And a comrade doesn’t keep threatening to fuck your ass raw after you’ve told them to stop.
      (4)But you are a condescending and dismissive human being, aren’t you?
      (5)Personally I would like people to make their decisions based on solid reasoning and evidence. This is doubly so when these people vote and have a large say in how I am governed. Mind you there are other less selfish reasons to encourage the distribution of skeptical thinking but you don’t strike me as someone who gives a fuck about anyone but herself.
      (6)It’s as if you genuinely believe there couldn’t possibly be factors that disproportionately affect one group over another.
      (7)Oh wait, you do.

      When I call someone a cunt or a dick its because I am pissed at them, and one works as well as the other.

      Why can’t the same be said for rape threats?

      As for the rest of it, I am happy to call actual rape and rape threats fucking evil as hell.

      ‘actual rape’ … right

      I generally give the fuckers my address, or just say “then do it fucker” it calls their bluff

      no comment

      It was an unsolicited lesson in Rebecca’s on brand of etiquette.

      Nice to know not propositioning random strangers is some special kind of etiquette. I guess my wife should suck it the fuck up and quit being so anti-sex.

      I know what it feels like, but I can not know that person’s motive.

      Why should anyone give a fuck how you feel? Grow a thicker skin and quit letting stupid shit get to you. If you stopped being so over emotional about silly shit we wouldn’t have this problem./your group of friends and defenders

      Some of us like them just as they are. I hope they heard me.

      snort

      Oh yeah. They definitely heard you over the objections of everyone else who’d spoken up.

      • http://www.mallorienasrallah.com Mallorie Nasrallah

        some differences need to be considered. For example, access to information or preexisting issues that may prevent attendance or treatment if they do participate. No one is born in a vacuum and it helps no one to pretend they are.

        I’m sorry you failed to address my entire sentence. We in the skeptical community call that “quote mining” though you have provided a particularly excellent example of it.

        And yet behavior, practices and policies that disproportionately affect one gender are A-OK.

        I did not say that. If you feel I did please offer a citation. I have however explained what behavior I am ok with, which is not what you said above.

        (1)Many of the brilliant lectures, books and articles I’ve read sound like what you’d consider giving women/minorities preferential treatment.

        Well good news, you assumption is incorrect. Unless you are referring to events wholly outside of this community in which case I have no idea, and that has no relevance on this topic.

        (2)And yet the dismantling the stereotypes (such as men spend 99.9% of their time chasing pussy) are off the table for criticism.

        I did not say that.

        (3)After that entire reddit fiasco is this really what you wanna go with? The feeling of camaraderie may not be as universal as you believe it is. And a comrade doesn’t keep threatening to fuck your ass raw after you’ve told them to stop.

        I can not speak for other people, I feel camaraderie within my group, I would hate to see it replaced with people feeling like they have to walk on eggshells around me.

        (4)But you are a condescending and dismissive human being, aren’t you?

        You sure really seem to think I am.

        (5)Personally I would like people to make their decisions based on solid reasoning and evidence. This is doubly so when these people vote and have a large say in how I am governed. Mind you there are other less selfish reasons to encourage the distribution of skeptical thinking but you don’t strike me as someone who gives a fuck about anyone but herself.

        You failed to answer the question. This has nothing to do with the statement you attached it to. Though it does sound really really pissed off.
        I do find it interesting that you feel you are being “governed”.

        (6)It’s as if you genuinely believe there couldn’t possibly be factors that disproportionately affect one group over another.
        (7)Oh wait, you do.

        I did not say that, if you feel I did, please provide citations.

        Why can’t the same be said for rape threats?

        How does this have anything to do with the sentence you quoted?

        ‘actual rape’ … right

        I’m sorry are you for addressing fictitious rape? If so, man do I have some novels you’ll want to yell at. Fictitious rape is all over the place in classic literature.
        Oh wait, I heard a forest was raped back before the EPA, Dont forget that too.

        no comment

        I said plenty of other things you did not feel the need to comment on…like the tail end of sentences, but you didn’t feel the need to express your lack of comment there.

        Nice to know not propositioning random strangers is some special kind of etiquette. I guess my wife should suck it the fuck up and quit being so anti-sex.

        It certainly isn’t anything close to a universal rule, and yes this happens to be a community with a lot of people in polyamorous relationships, so maybe you shouldn’t be so quick to assume you know what everyone likes.
        And no, I don’t really care what you and your wife do or don’t do, I stated my preference.

        Why should anyone give a fuck how you feel? Grow a thicker skin and quit letting stupid shit get to you. If you stopped being so over emotional about silly shit we wouldn’t have this problem./your group of friends and defenders

        This is a total shot in the dark but…you don’t really hate everyone who disagrees with you by chance…do you?
        I know for sure you like to characterize in them most absurd way you can.
        Also, who the hell is “my group of friends”? Also everyone who doesn’t perfectly agree with you?

        snort

        Oh yeah. They definitely heard you over the objections of everyone else who’d spoken up.

        Does it make you angry that I was able to share my experiences? Does it make you angry that some people were receptive to them? Does it make you angry that I have been able to represent my preferences? Does it just make you mad that you cant force everyone in to your way of behaving?
        What the hell are you so mad about?

        • http://jadehawks.wordpress.com/ Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe
          snort

          Oh yeah. They definitely heard you over the objections of everyone else who’d spoken up.

          Does it make you angry that I was able to share my experiences? Does it make you angry that some people were receptive to them? Does it make you angry that I have been able to represent my preferences? Does it just make you mad that you cant force everyone in to your way of behaving?
          What the hell are you so mad about?

          likely, he’s ridiculing the idea, implied by your wording, that there was any chance at all you weren’t going to be heard by them. Because that particular subset of men has been searching out every single woman who would say what you said to use as an excuse to dismiss any concerns by other women. It’s the equivalent of every single “states-rights” article/show/whatnot finding that one black southerner who dislikes the Civil Rights Act.

          Also known as “my female/gay/black friends say it’s ok with them, so it’s always ok”

        • julian

          We in the skeptical community call that “quote mining” though you have provided a particularly excellent example of it

          Quote mining would be taking something you had written and used it to express the exact opposite of what you meant. I didn’t do that. I took what you said (” these differences have only ever fallen along the lines of stereotypes in my experience, and really what else could they be?”) and pointed out differences worth considering and addressing which you seem to be ignoring.

          I did not say that.

          Yes, you did. You told the community to never change, to never let anyone change it and to never change for anyone. You’re telling them to ignore everyone else who might be uncomfortable with their behavior (for you.) That’s an endorsement of any existing barriers that might exist that discriminates.

          Well good news, you assumption is incorrect.

          It wasn’t an assumption. Some of the pieces I’ve enjoyed the most were one’s that tackled racial, gender and class stereotypes. These tended to be *insert minority/disenfranchised group* outreach efforts. You’ve described such attempts as showing preferential treatment to those groups. In fact, you’ve described it as being patronizing to those groups.

          I do find it interesting that you feel you are being “governed”.

          There is a government body that governs. There are people that vote for that government. I would like that they brought a skeptical and critical mindset to politics and voting. One, of many reasons, why I am very much in favor of outreach.

          yes this happens to be a community with a lot of people in polyamorous relationships

          Ah, so that’s why my wife flipped when I told her I wouldn’t be opposed to her seeking relationships outside our own. She’d have to stop being annoyed at guys she had just told to fuck off telling her they didn’t see a ring.

          How does this have anything to do with the sentence you quoted?

          You excused using cunt, bitch, dick, ect because they were used in anger. Why can’t the same be said for rape threats?

          Does it make you angry that I was able to share my experiences?

          No it does not. The dismissal and hypocrisy do.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

      “I am totally fine with different events, but I feel its wrong to deliberately exclude the vast majority of members with gender based events. I dont drink but no one has ever told me that I cant attend Skeptics in the Pub, girls night out pointedly says “no boys allowed”. I think it sends a number of horrible messages to both men and women.
      If women prefer the company of other women thats fine, but I personally do not want to be a part of something that deliberately excludes anyone based wholly on gender.”

      I can totally see what you mean here about excluding people based on gender.

      It appears that minorities and underprivilaged people are allowed to occationally exclude people who are deemed to have privilege based on whatever trait people believe gives them said privilege. i.e. there are a lot of “minority in X” groups, or “women of Y” groups or even “seniors of Z” groups. We don’t really have a huge problem with that in Skeptic/atheist circles (Skepchick even has a dude writing for them, sooo…)

      Sometimes I am not sure how I feel about that, so I suppose I am on the fence. You made an interesting point, though.

      • julian

        It appears that minorities and underprivilaged people are allowed to occationally exclude people who are deemed to have privilege based on whatever trait people believe gives them said privilege.

        sigh

        and reverse racism rears its ugly head.

        We’re not excluding anyone. In conversations, events and organizations where one group has historically always had the lead will almost have their voice heard above groups who historically haven’t held the same position. The ‘privileged’ group almost invariably sets the agenda and everyone else is by default expected to go along with it.

        So there’s a deficiency where one group’s concerns and needs are more readily heard and addressed. The other group is already facing an incline where it has to go further than the other group to legitimize its issues. Since we agree concerns should be dealt with according to their severity and importance it makes no sense to have anything structured that way.

        But we know we are not free of cognitive biases. We know we unconsciously setup shifting standards and goal posts for people. For example, asking a group to evaluate a fictitious job application, we seem predisposed to justify a man getting the job over a woman. Whatever qualities he posses are given more weight than when a female applicant has them. What then to do to guarantee this disparity is minimized?

        The most common solution is giving opportunities for these groups to make their voices heard. There’s no harm to it and it’s little different from creating opportunities for any other group (doctors, human rights advocates, student advocates) except, of course, that the environment is already showing unearned preferential treatment to a different group.

        • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

          and reverse racism rears its ugly head

          In case I was not clear – I was not commenting on the appropriateness or lack thereof, merely pointing out a thing that happens – that minority groups excluding those deemed to have privilege.

          • http://jadehawks.wordpress.com/ Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe

            here’s an excellent example why these minority-highlighting groups are absolutely necessary: http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/01/token-women/

            or as someone there put it:

            He’s gor Ricky Gervais on his list, and he’s looking for a “token” female? I like Gervais as a comedian, but what the fuck did he do as an atheist that’s even remotely comparable to, say, Greta Christina or Rebecca Watson?

            And if he’s including comedians, where’s Eddie Izzard? He can do the same things as Gervais, in heels!

            that’s the result of the implicit bias julian mentioned. and it needs to be undone. by giving those who are filtered out by this bias a greater chance to get through the filter.

            IOW, any ambivalence on the topic makes only sense when it’s assumed that the status quo doesn’t also exclude, albeit implicitly and (increasingly less so), rather than explicitly

          • julian

            May I ask for examples of minorities excluding privileged? As far as objectionable go I’m drawing a blank but I’ve cut myself off from much of the internet as so much of it drives me (further) insane so maybe I’m just not looking in the right places.

          • http://jadehawks.wordpress.com/ Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe

            julian, if you want an example at the level mallorie is complaining about, you can take the Women in Secularism conference: it’s a conference of women’s speakers; on purpose. No dudely speakers at all.

        • SallyStrange, FemBrain in a FemBadge (Bigger on the Inside!)

          Well–

          Let’s be honest here.

          Being deliberately inclusive of women does end up excluding misogynists.

          Being deliberately inclusive of people of color does end up excluding racists.

          And so on.

          The question is, why would anyone think this is a bad thing?

    • Brad

      My Australian husband was shocked to discover that lots of Americans see “cunt” as having anything to do with vaginas. I am in the same boat.

      I think “most Americans” would be closer to accurate, and yes, its definitely understood to be highly offensive slang for vagina.

      I can’t confirm this myself, but I’ve heard that its much more commonly used in British English, and is not considered as strong a term.

      • julian

        I’ve met a pair of Royal Marines who use it the way you might use ‘dude’ or ‘guy.’ Not sure how representative of the U.K. they were though.

  • http://jadehawks.wordpress.com/ Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe

    intent might matter in determining misogyny, i.e. the presence of anti-woman prejudice. it’s entirely irrelevant in determining whether something is sexist. If that were so, systemic sexism wouldn’t be a thing, since systems by definition don’t have intents. as such, determining whether something is sexist by the intent of the person (or worse yet, by the explicit intent, as if implicit biases weren’t a thing) is harmful.

  • http://jadehawks.wordpress.com/ Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe

    If the awesome science, the brilliant lectures, the intellectual dismantling of theology, the camaraderie, and the pursuit of truth isn’t enough to make them want to join, why would you cater to them…

    because of course there couldn’t be topics of “brilliant lectures” and on which one might wish to pursue truth that aren’t already represented in the skeptics community, but which might attract more non-white, non-straight, non-dudely people. Unpossible. the skeptics movement after all already CLEANS ALL THE THINGS TACKLES ALL THE TOPICS

    • http://www.mallorienasrallah.com Mallorie Nasrallah

      No, of course we dont talk about everything thats worth talking about. I admit I find it a little unfortunate that so much time is spent talking about this.

      But you’re otherwise wrong, there are lots of women who host events, present studies, and give lectures. The last lecture I attended was given by one of our SSA members, working on her masters degree, we were all absolutely thrilled to get a sneak peak (http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2296100E13C9CC3A) .
      I hope I don’t have to provide examples of the national and international speakers who are women as well.

      It is absurd to act as though women are so repressed within the skeptical community that they can not be very active.

      • http://www.mallorienasrallah.com Mallorie Nasrallah

        Jadehawk, sorry, some of my above comment is slightly off topic, This is going to sound silly but I am on a Linux Crunchbang system that does a very strange job of formatting text, so I initially read some of your post incorrectly.

        • http://jadehawks.wordpress.com/ Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe

          I was about to say: nothing in my comment implied complete absence of women; and depending on what you mean by “this”, it might be precisely a topic that people not currently attracted to skepticism would like to see discussed. That’s certainly true for sexism, in the sense that a lot of cultural beliefs are not true and are sexist, and could really use some debunking (same goes for race-related myths, which I think Crommunist wrote about not too horribly long ago)

          Instead, we hear “dealing with sexism would be mission creep”, which sounds a lot like what previously was “dealing with religion is not something skeptics do”

        • Munkhaus

          Try Archbang :)

          • http://www.mallorienasrallah.com Mallorie Nasrallah

            Not toe derail but:

            Thanks! I’m getting the liveboot right now. Honestly I wanted to just run knoppix on my HD, but when it became apparent that there were only live versions I started seeing if I could use debian and make my own…which was such a miserable failure that I gave up after discovering I had somehow created a dependency loop. If I had to ./compile one more thing that was dependent on the very thing I was trying to compile I was going to start yelling. I spent sleepless nights on that damn OS (I had NO repositories and practically NO drivers either, it was like an open heart surgery without the heart)
            So I had a look at eeebuntu and briefly considered puppy linux but in the end crunchbang seemed to best suit my needs, still, it has some flaws that I would love to resolve.

            So yeah, sorry everyone else reading this, I was just pointed to a new Linux Disto that looks nifty.
            And sorry if that sounds like explaining one bit of gibberish with another.

            Thanks again.

          • Munkhaus

            “If I had to ./compile one more thing that was dependent on the very thing I was trying to compile I was going to start yelling. ”

            Haha, I know what you mean. After many distro-hops I’ve been using Arch for years, and Archbang is a quick way off installing a basic system.
            Enjoy!

  • http://jadehawks.wordpress.com/ Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe

    I generally give the fuckers my address, or just say “then do it fucker” it calls their bluff

    someone has never been (cyber)stalked, I see. Let’s hope none of these guys will ever call you on this, since you’re basically playing Russian Roulette here.

    • http://www.mallorienasrallah.com Mallorie Nasrallah

      Lets be clear, I did say I was not advising others to do the same. I do not want people to think that.

      That being said just because I have had an extremely positive experience in the skeptical community, that does not mean that the internet has always been nice to me.

      If someone wants to buy plane tickets, fly to my home town, find a way to get to my house, and attempt to molest me because I said something that pissed them off on the internet the I really should probably be more worried about what I say to the people who live down the road.

      Honestly though, watching them deflate, its awesome.

      again, other people, probably dont do this.

      • http://jadehawks.wordpress.com/ Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe

        I did not say you were telling other people to do that. You did however say you think your method works better:

        I do think deflating the threat is a much better response than to spotlight it and legitimize them.

        Those statements don’t just innocuously float there, you know. They mean things, and they imply things. as it stands, it looks like a “i’m not a X, but…” statement, where self-description clashes with actual content of sentence.

        And in any case, none of that has anything to do with what I said. I was pointing out a bit of privilege and commenting on the fact that relying on previous luck isn’t always a good idea.

        • http://www.mallorienasrallah.com Mallorie Nasrallah

          Sorry, I was not trying to imply that you said I was advocating that same response for others. I just wanted to be very clear about it. Honestly I regret posting it, because really I’m in a unique position that makes it a lot more logical for me to do than others. If I had an edit option I would have removed it shortly after posting. I am aware that everyone is in different situations, and what might be safe for me to do, is probably not safe for others to do.

          Everything doesn’t have to be that black and white though, my response doesn’t have to be the only method. Removing power from those making the threat is a valid action. Find a method that works for you.

          I hope that clarifies a bit.

      • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

        Mallorie, I really hope you’ll be at the Reason Rally or the AA conference so we can bump into each other. =D

        • http://www.mallorienasrallah.com Mallorie Nasrallah

          I cant say I will be at either for sure, probably TAM though.
          And agreed, thanks again for being curious and thoughtful.

      • Vagabond

        Well, giving your address is generally inadvisable.Everyone who has his address easily found via internet search engines suffers increased risk of finding a Molotov moving through their window at significant speed.

        However, the incredibly pathetic and amusing part of rape threats and / or battery threats over internet is that fists and penises generally don’t move all that well over TCP/IP and thus such threats expose their maker to some pretty sweet ridicule.

        “Oh, so your “Richard” is so tiny you can fit it into a standard packet ? You truly put the “Pee” in TCP!”

        =)

  • http://jadehawks.wordpress.com/ Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe

    Additionally there are studies that show this discussion might be part of the problem:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125859207

    that’s not a study; also, probably the most counterproductive way of dealing with stereotype threat is pretending nothing is wrong. doing so is the equivalent of saying 2nd wave feminism should have never tried to decrease gender inequality, since there is evidence that doing so increases incidence of rape at first. Or telling the civil rights movement that what they’re doing is causing violence.

    • Liam

      It’s a book on the studies. You are correct, It is not a study, it is the documentation of many years of peer reviewed studies and experiments, and put into a summarised format palatable for the book reader.

      Lets make sure we do not fall into the trap of dismissing science when the results do not match our preconceived notions. (not saying you have).

      • http://jadehawks.wordpress.com/ Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe

        it would help you look less silly if your post actually addressed someone who had written something about dismissing the existence of stereotype threat based on the insufficiency of the link provided

        because actually, I merely noted my disappointment with being told about studies, and being linked to an interview about a book about studies.

  • http://jadehawks.wordpress.com/ Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe

    once more:

    but as someone who is fine with guys doing that I was pretty miffed

    if your particular kink is to have your stated preferences ignored, that’s fine. But let’s not try to normalize that into a behavior people should be ok with in public; that’s a bedroom kink that requires safe words.

    • http://www.mallorienasrallah.com Mallorie Nasrallah

      if your particular kink is to have your stated preferences ignored, .

      I did not say that.
      I am not sure how that makes sense at all, please elaborate?

      • http://jadehawks.wordpress.com/ Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe

        Watson’s “don’t do that” referred to an instance in which she had, before EG ever asked anything of her, already stated her preferences TWICE; EG went and ignored them, in an environment that made Watson uncomfortable (a closed elevator).

        if having guys do that to you is your thing, indulge all you want. But I really don’t think that should be accepted public behavior.

        • http://www.mallorienasrallah.com Mallorie Nasrallah

          Ok, thank you that makes more sense.
          Because open flirting / sex offers =/= ignoring my preferences.
          You seemed to have been saying that my preference was to have my preference ignored. Which didnt makes any sense to me.

          • http://jadehawks.wordpress.com/ Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe

            well, I was snarkily pointing out that it looked like you were saying those were your preferences when you said you were “someone who is fine with guys doing that”, where “that” referred to the same “that” in Watson’s “guys, don’t do that”

        • Munkhaus

          This narrative is flawed. We don’t know whether he heard the “no”s, and whether they were nos is debatable.

          • julian

            That’s right, Munkhaus. She never gave any indication she wouldn’t absolutely adore his cock. Therefore she made it up or whatever gibberish you’re pushing this week.

          • http://jadehawks.wordpress.com/ Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe

            that’s right; saying you don’t want to be sexualized is not a “no” to being sexualized

            there’s a term for this shit. it’s not a term people like Munkhaus like to hear, but it fits like a glove.

          • Munkhaus

            Christ, no room for nuance with you lot is there? What a black and white worldview.
            “Sexualisation” has not been established. But for you “skeptics” starting at a conclusion and working backwards is all that counts.
            Stick to your received narrative, anecdotes and dogma and pretending that you were there.

          • julian

            But for you “skeptics” starting at a conclusion and working backwards is all that counts.

            Munkhaus, coming from you, that is almost a text book case of the pot calling the kettle black.

        • Tony B

          I don’t think that should even be necessary. It is not socially acceptable to corner strangers to solicit them for any reason. He committed an obvious social faux pas. It doesn’t make him a bad person but it is most certainly not ok.


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