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Always name names!

Category: Skepticism
Posted on: July 2, 2011 8:35 AM, by PZ Myers

There is an odd attitude in our culture that it's acceptable for men to proposition women in curious ways — Rebecca Watson recently experienced this in an elevator in Dublin, and I think this encounter Ophelia Benson had reflects the same attitude: women are lower status persons, and we men, as superior beings, get to ask things of them. Also as liberal, enlightened people, of course, we will graciously accede to their desires, and if they ask us to stop hassling them, we will back off, politely. Isn't that nice of us?

It's not enough. Maybe we should also recognize that applying unwanted pressure, no matter how politely phrased, is inappropriate behavior. Maybe we should recognize that when we interact with equals there are different, expected patterns of behavior that many men casually disregard when meeting with women, and it is those subtle signs that let them know what you think of them that really righteously pisses feminist women off.

But I don't want to talk about that. I want to mention one thing that annoys me. Rebecca Watson talked about this experience at a CFI conference, and one thing she did was to directly address, by name, criticisms of her reaction to being importuned in an elevator late at night. She specifically discussed a criticism by one of the attendees, Stef McGraw, quoting her and saying where the argument was found, and a few people were angry at her for that, and demanded that she apologize to McGraw. Which is, frankly, bizarre.

The demands for an apology were very interesting. None of my critics at any point offered any counterargument concerning my points on objectification or feminism . . . all their criticism was entirely about tone. At first they were angry because I had criticized a student. For instance, Trevor Boeckmann, a CFI intern, Tweeted, "It's one thing to call out a public figure, it's another to spend your keynote calling out a student." (Boeckmann must have actually missed my talk, since I spoke about McGraw's post for about two minutes out of sixty. Despite this and the fact that he did not mention my name, I saw the Tweet on the #CFICON feed and correctly guessed it was about me, anyway. See below for more on that topic. )

As Watson says, she loathes passive-aggressive behavior. So do I, and this is a fine example of it. Name names, always name names, and always do your best to be specific. It is right and proper as good skeptics to confront and provoke and challenge, and you have to be direct about it. Would it have been better if Rebecca had talked vaguely about broad-stroke disagreements, fuzzily mentioning some unnamed persons with some unrecognizably blurred wording of disagreement, and then taken that blank-faced effigy to task? I don't think so. It also would have been a tactic to blunt subsequent rebuttals.

The skeptics movement has a surfeit of that passive aggressive attitude right now. As exhibit #1, I'll mention the infamous "Don't be a dick" speech by Phil Plait, which, while representing a good goal of asking for more tolerance, was turned into a flopping issue of disagreement specifically because it was all about tone, not substance, and because Phil could not found any of his arguments in specifics, keeping everything vague, and often cartoonish.

And now, of course, Watson is getting all this heat because she was willing to stand and deliver the goods. Disagree with her all you want, but apparently, you're not supposed to be confronted over your differences, ever. You can name Rebecca Watson as a villain, but she can't take you to task over your characterization. When did skepticism become a one way street?

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#1

Posted by: dr-rieux Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:17 AM

Damn right. The flak Watson has taken for this whole episode mystifies me.

#2

Posted by: Rorschach Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:22 AM

Oh, that's where that traffic is coming from ! As it happens, I just wrote a post about this whole mess 10 minutes ago, because it's starting to annoy me, and I also think that ERV has it wrong. Not to mention Stef McGraw.

#3

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:24 AM

omg.
a man tries to get laid.
what is this world coming to?
rebecca and pz act as if he pulled a bill clinton and whipped his shlong out.
all he did was ask. if that makes you uncomfortable then that's your problem.
it wasn't sexist in any way.
bad timing but, not sexist.

#4

Posted by: Iris Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:30 AM

"Don't be a dick" is good advice in many human interactions, but really poor advice in others. The key is to only use your "dick" power for good.

It seems to me that confrontational men in the skeptics movement get flak from these passive-aggressive tone trolls among us for being confrontational. The confrontational women get extra flak for being confrontational women.

#5

Posted by: Rorschach Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:31 AM

fundip,

a man tries to get laid.

You might want to apply for a a role in the next Jurassic Park movie. Looking good there.

#6

Posted by: Greg Laden Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:33 AM

Do you name the names to make people feel bad or to make the argument data-based rather than straw-man based? (Or both?)

#7

Posted by: Iris Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:35 AM

fundip, can you understand why hitting on a woman in an elevator — where there is no escape — would be unnerving from a woman's point of view?

Of course you can't.

#8

Posted by: The Great Juju up the Mountain Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:39 AM

I *completely* fail to see what feminism has to do with skepticism. Apparently she lacks audiences that are willing to listen to her and picks a skepticism conference to sneak in her whining. She should find a different support group.

#9

Posted by: Iris Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:40 AM

Do you name the names to make people feel bad or to make the argument data-based rather than straw-man based? (Or both?)

Both. And in addition, to make other people aware that such behavior is unwelcome and that there may be consequences for it, beyond a woman feeling creeped out and keeping silent about it.

#10

Posted by: nerahla Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:42 AM

It's not odd Mr. Myers, when you consider misogyny to be absolutely rampant in our society still. It's all thanks to religion really (even pre-monotheistic ones) - but boy is that another post 8)

I'm not surprised or taken aback with shock when a woman is treated as less than equal by a man. It's just one of those things that we deal with on a daily basis, so pervasive, many of us simply ignore/accept it.

#11

Posted by: ERV Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:43 AM

As Watson says, she loathes passive-aggressive behavior.
So she did NOT confront the supposed propositioner.

So she did NOT confront Stef McGraw.

She 'confronted' them via the safe confines of her blag, or from the power-unbalance of the podium.

Thats not the opposite of being 'passive aggressive'.

#12

Posted by: ERV Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:45 AM

Here is Stefs response, btw, since PZ 'missed' it.

I mean for real, PZ. Did you learn nothing from The Rational Response Squad?

#13

Posted by: sevandyk Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:46 AM

It's not that skepticism is a one way street - it's just a street that never reaches to Stef & co.'s door.

We all know what this is - they have no counter arguments, but they were embarassed to see their points so fantastically decimated during the talk (I was there, and it was *fantastic*.) So now they're crying victim and calling Rebecca "childish", "vindictive", etc.

The irony is tasty. :P

#14

Posted by: Iris Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:53 AM

The Great Juju up the Mountain:

I *completely* fail to see what feminism has to do with skepticism. Apparently she lacks audiences that are willing to listen to her and picks a skepticism conference to sneak in her whining. She should find a different support group.

I came to skepticism via feminism. I wondered where the overwhelming sexism in my culture came from, and my investigation led me straight to the door of Christianity. I read the bible critically for the first time, and found the smoking gun.

There is a reason skeptics have conferences where they discuss various issues of importance to them; they are working to see that reason and skepticism prevail more in the world, especially in matters of public concern. Women being treated as equals falls squarely in that realm, since it affects, you know, at least half of the population.

Some people are apparently constitutionally incapable of making these connections. Those people call feminists "whiners." Alas, there is nothing inherent to skepticism that precludes narcissism.

#15

Posted by: jack.rawlinson Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:55 AM

I disagree on this one. What Watson did was extremely dickish, and contained a large dose of spite. She went for public humiliation over what was, by any reasonable assessment, a pretty minor faux pas in a private situation. The guy who "propositioned" her did so in what sounds like a clumsy but not-particularly-awful way, and didn't push or persist when she wasn't interested. And for that he gets a public shaming? That's some excessive, nasty behaviour by Watson, and trying to dignify it by banging on about the importance of provoking, being specific etc. is to disingenuously ignore what a mean little overreaction this was.

#16

Posted by: Brother Ogvorbis, Apropos of Nada Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:56 AM

I *completely* fail to see what feminism has to do with skepticism. Apparently she lacks audiences that are willing to listen to her and picks a skepticism conference to sneak in her whining.

Skepticism, humanism, secularism, all have to do with treating human beings as actual human beings, not pawns in a political or religious game of 'gotcha.' So, in my opinion (useless as it is), feminism does have a place within the skeptical, free thought, and secular movement(s). After all, if men and women were not skeptical about the proper role of women within 'god(s)' society, would women have the vote? Would abortion be (mostly) legal? Would women be allowed to own property? sue for divorce? get a job (outside of prostitution, that is)? No. It was skepticism about presupposed answers that have mostly freed women to be actual human beings.

As for whining? That wasn't whining. That was calling out behaviour which, in any society, should not be happening. Have you, Great Juju, ever found yourself in a situation in which you felt threatened, or pressured, by someone who is larger and stronger than you? by someone who is expressing a desire to access your personal intimacy? in a place where, even for a short time, you had no opportunity to escape? Have you, Great Juju, even a shred of empathy for those who may be different (and I have no idea your gender or preference)? Just based on the one comment of yours I have read today, my guess would be no.

#17

Posted by: Toiletman Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:02 AM

About the men and women stuff mentioned in the first part of the rant. It won't work. It's too ingrained in culture and especially in human courtship behaviour where it is the male's role to be the dominant one. Looking for somebody equal hasn't brought me any success atleast.
Especially among nerds/geeks, females tend to be overly calm in real life (maybe only there) and rarely try to show off their intellect and knowledge in opposite to male peers.

#18

Posted by: The Great Juju up the Mountain Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:05 AM

@ #14 You're putting words in my mouth that I never said. I didn't call feminists whiners. In fact I am really supportive of their cause. I did however, call Watson a whiner. From what I read, she has blown the elevator thing completely out of proportion. A guy asks her for coffee and suddenly he's the most vile creature she has ever encountered and the entire society (or at least the male half) is to blame for this kind of extremely rude behavior. I call that whining.

#19

Posted by: hillaryrettig Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:10 AM

Thanks for supporting her PZ. One thing about sexual harassers is that they are often VERY good at maintaining ambiguity or otherwise evading responsibility. So they'll say something to you, but only when alone or in a very low voice so you're not 100% sure you heard it. Or they'll grope you, but in a crowded subway car so you can't tell exactly who's doing it. Or they'll say something provocative or nasty, then claim it was a joke.

Anyone who doesn't know why a woman, alone in an elevator with a strange man at 4 am, would feel put upon - if not outright threatened - by having him come on to her, needs to get out more. And ditto for anyone who thinks it's okay to come on to a stranger in a professional or neutral setting, just cuz you you feel like it.

(OgVorbis, you rock - for your handle AND viewpoints.)

#20

Posted by: Brother Ogvorbis, Apropos of Nada Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:10 AM

I didn't call feminists whiners.

You are correct. You called one feminist a whiner:

I *completely* fail to see what feminism has to do with skepticism. Apparently she lacks audiences that are willing to listen to her and picks a skepticism conference to sneak in her whining. She should find a different support group.

You are correct. Total reading fail on my part. I should have seen that, although "what feminism has to do with skepticism" and "sneak in her whining" were in the same paragraph, the two phrases had absolutely nothing to do with each other. I need to learn to read.

#21

Posted by: David Marjanović Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:10 AM

Juju, you're misquoting Dawkins. It's "the Great Juju on the Mountain".

a pretty minor faux pas in a private situation. The guy who "propositioned" her did so in what sounds like a clumsy but not-particularly-awful way

He asked her into his room, in an elevator, that late at night? If that's not creepy, I don't know what is. That guy could as well have worn a sign saying "I am Schrödinger's Rapist" around his neck.

FFS! Have you never been bullied? Do you know fear at all?

ERV, this has to be dragged out in public. Otherwise, it'll never stop. Perhaps that one person would stop if directly confronted, but the next 20 wouldn't.

#22

Posted by: Iris Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:12 AM

This is what Rebecca said:

You know, I don't really know how else to explain how this makes me incredibly uncomfortable, but I'll just sort of lay it out that I was a single woman, you know, in a foreign country, at 4:00 am, in a hotel elevator, with you, just you, and--don't invite me back to your hotel room right after I finish talking about how it creeps me out and makes me uncomfortable when men sexualize me in that manner..."

And for that he gets a public shaming? Yes, yes he does.

Toiletman:


About the men and women white and black stuff mentioned in the first part of the rant. It won't work. It's too ingrained in culture and especially in human courtship behaviour economic systems where it is the male's white's role to be the dominant one. Looking for somebody Treating blacks as equal hasn't brought me any success atleast.

I'm pretty sure your lack of success has other causes.

Especially among nerds/geeks, females tend to be overly calm in real life (maybe only there) and rarely try to show off their intellect and knowledge in opposite to male peers.

LMAO.

#23

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:14 AM

People can shove their criticism of Watson right up their asses.

#24

Posted by: DeusExNihilum Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:16 AM

I am with #15, Jack Rawlinson, here. Out of the two, The man on the elevator and Watson, Watson was the bigger dick...And by an order of Magnitude at that.

I fail to see how this man committed some atrocity against human social etiquette, let alone Feminism, are people now so paranoid and untrusting that any conversation with a stranger must be accompanied by means of "Escape"? I keep seeing that excuse brought up, that she "Had no Escape", are all men rapists now? Assumed to be one unless proven otherwise? Are we that scared of other people that "What means of escape do I have?" is a thought that goes through peoples minds? Its not like he whipped his dick out, the transcription of his proposition doesn't imply he thought her a "Lesser" or "Just a piece of meat", Was he acting aggressively? Was he drunk?

Does this only apply to sexual paranoia? For example, same situation and someone asks for the time in a lift, Can I feel justified in thinking this a social faux pas? After all, he could be a mugger and I have no escape!

tl;dr - Watson was unprofessional, over-reactory and a complete dick.

#25

Posted by: Greg Laden Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:16 AM

This item will interest some of you (and enrage others, naturally)

#26

Posted by: Iris Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:16 AM

Juju:

A guy asks her for coffee and suddenly he's the most vile creature she has ever encountered and the entire society (or at least the male half) is to blame for this kind of extremely rude behavior. I call that whining.

Now who's putting words in someone's mouth?

Read what she said. It's right there at #22.

#27

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:17 AM

That kind of behavior is why many women choose just not to go to these kinds of things, and the fact that Watson is being criticized here at all for the creepy inappropriate behavior of a socially clueless asshole who can't figure out that a woman who has shown NO INTEREST in him by 4 am when she is leaving isn't going to come back and suck his cock for him... has no interest in him at all.

The end.

#28

Posted by: Youngie Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:17 AM

I feel that it needs to be pointed out that the man in Rebecca Watson's post didn't actually seem to be hitting on her at all.
I mean this in all seriousness, listening to Rebecca's description of the encounter, he seemed like a socially awkward person hoping to talk with a person that he admired.
Ophelia Benson's encounter, on the other hand, is a particularly apt example of the very real misyogyny that exists in our culture.
It saddens me, therefore, to see this issue diluted by the use of a non-example such as the encounter Rebecca Watson had in that elevator.
Oh,and by the way Fundip,you are a douchebag.

#29

Posted by: megalopod Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:18 AM

Toiletman, there's a reason we smart geek women don't always show off our intellect in public... it's because we often get ridiculed for it, by both men and women who feel intimidated by it. I am a smart, strong, geeky feminist, and if I met you in real life I'd have nothing to do with you. And you probably have no idea why.

#30

Posted by: podblack Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:20 AM

I would suggest people also consider reading Barbara Drescher's blogpost on the matter:
On Sexism, Objectification And Power, where she writes wonderfully about whether it is a case of sexualizing, demonizing, what constitutes appropriate ways to voice disagreements and 'imbalance of power'.
Prof Drescher will be presenting at the forthcoming Amazing Meeting on education.

#31

Posted by: Adam Shannon Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:21 AM

The problem is that Stef was called out in a situation where she couldn't really respond. It would have been rude and meaningless to de-rail the Q&A of Rebecca's talk for this debate. However, having a Keynote call you out is plain rude, Stef will not be able to respond during a speech ever.

Please read Stef's response.

http://www.unifreethought.com/2011/06/fursdays-wif-stef-33.html

#32

Posted by: Melody Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:21 AM

FYI - I work for CFI, I was there and I was Rebecca's biggest cheerleader.

#33

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:22 AM

I don't "show off my intellect" because I assume that I will be respected and treated as an intellectual equal. I assume that of others, but if I am not treated that way, I do not engage the person at all. They have proven that they are beneath me! I don't need to prove myself to inferiors.

#34

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:23 AM

oh no, men want sex.
how dare they ask for it.
jeebus.
you all are a idiots.
feminism is about equal pay for equal work.
one man tried to get laid and he struck out.


"what was he thinking?
omg he's so barbaric to think he has the right to ask for sex."


as the story goes, all he did was ask.
he was declined.

then rebecca gets on her high horse and cries about it.


it really is more about rebecca's insecurities to bring it up in the first place.
nothing extraordinary happened.


"even though i have thick glasses and a unibrow, i'm still sexy enough to get hit on"

guess what sweethart, no body cares.
except the reactionary moron's on this site that think all men are bad....
pz you are guilty.

#35

Posted by: Neal Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:24 AM

fail to see how this man committed some atrocity against human social etiquette, let alone Feminism, are people now so paranoid and untrusting that any conversation with a stranger must be accompanied by means of "Escape"? I keep seeing that excuse brought up, that she "Had no Escape", are all men rapists now?

The chief problem wasn't that he talked to her in an elevator. The problem was that he was so goddamned clueless that he didn't realize his behaviour would make her uncomfortable. Look, he was basically blind to what she might be thinking and feeling and took no account of it when he decided to proposition her.

He might (as Youngie, #28, pointed out) have simply been clueless and awkward. In fact, he probably was. That doesn't excuse him: it's a learning experience for him and everyone else who doesn't bother to take context into account when making decisions.

#36

Posted by: stevenbradleylewis Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:25 AM

If the world was just, the dick who hit on Rebecca would have been called out by name. So far as I know, he has yet to attempt to publicly explain or attempt to justify his behavior, or apologize for it.

My understanding is that Rebecca is a married woman. That alone is a sufficient reason not to proposition her. Moreover, the circumstances of the come-on do not suggest a good-faith attempt to "get laid" as an earlier commenter put it. The odds of a favorable response are worse than being hit by lightning IN AN ELEVATOR. IMHO it was harassment plain and simple.

#37

Posted by: Brother Ogvorbis, Apropos of Nada Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:26 AM

Youngie:

At four in the morning, asking a person back to your hotel room, even if it is not meant as a come-on, is a come-on. Which illustrates why Ophelia Benson's reaction to the incident, calling him out publicly and specifically, was the right reaction. Had she made a generalized statement regarding elevator come-ons, the socially-clueless individual would, most likely, have assumed she was speaking of another incident at a different time. By specifying the individual, with an explanation of what was wrong with the behaviour, she treated the incident as a teachable moment. This individual was given no opportunity to 'notme' the incident. Instead, he was given the opportunity to examine his behaviour, examine his motives and methods, and, possibly, understand why what he did (asking a woman to his hotel room at 4:00am) is not acceptable behaviour. Whether he chooses to take responsibility for his actions or chooses to either deny the potential seriousness of the incident or blaming Benson for overreacting is up to him as an adult human being. Ophelia Benson has done her part as an adult human being.

#38

Posted by: remusm8 Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:27 AM

"There is an odd attitude in our culture that it's acceptable for men to proposition women in curious ways"

Really now? I read both Ophelia's blog and Rebecca's post concerning 'elevator guy'.

What I got from it was mostly: 'Jeesh, some people really are dicks' and 'Christ, that was a spectacular lapse in judgement', respectively.

How is this sexism though, I wonder? People act like arses all the time, but when a man does it to a woman it must be rooted in sexism? It's all-right to toss out a more nuanced analyses when potential sexism is involved?

Yeah, the guy was being a dick.And yeah, the guy in the elevator with Rebecca was simply being a tard but guilty of little more than a spectacular lapse in judgement. But how is this anything more than 'people behaving stupidly/like dicks'?


Every time I read posts like this, and especially the comment section I can't help but think that if this is the best examples of sexism they can up with, it really isn't much of an issue at all. Which is clearly not the case, because ther can be little doubt this is a real problem, but is it really a good idea to start using anecdotal evidence of 'men being dicks' to support that case?

And isn't it especially damning if all perspective is lost in a community that revolves entirely around critical thought processes and well-thought out opinions.

#39

Posted by: Neal Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:29 AM

Jesus, fundip. The problem isn't men wanting sex and asking for it. The problem is men completely ignoring everything about the context of the request, the woman they're propositioning, and the effect the request will have on her.

#40

Posted by: Brother Ogvorbis, Apropos of Nada Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:30 AM

Sorry: My #37, insert Rebecca Watson for Ophelia Benson in every case in my rambling paragraph. Sorry.

#41

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:30 AM

oh no, men want sex. how dare they ask for it.

He was out of line to follow a woman into an elevator, and creepy as fuck.

She's not on her high horse. What you are saying is that women deserved to be harassed because men want sex.

They don't.

The loser should have been able to figure that out, but he's too creepy and entitled.

Creepy entitled men who think all women are there to give them sex = a feminist issue.

#42

Posted by: Janine, The Little Top Of Venom, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:30 AM

There is no reason why a lone woman should feel any intimidation when a stranger asks her to come to his room and she has no way to get away. At least in a public place like the pub, Rebecca could at least figure out if she would talk to this person or get away.

Understand the fucking difference?

#43

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:31 AM

so much discussion about acceptable behavior.
the only behavior that is unacceptable when trying to get laid is coercion.


#44

Posted by: 'Tis Himself, Quel Dommage Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:31 AM

Rebecca gets propositioned by a dick. She tells people about it. Stef explains Rebecca is overreacting and should suck it up like a good girl. Rebecca responds specifically to Stef. The tone trolls come out to whine how Rebecca isn't a good girl and isn't sucking it up like a good girl should.

Fuck that! All you tone trolls should just shut the fuck up and listen! If what happened to Rebecca was a rare or unusual occurrence then maybe (that's maybe) you tone trolls would have a point (perhaps, if you're lucky). But what happened to her in the elevator is all too common. And she is right to complain about it. She is even right to complain about it at a skeptic's conference where she was asked to talk "about the Religious Right’s War on Women". Yeah, tone trolls, she was invited to give a talk about feminism. So your whines about bringing up feminism at a skeptic's conference should be directed to CFI for having the audacity to ask her to discuss the subject.

Nor should Rebecca have let Stef remain anonymous. Stef made a public comment about Rebecca and the comments was rebutted publicly. Many of us get annoyed when Ken Ham responds to PZ's comments while not mentioning PZ by name. So don't complain when Rebecca responds to Stef's comments and does mention her by name.

#45

Posted by: Neal Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:34 AM

Hey, remusm8 (#38), sexism is "people behaving stupidly/like dicks" in matters of sex, gender, and women.

#46

Posted by: moochava Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:35 AM

I fail to see how this man committed some atrocity against human social etiquette, let alone Feminism,

I suspect you have never been a woman trapped in an elevator at four in the morning with someone who wants to have sex with you.

are people now so paranoid and untrusting that any conversation with a stranger must be accompanied by means of "Escape"?

Yes, if you are a woman, it's a very good idea to have escape routes planned in case someone tries to rape you. My girlfriend, for example, likes to take her "last known photograph" every time she goes out with friends. It's a reasonable precaution, especially since women who don't take every precaution can be blamed for their behavior when they get raped.

I keep seeing that excuse brought up, that she "Had no Escape", are all men rapists now? Assumed to be one unless proven otherwise?

Schrodinger's rapist was mentioned above. Look it up.

Are we that scared of other people that "What means of escape do I have?" is a thought that goes through peoples minds?

Again, yes, if you're a woman, that's a good thing to have on your mind. If you're a man, you probably don't need to care.

Someone should invent a term, like "privilege," for the difference.

Its not like he whipped his dick out, the transcription of his proposition doesn't imply he thought her a "Lesser" or "Just a piece of meat", Was he acting aggressively? Was he drunk?

Does making someone uncomfortable require drunk, aggressive, sexual assault? Do you believe racism consists solely in dragging black people behind a truck?

This is the problem with confronting misogyny, unlike, say, confronting creationism; with creationism you can just lay out facts. Dealing with misogyny requires the other person to imagine what it would be like to be someone else. And if that person doesn't want to--if that person doesn't care--all of the awful statistics and numbers mean nothing to them. I recommend that you make the effort to care about how other people feel; failure to do so hurts other people as much as it hurts you.

#47

Posted by: Iris Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:36 AM

Deus:

I keep seeing that excuse brought up, that she "Had no Escape", are all men rapists now? Assumed to be one unless proven otherwise?

"Excuse?" Not all men are assumed rapists, and not all men are assumed not-rapists. Rebecca's message was simple: Following me, a single woman, into a hotel elevator, in a foreign country, at 4:00am and hitting on me makes me incredibly uncomfortable and creeps me out.

If you take from it that now all men are assumed rapists, that's your problem. And it's a doozy.

Try some light reading.

Are we that scared of other people that "What means of escape do I have?" is a thought that goes through peoples minds?

Yes. Especially rape and sexual assault victims. Of which there are many.

And to everyone saying Rebecca was a dick about this: Good.

Now that the Privileged Penis Brigades have shown up, I think I'll take my leave.

#48

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkPvGYoVBJ7Rt_NuiZNounLsIAbM-IJGlI Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:36 AM

I appreciate you weighing in, PZ. This has become a huge topic of conversation around the internets and it is definitely something that everyone has a different opinion about. I just want to see people talking calmly and making rational points, rather than going off into dick jokes and *clearly* sexist remarks, and about how asking a woman to your room is like a compliment. Discussion is good; pissy, passive aggressive remarks make baby jesus cry.

#49

Posted by: chigau (◦_◦) Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:39 AM

This is going to be a long one, isn't it?
and there is no popcorn, here.

#50

Posted by: wasabiiiiiii Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:39 AM

The core of the argument seems to be that a man is automatically in a power position when propositioning a women. I pretty much agree with that.

Is the solution to stop the propositioning, or to reverse or equalize the power position?

I could go both ways on this. If you want to claim that it is more "natural" for women to feel pressured in these situations, than it is for men to feel more pressured, then you've already catered to the mindset that there are in fact natural roles. And maybe that's right.

But it still seems pretty anti-equality.

#51

Posted by: irenedelse Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:41 AM

@ 'Tis Himself #44:

So much WORD.

#52

Posted by: 'Tis Himself, Quel Dommage Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:41 AM

Rebecca gets propositioned by a dick. She tells people about it. Stef explains Rebecca is overreacting and should suck it up like a good girl. Rebecca responds specifically to Stef. The tone trolls come out to whine how Rebecca isn't a good girl and isn't sucking it up like a good girl should.

Fuck that! All you tone trolls should just shut the fuck up and listen! If what happened to Rebecca was a rare or unusual occurrence then maybe (that's maybe) you tone trolls would have a point (perhaps, if you're lucky). But what happened to her in the elevator is all too common. And she is right to complain about it. She is even right to complain about it at a skeptic's conference where she was asked to talk "about the Religious Right’s War on Women". Yeah, tone trolls, she was invited to give a talk about feminism. So your whines about bringing up feminism at a skeptic's conference should be directed to CFI for having the audacity to ask her to discuss the subject.

Nor should Rebecca have let Stef remain anonymous. Stef made a public comment about Rebecca and the comments was rebutted publicly. Many of us get annoyed when Ken Ham responds to PZ's comments while not mentioning PZ by name. So don't complain when Rebecca responds to Stef's comments and does mention her by name.

#53

Posted by: Romeo Vitelli Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:43 AM

It's perhaps interesting that the same men who seem so outraged over women overreacting to their come-ons are the same ones who would freak out if a man ever propositioned them. You have to wonder where they stand on the "gay panic" defense.

#54

Posted by: shawmutt Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:45 AM

Always name names?

OK, I see Rebecca Watson as the sexist.

#55

Posted by: 'Tis Himself, Quel Dommage Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:45 AM

Sorry about the double post. I'm having problems with my computer plus I'm a klutz.

#56

Posted by: Youngie Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:46 AM

Brother Ogvorbis:
(before I begin, thank-you for the clarification. I was beginning to think you might be an idiot) I agree with all of your post except the first sentence.
The time a conversation takes place, or even the location, has absolutely no effect on the intention of the conversation. The only things that should matter are the content and the intent.
And let us make this perfectly clear. The intent of a verbal encounter cannot be decided by the recipient.

#57

Posted by: Janine, The Little Top Of Venom, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:47 AM

as the story goes, all he did was ask. he was declined.

Fundipshit, what you fucking do not understand is this; how could Rebecca know his intention and how could she get away if she wanted to. I guess it is much more easy for you to claim that the argument is that all menz are evil and dump on Rebecca for not being a good sport.

I hope I never meet you in a closed elevator or in a dark alley, you fucking creep.

#58

Posted by: Brother Ogvorbis, Apropos of Nada Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:48 AM

I do find it interesting that commenters refer to Rebecca Watson as a 'dick.' The term dick (other than being a nickname for Richard) has a very specific sexual meaning, referring to, of course, the penis. So, the commenters calling Watson a dick, or referring to her behaviour as dickish, does this mean that they are objecting to her assertive behaviour? Are they objecting to her calling out the individual for a specific transgression? Or, more tellingly, are they calling Rebecca Watson out, calling her a dick, to imply that her behaviour was too masculine? too much like that of a dominant male? Perhaps calling her a dick, or calling her behaviour dickish, is meant to imply that she is, through her assertiveness, assuming the role of a male in western society? And, of course, if a woman is accused of acting like a male, it generally means that she is acting like a human. Simone de Beauvoir was dead on accurate.

#59

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:48 AM

Time and location are an important part of how people figure out intent.

#60

Posted by: lautrec85 Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:49 AM

#11, "So she did NOT confront the supposed propositioner."

So she should have started an argument with the creepy stranger right in the elevator?

"She 'confronted' them via the safe confines of her blag"

Would it be better if she had confronted him via the unsafe confines of the elevator, where the creeper could have done very ugly things to her if a fight had kicked off between them?

#61

Posted by: PZ Myers Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:53 AM

I hear too much talk about a "power imbalance". There isn't one. Being a speaker at a conference does not suddenly grant you grand dictatorial powers over the audience. The speaker is put into a vulnerable position, where her opinions are being weighed. McGraw's complaint is that she has been placed in the same vulnerable position as the speaker, where now her ideas are exposed to the same criticism.

The speaker does have a temporary place of influence, where she can bring matters to the audience's attention. Watson did McGraw a favor -- her opinions were given greater attention than if Watson had cravenly concealed her identity.

This is the converse of Ken Ham's habit of sneering at me while refusing to name me or link to me. Do you think he's showing sensitivity and respect by refraining from confronting me?

#62

Posted by: irenedelse Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:56 AM

Some people here and there try to quibble about the way Rebecca Watson depicts this encounter and the feelings she had at the time. I read things like "what does she mean, she had no escape" or "are we to assume that all men are potential rapists" and other silly, overblown misinterpretations. What they are missing is a bit right there at the beginning of RW's video, when she talks about the differences between her personal experience of sexism and that of other women atheists (like for instance Paula Kirby), and how that colors her point of view. See? Not everyone reacts in the same way! And that "everyone" includes women! Is that surprising?

That's why it's ultimately pointless, not to mention insulting, to insist that RW should have somehow reacted in an other manner that the one she did. Neither you, or I, are in her boots. Period.

#63

Posted by: ERV Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:56 AM

I hear too much talk about a "power imbalance". There isn't one.
Bullshit.
#64

Posted by: Brother Ogvorbis, Apropos of Nada Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:57 AM

The time a conversation takes place, or even the location, has absolutely no effect on the intention of the conversation. The only things that should matter are the content and the intent.

Bullshit. Double bullshit. The content matters. The perception of that content matters. The intent matters to the speaker, no one else. The listener has no way of knowing, with any reliability, the intent behind the words. The time and location that a conversation takes place has no effect on the intent, but it does have an effect on the percieved intent. Whether he meant to be a boorish lout or not is immaterial. At 4:00am, alone in an elevator with a woman, any proposition at all, no matter the intent (even if he had offered to walk her to her room for safety could still be construed as threatening to her), carries the definite possibility, nay, probability, that the intent will be warped by the listener. So yes, time and location do matter.

For instance: the phrase "You may feel some discomfort" has one meaning at 10:00am in the doctor's office, but a totally different meaning at 4:00am in an elevator. Understand? Or am I too much of an idiot to make myself clear to your superior intellect?

#65

Posted by: chigau (◦_◦) Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:59 AM

The intent of a verbal encounter cannot be decided by the recipient.
True. I usually chose to err on the side of caution i.e. assume the worst.
#66

Posted by: Youngie Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:00 AM

Algy, I agree that people will obviously be more suspicious of anybody that talks to them at that hour (which by the way is a sad necessity), but that does not MAKE the intent nefarious. Rebecca's own account of the encounter suggested no come-on. Do we use this as an example of inherent misogyny? I urge us not to, as it only makes our point seem weak. There are so many other examples (for instance Ophelia Benson's) that illustrate the culturally ingrained misogyny we face. Lets focus on those, rather than faux examples that have the benefit only of being topical.

#67

Posted by: Janine, The Little Top Of Venom, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:00 AM

The intent of a verbal encounter cannot be decided by the recipient.

And you cannot see the problem here? It is because the recipient does know and cannot get away. How fucking difficult is this to understand?

#68

Posted by: Myfanwy Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:01 AM

The DBAD philosophy isn't mutually exclusive from directness. It is possible, nay preferable, to tackle people directly yet politely causing the least possible offence. It's easy to forget, when our passions are strongly engaged, that diplomacy (for that is what we are talking about, really) is a highly valued skill. The pay cheques of professional diplomats are testament to this fact. It's highly valued because it's difficult. No-one would deny that.

But dealing with others diplomatically, as suggested by Phil Plait and others, does not mean we aren't direct and don't name names. It is about being the bigger person no matter what provocation is offered - being polite is always disarming. You will catch more flies with honey than vinegar and you will persuade more people of the reasonability of your POV if you are diplomatic. Direct, certainly, but also polite.

(Please note - This is a response to PZ Myers' suggestion above that Plait's DBAD approach is incompatible with the directness required of skeptical debate. I didn't see or hear Rebecca Watson's presentation so I'm not in any way suggesting that Watson was impolite or undiplomatic in how she managed her situation.)

#69

Posted by: Antiochus Epiphanes Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:01 AM

The issue of the elevator encounter aside*, Stef McGraw wrote a blog post naming names criticising Watson's position as "hypocritical". Did she send her post to Watson for rebuttal when she put it up (or at least alert her to it)? If so, she may be justified in her claim that the choice of venue for Watson's reply was unbalanced**. If not, she really has little room to complain.

*IMO, entirely inappropriate. Whether the behavior was due to sexual objectification or rank stupidity doesn't matter. The shit needs to be called on the carpet whenever it happens. How's that for "aside"?
**How is her status as a student even relevant?

#70

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:01 AM

so many idiots on this blog.

#71

Posted by: Brother Ogvorbis, Apropos of Nada Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:07 AM

Lets focus on those, rather than faux examples that have the benefit only of being topical.

Benson's experience was a faux experience? It was false? It was not genuine or real? To him, you may be right. To her it was real. To her it was a possible threat which made her uncomfortable and frightened. So her feelings, her perception of what happened, her reaction to what happened, her experience is not genuine or real? So what gives you the right to determine if someone's experience is genuine or not? Even if the man was a clueless git who had no idea that he was doing something which, in the situation, could be construed as a threat, it doesn't matter to her! His perception of the incident does not change her perception of the incident. Why would his perception trump hers?

#72

Posted by: Forbidden Snowflake Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:07 AM

I keep seeing that excuse brought up, that she "Had no Escape", are all men rapists now? Assumed to be one unless proven otherwise?
Yes, women are generally more concerned for their safety than about giving strangers the benefit of the doubt. I'm sorry* that offends you.


*not really

#73

Posted by: Janine, The Little Top Of Venom, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:08 AM

So fucking sorry, fundipshit, that not everyone is lapping up your words of wisdom.

#74

Posted by: chigau (◦_◦) Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:08 AM

fundip
don't let the porcupine hit your butt on your way out

#75

Posted by: Richard Dawkins Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:11 AM

Dear Muslima

Stop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you had your genitals mutilated with a razor blade, and . . . yawn . . . don't tell me yet again, I know you aren't allowed to drive a car, and you can't leave the house without a male relative, and your husband is allowed to beat you, and you'll be stoned to death if you commit adultery. But stop whining, will you. Think of the suffering your poor American sisters have to put up with.

Only this week I heard of one, she calls herself Skep"chick", and do you know what happened to her? A man in a hotel elevator invited her back to his room for coffee. I am not exaggerating. He really did. He invited her back to his room for coffee. Of course she said no, and of course he didn't lay a finger on her, but even so . . .

And you, Muslima, think you have misogyny to complain about! For goodness sake grow up, or at least grow a thicker skin.

Richard

#76

Posted by: Youngie Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:11 AM

Just to clear up my postion. I in no way meant that the perceived intent was not important. I apologise, I really should have made that clear. What I meant was that the speaker cannot be held to account if a person perceives their words in a manner different to their intent (assuming that their words cannot reasonably be interpreted as a call to violence). That way madness lies.

#77

Posted by: Janis Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:12 AM

I'm sorry but I'm going to disagree with you on this one. I will agree that is was creepy as hell to proposition someone who is already in a relationship and a stranger. This feels more like thought control via social outrage. If there are women out there who go for speech like Mr. Elevator lovins then its their right to say yes and others to say no. Keep in mind Women's Sufferage wasn't won to protect women's feelings it was to give them the right to suffer the hard decisions of life. Rebecca did, in my opinion, make the right choice on turning him down, but it was a decision she needs to face if others are to freely speak their mind (and then promptly shove their feet in their mouths).

#78

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:12 AM

"fundip
don't let the porcupine hit your butt on your way out"

huh?

#79

Posted by: wasabiiiiiii Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:13 AM

I've never really understood exactly what feminism is. But that's probably because there is no one definition.

A lot of the women I know who proclaim themselves as feminists, have themselves cornered men and hit on them (me). And then they tell stories about it. Which is all well and good for me. Self empowerment, equalizing the roles, etc.

And equally well they'd turn down a man doing the same.

So that's not feminism, by some standards, apparently. So what is?

#80

Posted by: Beatrice, anormalement indécente Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:15 AM

So, three main events are Rebecca Watson's story about the man in the elevator, Stef McGraw's comment and Watson's response. It's interesting to note that most of the critics concentrate only on first and the last and all just skip McGraw's part in the argument. Even if naming names was out of line (which I don't agree with), that doesn't change what was wrong with Mcgraw's points.

Concerning the Man in the Elevator, I like Greg Laden's observation :

Later, Rebecca mentioned this incident, publicly, as an example of annoying sexist male behavior, though really the moment was, I think, being noted for its deep irony more than anything else.
It seems to me that the one who blew everything out of proportion was McGraw and she got it wrong in the process. I partly agree with Greg Laden, that the story was told mostly to show the irony, but also as an example of Schrodinger's rapist. The man could just be bad at social interactions, but Watson couldn't have possibly known that. McGraw completely misses any of those points and goes on to call Watson a hypocrite in a rather spectacular bit of not getting it. Also:

Someone who truly abides by feminist principles would, in my view, have to react in the same manner were the situation reversed; if a woman were to engage a man in the same way, she would probably be creeping him out and making him uncomfortable and unfairly sexualizing him, right? But of course no one ever makes that claim, which is why I see Watson's comment as so hypocritical.
Um ,what was the point there? If we are going to stop pointing out sexist behavior towards women until all sexist behavior towards men gets pointed out as well, that's going to be one long circle of not accomplishing anything ever. Besides, how does hypocrisy of other people necessarily make Watson a hypocrite?


Concerning the third, Watson's public disemboweling of McGraw that is going to leave her scarred for life, I would refer everyone to Barbara Drescher's post that Greg Laden and podblack have already mentioned. Read the whole thing because it's really good, but my favorite part was this:

And McGraw’s reputation has “ruined” by Watson? Rebecca doesn’t have that kind of power. Nobody does. First, people do not start with “a good reputation” that can then only be reduced. Nobody is entitled to such a thing. A reputation is something you earn. Nobody can harm your reputation unless they lie. If they are telling the truth, then it is you who have harmed it.

That was my rather more than 2 cents.

#81

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:15 AM


"Dear Muslima

Stop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you had your genitals mutilated with a razor blade, and . . . yawn . . . don't tell me yet again, I know you aren't allowed to drive a car, and you can't leave the house without a male relative, and your husband is allowed to beat you, and you'll be stoned to death if you commit adultery. But stop whining, will you. Think of the suffering your poor American sisters have to put up with.

Only this week I heard of one, she calls herself Skep"chick", and do you know what happened to her? A man in a hotel elevator invited her back to his room for coffee. I am not exaggerating. He really did. He invited her back to his room for coffee. Of course she said no, and of course he didn't lay a finger on her, but even so . . .

And you, Muslima, think you have misogyny to complain about! For goodness sake grow up, or at least grow a thicker skin.

Richard"

bravo.

is this the real dawkins?

#82

Posted by: Brother Ogvorbis, Apropos of Nada Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:16 AM

Richard Dawkins:

Did you just make the argument that, since worse things are happening somewhere else, we have no right to try to fix things closer to home? By that argument, I shouldn't complain when our local high school biology teacher tosses around IDiot arguments because there are children elsewhere who can't even go to school? Or I shouldn't complain that my sister was raped by three men because far worse things are happening now in the Congo? Or am I misreading your comment? Shouldn't mysogyny, faith-based nonsense, religious idiocy, sexism, racism, bigotry, and other forms of socially limiting, demeaning and damaging behaviour be called out where and when it happens? No matter the severity?

#83

Posted by: Forbidden Snowflake Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:19 AM

Dear Richard,

What right have you to bemoan the teaching of creationism in your country while people are dying of malaria in West Africa?


Seriously, this "you have no right to complain about your problems as long as there are bigger problems somewhere in the Universe" is nothing but a silencing tactic.

#84

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:20 AM

Dawkins am I missing something?

Did someone suggest we should ignore Muslim women's plight because of this incident?

#85

Posted by: Beriaal Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:20 AM

Ok... this whole thing is kind of pathetic.

#86

Posted by: 'Tis Himself, Quel Dommage Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:22 AM

Youngie #66

I agree that people will obviously be more suspicious of anybody that talks to them at that hour (which by the way is a sad necessity), but that does not MAKE the intent nefarious.

Intent is one thing, perception of intent in quite another. While Elevator Guy have have intended to do nothing but share demitasses with Rebecca while discussing whatever people discuss at 4AM, how was Rebecca to know this? You admit suspicion is a necessity in Dublin elevators at oh-dark hundred.

Elevator Guy's intentions are actually moot. For reasons explained at great length by others, Rebecca could not know what his intentions were and it was reasonable for her to react as she did.

Do we use this as an example of inherent misogyny?

Why not? I'm a guy and I would be seriously wierded out by being invited into a stranger's hotel room at 4AM. Sexual assault would not be something I'd be concerned about but then I'M A GUY! Women have to worry about rape. When a hotel maid, i.e. someone with a legitimate reason to be in a stranger's hotel room, is allegedly sexually assaulted,* then it's not unreasonable for a woman to worry about rape under such circumstances. Let me break it to you since you've obviously never considered the point, rape is a misogynist act.

*Nobody familiar with Dominique Strauss-Kahn doubts her story. He's sexually assaulted women before, this time he was caught.

#87

Posted by: deadly Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:22 AM

Youngie

The time a conversation takes place, or even the location, has absolutely no effect on the intention of the conversation. The only things that should matter are the content and the intent.

Please educate me as to how to discern someone else's actual intent.

From what I hear, intent is not magical, so there must be some other reliable mechanism.

#88

Posted by: Janine, The Little Top Of Venom, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:22 AM

Richard Dawkins, why are you using the argument that because some people else have it worse, you should shut up about your own treatment. This is a very common troll argument. (Yes, I am hoping that this was a troll and not the real person.)

#89

Posted by: chigau (◦_◦) Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:22 AM

#75
WTF?

#90

Posted by: Rorschach Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:23 AM

Worf to Captain Picard !
Picard here.
Captain, we have a major false equivalency alert !
What are you talking about Mt Worf ?
We received a message from an unknown source Sir, and it's commiting the fallacy of false equivalency !
On screen, Mr Worf !

I know you aren't allowed to drive a car, and you can't leave the house without a male relative, and your husband is allowed to beat you, and you'll be stoned to death if you commit adultery. But stop whining, will you. Think of the suffering your poor American sisters have to put up with.

WTF ?
Richard ?

#91

Posted by: Antiochus Epiphanes Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:23 AM

Brother: That comment was from fundip, and unlinked...grain of salt, and whatnot.

But it is a stupid argument regardless of who penned it.

#92

Posted by: Beatrice, anormalement indécente Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:25 AM

@Antiochus Epiphanes

fundip just copy pasted comment #75 from Richard Dawkins (?!)

#93

Posted by: kieran Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:25 AM

I disagree with the idea that a speaker at a conference using their position to basically have a personal argument with someone in the audeince, why not dueling blogs or in private.
No it was using a position of power to make a personal point it is an abuse of position.
If it was a teacher in a class or a lecturer naming a student and how you disagree with what they said or did, there is no response for the student or person in question. How about if it was a priest in mass calling out a local journalist whose in the congregation for something they wrote?
I think this shows the power a speaker can have over an audience member.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xoese1FuHAg
Kevin Smith using the power of the podium to kick a heckler's butt.
If you have a problem with someones opinion you have it out face to face or at least on equal terms not as part of an address to a conference.

#94

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmI0PxSiL9JBXAU18kO7HHHIN4jqnrqtI8 Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:26 AM

No one (to my knowledge) has said we can never name names. This is a red herring argument. Please quote me someone saying the target of criticism can never be named. If you can't, this is a pointless article and you've entirely missed the point of the criticism against Watson.

#95

Posted by: annick.laporte Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:26 AM

For the men here who really are mystified about why women find this upsetting: Imagine a gay man far larger and stronger than yourself had propositioned you (politely, of course) late at night, in an elevator. Imagine this happens to you with some regularity.
Now we all get to tell you have to be cute about it and respond with a smile and a wink and a "No thanks, sailor, but keep trying."
Hey, he's just trying to get laid. Don't be a whinny little dick.

#96

Posted by: Hygaboo Andersen Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:27 AM

I thought evolutionary morality was about sexual freedom. I thought all we had to do was get rid of those pesky, patriarchal strictures and taboos of the Judeo-Christian tradition and everything would be happy and good. There was a time when aggressive boors like those who accosted Ms. Watson and Ms. Benson were confronted very harshly by the husbands, fathers, and brothers of the women they decided to molest. This usually served to discourage such ham-fisted, amorous advances. It's obvious evolutionist women deeply long for the protection of patriarchal authority figures like they still have in the Middle East.

#97

Posted by: 'Tis Himself, Quel Dommage Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:29 AM

Richard Dawkins #75

Don't be a dick.

#98

Posted by: Janine, The Little Top Of Venom, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:31 AM

Fucking die already, Peek-A-Boo.

#99

Posted by: Forbidden Snowflake Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:32 AM

There was a time when aggressive boors like those who accosted Ms. Watson and Ms. Benson were confronted very harshly by the husbands, fathers, and brothers of the women they decided to molest.
Of course! Said husbands, fathers and brothers had to defend their property, didn't they? Otherwise it might have depreciated in value as a result. Really, those women who demand to decide for themselves whom to fuck are just soooo ungrateful.
#100

Posted by: Brother Ogvorbis, Apropos of Nada Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:34 AM

There was a time when aggressive boors like those who accosted Ms. Watson and Ms. Benson were confronted very harshly by the husbands, fathers, and brothers of the women they decided to molest. This usually served to discourage such ham-fisted, amorous advances.

No, it meant that those with the largest family, those with the most economic, social, political, or military power, got away with whatever they damn well pleased (droit de seigneur anyone?) and woe to the weaker person or family who challenged the existing power structure. Chivalry did not forbid rape -- if a knight came upon a woman being accosted, he was expected to help her no matter the social class; if he came upon an unaccompanied woman, and she was of an inferior social class, she was fair game because if the woman's family stood up to power, then would be knocked down by power. Nice try, cupcake. Come back when you have a real argument.

#101

Posted by: rszasz Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:34 AM

Watson says she "happened across a video rebuttal from a woman who I was told would be at the CFI conference". Then "was blown away to be told that there were other student leaders who had expressed similar dismissive attitudes".

Watson KNEW that McGraw would be at the CFI Student Leadership Conference and decided to shame her from the privileged position she held as a keynote speaker. It was an asshole move. Watson should apologize for HOW she "confronted" McGraw.

#102

Posted by: Youngie Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:34 AM

Deadly #87, Tis Himself #86, you make valid points. Please first refer to #76. Afterwards, I'd be happy to discuss all remaining issues.

#103

Posted by: Antiochus Epiphanes Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:35 AM

#92: refresh fail...my bad.

Richard Dawkins, wtf?

#104

Posted by: Richard Dawkins Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:35 AM

Did you just make the argument that, since worse things are happening somewhere else, we have no right to try to fix things closer to home?

No I wasn't making that argument. Here's the argument I was making. The man in the elevator didn't physically touch her, didn't attempt to bar her way out of the elevator, didn't even use foul language at her. He spoke some words to her. Just words. She no doubt replied with words. That was that. Words. Only words, and apparently quite polite words at that.

If she felt his behaviour was creepy, that was her privilege, just as it was the Catholics' privilege to feel offended and hurt when PZ nailed the cracker. PZ didn't physically strike any Catholics. All he did was nail a wafer, and he was absolutely right to do so because the heightened value of the wafer was a fantasy in the minds of the offended Catholics. Similarly, Rebecca's feeling that the man's proposition was 'creepy' was her own interpretation of his behaviour, presumably not his. She was probably offended to about the same extent as I am offended if a man gets into an elevator with me chewing gum. But he does me no physical damage and I simply grin and bear it until either I or he gets out of the elevator. It would be different if he physically attacked me.

Muslim women suffer physically from misogyny, their lives are substantially damaged by religiously inspired misogyny. Not just words, real deeds, painful, physical deeds, physical privations, legally sanctioned demeanings. The equivalent would be if PZ had nailed not a cracker but a Catholic. Then they'd have had good reason to complain.

Richard

#105

Posted by: Old Yippie Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:40 AM

I thought evolutionary morality was about sexual freedom.

Since there is no such thing as evolutionary morality, you guessed wrong. And sexual freedom includes the right not to be hassled by assholes.

#106

Posted by: maxamillion Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:40 AM

So many dicks so little time.

Watson is on an ego trip!

Without evidence we don't even know that the incident even happened.

#107

Posted by: Antiochus Epiphanes Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:41 AM

RD: Women everywhere suffer physically from mysogyny. This is why a woman alone in an elevator at 4am with a stranger is justified in feeling threatened.

And what are you complaining about? The response to the propositioner was only words, right? Not real deeds, physical privations, or legally sanctioned demeanings.

#108

Posted by: 'Tis Himself, Quel Dommage Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:41 AM

Shorter Richard Dawkins #104

Since Rebecca wasn't actually raped she has nothing to complain about. And gum chewing is as bad as being propositioned by a stranger.

#109

Posted by: irenedelse Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:42 AM

@ Antiochus:

Whether the behavior was due to sexual objectification or rank stupidity doesn't matter. The shit needs to be called on the carpet whenever it happens.

Yep. As it happens, I've had over the years a few encounters not dissimilar to the elevator incident related by Rebecca Watson. Not in an actual elevator, though, but things like a random dude approaching me in a nearly deserted street, as I was getting back home at 1 AM, and telling me that he "wanted to know me better" and "do you want to come have a drink or something"? Yeah, right. I wasn't exactly scared (the guy seemed about as harmless as he was clueless), but a bit nervous and, mostly, mightily annoyed.

One personal difference in my case is that, contrary to something Rebecca said in her video, I don't feel ill at ease when people I don't know begin a conversation with sexual innuendos. Might have something to do with the fact that I was raised in a Latin culture, where it is more or less assumed by everybody that there's always a sexual undercurrent in any kind of relationships. Maybe not. Anyway I don't feel automatically threatened when a guy I don't feel like talking to approaches me with sex obviously on his mind. But I still find it annoying, and something I'd rather do without, thank you very much.

Now, the thing is that people seem to have widely divergent ideas about when and how it's ok for a man to communicate his sexual interest in a woman. What Rebecca Watson and a few others are trying to do, here, is not to say that the answer is "never", of course! Just that it's not only women who should work at being aware of the circumstances, but also that - gasp - men too should work a bit on the acquisition of clues in order to not come across as creepy or dickish.

For instance, time and place. The presence or not of other people nearby. Or the fact that a certain woman just said that she had had a full day and just wanted rest now... That should do for a beginning, I think.

#110

Posted by: Forbidden Snowflake Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:44 AM

She was probably offended to about the same extent as I am offended if a man gets into an elevator with me chewing gum.
I would say that this is wrong, and that she felt not offended, but threatened.
#111

Posted by: Bubba707 Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:44 AM

Ok, so I'm just an old country boy but here's my take on all this.
Elevator guy needs to find somewhere to get live brain cells. If he wanted to proposition Rebecca the place to do that was in the bar or just outside it. Most ladies I know aren't feminist to speak of but if a guy followed them into an elevator at 4 am and proposition them the only question would be how long they stayed in intensive care.
As for Stef, she called out Ms Watson publicly and it was appropriate for Ms Watson to answer publicly. The fact Stef couldn't respond within a microsecond means nothing as it wasn't an immediate life or death matter and there was, and is, plenty of time to respond and debate.
Now, this whole tone thing is garbage. The whole point of it seems to me to be an attempt to legitimize fools and idiots by treating them with courtesy they don't deserve.
There, now you've heard from the real world where hard knocks are more frequent than polite conversation.

#112

Posted by: Antiochus Epiphanes Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:45 AM

She was probably offended to about the same extent as I am offended if a man gets into an elevator with me chewing gum.

And this...clueless.

#113

Posted by: Youngie Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:45 AM

#Tis Himself, I will say this, however, in my defence. Do not put words into my mouth.
'Let me break it to you since you've obviously never considered the point, rape is a misogynist act.'
Don't pretend this is what I suggested. I put forth the notion that possible sexual congress was not on the man's agenda. Also, that using a misunderstanding as evidence of inherent misogyny was in itself dishonest.
I never, I hope, gave the impression that I thought misogyny is not a real issue that needs to be addressed.
Frankly, implying that I don't consider rape to constitute misogyny (however indirectly) is a bullshit act. I would appreciate an apology for that.

#114

Posted by: halfdeaddavid Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:45 AM

"But dealing with others diplomatically, as suggested by Phil Plait and others, does not mean we aren't direct and don't name names. It is about being the bigger person no matter what provocation is offered - being polite is always disarming. You will catch more flies with honey than vinegar and you will persuade more people of the reasonability of your POV if you are diplomatic. Direct, certainly, but also polite."


Actually you will catch 0 flies with honey and a boatload with vinegar, give it a try sometime. The rest of your post was off too.

#115

Posted by: Rorschach Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:45 AM

Richard,

No, just no. The cracker incident has nothing at all to do with what is being discussed with regards to what Rebecca encountered, and the elevator incident is not related at all to Muslim women's suffering misogyny. I am confused.

#116

Posted by: kieran Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:47 AM

I'm sorry to disagree with you here but the situation is not equvialent to you not liking a guy chewing gum. No it's now where near as bad as genital mutalation.
Here's what I think it's similar to from a guy perspective, years ago I was walking from my estate via a dark alley and I heard steps behind me, they suddenly sped up, I turned to face a dark alley and asked " are you okay" the response of which was "I'm fine just fell over a manhole cover". When I got out it turned out to be a 60 year old man who had just fallen but in the dark I couldn't see and thought I was being attacked. The guy thought this was funny but apologised for scaring me.This is the closest thing I can think of equate to the situation.
A woman on her own in a lift at 4:00am is not looking to be propositioned. It is intimedating and shouldn't be seen as an over reaction. It's a couple of million years of flight or fight response kicking in.
So while I agree with rebecca that this wasn't right and that I disagree with making light of it. I don't agree with using a podium to call out someone it is an abuse of postion.

#117

Posted by: Janine, The Little Top Of Venom, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:47 AM

Brother Ogvorbis, tying together your comment at 100 and Ophelia Benson's story, I am reminded of my least favorite "smile" moment. (Before I go on, I am not comparing being told to smile to being raped.) I attended a play that a friend of mine was part of. Later that night, I was walking down the street by myself, thinking about the play. Walking past a police car, the cop inside felt the need to tell me to smile. Normally, I ask the person "Why?". I did not dare out of fear of what could happen to me for being defiant to a cop. I just glared at him and continued walking.

#118

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:49 AM

If she wasn't raped she should shut the fuck up and enjoy being harassed by some freak in an elevator, and if she did get raped she should have known she would have been or better yet... enjoyed it. I mean, it's just sex.

Yeah, fuck that shit. And fuck the people who encourage that kind of climate. All of you. You suck. Really. You make the world suck.

The important thing is that we find a way to blame women for stupid shit men do, right?

I HAVE to live in fear of men. I don't get a choice because the second I trust one (even a little) and get assaulted again I will be blamed again for it.

No, I live in fear. The least you could do is stop denying that like a spoiled brat.

I really don't care how famous you are. If that's what you like in the world then you suck.

#119

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkpi-mACkNaeTcicHavYOS6l54wO5rrUbs Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:50 AM

Women or men feeling uncomfortable at being asked a question/propositioned is not a reflection on the person doing the asking. This type of reaction is fantastically egotistical. I am offended therefore you (person about whom I know nothing) must be a sexist dick. Its nonsense. She is responsible for her own feelings and no one else. It creates a set of conditions where sexual attraction becomes a thought crime. There would have been an issue if he had tried to force himself on her. He didn't she said no. If he had told her about a great investment opportunity would she call him a dumb capitalist? If you are uncomfortable that is your problem. No one elses, it is (Ireland) a free country. I always knew there was a reason I didn't like the Skepchicks. I also love the idea of PZ Meyers writing the sentence "It's not enough. Maybe we should also recognize that applying unwanted pressure, no matter how politely phrased, is inappropriate behavior." The mind bending hypocrisy is impressive.

#120

Posted by: rlaw Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:50 AM

In the elevator there was an imbalance of power. Men are generally larger than women (but not always, Rebecca looks on the small side, but I don't know how big the guy was or if he was able-bodied or not), and size can definitely matter. Assuming he was average size and had full use of his body, he had more power in that situation.

A lot of "how you can avoid being raped" material directed at blaming rape victims - er "helping women" say to avoid being alone in an elevator with anyone who makes you uncomfortable at all. Yet there are a surprising number of guys who think that rape would become a thing of the past if women followed "common sense" rules like that -- all the while thinking that women shouldn't apply those standards of protectionism around them.

As a woman I spent too much time learning why "Oh, but think of it from the guy's perspective, if you're upset he didn't mean it that way, you're just being silly" is dangerous and soul-crushing. Oh, my evil ex just didn't understand that I actually meant "no, I have a migraine" that one day, I shouldn't be so hard on him about that, it was an honest mistake, you see, he's just awkward around women since he went to an all-boys high school. It certainly wasn't his fault. It was mine.

I admit that that's a bit of an extreme case, but when you're raised with that mindset by abusive parents you absorb it to cope, and that is one place it can lead to.

If you allow certain men to believe it's okay to be oblivious, they will take further liberties and just scream "but I'm oblivious" when called on it. I think that the elevator man may be one of those men. All men are obviously not like this. There are men who genuinely want to be good people enough to unbiasedly listen to the experiences of women, and my criticism is not aimed at them.

The guy who hates to be named by his real name's first response oh his blog wasn't an apology stating that he was wrong in his action or that he learned any lesson about how he should have behaved, it was to make himself out to be a victim. That's very telling about his willingness to examine his own actions when given new information. I don't think the skeptic movement would be worse off if he left it.

#121

Posted by: lido209boi Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:51 AM

Isn't the whole argument from McGraw is that Watson as an invited speaker singled out McGraw, a student leader, during a talk that was remotely related to the topic. That this was unfair because it didn't give McGraw a chance to respond as she didn't want to derail the 'Q and A' and that as an invited speaker Watson had a platform to talk and a certain authority than McGraw. Also, since this was some internet drama where most people would not have known the full context, it was bad taste on Watson's part to bring it up during an invited speech. I find it ironic that PZ would use the Ken Ham argument as after reading McGraw's blog on this and ERV's take on it, the main issue is exactly that there was no linking back to McGraw and everyone who had no idea about the internet ordeal had to take Watson's word (as the invited speaker on the podium) for it.

I guess an analogous example would be if PZ had invited a guest lecturer to his class to talk about biology and before the 60 minute talk of biology the invited guest lecturer decides to talk about PZ's TA for 2 minute about a comment on facebook that he made.

#122

Posted by: Beatrice, anormalement indécente Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:51 AM

@Richard Dawkins

While I too find loud gum chewing extremely annoying, I have never felt particularly threatened by it. On the other hand, having an unknown man proposition me while we are alone in an elevator might make me more than slightly jumpy. I can never be 100% sure he won't try to "persuade" me after I turn him down. It's nice to hear you don't have to fear that.

#123

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:52 AM

what can be concluded from this is that the man in the elevator was stupid and rebecca watson likes to cry about things.

#124

Posted by: Walton, Marquis of Carabas Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:52 AM

I'm disappointed to see so many harassment-apologists coming out of the woodwork.

No one is saying that men (or women) shouldn't have sexual feelings. But there are times and places in which it's inappropriate to express them, and this was one of those instances. When you're alone with someone in an elevator at 4am, making a comment like that is creepy, and it was completely understandable that she felt threatened and uncomfortable.

And if you learn that someone has been made threatened and uncomfortable by your behaviour, the correct response is to apologize, back off and be respectful of their boundaries. The right response is not to make up excuses and accuse everyone of "overreacting". That's the very definition of obnoxious, entitled behaviour. You do not get to decide how other people "should" feel. And if they want you to back away from them and respect their boundaries, you should do so.

#125

Posted by: Raskolnikov35 Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:52 AM

Who in the hell would want to have sex with Rebecca Watson? He must have been drunk; there's no other explanation.

#126

Posted by: Forbidden Snowflake Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:52 AM

Youngie:

What I meant was that the speaker cannot be held to account if a person perceives their words in a manner different to their intent (assuming that their words cannot reasonably be interpreted as a call to violence).

If words are perceived in a manner different to the intent it may well be the speaker's fault for failing at expressing themselves clearly, so I don't think you are necessarily right.

I think you'll find that the reason why people here try to leave the intent out of the equation is just what you said: that the intent, as opposed to what actually happened or how R.W. perceived it, is anyone's guess.

#127

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:53 AM

I never knew chewing gum had such a long standing history of oppression, violence and inequality.

#128

Posted by: h2atheist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:53 AM

It isn't just men treating women that way. I've run into a fair number of gay men who treat other gay men the same way. If you want to know me better, just talk to me. Don't make an awkward and creepy proposition when you have me alone in an elevator. If you're upset that I've "hooked up" with someone else and not you, keep in mind that he made an effort to talk and get to know me. You didn't. He and I have been communicating with each other for several days and making real progress in finding out who the other person is and what they stand for. You just appeared out of nowhere, cornered me and expected something to happen right away. You are not Jesus Christ! You are not important! You are not even interesting! Go away and grow up.

#129

Posted by: Rorschach Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:54 AM

fundip,
as I see it, the one thing that can be concluded is that you are a complete dimbulb.

#130

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:54 AM

oh no, men want sex. how dare they ask for it.

Aaaand there we go.

#131

Posted by: chigau (◦_◦) Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:54 AM

Rorschach
Next time you are present when RD is being annoyed by some fundies perhaps you should let him handle it himself.

#132

Posted by: Walton, Marquis of Carabas Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:55 AM

Who in the hell would want to have sex with Rebecca Watson? He must have been drunk; there's no other explanation.

And the award for most dickish comment on the entire thread goes to...

Seriously, fuck off, you obnoxious creep.

#133

Posted by: flatlander Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:55 AM

Apparently, in that elevator, for the man involved, "No!" meant "No!" That seems an acceptable standard of conduct to me.

The woman over-reacted.

#134

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:57 AM

Damn it. Copy fail.

Who in the hell would want to have sex with Rebecca Watson? He must have been drunk; there's no other explanation.
#135

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:58 AM

The woman over-reacted.

To having to face the fact that she may very well be raped in a few minutes? No. It's better that she wasn't, but feeling fear and anger at being put in that position is perfectly justifiable.

#136

Posted by: Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjectives Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 11:59 AM

Holy fucking shit.

I was depressed enough reading the thread until Dawkins showed up, now I'm about to toss my computer out the window. I have little hope that it's not really that Dawkins, becuase PZ knows to throw any imposters out.

The man in the elevator didn't physically touch her, didn't attempt to bar her way out of the elevator, didn't even use foul language at her. He spoke some words to her. Just words. She no doubt replied with words. That was that. Words. Only words, and apparently quite polite words at that.

And then Stef responded to her action with words in public. And Rebecca responded back with words in public. And now all sorts of people are telling Rebecca how HORRIBLE AND MEAN SHE WAS TO USE WORDS. Do you not see the problem with that? And her main point is that so long as a majority of men either use the kinds of words and behavior that the ass in the elevator did to women at skeptic conferences, then a large number of women won't feel any desire to go to said conferences and the people there will continue to sit around and say "Gee, I wonder why there aren't more women in the skeptic movement?"

#137

Posted by: Janis Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:00 PM

I think like any good skeptic my opinion is mixed here. I think she made the right decision in turning the guy down, what kind of guy asks that of a married woman? At the same time I don't think she should be protected from having to make even what is an obvious decision. Women's suffeage was the the right to suffer problems, the right *not* to be seen as a fragile little flower that has to be protected from the real world.

I am a bisexual male who has made mistakes in my time. On one occasion I had sex with a guy who essentially used me and filled my head with stupid ideas. I still feel dirty to this day but it was lessons that were mine to learn. I'm stronger for what I went though and to this day refuse to think I need any form of protection from making those kinds of decisions. Later down the road a female friend of mine had recently lost someone she loved. Afterwards she tried to push our friendship into a relationship.. thanks to my experience I knew where things were going to go. I talked to her about how desperation could lead to hasty decisions you will regret down the line. My mistake helped her and I don't feel sorry for that one bit.

If you are reading this Rebecca, your wise decision probably came from someone long ago who was free to make the wrong one and learn better. We should always be free to listen, and if need be to learn.

#138

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:00 PM

Apparently, in that elevator, for the man involved, "No!" meant "No!" That seems an acceptable standard of conduct to me. The woman over-reacted.

Apparently you either haven't read the thread or you're just incredibly dense.

It's possible that it's both.

#139

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:01 PM

Also:

"The woman over-reacted."

Nice to see that you are putting this into general terms. We don't have individuals, but rather standards of contact.

Women, be warned, you deserve to be harassed by men late ant night when you are alone, and if they don't decide to rape you... then you should be grateful.

The issue is this:

And then Stef responded to her action with words in public. And Rebecca responded back with words in public. And now all sorts of people are telling Rebecca how HORRIBLE AND MEAN SHE WAS TO USE WORDS.

How DARE she talk about it! She has no right! Like, literally, she shouldn't have rights.

#140

Posted by: Walton, Marquis of Carabas Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:01 PM

Apparently, in that elevator, for the man involved, "No!" meant "No!" That seems an acceptable standard of conduct to me.

The woman over-reacted.

Why do you think you're entitled to decide whether she "over-reacted"? It's up to her, not you, to set her boundaries. No one has the right to tell other people how they ought to feel.

Being alone with a stranger in an elevator at 4am is a circumstance in which most people - especially lone women - are, legitimately, going to feel nervous for their safety. In those circumstances, it's perfectly understandable that his behaviour made her feel threatened and uncomfortable. I don't see any sense in which she "over-reacted".

To repeat what I just said... no one is saying that men (or women) shouldn't have sexual feelings. But there are times and places in which it's inappropriate to express them, and this was one of those instances. When you're alone with someone in an elevator at 4am, making a comment like that is creepy, and it was completely understandable that she felt threatened and uncomfortable.

And if you learn that someone has been made threatened and uncomfortable by your behaviour, the correct response is to apologize, back off and be respectful of their boundaries. The right response is not to make up excuses and accuse everyone of "overreacting". That's the very definition of obnoxious, entitled behaviour. You do not get to decide how other people "should" feel. And if they want you to back away from them and respect their boundaries, you should do so.

#141

Posted by: Hygaboo Andersen Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:03 PM

Chivalry did not forbid rape -- if a knight came upon a woman being accosted, he was expected to help her no matter the social class; if he came upon an unaccompanied woman, and she was of an inferior social class, she was fair game because if the woman's family stood up to power, then would be knocked down by power.

As if any medieval lass wouldn't immediately spread her legs for said knight as quickly as her modern counterparts do for rock stars, professional athletes, or anybody who can afford a better car than her father or former beau. Girls are *always* on the lookout for a guy with a bigger wallet no matter what century they live in. In addition, most fathers are actually proud when their daughter marries a guy with superior social standing. That hasn't changed in a millenium either. Gee, this whole feudalism thing makes more sense all the time. The evolutionists and their endarkenment, despite all of their verbal pyrotechnics really haven't changed human nature at all.

#142

Posted by: Brother Ogvorbis, Apropos of Nada Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:03 PM

fundip:

Porcupine + anus

Raskolnikov35:

See fundip

#143

Posted by: annie_t Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:03 PM

PZ,

Thank you for supporting Rebecca. You are about the same age as my dad and your understanding of these issues always floors me when seen in that light. Thanks for amazing me!

#144

Posted by: amphiox Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:04 PM

Apparently, in that elevator, for the man involved, "No!" meant "No!" That seems an acceptable standard of conduct to me.

In an elevator? As in, making such a proposition in an enclosed confined space, from which easy exit is problematic?

No, that is not acceptable standard of conduct.

At the very least it shows a serious lack of understanding of the other person's perspective.

#145

Posted by: Janine, The Little Top Of Venom, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:04 PM

I am here to proposition you or to chew gum. And I am all out of bubblegum.

#146

Posted by: graham martin-royle Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:06 PM

I'm not going to comment on the episode in the elevator but on the subject of sexism, and naming names.

The person that has been named here was confident enough in their own opinion to make a video and post it. I take it from that, that they are also confident enough to support that opinion. To insist that they should not have been named is, in itself, sexist. It is tantamount to saying that, because she is a female, she should be protected from any counter arguments that are put.

#147

Posted by: jack lecou Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:07 PM

Similarly, Rebecca's feeling that the man's proposition was 'creepy' was her own interpretation of his behaviour, presumably not his. She was probably offended to about the same extent as I am offended if a man gets into an elevator with me chewing gum. But he does me no physical damage and I simply grin and bear it until either I or he gets out of the elevator.

Whoa. Dick Dawkins showing off some male privilege like a motherfucker.

#148

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkpi-mACkNaeTcicHavYOS6l54wO5rrUbs Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:07 PM

I've read a few comments about how much men don't understand how this must feel. Because - as one blog commentator (not here) said "Men don't know what it's like to feel like prey" I struggle with this one a lot. Violence amongst men massively outstrips male violence against women. Yet we assume that ownership of a set of gonads makes all of the victims involved okay with being victims. I think a lot of men are very acquainted with idea of feeling like prey at a very early age. This whole argument is so bloody bourgeois. No crime was committed no law broken. In the UK we have allowed this attitude to get so completely out of hand that we have ASBO's Anti Social Behaviour Orders that courts can slap on a person if someone else feels afraid or threatened by their behaviour. They are mostly used by people with very comfortable middle class lives against homeless people. A man was a dick. My boss - a woman - tried to get me into bed when she discovered I was a lesbian. Even women act like dicks. NOTHING feminists or dicks or atheist skeptics or anyone else says is ever going to change this. There is a better strategy than martyrdom. Ignore the silly buggers.

#149

Posted by: Tony Jolley Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:07 PM

The elevator guy was clueless, and probably came off a bit creepy. It's possible that he may have been oblivious to how obnoxious his behavior was.

Rebecca Watson seems to have shot herself in the foot though. Nobody remembers what the actual speech was about anymore, as they were all to distracted by the unnecessary name naming to pay attention.

#150

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:08 PM

She was probably offended to about the same extent as I am offended if a man gets into an elevator with me chewing gum.

When's the last time you were afraid a man was going to shove bubble gum up your ass, Richard?

#151

Posted by: Forbidden Snowflake Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:08 PM

rlaw:

Yet there are a surprising number of guys who think that rape would become a thing of the past if women followed "common sense" rules like that -- all the while thinking that women shouldn't apply those standards of protectionism around them.

It would be nice if the "women should take precautions and be wary of strangers" guys and the "why are you presuming every man is a rapist don't you see this is hurtful to me" guys (look, here's one now!) confronted each other for a change, rather than scolding women for failing meet their standards for ladylike behavior.

Also, very sorry for what happened to you.

#152

Posted by: serendipitydawg Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:09 PM

I liked Ophelia's blog response:

Here’s the thing: I’m extremely ugly, especially now that I’m 153 years old. I do have one of those downturned mouths that some people have, so I do look very grumpy when my face is in neutral position. I’ve had acquaintances helpfully point this out to me, in case I wasn’t aware of it – “Gee, you’re a lot less ugly when you smile.” Oh thanks.

I have to say that neither I nor Mrs S have ever been accosted in the street, though plenty of people have tried the "Cheer up, in may never happen" line. The invariable response is, "too late, it already has."

I have a natural sneer as a result of damage to the nerves in the left side of my face so they always regret it if I do smile.


#153

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkpi-mACkNaeTcicHavYOS6l54wO5rrUbs Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:10 PM

I've read a few comments about how much men don't understand how this must feel. Because - as one blog commentator (not here) said "Men don't know what it's like to feel like prey" I struggle with this one a lot. Violence amongst men massively outstrips male violence against women. Yet we assume that ownership of a set of gonads makes all of the victims involved okay with being victims. I think a lot of men are very acquainted with idea of feeling like prey at a very early age. This whole argument is so bloody bourgeois. No crime was committed no law broken. In the UK we have allowed this attitude to get so completely out of hand that we have ASBO's Anti Social Behaviour Orders that courts can slap on a person if someone else feels afraid or threatened by their behaviour. They are mostly used by people with very comfortable middle class lives against homeless people. A man was a dick. My boss - a woman - tried to get me into bed when she discovered I was a lesbian. Even women act like dicks. NOTHING feminists or dicks or atheist skeptics or anyone else says is ever going to change this. There is a better strategy than martyrdom. Ignore the silly buggers.

#154

Posted by: Raskolnikov35 Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:11 PM

I thought that statistically, men are far more likely to be victims of physical assault. I've been involved in many a bar fight and I've noticed that it's mostly guys (always) who are getting shitkicked. There are several clubs I go to where other guys are just going around looking for a fight (with other guys). It really sucks when you're just out for a good time and some dick picks a fight. This is part of the male experience that women don't have to face. Violence can be a very real part of our social lives whether we like it or not, and we're expected to participate and even like it. It's not all roses being a guy, but, of course, that won't matter on this site.

#155

Posted by: deadly Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:12 PM

@ Hygaboo Andersen

'Have sex with' is not the same as 'get married to'.

#156

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:12 PM

rather than scolding women for failing meet their standards for ladylike behavior.

They're typically the same guys. Bros before hos.

#157

Posted by: Neal Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:12 PM

graham martin-royle (#146)

To insist that they should not have been named is, in itself, sexist. It is tantamount to saying that, because she is a female, she should be protected from any counter arguments that are put.

Did you even read her response to Rebecca Watson's speech and blog post? She had NO PROBLEM with being named or called out. Her issue was with (what she perceived to be) the power imbalance in how Ms Watson did it.

#158

Posted by: rlaw Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:12 PM

@Richard Dawkins:

But it's not like Rebecca Watson even attempted to press charges or kneed the guys in the gonads, right? She didn't physically touch him, so he has nothing to complain about, right?

Guys who are bad with boundaries and are inconsiderate, either learn as women reject and explain why to them (which Rebecca Watson did) because they're good people and want to do the right thing regarding others, or don't learn and they're not worth defending as they see no one besides themselves in any situation and are unlikely to ever be socialized properly.

I can think of a million examples of how I, as a woman, change my behavior, not for my own benefit, but for the comfort of others. I don't see why men as a group should be exempt from this.

#159

Posted by: Susan Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:13 PM

@Youngie #76

What I meant was that the speaker cannot be held to account if a person perceives their words in a manner different to their intent (assuming that their words cannot reasonably be interpreted as a call to violence). That way madness lies.
Does your job not require training regarding sexual harassment? Mine does, every two years. The trainers have emphasized that it is the impact of the behavior that determines sexual harassment and not the intent of the person exhibiting the behavior. My employer can be held responsible in court if a reasonable person would interpret any behavior as sexual harassment, it's called to their attention, and they take no action to stop it and, depending on the investigation, discipline the harasser. "But I didn't mean that" is not a sufficient defense for the employee exhibiting the behavior to avoid disciplinary action.

Thanks for supporting Rebecca, PZ. I wonder at someone who publishes hir opinion for the world to see and then is upset to have the world's eyes drawn to it. I just wish we also had Elevator Guy's name. There might be some women who'd like to be forewarned about getting into an elevator with him.

#160

Posted by: QuantumSinger Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:14 PM

I was at the CFI leadership conference last weekend and saw first hand what went down. Quite frankly, I am deeply ashamed (annoyed as fuck, more to the point) of the clear biases that have peppered arguments regarding this issue. I notice no one has referenced Watson's original post:

(After being at a bar with people at a conference where she spoke), ...so I walk to the elevator, and a man got on the elevator with me and said, 'Don't take this the wrong way, but I find you very interesting, and I would like to talk more. Would you like to come to my hotel room for coffee?' Um, just a word to wise here, guys, uh, don't do that. You know, I don't really know how else to explain how this makes me incredibly uncomfortable, but I'll just sort of lay it out that I was a single woman, you know, in a foreign country, at 4:00 am, in a hotel elevator, with you, just you, and--don't invite me back to your hotel room right after I finish talking about how it creeps me out and makes me uncomfortable when men sexualize me in that manner...

And McGraw's original criticism:
Watson is upset that this man is sexualizing her just after she gave a talk relating to feminism, but my question is this: Since when are respecting women as equals and showing sexual interest mutually exclusive? Is it not possible to view to take interest in a woman AND see her as an intelligent person?

McGraw never contested that the man's behavior was inappropriate, only that it wasn't sexist/misogynistic, as Watson contends. Given the evidence, I have to agree with McGraw on this one.

However, this is not the main issue at hand here. Watson did indeed address McGraw's criticisms on stage, and in turn criticized her back, saying she was essentially a danger to feminism. On the fucking stage. In front of McGraw. Safely behind a podium. Where McGraw had no way to respond. Yes, it very much is a power balance issue, and it was immensely unprofessional.

If you've been having a debate on the internet, you don't carry it with you to a lecture in front of that person, and criticize them when you know they have no way to respond.

It is for this pettiness, that she owes McGraw an apology.

#161

Posted by: Youngie Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:15 PM

Forbidden Snowflake,
Hang on a second. It is precisely by this reasoning that this man'swords have been twisted so far out of shape that they bear no resemblance to their original state.
You seem to suggest that since we cannot know for sure what a person means when they speak, that we can assume that they mean the worst possible translation of their statement. And judge them accordingly.
So, for instance, if a man says to me 'your daughter is really pretty', I can assume he means to rape her? And thus proclaim him publicly as a paedophile?

#162

Posted by: deadly Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:15 PM

I am here to proposition you or to chew gum. And I am all out of bubblegum.

Thanks, Janine, for an antidote to Richard Dawkins. :D

#163

Posted by: shawmutt Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:15 PM

There was a deadly silence. Amazed, terrified, huddling together, the men watched the long line of woman march slowly round the yard. It was as though the world had turned upside-down. Then there came a moment when the first shock had worn off and when, in spite of everything-in spite of their terror of the militant feminists, and of the habit, developed through long years, of never complaining, never criticising, no matter what happened-they might have uttered some word of protest. But just at that moment, as though at a signal, all the cuddle bitches burst out into a tremendous bleating of-

"Men good, Women better! Men good, Women better! Four legs good, two legs better!"

Feminist Farm, by Orsen Wells' wife ;)

I mean hell, if we are going with hyperbole we might as well go whole hog!

#164

Posted by: Zeppelin Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:16 PM

@ Raskolnikov35

Oh, get the fuck out. You seriously think the appropriate response to a woman complaining about being bothered by a creep in an elevator is to insult her sex appeal?
Thank you for letting the world know that you think the only relevant thing about any given woman is how much of a boner thinking about her gives you, though. I guess.

Seriously though, I wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire :3

#165

Posted by: 'Tis Himself, Quel Dommage Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:16 PM

Youngie #113

#Tis Himself, I will say this, however, in my defence. Do not put words into my mouth. 'Let me break it to you since you've obviously never considered the point, rape is a misogynist act.'

I didn't put words in your mouth. You asked (and I quote you directly from your post #66):

Do we use this as an example of inherent misogyny?

It's obvious to me that Rebecca was concerned about rape. That's something that happens to women a lot. Yet you don't seem to understand this concept and so ask a pointless question. Rape is probably the ultimate misogynist act. Elevator Guy was playing rapist wannabee so strongly that even normally clueless me recognized it. So in answer to your question, it is an example of inherent misogyny.

Don't pretend this is what I suggested.

No pretense involved. You are clueless about what Rebecca's reaction (and the stated reactions of other women posting on this thread) was. She was concerned about rape.

I put forth the notion that possible sexual congress was not on the man's agenda.

That is entirely possible. However as I explained before Elevator Guy's intentions are moot. Rebecca's reasonable perceptions are what are important. If Elevator Guy had been thinking with his big head instead of his little one, he would have realized what Rebecca's perception would have been. And if you were trying to understand why Rebecca had that perception instead of trying to excuse the would-be rapist, then you'd realize it as well.

Also, that using a misunderstanding as evidence of inherent misogyny was in itself dishonest.

How do you know it was a misunderstanding? A man asking a woman to go to his hotel room early in the morning just screams: "I want to have sex with you."

Frankly, implying that I don't consider rape to constitute misogyny (however indirectly) is a bullshit act. I would appreciate an apology for that.

I'm sorry that you're unable to recognize your apologetics for a would-be rapist for what they are.

#166

Posted by: Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjectives Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:16 PM

This whole argument is so bloody bourgeois. No crime was committed no law broken. In the UK we have allowed this attitude to get so completely out of hand that we have ASBO's Anti Social Behaviour Orders that courts can slap on a person if someone else feels afraid or threatened by their behaviour.

What the bloody fucking hell do you think she's proposing as a consequence???? A prison sentence??? Let me guess, you have no idea because you haven't even bothered to read it. Her ENTIRE SUGGESTED CONSEQUENCE is "Hey guys, don't be assholes and come onto women all the time at skeptic conferences and maybe they'd be a little more willing to come to skeptic conferences." That's it. A suggestion. A suggestion to stop and bloody fucking THINK for a minute about how you look to the other person. If that guy had asked her the very same thing at the bar four hours earlier? She probably would have just said no and not even given it a second thought. But he asked her in a confined space at 4am after following her in when she specifically told everyone within earshot, including him, that she was tired and going to her room. Yes, he should have stopped to think about how that looks. And the only damned thing she said about it was hey guys, think about this next time and don't do that, ok? She didn't even name the fucking guy who did it. He's still completely anonymous.

Then someone else told her to shut up about it, and she used that PUBLIC blog post as an example in public of how sexism can come from women too, and how yes this is an issue and again, if you want more women at conferences here's how not to make them feel like they need a shower with lye soap after talking to you. And now she's getting all kinds of shit for it? I honestly just throw up my hands at the utter ridiculousness of it all. And feminists are supposed to be the oversensitive overreactive ones. Right.

#167

Posted by: Antiochus Epiphanes Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:17 PM

I am now thoroughly grossed out. Luckily, I have a sewage problem to deal with. Laterz.

#168

Posted by: jack lecou Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:21 PM

PZ didn't physically strike any Catholics. All he did was nail a wafer, and he was absolutely right to do so because the heightened value of the wafer was a fantasy in the minds of the offended Catholics. Similarly, Rebecca's feeling that the man's proposition was 'creepy' was her own interpretation of his behaviour, presumably not his. She was probably offended to about the same extent as I am offended if a man gets into an elevator with me chewing gum. But he does me no physical damage and I simply grin and bear it until either I or he gets out of the elevator.

Right. I mean, lets take this discussion completely off the rails and observe that burning a cross on or near someone's front lawn also does them no physical damage. Really, it's just a "grin and bear it" situation, right? Just wait until the nice men in white hoods go away. No reason to get all "offended".

Yes, that's not an entirely fair analogy. To make it work I guess you have to suppose that burning a cross on your yard could also mean something more or less innocent, like maybe it could just be an invitation to the church barbecue next week.

In fact, lets suppose that's what a burning cross means almost all the time. Only sometimes does it mean "we're going to drag you screaming from your house and hang you from a tree." (And of course, completely apropos of nothing, we could note that to invite someone to a barbecue, you could also just do something normal like knock on their door while NOT wearing a white hood.)

So really, where would anyone ever get off saying that burning crosses in front yards was a scarily insensitive and inappropriate way to communicate or that it made them feel threatened? No actual harm done, right? Total whiners.

#169

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:22 PM

When's the last time you were afraid a man was going to shove bubble gum up your ass, Richard?


I probably shouldn't have, but I lol'd

#170

Posted by: shawmutt Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:23 PM

All that's missing from that is Hitler.

#171

Posted by: lido209boi Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:24 PM

@Carlie

McGraw did not tell her to 'STFU' but as I quote her, "I found the qualification of this incident as objectification, sexualization, and sexism to be a mischaracterization".

At best I would say McGraw disagreed with her ...

#172

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkpi-mACkNaeTcicHavYOS6l54wO5rrUbs Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:25 PM

Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjectives

I read the whole tedious argument at the links laid out above twice, just to make sure I understood what happened. You, oh Carlie of the knickers in a twist, clearly did not read my post. Throw your hands up in disgust all you like, it doesn't change the point of my post. Telling guys not to be dicks while simultaneously placing one set of victims over another set of victims (which is exactly what the argument does even if you can't see it) will change precisely FUCK ALL. People are dicks. Men and women. They will continue to be dicks no matter how often we ask them not to, that is all.

#173

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:25 PM

Dear Muslima

Stop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you had your genitals mutilated with a razor blade, and . . . yawn . . . don't tell me yet again, I know you aren't allowed to drive a car, and you can't leave the house without a male relative, and your husband is allowed to beat you, and you'll be stoned to death if you commit adultery. But stop whining, will you. Think of the suffering your poor American sisters have to put up with.

Only this week I heard of one, she calls herself Skep"chick", and do you know what happened to her? A man in a hotel elevator invited her back to his room for coffee. I am not exaggerating. He really did. He invited her back to his room for coffee. Of course she said no, and of course he didn't lay a finger on her, but even so . . .

And you, Muslima, think you have misogyny to complain about! For goodness sake grow up, or at least grow a thicker skin.

Richard

Jesus fucking christ, what?

She was probably offended to about the same extent as I am offended if a man gets into an elevator with me chewing gum. But he does me no physical damage and I simply grin and bear it until either I or he gets out of the elevator. It would be different if he physically attacked me.

Muslim women suffer physically from misogyny, their lives are substantially damaged by religiously inspired misogyny. Not just words, real deeds, painful, physical deeds, physical privations, legally sanctioned demeanings. The equivalent would be if PZ had nailed not a cracker but a Catholic. Then they'd have had good reason to complain.

Good. Now shut up about the damn atheism and creationism and all that bullshit. You're a damn Brit and live in one of the most friendly places to atheism in the world, why don't you sit down, shut up, and let the people from Iran, Syria, Uganda and Texas talk. No one wants to listen to some limey whiner.

#174

Posted by: Raskolnikov35 Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:25 PM

I find Rebecca Watson intellectually repugnant. I've listened to her mindless blather on SGU for years now and wish she'd just go away. Part of the problem with the skeptical movement is how willing we are to settle for mediocrity. Give her the mind of Eugenie Scott, say, and she'd be a rock star among atheists. But there's nothing interesting or original about Rebecca Watson. Imagine PZ devoting a thread to this whiner.

#175

Posted by: Susan Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:27 PM

@154

I thought that statistically, men are far more likely to be victims of physical assault. [emphasis mine]

You thought wrong.

This is part of the male experience that women don't have to face.

Bullshit. Read the news.

#176

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:27 PM

"How DARE she talk about it! She has no right! Like, literally, she shouldn't have rights."


she has the right to talk about it and i have the right to mock her.

"omg, like this totally gross guy tried to have sex with me. i'm rebecca watson."


what if i were to blog about how fat chicks always try to seduce me.

fat chicks are just creepy.

chew on that.

#177

Posted by: NMcC Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:28 PM

I thought this ridiculous non-story couldn't get any funnier. Then Richard Dawkins appears and admits publicly that PZ Myers is fucking crackers.

Though I have to say I agree with Dawkins 100%. Incidentally, has anyone asked the poor bugger if he actually did find that woman interesting and if he, in fact, was inviting her for a coffee?

How does anyone know that's ALL he WAS doing?

#178

Posted by: shawmutt Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:29 PM

@Raskolnikov35: glad I'm not the only one that feels that way

#179

Posted by: serendipitydawg Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:31 PM

#177

Four in the morning in a lift is really not a good place to be inviting anyone for coffee. Anyone with an ounce of sensitivity would know this, especially a man talking to a lone woman. Of course, there are those without sense and it looks like she was unfortunate enough to encounter one.


#181

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:32 PM

I thought this ridiculous non-story couldn't get any funnier. Then Richard Dawkins appears and admits publicly that PZ Myers is fucking crackers.

Though I have to say I agree with Dawkins 100%. Incidentally, has anyone asked the poor bugger if he actually did find that woman interesting and if he, in fact, was inviting her for a coffee?

How does anyone know that's ALL he WAS doing?

How the hell does when conversations like this come up everyone seemingly deletes all knowledge of social norms and inference and acts like an obtuse moron on the guy's side...and then starts inferring like mad on any woman's side?

#182

Posted by: victimainvictus Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:33 PM

I love how every thread that even vaguely touches on the blatant misogyny in our society brings out the male privilege crusaders out in full force.

A man propositions you for sex when you're alone in an elevator in a foreign country at 4:00 am? Stop whining, you don't have the right to tell people it made you feel uncomfortable! Now let's try and think of all the ways his creepy behavior is your fault, because you're a woman. After all, someone somewhere in the world has it worse than you, so your problems don't matter at all.

#183

Posted by: Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjectives Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:34 PM

Dr. Dawkins, you have piped up to quickly defend male assholes more than once now over the last few years. Why? Why do you want us to think you're an ass? Why don't you want to stop and take just a moment to think about what the lives of many women are actually like? Why would you rather defend a drunken boor hitting on a woman in an elevator than the woman getting hit on, who is again doing NOTHING but saying that it makes her uncomfortable and asking others not to do that?

#184

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:34 PM

@Vitimainvictus

"Did you parents ever think that maybe that man dressed as a clown in a windowless white van might actually be looking for their lost puppy?"

#185

Posted by: Raskolnikov35 Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:35 PM

Nice handle, Victim. What would Freud say?

#186

Posted by: Tyro Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:35 PM

Rebecca was a model of pure class and behaved exactly like I hope other sceptics would. She was telling us something many men don't want to hear (why women are uncomfortable and avoid sceptic meetings), she gave generalities and backed them up with specifics. Her offense seems to be that she got upset by things that some men consider to be trivial. But that's exactly why we should sit up and listen and not try to attack her! If we men had genuine insight into how women felt then we would have built an inclusive sceptical movement years ago. So instead of telling her that her feelings are unjustified, that she should be flattered, that this is nothing compared to what women experience in Iran, we should instead listen!

Not only that, but the way she presented it was classy:

* guy hits on her privately in a way that creeps her out, she relates the story without singling him out. He was anonymous before and she lets him keep some dignity afterwards on the assumption he was just clueless

* guy singles her out publicly and she responds in kind. She respects us enough to let us read the full source and deal with the ideas as well as her feelings. (Of course we let her down by acting like squabbling tone trolls.)

#187

Posted by: serendipitydawg Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:35 PM

@Raskolnikov35: glad I'm not the only one that feels that way

There are more of them than I thought.

WTF has this opinion to do with anything? If your sense of irony didn't just go clang then I think you are in the wrong place, there is probably a fantasy role playing game that is missing a couple of big, muscly avatars right now.

#188

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:37 PM

There's a need for a blog like that! Check out this poor fellow: http://www.theattractionforums.com/general-discussion/119582-im-fat-girl-magnet-how-can-i-stop-attracting-so-many-fat-girls.html


Oh I see Shawmutt is a PUA fan.

Figures.


How long until we get the MRA manifesto?

#189

Posted by: The Great Juju up the Mountain Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:37 PM

One new angle: I think this is a typical US 'problem', where suspicion of unknown people has almost reached the level of paranoia.

It is, for example, really refreshing to spend a few weeks in Sweden. Women over there are strong, confident and yet very open to all strangers. Somehow their society has found a way of being pro-women and not anti-men at the same time.

#190

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:37 PM

And why the hell did so many jump to Watson sucks or looks like a dog?

What are you fucking 9?

#191

Posted by: Terry Gibbs Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:37 PM

Meglapod @29:

there's a reason we smart geek women don't always show off our intellect in public... it's because we often get ridiculed for it, by both men and women who feel intimidated by it.

The woman in the elevator doesn't seem to abide by that rule. By standing up as herself, she makes herself fearful to low self-esteem men. That's why she gets the poor approach by elevator man.

If elevator man had spent time talking with her in the bar and built rapport before asking her to coffee her reaction would have been different.

This isn't about feminism or sexism. It's a just a man with low self-esteem trying to meet someone he finds interesting.

In the elevator, the man was giving the power to the woman, but the woman didn't realize it.

Sounds to me like an insecure man poorly approaching an insecure woman.

The only reason this has any traction is the insecure woman is outspoken to cover her insecurities.

Pathetic.

By the way -- I do think names should be used. Being ridiculed is the fastest way to learn what others' think about us won't really hurt us.

#192

Posted by: Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjectives Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:38 PM

Stop whining, you don't have the right to tell people it made you feel uncomfortable! Now let's try and think of all the ways his creepy behavior is your fault, because you're a woman. After all, someone somewhere in the world has it worse than you, so your problems don't matter at all.

And you know that if she had gone to his room because she took it in good faith that he just wanted to discuss her talk in more depth, and she got raped by him, people would say it was her damned fault because everyone knows not to go back to some guy's room at 4am after he follows you into the elevator and asks you to.

#193

Posted by: gwynnyd Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:38 PM

Googlemess at #119

If he had told her about a great investment opportunity would she call him a dumb capitalist? If you are uncomfortable that is your problem.

Seriously?

If you had spent the day publicly and prominently complaining about unsolicited financial advice and were then confronted at 4 am in an elevator by an earnest and eager person who wanted you to come to their room to discuss a "really good investment opportunity - 100% return guaranteed!" - you would not think that that creepy and inappropriate?

(first time poster... hello!) - Gwynnyd

#194

Posted by: semiprometheus Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:38 PM

As usual, it seems everyone on this thread is talking at cross purposes. In the vain hope of clarifying arguments, and because I simply can't concentrate on homework until I speak my peace, let me add my flyweight opinion to all the heavy hitters here. (Caveat: I follow the Skepchick blog and YouTube channel; I haven't heard of Stef McGraw until today. Since I don't know either person, I'll refer to them by last name.)

1) Rebecca Watson's video told of a quiet stranger who cornered her in an elevator and propositioned her. This guy, who had been lurking on the periphery of her group, follows her into an elevator at 4am and speaks to her only then. I can imagine the thoughts running through her mind: will he take no for an answer? is he violent? how can a smaller girl defend herself from a larger man? Regardless of the man's intentions, he failed to put himself in her place and realize the import of his actions. Guys, don't proposition strange women in enclosed spaces at 4am.

2) Stef McGraw commented, to paraphrase, that if guys didn't proposition girls, the species would die out. Some have said that she did not grow up in the city, and lacked a city-dweller's justifiable paranoia. Maybe she, too, didn't put herself in Rebecca's shoes. Maybe, on the other hand, she was raising a valid point that men have no manual of etiquette to refer to (or, dare I say, rules of engagement?), so men will make mistakes. (Elevator guy was still obtuse.) Whatever the reasoning, it was a fair comment, certainly several steps above "SHUT UP BITCH!"

3) Ms Watson cited Ms McGraw's comment, among truly horrible comments on her blog, as evidence of men objectifying women and refusing to treat them as equals. I can imagine what went through Ms McGraw's mind: what did she just say? are those people staring at me? will people point at me and say "there goes the enemy of womankind"? That the number of people there were a fraction of Watson's blog is irrelevant; they were physically there, and McGraw was physically there, and if physical presence did not affect human emotions and communication Elevator Man wouldn't have rattled Ms. Watson. If humans only recognized a free expression of ideas and not the context, Ms Watson would have evaluated Elevator Man's invitation for coffee solely as a logical proposition about the desirability of coffee and company at 4am. If the speaker at a conference does not have any greater status as anyone else, why then is she on a stage, behind a podium, with everyone else staring up at her?

If Ms Watson wants us to feel sympathy for her experience, she could show some empathy for Ms McGraw's. However, I've long since stopped expecting people to apply the same set of rules to other people and themselves.

P.S. Sorry about the length; too much Lovecraft as a child.

P.P.S. Feel free to call me a concern troll, or anything else that enters your heads. I'm quite inured to verbal abuse. Just don't corner me in an elevator, or call me out in a conference.

#195

Posted by: lido209boi Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:39 PM

Jesus fucking christ, its like the skeptics here don't fucking read the sources. In no where in both of the blog posts by McGraw did she tell Watson to STFU or 'stop whining'. She disagreed that the incident showed that elevator guy was a misogynist nor was he objectifying her. But Watson pulls up the blog post during a keynote speech and lumped it right next to internet comments yelling "rape her".

#196

Posted by: Thanny Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:40 PM

Watson is free to consider the proposition inconsiderate, "creepy", or inappropriate.

She's not free to lump it in with mysogyny and sexism. There's no connection whatsoever.

It does seem to me that she's handled the subsequent criticism poorly as well. In addition to it being pretty detestable to conflate criticism of her reaction with idiotic YouTube comments about rape, it was entirely inappropriate to call out an individual like that in a one-way environment. PZ is dead wrong about there being no power imbalance between a public speaker and an individual in the audience.

#197

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:41 PM

Sounds to me like an insecure man poorly approaching an insecure woman.

The only reason this has any traction is the insecure woman is outspoken to cover her insecurities.

So glad you were there. Now that you've given your best case scenario will you also give a worst?

One new angle: I think this is a typical US 'problem', where suspicion of unknown people has almost reached the level of paranoia.

It is, for example, really refreshing to spend a few weeks in Sweden. Women over there are strong, confident and yet very open to all strangers. Somehow their society has found a way of being pro-women and not anti-men at the same time.

Or France?

#198

Posted by: Tyro Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:42 PM

@Richard,

I think that was a spectacularly dumb and shortsighted argument and I'm shocked to hear it from you. If women should shut up about their trivial problems because women have it worse in Iran then by what right do we talk about Creationism, homeopathy, ghosts, accupuncture most every other western pseudoscience?

We're trying to get women engaged locally so that we can grow and make a difference at home and over seas. And if that wasn't enough, I've never seen a male skeptic telling another male to man up, shut up and ignore local problems because things are worse in Iran. No, instead men are rewarded for their little successes wherever they are. But when a woman speaks up and says that there are issues which make them feel uncomfortable, pressured or even scared, they're told to shut up, let it go and do as they're told.

I really hope that these posts came from someone else.

#199

Posted by: Forbidden Snowflake Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:44 PM

Hang on a second. It is precisely by this reasoning that this man'swords have been twisted so far out of shape that they bear no resemblance to their original state.
What? Where are those words being 'twisted'? From what I see, everyone's in agreement about what he actually said.
You seem to suggest that since we cannot know for sure what a person means when they speak, that we can assume that they mean the worst possible translation of their statement.
No, I'm merely saying that nobody has to bend over backwards to interpret another's behavious as charitably as possible when said behavior can be interpreted as threatening. And also that in case of difference between intention and perception, you don't get to automatically declare perception to be invalid.
And judge them accordingly.
WTF? Who is judging whom here, exactly? (apart from the judging or Rebecca Watson, obviously)

I don't recall a single comment that claimed that the guy necessarily had evil intentions.
No, he probably didn't, but he did behave in an oblivious way that made the woman he was probably trying to seduce feel threatened. Now he gets a free lesson in courtship techniques and social interaction in general from the Internets, while still enjoying his anonymity, so yay for him.

So, for instance, if a man says to me 'your daughter is really pretty', I can assume he means to rape her?

If, in context, his comment makes you feel a threat, you are perfectly justified in keeping your daughter away from him and/or letting him know that he came off as creepy. You don't owe him the most charitable interpretation.
And thus proclaim him publicly as a paedophile?

Since the guy in the story wasn't named OR declared by anyone to be a would-be rapist, this part of the analogy is bullshit and I'm gonna go ahead and disregard it.

#200

Posted by: NMcC Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:44 PM

I think there's a 'not' missing from the last sentence in my comment above.

"She was telling us something many men don't want to hear (why women are uncomfortable and avoid sceptic meetings),..."

Has it occurred to anybody that she's the reason why some men might avoid such meetings!

#201

Posted by: Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjectives Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:45 PM

It is, for example, really refreshing to spend a few weeks in Sweden. Women over there are strong, confident and yet very open to all strangers. Somehow their society has found a way of being pro-women and not anti-men at the same time.

Are women routinely blamed for their own rapes there? Do all anti-rape campaigns center on how women have to be on their guard at all times? If they do get raped and go to the police are they asked why they were in that place than and why were they wearing that and don't they know better than to look that way and walk that way and go those places and talk to men? And if they end up in the paper as news stories do the stories focus on how many boyfriends they've had and whether they've ever lied about anything in the past and whether they are looking for attention and whether they were daring to drink in public and why women really ought to know better than that?

Because that's the way it is here. And god help you being a woman at all, because either you're a floozy who wasn't paying enough attention to her surroundings or you're an uptight bitch who won't give men the benefit of the doubt. There's no inbetween.

#202

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:45 PM

She's not free to lump it in with mysogyny and sexism. There's no connection whatsoever.

That's right, tell that uppity chick what her opinion should be.

Good for you standing up for that poor man.

#203

Posted by: remusm8 Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:47 PM

"And you know that if she had gone to his room because she took it in good faith that he just wanted to discuss her talk in more depth, and she got raped by him, people would say it was her damned fault because everyone knows not to go back to some guy's room at 4am after he follows you into the elevator and asks you to."

I would probably say she was either quite naive or incredibly inexperienced in socializing with the opposite sex in thinking he actually invited her back for coffee. I'd also say that regardless of that, it'd still be rape and as such, a crime.

But no doubt you're right. Deep down all men are rapists and/or feel women are usually just asking for it. And yeah, whenever I approach women I figure consent would be nice, but give me half a chance and I'll just rape her. It's so much easier. Besides, odds are she'll come to like it halfway through, and if I give her a hug afterwards and cab fare, it's not really rape at all, is it now?

Hope that helps in reaffirming your views on men in general!

#204

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:47 PM

As usual, it seems everyone on this thread is talking at cross purposes. In the vain hope of clarifying arguments, and because I simply can't concentrate on homework until I speak my peace, let me add my flyweight opinion to all the heavy hitters here. (Caveat: I follow the Skepchick blog and YouTube channel; I haven't heard of Stef McGraw until today. Since I don't know either person, I'll refer to them by last name.)

1) Rebecca Watson's video told of a quiet stranger who cornered her in an elevator and propositioned her. This guy, who had been lurking on the periphery of her group, follows her into an elevator at 4am and speaks to her only then. I can imagine the thoughts running through her mind: will he take no for an answer? is he violent? how can a smaller girl defend herself from a larger man? Regardless of the man's intentions, he failed to put himself in her place and realize the import of his actions. Guys, don't proposition strange women in enclosed spaces at 4am.

2) Stef McGraw commented, to paraphrase, that if guys didn't proposition girls, the species would die out. Some have said that she did not grow up in the city, and lacked a city-dweller's justifiable paranoia. Maybe she, too, didn't put herself in Rebecca's shoes. Maybe, on the other hand, she was raising a valid point that men have no manual of etiquette to refer to (or, dare I say, rules of engagement?), so men will make mistakes. (Elevator guy was still obtuse.) Whatever the reasoning, it was a fair comment, certainly several steps above "SHUT UP BITCH!"

3) Ms Watson cited Ms McGraw's comment, among truly horrible comments on her blog, as evidence of men objectifying women and refusing to treat them as equals. I can imagine what went through Ms McGraw's mind: what did she just say? are those people staring at me? will people point at me and say "there goes the enemy of womankind"? That the number of people there were a fraction of Watson's blog is irrelevant; they were physically there, and McGraw was physically there, and if physical presence did not affect human emotions and communication Elevator Man wouldn't have rattled Ms. Watson. If humans only recognized a free expression of ideas and not the context, Ms Watson would have evaluated Elevator Man's invitation for coffee solely as a logical proposition about the desirability of coffee and company at 4am. If the speaker at a conference does not have any greater status as anyone else, why then is she on a stage, behind a podium, with everyone else staring up at her?

If Ms Watson wants us to feel sympathy for her experience, she could show some empathy for Ms McGraw's. However, I've long since stopped expecting people to apply the same set of rules to other people and themselves.

P.S. Sorry about the length; too much Lovecraft as a child.

P.P.S. Feel free to call me a concern troll, or anything else that enters your heads. I'm quite inured to verbal abuse. Just don't corner me in an elevator, or call me out in a conference.

I was gonna mock you for being a net nanny, but I think you summed up the points very well and did bring up how Stef could feel maligned. However, I feel that Stef should be corrected for such ignorance in the same way anyone else should be (or like Elevator Man...hence forth known as Otis)

Then I reread it

on the other hand, she was raising a valid point that men have no manual of etiquette to refer to (or, dare I say, rules of engagement?)

WTF? Since when? And I'd figure "propositioning someone in an enclosed space past midnight" isn't one of those unspoken obscure bits of manners...it should be obvious. Are all the commentators here just social outcasts or hermits?

If Ms Watson wants us to feel sympathy for her experience, she could show some empathy for Ms McGraw's. However, I've long since stopped expecting people to apply the same set of rules to other people and themselves.

Bullshit. You could feel sympathy for both, it's not a net-zero gain. You could also realize that one person had something happen to them and the other was corrected harsher than they thought they deserved. There's no inherent hypocrisy here.

#205

Posted by: Brother Ogvorbis, Apropos of Nada Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:49 PM

Posted by: Raskolnikov35 | July 2, 2011 11:52 AM

Who in the hell would want to have sex with Rebecca Watson? He must have been drunk; there's no other explanation.

and

Posted by: Raskolnikov35 | July 2, 2011 12:25 PM

I find Rebecca Watson intellectually repugnant. I've listened to her mindless blather on SGU for years now and wish she'd just go away. Part of the problem with the skeptical movement is how willing we are to settle for mediocrity. Give her the mind of Eugenie Scott, say, and she'd be a rock star among atheists. But there's nothing interesting or original about Rebecca Watson. Imagine PZ devoting a thread to this whiner.

Wow. I am impressed. First an attempt to silence through sexual shaming (not worth fucking unless Raskolnikov was drunk) and then an attack on Watson as being 'intelectually repugnant,' a purveyor or 'mindless blather,' a 'wish she'd just go away,' followed by yet another reference to her as a 'whiner.' Not sure which is the more egregious -- attacking her for not being enough of a woman or attacking her for not having the mind of a man (or whatever mind Raskolnikov thinks should be in her head). Can someone please tell me why the individual or group percieved as weaker never gets the benefit of the doubt and always gets attacked, while the ones percieved as stronger, or more powerful, not only expect to get the benefit of the douby, they get it? It happens again and again and again. Not just in gender relations, but in, for example, Polish history (the AK and Jewish persecution), Native American studies (the BIA's official history of Sitting Bull's death bears no relation at all to the oral and written contemporary accounts, but which gets believed?), and virtually any other realm you care to look at closely. One of the ways that this bias is reinforced, continuously, within society is a constant low-level stream of insults, put downs, aggressions, and minor persecutions. This way, when a woman says, "Hey, that made me uncomfortable," she never gets the benefit of the doubt. So, Raskolinikov, thank you for continuing a long and sad tradition.

#206

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkpi-mACkNaeTcicHavYOS6l54wO5rrUbs Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:50 PM

Gwynnyd _ I don't know. I think I might find it inappropriate and funny. However if it made me feel uncomfortable I wouldn't try and blame them. My point (or one of them) is that feeling uncomfortable when someone says something relatively silly is an internal thing. Being uncomfortable saying No to a straightforward proposition is about what's going on in your own head.

Also any idea why I am listed as Googlemess when I signed in with my google i.d.?

#207

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:51 PM

But no doubt you're right. Deep down all men are rapists and/or feel women are usually just asking for it. And yeah, whenever I approach women I figure consent would be nice, but give me half a chance and I'll just rape her. It's so much easier. Besides, odds are she'll come to like it halfway through, and if I give her a hug afterwards and cab fare, it's not really rape at all, is it now?

Hope that helps in reaffirming your views on men in general!

That was in response to

"And you know that if she had gone to his room because she took it in good faith that he just wanted to discuss her talk in more depth, and she got raped by him, people would say it was her damned fault because everyone knows not to go back to some guy's room at 4am after he follows you into the elevator and asks you to."

Which you confirmed by saying you thought anyone who would go back to a room for 'coffee' was naive.


What the fuck is wrong with you?

#208

Posted by: Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjectives Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:51 PM

remusm8, you completely missed my point.

I would probably say she was either quite naive or incredibly inexperienced in socializing with the opposite sex in thinking he actually invited her back for coffee.

Right. Why would you think that? Because most people know that he wasn't just asking her back for coffee, he was propositioning her. That makes all of those comments saying "What's the harm? Maybe he DID just want to talk to her" entirely disingenuous, because those very same people know better and would call her "naive" or "inexperienced in socializing with the opposite sex" if she did in fact interpret it the way they're claiming he might have meant it.

#209

Posted by: shawmutt Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:55 PM

Oh I see Shawmutt is a PUA fan.

Figures.


How long until we get the MRA manifesto?

Or a Google user. Had to Google those acronyms to find out what you were talking about. I do appreciate your apt display of taking off-handed statements out of context and building straw men with them though, thanks! It's a good analogy to the topic.

#210

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:55 PM

But no doubt you're right. Deep down all men are rapists and/or feel women are usually just asking for it. And yeah, whenever I approach women I figure consent would be nice, but give me half a chance and I'll just rape her. It's so much easier. Besides, odds are she'll come to like it halfway through, and if I give her a hug afterwards and cab fare, it's not really rape at all, is it now?

Hope that helps in reaffirming your views on men in general!

That was in response to

Can someone please tell me why the individual or group percieved as weaker never gets the benefit of the doubt and always gets attacked, while the ones percieved as stronger, or more powerful, not only expect to get the benefit of the douby, they get it? It happens again and again and again. Not just in gender relations, but in, for example, Polish history (the AK and Jewish persecution), Native American studies (the BIA's official history of Sitting Bull's death bears no relation at all to the oral and written contemporary accounts, but which gets believed?)

Like I said. The guy at the park might actually have lost a dog. For some reason this doesn't get the benefit of doubt, despite being a much more plausible scenario (though one imagines if you were in that scenario you would realize you'd get more success talking to the adult or asking the child to get their parent to help if possible...if you weren't too distraught). How many puppies die each year because of our horrible over sensitivity to pedophiles!? /snark

Forget sexism and the "doability" of Watson. Clearly the skeptical movement is doomed because all of the members are so socially inept that they can't pass a Turing test.

#211

Posted by: NMcC Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:58 PM

Jesus, but this is hilarious!

And the winner is...

"When's the last time you were afraid a man was going to shove bubble gum up your ass, Richard?"

Now, that's a sentence one wouldn't encounter every day of the week.

#212

Posted by: mck9 Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 12:59 PM

There is an odd attitude in our culture that it's acceptable for men to proposition women in curious ways...
PZ follows up with two examples, neither of which involves a proposition.

The Benson incident, in particular, contains no hint of a proposition. Benson is quite clear that the jerkwad on the street was not chatty or flirtatious; he was hostile. PZ doesn't describe it as a proposition either, despite the lead-in of his paragraph, but as an example of a deplorable attitude. Fair enough.

Watson's incident in the elevator is more problematic, but it still did not involve a proposition, so far as I can tell from her account.

The term "proposition" can be used broadly for any kind of suggested activity, such as a proposed business venture, but that's not what we're talking about here. For present purposes, I think it's fair to define a proposition as a request or invitation to have sex, either explicitly or via some fairly obvious euphemism.

Normally, inviting a woman to your hotel room at 4 AM would qualify as a fairly obvious euphemism. However, according to Watson, the invitation was preceded by a disclaimer, along the lines of "Don't take this the wrong way, but...". The guy was at least clueful enough to know how his invitation was likely to be interpreted, and took pains to distance himself from that interpretation: "Despite appearances, the following is not intended as a proposition." He rather explicitly denied that his invitation was a euphemism, obvious or otherwise.

Can we safely take his disclaimer at face value? Of course not. It does not follow that we can simply ignore it.

Might he have hoped to follow up with a more explicit proposition later? Quite possibly. Was Watson justified in feeling uncomfortable, creeped out, and even threatened? Of course. Was his overture clumsy, boorish, inappropriate, insensitive, and a spectacular lapse of judgment, even under the most charitable construction possible? Of course.

I don't know his intentions, and neither do you. Maybe he deliberately cultivated ambiguity and deniability in order to lure Watson into his embrace.

Nevertheless we cannot remove the ambiguity by fiat. It's entirely possible that he really did just want to talk. Watson is an interesting person, and if I had the opportunity, I'd probably want to talk to her too, without any sexual intent. I hope I wouldn't be so clueless in approaching her, but I've done dumb stuff before, and will again.

I am not defending his behavior, nor am I defending male privilege or general dickishness. All I'm saying is that he didn't proposition her, so far as I can tell. The unqualified assertion that he did is simply not accurate — unless you define "proposition" so broadly as to render the term almost useless in the present context.

#213

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:00 PM

I've actually thought and found a few RAK I was tempted to do wouldn't work because of scams and the like which would in context make any action seem creepy or inappropriate. ((IE, found a bunch of Yugioh cards of the like but I can't just hand it out to the first child I see on a walk who'd like them; so they wound up sold at garage sale))

People here are apparently claiming that they would in my place actually wind up in the police station completely confused as to why all the uniformed men want to talk to them.

#214

Posted by: 'Tis Himself, Quel Dommage Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:01 PM

NMcC #200 (and earlier)

Nancy, we haven't seen your screeds in many a moon. It's good to see you haven't lost your whiny, smug shrill. Did you see your buddy Dawkins has already posted on this thread? Too bad the thread's not on evolutionary psychology but you can't have everything.

#215

Posted by: Tyro Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:02 PM

And I'd figure "propositioning someone in an enclosed space past midnight" isn't one of those unspoken obscure bits of manners...it should be obvious. Are all the commentators here just social outcasts or hermits?

And as Greg Laden reminded us, this happened after Rebecca had spent many hours talking, having drinks and socializing. If this guy really did just want to talk, he had many opportunities. Waiting till the early morning and getting her alone in an elevator goes from being inappropriate to stalker-y and, frankly, scary. I don't know how I missed that before. (Okay, I do know how and it's why I think we need more women reminding us of our blind spots.)

#216

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:02 PM

Watson's incident in the elevator is more problematic, but it still did not involve a proposition, so far as I can tell from her account.

Sorry, I refuse to actually believe you are that goddamn stupid. Do you people even LIVE on this planet?

#217

Posted by: Bill, visitor from Planet Earth Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:03 PM

Quantum Singer said:

However, this is not the main issue at hand here. Watson did indeed address McGraw's criticisms on stage, and in turn criticized her back, saying she was essentially a danger to feminism. On the fucking stage. In front of McGraw. Safely behind a podium. Where McGraw had no way to respond. Yes, it very much is a power balance issue, and it was immensely unprofessional.

semiprometheus said:

I can imagine what went through Ms McGraw's mind: what did she just say? are those people staring at me? will people point at me and say "there goes the enemy of womankind"? [...] If the speaker at a conference does not have any greater status as anyone else, why then is she on a stage, behind a podium, with everyone else staring up at her?

Exactly right, you two. "Immensely unprofessional" indeed, and it's sad to see so many people defending such behavior.

#218

Posted by: semiprometheus Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:04 PM

I'd figure "propositioning someone in an enclosed space past midnight" isn't one of those unspoken obscure bits of manners...it should be obvious. Are all the commentators here just social outcasts or hermits?

Speaking as one of those detestable social outcasts and hermits who have no reason to exist, the rules of dating, like all social rules, are seldom written and usually learned through experience or informal mentoring. Some people have yet to gain experience, or are slow on the uptake. The rule "Don't cold-proposition a tired woman at 4am when she's been talking nonstop about objectification" is obvious even to me, but I can imagine a younger, stupider, more self-centered, and less self-aware version of myself making that mistake.

You could feel sympathy for both, it's not a net-zero gain.

I do. I'm afraid Ms Watson doesn't.

#219

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:05 PM

And as Greg Laden reminded us, this happened after Rebecca had spent many hours talking, having drinks and socializing. If this guy really did just want to talk, he had many opportunities. Waiting till the early morning and getting her alone in an elevator goes from being inappropriate to stalker-y and, frankly, scary. I don't know how I missed that before. (Okay, I do know how and it's why I think we need more women reminding us of our blind spots.)


Maybe we should rephrase the story at first as a large man in tattered cloths was on the outskirts and followed her into the elevator and once inside asked if she could break a twenty? Maybe people then would get the idea *eye roll*

((because apparently you people are that dumb, asking someone something innocent to get them to take out their wallet is a way muggers have operated ))

#220

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:07 PM

Speaking as one of those detestable social outcasts and hermits who have no reason to exist, the rules of dating, like all social rules, are seldom written and usually learned through experience or informal mentoring. Some people have yet to gain experience, or are slow on the uptake. The rule "Don't cold-proposition a tired woman at 4am when she's been talking nonstop about objectification" is obvious even to me, but I can imagine a younger, stupider, more self-centered, and less self-aware version of myself making that mistake.


Would you/do you have any sympathy at all for anyone you would have made uncomfortable in that situation? Or is the problem entirely that you were just mistaken?

#221

Posted by: serendipitydawg Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:10 PM

@54

Always name names?


OK, I see Rebecca Watson as the sexist.

@163,

Feminist Farm, by Orsen Wells' wife ;)
I mean hell, if we are going with hyperbole we might as well go whole hog!
@170,
All that's missing from that is Hitler.


@178,

@Raskolnikov35: glad I'm not the only one that feels that way

@209,

I do appreciate your apt display of taking off-handed statements out of context and building straw men with them though, thanks! It's a good analogy to the topic.


Anything coherent to add to the thread?

#222

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:10 PM

Speaking as one of those detestable social outcasts and hermits who have no reason to exist, the rules of dating, like all social rules, are seldom written and usually learned through experience or informal mentoring. Some people have yet to gain experience, or are slow on the uptake. The rule "Don't cold-proposition a tired woman at 4am when she's been talking nonstop about objectification" is obvious even to me, but I can imagine a younger, stupider, more self-centered, and less self-aware version of myself making that mistake.

Sorry, I *STILL* have trouble believing this. What did you never read? Watch TV? Movies? How do you not fucking pick this up from osmosis? I mean, Jesus...how long did you piss on the toilet before someone told you you had to lift the seat first

#223

Posted by: Neal Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:13 PM

WTF? Since when? And I'd figure "propositioning someone in an enclosed space past midnight" isn't one of those unspoken obscure bits of manners...it should be obvious. Are all the commentators here just social outcasts or hermits?

The unspoken bits of manners are obvious to the people who know them. They're not obvious to the people who don't. Given what we know about Elevator Guy, which is the more probable inference? That he knew he was being creepy and inappropriate, or that he was shy and awkward and socially clueless?

At least for men like me, who start as social outcasts or hermits, these obvious rules of social engagement become obvious on reflection after doing stupid things like this. You don't learn it out of the manual. Which was, after all, the context of the quote you jumped on.

#224

Posted by: deadly Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:13 PM

Hi, Gwynnyd.

I also signed up recently after another thread related to sexism &c. with lots of strong opinions on both sides. Hmm...

Come say hi in the latest edition of The Endless Thread.

#225

Posted by: Sven DiMilo Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:14 PM

Oh, I don't give a shit about these internecine internet Deep Rifts and tone-policing, but:

Richard Dawkins @#75: Really? Really?
Why is it necessary for you to demonstrate once again your completely tin ear on women's issues? You Do Not Get It.
At the risk of self-parody, you're NOT HELPING.

She was probably offended to about the same extent as I am offended if a man gets into an elevator with me chewing gum.

no, man.
wow.

Basically what Carlie said @#183.
You should shut up.

don't let the porcupine hit your butt on your way out

bwaaaahaha

#226

Posted by: remusm8 Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:14 PM

@Ing: Od Wet Rust #207

I was responding to your absurd statement that people would react with 'she had it coming' had this ended up in rape. -This- was an absurd claim. Perhaps you travel in different circles than me but nobody I know would claim that rape is ever something the woman had coming to her. Sex requires consent, and consent can be revoked at any time before and even during sex. Sure, you might be disappointed that you misread the other person's intentions or you might feel irritated and led on, but it still doesn't justify rape. Nothing does.

@Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjectives #208

I'm quite certain he was either proposition her or he must have been an incredibly socially awkward person. Asking someone to come back to your come for coffee is the polite way of asking for sex, allowing the person asked to decline without it being to embarrassing.

I didn't mean 'naive' or 'inexperienced' as a bad thing and certainly not as somehow 'asking for it'. It's not a crime to not pick up on the more (though not very) subtle cues. Just as it's not a crime to not get that propositioning to a woman in an elevator might be perceived as creepy.

#227

Posted by: Lago Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:15 PM

OK, I have been asked to smile by many girls younger than me, older than me, and the same age as me. I never took it as being some type of sexual advance. Does anyone really think the 80 woman who said it to me in the street was really waiting for me to respond with, "My place or yours?"

I have never asked a girl out. I am way too shy. I have been asked out plenty of times though, and have got some damn good dates due to this. I have also had woman ask me out that I had no interest in. Some because I simply did not find them to be the people I would get along with, and sometimes because I was with someone already. This can be a problem when I did not know how to say so in a way that would not embarrass them.

Women always need to be cautious, and even more cautious than men. This is obvious as men are simply stronger statistically speaking (Yes, there are some damn strong women out there that are stronger than many a male, but we know this is statistically rare). However, people still need to be able to make friend. Putting up a situation that would act like saying, "Smile," or "Hey, we have been out all night and now feel like we know one another so..." means, "Hey baby, I want to lick your navel" is truly a sad statement on human relations.

Also, people do treat one another as different when they are male and female without being sexual. When you meeting someone's grandparents you may often shake the hand of the gentleman, and kiss the lady. Does this mean you are trying to bed the woman? Um, I hope freakin' not. Also, I have friends that I consider very close that are males. I will not let their bodies touch me when we share a couch. I have friends that are younger girls that would often put their feet up on me while sittin' there, and this was allowed because she was a friend. No sexual interaction between us was, or will ever be. I view these girls as sisters or cousins, daughters, whatever. How we interact is obviously different to anyone observing us.

I would hate to think if I had thought that I had just made a friend and asked that person to spend some time with me that it would be considered some type of friggin' sexual assault. Not all attempt to hang with a girl are attempts to bed them. Are all attempts by a woman to ask a guy to go do something together them, even at 4am after being out drinking with them all night, meant to be attempts to get at a man's naughty bits?

#228

Posted by: Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjectives Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:15 PM

Again on giving the guy some slack: my point I was trying to make is that the way our society is right now, women can't give men the benefit of the doubt even if they want to. Let's say Rebecca was entirely sympathetic to the guy and his awkward, entirely inappropriate advances, and tried to avoid conversation or put him down gently or anything less than absolute no (which she still did in a nice way), and something bad then happened. She would be blamed by society. It would be her fault for falling for it, for not being defensive enough. Women can't give men the benefit of the doubt in those situations because then society blames them if something goes wrong. That's just too high a price to pay for potentially bruising some guy's ego a bit for being wary.

As for the Stef bit, she wrote things about Rebecca and her opinions on an open, public blog. She wrote them there because she wanted people to know what she thought and invite comment back, yes? That's what a public blog is for. Sure, Rebecca's response was not directly in blog form, but it was a response to something directly about herself that was in the public domain. I don't see how it's offensively powerful to defend your own self in public from other public comments made about you.

#229

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnpWYolW9ilOj4ZIgWrFbMxaTO4nIcc9ew Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:16 PM

For those who agree with Rebecca Watson that Elevator Guy's behaviour was creepy... can I get a consensus as to why? Explanations I've seen so far include:

1) RW was clearly tired, therefore any sort of advance (whether involving coffee or "coffee") was inappropriate.

2) EG asked when he and RW were alone in a confined space, which is a scary situation for the majority of women, therefore any advance was inappropriate.

3) EG's suggestion was that they go back to his room, which would have left them alone in a confined space - again, scary.

4) EG was apparently making a sexual advance in a context (skeptics' meeting) that is supposed to be about minds not groins. If he'd actually been after a coffee then this would have been OK.

5) Since RW didn't know EG from Y-chromosome Adam, a sexual advance was inappropriate, and a non-sexual advance would have been poorly-timed.

6) If EG couldn't tell whether RW was interested in him (which she evidently wasn't) then it was fundamentally inappropriate to make an advance.

Votes please. Feel free to flag more than one. All responses appreciated.

I ask as a socially-oblivious guy who doesn't want to come across as unpleasant or creepy, but equally doesn't want to stay single his entire life because he failed to ask the right woman at the right time. In particular, option #6 would effectively remove me from the gene pool.

-- Corkscrew

#230

Posted by: https://me.yahoo.com/a/eITV6bEl1IqRjWoNfe8SVwtpJ4A8tajdeG.4rplXm9lmng--#2454e Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:16 PM

inappropriate proposition = proposition that doesn't succeed.

#231

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:17 PM

I do appreciate your apt display of taking off-handed statements out of context and building straw men with them though, thanks!

Of course. Why on earth should I ever think you were into the PUA thing when you linked to a PUA site trying to make a point that would fit directly into the PUA way of thinking.

Silly me.

#232

Posted by: Josh, "Raquel Dommage," Porte-parole Gay Official Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:18 PM

Richard Dawkins - as a longtime admirer of yours, I'm outraged at your boorishness. Your argument upthread was not only stupid and unworthy of you (I mean, really) but your dismissal of the experience women have of feeling intimidated by men is just outrageous. You should be ashamed of yourself. Better, you should spend some time actually thinking about what women like Watson are saying and reflect on it. And on your glib, smug dismissal.

How dare you?

#233

Posted by: NMcC Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:18 PM

Tis Himself at comment 214

"NMcC #200 (and earlier)

Nancy, we haven't seen your screeds in many a moon. It's good to see you haven't lost your whiny, smug shrill. Did you see your buddy Dawkins has already posted on this thread? Too bad the thread's not on evolutionary psychology but you can't have everything."


Now, now. Let's keep things civil and humourous, and let's not be all whiny, smug and shrill. We're all having a good time being smarter than religious people, so just leave it at that.

Actually, my posts mentioned Dawkins' posts, you dumb fucker.

#234

Posted by: greg.bourke0 Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:19 PM

Let me get this straight. A socially inept male makes a half-assed attempt to chat up someone he admires and gets compared to a perverted sex fiend. I can totally see why the complaints of sexism are warranted.

#235

Posted by: Bruce Gorton Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:19 PM

My take:

If Rebecca had not named Stef's name she would be getting jumped all over by the exact same people who are jumping all over her now for making generalisations.

It is after all, a lack of specifics is one of the major beefs we have with the anti-Gnus.

So put me in with the bunch who do not see what Rebecca did wrong.

#236

Posted by: bromion Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:19 PM

Maybe we should recognize that when we interact with equals there are different, expected patterns of behavior that many men casually disregard when meeting with women
I agree with most of PZ's post, but take issue with this. Being treated as an equal does not mean being treated the same. Men and women are not the same, but must be accorded the same respect. There is a subtle distinction to keep in mind. Otherwise, I'm in general agreement with PZ.
#237

Posted by: chigau (◦_◦) Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:20 PM

re Power of the Podium
These atheist conferences sound pretty tame.
I've been to archaeology conferences where there was considerable heckling from the audience.
Session Chairs have cut mikes and told everyone to SHUT UP!

#238

Posted by: Peapoh Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:20 PM

Dawkins, you really disappoint me sometimes.

#239

Posted by: Beatrice, anormalement indécente Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:21 PM

And you know that if she had gone to his room because she took it in good faith that he just wanted to discuss her talk in more depth, and she got raped by him, people would say it was her damned fault because everyone knows not to go back to some guy's room at 4am after he follows you into the elevator and asks you to.
^THIS^
#240

Posted by: Youngie Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:25 PM

Forbidden Snowflake #199

"What? Where are those words being 'twisted'? From what I see, everyone's in agreement about what he actually said."

Well, technically you are correct. Nobody has suggested that his words were any different to those quoted in Rebecca's OP.

"No, I'm merely saying that nobody has to bend over backwards to interpret another's behavious as charitably as possible when said behavior can be interpreted as threatening. And also that in case of difference between intention and perception, you don't get to automatically declare perception to be invalid."

Not actually proclaiming the perception to be invalid. Merely suggesting that it shouldn't neccessarily be used as the measure of appropriate behaviour.

"WTF? Who is judging whom here, exactly? (apart from the judging or Rebecca Watson, obviously)
I don't recall a single comment that claimed that the guy necessarily had evil intentions.
No, he probably didn't, but he did behave in an oblivious way that made the woman he was probably trying to seduce feel threatened. Now he gets a free lesson in courtship techniques and social interaction in general from the Internets, while still enjoying his anonymity, so yay for him."

And within lies your answer. Almost every comment on this thread has used the term 'propositioned'. As if the default position is that the guy in question WAS definitely attempting to get Rebecca back to his room purely for the purpose of coitus.
I thought we were, as a group, slightly more skeptical than that.

#241

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:27 PM

everyone knows not to go back to some guy's room at 4am after he follows you into the elevator and asks

Well of course you don't do it, but you're supposed to be flattered at the opportunity and not complain about it because it's every man's right to bother you in elevators and make you wonder how close you are to being raped!

#242

Posted by: Susan Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:30 PM

@ Carlie

Dr. Dawkins, you have piped up to quickly defend male assholes more than once now over the last few years.
Really? I liked him, so this is unpleasant news. Doesn't he have a daughter?

#243

Posted by: serendipitydawg Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:30 PM

Corkscrew gogglemess:

I ask as a socially-oblivious guy who doesn't want to come across as unpleasant or creepy, but equally doesn't want to stay single his entire life because he failed to ask the right woman at the right time.

And I am the fairy Clinkerbell.

Fuck. Right. Off.

#244

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:30 PM

Not only that: he should NEVER BE CRITICIZED for that. Oh no, no no no.

#245

Posted by: Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjectives Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:37 PM

And within lies your answer. Almost every comment on this thread has used the term 'propositioned'. As if the default position is that the guy in question WAS definitely attempting to get Rebecca back to his room purely for the purpose of coitus. I thought we were, as a group, slightly more skeptical than that.

Yes, Youngie, and as Ing said, you should go ahead and tell your child to get in the windowless van with that nice man who is looking for his puppy. Because it wouldn't be properly skeptical to assume he has any other motives than that.
Seriously, it's risk analysis. The risk of being very badly wrong has a much higher weight than the possibility of having a nice chat at 4am in a stranger's room. What is the problem with that?

Susan - it hasn't happened often, but it's not the first time. More damningly, I haven't seen him actively speak up in defense of women other than to say sure, it would be nice to have more of them around.

A socially inept male makes a half-assed attempt to chat up someone he admires and gets compared to a perverted sex fiend.

No, he didn't. Please keep up with the discussion.

#246

Posted by: Youngie Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:37 PM

So a little bit off topic but referring back to PZ's original post. The comment was made, 'Maybe we should also recognize that applying unwanted pressure, no matter how politely phrased, is inappropriate behavior.'

While acknowledging the justice in this, the question remains.

How does a person safely indicate interest, when unwanted interest is an offence? Yes, this constitutes sexual harassment (A civil offence).And I am not being glib, this is a serious issue that requires a real answer.

#247

Posted by: Nicole Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:41 PM

wow. These comments are depressing. Especially the Dawkins part. So I do not have the right to complain about gender equality, the tendency of society to view women as (only) sex objects, or the real threat of sexual violence because women in Saudi Arabia have it so much worse?

I couldn't imagine any other way to interpret a 4 am invitation to someone's bedroom than sexual. And on an elevator? Would you ever consider making that invitation to a man? And even if it was just poor form, how can you be so ignorant of the opposite sex not to realize that it could be interpreted threatening and sexual?

#248

Posted by: Hygaboo Andersen Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:42 PM

deadly writes:

'Have sex with' is not the same as 'get married to'.

In a Biblically informed society, it would be. Women have no business being outside without their husband, father, or other male relative to protect them from interlopers. Suitors should appraoach the girls' father or other male relative under whose dominion she lives. The male relative and the suitor would negociate the terms of the relationship. This would fix the sexual harassment problem for good.

#249

Posted by: Bruce Gorton Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:42 PM

Having read the thread:

First: Seriously is that really Richard Dawkins? Either way ewww.

Second: On elevator guy - it was creepy as all shit but I am not convinced one incident that didn't lead to anything further with someone Rebecca never saw again classes as harrassment.

#250

Posted by: Screechy_Monkey Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:46 PM

I'm amused by all the histrionics about how Rebecca supposedly "whined" and accused Elevator Guy of "atrocities." I've actually watched the entire video, in which she spends about one minute on this subject out of a much longer discussion. And the extent of her supposed vitriol on the subject was to say (paraphrasing) "hey guys, a word to the wise? Don't do that" and explaining that it made her uncomfortable.

That was it. She didn't call the guy a terrible sexist jerk or a rapist or (I'm looking at you, Dawkins) worse than the oppressors of women in Muslim countries.

It comes down to this: if you're serious about treating women with respect in general, and about encouraging them to come out to skeptical and atheist events in particular, maybe you'd be interested in knowing that this particular behavior makes at least one woman uncomfortable. And maybe you might want to take that into account and adjust your behavior accordingly.

But apparently even that mild comment is too much for some fragile men, such that we have Corkscrew @228 whining that now he'll never be able to reproduce, and Richard Dawkins making such a breathtakingly stupid argument that I still have trouble believing it's him.

#251

Posted by: Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjectives Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:47 PM

How does a person safely indicate interest, when unwanted interest is an offence? Yes, this constitutes sexual harassment (A civil offence).And I am not being glib, this is a serious issue that requires a real answer.

Youngie - luckily, there is a handy guide. You may not find it entirely to your liking, but the reality is that if you consider women to be people who should be respected, and if you want to get off on the right foot with them, then there may indeed be situations in which you might not always be able to declare to them that you have found them worthy of further interest.

Re: my comment above about Dawkins - I was saying I have not personally read anything where he mounts a solid defense of women (not just the ones in the worst case possible and all the others should shut up and deal). I'd be more than happy to read anything anyone can point out and retract that part of my opinion.

#252

Posted by: serendipitydawg Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:47 PM

This would fix the sexual harassment problem for good.

Welcome to the dark ages, next stop the crusades. Going down.


#253

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:50 PM

i get hit on by fat and ugly women all the time.




they know that they are fat and ugly, yet they continue to proposition me at all hours of the day.




some of them even have a unibrow.




they should not do this because they know how fat and ugly they appear to me.



anyone who disagrees with me is ignorant, insensitive, and needs to stfu.

#254

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnpWYolW9ilOj4ZIgWrFbMxaTO4nIcc9ew Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:50 PM

Serendipitydawg (aka Clinkerbell) said:

Corkscrew gogglemess:
I ask as a socially-oblivious guy who doesn't want to come across as unpleasant or creepy, but equally doesn't want to stay single his entire life because he failed to ask the right woman at the right time.

And I am the fairy Clinkerbell.

Fuck. Right. Off.

I was entirely serious. You want details? I'm 26 years old and have managed to ask one woman out in my entire life. I am also reliably informed (by friends of both genders) that I have failed to notice when women were actually interested in me and would have appreciated me asking them for a coffee. This situation is full of fail on many levels.

The last bloody thing I need is yet more reason to feel vaguely uncomfortable when engaging socially or romantically with members of the opposite sex. As my last post demonstrated, there are lots and lots of things that could be considered wrong about Elevator Guy's behaviour. If I don't know which are the real wrong ones, this whole discussion is basically useless to me (if not actively harmful).

Please help me here.

#255

Posted by: freebornjayne Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:51 PM

If this had happened to me, I would not have assumed that the man was a rapist, but I would have assumed it was a possibility, and considered my options accordingly. This is not only a sensible way of thinking in a society where women are blamed for their own rapes repeatedly -- it's also very much learned. I think I started getting girls-only lectures from teachers and "how-to-protect-yourself" chain letters since I was about eleven. This is ingrained.

I generally believe the best in people, but if, for example, I am walking home down an unlit road late at night, and a man is following me, my first thought will always, always be "how can I get away if I need to?" If that man then proves neutral or friendly, I will behave in the same way, but I put myself first.

As long as the onus to protect themselves is on women, they will be forced to treat all strange men with some suspicious until proven otherwise. It isn't fair, but it is a symptom of an unfair society. It is a symptom of a society that assumes men are blameless unless proven otherwise, and that jumps in to defend them without really considering what the woman in question has to say.

I am pretty much oblivious to flirting and appreciate people being straightforward. Daylight, crowded place, I'm not busy and you express at least some interest in me as a person, rather than a sex toy? Fine. Great. Nice to meet you. In an empty elevator late at night, when I've already said I'm tired and what you say is a pretty common invitation for sex? Not so much.

#256

Posted by: kaylakaze Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:51 PM

This has nothing to do with sexism. Had the guy in question been gay and Rebecca a hot guy, he would have also likely propositioned her. Same with if the guy in question was a lesbian. Pretending there's anything else to the story than that is just bullshit. I'm not in any way saying what he did wasn't stupid, but it had nothing to do with misogyny.

#257

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:53 PM

anyone who disagrees with me is ignorant, insensitive, and needs to stfu.


Keep digging.

The more you post, the more you show just how much you really fail to grasp.

#258

Posted by: Hygaboo Andersen Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:53 PM

NMcC writes:

I thought this ridiculous non-story couldn't get any funnier. Then Richard Dawkins appears and admits publicly that PZ Myers is fucking crackers.

PZ Myers is in the throes of a deep spiritual sickness. It is the same sickness that has also seized John Kwok who I am also trying to reach. They need to seek the love and healing of Jesus Christ together by getting help here.

#259

Posted by: deadly Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:53 PM

@ Hygaboo Andersen

Is this a society you are in favour of?

#260

Posted by: nelc Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:54 PM

I refuse to believe that the Richard Dawkins posting in this thread is Richard Dawkins the author — despite the link to his site — and not some troll flying under a false flag. Dawkins is a better disputant than that, from his books, not to mention classier.

Can somebody confirm whether Dawkins is being impersonated or is succumbing to the brain-eater?

#261

Posted by: greg.bourke0 Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:55 PM

Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjectives

No, he didn't.

Of course not

here's how not to make them feel like they need a shower with lye soap after talking to you.....

Why would you rather defend a drunken boor hitting on a woman in an elevator than the woman getting hit on.....

And you know that if she had gone to his room because she took it in good faith that he just wanted to discuss her talk in more depth, and she got raped by him.....

Let's say Rebecca was entirely sympathetic to the guy and his awkward, entirely inappropriate advances, and tried to avoid conversation or put him down gently or anything less than absolute no (which she still did in a nice way), and something bad then happened......

No characterisation there at all.

#262

Posted by: serendipitydawg Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:55 PM

I'm sorry, corkscrew, you came across as a concern troll and I am on a short fuse. If you are seriously seeking advice, I am the wrong gender, I would point you to Carlie's link in #251.


Fundip really can insert a porcupine though (mind you 7 year olds shouldn't use the internet unsupervised, so it is probably the parents who need the porcupine.)

#263

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnpWYolW9ilOj4ZIgWrFbMxaTO4nIcc9ew Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:56 PM

Carlie - thanks for the link, that is precisely what I was after.

-- Corkscrew

#264

Posted by: Hieronymus The Troll Braintree Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:56 PM

As a former reasonably good-looking denizen of the Big Apple (as in both former denizen and former reasonably good-looking), I have been propositioned a few times by gay guys who qualified as strangers and, believe it or not, I don't think it's because they thought I was of lower social status or in any way their inferior. My working theory is that they were horny and thought I was hot. I would also like to observe that as a long-ago NYC cab driver one of the best places to pick up a fare on a slow night was to pull up in front of one of the many examples that great pre-AIDS gay institution, the public bath house. I can assure that if there any comparable lesbian establishments I would have gladly taken advantage of them too. But there weren't. Any.

I've also had my ass pinched on four separate occasions, once by a man. My guess is that I'm a probably statistical outlier but, still, you do the math.

As that notorious reactionary bigoted troglodyte Dan Savage has noted men are about ten times more likely to put ads out for kinky sex than women. Guys also tend to be far more into casual sex (see public bath house above).

It is right and proper as good skeptics to confront and provoke and challenge, and you have to be direct about it.

Exactly right. Except of course when it's done to you. Then that person is a troll who must be personally attacked.

Off to enjoy the day. Fuck off, assholes.

#265

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 1:58 PM

it should be common sense not to to put faith in the unibrowed.


anyone who disagrees with me is ignorant, insensitive, and needs to stfu.

#266

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:01 PM

Had the guy in question been gay and Rebecca a hot guy, he would have also likely propositioned her. Same with if the guy in question was a lesbian.

But those would have been different situations. That means situations that are different!

#267

Posted by: vaeisenberg Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:01 PM

Oh woe is me - she got approached and possibly hit on by a random creep in the elevator, and a particularly non-aggressive one

Actually her video i just listened to.. it's OK and not particularly blowing it out of proportion - merely stating for whoever is watching to please not try stuff like that.

Well, in this case, sadly PZ as a man is showing to be the Janissary who's as the saying goes, is worse than the Turk himself.

#268

Posted by: I George Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:02 PM

Oddly, years ago someone I know got burned in public by the line 'You seem like an ok guy, but wouldn't want to get stuck in an elevator with you'. (Honestly, it wasn't me)

I've not read all the comments, but in my book several mistakes were made - elevator, 4am, going public. Not things I'd do personally.

I have engineered the odd bumping into a woman after a meeting or a conference. Space to talk to someone interesting a little more privately. Not in an elevator, not to proposition quite so obviously.

#269

Posted by: Walton, Marquis of Carabas Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:02 PM

fundip, you're a creep. Fuck off.

===

Googlemess @#254: In my understanding, a big part of the problem here was the time and the place. When in a vulnerable position, such as being trapped in a confined space with a stranger in the small hours of the morning, people are naturally wary; and to be propositioned at that time is inevitably going to make someone feel threatened and uncomfortable. It's important to consider things from the other person's perspective; remember that she doesn't know you, and has absolutely no way of knowing how you're going to behave. In those circumstances, it's simply inappropriate to proposition someone. When interacting with someone you don't know, especially if they're alone and/or in a vulnerable situation, it's important to always ask yourself "Could this behaviour potentially be perceived as threatening?", and if the answer is "Yes", then back away and don't do it.

#270

Posted by: deadly Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:02 PM

fundip

it should be common sense not to to put faith in the unibrowed.

Why should faith be withheld from the uni-browed?

#271

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:03 PM

Actually her video i just listened to.. it's OK and not particularly blowing it out of proportion - merely stating for whoever is watching to please not try stuff like that.

Exactly. She didn't call for him to be arrested or crucified. She just said: people, this is an unpleasant thing to do.

#272

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:04 PM

what if the guy was george clooney or brad pitt?

would that have made a difference?


the way she feels about this guy is the same way i feel about fat, ugly women with unibrows.


i am sexually repulsed by them.



anyone who disagrees with me is ignorant, insensitive, and needs to stfu

#273

Posted by: mck9 Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:04 PM

maxamillion @ 106:

Watson is on an ego trip!

Without evidence we don't even know that the incident even happened.

Right. The testimony of a mere woman doesn't qualify as evidence.

#274

Posted by: Bruce Gorton Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:05 PM

Corkscrew:

Well I am similarly oblivious to signs of attraction but that's because being unattractive I have never seen them. That said I can say exactly what made elevator guy rapey.

1: Alone in an elevator. When a lion isolates something, it is because it is prey - so approaching a woman in an isolated setting? Predatory.

2: Straight after the woman has finished talking about how she doesn't want to be sexually objectified - is not generally the wisest of times to ask a woman to have sex with you.

#275

Posted by: PeterParker Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:07 PM

My, my. can't we all just get along?

As far as I can see, Rebecca Watson did the right thing when faced with a stranger in an elevator at 4 AM. Whether the guy was just a socially awkward goof-ball or potential rapist is something she had no way of knowing.

She mentioned the incident, and used it as a warning to the guys; be aware of how a woman might interpret certain situations. Fine.

Having said all that, it does seem like this incident has been blown a little bit out of proportion. In the end we're talking about someone sharing an anecdote of something that made her uncomfortable but resulted in nothing.

Forgive me if I yawn.

And whoever posted the RD comment was right to contrast this little anecdote to actual cases of sexism and abuse. And no, you do not need to travel very far to find these examples... honour killings and genital mutilations occur inside the good old USA.

#276

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:07 PM

i am sexually repulsed by them.

When one corners you in an elevator and propositions you when you know damned well you won't be able to get away without being assaulted should this person happen to decide to go that way... then you might have some kind of a comparison except for the fact that you are still mistaken in assuming not being interested in once creepy loser with entitlement issues is tantamount to hating all men.

#277

Posted by: deadly Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:07 PM

fundip:

the way she feels about this guy is the same way i feel about fat, ugly women with unibrows.

i am sexually repulsed by them.

Would you please point out where in the video Watson says she is sexually repulsed.

#278

Posted by: fée carabosse Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:09 PM

Comments here should be

Sweet and Sour

but instead they are

Sweat and Sewer

What a smell!

#279

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:09 PM

what if the guy was george clooney or brad pitt?

Nope, not one bit. They would still be behaving wrongly and being obnoxious entitled jerks.


People would just have even less sympathy for Watson and probably insinuate that she made it all up for attention.


#280

Posted by: Dhorvath, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:10 PM

Yep, his need to get his desires attended to (I am willing to entertain that conversation was on his mind although I find it likely there was more) was clearly more important than her need to quietly end her day. He even knew that he would come across poorly "Don't take this the wrong way, but..." Well, there you have it then, he knew his proposition was skeevy and there was a very real chance that it would make her uncomfortable, but he had needs and couldn't resist trying to assuage them. I can't find it in me to excuse that. He knew he was doing something which was inappropriate and for all the rest of you guys who might think that what he did was okay, it's not. If it enters your mind to open a conversation to someone who you don't already know well with 'Don't take this the wrong way, but..." you have already crossed the line to saying the wrong thing to the wrong person and at the wrong time.

I do not accept that men ever need to proposition women who they don't know in settings such as elevators. The only way he might reasonably have had something useful to say would be a thanks for the great talk or perhaps 'you have a pen leaking through your clothes' or some other tidbit that most people want to know as soon as possible. Not to mention that style of proposition is in and of itself unnecessary, if no man ever made such a pass at any woman again, people would still get together, babies would still happen, life would go on. I can only hope that he is now thinking about how to avoid putting people in such awkward situations in the future. Kudos to Rebecca Watson for making this public, if even one man reads this and doesn't put a woman in such an uncomfortable situation I think she has done very real good.
___

As for the names thing. Stef McGrath made a public opposition to Rebecca Watson's actions, it was already public. I suspect that part of why people recoil is the way in which political discourse has come to focus on putting opponents down instead of elevating candidates. Watson wasn't trying to make herself better at the expense of Mcgraw, she was trying to make a point that McGraw was wrong about something which she had publicly shared.
I have read McGraw's response and it is tied up in defence. It's not that Watson was wrong and McGraw right, but that Watson spoke and McGraw couldn't respond via the same avenue. Do we then say that no specifics can be presented by speakers? That such things get limited to web articles where linking is common and people can see arguments from all represented actors?

#281

Posted by: NMcC Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:11 PM

@ Hygaboo Andersen

My comment was a jokey reference to Dawkins mentioning Myers 'nailing a cracker'.

Trust some Jesus-freak to miss the point.

#282

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:11 PM

Furthermore, Fundip: not only would a person you happen not to be attracted to for whatever reason have to corner you, you'd have to be taken to task for saying "hey... creepy person... don't harass me"

and told that was really mean because the creepy person has a right to bother you in order to get what they want.

#283

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:14 PM

And then taken to task for saying: Hey people, acting this way makes you seem creepy!

But see, fundip, you just can't accept that the behavior is what makes the creep.

Hence you harp on what doesn't turn you on.

Like we care!

If it enters your mind to open a conversation to someone who you don't already know well with 'Don't take this the wrong way, but..." you have already crossed the line to saying the wrong thing to the wrong person and at the wrong time.

QF Fucking T.

#284

Posted by: Youngie Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:15 PM

Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjective #251

Thanks, that was both helpful and informative.

Unfortunately it does mean that I will never again be able to approach a woman that I don't already know. It turns out that men have delicate psyches, and the assumption that we are all rapists until proven otherwise, is a little too much pressure.

Not to worry though. Celibacy is not nearly as difficult as the Catholic church makes out.

#285

Posted by: mck9 Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:15 PM

NMcC @ 177:

I thought this ridiculous non-story couldn't get any funnier. Then Richard Dawkins appears and admits publicly that PZ Myers is fucking crackers.

Someone somewhere has gotten terribly confused.

PZ is nailing crackers. Now, sometimes "nailing" is slang for "fucking", but in this case it just means "nailing."

#286

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:15 PM

"They would still be behaving wrongly and being obnoxious entitled jerks."




how else are men going to get laid if we do not behave like obnoxious, entitled jerks?



its natural selction.



survival of the most obnoxious.




no fat chicks.



anyone who disagrees with me is ignorant, insensitive, and needs to stfu

#287

Posted by: serendipitydawg Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:17 PM

Celibacy is not nearly as difficult as the Catholic church makes out.

Celibacy is simple: don't marry. Chastity is the tricky one (as the RCC seem to regularly discover.)

#288

Posted by: ophelia.benson Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:19 PM

Rebecca Watson recently experienced this in an elevator in Dublin, and I think this encounter Ophelia Benson had reflects the same attitude: women are lower status persons, and we men, as superior beings, get to ask things of them. Also as liberal, enlightened people, of course, we will graciously accede to their desires, and if they ask us to stop hassling them, we will back off, politely.

Oh well that certainly doesn't describe the guy in my little anecdote. He not only didn't back off, he rushed forward - shouting, repeatedly, "Do you know HOW to smile?" He didn't do it politely, either.

#289

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:19 PM

how else are men going to get laid if we do not behave like obnoxious, entitled jerks?

Ask the ones I've slept with I guess!

Be interesting, socially skilled, fun to be around. That seems to work for most guys. Natural selection?

#290

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnpWYolW9ilOj4ZIgWrFbMxaTO4nIcc9ew Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:20 PM

I'm sorry, corkscrew, you came across as a concern troll and I am on a short fuse. If you are seriously seeking advice, I am the wrong gender, I would point you to Carlie's link in #251.

No worries. It's a pretty highly-charged debate, and it's always hard to tell the difference between concern trolls and genuinely clueless n00bs. I've also noticed that it's difficult for people with romantic experience to realise quite how ignorant some of the rest of us are - call it the reverse Dunning-Kruger effect.

The post Carlie linked to is spot-on. It provides clear ground rules and helps the reader understand why those rules are necessary. It also identifies acceptable behaviour, which is a lot harder than identifying unacceptable behaviour. I've bookmarked it and will re-read it whenever I'm feeling uncertain.

-- Corkscrew - over and out.

#291

Posted by: Bruce Gorton Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:21 PM

Fundip

I can understand you really, really don't like women - but even if you are a sexist pig could you please space your posts properly? These long blank spaces just make it that much longer skipping your posts.

#292

Posted by: irenedelse Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:22 PM

@ Socially oblivious guy #254:

You ask for pointers? Well, this thread has already listed a few obvious clues one can gather from the elevator incident. Here's the gist:

1) Before the incident, Rebecca had spent hours at the hotel bar, chatting and having fun with all kinds of people attending the meeting, and our Elevator Guy could perfectly have taken opportunity of the fact and been one of those people. He could have approached her at the bar, offered to buy her a drink, chatted, whatever. Who knows, if she was interested, they might have met later just the two of them. Now, if the guy was very socially awkward, he might have waited until there were less many people around Rebecca, or even tried to talk to her just outside the bar, where a lone woman can still feel safe because she's not far from the crowd. But because of the late hour and the fact that Rebecca had expressed desire to go to sleep, a sensible guy wouldn't have asked her to spend time with him right now, but offered to meet her the next day or maybe just give her his phone number or e-mail address.

2) But instead of following some variant of that perfectly acceptable scenario, Elevator Guy waiting until Rebecca leaved the room, followed her into the elevator and then, where they were alone, he suggested that she went with him to his room. No. Just no.

In short: it's perfectly possible for a man to get to know a woman he's interested in, there are just good and bad times to do so, and good and bad ways too.

#293

Posted by: tomh Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:23 PM

I've never seen so many dumb comments. Since when does a verbal conversation guarantee the speaker the right to privacy? I can guarantee you if anyone makes unsolicited conversation with me on any subject, I'll feel perfectly justified in shouting it from the rooftops, including names. Good for Rebecca Watson.

#294

Posted by: Youngie Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:25 PM

serendipitydawg #287
Well, to be fair, celibacy can also mean 'a state of abstention from sexual intercourse'.
Still, good call.

#295

Posted by: HappiestSadist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:25 PM

Thanks, PZ, for this post, even if there's an awful lot of people who really, really don't like women in the comments. Like Richard Dawkins, apparently. Again.

I can't help but wonder how many of the guys who seem to think RW was some kind of castrating she-devil for not accepting Elevator Guy's advance with a charming titter also think those "don't be anywhere enclosed with a stranger or it's YOUR FAULT FOR RAPE" advice forwards are totally reasonable.

Dudes: it's awesome that you like sex, and want to have it. That said, your fondness for fucking does not in fact override the fondness many women have for not being fucking terrified. No, not all, or even most of you dudes are rapists, but seriously. How the fuck is anyone to know? Especially when all the focus of your interest has is that you didn't say boo when you were in a social, group setting, and she's already said she's tired, and done socializing. Your amazing penis is not that special. Your intent, however naive, innocent, or respectful, DOES NOT MATTER. The onus is on you to consider context when you're propositioning someone.

#296

Posted by: NMcC Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:27 PM

Mck9 @285

"PZ is nailing crackers. Now, sometimes "nailing" is slang for "fucking", but in this case it just means "nailing.""

I KNOW for fuck sake! I didn't think Myers actually stuck his dick through a cracker.

That's why I said it was a 'humourous' reference to what Dawkins said.

#297

Posted by: Screechy_Monkey Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:27 PM

Youngie @284:

Unfortunately it does mean that I will never again be able to approach a woman that I don't already know. It turns out that men have delicate psyches, and the assumption that we are all rapists until proven otherwise, is a little too much pressure.

Careful, if you clutch those pearls much harder, they'll grind to dust!

Not to worry though. Celibacy is not nearly as difficult as the Catholic church makes out.

Oh, poor you. After all, it's impossible to meet women through mutual friends or online dating sites or any other way. Nope, every couple that has ever existed got together because a man approached a total stranger.

And let us all share a moment of silence for Youngie's genes. Where will humanity be without men who can't tell when someone doesn't want to talk to him, and whose reaction to learning that women fear for their safety is "poor ME!"?

#298

Posted by: ophelia.benson Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:29 PM

@ 245

I haven't seen him actively speak up in defense of women other than to say sure, it would be nice to have more of them around.

I have. He (Dawkins, this is) spoke up in defense of me once, on a thread at his place. The article being discussed was an awful apologia for some piece of Islamist bullying, by a woman, and a guy called her a stupid bitch, and I said hey the article is godawful but can't we say so without calling the writer a sexist epithet?

And all hell broke loose, and the thread got derailed, and after a few fast pages Richard said oy please don't derail threads but I totes agree with Ophelia and no I do not want sexist language here and no I do not want to drive atheist women away. That's the gist.

I'll have to hunt for the link...it was a year or two ago.

#299

Posted by: MGolz Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:30 PM

@Fundip

I don't understand your argument. It looks very similar to your first few posts. If you're going to make a well-reasoned, intelligent arguments please support your statements with evidence rather than one-si9ded statements.

how else are men going to get laid if we do not behave like obnoxious, entitled jerks?

Believe it or not, my boyfriend doesn't behave like an obnoxious, entitled jerk and he's had more success in attracting me than the real assholes I've dealt with in the past. You know, the ones that treated me as intellectually and intrinsically substandard.

But this is besides the point; a man making a sexual advance is not unheard of or unacceptable. (As many people have tried to tell you in previous explanations.) The way a man makes that advance is entirely the focus of the situation.

Let me rephrase; if they were drinking together, conversing, and flirting it probably wouldn't be unheard of for him to ask her back to his room if it wasn't interested. In my opinion, that isn't bad. The bad part was is that he unintentionally (or intentionally, it's impossible to ascertain) put her into a situation in which she felt threatened.

I think the point to be taken from this example is that men need to think more about the implications of their actions. Women are often held responsible for callousness that "leads to rape", rather than the man being blamed. Many times, young women are taught to always assume the worst when a man makes an advanced in an isolated place. For all Watson knew, he could have been fully capable of using force to enact his wishes if she declined. They were alone, it was late, and she was alone. That is frightening and men need to realize that.

Though I might just be ignored, since I need to "stfu". However, I find it a little hypocritical for you to say that those who disagree with your steel-clad argument are insensitive considering you specifically say men can make any sexual advance they'd like no matter how uncomfortable a woman may feel.

#300

Posted by: deadly Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:33 PM

@ ophelia.benson

I'll have to hunt for the link...it was a year or two ago.

It seems like those moments are too few and far between; I can remember a couple of appearances by Dawkins in the comments of this blog that have been rather disappointing.

#301

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:33 PM

Besides, from a sexual selection point of view his creepy behavior worked against him by making him a less desirable mate.

Yeah, he could have raped her... but now you're just proving all of our point that his behavior was creepy.

And yet, with so many men who are so much better than this... the species continues.

Perhaps we are not so dependent on creeps and rapists after all!

#302

Posted by: chigau (◦_◦) Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:36 PM

#284 Youngie

Unfortunately it does mean that I will never again be able to approach a woman that I don't already know.
And 3.5 billion women breathe a sigh of relief.

#303

Posted by: MGolz Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:37 PM

Wow, I've realized how riddled with grammatical errors my rant-post consisted of... I apologize in advance for that.

#304

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:39 PM

Unfortunately it does mean that I will never again be able to approach a woman that I don't already know.

Your lack of social skills is noted, but it's really not womens' problem. It's yours.

#305

Posted by: MichelleZB Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:42 PM

Okay, I have to admit I don't get it. I really wish I could agree with the people who are calling themselves feminists here. I consider myself a very strong feminist. I also want us to have this kind of conversation a lot, because I am also a woman who has been turned off by what I see as a lot of misogynist attitudes in the skeptical movement.

And I'm appalled by the Elevator Man's behaviour. I agree that it was an inappropriate proposition and could well have been scary. Being hit on an elevator in the middle of the night? My goodness.

But... how is it SEXIST? Rebecca Watson never mentions what happened after the man asked her to have coffee, but we can only assume that she answered something like, No thanks, and he didn't push her further. So really seemed like he was just... asking her out.

While I see how the proposition itself could be really scary, like being in a dark hallway and hearing a mysterious noise, I can't see how his behaviour showed disrespect for women in general. The mysterious noise, in this case, turned out not to be a monster but just a horny man who backed off when rejected.

I have to see that I understood Stef McGraw's points in her post, and I think it is a bit much to call her anti-feminist or anti-woman. I read her post, and I can't find anything anti-feminist in it.

I also dislike how people are bringing Rebecca's marital status into the argument. Men shouldn't hit on her, some people are saying, because she's MARRIED. Um, excuse me? A woman can turn down a man's advances for ANY reason, not just because she "belongs" to another guy already. I'm married and I have sex with other guys all the time. My pieces on the side aren't SEXIST because they hit on me while I was married (what the hell?). They would be SEXIST if they hit on me and didn't back off when turned down.

#306

Posted by: ophelia.benson Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:44 PM

Found it. Man, that was a lot of pages of "yes we can too so call women cunts!" to wade through.

http://richarddawkins.net/articles/4868-update-07-jan-commentary-by-russell-blackford-prejudiced-danes-provoke-fanaticism/comments?page=11#comment_429192

I don't agree with Richard's comment today, but I want to include the linked one as part of the picture.

#307

Posted by: Amphigorey Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:44 PM

I am also having trouble believing that whoever posted #75 isn't Fake Richard Dawkins. The argument he's making is incredibly stupid, not to mention clumsy, and it reads like a troll trying to get a rise out of atheists. He's saying that following a woman into an elevator late at night, as long as you only use words and no physical force, isn't creepy behavior. That's so obviously wrong that it hardly needs stating - although going by how many people apparently disbelieve it, it apparently DOES need stating. I am appalled.

If it is actually Richard Dawkins, then he needs to reread the bit in God Delusion where he thanks the feminists for raising our consciousness.

#308

Posted by: Scented Nectar Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:46 PM

I don't like commenting here, since most commentors in the past here, only made me facepalm, but I had to return for this one.

I just saw the BlagHag article freaking out about Richard Dawkins' comment in this thread. Are you people fucking kidding me?

We totally forget that millions of women are living in a mutilated state, and in sexual slavery (AKA forced marriage).

He made an excellent point about what a molehill having a guy make a cordial offer to you is, compared to the horrendous conditions those women are living in, and then people freak at him?

How about freaking instead at the theocratic laws and customs that are still going on in this day and age, instead of indulging in finding victimhood anywhere and everywhere.

Prioritize a bit better, will you? Triage time. Let's help the sickest patients first, and if you're not even a patient, please don't get in line for help.

Ok, now that I've got that off my chest, I guess I should probably go read all the comments. I've only read the BlagHag article and this article. There's probably some juicy comments here. :)

#309

Posted by: Marc Abian Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:48 PM

Algernon

But those would have been different situations. That means situations that are different!

The only difference I see is changing genders, which is like the control for the experiment if you will. I agree with kaylakaze that there's nothing necessarily sexist about EG's behaviour.

#310

Posted by: HappiestSadist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:49 PM

MichelleZB: The sexism is partly that he didn't stop to think "Hmm, maybe in this elevator at 4am is the time to proposition her?" because he doesn't have to consider these things. And partly, and relatedly, that after hearing a talk about not objectifying and automatically sexualizing women, he avoids actual, wanted social interaction, and decides that his dick needs attending to right now.

#311

Posted by: Krystalline Apostate Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:50 PM

I'm betting if it had been a man hitting on a man, or a woman hitting on a woman, or even a woman hitting on a man, there'd be nary a murmur. Elevator or no.
She shouldn't have named the guy, a simple dropped "some creep hit on me in the elevator, you know who you are" would've sufficed.
Anyways, all you guys out there, scratch "making a suggestive pass in an elevator" off your list for approaching women.
Never tried it, & now I never will.

And McGraw’s reputation has “ruined” by Watson? Rebecca doesn’t have that kind of power. Nobody does. First, people do not start with “a good reputation” that can then only be reduced. Nobody is entitled to such a thing. A reputation is something you earn. Nobody can harm your reputation unless they lie. If they are telling the truth, then it is you who have harmed it.
Wow, someone lives in a bubble. Just the accusation of being a sexual predator or a pedophile can ruin someone's life forever. & I had someone deliberately go out of their way to fuck me over (work-related, non-sexual), & trust me, it was all chicken-shit. So yeah, people should be careful about what they do, & they should be extra-careful about what they say about others, because the whims of gossip can wreck people.
#312

Posted by: Screechy_Monkey Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:51 PM

MichelleZB, I think sexism comes into it because that kind of inappropriate behavior usually reflects an indifference, if not outright hostility, to women's concerns.

I'm sure that some of the men who make inappropriate advances are just generally clueless and callous to other people's feelings regardless of gender. But you only have to glance through this thread to see a strong current of feeling among many men to the effect that "who cares if it makes her uncomfortable? I've got a RIGHT to proposition women any way I want! As long as *I* know I'm not going to rape them, what's the problem? Screw her feelings, I need to get laid, and I can't risk missing out on any opportunities just out of consideration of women's discomfort."

It's an ignorance or indifference or outright dismissiveness of the real safety concerns that many women have.

Is it the worst kind of sexism in the world? No, it's probably pretty far down the sexism pole, all things considered. But then, Rebecca Watson didn't claim otherwise. And the mere suggestion that men should adjust their behavior to take women's feelings into account has met with an astounding amount of indignation, scorn, and outright nastiness.

#313

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:52 PM

We totally forget that millions of women are living in a mutilated state, and in sexual slavery (AKA forced marriage). He made an excellent point about what a molehill having a guy make a cordial offer to you is, compared to the horrendous conditions those women are living in, and then people freak at him? How about freaking instead at the theocratic laws and customs that are still going on in this day and age, instead of indulging in finding victimhood anywhere and everywhere.


Jesus fucking christ you're a mypoic fuck.

Just because there are other way worse bad things happening in the world does not mean we shouldn't confront other "lesser" bad things when we encounter them.

It's not a zero sum game.

What a stupid fucking comment in line with Dawkins stupid fucking comment.

And use to search function, you'll find plenty of other posts "freaking" at theocracy, FGM, idiots and many other topics.

#314

Posted by: chigau (◦_◦) Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:53 PM

#308 Scented Nectar

... I guess I should probably go read all the comments...
No shit Sherlock.

#315

Posted by: Dhorvath, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:53 PM

Unfortunately it does mean that I will never again be able to approach a woman that I don't already know.
Oh come on. You have got to be joking. How hard is it to talk to women about social situations that you are already sharing? This is not rocket science, there is no hidden rule set, conversation stems from shared activities. If you are trying to share activities by striking up conversations with strangers you are doing things the wrong way.
#316

Posted by: deadly Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:55 PM

@ Scented Nectar

Did you read Jen McCreight's blog entry? I believe she does a good job of pointing out why Dawkin's posts were stupid.

#317

Posted by: Beatrice, anormalement indécente Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:56 PM

@Krystalline Apostate

You got your facts wrong. Watson didn't name the guy in the elevator (see how everyone calls him Elevator Guy). McGraw is the person who commented on Watson's story about Elevator Guy. No one called McGraw a rapist.

#318

Posted by: Walton, Marquis of Carabas Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:56 PM

fundip,

how else are men going to get laid if we do not behave like obnoxious, entitled jerks?

*headdesk*

You know... all through my teens I acted like an obnoxious, entitled jerk. It was only when I stopped doing so, having grown up a little, that my life improved considerably. Just FYI, acting like an obnoxious self-obsessed moron doesn't make you more attractive to anyone, sexually or otherwise. It just makes them think "Oh look, there goes an obnoxious self-obsessed moron."

Guess what? Women, like men, are individual human beings, with individual wants and needs and interests and personalities. They are not sex-machines designed for your personal enjoyment, nor are they trophies to be won in a game of strategy. And most people prefer to be treated as actual human beings, rather than as sex-machines or trophies. Strangely enough, most people tend to be more attracted to people who actually like them, respect them and care about them. This shouldn't be a difficult concept to grasp.

#319

Posted by: Ms. Daisy Cutter, Vile Creature Powered Entirely By Bitter Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:57 PM

To hell with Stef McGraw. Nice to see one of these Special Females™, eternally ready to chastise other women for being "too feminist," get some flak in return. As others have said, she's an adult, she put up a blogpost and a video criticizing Watson; let her take her lumps.

Juju, no woman owes it to you to be "open to all strangers." What a fucking creepy expression, at that. Since when the fuck are men expected to be so? Oh, wait, they're not, because men are considered fully human, while women are considered to exist for men's convenience.

Fundipshit, Shawmutt, and Raskolnikov don't even need to be addressed; they make Watson's case for her. Does McGraw know that she's got such sterling fellows on her side? Would she care?

Regarding Dawkins' comments (if indeed it's the real Dawkins): This is why I avoid RD.net, and, yes, I've lurked there before. (It'd be nice to see PZ reply to those comments....)

Oh, and ERV, thanks so much for invalidating any sort of sexual harassment that was "lesser" than yours and insisting that if we don't all rush out and learn hand-to-hand combat, we're all a bunch of whining victims. Rlaw's comment pretty much explains why you're full of shit.

....aaaaand now we get the flood of socially awkward men who insist that their fee-fees should take precedence over women's self-preservation. The thread has been completed.

#320

Posted by: Sven DiMilo Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:57 PM

How about freaking instead at the theocratic laws and customs that are still going on in this day and age, instead of blah blah blah

I'm quite able to allocate my limited supply of freaking myself, thanks. I'm often multifreaking, and I find that I can even achieve gradations of simultaneous freaking as might be appropriate. Nevertheless, I occasionally divulge my opinion about even microfreakatory subjects. I figure, why not? You know?

#321

Posted by: Screechy_Monkey Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:57 PM

Krystalline Apostate:

I'm betting if it had been a man hitting on a man, or a woman hitting on a woman, or even a woman hitting on a man, there'd be nary a murmur. Elevator or no.

Yes, and given the huge epidemic of women raping men, those are totally the same situation. Totally!

She shouldn't have named the guy, a simple dropped "some creep hit on me in the elevator, you know who you are" would've sufficed.

That's what she did. Read the thread. Watson never identified Elevator Guy. The person she "named" was a woman who posted a rebuttal to her video -- and since that woman posted it under her own name anyway, it's not like she was "outing" anybody. Watson's supposed crime here was using the woman's name and her posting in a speech she gave.

#322

Posted by: deadly Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 2:59 PM

@ Krystalline Apostate

The man in the lift was never named.

#323

Posted by: MGolz Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:00 PM

@ 308

I do not agree with the idea that women should simply accept their situation on the merit that there are women in the world who have it much, much worse.

Given, this fact is true. There are plenty of countries around the world whose legislature blatantly suppresses womens' rights and restricts their livelihood. The fact that Watson chooses, on this occasion, to discuss something that is comparatively much smaller does not mean that she's forgotten worldwide issues or that her situation should not be given attention.

The same goes for discussions of poverty; many Americans live below the poverty line, but it's arguable that their poverty is in no way comparable to the poverty which many people in African nations suffer. Should they be given all the attention until the situation is resolved? Simply put, it's not always possible to resolve a situation that's thousands of miles away.

Addressing arguments as they come is important. Paying attention to issues both large and small is something good to practice; I don't think Watson claimed that her encounter with the elevator guy was in any way comparable to the suffering women in Muslim countries often undergo.

The concern here is that she observed a behavior that she thought was objectionable, called it out, and people either agreed or disagreed with her.

As much as we shouldn't forget unfortunate women who are in forced marriages, women shouldn't just sit idly by when men behave in ways that they perceive as threatening. Many times, this isn't the result of somebody trying to be overtly creepy as much as it is a result of ignorance and a poor ability to empathize with the woman in the situation. Talking about why the behavior feels threatening helps it from happening in the future.

That being said, this should be a simple fix for most men; I'd like to assume most are thoughtful fellows who don't want to threaten women. Unfortunately, there do happen to be jerks out there who understand their behavior is threatening that simply don't care or don't understand.

#324

Posted by: Marc Abian Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:02 PM

We totally forget that millions of women are living in a mutilated state, and in sexual slavery (AKA forced marriage).

He made an excellent point about what a molehill having a guy make a cordial offer to you is, compared to the horrendous conditions those women are living in, and then people freak at him?

Ophelia didn't even make a big deal out of it. She basically said it was creepy and don't do it.

And all the men have to do is think "I can see how that would be creepy and I'll try to be careful that I don't cause someone similar panic with that kind of cluelessness" and everyone's happy. But no, they have whine and act like idiots, when really being asked to take other people's fears into consideration is no big deal, compared to what some people go through elsewhere in the world e.g. forced marriages, mutalation etc.

#325

Posted by: ophelia.benson Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:05 PM

I like the bit in Rebecca's video just after the Elevator Guy bit, where she thanks the misogynists who commented on Arun's video, for showing people who think it's all a big fuss about nothing exactly what creeps misogynists are.

As for not being able to see why Elevator Moment was sexist...Well gee, if a man comes up to a woman on the street and says "You're hot, can I fuck you?" is that sexist? (Spoiler: I say yes.) Elevator Moment was pretty much the same thing (plus in an elevator, at 4 a.m., with no one else around).

#326

Posted by: serendipitydawg Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:06 PM

Does anyone seriously think that the Richard Dawkins posting here is actually Richards Dawkins?

I can't tell any more because both irony and sarcasm meters have pulled their blinds and are floating down on parachutes to avoid destruction.

#327

Posted by: Andyo Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:08 PM

* Impatiently wating confirmation from PZ that it is the Real R.D.™ *

But R. Dawkins, that fundip so much celebrated your answer should tell you something already.

(For someone who mentioned the name linking to rd.net, anyone can do that.)

I'm about 60-40 that he's the real one though, but that's just cause I'm a pessimist.

#328

Posted by: Sven DiMilo Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:09 PM

I've e'd the ECO and asked him to confirm the 'Dawkins' comments. But he's a busy ECO.

#329

Posted by: Akheloios Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:11 PM

If you live in the US, or anywhere else for that matter, and wish to do something to support women in Saudi Arabia, or anywhere where their lives are made horrific from rampant misogyny, then part of that has to be in your own country. Pointing out sexism in your own country, working hard to educate people to see women as equals is incredibly important. If your own country is sexist, why should anyone feel like helping out women in another country?

The first step to helping women in Muslim theocracies is consciousness raising in your own, so that more and more people see the horrors of sexism for what they are and will then support activism elsewhere.

Rebecca Watson's consciousness raising lectures at sceptical and atheist events is helping women in other countries who have, on average, far worse lives due to sexism than herself. She's doing the right thing, and why Richard Dawkins, and a lot of commenters on this post, can't see that is beyond me.

#330

Posted by: Quagmire Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:13 PM

I see a lot of nonsense in this thread. So some guy invited this Rebecca over to his room and struck out - what's the big deal? Has she led such a sheltered life that she's never been hit on before? Surely not, since she's sort of hot. I admire him for trying and hope I would have the nerve to do the same thing. As for why he did this in the elevator in the middle of the night - obviously it's when he got the chance to ask her without a bunch of other people being around. Does she think she's the first person to be hit on in the middle of the night? LOL! I didn't read about her response, because I'm not really interested, but if she identified the poor guy publicly and humiliated him she's the ogre in this story! This puritanical outrage strikes me as being so conservative and what it possibly has to do with "feminism" I cannot imagine. What are us poor single guys supposed to do? How's he supposed to know if she's married? (Don't tell me "look at her hand" - some women don't wear wedding rings.) We meet somebody we like - how are we supposed to know if she's interested without making some sort of an effort? What does any of this have to do with "sexism"?

#331

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:13 PM

Does anyone seriously think that the Richard Dawkins posting here is actually Richards Dawkins?

Well he does post here from time to time and i see no reason to think it is not.

#332

Posted by: Walton, Marquis of Carabas Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:14 PM

But... how is it SEXIST? Rebecca Watson never mentions what happened after the man asked her to have coffee, but we can only assume that she answered something like, No thanks, and he didn't push her further. So really seemed like he was just... asking her out.

I think the sexism comes mainly in the reactions to it; the claims that she was "overreacting" to an innocuous overture, etc. Those reactions betray a stunning level of male privilege, and unawareness of women's experiences. Given that (outside prisons) women are vastly more likely than men to be victims of rape or sexual assault, it was perfectly reasonable for Ms Watson to be wary in that situation, and to feel threatened by his advances. (Especially as our society often treats the victims of rape and sexual assault very badly, and blames them for their own victimization, compounding the amount of suffering - cf. the stupid comments by a male police officer that sparked the "SlutWalk" movement.) All the men who are accusing Ms Watson of "over-reacting" are illustrating an incredible lack of understanding.

#333

Posted by: Antiochus Epiphanes Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:15 PM

Youngie:

Unfortunately it does mean that I will never again be able to approach a woman that I don't already know. It turns out that men have delicate psyches, and the assumption that we are all rapists until proven otherwise, is a little too much pressure.

Grow the fuck up. The point is that it isn't to difficult to prove otherwise. Jesus. How difficult is it to not be a creep? If it is too hard for you to be mindful of the feelings of the women that you'd like to get to know, leave them the fuck alone.

#334

Posted by: Krystalline Apostate Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:16 PM

Yes, and given the huge epidemic of women raping men, those are totally the same situation. Totally!
I'm not making a false equivalence here, you are.
That's what she did. Read the thread.
Read the title.
#335

Posted by: Rey Fox, Bird Caller Guy Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:16 PM

No, he probably didn't, but he did behave in an oblivious way that made the woman he was probably trying to seduce feel threatened. Now he gets a free lesson in courtship techniques and social interaction in general from the Internets, while still enjoying his anonymity, so yay for him.

Ex-bloody-zactly. Being somewhat in the same category as Otis (see comment #204), I don't think that he should be identified and left to the mob (as if Watson would have had the wherewithal and the ability to gain that information on the elevator at 4 AM anyway). Probably he had a mental lapse, possibly he figured he'd never see here again, got desperate.

BUT...he shouldn't be let off the hook either. You live, you learn, this is one way of learning. I get the feeling from some of the commenters here and from the Tara Smith "Retail Guy" saga that social skills are something that people (men in particular) should be completely blameless in and forgiven for having a lack of. Life is about growth. And when confronted, over the internet, with lessons about what is appropriate behavior with regards to meeting women, you can either take it to heart, like Corkscrew appears to be doing, or you can take it as some sort of personal attack and quail over your horrible persecution in the hopes that you'll be patted on the head and soothed, like Youngie.

how could Rebecca know his intention

Women's intuition, of course. Aren't you ladies all like telepathic and stuff?

If you're going to make a well-reasoned, intelligent arguments please support your statements with evidence rather than one-si9ded statements.

You're expecting that of a guy who inserts three line breaks between every one of his sentence fragments? He's a troll, plain and simple.

Also, Hygaboo: You're NOT FUCKING FUNNY. Stop now.

In front of McGraw. Safely behind a podium. Where McGraw had no way to respond.

Watson pointed out there was a Q & A. after her talk. So McGraw did have a way to respond.

#336

Posted by: Krystalline Apostate Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:19 PM

I do stand corrected: the elevator stalker was never identified.
My other points still stand.

#337

Posted by: Dhorvath, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:20 PM

Quagmire,

What are us poor single guys supposed to do?

Start by reading the damn thread where there is a variety of people telling you that behaving like that is not necessary in order for men to meet women. Come back when you have and maybe there is a conversation to be had.
I admire him for trying and hope I would have the nerve to do the same thing.

Just don't. He didn't do something admirable, he leveraged a socially uncomfortable situation to make remarks that he would not have felt safe saying in a more neutral environment. That's not brave, that's underhanded.

#338

Posted by: Sven DiMilo Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:20 PM

I didn't read about her response, because I'm not really interested, but if

full stop, dumb ass

This is going to be an idiotfest apparently.

#339

Posted by: Dhorvath, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:24 PM

Surely not, since she's sort of hot.
And this is bullshit. So because she's pretty she should expect to spend a portion of every day turning men down, often men that she doesn't even know who have only approached her based on the lines of her face? Gah.
#340

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:25 PM

I see a lot of nonsense in this thread. So some guy invited this Rebecca over to his room and struck out - what's the big deal? Has she led such a sheltered life that she's never been hit on before? Surely not, since she's sort of hot. I admire him for trying and hope I would have the nerve to do the same thing. As for why he did this in the elevator in the middle of the night - obviously it's when he got the chance to ask her without a bunch of other people being around. Does she think she's the first person to be hit on in the middle of the night? LOL! I didn't read about her response, because I'm not really interested, but if she identified the poor guy publicly and humiliated him she's the ogre in this story! This puritanical outrage strikes me as being so conservative and what it possibly has to do with "feminism" I cannot imagine. What are us poor single guys supposed to do? How's he supposed to know if she's married? (Don't tell me "look at her hand" - some women don't wear wedding rings.) We meet somebody we like - how are we supposed to know if she's interested without making some sort of an effort? What does any of this have to do with "sexism"?


Situational awareness must be a hard concept for you and many others on this thread... among other things.

#341

Posted by: Rey Fox, Bird Caller Guy Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:26 PM

I see a lot of nonsense in this thread. So some guy invited this Rebecca over to his room and struck out - what's the big deal?

Your second sentence contradicts your first sentence. Or at least the implication in the first sentence that you actually read the thread.

I didn't read about her response, because I'm not really interested, but if

Then again, you're clearly not interested in reading for comprehension, or most likely, in reading in general, so never mind.

#342

Posted by: Vicki, Chief Assistant to the Assistant Chief Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:28 PM

Scented Nectar should follow his own advice, and go work on what he claims is important, rather than arguing with us on this thread.

Alternatively, he can stfu. It is always derailing to insist that something is too minor to be worth discussing, while entering a discussion in order to tell people not to waste their time on it. It's like the people who are claiming that New York shouldn't have "wasted time" passing same-sex marriage while we have an economic crisis, conveniently ignoring that the only reason it took huge amounts of time and effort is that they and their allies "wasted" time trying to keep marriage limited to mixed-sex couples.

#343

Posted by: Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjectives Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:31 PM

Unfortunately it does mean that I will never again be able to approach a woman that I don't already know. It turns out that men have delicate psyches, and the assumption that we are all rapists until proven otherwise, is a little too much pressure.

Don't think of it as that women think you're a rapist. They don't. The thing is they don't know anything about you, they've been taught to be wary (for statistically good reasons) and the point of the article I linked to is that there are certain behaviors that indicate that you value your own feelings over theirs that would raise the threat level. Those behaviors are spelled out in that article fairly well. Avoid those behaviors, look at it from their point of view, and you'll do fine.

In fact, I think people who are socially awkward tend to do better in "meeting people" situations than people who are full of themselves and overly confident, once they've spent some time learning how, because they have a script they know they can follow. It's like a flowchart: you say A, if she says B then do C, if she says D then do E. Someone who is not sure what to do is probably looking very closely for signs that give the go-ahead to proceed or signs to stop; once you know what each set tend to be made of, it's easy to watch for. And watch other people and their interactions. Watch how men approach women and what their responses and body language are, and see what happens.

It's not "women think men are rapists so men can't talk to women", it's "in the reality we live in, women have to be somewhat wary of strange men particularly when they are in physically vulnerable situations, so the best way to get a positive response from a woman I'd like to talk to is to keep that in mind and choose to talk to them during situations where they're the most comfortable with talking to men".

#344

Posted by: NMcC Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:33 PM

ophelia.benson @325

"As for not being able to see why Elevator Moment was sexist...Well gee, if a man comes up to a woman on the street and says "You're hot, can I fuck you?" is that sexist? (Spoiler: I say yes.) Elevator Moment was pretty much the same thing (plus in an elevator, at 4 a.m., with no one else around)."

Pretty much the same thing?

Come back Andrea Dworkin, all is forgiven!

#345

Posted by: Marc Abian Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:33 PM

Those reactions betray a stunning level of male privilege, and unawareness of women's experiences.

Is privilege sexism? I think you can have the former without that latter (though both are evident in the comments here). As a man you might be privileged when looking for a job, but that doesn't have to mean you're sexist.

#346

Posted by: serendipitydawg Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:35 PM

Rev BDC,

Well he does post here from time to time and i see no reason to think it is not.

Well, I don't doubt that he posts but the whole style and content of the posts here show a radical departure from the norm.


I think the Royal Society of Literature will be looking at expulsion and even the dear old University of Hull will be wanting the honorary doctorate back ;-P

#347

Posted by: llewelly Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:36 PM

Richard Dawkins | July 2, 2011 11:35 AM

Muslim women suffer physically from misogyny, their lives are substantially damaged by religiously inspired misogyny. Not just words, real deeds, painful, physical deeds, physical privations, legally sanctioned demeanings.

And in order to do something about that, you need feminist allies.


Rebecca pointed out an all-too-common sexist behavior that drives women away from atheist events, that deprives atheists of the very allies we need most in fighting injustices like the one you describe.


There are many flaws in the notion that it is time to "triage", most of them detailed in other comments above, but one of the most serious is that Rebecca's experience is an example of a widespread problem that weakens our movement from the inside.


Making the behavior Rebecca described less common will not come at the cost of helping Muslim women. On the contrary, it will enable helping Muslim women.


#348

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:36 PM

I think this forum demonstrates well the concept Sam Harris (and others) describes well regarding non-radical religionists providing cover for the radicals (nods to HappiestSadist).

Can one be skeptical of feminism(s)? It's not a scientific approach to anaylzing gender issues, is it? Isn't feminism (in its various denominations) enough like a religion (in method and conclusions) to cause a bit of concern?

Social psychology would seem to be the obvious better choice for the deliberate person actually interested in weigh gender issues.


#349

Posted by: Andyo Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:37 PM

Posted by: Quagmire

I see a lot of nonsense in this thread. So some guy invited this Rebecca over to his room and struck out - what's the big deal? Has she led such a sheltered life that she's never been hit on before? Surely not, since she's sort of hot.

Giggity?


I didn't read about her response, because I'm not really interested, but if
lolwut. Condescending asshole who "sees a lot of nonsense" on a 300+ comment thread without even wanting to learn what happened ftw!

#350

Posted by: bowedoak Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:40 PM

There are two different issues here:
1) The elevator situation
2) Calling out a commenter who disagrees with you with no platform for debate.

Rebecca did not name names. She never called out the guy who many of the commenters are calling a "potential rapist".
She called out Stef McGraw. She called out a woman she disagreed with, from behind a podium and she COMPARED Stef to the people who said they hoped Watson got raped.
There is a huge difference in saying
"I think it's okay for a guy to ask you back to your room for coffee."
and
"Hey bitch, I hope you get raped and murdered because you deserve it you heathen fuck."
Rebecca Watson stood in front of Stef's peers and said Stef was one of the THOSE (I hope you get raped, bitch)people.
Rebecca was upset because three, yes three, people said she should apologize (on Twitter) for ambushing Stef (she knew Stef was there, she knew she was going to call out Stef but she did not bother to tell Stef). Rebecca called Stef out in front of 100 of her peers without allowing any kind of rebuttal or debate, and she compared Stef to someone who wants to see her (Rebecca) raped.
And then, she went home and told 10,000 people (her fans, according to her) because three people thought she should not have called Stef out without allowing a rebuttal.

PZ you are wrong about this. If Rebecca disagreed with Stef, she should have spoken to her or allowed a debate on the subject. It's incredibly unprofessional to hijack thier own key note speech to call out an audience member on a personal issue that had nothing to do with the prepared speech. (Yes, that is what happened).
It's pretty obvious that many, many people (I am talking dozens and dozens over several blogs) disagree with the interpretation of the elevator situation and are commenting on it.
Do you seriously suggest Rebecca stand at a podium and call them all rape sympathizers by full name and organization, while they sit there, without allowing them to give their point of view?
Bullshit.

#351

Posted by: Lotharloo Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:41 PM

I'm with Richard on this. If you are given a privilege to speak to an audience, don't talk about *your* petty problems. I know women being treated by men as a piece of meat is a big problem, but why do you have to insert your own experience and your tiny online discussions with other in your talk? Why not use someone else's more illustrative example?

#352

Posted by: Dhorvath, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:41 PM

Marc Abian,
He was exercising his privilege by not needing to worry about what would make her uncomfortable and just waiting for a moment when he could approach her. He waited until he knew he would feel safe, the elevator, without thinking that she might not feel safe in the same context. He didn't consider that the reason he would feel safe there is precisely because the power imbalance between their sexes would be tipped firmly in his favour, but by doing so he both took advantage of those imbalances and contributed to that situation continuing to favour his sex. Sexism isn't just about wanting to put women down, it's about contributing to ideas which hold them down.

#353

Posted by: Brother Ogvorbis, Apropos of Nada Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:42 PM

Perhaps you travel in different circles than me but nobody I know would claim that rape is ever something the woman had coming to her.

Seriously, in what world do you live? When I was in sixth grade, a girl in my class was pregnant by her 45-year-old uncle but it was her fault that he raped her because she wore short skirts and a bikini in his presence. A 13-year-old at another school was raped after a carnival and, though the perpetrator was known, the DA decided not to press charges because the girl was wearing a leather mini skirt and a chopped t-shirt. I personally know four women who have been raped and all of them have had at least some people, in two cases policemen, declare that they had been asking for it because they had been drinking, where they were, that they put themselves in a dangerous situation, or had in some other way asked for it. This is anecdotal, I know. However, one middle-aged man knows four women personally (plus the two children of which I knew when I was in school) who have been blamed for being raped says a little something, neh?

#354

Posted by: ophelia.benson Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:43 PM

@ 344 - yes, pretty much the same thing. What is your claim? That saying "I find you interesting, want to come to my room?" at 4 a.m. is radically different from saying "Can I fuck you?"? How is it radically different? I didn't say it was pretty much the same thing as rape; I said it was pretty much a blunt sexual proposition. Why is it not?

#355

Posted by: Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjectives Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:44 PM

It's like the people who are claiming that New York shouldn't have "wasted time" passing same-sex marriage while we have an economic crisis, conveniently ignoring that the only reason it took huge amounts of time and effort is that they and their allies "wasted" time trying to keep marriage limited to mixed-sex couples.

This exactly. It would have been a short "hey this happened, don't do that okay?" "Oh, some of us didn't realize. Okay" exchange, no harm no foul no huge amounts of wasted time. It's all of the "how dare you complain about it" and the back-and-forth that follows that wastes time. The only waste is that people get so frothed up defending what was, at the end of the day, kind of a jerk move. And then the people who think it was a jerk move have to waste time getting involved and defending the original point again.

Same with the main post topic. Stef didn't think it was a jerk move, and said so on her public blog. So Rebecca used that post to explain in more detail why she did think it was a jerk move, and symptomatic of the attitudes that keep women away from these conferences. She did not ever say that Stef was a bad person. She elaborated on her opinion and said that she thought Stef was wrong and why. It could have ended there. Stef could have gotten up during the Q&A to talk about it. She could have asked the moderators for a quick bit of rebuttal time during the conference. She could have just written another blog post responding to Rebecca's points. But then a whole lot of people jumped in yelling at Rebecca that how dare she defend herself and respond directly to criticism, and here we are all wasting time talking about whether or not a person responding to content directed towards her is mean.

#356

Posted by: amphiox Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:49 PM

but if she identified the poor guy publicly and humiliated him

She didn't.

As for why he did this in the elevator in the middle of the night - obviously it's when he got the chance to ask her without a bunch of other people being around.

Yes. He thought only about his own convenience, his own opportunity. Not a thought to how she might have perceived the situation. Not a thought to how the time and place and surrounding circumstances might combine to be threatening, from her perspective.

(At the very least wait until the elevator door has opened, and let her step out first, so that it occurs in an open space, wherein she has a clear path of escape/retreat)

I suspect he did it inadvertently. But the reason it was inadvertent is because he was not accustomed to thinking in this manner - and that is due to his unrecognized male privilege.

#357

Posted by: tomh Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:49 PM

Quagmirewrote:

but if she identified the poor guy publicly and humiliated him she's the ogre in this story!

The poor guy? What a load of crap. She didn't identify him, but she should have, if she even knew his name. Anyone making unsolicited comments about anything should be prepared to be identified. If you're ashamed of your words or don't want to be identified, there's an easy solution. Keep your mouth shut. Anyone who believes he can mouth off to anyone and then that it should be kept private by the recipient is pathetic and ridiculous.

#358

Posted by: amphiox Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:52 PM

This exactly. It would have been a short "hey this happened, don't do that okay?" "Oh, some of us didn't realize. Okay" exchange, no harm no foul no huge amounts of wasted time.

The fact that this doesn't happen, practically ever on these sorts of threads is actually yet another example of unrecognized male privilege.

#359

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:54 PM

Amazing to see claims of sexims & 'unrecognized male privelege' here.

The assumption that gender concerns are at play in most every context is the first sign of feminist fail

#360

Posted by: Neal Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:54 PM

Carlie (#355) -- I vote she wins the thread

#361

Posted by: MichelleZB Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:56 PM

@319, Ms. Daisy Cutter. You said:

To hell with Stef McGraw. Nice to see one of these Special Females™, eternally ready to chastise other women for being "too feminist," get some flak in return.

I think that's really condescending and totally unfair. Stef McGraw never accused anyone of being "too feminist" or even said anything like that. She disagreed with Rebecca Watson's characterization of a man's actions as misogynist and stated her reasons. She never poo-poo'ed the principals of feminism or implied that it is possible to be "too" feminist.

I don't think you meant that, Ms. Daisy Cutter.

#362

Posted by: Brother Ogvorbis, Apropos of Nada Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:56 PM

If you are given a privilege to speak to an audience, don't talk about *your* petty problems. I know women being treated by men as a piece of meat is a big problem, but why do you have to insert your own experience and your tiny online discussions with other in your talk?

I am a professional communicator (well, actually a cultural interpreter) and I speak to people for a living. Speaking to a large issue, a complex issue, in the general sense works well for an overview but it will not engage the audience. Using a personal anecdote can create a personal link, an opportunity for a 'give-a-damn' moment, between the speaker and the audience. If appropriate, I will use personal anecdotes, often to illustrate a complex mechanical idea, to build these links. Personalizing a problem or a situation, no matter how complex, can personalize the issue to show that it is not some generic 'they', but a real issue that, even in small ways, affects an individual. So I disagree with you. In public speaking, personal anecdotes are an excellent way to illustrate complex or uncomfortable ideas.

#363

Posted by: Neal Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:56 PM

The assumption that gender concerns are at play in most every context is the first sign of feminist fail

fail

#364

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:57 PM

The assumption that gender concerns are at play in most every context is the first sign of feminist fail


But the assumption that they are being ignored surely isn't. Kind of the point of "unrecognized male privelege[sic]" really.

Ooops.

#365

Posted by: Marc Abian Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:58 PM

why do you have to insert your own experience and your tiny online discussions with other in your talk? Why not use someone else's more illustrative example?

I believe it's quite common to talk about your own experiences when giving a talk, unless it's very formal. The audience are there to see you, after all.

And her own experience is probably better to use. It was recent and it happened to her, which conveys that it's a common problem. People might think it's not so common if the example she used was from long ago or something that happened to someone else.

#366

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:58 PM

@Neal: Why shouldn't someone who claims some concern in a social context be expected to support that gender is more important than some other characteristic?

#367

Posted by: Giliell, connaiseuse des choses bonnes Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:59 PM

So much stupid in one thread
I don't even know where to start.

I disagree on this one. What Watson did was extremely dickish, and contained a large dose of spite. She went for public humiliation over what was, by any reasonable assessment, a pretty minor faux pas in a private situation. The guy who "propositioned" her did so in what sounds like a clumsy but not-particularly-awful way, and didn't push or persist when she wasn't interested.

There's a bunch of similar posts that echo this idea: He only asked her, he didn't touch her, he didn't press, where did she grow up, probably in a nuns' school, what's the problem?

THE problem is that you're all telling her how she is supposed to feel. That you're explaining her that it was no bif deal and that it's her fault if she's upset by this action.
None of you gives the version a try in which you ask him to consider how a lone woman in an elevator in a strange country might feel if he makes any such suggestions.
That's where the problem of the "elevator incident" lies.
The guy might have been a nice but arkward guy who totally respects a woman's choice and opinion and all that jazz. But he's clearly never thought about the fact that while up to 25% of women experience a sexual assault during their life-time, more or less all women experience sexual molestation and are also well aware of the fact that sexual assault is a common occurence and not a sad event that gets posted in the newspaper.
It stinks of male privilege that he and you never give it a moments thought that this might make a woman frightened and angry and sad or worse, trigger her.
It stinks of sexism that you try to tell her how she has to interprete the incident. Be a good girl, don't make a fuss, he was a nice guy, nothing happened.

On the subject of her calling out McGraw:
Funny that those people who complain about the fact that she did do not complain about the fact that McGraw herself chose a pretty public place to make her criticism known (which is totally allright).
And using her quote with all the propper attribution is the only decent thing to do. If McGraw is now upset or angry or anything she can be and point her finger back at Rebecca Watson, reply to her as she did and adress the points made.
I've been in a few discussions where people didn't and they are cowards.
People talking about "some people do, some people claim, for some people it is" while vaguely paraphrasing their opponents argument are cowardly assholes.
If you seem to detect yourself in the argument, if you feel adresssed, if you are hurt or angry or upset and reply, they will lean back, give you a nasty smile and say "wellllll, if the shoe fits, I didn't mention you personally, so I have no clue what why you're upset."

#368

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:03 PM

i guess the posters in this thread are what rush limbaugh describes with the term "feminazis".



let's be honest with ourselves for a moment.


rebecca watson is a dog biscuit.


it's obvious, being that he propositioned her, that this "elevator man" had very poor eyesight and could not possibly have posed a threat to her even they were alone.


rebecca was probably suffering from a hormonal imbalance that caused her sympathic nervous system to trigger without sufficiently appropriate stimulation.



whatever the case, there is one indisputable fact:

she is a nasty dog biscuit.


anyone who disagrees with me is ignorant, insensitive, and needs to stfu.

#369

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:03 PM

@Giliell.. uh, support for this

THE problem is that you're all telling her how she is supposed to feel. That you're explaining her that it was no bif deal and that it's her fault if she's upset by this action.

...would be nice

#370

Posted by: bowedoak Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:05 PM

What would you say about someone who says this:

"While others around the world were spending their weekend commemorating the miraculous resurrection of Jeeeezus by wearing big straw hats, painting chicken eggs, and eating the special pastel-colored M&Ms; I was drinking too much, dancing‚ suggestively with strangers, and celebrating my lack of godliness at the American Atheists’ annual conference, held in San Antonio, Texas. All in all it was a good time. Though I disagreed with quite a bit of what was said by the presenters, the panel discussion, and the “Is There a God” debate, I think American Atheists is a very good organization and quite necessary in that it helps provide support and a voice to the nonreligious. Highlight of the weekend: watching two hot college girls on a panel fight over the use of humor and controversy to spread the atheistic word. I kept hoping the moderator would suggest we all head upstairs to a hotel room and settle this with a tickle fight.

If you thought that last sentence was condescending, you didn’t hear the girls in question going back and forth over who failed to invite whom to a party/meeting/whatever.

If you want to hear more about what I thought of the weekend (and not just the random sexual fantasies I entertained)
you’ll have to wait to read the article I’m going to write about it for Skeptic.
That was written by Rebecca Watson. If a man had wrote that, how many would be calling him a misogynist?
http://skepchick.org/2006/04/a-very-heretical-easter/


#371

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:05 PM

fundip


You might think you're clever trying to get a rise like a 12 year old, but really you're just pathetic.

#372

Posted by: Brother Ogvorbis, Apropos of Nada Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:06 PM

fundip:

Either contribute something useful or leave. Either one would be a refreshing change.

#373

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:06 PM

I hate living in the west now...feminism has created a culture of victimhood & misandrysts.

It's not the equality and balance we were promised.

Go trade your feminism for social psychology and we'll give you another chance.

#374

Posted by: Andyo Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:07 PM

fundip:

i guess the posters in this thread are what rush limbaugh describes...
Aaand there it is.

To "Dawkins"... I think I'd rather be on the side of the feminazis than have this guy on mine.

#375

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:10 PM

@Andyo
I think I'd rather be on the side of the feminazis than have this guy on mine.

Side? is that because you lack the ability to care about sides and think for yourself?

#376

Posted by: Lord Setar Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:10 PM

The assumption that gender concerns are at play in most every context is the first sign of feminist fail
The guy propositioned her at 4 AM, in an elevator. I mean, how much more creepy and wrong can you get while still being inside? Steam tunnels? Prison? And yet, despite this, people are going after Rebecca rather than asking why the fuck it seems remotely acceptable for someone -- anyone -- to proposition someone at the end of the night in a confined space where they have absolutely no escape route (and it's not hard to push the stop button to make that a bit more permanent), especially when said someone is for all intents and purposes a complete stranger...so, what assumption are you talking about?
#377

Posted by: Andyo Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:11 PM

I hate living in the west now...
I don't think there's any reason not to believe you. Where would you be more comfortable (Middle East perhaps?), or is it when (the 50's?).
#378

Posted by: Brother Ogvorbis, Apropos of Nada Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:11 PM

i guess the posters in this thread are what rush limbaugh describes with the term "feminazis".

The rest of us just call them thinking human beings who actually have empathy and give a shit about others.

#379

Posted by: Amphigorey Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:11 PM

Aaaaand the MRAs have arrived. Oh what FUN.

#380

Posted by: Walton, Marquis of Carabas Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:12 PM

fundip is simply trolling now. I suggest we ignore his bullshit.

#381

Posted by: Giliell, connaiseuse des choses bonnes Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:13 PM

@Yahoomess #369

I know women being treated by men as a piece of meat is a big problem, but why do you have to insert your own experience and your tiny online discussions with other in your talk? Why not use someone else's more illustrative example?
So some guy invited this Rebecca over to his room and struck out - what's the big deal? Has she led such a sheltered life that she's never been hit on before?
a man tries to get laid. what is this world coming to? rebecca and pz act as if he pulled a bill clinton and whipped his shlong out. all he did was ask. if that makes you uncomfortable then that's your problem. it wasn't sexist in any way. bad timing but, not sexist.
From what I read, she has blown the elevator thing completely out of proportion. A guy asks her for coffee and suddenly he's the most vile creature she has ever encountered and the entire society (or at least the male half) is to blame for this kind of extremely rude behavior. I call that whining.

Are 5 examples enough or should I bore the rest of the thread some more

Fundip wrote in #368 ....
#382

Posted by: Lord Setar Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:13 PM

bowedoak #370: I'm not seeing what part of that quote could be construed as misogynist. Can you please be somewhat more explicit in showing where the perceived misogyny is?

#383

Posted by: Antiochus Epiphanes Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:13 PM

@ 344 - yes, pretty much the same thing. What is your claim? That saying "I find you interesting, want to come to my room?" at 4 a.m. is radically different from saying "Can I fuck you?"? How is it radically different? I didn't say it was pretty much the same thing as rape; I said it was pretty much a blunt sexual proposition. Why is it not?

Word. Even if it weren't a proposition, only a great fool would expect it to be interpreted any other way.

The other topic: McGraw is guilty of a public, personal attack in which names were named… it is strange that she would take offense when Watson did this later. From McGraw’s blog:

Someone who truly abides by feminist principles would, in my view, have to react in the same manner were the situation reversed; if a woman were to engage a man in the same way, she would probably be creeping him out and making him uncomfortable and unfairly sexualizing him, right? But of course no one ever makes that claim, which is why I see Watson's comment as so hypocritical.

Ostensibly, a blog entry is much more public than a conference seminar (which takes place in front of a limited number of people, at a particular time, and without the Streisand effect). Further, it is hard to see that she offered Watson any opportunity to defend herself before the accusation was set forever in silicon.
I find it odd that her reaction to Watson’s public defense was one of surprise:
Then, switching gears, Watson made a remark to the extent that there are people in our own community who would not stand up for her in these sorts of situations; my name, organization, and a few sentences from my blog post then flashed on the screen before my eyes. She went on to explain how I didn’t understand what objectification meant and was espousing anti-woman sentiment.

Regardless of who is right on the issue, McGraw was naïve to think that her volley wouldn’t be returned. It wasn’t even returned with that much ferocity. She picked a fight in public and got fought with in public.

#384

Posted by: kennykjc24 Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:14 PM

Men can not hit on women now? LOL Feminisim is really hurting its own cause now.

#385

Posted by: Neal Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:14 PM

Hey bowedoak, you forgot to mention the edit that Watson added this week:

EDIT, June 26, 2011: Someone just sent me a link to this and asked me what I think about what I wrote more than five years ago. Well, I think I was wrong to make a joke that sexualized two women. I made a lot of off-color jokes back then, and to be fair I probably still do — but the difference now is that I’ve had five years to grow and change and learn about ideas like feminism and the patriarchy, and I’ve figured out that my actions and words will never be separate from those concepts. So, I apologize to the two unnamed women and to all those who read my words and went away thinking that it’s okay to insult someone in that manner.


@googlemess:

@Neal: Why shouldn't someone who claims some concern in a social context be expected to support that gender is more important than some other characteristic?

(a) This is a poorly posed question. Which other characteristic?

(b) When did the goalposts go from "support that gender concerns are at play in most every context" to (and I impute meaning to your ill-posed question) "support that there exist no other characteristics which are more important than gender"?

(c) Even if gender is not a large concern in many or most contexts, it is definitely a concern in this one.

#386

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:15 PM

I hate living in the west now...feminism has created a culture of victimhood & misandrysts.

yawn

#387

Posted by: Andyo Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:16 PM

@Andyo I think I'd rather be on the side of the feminazis than have this guy on mine.

Side? is that because you lack the ability to care about sides and think for yourself?

Yeah, because I literally believe that it's Richard Dawkins vs The Feminazis.

Oh, wait, maybe sarcasm is yet one more thing you don't get. I don't really believe that.

#388

Posted by: SheepdogB Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:16 PM

I must be amazingly out of touch somewhere.

I mean, how the hell is it possible that someone is so mind-numbingly stupid and unaware of their surroundings not to realize that 4AM in an elevator alone with a stranger and having that stranger suddenly request a liaison is by its very nature a threatening scenario?

How absolutely arrogant, selfish and oblivious to the well-being of another person can you get?

Jebus!

Oh, and to those busy making excuses and blame-shifting and throwing up strawmen everywhere in an attempt to demonize Rebecca Watson-your bullshit is the kind of thing that makes me disgusted with my own gender. She needed to call out that asshole for what to any observant, rational human being with any interest at all in other people would recognize as total self-centered dickishness,

#389

Posted by: Marc Abian Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:17 PM

Dhorvath,

He didn't consider that the reason he would feel safe there is precisely because the power imbalance between their sexes would be tipped firmly in his favour

Sorry, I don't know what this means, and I think the rest of your comment may depend on it.

The poor guy? What a load of crap. She didn't identify him, but she should have, if she even knew his name. Anyone making unsolicited comments about anything should be prepared to be identified. If you're ashamed of your words or don't want to be identified

That would be rather useless and vindictive. The guy might not have thought there was anything to be ashamed of until it was pointed out to him. Watson pointed out the advance was unwelcome and why (AFAIK), what's going to be achieved by embarrassing the guy?

#390

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:17 PM

"The rest of us just call them thinking human beings who actually have empathy and give a shit about others."


exactly, nazis.


jk


but seriously, can we all just agree that rebecca watson is a scud and move forward with the discussion.



anyone who disagrees with me is ignorant, insensitive, and needs to stfu.

#391

Posted by: Josh, "Raquel Dommage," Porte-parole Gay Official Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:18 PM

I really do hope we can get confirmation of whether the commenter above was or was not Richard Dawkins. I'm fervently hoping I'll be obliged to apologize to him profusely for having fallen for a troll. Seriously.

#392

Posted by: NMcC Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:18 PM

Ophelia Benson

"@ 344 - yes, pretty much the same thing. What is your claim? That saying "I find you interesting, want to come to my room?" at 4 a.m. is radically different from saying "Can I fuck you?"? How is it radically different? I didn't say it was pretty much the same thing as rape; I said it was pretty much a blunt sexual proposition. Why is it not?"

Er, yes. Not only is it 'radically different', but it's ENTIRELY different - as in the elevator guy said something like 'I find your views interesting, would you like to come to my room for a coffee' in the one instance, and your imaginary charmer said 'I think you're hot, can I fuck you' in the second scenario.

And the thing that you are blind to is... therein lies the difference.

The elevator guy, as Richard Dawkins has rightly pointed out, made no threats, wasn't abusive, nor did he give any indication of likely aggression. He used mere words. And pretty unintimidating words at that.

And, by the way, don't presume to speak for ALL women. I have known quite a few women who wouldn't be in the least bit offended by a man saying to them that they were sexually attractive and making them aware in a racuous manner that they were interested in fucking them. Providing, in my experience, that the woman in question quite fancied fucking the man, that is. Which is often the case, I believe.

#393

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:19 PM

Lord Setar | July 2, 2011 4:10 PM

The assumption that gender concerns are at play in most every context is the first sign of feminist fail
The guy propositioned her at 4 AM, in an elevator. I mean, how much more creepy and wrong ...so, what assumption are you talking about?

So... what? he prop'd her and nothing happened.

Snap the fuck out of it. There's no sexism and certainly no 'wrong'... and 'creepy' is an interpretation that doesnt hold water for any serious thinker.

#394

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:19 PM

She's a missile? WTF?

#395

Posted by: Lord Setar Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:21 PM

On topic: Citing your source is considered standard practice in debate for purposes of, well, clarity and fairness. The people who don't cite a source for the arguments they say their opposition makes are the prissy "well the atheists I know are all mean Dawkins-worshipping, fetus-roasting Nazis who want to abort all black babies and go door to door forcing religious people to deconvert or go to concentration camps" faitheists who will run off and feign ignorance when they're directly addressed.

Seriously, how can you honestly argue in favor of being unfair just to sound nice? What the hell is nice about adopting a standard of conduct that enables misrepresentation?

#396

Posted by: Scented Nectar Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:22 PM

Rev. BigDumbChimp wrote:

Just because there are other way worse bad things happening in the world does not mean we shouldn't confront other "lesser" bad things when we encounter them.
No, of course not, but was this even a bad thing (much less such a major bad thing)? It would have been if the guy hadn't accepted her decline of his offer. But that didn't happen. There wasn't even a verbal argument/pressuring. The guy probably felt (as most people do) that such an offer was more tasteful if done in private, and he had that opportunity. I'd have done the same thing most likely if inviting a guy to my room (I'm female, for anyone who doesn't know me).

deadly wrote:

Did you read Jen McCreight's blog entry? I believe she does a good job of pointing out why Dawkin's posts were stupid.
I read her post and disagreed so much that I was willing to jump into a comment thread here again. That's how much I disagreed! :D

MGolz wrote:

The fact that Watson chooses, on this occasion, to discuss something that is comparatively much smaller does not mean that she's forgotten worldwide issues or that her situation should not be given attention.
But there was nothing even there, nothing smaller. If he had tried to talk her into it after she declined, I'd totally agree that something happened. But this guy is being painted as a rapist without even anything to indicate that he might be a verbal nuisance much less a physical danger to her.

Vicki, Chief Assistant to the Assistant Chief wrote:

It's like the people who are claiming that New York shouldn't have "wasted time" passing same-sex marriage while we have an economic crisis, conveniently ignoring that the only reason it took huge amounts of time and effort is that they and their allies "wasted" time trying to keep marriage limited to mixed-sex couples.
You seem to assume that having someone be interested in you and invite you to their room is an awful thing, every bit as awful as being denied equal rights due to sexual orientation. That starting assumption of yours is wrong, in my opinion.

#397

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:22 PM

I would like to motion the thinkers in the 'atheist movement' & skeptics as well to the anti-feminist movement that needs to get started.

#398

Posted by: houseofcards Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:23 PM

I don't think i agree. It's a grey area. Where do we draw the line.... If i'mtalking to a woman and I ask her out after a conversation is it misogyny. What about women doing the same to men... We can't call everyman who does this an asshole and sexist. Maybe I just want to ask out a cute girl whoI'm getting along with. A few assholes doing something creepy shouldn't cause all women to fight back agains tht evil scourge of men. EVERYBODY JUST CALM THE FUCK DOWN.

#399

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:23 PM

Men can hit on women, but men can expect to be called creepy by women after they follow them into elevators at four in the morning to make a weird and pathetic pass at them (which is the kind of thing women generally get fucking sick of pretty fast in their lives)...

why? Because it's creepy. Watson was perfectly in her rights to point out that this is annoying and creepy behavior because it is.

Yeah, it is creepy and it is wrong. Following women who show no interest in you into a place where they are trapped with you is a bad time and place to make your move (and frankly women who show no interest in you aren't a great demographic to be targeting).

#400

Posted by: Brother Ogvorbis, Apropos of Nada Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:23 PM

"The rest of us just call them thinking human beings who actually have empathy and give a shit about others."


exactly, nazis.

What the fuck universe do you hail from? Empathy and fascism? Fundip, I don't know how to break this to you, but THE SKY IS NOT PLAID!

#401

Posted by: Dhorvath, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:24 PM

kennykjc24

Men can not hit on women now? LOL Feminisim is really hurting its own cause now.

Did you read the comments? No one here has said that people can't enjoy flirtacious conversations, whether one on one or in larger groups, what we have objected to is leveraging a situation so that there is no comfortable way to decline participation.

#402

Posted by: ted Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:25 PM

Holy shit. So many whiners crying "What about my needs! How am I am supposed to meet women if I can't follow them into an elevator at 4 AM?" No woman owes you her attention.

All Rebecca said was that she was creeped out. In case this thread hasn't convinced you, here's a dating tip - Creeped out women don't want anything to do with the men who creep them out.

For those who are sincerely confused about etiquette - If you meet someone at an atheist/humanist/skeptical event and are attracted to them, treat them like a fellow human being. Listen to them. STFU about your opinions for 5 minutes and see what they have to say. Don't interrupt them with that "genius" idea that got all of three comments on your blog. If they are happily talking about something they find interesting and you share that interest, let them know but don't immediately turn the conversation into your monologue. Try to avoid phrases like "Most atheist women are x but you're different (followed by insult about atheist women.)"

In other words, if you find yourself in the company of a woman who interests you, take an interest. Talk for 50% of the conversation and listen during rest. Yes, actually listen and enjoy the conversation, not wait for her to shut up. Btw, women are there to listen to the invited speakers, not provide a fleeting ego boost for some half-baked sophist.

If a woman starts backing away, let them go. You have creeped them out. If she points out a friend across the room and don't invite you to meet them, let her go. You have creeped her out. If you are only talking to her in hopes of getting laid later, it will show and you will creep her out. If the only time you can talk to her is at 4 AM in an elevator, let her go, you will creep them out. If you have just been given a sign that you have creeped a woman out, don't do that again.

This may seem a bit too simple but I have seen all of these behaviours being repeated over and over. Usually by men who obviously have trouble meeting women in their daily lives. Yet think they have a better chance at an atheist event because they have a captive audience and can show off how aggressively boorish they are.

#403

Posted by: Amphigorey Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:26 PM

Er, yes. Not only is it 'radically different', but it's ENTIRELY different - as in the elevator guy said something like 'I find your views interesting, would you like to come to my room for a coffee' in the one instance, and your imaginary charmer said 'I think you're hot, can I fuck you' in the second scenario.

If she had said, "Why yes, I would be delighted to come to your room and have coffee and discuss skeptical matters," and it turned out that what he really wanted was sex, you would be incredulous that she didn't just KNOW that he was asking for sex in the first place, and you'd ridicule her for going to a room late at night with a strange man and then being surprised that it was a proposition. You can't have it both ways.

The point is that even if he sincerely wanted to chat and have coffee, the way approached her is totally inappropriate. It's creepy behavior whether he want sex or coffee; his intent does not matter. What matters are his actions and the context: 4 am, in an elevator, alone.

#404

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:27 PM

It's a grey area. Where do we draw the line.... If i'mtalking to a woman and I ask her out after a conversation is it misogyny.

No, no one has said this. You are being given the critical information on when it is or isn't a good idea to approach a lone tired woman at night. The thing is, it's coming from a woman!

OMG! Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

#405

Posted by: Lord Setar Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:27 PM

Scented Nectar #396:

You seem to assume that having someone be interested in you and invite you to their room is an awful thing,

AT FOUR A.M.

WHILE WAITING FOR THE -ELEVATOR-.

What part of that do you not understand?

#406

Posted by: irenedelse Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:27 PM

Youngie #284:

Unfortunately it does mean that I will never again be able to approach a woman that I don't already know. It turns out that men have delicate psyches, and the assumption that we are all rapists until proven otherwise, is a little too much pressure.

Actually, I think that article was deliberately heavy-handed to grab the attention of a lot of guys who, normally, haven't a clue and for whom it is necessary to paint a picture in very broad lines and vivid colors. So it may also come across as "all women are frightened of men on principle" (even if it's not exactly what the article says) and frighten away men who are socially awkward or don't have a high self-esteem. No advice sheet on relationships is perfect, because it's a complex area. Just keep in mind that you are already on the right track by looking up for advice and researching the subject!

Carlie #343:

Don't think of it as that women think you're a rapist. They don't. The thing is they don't know anything about you, they've been taught to be wary (for statistically good reasons) and the point of the article I linked to is that there are certain behaviors that indicate that you value your own feelings over theirs that would raise the threat level.

"Certain behaviors" seem to be the crucial part, here. The way I experience things (and I live and have lived by myself for years in a big and not very safe city), it's not so much that an unknown man is a potential threat. Rather, I feel that even though most people (men included) are generally harmless, there are some clues, some tell-tale signs that I'd better avoid being alone with that person, thank you. Those signs include, indeed, being so absorbed by their own feelings and desires that they don't pay attention to what I say or do, being clueless as to when it's ok or not to chat up a woman (hint: at night in a deserted place or an enclosed space is a big no-no, and so is insisting when she already said she wasn't interested) and of course not taking "no" for an answer. Quite simple stuff, really, and I wish more guys would get it.

And even then, it's an area where YMMV. For instance, I don't mind if a random guy on the train interrupts me while I read with a "Hello, I see you read a book, is it good?" as a chat-up line. (Because, basically, I have a positive bias to any person who can talk about books.) But I know that to other women, it could be extremely annoying and off-putting that the guy didn't interpret the fact that they were immersed in a book as a sign that they wanted to be left alone. So that's typically a situation where, in doubt, better be careful.

Also, one thing that made me sigh and raise my eyebrows in the article you link to was the emphasis on the dangers of meeting someone you don't know. Sadly, statistics also show that a lot of women and girls are raped by people they already knew: someone in the family, a neighbor, a school or university mate, a co-worker... I definitely not would take the fact that my mother goes at the same church as some guy as a sign that he was harmless!

#407

Posted by: Lyra Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:28 PM

One of the things that frosts me is that while there are lots of people eager to insist that nothing odd happened in that elevator and so Watson had no right to feel uncomfortable, it's also searingly clear that if Watson had been raped by that guy, there would be just as much frothing that she should have KNOWN he was up to no good. Getting in an elevator with a man she didn't know at 4am in a foreign country? It's like an example out of a "rape prevention tips" conference. How many things can you spot that the presenter is about to declare that women shouldn't do?


It's nauseating. If a guy makes a woman uncomfortable, then she's to blame for unfairly thinking he might be a rapist. If a guy rapes a woman, then she's to blame for not thinking he might be a rapist. Bloody hell, people, pick one or the other. As it stands, women are "at fault" no matter what they do.

#408

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:29 PM

As it stands, women are "at fault" no matter what they do.

This is the name of the game here.

Well that and, don't criticize anything a man does because we men need ALL THE BREAKS POSSIBLE AT ALL COSTS because we need sex in a special way no woman could ever relate to so anything we do to people is ok!!!!

#409

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:30 PM

Wow, now I'm for sure going to elevator proposition some girl @ 4am tomorrow just for shits n gigs

#410

Posted by: Lord Setar Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:30 PM

So... what? he prop'd her
AT FOUR IN THE MORNING.

WHILE WAITING FOR THE ELEVATOR.

What part of that do you not understand? Four in the morning. Elevator. Were you born with a brain, or was that something surgically implanted after your testicles had fully developed?

#411

Posted by: Screechy_Monkey Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:30 PM

Scented Nectar @396: "But this guy is being painted as a rapist"

Bullshit.

#412

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:31 PM

Wow, now I'm for sure going to elevator proposition some girl @ 4am tomorrow just for shits n gigs

You really are a misogynist. So you're going to harass some random stranger who has nothing to do with any of this because you'll take your anger out on any old woman?

You're one fucked up little cupcake.

#413

Posted by: bowedoak Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:31 PM

LordSetar 382 @neal 385:

Neal, she waited 5 years until she was called out to apologize. She made those statements, filed them away and went on to behave differently over a period of years. But, she did make them at one point and she would blast anyone who made them today.
She does not show McGraw the same consideration she expects for herself. Watson is 30, McGraw is 22 and yet at 25, Watson was still making comments that she now finds to be offensive. It's hypocritical.
LordSetar, she viewed the women speakers only as sex objects and completely dismissed any points of discussion they were making and was only interested in the fact that they were "Hot" and she had sex fantasies about them.

There are lots and lots of comments who disagree with Watson on this same situation (The Elevator) yet instead of calling out the guy who she feels committed this terrible offense, she calls out two younger women among dozens and dozens of comments (from men and women) in the skeptic community who disagree with her.

#414

Posted by: Lord Setar Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:32 PM

Googlemess:

Wow, now I'm for sure going to elevator proposition some girl @ 4am tomorrow just for shits n gigs

The world would be much better off if you "shits and giggles" people all got sent to another planet.

#415

Posted by: Giliell, connaiseuse des choses bonnes Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:33 PM

Hmpf, a bit of blockquote fail in #381, sorry

Sorry, I don't know what this means, and I think the rest of your comment may depend on it.
If Dhorvath doesn't object I may explain: On a very large average, men are stronger than women. "How would I feel in that situation" isn't a good way to evaluate the situation if you forget to consider a major feature which is the ability to fight off the agressor easily. In the youtube discussion on the talk itself I asked the question "How did the men on the panel feel when Rebecca told about those emails, those threatening her with rape and those proposing (consetual) sex. How would they feel if the situation was reversed (considering the consetual sex)" and one guy answered honestly that he'd probably feel flattered. Because he would not have to fear "the other option", the rape. Female on Male rape is quite rare and very unlikely to happen in an elevator. So he could feel perfectly safe with her, while she couldn't feel safe with him.
#416

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:34 PM

Well, I think we should make a law outlawing men talking to women AT 4AM IN A FUCKING ELEVATOR

ya know, just to be on the safe side

#417

Posted by: ophelia.benson Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:34 PM

@ 392 - oh no he didn't - he didn't say "I find your views interesting" - he didn't mention her views. You're putting your thumb (and elbow, and knee) on the scales.

The elevator guy, as Richard Dawkins has rightly pointed out, made no threats, wasn't abusive, nor did he give any indication of likely aggression.

Saying "I think you're hot, can I fuck you?" also makes no threats.

#418

Posted by: Zeppelin Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:35 PM

Once, just ONCE I'd love to have an open discussion on any subject involving feminism (or indeed any subject matter whatsoever not being the sole domain of a straight heterosexual male perspective) where the thread isn't immediately shat upon by a bunch of whining entitled shitflaps coming in to broadcast their outrage that we're not talking about THEM.

Is there some kind of Sexist Threadshitting Bingo for this? Maybe with that I'd be able do derive some kind of grim enjoyment from the millionth generic douchebag,

Coming in to enlighten us all that as long as there is violence happening to men, we're not allowed to talk about rape.

Or how minority X is being selfish for not sucking it up because worse things happen to other people sometimes and we're only allowed to care about one thing at once.

Or the dozen guys moaning that we're not focusing solely on the feelings of Elevator Creep who just innocently wanted to put his penis inside a lady. He even refrained from molesting her when she said no, can't you see he's the Real Victim here?

Or the gentle souls who can't stand the thought of a feminist movement, trying to advance the interest of someone who isn't them. Clearly they must be man-hating nazis. Where's my White Entertainment Channel?

Or the people saying that it's a non-issue because they think Rebecca Watson is an ugly woman and therefore not deserving of any attention.

*Ahem* Excuse me while I go punch my wall a bit more.

#419

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:36 PM

We shouldn't have to outlaw it, because men shouldn't be so fucking clueless as to be unable to imagine that it's a) not likely to happen and b) likely to be unpleasant for the other person.

#420

Posted by: Mal Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:39 PM

@bowedoak The fact that you found that means that you're also probably aware that Rebecca Watson said this about it.

"Someone just sent me a link to this and asked me what I think about what I wrote more than five years ago. Well, I think I was wrong to make a joke that sexualized two women. I made a lot of off-color jokes back then, and to be fair I probably still do — but the difference now is that I’ve had five years to grow and change and learn about ideas like feminism and the patriarchy, and I’ve figured out that my actions and words will never be separate from those concepts."

Would have been more fair to quote it don't you think?

#421

Posted by: Lord Setar Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:39 PM

LordSetar, she viewed the women speakers only as sex objects and completely dismissed any points of discussion they were making and was only interested in the fact that they were "Hot" and she had sex fantasies about them.
...

Quote-mining when you posted the quote here. I don't know if this is supposed to be sarcastic, or if you're really that much of a colossal idiot. I'm going to leave for a bit, and when I get back I would like a clear and concise explanation as to where and how any part of the quote you posted does anything even close to that -- and that does not mean selecting one word and extrapolating it to represent the entire quote or relevant portion (this is considered awful in English class for fuck's sake, and that's a discipline devoted to making something out of nothing with words).

Alternatively, I'd like to see you apologizing to everyone here for wasting their brain cells with your idiocy.

#422

Posted by: amphiox Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:39 PM

*Ahem* Excuse me while I go punch my wall a bit more

Given the history of these threads, I'm a little concerned about the condition of your wall. And your fist....

#423

Posted by: Dhorvath, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:40 PM

Marc Abian,
To expand on myself a bit:
He didn't consider that the reason he would feel safe there is precisely because the power imbalance between their sexes would be tipped firmly in his favour
Women are influenced by society to respond to people in a positive fashion, witness Ophelia Benson getting in trouble for not smiling which she recognized and opposed. They are also told that they should defer to men, both due to social prestige and due to physical presence. So a man enters an enclosed space with a woman and propositions her, this space reinforces his physical presence by being enclosed, it reinforces his social prestige because there is only one man and one woman in it, and due to the inability to just walk away it requires her to be very assertive in order to avoid the social programming to be nice. All of this while she is tired - it's four a.m. and she has already informed that person that she is tired and headed to sleep - a time when most people are more vulnerable due to fatigue.
He put himself in a situation where it would be harder for her to decline gracefully, where fear was more likely to shape her response, and the reasons for that are tied to gender related social expectations. So that is why I see it as tipping the imbalance in his favour. I do suspect that he didn't frame the idea in this manner, just thinking that it was a chance to catch her ear with no one else around, but that doesn' undo the extra pressures that he brought to bear by doing so in the manner he did.

#424

Posted by: Andyo Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:40 PM

Hey, idiots. The misogyny being discussed didn't come from the dumbass who did a creepy thing and asked a strange woman to his room, in an elevator, at 4AM. It comes from those (you dudes) who think it was perfectly fine for him to do that.

So, you guys who are diminishing the situation, YOU are the situation.

#425

Posted by: Akheloios Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:41 PM

It's not misandrist to point out that approaching someone at 4am, whilst in an elevator, and who has declared they are going to bed, is not a great idea.

The man involved wasn't named, but he, and anyone else who might have thought it was ok, have been given a gentle hint that they shouldn't do this in future.

No-one has accused him of being a rapist, only that his behaviour was, at that point, ambiguous enough to make a someone unconfortable. This 'feminists think all men are rapists' rubbish is just another way of avoiding responsibility for behaviour that both makes women uncomfortable and is easily avoided if people would just think about how they appear to others.

#426

Posted by: Daz Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:41 PM

But this guy is being painted as a rapist without even anything to indicate that he might be a verbal nuisance much less a physical danger to her.

Bollocks. I've read the whole thread, and no one has accused the man of being a rapist.

#427

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:42 PM

Well, hitting on a woman equates to harassment, so all men are bad.

Clearly, more than a few otherwise rational people here need to consider their own preference for women and distain for males-- as well as Roy F. Baumeister's elegant piece, Is there anything good about men:

http://www.psy.fsu.edu/~baumeistertice/goodaboutmen.htm

He's an actual social psychologist ya know... so, if you need a break from the feminist cult, have a read.

#428

Posted by: Lord Setar Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:42 PM

googlemess #416:
Comment by https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog blocked. [unkill]​[show comment]

Now I'm really leaving. For a bit, at least.

#429

Posted by: amphiox Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:43 PM

She does not show McGraw the same consideration she expects for herself. Watson is 30, McGraw is 22 and yet at 25, Watson was still making comments that she now finds to be offensive. It's hypocritical.

If this is hypocritical, then no one older who ever did anything wrong/unwise when younger could call out anyone younger for doing the same kinds of things.

And civilization as we know it would be doomed....

#430

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:43 PM

So, you guys who are diminishing the situation, YOU are the situation.

This. The dude who made the lame and creepy pass is just a guy who made a lame and creepy pass.

#431

Posted by: rlaw Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:45 PM

I think I've got it figured out.

What everyone who is disagreeable about Rebecca Watson is saying is that she's wrong to have the feelings she has about the matter. No one seems to be saying that most women wouldn't feel similarly in that sort of a situation. No, that would be too germane to the topic. You're all just arguing that being a woman and feeling threatened is wrong.

If you believe these thing, yet want more women in the skeptic movement, look into a mirror: you are part of the problem.

#432

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:46 PM

Well, hitting on a woman equates to harassment, so all men are bad.

Goalpost shifting. The issue here is not "any man showing interest in any woman" and you know it.

Dishonest, but then again... no one should be surprised that you are.

#433

Posted by: Raskolnikov35 Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:47 PM

Nope, Fundip has it right: Rebecca Watson is a nasty dogbiscuit. In fact, part of the problem with the atheist movement is that all the women are ugly. Well, most of them anyway. We need to work harder to get more attractive women on board; it helps with the image.
I'm a good-looking guy, but I can't do it all on my own. It would be nice if some of these atheist conventions had some atheist exotic dancers or a wet t-shirt contest. These are good ideas.

#434

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:48 PM

Almost rlaw:

being a woman and feeling threatened is wrong.

FIFY.

#435

Posted by: deadly Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:48 PM

Is there some kind of Sexist Threadshitting Bingo for this? Maybe with that I'd be able do derive some kind of grim enjoyment from the millionth generic douchebag,

Here you go, Zeppelin: http://pharyngula.wikia.com/wiki/Cupcake_Bingo

#436

Posted by: Giliell, connaiseuse des choses bonnes Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:48 PM

Could somebody please explain to me carefully how to use a killfile (remember I'm a Mäuseschubser)?
There are some people her who really merit it.

#437

Posted by: Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjectives Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:49 PM

Someone who truly abides by feminist principles would, in my view, have to react in the same manner were the situation reversed; if a woman were to engage a man in the same way, she would probably be creeping him out and making him uncomfortable and unfairly sexualizing him, right? But of course no one ever makes that claim, which is why I see Watson's comment as so hypocritical.

And this, by Stef, is wrong. It's not the identical situation if reversed. Men aren't raped by women in nearly the numbers that women are raped by men. There's a much higher probability that a man hitting on a woman will be a rapist than a woman hitting on a man will. And thanks to the fact that our society lets men feel entitled to what they want, and that women are only objects to be used by men, there's a much higher probability that a man being rejected by a woman will take it as more of an affront than a woman being rejected by a man would. Everyone being equal and being treated equally can only happen when, well, everyone is treated equally. In the absence of that (which is what we have now), you simply can't do the reverse gender thought experiment on something like this.

She does not show McGraw the same consideration she expects for herself. Watson is 30, McGraw is 22 and yet at 25, Watson was still making comments that she now finds to be offensive. It's hypocritical.

It's called "learning". And part of how she learned that she was saying stupid offensive comments was that a lot of people told her those comments were stupid and offensive. How do you learn that your ideas are bullshit if no one points out to you that your ideas are, in fact, bullshit?

#438

Posted by: Brother Ogvorbis, Apropos of Nada Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:49 PM

Well, hitting on a woman equates to harassment, so all men are bad.

For the last (well, most likely not the last as I suspect that MRAs are just going to keep tossing this at the wall until the shit sticks) time, no one, other than idiots who make comments like this, is even coming close to suggesting that. All that is being asked is that men show a little empathy and ask themselves, "Hmm, it is 4:00am and she and I are alone in an elevator, might she feel uncomfortable if I try to chat her up right now?" before chatting her up! Or, "Hmmm, I'm in a bar right now, there are lots of people around, there is plenty of opportunity for her to walk away, might she feel uncomfortable if I chat her up?" Do any of you MRAssholes grok this? Even in a small degree?

#439

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:50 PM

Well, hitting on a woman equates to harassment, so all men are bad.

Clearly, more than a few otherwise rational people here need to consider their own preference for women and distain for males-- as well as Roy F. Baumeister's elegant piece, Is there anything good about men:

http://www.psy.fsu.edu/~baumeistertice/goodaboutmen.htm

He's an actual social psychologist ya know... so, if you need a break from the feminist cult, have a read.

Well he's a HE so clearly we wouldn't trust him right? ;)

---------------------------------------

OT: just wanted to say that despite apparent personal disputes between Sven, I did/do enjoy his earnest comments and just wanted to show some appreciation there.

The elevator guy, as Richard Dawkins has rightly pointed out, made no threats, wasn't abusive, nor did he give any indication of likely aggression.

A man at an airport asks if you'll "Hold his bag for a minute". Now there's no threats or indication of aggression but would you report to security?

#440

Posted by: MrFire Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:52 PM

Feminist Farm, by Orsen Wells' wife ;)

I mean hell, if we are going with hyperbole we might as well go whole hog!

Apparently the whole hog includes getting the name of the author embarrassingly wrong.

#441

Posted by: Brother Ogvorbis, Apropos of Nada Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:54 PM

Adama Manoeuvre:

I completely missed that. Heh. Orson Wells. Heh.

#442

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:55 PM

Btw you people who apparently don't know "come in for coffee nudge nudge wink wink" is a proposition; you do know that when we tell you to go fuck yourselves we are not literally requesting you perform an impossible task right?

#443

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:58 PM

Also why would Orson Wells/Orwell's wife write the feminists as the villains? If you're gonna mock do it right.

#444

Posted by: Zeppelin Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:58 PM

@ 435

Cheers! Now I just need someone to unironically call someone else a cunt and I'll have a bingo! :D

Speaking of bigoted insults, am I the only one bothered by the use of "to suck" and "to blow" in the sense of "bad, stupid" in English?
It's pretty clearly in reference to the "female"/"gay" act of performing fellatio being seen as dirty and humiliating (that being also why "suck my dick/get fucked" is an insult, while "I'm going to suck your dick/I'm going to stick your cock up my ass" isn't)?

#445

Posted by: amphiox Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:59 PM

So, you guys who are diminishing the situation, YOU are the situation.

Q.
F.
T.

#446

Posted by: Sven DiMilo Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:59 PM

Always name names!
But make sure they're the right names!

Note well that Elevator Man asked Ms. Watson to his room.
Coffee was no doubt mentioned because he'd left his etchings at home.

#447

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:59 PM

Nope. Still okay to ask a woman to have sex-- EVEN IN AN ELEVATOR AT 4AM

mostly, i beleive that because i'm not a religious nut (and yes, your feminist leanings are religios-ish)

#448

Posted by: Ms. Daisy Cutter, Vile Creature Powered Entirely By Bitter Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 4:59 PM

MichelleZB: How quaint - you're accusing me of being condescending, then you're proceeding to tell me what I actually mean and don't mean.

Yes, I see McGraw as the sort who's Very Very Concerned that women don't "overreact" to sexism and that we're "demonizing" the poor menz by asking them to actually consider the context in which we have to analyze a come-on in a deserted elevator at 4 a.m. in a strange country. I have no patience for such types, especially when they're women.

#449

Posted by: Marc Abian Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:00 PM

Gilliel #415

I accept all that. But it doesn't explain Dhorvath's comments

He waited until he knew he would feel safe, the elevator

Why would he not have felt safe before the elevator?

...He didn't consider that the reason he would feel safe there is precisely because the power imbalance between their sexes would be tipped firmly in his favour

This suggests the reason he would have felt safe is that she would have felt unsafe. But how could this even be his reason if he didn't consider it?

Scented Nectar,

but was this even a bad thing?

Yes, Watson was scared. That's bad. It's not tragic, no one was forced to marry or had their genitals mutilated, but it's still a bad thing.

I'd have done the same thing most likely if inviting a guy to my room (I'm female, for anyone who doesn't know me).

But the man is stronger than you so you're not threatening. EG was stronger than Watson, and was alone with her, so he appeared threatening.

But this guy is being painted as a rapist

No one's saying he's a rapist*. But Watson doesn't know if he is one, and his behaviour scared her. Most likely, he's just a bit clueless. Hopefully he knows better now, and anyone reading pharyngula who might have made a similar mistake knows better now.

You seem to assume that having someone be interested in you and invite you to their room is an awful thing, every bit as awful as being denied equal rights due to sexual orientation.

1. This comment was only meant to address the idea that pay fixing smaller problems is bad, because it ignores bigger problems. It wasn't even specifically about the behaviour in the elevator
2. Again, being invited to a room if fine. It's the context of the invitation (where it happpens, who makes it and how) which is creepy.

*Tis himself came close enough with his "wannabe rapist" remark.

#450

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:00 PM

blockquote>

Gee I don't know. Perhaps you could read the rest of the fucking thread to find out. I'm pretty sure there have been a few people expressing the reasons why hitting on a woman alone in an elevator at 4 AM might not be such a great idea.

#451

Posted by: Scented Nectar Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:00 PM

Screechy_Monkey wrote:

Bullshit.
Ok, well at the least, he's being called a sexual harasser and 'creep'. I don't think he did anything wrong. There is the assumption that his offer is something to be rightfully feared. Why? What is it that's being feared? Even if he's not being outright called a rapist, but instead just a sexist, creepy, sexual harasser, the inference of rapist is definitely there.

Daz: See above paragraph since it answers you too.

#452

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:01 PM

sigh, blockquote fail in #450

No, of course not, but was this even a bad thing (much less such a major bad thing)?

Gee I don't know. Perhaps you could read the rest of the fucking thread to find out. I'm pretty sure there have been a few people expressing the reasons why hitting on a woman alone in an elevator at 4 AM might not be such a great idea.

#453

Posted by: Daz Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:02 PM

Zeppelin

I've never thought of 'to suck' in that context as being sexual. More like 'sucks all the fun out of (whatever)'.

#454

Posted by: Dhorvath, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:02 PM

Zeppelin,
The entire language of insulting through co-opting sexual imagery gives me fits.

#455

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:03 PM

Nope. Still okay to ask a woman to have sex-- EVEN IN AN ELEVATOR AT 4AM

Not really your place to decide is it?

#456

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:05 PM

@Rust As a matter of fact it is my place to decide it.

true story: my female roommate said its okay if the guy's cute, but not so much if the guys old and/or ugly

#457

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:06 PM

Nope. Still okay to ask a woman to have sex-- EVEN IN AN ELEVATOR AT 4AM mostly, i beleive that because i'm not a religious nut (and yes, your feminist leanings are religios-ish)


Yeah your little ploy of equating this to religion is as shallow as your ability to understand the situation that this thread is addressing.

But if you'd like to continue to be considered a fumbling creepy asshole, please feel free to troll those lonely elevator shafts at the dark early reaches of the morning.

I'm sure the local population of women will appreciate it.

#458

Posted by: NMcC Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:06 PM

Opheila Benson

"@ 392 - oh no he didn't - he didn't say "I find your views interesting" - he didn't mention her views. You're putting your thumb (and elbow, and knee) on the scales.

The elevator guy, as Richard Dawkins has rightly pointed out, made no threats, wasn't abusive, nor did he give any indication of likely aggression.
Saying "I think you're hot, can I fuck you?" also makes no threats."

I'm almost certain I read someone at the beginning of the thread say that the guy said 'I find your views interesting'. Sorry if that wasn't the case.

Anyway, if you want to play word games, perhaps the guy didn't use the word coffee as a euphemism for fuck at all. Perhaps he just wanted help with his song Famous Blue Raincoat.

#459

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:06 PM

i feel that women being forced to wear burkkahs to cover their entire body in islamic cultures is wrong.

there, i said it. i know i am going out on a limb with this one.

but, maybe it is not always such a bad thing.

maybe rebecca, being the nasty, nasty scud of a dog biscuit that she is, is just not accustomed to having men approach her in different situations.

if she were living in, let's say, saudi arabia and dressed in her ninja costume, men would be unable to differentiate between her pug fugly snout and a smoking hottie.

under these circumstances she would become accustomed to being approached by men and would not cry about catching cooties from them.

anyone who disagrees with me is ignorant, insensitive, and needs to stfu.

#460

Posted by: Andyo Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:09 PM

fundip reminds me of someone who has been already banned, but I can't put my finger on it. Anyway prepare to adjust your quote numbers.

#461

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:09 PM

Rev. BigDumbChimp
I'm sure the local population of women will appreciate it.

Oh, I'm worldwide

#462

Posted by: Dianne Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:09 PM

The elevator guy, as Richard Dawkins has rightly pointed out, made no threats, wasn't abusive, nor did he give any indication of likely aggression.

Getting someone in a closed space that they can't leave and then propositioning them, even implicitly, is a threatening act, regardless of intent. Elevator Guy might have meant it as a friendly gesture and might really have wanted no more than coffee and chat with Watson, but by asking her to go to his room with him at a time when she had no way to escape if she felt uncomfortable is aggressive and threatening behavior.

Maybe he was shy and hadn't gotten up the guts to ask her earlier. Maybe he didn't realize how asking her to come to his room while they were alone in an elevator might feel to her. If so, he botched it and should learn from the experience. There's no shame in not knowing something. If you're willing to learn instead of defending your ignorance.

#463

Posted by: Dhorvath, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:10 PM

Marc Abian,
He would feel safe because no one would hear him, no one would know what he said save for her, no one would interupt, no noises would cover his voice etc. It's a quiet corner where the things that most people find off putting about strange social situations are minimized. Those same features served to reinforce his advantages due to being male.

#464

Posted by: Marc Abian Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:11 PM

Marc Abian, To expand on myself a bit:

I wrote 449 before I saw that. Ok, that makes sense. And I assume "sexism isn't just about wanting to put women down, it's about contributing to ideas which hold them down" refers to him having sexist ideas about his social prestige?

#465

Posted by: mas528 Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:11 PM

Wow. Bizarro world.

I know I am not the smartest (not even close) of this blog.

This is incredible.

She had no exchange with this guy earlier when he could have spoken up.

But he waits until she announces she wants to go to sleep. Then "arranges" (no one has mentioned that either)to be in the elevator with her.

Then he asks her to his room? A woman that has just announced she wanted to get to sleep, and whose marriage had been announced on the internet?

Then she has the temerity to publicly complain about his poor behavior?

How shocking.

And Someone mentioned it, but you apologists just make it safe for far worse behavior.

#466

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:11 PM

Oh, I'm worldwide


I highly doubt it.

#467

Posted by: deadly Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:12 PM

@ Zeppelin

You've been paying attention! I've only got four.

~~~

Trying to get back on topic.

One thing I'm still not sure of is whether Watson was justified in naming McGraw while at the podium. Wouldn't it have been better to keep to the same media (video or blog post) to that used in the original criticisms?

I've seen people support what she did and the way she did it, but I'd like to know if using the same media would have been better.

#468

Posted by: Daz Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:13 PM

Scented Nectar

There's kind of a difference between accusing somone of sexual harassment and/or creepiness and accusing them of being a would-be rapist.

Socially inept. Yep.
Inconsiderate of the effect a proposition in such circustances would have. Yep.
Rapist. Nope.
Possible rapist in the eyes of the woman he's propositioning, having followed her into a lift at 4am to make the proposition, even though he's had plenty of time to make it in less possibly-threatening ways. Yep.

#469

Posted by: Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjectives Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:13 PM

Note well that Elevator Man asked Ms. Watson to his room. Coffee was no doubt mentioned because he'd left his etchings at home.

Oh, is it that little packet coffee that everyone has sitting on the bathroom sink next to the washcloth? The one that says gourmet right on the foil and gets made in that little rusty coffeepot that is also in the bathroom? Why, how could anyone possibly resist such an offer?

Yeah. Any of the "she was reading too much into it" defenders want to explain why he didn't offer to take her out for a bagel and an espresso at the local coffeeshop instead?

#470

Posted by: Matt "Nora" Penfold Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:14 PM

Some of the comments here are un-fucking-believable. Ona has to wonder just how some these morons commenting were brought up. Clearly in an environment devoid of consideration for others.

I still have a hefty plaster cast on my right arm,and I am quite willing to use it to knock some manners into some people here. And yes fundip, that does include you.

#471

Posted by: Justicar Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:14 PM

I made a video about it since it was more than I was wanting to type out. It's on my YT channel if anyone's interested (user/integralmath)

That said, it's a cruel, cruel world when a woman is met by a man who expresses interest in her and pulls the complete dick move of accepting no as answer. I am profoundly shocked he didn't rape her right there, if the comments here are anything to go on.

#472

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:15 PM

@Rev. BigDumbChimp

Doubt, is good.

Baby steps

#473

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:18 PM

@Rev. BigDumbChimp Doubt, is good. Baby steps

Yeah, you should exercise some of that on your self perceived cleverness.

#474

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:18 PM

@Dhorvath, OM | July 2, 2011 5:10 PM

He would feel safe because no one would hear him, no one would know what he said save for her, no one would interupt, no noises would cover his voice etc. It's a quiet corner where the things that most people find off putting about strange social situations are minimized. Those same features served to reinforce his advantages due to being male.


THIS is classic bullshit thinking based on bullshit assumptions.

There are skeptics here right?

#475

Posted by: Giliell, connaiseuse des choses bonnes Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:18 PM

Why would he not have felt safe before the elevator?
Probably (pure speculation here) because he was too awkward to talk to here in anything that could be considered "public". He felt safe because nobody would laught at him/think him stupid/ whatever....

...He didn't consider that the reason he would feel safe there is precisely because the power imbalance between their sexes would be tipped firmly in his favour


This suggests the reason he would have felt safe is that she would have felt unsafe. But how could this even be his reason if he didn't consider it?

Feeling safe (or comfortable) and knowing why you feel safe are two different things. His reason might simply have been that he felt safe in that small enclosed room alone with her. He failed exactly when he didn't consider that this very situation might make her feel very unsafe and uncomfortable.
And he was an idiot to do so after he heard her say that her only interest right then was a good early morning's sleep.
What would have been acceptable (me thinks) would have been something like "I really enjoyed your talk today, have a good night, I hope I see you again tomorrow" at the moment either of them was leaving this small enclosed space.

#476

Posted by: Matt "Nora" Penfold Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:19 PM

Whatever happened to the concept of manners ?

Manners includes not making others feel uncomfortable about you say to them, unless it really is your intention to make them feel uncomfortable. There are times when people should be made to feel uncomfortable. A man alone with women in a lift at 4am ain't such a time.

#477

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:20 PM

@Rev. BigDumbChimp

I'm sorry you fail to see the similarities between feminists and other religionist. Get over yourself, ponder it a bit, then get back to me, k?

#478

Posted by: plien Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:22 PM

I've not read all the comments till #455 (will do & hope RD & MRA's do too) but i wanted to say;


Guys, check your privilige.
Try to imagine yourself in a world where allmost everybody is at least 20 to 30 cm larger than you (i'm 158cm) and even if they are not all that much taller than you, they are far more 'musclier' than you are. You have been raped before aswell as pinched, catcalled, talked down too, talked dirty too & propositioned...


Is it really THAT weird if i *am* a bit skittish? Really?


I work partime at a bar and i do not put up with racist & sexist talk & behaviour, i even am a bit 'famous' for a scating tongue, but it *is* quite difficult because such talk sometimes also comes from those in charge....
It is even more difficult to get men, who were the subject of sexist women, to complain & get some action taken against those asshole women.


On the dating problem; i came on VERY strong to my SO... No questions were needed on his side if i liked him, i just let him KNOW.

#479

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:22 PM

@Matt Penfold

"I still have a hefty plaster cast on my right arm,and I am quite willing to use it to knock some manners into some people here. And yes fundip, that does include you."

nice, threats of violence over the internet from the tolerance police.


you must be some kind of real life badass.


anyone who disagrees with me is ignorant, insensitive, and needs to stfu.

#480

Posted by: Dhorvath, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:22 PM

Marc Abian,

"sexism isn't just about wanting to put women down, it's about contributing to ideas which hold them down"
refers to him having sexist ideas about his social prestige?

I was actually referring to the way that his having done this will in all likelihood contribute to Rebecca Watson feeling more uncomfortable the next time a man is alone with her in an elevator. His, likely bumbling, actions will make it harder for her to relate human to human in the future, and as such it serves to reinforce the sexism associated with what happened. It does this regardless of the esteem that he holds for women in general or Rebecca specifically and is independent of whether he would seek to decrease sexism intentionally.

#481

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:22 PM

@Matt Penfold

Heard ya the first time. You weren't there and cant speak for all women, so....

#482

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:22 PM

I'm sorry you fail to see the similarities between feminists and other religionist. Get over yourself, ponder it a bit, then get back to me, k?

Ok.....

Um, nope.


I'm sorry you fail to see how moronic your comments have been here. Ponder that and then cram it ass-wise.


No need to get back to me. k?

#483

Posted by: Screechy_Monkey Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:23 PM

Scented Nectar @451:

Ok, well at the least, he's being called a sexual harasser and 'creep'. I don't think he did anything wrong. There is the assumption that his offer is something to be rightfully feared. Why? What is it that's being feared? Even if he's not being outright called a rapist, but instead just a sexist, creepy, sexual harasser, the inference of rapist is definitely there.

You can't possibly be this stupid.

We know, and Watson knew after the fact, that this guy did not assault her. We can assume, with the benefit of this hindsight, that he did not even have the intent of assaulting her. That's why we're not calling him a rapist.

However, at the time of the incident, Watson didn't know that, and given the situation (4 am, alone in a hotel elevator, guy waited until he could get her alone in this enclosed space to make his move), from her perspective there was an elevated risk that he was dangerous to her.

He put her in fear for her personal safety, and for no reason other than that he wanted to spare himself the social embarrassment of being rejected at some other place and situation. That's creepy.

Chances are, like a lot of guys, this just didn't occur to him, which makes him more clueless than anything worse. As has been stated by others, if Elevator Guy were to say, "oops, hadn't thought of that, I'll be more aware and considerate in the future," I think that would be the end of that part of the story at least. We all come off as creepy at times; the good folks try to avoid it and do better in the future.

But it's the folks like you who keep saying, "nope, don't see a problem here," or worse, think that the problem when a woman is put in fear for her safety is not that someone made her feel unsafe, but that her fear is insulting to the man, that is pathetic.


#484

Posted by: Scented Nectar Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:24 PM

Marc Abian: Her fear in such a situation is not his responsibility. Not when he hasn't done anything to warrant it. And as for people not actually calling him a rapist, ok, but a lot of people keep bringing up that this guy should be more aware of how women are scared of rape and therefore not said what he said, where and when he said it. The thing is, he did nothing rapey or even offensive, but rape is being implied all over this thread. The word 'creepy' also has a predatory sound to it.

#485

Posted by: mas528 Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:26 PM

You know what else rakles?

Rebecca Watson is known as a feminist, and she is known to be married..

If you are asking *her* to your room at 4am when she had announced she only wanted to get some sleep, you are an asshole. Period.


I put the emphasis on her wanting to get some sleep because the interloper did not care about her wants. Whether he wanted to talk or fuck, I have no idea.

I do know he didn't care about her at all.

#486

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:26 PM

@plien

Consider you may have a very skewed view of gender relations- here:

Roy F. Baumeister's elegant piece, Is there anything good about men:

http://www.psy.fsu.edu/~baumeistertice/goodaboutmen.htm

#487

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:29 PM

@mas

He asked, she said no. Here's a question:

Why do you hate men?

#488

Posted by: greg.bourke0 Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:29 PM

Dianne @462

Getting someone in a closed space that they can't leave and then propositioning them, even implicitly, is a threatening act, regardless of intent.

which isn't what happened at all.The man was obviously socially inept but to automatically translate that as threatening behaviour is totally sexist. Was he clueless? yes. Was there a high probability that he was a sexual predator hunting for women in a relatively high-class Dublin hotel with CCTV on all floors? not so likely.

As an aside I would dearly love to hear what Rebecca Watson's response to this man was and what was his reaction.

#489

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:30 PM

Why do you hate men?

Did you eat paint chips as a child?


#490

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:30 PM

@mas

(BTW I dont care about about you at all)

#491

Posted by: Giliell, connaiseuse des choses bonnes Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:31 PM

true story: my female roommate said its okay if the guy's cute, but not so much if the guys old and/or ugly
There's another one on the bingo


Her fear in such a situation is not his responsibility. Not when he hasn't done anything to warrant it.

Can somebody really be that stupid? How many times do you need people explain to you why he has done something that warrants her fear?
he-made-sure-he-was-alone-with-her-in-a-very-enclosed-space-where-she-could-not-get-away-easily-when-as-he-perfectly-well-knew-she-was-exhausted-when-he-tried-to-chat-her-up.

Just name your number and then we can just copy-paste the above.

Or somebody can. I'm going to bed.

#492

Posted by: Dhorvath, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:32 PM

googlemess,
What assumptions? He talked to her in the elevator, he hung around her all evening prior to that and didn't talk to her, ergo something about the rest of the evening prevented him from doing so. The most common social impediment to speech is being shy and tends to play out such that shy people don't speak much in large groups but are more open one on one. I am trying to see elevator guy in a good light, nothing nefarious necessary.

#493

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:32 PM

@Rev. BigDumbChimp

Did you read the link by Baumeister yet? get back to me on it ...or when you're ready to be serious about discussing gender issues

#494

Posted by: Daz Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:32 PM

Scented Nectar

I feel glad for you that you've so obviously never been in a situation where you you worried, however slightly, about someone's intent toward you, and could see no easy means of escape. Must be wonderful. 'Creepy' and 'scary' are very apt words for the situation.

#495

Posted by: Matt "Nora" Penfold Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:33 PM

nice, threats of violence over the internet from the tolerance police.


you must be some kind of real life badass.

OK, you clearly have some kind of problem. Where is the person responsible for your care ? You do have a responsible adult I trust.

Heard ya the first time. You weren't there and cant speak for all women, so....

Heard, but could not comprehend it seems. True I was not there, but Rebecca Watson was. And she did not feel comfortable.

How fucking hard is it to understand the concept of manners ? Clearly harder than I thought, given the replies from these two idiots.

#496

Posted by: Justicar Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:34 PM

@#343
Well, I've checked some recent statistics for elvevator rapes. In the last month's time, I've found one. The victim: male. I guess we've been worried this whole time about the precisely wrong person in terms of who has good statistical reasons to fear being raped in an elevator.
http://www.wbir.com/news/article/171554/2/Clinton-man-accused-of-raping-elderly-man-in-elevator

#497

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:36 PM

@Matt Penfold

Manners? really? Do you have a newsletter i can subscribe to?

#498

Posted by: Dhorvath, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:37 PM

Greg B,

The man was obviously socially inept but to automatically translate that as threatening behaviour is totally sexist.

He doesn't need to have intent to harm in order for her to feel threatened. What is so complex about that idea?

#499

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:37 PM

this is really turning into the jersey shore of the atheist blog world.


good job to p.z. for making the accusation of sexism to kick off the festivities.


one thing is certain, our main protagonist is definitely not addicted to bronzer.


not that coloring in her pasty flesh would lessen her pug fugliness.


but considering what she is working with, it couldn't hurt.


anyone who disagrees with me is ignorant, insensitive, and needs to stfu.

#500

Posted by: bowedoak Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:38 PM

Lord Setar
Bullshit. I was not quote mining.
I posted the entire quote that she posted when she wrote it, minus the update because look at the date on the update. It was LAST WEEK and Watson herself admitted she was guilty of the same thing she is now accusing someone else of doing.
Again, here is the link http://skepchick.org/2006/04/a-very-heretical-easter/

Now, you want an explanation of the quote (there is no part of the quote, as I posted the entire thing)

When she writes about the one specific discussion the two "hot college girls" were having, she was thinking about going up to their hotel room and having a tickle fight with them. She was not thinking about the topic they were discussing, she was viewing them in a sexual manner.
If she can think "Lets go to my hotel room and have some coffee" means "I want to have sex" then "Let's go to my hotel room and have a tickle fight" can also mean "I want to have sex."

She also admitted in the post that she probably sounded like she was condescending to the women:
"If you thought that last sentence was condescending, you didn’t hear the girls in question going back and forth over who failed to invite whom to a party/meeting/whatever."

In the very next line she writes "If you want to hear more about what I thought of the weekend (and not just the random sexual fantasies I entertained)..."

What do we know about this discussion the girls were having at this point:
1) They were hot
2) They were college girls
3) They were "fighting" over a discussion of humor and controversy in the atheist community or maybe a "party/meeting/whatever".
4)She is having sexual fantasies about the two girls that she was hoping the moderator would just dismiss and send them upstairs to have a tickle fight.

Regarding point 3.
She says there was a panel fight over the use of humor and controversy to spread the atheistic word, but then in the next paragraph she says the fight was over "who failed to invite whom to a party/meeting/whatever."
Was it a fight over an invitation or a fight over humor and controversy to spread the atheistic word? These are two completely different subjects.

Either she doesn't know because she wasn't paying enough attention, or she purposely wrote it this way to emphasize the fact that whatever they were saying didn't really matter.

Why would she use the word 'whatever'?
I will extrapolate here because she specifically uses this word to make a point. She uses it to dismiss the entire "fight" as being not worth knowing what exactly it was they were fighting about.
Note earlier that she specifically mentions the “Is There a God” debate by name. This is a "fight" (she doesn't use the word debate this time, I will leave it to you to decide the difference between "fight" and "debate").
So even though she is not sure what the "fight" is about, she is sure that she wants to have a tickle fight with them and she is having sexual fantasies about them.
Her interest is there in the fantasy of the tickle fight, not the discussion itself. She also tells us that this was the highlight of the whole weekend.

And in that update she wrote 5 years later when she apologizes?
She writes: "Well, I think I was wrong to make a joke that sexualized two women."... "So, I apologize to the two unnamed women and to all those who read my words and went away thinking that it’s okay to insult someone in that manner."

When she was 25, Rebecca Watson sexualized two women,by making a joke about a panel discussion they were having and insulting them . This is what Rebecca herself says about the incident.
She apologizes now for this,after being called out, because she says she the difference now is "that I’ve had five years to grow and change and learn about ideas like feminism and the patriarchy, and I’ve figured out that my actions and words will never be separate from those concepts."
So, here we are five years after she wrote this and Watson (and others) are saying that people who disagree with her that she was being sexualized in that elevator are misogynists or, if they are a woman, a "misogynist sympathizer".

Therefore, if all that is required to be a misogynist is not a "hatred of women" as the definition goes, but to sexualize a women whom you should know does not want to be sexualized, then the same definition applies.
If the man in the elevator was a misogynist, then Watson's comments 5 years ago were as well since she agrees that she was sexualizing the two women on the panel.

#501

Posted by: ted Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:39 PM


Her fear in such a situation is not his responsibility. Not when he hasn't done anything to warrant it. And as for people not actually calling him a rapist, ok, but a lot of people keep bringing up that this guy should be more aware of how women are scared of rape and therefore not said what he said, where and when he said it. The thing is, he did nothing rapey or even offensive, but rape is being implied all over this thread. The word 'creepy' also has a predatory sound to it.

How RW responded to his overture is indeed his responsibility. We are all responsible for the things we say to other people. If we do something anti-social there are repercussions.

If a stranger walks by me on the street and I ask him "Hey, do you want to come to my room for a coffee." there's a good possibility that the outcome will not be favorable and I would be responsible for that.

RW was in an elevator with a stranger. Except this stranger had just heard Rebecca say that being approached made her uncomfortable. She gave an entire lecture around the idea. Elevator guy knew this and proceeded anyway.

If ignore someone's stated wish to be left alone, if you place your need for attention above that and if you wait until you are in a small enclosed space to make that need known, you are being creepy and predatory.

#502

Posted by: mas528 Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:39 PM

Googlemess,

Did I say I hate men?

I stated that he had no consideration of HER feelings at all.

He did not consider "where she was coming from" (strong feminist), he did not consider that it might be inappropriate (she is married), and he did not care about her desires (she had stated that she wanted to go to sleep).

If you cannot see that this was disrespectful behavior, then I feel sorry for your friends.

#503

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:40 PM

So, really the major problem here is how to wake up skeptics to the problems of the various forms of feminism, right?


#504

Posted by: Dhorvath, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:40 PM

Justicar,
It's not who has a good reason to fear, but from whom. That man was raped by another man, one who was hale while the survivor was frail.

#505

Posted by: Krystalline Apostate Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:42 PM

Here's a thought: maybe this worked for the guy before. Sometimes the wildly inappropriate behavior allows the guy to 'score' (are we allowed to say that anymore?) - I've seen women I was interested go after the noisy jackasses once too often to think there's some kind of 'appropriate' behavior.
No, instead of holding court on specific acts & language, we should be teaching our (male) kids that the world isn't their playground/oyster that's going to cater to their needs. It's really all about good sportsmanship - if you're told NO, & it's a firm NO, then shrug philosophically & learn from it. Move on.
Sexuality should be about being sexual & free, not about competition. Because some assholes can't abide not 'winning'.

#506

Posted by: Matt "Nora" Penfold Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:42 PM

Manners? really? Do you have a newsletter i can subscribe to?

Nope, you are an adult.You should already know how to be polite. Still. I suppose we cannot hold you responsible if your parents or guardians fucked up. However, you should ask for help from a mental health professional who should be able to put in touch with a therapist who can help you learn some empathy.

#507

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:43 PM

@Ted


RW was in an elevator with a stranger. Except this stranger had just heard Rebecca say that being approached made her uncomfortable. She gave an entire lecture around the idea. Elevator guy knew this and proceeded anyway.

LOL

With women? Hellya: game on

#508

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:44 PM

true story: my female roommate said its okay if the guy's cute, but not so much if the guys old and/or ugly

Does this count as a "my wife agrees with me" for bingo?

Because if it does then I have bingo.

One thing that this has proven though is that if a woman complains about the idiotic, clueless, and socially inappropriate behavior of a male she will be attacked by a bunch of clueless buffoons who tirelessly defend privilege at all costs.

#509

Posted by: Dianne Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:45 PM

@greg: I agree that there is a strong possibility that Elevator Guy had no particular evil intent. But assuming the best, i.e. that he was a bit socially clueless and didn't realize how his behavior looked to Watson, his behavior still came off as threatening. At best, he botched it big time and should apologize. At worst, he understood (possibly unconsciously) the effects his words and the situation had and was attempting to intimidate Watson into doing what he wanted.

Whatever EG's intentions and thoughts, the moral I would expect a well meaning man to draw from this story is, "If I want to approach a woman I don't know well and try to get better acquainted (whether for sex or no) I need to think carefully about how I approach her and whether my approach might seem threatening or insulting to her." I am disturbed to find so many men defending his actions or at least excusing them.

#510

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:47 PM

@Krystalline Apostate

Nice try, but that's simplistic crap. Competition is an innate part of us.

#511

Posted by: Matt "Nora" Penfold Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:48 PM

Dianne, You have it spot on. But then I am the kind of bloke who when he finds himself walking late at night down the same street as a woman on her own worries that she might feel threatened by me. If I can I take a different route, but that it not always an option.

#512

Posted by: Dhorvath, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:49 PM

Krystalline Apostate,
Many PUAs use tactics that are popular because they prey on insecurities and social programming rather than working towards being liked by those they target. I do like the idea of teaching people that just because something works doesn't mean it is acceptable.

#513

Posted by: plien Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:49 PM

Googlemess @ 486

All i asked of you was that you use a little bit of imagination, is that to much to do? Is your brain so small?

I said i have intimite relations with men & even one that's pretty specific. I advocate for those men who have been accosted by women. And you tell me i have a skewed outlook on reality b/c of situations i could do nothing about!?!

Go fuck yourself with a decesed porcupine please.

#514

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:49 PM

@Algernon

What about women who have privilege and defend it at all costs? do you know any? could you provide some balance to you're great posts?

Perhaps there's more privilege in being rich than just being male?

#515

Posted by: MichelleZB Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:50 PM

@ 448 Ms. Daisy Cutter:

MichelleZB: How quaint - you're accusing me of being condescending, then you're proceeding to tell me what I actually mean and don't mean. Yes, I see McGraw as the sort who's Very Very Concerned that women don't "overreact" to sexism and that we're "demonizing" the poor menz by asking them to actually consider the context in which we have to analyze a come-on in a deserted elevator at 4 a.m. in a strange country. I have no patience for such types, especially when they're women.

I was most certainly NOT being quaint. No need to belittle me in this manner. I was seriously criticizing your characterization of McGraw as anti-feminist.

And you have done it again. The way you characterize McGraw's opinions here have very little to do with what she has written in her actual post. Her post does not accuse anyone of overreacting to sexism. She does not try to minimize feminism, or mention that we should all be a little less feminist.

#516

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:50 PM

"He did not consider "where she was coming from" (strong feminist), he did not consider that it might be inappropriate (she is married), and he did not care about her desires (she had stated that she wanted to go to sleep)."



yeah, exactly.

the guy was being an inconsiderate jerk.

and???


p.z. was the one who incorrectly related this to sexism.


unibrow was just conveying that elevator man was a jerk and that people need to think about the situation.

qq


i personally found her video to be quite offensive until i minimized and could no longer gaze upon her beastly snout.


she is not much to look at.


anyone who disagrees with me is ignorant, insensitive, and needs to stfu.

#517

Posted by: tomh Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:50 PM

@ #389
what's going to be achieved by embarrassing the guy?

By embarrassing the guy he might change his behavior. Any jackass who thinks it's perfectly fine to follow women into elevators in the middle of the night and make them uncomfortable needs more than a vague, anonymous tip that women might find such behavior unacceptable. Of course, according to this thread lots of people seem to think it's perfectly acceptable behavior. Your point reminds me of all the Mooneyites who said if "Tom Johnson" were outed it would ruin his career. Upthread someone said if this jerk were named it could ruin his life. What a joke.

#518

Posted by: Beatrice, anormalement indécente Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:51 PM

This won't contribute to the discussion or what's left of it, but I have to say that this thread is seriously fucked up.

I didn't notice Rebecca Watson asking the public to grab the torches and pitchforks and charge at the Elevator Guy. She just used that encounter as an example of situations that, while looking innocent to men, might make women extremely uncomfortable. Also, it was nicely ironic, since it happened right after she gave a speech about sexism. No one is making Elevator Guy into a monster, he was probably just clueless. The problem she's pointing out is : when you are in a confined place with an unknown guy who's hitting on you, you can't know for sure if he's just clueless, friendly or a possible rapist. So, even clueless men should get that particular clue and try not to make women feel threatened. It's not that hard. He could have just approached her in the bar instead of following her to the elevator. It doesn't take a genius to figure it out.

And yet I wasted a couple of minutes of my life to try and explain what people have been explaining for hours.

Anyway, writing that paragraph was probably pointless. This is more fucked up than "Stop digging". At least the two idiots there could string together a couple of meaningful, if completely wrong, sentences.

#519

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:51 PM

Sexuality should be about being sexual & free, not about competition.

Sex really isn't a *thing* to be won (from whom anwyay).

#520

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:52 PM

"He did not consider "where she was coming from" (strong feminist), he did not consider that it might be inappropriate (she is married), and he did not care about her desires (she had stated that she wanted to go to sleep)."



yeah, exactly.

the guy was being an inconsiderate jerk.

and???


p.z. was the one who incorrectly related this to sexism.


unibrow was just saying that elevator man was a jerk and that people need to think about the situation.


i personally found her video to be quite offensive until i minimized and could no longer gaze upon her beastly snout.


she is not much to look at.


anyone who disagrees with me is ignorant, insensitive, and needs to stfu.

#521

Posted by: Dhorvath, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:52 PM

googlemess,

Competition is an innate part of us.

Is it? Care to back that up?
#522

Posted by: mas528 Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:52 PM

googlemess (i notice you never tell us who you are)


Competition is an innate part of us.

So is cooperation.

You know, that thing that made us as advanced as we are?

#523

Posted by: Andyo Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:53 PM

Justicar #496 (or something else after fundip gets poofed out of existence).

Well, I've checked some recent statistics for elvevator rapes. In the last month's time, I've found one. The victim: male. I guess we've been worried this whole time about the precisely wrong person in terms of who has good statistical reasons to fear being raped in an elevator.

Statistics: ur doing it wrong.

Since you're bringing up "elevator" and "in the last month" into the "statistics", how about "after offering coffee in his/her room while watching teletubbies"? Why zero cases! Rape must not exist then.

#524

Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:54 PM

I'm familiar with Baumeister's stereotype filled cherry picked "what about the mens" work that conveniently omits many of the reasons behind most of the complaints he includes to whip his already sold audience into a "wow that's amazing" frenzy.

It's a wonderfully speculative work based on carefully selected to work data points.

#525

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:54 PM

she is not much to look at.

Her appearance is irrelevant, misogynist troll.

No one cares whether you find her attractive. You are unimportant.

#526

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:55 PM

Dear Forum,

Google mess here.

What a bunch of fucking whack jobs when it comes to things gender many of you can be.

Skepticism + social psychology is all you need. Ditch the feminism and you can still condemn actual acts of sexism.

That's all,

GM

#527

Posted by: MichelleZB Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:56 PM

Also, @ 367:

But he's clearly never thought about the fact that while up to 25% of women experience a sexual assault during their life-time, more or less all women experience sexual molestation and are also well aware of the fact that sexual assault is a common occurence and not a sad event that gets posted in the newspaper.

Woah, there... more or less all women experience sexual molestation?! That isn't true. Sexual abuse is devastating and tragically common, but not almost all women experience it. Saying things like that doesn't help anyone.

#528

Posted by: Justicar Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:56 PM

#504:
If that's your disposition with respect to the "statistical" argument made earlier, then it would seem the recent trend is still with males being the victim. That the assailant was male is immaterial with respect to the victim since it is the perspective of a would be victim for whom the statistical argument would be relevant. Since this person is arguing statistics, it appears that only males in elevators have a good cause to be worried about the odds because, you know, near as I can find on a quick google search, only males have been victims of rapes in elevators lately.

Of course, it's silly an example. But so is arguing that because it's general men who do the raping of women, the moment a strange man dares to speak to a woman, the woman should naturally be intimidated and in utter, sheer terror.

Particularly given the statistics of stranger rape coupled with the fact it's in a public place and that the guy apparently took no for answer. Sure, she didn't know his motives. Nor do I know the motives of everyone who approaches me. It's easily the case that one of them means to mug me. Should I therefore respond with "stranger danger" screaming and flailing when it happens? Let alone decry it as oppressive sexism?

Elevator guy expressed interest and took the rebuff as settling the issue. Of course, I suppose to speak to the likes of a Delicate Rebecca Watson one should expect a written invitation beforehand.

I know that when guys have hit on me elevators, I immediately think they're rapists trying to oppress me. Being struck with mortal terror at each occasion, I've managed to somehow escape all of these would-be elevator perverts.

It's prudent to be aware of one's surroundings, and what's going on so as to exercise some caution. It's quite another for her to claim that because she's got some hyperphobia going on, men the world over are somehow now on notice that because of Rebecca Watson's rebuke, they are no longer allowed to speak to a woman. In public. Because apparently a well-lit crowded hotel is just dangerous as all hell.

Yeah, dude's a real dick for daring to express interest in someone and then to have the sheer audacity to take no for an answer.

Sexist fucker.

#529

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:57 PM

Goodbye googlemess. You are an idiot, a misogynist, and a troll! Go fuck yourself :)

#530

Posted by: Dhorvath, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:58 PM

Perhaps there's more privilege in being rich than just being male?
And clearly there are just as many wealthy people as males and those wealthy people are evenly split between male and female. Gah.
#531

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:58 PM

@Rev. BigDumbChimp

I'm sure you've got more than that to argue with. Please, show us how much better you are than Prof B.

@Dhorvath
See: survival of the fittest

#532

Posted by: Matt "Nora" Penfold Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 5:59 PM

No one cares whether you find her attractive. You are unimportant.

Well it does show he is truly a fuckwit, although we did not need his comments on Rebecca's appearance to realise that. And in any case he is wrong! And yes, he is unimportant.

#533

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:00 PM

google is clearly just "Fembaiting" as my SO called it.

Hell I think everyone here who is all like "All he did was ask her to his room" is baiting.

and frankly I am greatly disappointed that Dawkins behaved in such an ignorant fashion. He apparently doesn't understand how Watson treated this as an annoyance and talked about it as if it was an annoyance. It seems like he immediately presumed that as a woman she was blowing it up as the worst thing ever.

#534

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:00 PM

So we can't apply skepticism to gender issues & feminism?

#535

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:01 PM

Sexual abuse is devastating and tragically common, but not almost all women experience it. Saying things like that doesn't help anyone.

Do you actually know any women who have never been groped, felt up, smacked on the ass, pinched... at some point from childhood into adulthood?

I don't know if it's something most women even complain about. I couldn't even begin to count the times that friends of family, coworkers, guys on the street or in bars have done these things.

I do kind of remember a time when an old man in a grocery store line pinched my ass when I was maybe 8 or so. I felt so guilty about that.

Pervy old fuck.

It's pretty damned common to be bothered this way by men though.

#536

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:02 PM

So we can't apply skepticism to gender issues & feminism?

Sex is to masturbation as skepticism is to whatever the fuck you're doing

#537

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:04 PM

I should add: without their consent to that.

So we can't apply skepticism to gender issues & feminism?

No one is taking your bait, you well-poisoning jackass.

You have already been arguing in poor faith.

#538

Posted by: Lord Setar Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:04 PM

bowedoak #500: Okay. What's your point, then? Because all I'm seeing is the longest re-wording of a tu-quoque argument, well, ever.

#539

Posted by: plien Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:05 PM

Yes, there are more privileges than being male; look up Kyriarchy. But we aren't talking about that now & than again, according to googlemess i'm totally ignorant on gender....

*le sigh*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyriarchy

#540

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:05 PM

@Rust- nice one!

#541

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:06 PM

Googleness is to gender issues what Ken Ham is to evolution issues.

same strategy really.

#542

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:07 PM

Sigh 2
I'm not fembaiting.. im actualy concerned


Should I have been a more 'go with the flow' kinda google mess and less a Dr. House kind?

#543

Posted by: phillip.moon Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:08 PM

I totally support Rebecca's side on this and P.Z. response. I am the father of a young woman. At 4 she was sexually assaulted by a neighbor. At 14 she was raped by an acquaintance in another country, in a hotel where there were many people who knew where she was and it still didn't stop it. At 21, she was drugged in a bar. She blacked out and was found by friends before anything else happened.

She has friends. These things happen to them too. Is it any wonder that she looks on every situation with a certain amount of concern for her safety? Every woman has to face this. Those who just don't see the problem need to put aside their assumptions for a few moments and see the world from the point of view of someone who really does have to worry about these dangers.

#544

Posted by: Lord Setar Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:08 PM

To the rest of the idiots trying to defend Elevator Guy:

FOUR AM.

IN THE ELEVATOR.

What do you not understand about that?

#545

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:09 PM

@Google

how about an "absent" Googlemess kind? You're at the level of "so wrong it's not worth correcting", like someone who accuses feminism of being a conservative movement or mormonism as a liberal church.

#546

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:09 PM

@Matt Penfold


"And in any case he is wrong!"


i'm sorry, but i can no longer take you to be anything but a troll.


to suggest that i am incorrect in describing unibrow as a hideously revolting mut tells me that you are here just to stir up emotions.


i was honestly frightened for a few breif moments when i read your post threatening physical violence from behind your router, but now i am forced to assume it a hollow threat considering your revealed disposition.


you sir, are not to be taken seriously.


anyone who disagrees with me is ignorant, insensitive, and needs to stfu.

#547

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:09 PM

@plien -
you first, read the baumeister link and discuss it intelligently

#548

Posted by: Walton, Marquis of Carabas Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:10 PM

fundip, fuck off. googlemess, fuck off. No one appreciates your trolling. You're not funny or clever.

Strangely enough, the rest of us are trying to have an actual discussion about an issue that's actually important to people's lives. It's sad that it's been derailed by obnoxious sexist buffoons who think that the height of repartée is "HAHA UR FUGLY!!1!!" (Seriously, how old are you? Fourteen?)

#549

Posted by: Weed Monkey Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:11 PM

Giliell #436
Killfile in Firefox

Link originally by Caine some time ago.

#550

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:12 PM

@Walton

Isn't it odd how even the most scathing anti religion comment doesn't get this level of trolling?

#551

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:12 PM

@Ing: Od Wet Rust

Really...wow. Dismissing anonymous internet is the popular thing-- good going

#552

Posted by: ted Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:13 PM

It's prudent to be aware of one's surroundings, and what's going on so as to exercise some caution. It's quite another for her to claim that because she's got some hyperphobia going on, men the world over are somehow now on notice that because of Rebecca Watson's rebuke, they are no longer allowed to speak to a woman. In public. Because apparently a well-lit crowded hotel is just dangerous as all hell.

You may want to wipe the spittle froth from your chin before proceeding.

All Rebecca said was that it was unpleasant and creepy. She did not call him a rapist, she did not ask that he be punished, or that all men refrain from talking to all women. She only pointed out that it might be better to not do things like that.

And in response she gets a lot of people saying "I will damn well approach women in the elevator at 4 AM if I feel like it. Fuck their feelings."

The cries to "rationally" examine feminism are amusing when they come from people arguing that they should be allowed to think with their cocks.

#553

Posted by: Matt "Nora" Penfold Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:13 PM

Walton spoke this wisely:

(Seriously, how old are you? Fourteen?)

If that. Maybe older chronologically but emotionally fourteen seems a bit old.

#554

Posted by: Scented Nectar Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:14 PM

Daz and Screechy_Monkey: He probably just didn't want to ask her in front of other people. If anything, that's rather tasteful to ask in private as opposed to doing it where others might hear, and where she'd have to answer in front of others. He had no way of knowing that she would get all scared. And by the way, let's just come out and say it. Even if no one is outright calling this guy a rapist, that's what the fear is, isn't it? That's the threat that we're supposed to assume automatically happens as soon as the invitation occurs? A bit of being startled might have been appropriate, even nervous awkwardness if she's uncomfortable with such things, but fear? No. Not unless he had NOT accepted the decline. If he had started trying to talk her into it anyways, then I'd agree that fear, or at the very least a good deal of wariness, would have been appropriate.

#555

Posted by: Amphigorey Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:14 PM

@Dianne - YES. Thank you. Intent does not matter here. Whether he wanted coffee or "coffee" is irrelevant; what matters is that his actions were creepy.

I am amazed that this has to be explained repeatedly.

Also, the point of discussions like these is not to demonize that one Elevator Guy; the point is to say this kind of behavior is not cool, and alert those who might be clueless, and move towards a better skeptical community.

#556

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:14 PM

Really...wow. Dismissing anonymous internet is the popular thing-- good going

That just brings of this whole concept

#557

Posted by: Larry Poppins Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:15 PM

Okay, I think it's been long enough for inquiries to be made or whatever to be passed along to whomever so that the real Richard Dawkins could if he wished refute the dismissive screed posted here earlier under his name. I'll count that as one more horseman boldly jumping the shark. Pity.

I must be the only one who isn't willing to give Elevator Guy the benefit of the doubt here. So he took no for an answer in the elevator, well give him a fucking medal! No on second thought maybe not. He could have just as easily realized that he didn't have time to subdue, strip and copulate with his chosen target before the elevator reached a floor with people and so chose to abort his planned rape once it was clear that she would not go willingly to the crime scene.

#558

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:15 PM

i think what most have lost sight of is that feminism is also a form of sexism.


keep that in mind next time you post your nonsense.


ok, scrubs?



anyone who disagrees with me is ignorant, insensitive, and needs to stfu.

#559

Posted by: greg.bourke0 Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:17 PM

Dhorvath, OM @498

He doesn't need to have intent to harm in order for her to feel threatened. What is so complex about that idea?

it's not complex at all but the fault doesn't lie with him.

Dianne @509

But assuming the best, i.e. that he was a bit socially clueless and didn't realize how his behavior looked to Watson, his behavior still came off as threatening. At best, he botched it big time and should apologize. At worst, he understood (possibly unconsciously) the effects his words and the situation had and was attempting to intimidate Watson into doing what he wanted.

Agreed up to a point. If it became obvious that she was uncomfortable then he should have apologised but Rebecca's posts left out all mentions of how the situation was resolved. It was obviously resolved peacefully as you would expect between two normal individuals or we would be discussing a very different situation.

#560

Posted by: Justicar Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:18 PM

#552:
You might want to save your back-alley inept pop-psych for someone else. This issue is no longer confined to only what Rebecca has said; you might not have noticed, but there are now others in the conversation. This inconvenient fact has added new issues.

Run along now.

#561

Posted by: Matt "Nora" Penfold Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:19 PM

Also, the point of discussions like these is not to demonize that one Elevator Guy; the point is to say this kind of behavior is not cool, and alert those who might be clueless, and move towards a better skeptical community.

I know that if I had behaved unknowingly in a crass and insensitive manner then I would quite like to be told. I am sure I would be rather embarrassed, but I am pretty sure I would not try to pretend I had not been an arsehole.

#562

Posted by: Marc Abian Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:21 PM

By embarrassing the guy he might change his behavior

He'll probably change it anyway, now that he's been informed that it's wrong and why. Public shaming seems disproportionate, because there's no shame in not knowing something if you're willing to learn. You're acting as if he's determined to continue and outing him is the only way to change his behaviour.

Any jackass who thinks it's perfectly fine to follow women into elevators in the middle of the night and make them uncomfortable needs more than a vague, anonymous tip that women might find such behavior unacceptable.

I didn't see Watson's talk, but there was nothing anonymous about it and I doubt it was vague. If it was vague, that's something that can be fixed by being more specific.

Your point reminds me of all the Mooneyites who said if "Tom Johnson" were outed it would ruin his career.

In contrast to this situation, Tom Johnson surely must have known that bearing false witness was wrong. He doesn't get to be let off by his cluelessness.

#563

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:22 PM

i think what most have lost sight of is that feminism is also a form of sexism.

In the same way anarchy is a government.

To quote one of your own Scott Adams "I politely refuse the invitation to join your hallucination"

#564

Posted by: llewelly Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:23 PM

bowedoak, Rebecca Watson did not proposition those two women in a potentially dangerous situation, where they were isolated.

So, not only is your post a giant tu quoque, you require an egregious misreading of her actions in order to construct your tu quoque.

#565

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:24 PM

In contrast to this situation, Tom Johnson surely must have known that bearing false witness was wrong. He doesn't get to be let off by his cluelessness.


WHY?

#566

Posted by: ted Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:26 PM

You might want to save your back-alley inept pop-psych for someone else. This issue is no longer confined to only what Rebecca has said; you might not have noticed, but there are now others in the conversation. This inconvenient fact has added new issues.

And you think that the greater issue is "OMFG!! Men can't talk to women!" Perhaps in your attempt to portray an empty elevator as both safe and as a well-lit and crowded hotel, you have missed other points?

#567

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:26 PM

bowedoak, Rebecca Watson did not proposition those two women in a potentially dangerous situation, where they were isolated.

So, not only is your post a giant tu quoque, you require an egregious misreading of her actions in order to construct your tu quoque.


Especially if I'm reading this right and Watson ADMITS it was wrong and from ignorance?

"How dare you promote sobriaty when you yourself drink heavily!"

~"I am an alcoholic, I know now that I can't drink and don't do so, so I don't see what my past mistakes-"

"YOU DRINK HEAVILY!"

#568

Posted by: Dark Jaguar Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:27 PM

How many people here were at the bottom rung of school social life? I figure there's a decent number of nerds here. It's a good comparison. How many times has someone gone to complain about bullying, described an incident, and had a teacher or some other authority figure tell that person that it doesn't sound like that big a deal and to get thicker skin? Sure, a kid describing an incident of a bully behind them in class knocking a book off the desk SOUNDS like nothing worth getting too upset about, except that it happened all the time, every month, every year, unceasingly. Maybe from different people, but it all starts blending together, building into this edifice until, well, eventually the kid just comes to be paranoid about everyone and their possible motivation. Is that person that just came up to me actually being nice, or is there some sarcasm in there, or some stupid trick? Why can't they just let me be, I'm just trying to eat lunch. Then, you get accused of being rude.

If you can't relate to bullying either, then you've really got no basis complaining about someone's response. Your ONE incident of propositioning someone in an elevator isn't the problem. It's that, whether you know it or not, you are just the latest in a long line of this sort of annoying thing, a sort of thing she has to deal with almost every time she goes outside. Shopping for groceries? Someone decides to tell you their life story while you just try to focus on getting shopping done and heading home, and it takes hours just to finally get rid of that guy without feeling like you are being "rude".

Let me put it this way. No matter WHAT innocent quick question or proposition you have, make this assumption before starting, that they've had to reject your offer hundreds of times before you came along, and it's gotten old. Maybe it'll make you rethink it, maybe you'll see how it might be rude then.

I have an uncle, a homosexual, who's currently living in a rather run down slummy part of Oklahoma City. Other homosexual men live there, some just down on their luck, others sleezy types (sleezes exist among any population, but this run down hotel would tend to attract more of them). In this case, he's had really uncomfortable situations. One case had him getting back really late after a long day's work and getting stopped by someone who just, out of the blue, grabbed his crotch. This was apparently "supposed" to be a "subtle" way of propositioning him. He of course found it incredible invasive, rude, and downright frightening. He quickly removed himself from the situation, and his hand, and got back to his room.

That brings me to another point. Even if the average women doesn't deal with this sort of thing all the time, maybe 4 in the morning still isn't the best time to proposition someone trapped on an elevator simply because you can make the assumption that that person MAY have been really busy, and is probably exhausted. That's ignoring the fact that pretty much anyone would find that confined environment at a more dangerous time of day to be a bit scary.

In other words, don't think of how YOU would react in that situation, think of what sort of things they may have been going through and try to figure out how THEY would react. It's cliche, but walk a mile in their shoes.

#569

Posted by: MichelleZB Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:28 PM

@ 535

Do you actually know any women who have never been groped, felt up, smacked on the ass, pinched... at some point from childhood into adulthood?

Certainly I know such women... I am one myself! In my circles, this sort of behaviour is very uncommon.

I am not trying to argue that my experiences are typical, however. I am learning from this thread that YMMV when it comes to how common you perceive sexual assault to be, depending I suppose on where you live and the circles in which you move.

How else could some women on this thread say with confidence that almost all women are "molested" and other women dismiss that idea? It must be because of lived experience: assault must be nearly ubiquitous in some places and uncommon in others.

I have learned here that there are some circles where sexual assault is so common that a woman must always be afraid of it and have it on her mind. I hope that other people will be able to learn from my post that it doesn't have to be like that--and, in fact, isn't like that everywhere, which may explain why people are reacting differently to this situation.

#570

Posted by: Walton, Marquis of Carabas Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:28 PM

So we can't apply skepticism to gender issues & feminism?

You're an idiot. "Scepticism" is not synonymous with "refusing to listen to women's expressed views about their own lives and experiences, and dictating to them how they ought to feel."

It's not up to you to decide how other people "should" feel about their own boundaries and their own safety. You do not get to decree that a woman is "over-reacting" when, being approached by a stranger when alone late at night in a vulnerable position, she feels threatened and uncomfortable. (A feeling which is perfectly rational, given the prevalence of casual sexual assault in our society.) And considering that she is married, and that it sounds like she was exhausted and just wanted to get home and go to sleep, why is it surprising that she was annoyed at some random stranger hitting on her? It should be obvious to anyone that it wasn't an appropriate time or place to hit on someone, and that it isn't appropriate to hit on people whom you know to be married or in a relationship already. These aren't arbitrary obscure social conventions; they're fairly obvious, I would have thought.

The endemic sexism here isn't so much demonstrated in the behaviour of Elevator Man himself; rather, it's demonstrated by all the privileged d00dz smugly informing Ms Watson that she "over-reacted" and accusing her of being a hysterical fanatic, etc. No one has the right to dictate to someone else how they should and shouldn't feel about others' behaviour towards them.

#571

Posted by: Daz Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:30 PM

Scented Nectar

He had no way of knowing that she would get all scared

Why didn't he? I would have known. Many other men on this thread have spoken as if they would have known.

The very reason he probably approached her in private, ie seclusion, is the reason he could expect her to be apprehensive. In fact, I'm sure I caught a reference to him having said something along the lines of 'Don't take this the wrong way…', which means he was at least partially aware.

Probably more thoughtlessness than anything, yes, but the number one male privilege is that the male can be unaware of forgetful of his privilege.

As I said before, I'm glad for you that you seem not to have been in a worrying situation like this. I have, minus the sexual overtones, and it ain't fun.

#572

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:30 PM


This inconvenient fact has added new issues.

Derailing the topic is derailing the topic is derailing the topic.

#573

Posted by: Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjectives Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:31 PM

If the man in the elevator was a misogynist, then Watson's comments 5 years ago were as well since she agrees that she was sexualizing the two women on the panel.

Yes, those comments were. Do you not understand the difference between being a misogynist and saying misogynist things? I don't think you do. Neither is being called a misogynist, but both of those things were misogynistic things to do.


He probably just didn't want to ask her in front of other people.

You know where else wasn't in front of other people? OUTSIDE THE ELEVATOR. He could have asked her after she got off at her floor, holding the door open. He could have asked her as she was getting on the elevator (and then not followed her in when she said no). You know what else wouldn't have been creepy? Talking to her about anything else at any point in the evening. Since when does the first thing a person say to the other have to be a pickup line? If he was too shy to talk to her about absolutely anything, then he should have been too shy for the first thing he said to be a proposition for sex. Those things don't match up.

The cries to "rationally" examine feminism are amusing when they come from people arguing that they should be allowed to think with their cocks.

No fucking kidding. All of the frothy screaming boils down to "But I have to be able to tell women when I think they're fuckable!" No, really, you don't.

#574

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:32 PM

You know, there are worse things that happen to men that deserve far greater attentiont than this.

My interpretation of Baumeister's speech "Is there Anything Good about Men?" is that if feminism were actaully paying attention to equality issues when it comes to gender, beta males would receive the most attention in most social contexts. This is because women tend to occupy the middle tier- a protective zone. (Yes, just like you'll see the knights in shining armor defending women via feminism here on this board, it is generally true elsewhere). But beta males tend to be the sacraficial lambs- in the real zone of mistreatement.

But I wouldn't generalize- because i dont see gender inequality as a broad topic at all. No, it's a case-by-case thing.

#575

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:32 PM

I am not trying to argue that my experiences are typical, however. I am learning from this thread that YMMV when it comes to how common you perceive sexual assault to be, depending I suppose on where you live and the circles in which you move.

Whilst the circles in which you move are in and around the toilet bowl.

Seriously, fuck you.

I have learned here that there are some circles where sexual assault is so common that a woman must always be afraid of it and have it on her mind. I hope that other people will be able to learn from my post that it doesn't have to be like that

They can be a smug, stick in the ass, victim blaming fuck like me!

#576

Posted by: Dianne Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:33 PM

there was nothing anonymous about it ...

If it wasn't anonymous, why are we calling the guy in question Elevator Guy instead of Name? It's entirely likely that if EG reads this post or any others on the subject, he knows that it's about him. But no one else does unless he chooses to tell them.

#577

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:33 PM

assault must be nearly ubiquitous in some places and uncommon in others.

I think this is probably true. It also intersects with other issues such as class.

I would not be surprised if a study were actually conducted that found the area I am from to be significantly worse than other places in the country, for instance.

#578

Posted by: Amphigorey Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:34 PM

....I'm sorry, did you just use "beta males" non-ironically?

That just killed your whole argument right there.

#579

Posted by: DaveDodo007 Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:34 PM

Please tell me that wasn't the real Richard Dawkins as even if he held those views surely he can come up with a better argument than that.

If you are going to indulge in stalkerish behaviour (even if you are not a stalker) then you are going to scare the shit out of the poor woman. On what level can lift guy's behaviour be considered correct. Also if he knew she was married then the guy really is a creep.

#580

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:34 PM

@Ing: Od Wet Rust

"In the same way anarchy is a government."

no, you are dumb.

feminism is sexism in that it is an ideology that values all things female as having higher status than all things male.


sexism means evaluating a person's worth based solely upon their gender.


a feminist is a sexist by defintion.


so many half wits on this blog fail to understand that two wrongs do not set things right.


they seem to believe that there is some kind of war raging between the genders.

there is not. it is delusion.

they are stupid people. i mock them for lulz.


people should be judged by their abilities and their character, not by the morphology of their genitals.



anyone who disagrees with me is ignorant, insensitive, and needs to stfu.

#581

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:35 PM

@Walton

TLDR- is that a yes, then?

#582

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:35 PM

Nobody gives a shit about Baumeister's ramblings

Btw, it's funny if you imagine it's this Baumeister
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herb_Baumeister

#583

Posted by: Matt "Nora" Penfold Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:35 PM

In other words, don't think of how YOU would react in that situation, think of what sort of things they may have been going through and try to figure out how THEY would react. It's cliche, but walk a mile in their shoes.

The ability to do that is called empathy, and whilst some other species show some degree of empathy, it is nothing like we are capable of.

Although some people commenting here show little evidence they possess the ability to empathise. Being unable to empathise is, for an adult, and indicator of some underlying psychological disorder.

#584

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:36 PM

You know, there are worse things that happen to men that deserve far greater attentiont than this.

Yes, yes. The men: what about THEM!?

Maybe you'll meet a nice shield maiden there.

#585

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:38 PM

feminism is sexism in that it is an ideology that values all things female as having higher status than all things male.

Except that's not the fucking definition

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feminist

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/feminism

Your misconceptions on my/our beliefs do not make a good arguement

#586

Posted by: Walton, Marquis of Carabas Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:38 PM

If you'll excuse me, I think I'll go and hit myself repeatedly around the head with a slightly damp mackerel. This would be a more intellectually-stimulating activity than arguing with fundip and googlemess, and only slightly less productive.

#587

Posted by: Daz Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:38 PM

Fundip, does mummy know you're using her computer? Seriously, fuck off.

#588

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:39 PM

@Amphigorey- not at all..

I meant instead of focusing on women, actual gender equalists would focus on beta males

#589

Posted by: Dhorvath, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:39 PM

Justicar,

If that's your disposition with respect to the "statistical" argument made earlier, then it would seem the recent trend is still with males being the victim. That the assailant was male is immaterial with respect to the victim since it is the perspective of a would be victim for whom the statistical argument would be relevant.

You said that
I guess we've been worried this whole time about the precisely wrong person in terms of who has good statistical reasons to fear being raped in an elevator.

How then does he have a good reason to fear when he is in an elevator with a woman? You are not making your case clear for my consumption.
_

Of course, it's silly an example. But so is arguing that because it's general men who do the raping of women, the moment a strange man dares to speak to a woman, the woman should naturally be intimidated and in utter, sheer terror.
Ah, I see. It's a good thing I wasn't arguing that then. What I was arguing is that men have an advantage in dealing with women because women are inclined through socialization to be intimidated by men. From that idea elevator guy had advantages in his dealing with Rebecca Watson that were unfair. It is my hope that having been informed he, and any other readers of this or other resources about the same topic, will avoid capitilizing on them in the future. ___

Googlemess,
Survival of the fittest is about populations, not individual actions. Our species has burgeoned due to our cooperative nature, we are collectively smarter and more resourceful than we are individually.

#590

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:39 PM

Lost a quote there, but whatever.

feminism is sexism in that it is an ideology that values all things female as having higher status than all things male.

LOL!

Right.

#591

Posted by: Dianne Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:41 PM

Please tell me that wasn't the real Richard Dawkins as even if he held those views surely he can come up with a better argument than that.

Richard has been known to pull some pretty rank ones where sexism is concerned, but I hope that if it really were Richard the rant would at least be better written.

#592

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnCL_qdmEiHnvncWpKV1sIc0KlfgKQgqog Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:41 PM

Well, to the tribe here: respectfully, i dont agree with the description or prescription feminism(s) have given us.

When it comes to analyzing things, I prefer a more scientific approach. And when it comes to solving gender equality problems, I will prefer social psychology.

Hope you do too.

#593

Posted by: Matt "Nora" Penfold Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:42 PM

If you'll excuse me, I think I'll go and hit myself repeatedly around the head with a slightly damp mackerel. This would be a more intellectually-stimulating activity than arguing with fundip and googlemess, and only slightly less productive.

The fish of choice around these parts for such purposes is a frozen halibut. However since the violence is going to be self-inflicted in this instance a slightly damp mackerel will be fine. If you make sure it is really fresh you use it to make sushi afterwards.

#594

Posted by: Weed Monkey Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:42 PM

Marc Abian:

He'll probably change it anyway, now that he's been informed that it's wrong and why. Public shaming seems disproportionate, because there's no shame in not knowing something if you're willing to learn. You're acting as if he's determined to continue and outing him is the only way to change his behaviour.
He has not been publicly shamed. He's the Elevator dude, Otis or Kone. Who he actually is is irrelevant.

#595

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:44 PM

I meant instead of focusing on women, actual gender equalists would focus on beta males

Maybe if you're lucky one day they'll fix your bugs and you'll be an Out-of-Beta male

#596

Posted by: Walton, Marquis of Carabas Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:44 PM

feminism is sexism in that it is an ideology that values all things female as having higher status than all things male.

Er... no.

As the late Dame Rebecca West put it, feminism is the radical notion that women are people.

#597

Posted by: Dianne Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:45 PM

So I've been trying to think of an analogy that might make men understand how this sort of thing feels...So, guys, suppose you walked into an elevator in a hotel in a strange country. You're followed on by a guy who is obviously larger and stronger than you. He's wearing a jacket announcing his loyalty to a specific football (soccer) team. You've heard of football hooligans and their behavior. After the door closes and you're alone with him, he says to you, politely and with a smile, "I just got a really neat knife. Want to see it?"

What's your reaction? Do you assume he's just a slightly socially inept guy with an enthusiasm for bladed weapons that he wants to share with you? Or are you concerned for your life, bodily integrity and/or wallet?

#598

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:46 PM

When it comes to analyzing things, I prefer a more scientific approach. And when it comes to solving gender equality problems, I will prefer social psychology.

The fact that you actually use beta males tells us all we need to know about your education insofar as sociology or psychology.

Read: you're an idiot, and a troll. Please go ahead at trot out your watered down pathetic excuse for science now if you so like, otherwise why bring it up? Oh right, because you have nothing.

Walton, when you're done with that fish let's fry it! Got any peas?

#599

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:46 PM

Well, to the tribe here: respectfully, i dont agree with the description or prescription feminism(s) have given us.

When it comes to analyzing things, I prefer a more scientific approach. And when it comes to solving gender equality problems, I will prefer social psychology.

Hope you do too.

As a feminist I think I can damn well know what it fucking is.

Also fucking Dictionary.com and Webster, describing the common usage of words, is a feminist source?

How about this. Go back and reread the comments in light of what people actually MEAN when they say feminism and see if that doesn't make more sense, rather than them seeming like rabid man eaters

#600

Posted by: Dianne Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:48 PM

I prefer a more scientific approach... I will prefer social psychology.

The best part about this statement is that it was probably typed with a perfectly straight face and no concept of why it is funny.

#601

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:49 PM

Out-of-Beta male

Maybe he's a mac and just hopes his fanbois will think it's a feature.

#602

Posted by: Larry Poppins Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:49 PM

@googlemess

i dont see gender inequality as a broad topic at all. No, it's a case-by-case thing.

Can observations be made of how multiple cases of gender equality are dealt with or discussed, or is that not scientific enough for you? BTW do you think that rape is best dealt with by social psychologists too, or should that be a case-by-case thing with local law enforcement?

#603

Posted by: plien Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:49 PM

Googlemess; My SO has Autism, i *know* about the things in your link. I however do NOT take ONE persons word for it. There are several serious issues with that talk. But to respond to that here would be derailing, so i don't.

This thread is about behaviour & you could learn something by following my wikilink about Kyriarchy. And the best thing is, even if you read wiki & all it's references, it would be more ontopic and less timeconsuming than the link you've thrown out here which has absolutely nothing to do with living in a rape culture & fear.

Have you done the little exercise allready, cupcake?

#604

Posted by: David Marjanović Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:50 PM

I'm with comment 166.

being polite is always disarming.

O RLY?

You will catch more flies with honey than vinegar

Depends on which flies.

Did you know that laboratory fruit flies are more precisely vinegar flies? :-)

Dear Muslima

[...]

...just...

...wow.

First, the fallacy that it's somehow impossible to have more than one concern at once. Such an elementary logical fallacy from – oh, not merely from a scientist; from a former professor for the public understanding of science? From the author of Unweaving the Rainbow!?!

Then, why isn't it obvious that it's creepy to invite a stranger into one's own room at 4 am, and that in a lift, and that right after said stranger explained how threatening just that behavior is (see comment 22)?

Has some troll hijacked a good name, hoping we'd suddenly judge logical fallacies depending on who makes them?

A lot of the women I know who proclaim themselves as feminists, have themselves cornered men and hit on them (me).

Ooh. [citation needed]

If it was a teacher in a class or a lecturer naming a student and how you disagree with what they said or did, there is no response for the student or person in question. How about if it was a priest in mass calling out a local journalist whose in the congregation for something they wrote?
I think this shows the power a speaker can have over an audience member.

Power that a speaker at a conference simply lacks. She can't give bad marks to her audience or report them to the principal, and she can't threaten them with hellfire.

I thought evolutionary morality was


You didn't think.

Here's the argument I was making. The man in the elevator didn't physically touch her, didn't attempt to bar her way out of the elevator, didn't even use foul language at her. He spoke some words to her. Just words. She no doubt replied with words. That was that. Words. Only words, and apparently quite polite words at that.

And at the earliest when she got out of the elevator she was able to be reasonably certain that words wouldn't be followed by deeds.

Rebecca looks on the small side

I've seen her in meatspace. She's very small.

Ignore the silly buggers.

LOL. That doesn't even work with schoolyard bullies.

I thought that statistically, men are far more likely to be victims of physical assault. I've been involved in many a bar fight and I've noticed that it's mostly guys (always) who are getting shitkicked. There are several clubs I go to where other guys are just going around looking for a fight (with other guys). It really sucks when you're just out for a good time and some dick picks a fight. This is part of the male experience that women don't have to face. Violence can be a very real part of our social lives whether we like it or not, and we're expected to participate and even like it. It's not all roses being a guy, but, of course, that won't matter on this site.

You compare the situation we're talking about to a bar?

Seriously?

(And that's before we get to comment 175.)

I find Rebecca Watson intellectually repugnant. I've listened to her mindless blather on SGU for years now and wish she'd just go away. Part of the problem with the skeptical movement is how willing we are to settle for mediocrity. Give her the mind of Eugenie Scott, say, and she'd be a rock star among atheists. But there's nothing interesting or original about Rebecca Watson. Imagine PZ devoting a thread to this whiner.

...So?

Your point is?

Threatening misogynist behavior is neither threatening nor misogynist if it's done to somebody stupid?

Or perhaps being a whiner is the Crime Of Crimes, whiners deserve everything that's done to them, for we are Klingons and our good name would be besmirched if we wouldn't panic at the existence of a whiner?

what if i were to blog about how fat chicks always try to seduce me.

fat chicks are just creepy.

chew on that.

Being fat is a creepy behavior now?

One new angle: I think this is a typical US 'problem', where suspicion of unknown people has almost reached the level of paranoia.

For good reason. Have you seen the rape statistics and the rape report statistics over there? Have you seen the rape apologists that infest the Internet?

Stef McGraw commented, to paraphrase, that if guys didn't proposition girls, the species would die out.

...which is... so stupid that it should be ridiculed in public.

OK, I have been asked to smile by many girls younger than me, older than me, and the same age as me. I never took it as being some type of sexual advance.

The incident Benson describes, the likes of which seem to be scarily common in parts of the USA and also occur elsewhere, wasn't a sexual advance. It was a statement of "all women must do in public what I want, they are background decoration put there for my enjoyment".

When you meeting someone's grandparents you may often shake the hand of the gentleman, and kiss the lady.

What, outside of France???

Over here it would be considered grossly inappropriate to kiss her, just in case you believed there were no cultural differences in such things.

For those who agree with Rebecca Watson that Elevator Guy's behaviour was creepy... can I get a consensus as to why? Explanations I've seen so far include:

1) RW was clearly tired, therefore any sort of advance (whether involving coffee or "coffee") was inappropriate.

2) EG asked when he and RW were alone in a confined space, which is a scary situation for the majority of women, therefore any advance was inappropriate.

3) EG's suggestion was that they go back to his room, which would have left them alone in a confined space - again, scary.

All of these.

Do you understand what's scary about the confined space?

4) EG was apparently making a sexual advance in a context (skeptics' meeting) that is supposed to be about minds not groins. If he'd actually been after a coffee then this would have been OK.

I wouldn't say that the fact that the meeting itself was about brains instead of groins means that nobody is allowed to think of sex – or indeed love – ever.

The coffee, on the other hand... how was RW supposed to figure out EG meant that literally, given the context (time of night, confined space, proposal of another confined space)?

(And, seriously, who offers coffee at 4 am? Did he believe she wanted to stay awake all night? And that at a conference, a situation when nobody gets enough sleep already?!?)

5) Since RW didn't know EG from Y-chromosome Adam, a sexual advance was inappropriate, and a non-sexual advance would have been poorly-timed.

Perhaps not if he had made more of an effort to appear harmless (time, confined space, yadda yadda).

(Obviously, all this assumes EG thought RW was single. He didn't ask about that.)

6) If EG couldn't tell whether RW was interested in him (which she evidently wasn't) then it was fundamentally inappropriate to make an advance.

[...]

I ask as a socially-oblivious guy who doesn't want to come across as unpleasant or creepy, but equally doesn't want to stay single his entire life because he failed to ask the right woman at the right time. In particular, option #6 would effectively remove me from the gene pool.

Asking is, of course, a way to find out if she's interested. But why ask straight away when you've only just run into her? (I'm slowly shifting the goalposts from "Rebecca Watson" to "the right woman for you" here.) Why not talk for longer, over days or weeks, so you get to know each other and can become friends? That way, both of you will be able to judge much better if you'd fit together...

And don't assume you're the one who has to take the initiative. She can do so as well.

inappropriate proposition = proposition that doesn't succeed.


Nope. Appropriate propositions don't necessarily succeed, and many inappropriate propositions have succeeded because one part (or both) felt pressured or threatened.

These atheist conferences sound pretty tame.
I've been to archaeology conferences where there was considerable heckling from the audience.
Session Chairs have cut mikes and told everyone to SHUT UP!

Awesome! We don't get that in vertebrate paleontology. :-)

As that notorious reactionary bigoted troglodyte Dan Savage has noted men are about ten times more likely to put ads out for kinky sex than women. Guys also tend to be far more into casual sex (see public bath house above).

That's because women would have to fear too much from that.

Unfortunately it does mean that I will never again be able to approach a woman that I don't already know.

Get to know them first. :-|

I'm married and I have sex with other guys all the time.

Well, most steady relationships are still monogamous, so I don't think it should be a default assumption that hitting on people known to be in such a relationship could have any chance of success.

If you (married) approach them (single), that's another matter.

If you are given a privilege to speak to an audience, don't talk about *your* petty problems.

Not even as examples of society-wide problems...?

true story: my female roommate said its okay if the guy's cute, but not so much if the guys old and/or ugly

What next? Do the lurkers support you in e-mail?

#605

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:50 PM

i dont see gender inequality as a broad topic at all. No, it's a case-by-case thing.
In all fairness, scientifically judging the data, it seems you are blind.
#606

Posted by: Marc Abian Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:50 PM

I must be the only one who isn't willing to give Elevator Guy the benefit of the doubt here. So he took no for an answer in the elevator, well give him a fucking medal! No on second thought maybe not. He could have just as easily realized that he didn't have time to subdue, strip and copulate with his chosen target before the elevator reached a floor with people and so chose to abort his planned rape once it was clear that she would not go willingly to the crime scene.

What an odd thing to say. Anyone could just have easily anything. You could have just as easily typed that while torturing someone chained to your wall. You're quite entitled not to give the benefit of the doubt, but that reasoning is strange.


Why (do you think Tom Johnson knew he was wrong but elevator guy didn't)?

Elevator guy's behaviour isn't terribly strange really. Lots of people are unaware of their privilege, and he would probably have to be aware of it to know that why Watson wouldn't like it. And even if he was aware of it usually, he was probably drunk and tired. Look at all the people showing up missing the point, asking if men are never allowed to talk to women any more, all seemingly oblivious to the problem.

In contrast, everyone with a functioning brain knows lying is wrong. The stigma of being a liar is so much stronger than the stigma of being a guy who made a woman uncomfortable.


#607

Posted by: Justicar Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:51 PM

#589:
Well, the statistical argument isn't one I was making; I was pointing out that the person making it failed at every turn. Particularly since the only rape incident I can find having happened in an elevator deals with a man being raped. So, the statistics do not favor the guy. Unless you're going to argue that it's impossible for a woman to commit rape, I'm not seeing a negative angle here.

"What I was arguing is that men have an advantage in dealing with women because women are inclined through socialization to be intimidated by men. From that idea elevator guy had advantages in his dealing with Rebecca Watson that were unfair."
Yes, they clearly had a tremendous power imbalance. This is why we're now discussing how she had no choice but to accompany him to his room. That some women might well be raised to think they're inferior to men is not an argument for me to treat them as such. They want to be seen as perfect equals; I grant that to them without any reservation. Part of being equal is using one's voice to say no, which Rebecca did in response to the guy using his voice to say fancy some coffee. That she's paranoid is her concern alone; there is no reason but through paranoia to think that everyone who dares express an interest in talking to her is trying to fuck her, rape her, dominate her, oppress her, subjugate her or be a dick.

Oddly enough, she wants to demand as though it's of right that people are only free to speak to her with advance permission if she's in that kind of mood. Fine. She can have it. No one is obliged to think this is the case; and if she's going to leave her room, she has to deal with people talking to her when she'd rather they not. Just like everyone else.

Much the same as when someone approaches me in a less than ideal situation, she declined the attention. Much like almost always is the case, that settles the issue. The difference is that I don't leave the parking lot or elevator thinking that person flirting with me was trying to subjugate half of the human race, be a dick, belittle me, insult my station in society, demean my intellect and reduce to me nothing more than a fuck toy. Let alone to rape me.

Then again, I'm not emotionally crippled and can handle the severe traumas of life incident to someone having the wherewithal to speak to me without my permission. And then to take no as answer. Guess that means I hate women, and will be trying to get them back in the kitchen next, huh?

#608

Posted by: Arkady Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:51 PM

Anecdote alert. For those who somehow don't get how threatening being propositioned when you have no means of escape is: I got propositioned by a taxi driver at 3AM once (while dressed as Harry Potter, but that's immaterial really). Any of you downplaying what this shit is like: have you ever had to psych yourself up to jump out of a moving car if the route suddenly deviates from where you're supposed to be going? When walking home alone at night, how many times have you tensed up muscles as someone walks up behind you, just in case you need to use what few self-defence techniques you know? Ever had a large group of men crack rape jokes in your direction as you walk home at night? (tho i should mention, after the taxi incident I still feel far safer walking).

As the taxi driver took no for an answer without any problem, I'm sure it probably never even crossed his mind how threatening his behaviour was. Same with the Elevator guy Rebecca Watson talked about.

Two nights ago, finishing in the lab at 1AM, I got stopped on my way home by someone asking directions. After I pointed him in the right direction, he started with the compliments and I moved off in the opposite direction, taking a route that was longer but slightly better lit and with more houses (he was probably fine, but I didn't feel able to take that risk). My after-dark walk home is a different route to the daylight one, based on the greater number of houses I could run to for help if I needed to.

In terms of general harrassment: I've had plenty of drunk guys try to grope or kiss me (does that count as 'sexual molestation' MichelleZB?), to the point where i actively dislike going to places where such assholes hang out, no matter how many friends I'm with. I can avoid some of the shit by dressing badly and not being too attractive, some of my better looking friends have it a lot worse.

#609

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:52 PM

The best part about this statement is that it was probably typed with a perfectly straight face and no concept of why it is funny.

I know. Sven is obviously not here. I could just feel that one going through him like a spear if he were.

Science, hard science... mmmmm....

#610

Posted by: tomh Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:53 PM

@ #562
He'll probably change it anyway, now that he's been informed that it's wrong and why.

A Pollyanish view of the world if ever there was one. Why would he change his behavior? He's probably got plenty of people, like the ones on this very thread, telling him he did nothing wrong. And do you really think this is the first time something like this has come up with this guy. Seems unlikely. Public (the tiny part of the public that follows these blogs, anyway) embarrasment seems appropriate.

there was nothing anonymous about it
I didn't mean she was anonymous, but that he is.

Tom Johnson surely must have known that bearing false witness was wrong. He doesn't get to be let off by his cluelessness.

You seem certain that this guy was clueless. I don't know why you think that since there is no evidence for it. I doubt he was clueless at all. It would be quite a coincidence if this were the very first time in his life he did something like this.

#611

Posted by: MichelleZB Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:54 PM

@ 575, Ing: Od Wet Rust

I seem to have made you very angry about something, but I am honestly not sure how. I wonder if I could ask you, if you have the patience, to clarify.

Somebody up the thread said that more or less all women experience sexual molestation. I contested that number, knowing that sexual abuse is tragically common, but wondering whether estimating that "more or less all" women experience it might be a bit of a high estimate.

Algernon then asked me if I knew any women who hadn't ever been groped, and of course I did, because I am one myself, and none of the women in my family or close circle of friends have, either. (I cannot speak for my wider social circle because it is very possible women I know less well have been sexually assaulted but just don't bring it up.) So, actually, I was surprised by the question, but after careful reading of this thread, and reading other women's experiences in particular, I came to the conclusion that my experience must not be typical.

I realized that people's differing reactions to this whole debacle may stem from their different experiences with sexual assault. Some people reacted with very strong vitriol, whereas I was initially much less concerned with Elevator Guy's behaviour. I started to think... was that only because of my experiences, which I'm beginning to realize are not typical? I think that might be a possibility.

I was certainly not trying to be "smug" or a "stick-in-the-ass, victim blaming fuck" as you suggest. I don't think when victims are assaulted that it is their fault, and I really don't think I implied that anywhere! Sexual assault is a really serious matter, and no-one asks to be assaulted.

But why do you say that I "move in and around the toilet bowl"? It's not my fault that I've never been assaulted, and I wasn't trying to lord it over anyone else, I was just trying to explain that that may have coloured my initial views in a way I didn't realize. Your language to me is really very insulting, but I am not sure what I said to inspire it. I have tried to be very fair and careful.

#612

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:56 PM

@Walton


"Er... no.

As the late Dame Rebecca West put it, feminism is the radical notion that women are people."


that may be her definition, i will not argue against that as it is irrelevent.


more often then not, feminism(feminine+ism) is used as a name for an ideology that considers women to be the BETTER people.


i feel "feminism" is an apt name for such a sexist ideology.


an ideology that considers males and females as equals does not reference either one in its name.


such a naming would be just retarded.


am i insinuating that the founders of the feminist movement were special needs persons?


anyone who disagrees with me is ignorant, insensitive, and needs to stfu.

#613

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 6:58 PM

Maybe you had trouble finding articles about rape of women because all of the results about women raped in hotels are porn.

Um... so we live in a rape culture, what else is new?

And yet sexual assault in an elevator:

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/03/07/brooklyn-suspects-accused-of-robbery-and-sexual-assault/

It was:
http://www.pajcic.com/2010/12/04/sexual-assault-in-hospital-elevator/

So easy to find.

There are more.

#615

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:02 PM

more often then not, feminism(feminine+ism) is used as a name for an ideology that considers women to be the BETTER people.

fjo ioij hbbbbto mnot p nhoa h hroeu?

I mean, since we're just making up words... why not?

#616

Posted by: Samantha Vimes Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:03 PM

Still okay to ask a woman to have sex hit you in the eyes with red pepper spray-- EVEN IN AN ELEVATOR AT 4AM

fify.

#617

Posted by: No More Mr. Nice Guy! Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:03 PM

Wow, 600+ comments and rapidly climbing, Richard Dawkins being a dick, all the big guns are out and firing on full auto - thank goodness we have no more pressing issues to talk about. My 2 cents are probably worth a lot less amidst all the noise, but here goes anyway.

Firstly, I don't understand why people are going, "OMG, the elevator thing happened in a foreign country, that makes it so much worse." In fact the US has a much higher incidence of rape than most countries, including Ireland.

Secondly, am I the only one who sees the irony? Rebecca Watson used her bully pulpit in a totally inappropriate way, attacking some who was sitting right there in the audience and couldn't defend herself. In effect, Stef became the woman trapped in the elevator.

#618

Posted by: Marc Abian Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:03 PM

Dianne #576

It wasn't an anonymous tip, Rebecca Watson made it.

Weed monkey #594

I know he was not been named. I was arguing with tomh who believes he should have been.

#619

Posted by: cicely (Inadvertent Phytocidal Maniac) Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:03 PM

At four in the morning, asking a person back to your hotel room, even if it is not meant as a come-on, is a come-on.

And stereotypically so: "Want to come up to my room and see my etchings?" Yeah, maybe he really is only seeking your opinions about his artwork...but you'd have to be just awfully naive to believe it.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that getting a woman alone to suggest a sexual liaison counts as a cultural convention, is sometimes used coercively ("Fuck or walk!"), and since the coercive types don't come conveniently labelled, wariness is a natural response, and the situation has to be considered potentially-pre-creeped from the woman's viewpoint. And if she had just publically discussed her views on the matter, it's hard to see how "merely clueless" can apply.

For cryin' out loud, it's another case of, "Good girls don't go into places like that", only with a frickin' elevator at 4:00 a.m. instead of a deserted street/wooded lot/rock concert/whatthefuckever! 'Cause I guarantee, the emergency stairs would not have been less potentially-pre-creepy.

Now, in order to prevent potential assault (since the wannabe rapists inconsiderately fail to hand out notices-of-intent, or paint themselves green, or something), we must learn to teleport?
-

The problem is men completely ignoring everything about the context of the request, the woman they're propositioning, and the effect the request will have on her.

THIS.
-

#620

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:07 PM

And stereotypically so: "Want to come up to my room and see my etchings?" Yeah, maybe he really is only seeking your opinions about his artwork...but you'd have to be just awfully naive to believe it.

That's a stereotypical come on? In hind sight a lot of disappointed dates makes sense now O-O

#621

Posted by: Larry Poppins Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:09 PM

@Marc Abain 606

My reasoning may sound strange, but I see no reason to think Elevator Guy was less likely to be executing a rape script than to be some clueless awkward lonely guy bumbling through an awkward conversation alone with a small tired woman far from home. In fact I think I have more reason to believe he was indeed planning to push the encounter as far as he could once he got her into his room than you do to suspect that I've spent the afternoon flaying the feet of the local ice-cream truck driver chained up in my garage.

#622

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:09 PM

By the way:

"She thought he was high, and she thought he was just trying to hit on her," so she dismissed the confrontation until news of the attack aired, Lieutenant Jeffrey Korczyk said."

This is from the last article I linked. The guy that eventually stabbed a woman in an elevator on her honeymoon was, in fact, a guy other women had blown off and given the benefit of the doubt to.

Poor men. Why can't they ever get a fare shake?

#623

Posted by: Andyo Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:11 PM

have you ever had to psych yourself up to jump out of a moving car if the route suddenly deviates from where you're supposed to be going?
No, but I have had the time asked from a guy with skin darker than me, on the street. We live in fear too, you know!

What a load of bullshit these dudes pretending men are as prone to being raped. I'm not kidding, I come from a severely underdeveloped country and the most I've had to fear on the street is getting my shoes stolen.

#624

Posted by: Forbidden Snowflake Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:12 PM

Justicar:

If that's your disposition with respect to the "statistical" argument made earlier, then it would seem the recent trend is still with males being the victim. That the assailant was male is immaterial with respect to the victim since it is the perspective of a would be victim for whom the statistical argument would be relevant.
Bullshit. Basically, what Andyo said. You try to define rape out of existence by examining an arbitrarily narrow set of circumstances and an arbitrarily short time period. You are not just wrong; you are being dishonest.
Of course, it's silly an example.
Minus the botched grammar, this is the only sensible thing you have said. Unfortunately, you followed it by...
But so is arguing that because it's general men who do the raping of women, the moment a strange man dares to speak to a woman, the woman should naturally be intimidated and in utter, sheer terror.
No, but the fact that men are generally the ones who rape women, and the fact that they do so alarmingly often, is reason for a woman to be concerned for her safety when faced with circumstances in which a man could rape her.

Of course, yours is a remarkably dishonest description of the events. This strange man didn't merely dare speak to a woman, he waited the whole evening to catch her alone in a closed space to proposition her.
Of course, you knew this, and deliberately chose to misrepresent the situation.

[more abuse of statistics deleted]

Sure, she didn't know his motives. Nor do I know the motives of everyone who approaches me. It's easily the case that one of them means to mug me. Should I therefore respond with "stranger danger" screaming and flailing when it happens?
You seem to be adamant to ignore the context. Why is that? Unless you are claiming that you wouldn't be fearful even of an armed stranger approaching you in a dark alley and asking for some change.
Elevator guy expressed interest and took the rebuff as settling the issue.
Elevator guy had hours to approach her in safer circumstances, yet he chose to wait her out until she was alone in a room she couldn't escape right away. What was she to make of his intentions?
Of course, I suppose to speak to the likes of a Delicate Rebecca Watson one should expect a written invitation beforehand.
Har-har, those silly little hysterical women, so fearful of being raped whenever a stranger tries to back them into a corner.
It's prudent to be aware of one's surroundings, and what's going on so as to exercise some caution.
Only apparently it's not. Not for Rebecca Watson, at least. Or would you just rather be appointed judge of what constitutes a legitimate fear for other people and what is 'hyperphobia"? Those irrational little rape-phobic women sure couldn't figure it out for themselves, you know?
men the world over are somehow now on notice that because of Rebecca Watson's rebuke, they are no longer allowed to speak to a woman. In public.
Once again, he had hours to speak to her 'in public'. He didn't. He waited until they were alone in a closed space, which, incidentally, is the opposite of 'in public'.

Why do you feel the need to lie about this situation so much?

Because apparently a well-lit crowded hotel is just dangerous as all hell.

He sure seemed to go out of his way to find the only non-crowded place in the hotel*. And of course, when a place is non-crowded, it doesn't help if it's well-lit.

What does the fact that you have to omit, distort and lie to defend your position tell you?

*I'm sure you will now shift the goalposts to claim that he was just shy to strike up a conversation in a crowded place.

#625

Posted by: Justicar Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:13 PM

#613:
Apparently, you don't read too well. Yes, there are more. There are even some back to the 1990s!

Your most recent case cited is in 2007. Mine is from 31 days ago. Do you think that time is unimportant in the evaluation of statistical models? Fuck, I bet if we go back far enough, we can find a trend to support anything. Let's not concern ourselves with current trends for current situations - no. Anything but that.

And I see that it took you like half an hour to dredge up those two. Grats.

Well-played!

#626

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawl8DyRzI1ES9G1fCrbvnL2SbMA8B0yeuNY Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:14 PM

Is this about misogyny or completely utterly desexualizing men in the skepticism movement in order to appease a man-hating hyperfeminist minority within a minority?

For all the brooha this 'story' has created, I would have thought that this poor guy had whipped out his PENIS and tried to rape her between the 8th and 12th floors.

In reality, he is just an awkward slob with a poor sense of timing.

He didn't:

touch her, be aggressive with her, verbally abuse her, etc.

he just made an offer and walked away peacefully when rebutted.

now the new priesthood of pz and rebecca watson might see this as anathema (ironically as would paul and mohamed - after all sex is so obviously dirty and evil!)

Yet another reason to avoid these atheist conferences.

Meet the new mullah, same as the old mullah.

#627

Posted by: Porco Dio Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:15 PM

Too bad my comment will get lost in the noise of this oversubscribed thread but here is my story anyway:

I live in Holland, a place where the type of genitalia you own does not infer some type of superiority or inferiority with respect to social interactions.

In my own social experiences, and always being in possession of a penis, I have often found myself on the receiving end of indecent proposals. These have come often times by men but more often by women.

Just as Rebecca feels uncomfortable being propositioned in an elevator in the small hours so do I. I do not really welcome any woman coming on to me but this is a fact of life. It will, and does happen.

Why do I not cry sexism? Because this is a fact of life. I disagree with women who think that an unwelcome sexual come-on has something to do with misogyny just as I don't accuse a woman who comes on to me of misandry.

These silly accusations by "feminists" are counter-productive to their cause and the help maintain that there is a difference between labia and testes.

#628

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:15 PM

@Algernon, The Ugly Other

"The guy that eventually stabbed a woman in an elevator on her honeymoon was, in fact, a guy other women had blown off and given the benefit of the doubt to. Poor men. Why can't they ever get a fare shake?"


it's because their penises are filled with evil.



i assume he stabbed her to death with his evil filled and engourged penis, you didn't say.




anyone who disagrees with me is ignorant, insensitive, and needs to stfu.

#629

Posted by: Dhorvath, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:15 PM

Scented Nectar,

If anything, that's rather tasteful to ask in private as opposed to doing it where others might hear, and where she'd have to answer in front of others.

If such is the case then you are clear that he was asking about more than coffee, yes?
___

Greg B,
I am not saying that it's his fault that she feels uncomfortable with elevator propositions. I am saying it's something that he should reasonably have extrapolated from her talks earlier that day, and that doing so with the intro he used indicates that he knew his asking was likely to step over reasonable bounds. In any event, having done so, I can only assume that he has subsequently read about her reaction and I can hope that is the last time he thinks to do something like that. For now I am just hoping another guy or two gets it and doesn't put another woman in similar situations. Creepy behaviour is creepy, don't do it.
___

Ing,

Maybe if you're lucky one day they'll fix your bugs and you'll be an Out-of-Beta male

That was choice.

#630

Posted by: Caine, ghetto féministe Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:15 PM

Arkady:

have you ever had to psych yourself up to jump out of a moving car if the route suddenly deviates from where you're supposed to be going?

Oh yes. Went out of a car doing 60mph on a freeway on ramp to avoid rape and murder. (The driver politely informed me of what he had planned). That was not fun.

When walking home alone at night, how many times have you tensed up muscles as someone walks up behind you, just in case you need to use what few self-defence techniques you know?

Constantly, when I lived in a city.

Ever had a large group of men crack rape jokes in your direction as you walk home at night?

Unfortunately, yes.

As for elevators, I won't get on one if it will be just me and a man.

#631

Posted by: ted Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:16 PM

Secondly, am I the only one who sees the irony? Rebecca Watson used her bully pulpit in a totally inappropriate way, attacking some who was sitting right there in the audience and couldn't defend herself. In effect, Stef became the woman trapped in the elevator.

So the elevator is a bad place to be only if it is used as a metaphor for having your opinion challenged in public.

#632

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:17 PM

Yet another reason to avoid these atheist conferences.

Meet the new mullah, same as the old mullah.

Well I was going to correct you but clearly we both got what we wanted!

#633

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:19 PM

it's because their penises are filled with evil.

i assume he stabbed her to death with his evil filled and engourged penis, you didn't say.

No, with a knife... as a part of the sexual assault.

Idiot.

#634

Posted by: Scented Nectar Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:19 PM

Giliell wrote:

Just name your number and then we can just copy-paste the above.
Or somebody can. I'm going to bed.
Huh? Number of what? I don't know what the fuck you're talking about here.

Daz wrote:
I feel glad for you that you've so obviously never been in a situation where you you worried, however slightly, about someone's intent toward you, and could see no easy means of escape. Must be wonderful. 'Creepy' and 'scary' are very apt words for the situation.
I have worried, but only when a guy does NOT take no for an answer. The type that says oh come on, give him a try anyways, how do you know you're not attracted to me until you try me out, etc. You see, I prefer to be honest and tell men who I'm not aroused by, just that. That I'm not attracted to them physically. I often will also thank them for the offer though and let them know that if I had felt that way, I'd have taken them up on it. Usually, this is the least awkward thing, and I'm able to be very comfortable around them in the future, friends even.

However, the type that DO try to argue it after being declined (and I have met a couple), those I sternly tell them not to tell me what I feel, and that I know for sure that I'm not attracted to them, etc. Of course, if they keep arguing after that, then I usually get quite pissed off, and I also tell that it's a good thing I DIDN'T go out with them, since I consider that a dangerous sign if they do that shit of not taking my no for an answer. So, in case anyone thinks I'm just flakily saying there's never any danger signs, I'm not. I just don't agree that a cordial offer with a completely accepted decline is one of them.

MichelleZB wrote:
Woah, there... more or less all women experience sexual molestation?! That isn't true.
Not only that, but the old '1 in 4' stat has been debunked. It was the result of an old MS Magazine survey decades ago. They did a survey of some college women and counted as rape, things like consensual sex that was after drinking (not unconscious, just regular drinking) and which was was regretted the next day, and there was also sex that was somehow called rape even though the 'victim' said they didn't even feel victimized at all, much less raped or assaulted, stuff like that. This was not any sort of proper study, by a proper research dept, using proper methodology, etc, yet everyone accepts the old '1 in 4' stat like it's a solid fact.

One of the google accounts wrote:
So we can't apply skepticism to gender issues & feminism?
Absolutely not. No Scrutiny Allowed! You must accept all claims of sexism and all it's attendant ideology of faith and without question. If you need help, listen to a large helping of anecdotes, emotional appeal and stats pulled out of asses. Oh yeah, never, ever question a feminist claim as to the source of their numbers. Not unless you like really wild goose chases, or like having to ask a dozen times before they admit they don't know where they're from, but they're right anyways, dammit! :D

#635

Posted by: Caine, ghetto féministe Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:20 PM

Porco Dio:

Why do I not cry sexism? Because this is a fact of life.

It's a fact of life which can easily change, if people are made aware of effects and educated. If everyone keeps their mouth shut, then nothing will change.

Part of being human is learning and growing. That's a fact of life too.

#636

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawl8DyRzI1ES9G1fCrbvnL2SbMA8B0yeuNY Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:20 PM

All this blog thread has convinced me of is to avoid atheist meetings and conferences at all costs. Your all a bunch of nitpicking crazies!

#637

Posted by: RahXephon, un féminist sur la branche Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:20 PM

@ Forbidden Snowflake

Thanks! I had actually been trying to formulate a response to Justicar for about ten minutes and then saw yours. Justicar's version of events seemed so distorted I wondered if the article had taken a detour through a black hole on the way there.

#638

Posted by: Andyo Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:21 PM

Justicar:

Well, the statistical argument isn't one I was making; I was pointing out that the person making it failed at every turn. Particularly since the only rape incident I can find having happened in an elevator deals with a man being raped. So, the statistics do not favor the guy. Unless you're going to argue that it's impossible for a woman to commit rape, I'm not seeing a negative angle here.

Go read something (anything) about statistics. One anecdote is not data, and does not refute other statistics at all.

And why are you looking for "statistics" on elevator rape anyway? The question is simple. Are women more statistically likely to get raped by men, or vice versa? Why don't you answer that obvious question honestly?

#639

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:22 PM

All this blog thread has convinced me of is to avoid atheist meetings and conferences at all costs. Your all a bunch of nitpicking crazies!

YAY! We can use the elevator after all!!!!

#640

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:22 PM

All this blog thread has convinced me of is to avoid atheist meetings and conferences at all costs. Your all a bunch of nitpicking crazies!


*Hangs "Mission Accomplished banner*

#641

Posted by: Walton, Marquis of Carabas Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:23 PM

more often then not, feminism(feminine+ism) is used as a name for an ideology that considers women to be the BETTER people.

Spoken like... someone who's never met an actual feminist. :-/

#642

Posted by: Larry Poppins Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:24 PM

No More Mr. Nice Guy

Firstly, I don't understand why people are going, "OMG, the elevator thing happened in a foreign country, that makes it so much worse." In fact the US has a much higher incidence of rape than most countries, including Ireland. Secondly, am I the only one who sees the irony? Rebecca Watson used her bully pulpit in a totally inappropriate way, attacking some who was sitting right there in the audience and couldn't defend herself. In effect, Stef became the woman trapped in the elevator.

Firstly, being in a foreign country and a different time zone can be disorienting and make Americans feel less safe, even if those countries are statistically safer than the US. And who thinks of the prevalence of incidence of rape alone in an elevator with a big creepy guy who has been watching you for hours in a bar and knows you're exhausted?

And secondly, yes, you are the only one who sees the irony since the situations are in no way similar. Or wait, was Watson's rebuke delivered in a hotel?

#643

Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawl8DyRzI1ES9G1fCrbvnL2SbMA8B0yeuNY Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:25 PM

@639 and @640

Considering that this is the first time I've ever posted in here, celebrating turning off a fellow atheist to skepticism shouldn't be a goal. But of course, blog trolls will be blog trolls.

#644

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:26 PM

Considering that this is the first time I've ever posted in here, celebrating turning off a fellow atheist to skepticism shouldn't be a goal. But of course, blog trolls will be blog trolls.

Remember how people always say moderate Christians and the like should do more to address Pat Robertson and assholes like that and distance themselves?

Jog on, Pat! *raspberry*

#645

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:27 PM

@Algernon, The Ugly Other

"No, with a knife... as a part of the sexual assault."


was there forensic evidence to support this "knife theory"?


how do we know it wasn't the demons that spewed forth within his ejaculate that killed her.


in that case he could be exonorated for the murder, but not the rape.


because that's just plain sexy.


what?


anyone who disagrees with me is ignorant, insensitive, and needs to stfu.

#646

Posted by: plien Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:27 PM

Porco Dio, you're not the only Dutch person here, i'm one as well. Please check out my comments @ #478 and later.

And yes, i'm well aware that the Netherlands have been ranked as the best country to be born a woman by the UN

#647

Posted by: Andyo Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:27 PM

turning off a fellow atheist to skepticism

Atheism: ur doing it wrong.

Is there anything that these guys r doing rite?

#648

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:28 PM

WTF fundip? You don't even make sense, insipid copy pasta troll.

#649

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:30 PM

Is there anything that these guys r doing rite?

No, they're not even good trolls. It's kind of sad.

#650

Posted by: Porco Dio Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:31 PM

"anyone who disagrees with me is ignorant, insensitive, and needs to stfu."

Congratulations on your quality discourse and maturity.

#651

Posted by: RahXephon, un féminist sur la branche Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:31 PM

@Algernon

I don't think fundipshit is actually a person, I think someone just scraped all their previous failures into a big pile and gave it a screen name.

#652

Posted by: Caine, ghetto féministe Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:32 PM

Googlemess:

Your all a bunch of nitpicking crazies!

That should be You're. Somehow, I don't think your presence will be missed.

Scented Nectar, I see you're still full of mass amounts of bullshit. You'd do everyone a great favour if you'd just shut up, as your faux-feminism does much more harm than good.

#653

Posted by: Dhorvath, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:32 PM

Googlemess,
Because we wanted your fellowship? I don't quite follow you, we want more people to act towards a better society, not more people to denounce religion and deities. Right now your actions are hurting our goals.

#654

Posted by: John Morales Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:34 PM

[meta]

Richard Dawkins: WTF!

No I wasn't making that argument.

You mightn't have intended it thus, but yes, that's exactly what you did.

Your denial is futile, and if not disingenuous evinces a blind spot.

#655

Posted by: Brother Ogvorbis, Emperor of Steam and Fire, Penseur Extrémistes Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:35 PM

Ditch the feminism and you can still condemn actual acts of sexism.

Then again, without feminism, would we even recognize sexism as an extant issue? I seriously doubt that sexism was an issue in Angevin England, or in Charlemagne's time.

#656

Posted by: RahXephon, un féminist sur la branche Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:37 PM

@ Ogvorbis

I was thinking about that comment for awhile, and I think what he's saying is that we can still do all the things that feminism does, he just doesn't want to call it feminism because feminists are mean. Or something. So basically a tone troll.

#657

Posted by: Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjectives Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:37 PM

Secondly, am I the only one who sees the irony? Rebecca Watson used her bully pulpit in a totally inappropriate way, attacking some who was sitting right there in the audience and couldn't defend herself. In effect, Stef became the woman trapped in the elevator.

Oh hell no. words are not fists. Disagreeing using words is not anywhere in the same universe as a physical threat. And Stef could have jumped up right there and complained. She could have gotten up during the Q&A. She could have asked whoever was in charge of the meeting to squeeze in a few minutes for her to give a rebuttal. It is not the same thing at all.

#658

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:40 PM

i love potatoes

#659

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:41 PM

@Fundip

Carry on yonder spud fucker!

#660

Posted by: Algernon, elle sans chapeau Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:42 PM

i love potatoes

Your discourse has a lot in common with them. You should be flattered!

#661

Posted by: Brother Ogvorbis, Emperor of Steam and Fire, Penseur Extrémistes Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:43 PM

i love potatoes

Do they feed your sense of intellectual superiority?

#662

Posted by: No More Mr. Nice Guy! Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:44 PM

@642


And secondly, yes, you are the only one who sees the irony since the situations are in no way similar. Or wait, was Watson's rebuke delivered in a hotel?

Of course they are similar. Rebecca found herself in an uncomfortable position from which she couldn't escape. She went on to place another woman in an uncomfortable position from which she couldn't escape.

#663

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:44 PM

I think he HAS EYES for them!

#664

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:45 PM

can we hit 1,000 posts before 9 pm?

#665

Posted by: imokyrok Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:45 PM

In my younger days I had my share of unpleasant experiences with unwanted male advances. But they usually involved persistent harassment and or groping before I'd go of the deep end. I really fail to see why anyone would get so hysterical about such an ordinary proposition. Good thing all women are not so disturbed and intimidated about every advance or the population would die out. Maybe the woman has had a bad experience in the past which leads to such over reactions and if so she has my sympathy but as far as I can see the young man in question really has nothing to apologise for. He was just being a guy hitting on a girl who said no and he accepted that. I wish some of the guys who propositioned me in my twenties were as well behaved.

#666

Posted by: Brother Ogvorbis, Emperor of Steam and Fire, Penseur Extrémistes Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:46 PM

i love potatoes

Do they feed your sense of intellectual superiority?

#667

Posted by: Andyo Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:47 PM

Meh, this thread has taken enough of my daytime. Shit Costco must be packed, I must buy my month's worth of chicken. Laters haters.

#668

Posted by: Justicar Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:49 PM

Forbidden Snowflake:
No, you're just a fucking idiot. If you want to use statistics from 5 to 10 years ago when statistics are available for this year as a way of modeling this year's trends, you're welcome to do it. It's just idiotic to do. Moreover, I was explicit in my point that the statistical argument some assclown put up fails in this case. Assclown was arguing that statistically speaking, a woman would be justified in immediately thinking, essentially, rapist. This fails. For one, very few rapes happen in elevators. In the last year, I found only one case, and it was a male victim, so it fails there. Plus, it's in a crowded hotel during a packed, international affair. Further, it's a stranger, which is the least common form of rape incidents. All in all, the statistical "good reasons" don't hold up to scrutiny.

Next up: there is no grammar error in that phrase. Thank you for trying.

Men are raping women alarmingly often? Phew, I guess we can consider ourselves lucky Rebecca and all the other women weren't raped by this guy. What with the alarming rate being that high, it's inconceivable she escaped. Yes, rapes happen. Usually by people known to the victim. And not usually in crowded hotels with hundreds of potential witnesses on CCTV.

A armed stranger approaching me in a dark alley is a different animal. This is the preferred situation for muggings, which distinguishes it from the well-lit elevator on camera around hundreds of potential witnesses situation. See? There's a non-trivial difference there.

Yes, the elevator guy waited to approach her in a well-lit room with cameras monitoring the entrance, exit and I'm not sure about the interior. A reclusive place around only hundreds of other potential witnesses should he have tried to rape her. Add to the fact that when she said no, he apparently immediately ceased any attempt at "coffee". Yes, I can't tell you how many rapes happen fitting this scenario.

She's perfectly entitled to walk through her life in fear, as I've said. However, that doesn't impose a burden on the rest of us to account for the fact she's an emotional cripple. Simply being in a room with a man who dares to speak to her is apparently enough for blue bippy level discomfort and fear. Fine. Don't want to be around people who might dare to speak to you? Stay home. Or deal with the fact that people might deign to speak to you without a formal invitation so to do. (You probably think that's grammatically troublesome too)

Yeah, and not taking advantage of those hours he had available to speak to her naturally sets up a rule that he's forever barred from deciding to speak to her. After all, men are simple creatures and once they've decided not to say something, they're forever bound in that vow of silence.

He went out of his way to find a non-crowded place? Yeah. All the way to elevator connecting their respective floors. On camera. Around hundreds of people during an international conference. Yeah, that's practically waiting in a dark parking garage by her car.

I've never tried to imply he's shy. Indeed, I haven't spoken to his motivations at all such that I can tell. Unlike you, I don't need to pretend to read people's minds. I'm perfectly satisfied to evaluate what happened in light of, you know, what evidently did happen. He asked for coffee in his room (without begging her permission to speak first one notes). She declined. He took no for an answer. Fucking dick he is!

#669

Posted by: Dianne Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:49 PM

She went on to place another woman in an uncomfortable position from which she couldn't escape.

Does Watson lock the doors before delivering lectures? Is criticizing someone-not even criticizing someone but responding to someone's criticism-the equivalent of propositioning them while they're physically trapped? Why couldn't McGraw escape or, better yet, respond to Watson's response in the q and a session?

Not all uncomfortable positions are created equally.

#670

Posted by: David Marjanović Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:51 PM

Firstly, I don't understand why people are going, "OMG, the elevator thing happened in a foreign country, that makes it so much worse." In fact the US has a much higher incidence of rape than most countries, including Ireland.

Foreign to her. She was far away from home and from most of her support – her husband, most of her friends, and so on.

Why do I not cry sexism? Because this is a fact of life. I disagree with women who think that an unwelcome sexual come-on has something to do with misogyny just as I don't accuse a woman who comes on to me of misandry.

Have you read the post?

It wasn't merely an unwelcome sexual come-on. It wasn't "nice shoes, wanna fuck?" in a bar. It was an unwelcome sexual come-on at 4 am in an elevator and consisted of an invitation to the guy's hotel room, and that after Watson had given a talk about just this creepy behavior and the guy was apparently in the audience.

Plus, Watson is on the short side, shorter than most women, let alone than almost all men. It really can't be difficult to make her feel threatened.

How much more often does this need to be repeated!?!

All this blog thread has convinced me of is to avoid atheist meetings and conferences at all costs. Your all a bunch of nitpicking crazies!

We're so going to miss you.

#671

Posted by: Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjectives Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:51 PM

I'm desperately hoping that it wasn't the real Dawkins up there, but every other post made by Richard Dawkins here has been the real one, so I have no confidence that it isn't.

#672

Posted by: Larry Poppins Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:51 PM

@642

*facepalm*

You're saying that the threat of rape is uncomfortable just like being called out for getting it wrong on the internet.

See Carlie at #657 for a clue

#673

Posted by: Brother Ogvorbis, Emperor of Steam and Fire, Penseur Extrémistes Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:52 PM

I really fail to see why anyone would get so hysterical about such an ordinary proposition

Other than apologists such as yourself, who here has written that she was hysterical? In a talk, she spoke on endemic and unconscious sexism in modern civilization and then illustrated it with a personal anecdote about an incident that made her uncomfortable, even though the male in question probably did not even realize that the manner and location of the proposition made her uncomfortable. Please read for comprehension.

#674

Posted by: Dhorvath, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:52 PM

Yes, they clearly had a tremendous power imbalance. This is why we're now discussing how she had no choice but to accompany him to his room.
Gads you are stretching. He made her uncomfortable by trading on culural ideas that neither of them is responsible for creating. She shouldn't have to push away unwelcome behaviour, and he didn't have to approach her.
That some women might well be raised to think they're inferior to men is not an argument for me to treat them as such.
I said feel intimidated, not feel inferior. Pretending that intimidation doesn't exist will not fix it.
#675

Posted by: Justicar Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:53 PM

Anyo:
I don't need to read a book on statistics as I wasn't making a statistical argument. I was deriding someone else for making it. She said there were good "statistical" reasons for Rebecca Watson to be in actual fear of being raped in that elevator.

So, I looked up elevator rapes. As I thought, not that many happen. The only one I can find in the last year after a quick search was in June. To a guy. Before that, it was 2007, and 2004 before that and 2000 before that. So, keeping on track, we're not due another elevator rape for a couple of more years. But none of that is necessary as I wasn't actually making a genuine argument - I was lambasting someone's stupid argument.

Your inability to follow a conversation doesn't actually change what the conversation was.

#676

Posted by: Andyo Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:55 PM

Justicar,

You need to understand statistics to see that one anecdote does not negate statistics.

And you need to understand statistics to see that adding "elevator" is not relevant to the case.

In short, you need to understand statistics to see that your argument is seen as very stupid by people who understand statistics.

#677

Posted by: Dianne Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:57 PM

So, I looked up elevator rapes.

Where? What's your source for the claim that there was one in the last year?

#678

Posted by: Dhorvath, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:57 PM

Good thing all women are not so disturbed and intimidated about every advance or the population would die out.
This is bullshit. Populations will survive just fine without pick up lines delivered to unwelcome co-denizens of public transport devices.
#679

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 7:59 PM

@Dhorvath

But then how will the Betamales get their genes passed on!?

#680

Posted by: The Captain Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:00 PM

I have lost pretty much all respect for Rebecca because of this whole mess, that she has created. Rebecca needs to grow up and realize that not everyone acts exactly as she wants them to, and thinks exactly as she wants them to. She has acted like a spoiled baby who thinks she, and only she has the right to tell everyone how they should act and what they should think, and if you disagree, or have different social norms you should pay for it by an internet PC lynch mob she leads.

Sorry Rebecca... people are different, grow up and deal with it.

#681

Posted by: Dhorvath, OM Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:00 PM

Err, 'without unwelcome pick up lines delivered to co-denizens of public transport devices.'

#682

Posted by: Amphigorey Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:00 PM

Carly #671 - A commenter at Blaghag pointed out that this "Richard Dawkins" used a Moveable Type account, while all the previous comments from Richard Dawkins have not.

That gives me hope that we have, in fact, all been trolled. I do hope PZ finds time to weigh in on the matter.

#683

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:02 PM

@Captain

You're a deplorable shit stain whose mother should have coat hangered him and plopped him down the nearest Port-a-John

Remember, people are just different and don't act as you want.

#684

Posted by: The Captain Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:04 PM

@: Ing: Od Wet Rust

Yes, and guess what.. you don't "offend me" because I'm and adult.

#685

Posted by: imokyrok Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:04 PM

@673

I don't see anything sexist about that incident. It was perfectly normal interaction between two young people. Absolutely nothing occurred that should have anyone reaching for their pearls to clutch. I'm glad I didn't bother with that conference. I live in Dublin but all you yanks are such feckin drama queens I knew it would be more irritating than fun.

#686

Posted by: Porco Dio Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:05 PM

@plein

Your post 478 was as incoherent as it was stupid.

Also, read my post again, I am not dutch and am glad I am not.

There are many different nationalities I would be proud to call myself but dutch is not one of them.

And will never be, ever.

#687

Posted by: Caine, ghetto féministe Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:05 PM

imokayyrok:

I have news for you, "I'm okay" - you are not okay.

I really fail to see why anyone would get so hysterical about such an ordinary proposition. Good thing all women are not so disturbed and intimidated about every advance or the population would die out.

Let's look at those key words, shall we? There speaks a serious creep. Certain types of people are very fond of assigning words such as hysterical and disturbed to women, no matter the situation, because it allows them to avoid actually having to think of a woman as a full, equal human beings capable of thought and intelligence.

You're consigning women to the less than human category. For shame.

As for your little bit of idiocy at the end, it screams "all you bitches should know your place, get on your back and fuck, it's all you're good for anyway."

Do us all a favour and shut. the. fuck. up. You aren't helping.

#688

Posted by: The Captain Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:06 PM

Opps typo.. should be "an". I'll blame that on the scotch.

#689

Posted by: ted Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:06 PM

The lesson learned from these comments:

Men at atheist conferences have no responsibility for their actions. Women should use their psychic powers to know that the man is harmless should he proposition her.

Any situation that might appear threatening is not actually threatening if the statistics are low enough. All human beings act in strict accordance to statistics at all times. To think otherwise is paranoid.

If a woman makes it known that she is definitely NOT there to find a date, she is lying. Get her alone and just ask for coffee. You never know!

It is impossible for a man to seem threatening to a woman unless he pulls out his dick or accosts her. Any other action is innocent fun. Women who disagree are unfairly asking men to be celebrate for the rest of their lives.

#690

Posted by: Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjectives Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:06 PM

Amphigorey - I certainly hope so. Although Dawkins has had a tin ear on defending women, these comments were particularly bad (as opposed to clueless, which his other comments have been).

#691

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:08 PM

Opps typo.. should be "an". I'll blame that on the scotch


Ooooooooooh what a shock

#692

Posted by: ted Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:08 PM

celebrate = celibate. Sorry, typo. Multi-tasking.

#693

Posted by: Justicar Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:08 PM

Andyo, yes, the scene where one is relevant to examining the situation. You see, in mathematics, we like to compare like with like, starting from a place of commonality and then working towards the unknown. We start by changing out as many variables as possible.

The frequency that rapes happen in elevators is relevant in a conversation where one argues that there's a statistical likelihood, x, of being raped by that guy in that elevator. To magic away the elevator is to change the scene, which would require comparing the new scene with other scenes to see what the data look like there.

This isn't even a matter of understanding statistics. This is a matter of understanding the difficult concept of like being compared with like.

Again, since you're slow, I wasn't making a statistic argument. I. was. ridiculing. a. stupid. statistical. argument. made. by. someone. whose. name. isn't. justicar. Do keep up, dipshit.

#694

Posted by: Andyo Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:08 PM

Posted by: Dianne

So, I looked up elevator rapes.

Where? What's your source for the claim that there was one in the last year?

He linked to a news source, but does it matter? He's either completely dishonest, or the biggest case of Dunning-Kruger in... well, this thread. To be honest Dunning-Krugers are pretty common around here.

#695

Posted by: Scented Nectar Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:11 PM

Dianne wrote:

Richard has been known to pull some pretty rank ones where sexism is concerned, but I hope that if it really were Richard the rant would at least be better written.
Seriously? I found that letter to Muslima almost poetic. Very moving at the same time as having a very important point.

Dhorvath wrote:
If such is the case then you are clear that he was asking about more than coffee, yes?
Maybe. I'd even say it was likely he was hoping that it would turn sexual, but so what? And if she had gone there for coffee, then said no to sex while in the room, would he have for sure raped her? Not necessarily, although it is riskier to be alone in a hotel room with a stranger than an elevator that almost certainly has hotel security cameras. Much is being assumed about Elevator Guy's intentions.

#696

Posted by: matthone11 Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:11 PM

It definitely shouldn't have been done in an elevator.

But if we hated all men (and hating men is so damn popular on this blog) for asking out women, we'd die off as a species. I'd like things to be equal as to who makes the first move in a relationship, but in our society the onus does still largely fall on the man. Asking a girl out (or to your room) isn't a crime. He shouldn't, for courtesy's sake, have done it in an elevator, but come on. I really think this is more about attention seeking than it is about feminism.

#697

Posted by: Andyo Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:12 PM

Justicar,

You see, in mathematics, we like
LOL.

That's it.

#698

Posted by: Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjectives Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:13 PM

The frequency that rapes happen in elevators is relevant in a conversation where one argues that there's a statistical likelihood, x, of being raped by that guy in that elevator.

You fucking idiot. The comparison is the likelihood of being raped by someone in a place where it is difficult to get away. And it doesn't have to be a rape - he could have grabbed her by the wrist, slapped her on the face, etc. The point is that being alone in a place you can't get out of with someone bigger than you who is actively hitting on you is generally seen as an unsafe situation. Sheesh.

#699

Posted by: Brother Ogvorbis, Emperor of Steam and Fire, Penseur Extrémistes Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:13 PM

So, I looked up elevator rapes.

I would suspect (no numbers to back this up) that rapes in elevators would be quite rare. However, rapes in which the victim is first approached or accosted within the elevator, but the assault actually happens somewhere else, would, most likely, be more common. Unless you can actually show me some numbers for the latter, I fail to see that the has contributed anything to the discussion.

#700

Posted by: Forbidden Snowflake Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:13 PM

Justicar:

so, when you want to claim, through hare-brained statistical analysis, that rape was unlikely, you characterize it as "happening in an elevator" in order to discount other rapes.

When you want to claim the possibility of rape was remote because the exchange happened in an oh-so-public place, you characterize it as "happening in a hotel".

I wonder why that is.

#701

Posted by: maxamillion Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:14 PM

@HappiestSadist #295


I can't help but wonder how many of the guys who seem to think RW was some kind of castrating she-devil for not accepting Elevator Guy's advance

Well up to post #295 I haven't seen anyone suggest this, so it's all in your imagination.
with a charming titter

If we are to believe the headlines and offer was made and declined.

also think those "don't be anywhere enclosed with a stranger or it's YOUR FAULT FOR RAPE" advice forwards are totally reasonable.

Well rape is not acceptable and no one has suggested that it is acceptable. So just more fantasy.

You do realise that Elevators are fitted with alarms?

#702

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:15 PM

But if we hated all men (and hating men is so damn popular on this blog) for asking out women, we'd die off as a species.

This is repeated so often? What the hell? I half expect that to be followed by "Would you kindly?"

#703

Posted by: imokyrok Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:16 PM

@ caine I am a woman you ejit. And as feisty a feminist as you're likely to meet. The man did nothing wrong. She over reacted to perfectly normal male/female tentative interactive behaviour. I'm 5ft 2ins and would not have found that situation intimidating in the least.

#704

Posted by: abb3w Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:17 PM

...sorry, PZ, I have to disagree that being able to make a request automatically indicates lower status. Now, the degree of presumption in the request or the elements of it may convey that; but a request may also be made as a plea to a social superior, or for that matter as a (...er...) solicitation of a peer.

I would also call out PZ for a possible overlooking a different aspect of his own position of social privilege - not as a male, but among the married. Of course, it may be my jealousy as someone who has thus far been rather less successful in finding a mutually satisfactory relationship. However, (I presume based from the age of his daughter) it has been several decades since he was directly involved in trying to initiate a new such relationship, and the conventions have become less structured and more varied since then. Perhaps even before that his animal magnetism was such that no signal he ever made was ever declined; that every woman he ever asked to dinner or a movie said "yes"; that every kiss he ever offered was reciprocated with enthusiasm. If so, his department should immediately cage him for study, as such responsiveness is unprecedented in the world of biology. If (as I presume) not, then he should realize that he too has been guilty of applying some iota of unwanted pressure at some point in his life. The difference between presenting an unwelcome request for a date and less formal propositions is quantitative, not qualitative. As such, a categoric denunciation seems as foolish as any blind religious tenet of faith.


Mind you, I don't consider that the ladies' responses PZ discussed are in either sense untoward, nor generally his support of their responses. Public humiliation (even by name) is one of the risks inherent to asking for a date or making a pass; the prospect for edification of others by example would seem to increase the merits of doing so. Outright violence would have seemed disproportionate and escalatory, but even that would merely raise my eyebrow slightly. On the other tentacle, I think there's a nuance Ms. Watson overlooked.

Skipping a computation theory digression for why it's probably inherent, the underlying problem is that human social signals are indirect, contextual, and ambiguous. Of note in this particular case, a lot of mainstream social sexuality is still highly euphematized. Expressing an interest in wanting to go to bed can indicate an interest in sleep, but can also be used to signal interesting recreational endorphin stimulation. Misinterpretation may be more common by the stupid, but only an Oracle (in the computation theory sense) is immune.

There are some conventions that can be used to give secondary cues and context. (Trivial example: a wedding ring; and more nuanced variants exist.) But such cues are again imperfect. This means that all such communication involves non-zero probability of misreading the signals; and that frequently there will be "mixed signals", whether accidental or reflecting actual ambiguity.

Furthermore, from the (yes, privileged) male standpoint, there are hazards/demerits to being overly and being insufficiently forward. The overly insensitive male is likely to make far more passes than is warranted, but receives feedback (hysterical laughter, public ridicule, a slap to the face, mace to the eyes) to reduce the degree of forwardness. Contrariwise and howsoever rare the critter, the overly deferential male is also likely to receive forms of negative feedback ("oh, I thought you weren't interested...") that effect to discourage that degree of deference.

(As an aside, some personal incidents leave some of my perspective potentially more subjective than objective. So, yes, I may be semi-blinded by bitterness. However, being told later that "you should have shut up and tore my clothes off" would seem an existence proof that excessive caution in interpreting signals is possible.)

Were the social signals less ambiguous, the social rituals more formalized, and the social protocols more universal, the chances of miscommunication would be lower. This, incidentally, is one of the advantages that religion has. Traditionally long established religions include process for person A to be introduced to potentially suitable person B, and a clearly defined set of stages that lead up to initiation of recreational endorphin stimulation (which also include institutions for dealing with potential consequences), that have been worn smooth(ish) by time. Contrariwise, the allowable scope of sanctioned negotiations is a bit more restricted. In contrast, contemporary secular humanism and the "New Atheist" movement does not seem to have such a set of institutions. The sexual revolution that began in the 1920s with the rough spots of the old institutions jumping the old riverbed now leave the flow with no clear track to follow, and more than a few unpolished rough spots in the way. No doubt new protocols will evolve in time (presuming we're not stupid enough to achieve societal extinction). Without assertion as to it being good or bad, there is greater liberty in the scope of the negotiations, and the meta-negotiation of how to negotiate is in new social evolutionary territory.

However, dominant social convention still has the man more often responsible for making the advances for initiating recreational endorphin stimulation... in both communities.


As a minor addendum, I'd also note that there have been some empirical studies that suggest a spectrum runs from full blown autism, to low-spectrum "Apsergers", to "Normalcy", to marginal and then full blown schizophrenia; that at the autistic end, people are insensitive to notions of purpose in behavior, while at the schizophrenic end of things purpose is inferred even in the random; that those at the false-positive purpose end are more likely to end up religious, while those at the false-negative purpose end are more likely to end up irreligious/agnostic/atheist; and that those on the autistic side of normal also tend to be less sensitive to social signals. If so, a higher fraction of social misreads among the irreligious would seem a not unexpected association.

Also apologies for any redundancy of my remarks from others making similar points while I was composing this.

#705

Posted by: efrique Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:17 PM

PZ - Why didn't you at least link to any of McGraw's discussion on this?

e.g.

http://www.unifreethought.com/2011/06/fursdays-wif-stef-32.html

http://www.unifreethought.com/2011/06/fursdays-wif-stef-33.html


I think from previous posts we can surmise you would deride a creationist for not doing something similar (failing to link to a position they're discussing).

You can take whatever position you like (you will anyway, and more power to you), but at least be consistent about presenting it.

#706

Posted by: The Captain Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:17 PM

On second thought (or is it third now?) I realize how funny and stupid this whole thing is.

You people (and especially Rebecca) are arguing over something that is SUBJECTIVE, and frankly cultural. None of you are "Right" because there is not "right" answer to this.

What I find really annoying is the public hissy fits Rebecca feels the need to throw whenever she runs into people who do not share her cultural sensibilities or opinions. Well I personally can't stand most peoples cultural sensibilities I run into on a daily basis, but since I'm an adult, who understands that a pluralistic society will consist of people who do not act as I want, or think as I do, I deal with it like an adult. I drink scotch and bitch about how much I hate all you people to my girlfriend.

#707

Posted by: Justicar Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:18 PM

Well, Snowflake, let's not overlook another feature that I'm sure you'll find irrelevant: no rape took place.

But, again, you miss the point that I wasn't arguing a statistical case; I was deriding another's bad statistical reasoning. The reason that no statistical argument here is necessary is because the event has passed and nothing happened. Therefore, its probability of having happened is 0. But, let's not let reality get in the way of your anger or anything. =^_^=

#708

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:19 PM

You do realise that Elevators are fitted with alarms?

That if I recall, stop them?

Joy

#709

Posted by: 'Tis Himself, Quel Dommage Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:20 PM

googlemess #558

I meant instead of focusing on women, actual gender equalists would focus on beta males


Translation: What about the menz?

#710

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:20 PM

i have read through this entire post and it has opened my eyes.


i am now a confirmed feminist and realize that my penis and testicles are a barrier to achieving a truly civilized culture.


"cut them off", many will say,
"enter the body modification olympics".

such words of encouragement.

alas, i cannot.


even though i know these organs to be a detriment to social progress, i mournfully am unable to part with them.


all that i can hope for is that in the future, i will be socially and economically opressed by the vagina carriers among us in the same manner my kind has historically oppresssed them.


what will i do now?
where will i fit in?

the outlook is bleak indeed.


i am a potential rapist; i must acknowledge this whenever i find myself alone with a woman, lest my inferior nature become impulsive.


even a creature as disagreeable to aesthetics as our protagonist is potential bait to lure my mr. hyde into the present.


god will not help me, i am an atheist.


where do i turn?
how do i cure this affliction?

does atheism have nothing to offer?


i am a feminist and an atheist.


anyone who disagrees with me is ignorant, insensitive, and needs to stfu.

#711

Posted by: John Morales Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:21 PM

[meta]

Caught up now.

I'm pretty sure it really is RD.

Ms. Daisy Cutter,

(It'd be nice to see PZ reply to those comments....)

PZ has a history of standing by his friends.

Alas, at best, I expect some non-committal generality.

We'll see, I guess.

#712

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:21 PM

I drink scotch and bitch about how much I hate all you people to my girlfriend.

Is her name Rosy?

And as feisty a feminist as you're likely to meet. The man did nothing wrong. She over reacted to perfectly normal male/female tentative interactive behaviour. I'm 5ft 2ins and would not have found that situation intimidating in the least.

She said "don't do that"

How is that an over reaction?

#713

Posted by: John Morales Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:24 PM

fundip, you're nothing but a troll of the stupid variety.

#714

Posted by: Andyo Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:24 PM

The fact that fundip is still posting suggests that PZ hasn't gotten to reviewing this thread yet.

#715

Posted by: Caine, ghetto féministe Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:25 PM

Ing:

How is that an over reaction?

It isn't one. It's simply a reaction.

#716

Posted by: Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjectives Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:27 PM

efrique - thanks for the links. From them:


First, the Q&A was not an option in my mind, as I wasn’t going to get up after her great talk and argue with her about something unrelated; I have more respect for a speaker than that.

If it was in the talk, it wasn't unrelated.

The second is whether or not her decision to call out a student during her keynote speech was appropriate.

"Poor me, I'm only a student. Don't hold me responsible for anything I say."

And as Rebecca reminded her, the internet is a much further-reaching and more permanent way to talk about someone than a conference talk is. Talking about the situation in a conference talk was less public than doing it on the blog.


#717

Posted by: Brother Ogvorbis, Emperor of Steam and Fire, Penseur Extrémistes Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:27 PM

I'd like things to be equal as to who makes the first move in a relationship, but in our society the onus does still largely fall on the man

Which is a perfect example of the idea that feminism is actually humanism. Sexist and mysogynistic culture is limiting to males. If acculturates males to be macho, to always take the lead, to look down on behaviour which is considered feminine. The reason that the onus falls on the man for making the first move is a result of sexism. After all, if a man makes the first move, he is being a man; if the woman makes the first move, she is a slut. Not really fair, is it?

This is why it is important to discuss situations such as Rebecca Watson and the Elevator Guy. Because of the cultural biases and conditioning, the idea that approaching Watson at that time, at that place, could be considered threatening. And at least part of the reason for that is the underlying low-level sexism even amongst enlightened males. Empathy, after all, is percieved as a feminine trait.

#718

Posted by: tomh Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:31 PM

Marc Abian wrote:
I know he was not been named. I was arguing with tomh ...

And very civilly, I might add.

#719

Posted by: Ing: PhD Trollologist Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:32 PM

I think we can add "The species would die out" as one of the lexicon of MRA and be suspicious of anyone using it. The fact that so many showed up echoing that same line has kind of creeped me out.

#720

Posted by: Caine, ghetto féministe Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:33 PM

Carlie:

"Poor me, I'm only a student. Don't hold me responsible for anything I say."

Which is utterly pathetic. We are all responsible for what we say, it shouldn't be a huge thing to consider what we have said.

#721

Posted by: 朴競花/박경화 (Gyeong Hwa) Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:35 PM

A repost:

Methinks Dawkins and co needs to read up on what a Schrödinger's rapist is. Even if the man on the elevator wanted only to have coffee with Rebecca Watson, he still came off in a threatening, creepy, and self-entitled way (as in he felt entitled to her time simply because she a woman). Dawkins is unaware the amount of privilege a straight white guy has in the same situation. He doesn't have to worry about the likelihood of being assaulted on an elevator that late at night. For other people they do.

#722

Posted by: Caine, ghetto féministe Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:38 PM

Ing:

The fact that so many showed up echoing that same line has kind of creeped me out.

It definitely creeps me out. They may as well just come out and say what they actually mean: bitches ain't shit.

#723

Posted by: Forbidden Snowflake Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:39 PM

Justicar:

Well, Snowflake, let's not overlook another feature that I'm sure you'll find irrelevant: no rape took place.

You are right. The fact that no rape took place is irrelevant to the question of whether her feeling intimidated before it could have taken place is justified, because, obviously, that is the kind of shit you only know in retrospect.

Unless you're stupid enough to claim that the fact that nothing happened eventually means there was no reason for concern beforehand.

But, again, you miss the point that I wasn't arguing a statistical case; I was deriding another's bad statistical reasoning.
Incidentally, you failed at it.
The reason on that no statistical argument here is necessary is because the event has passed and nothing happened. Therefore, its probability of having happened is 0.
Your backpedaling is noted and dismissed, since we weren't discussing the probability that RW was raped, but rather her cause to be concerned for her safety at some point.

You may now run along.

#724

Posted by: RahXephon, un féminist sur la branche Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:41 PM

Oh, I see how this works. A woman is propositioned in an uncomfortable situation and uses it as a teachable moment in a lecture on feminism, and then the MRA trolls amplify it into "OMG some hysterical castrating radfem called a guy a rapist in an elevator just cuz he said hi!" and then this strawfeminist just gets repeated over and over.

And here I thought maybe we'd be dealing with reality today.

#725

Posted by: Caine, ghetto féministe Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:43 PM

Gyeong:

He doesn't have to worry about the likelihood of being assaulted on an elevator that late at night. For other people they do.

Or being subdued in the elevator and dragged off to a hotel room. All those saying this is no big deal don't ever think about just how much of a big deal it could turn out to be.

It must be nice to never have to consider such things.

#726

Posted by: The Great Juju up the Mountain Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:45 PM

#722. I bet you'd like that, because that would nicely confirm your prejudices. But fortunately there are mainly intelligent people on this blog and they won't take the bait.
A lot of folks don't like how RW behaved. No need to take everything personally and most important: don't think for a moment that you represent all women, because you don't. Get over it.

#727

Posted by: Caine, ghetto féministe Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:46 PM

RahXephon231:

And here I thought maybe we'd be dealing with reality today.

:snort: You must be new to feminism threads here.

#728

Posted by: plien Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:47 PM

Posted by: Porco Dio Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:05 PM

@plein

Your post 478 was as incoherent as it was stupid.

Also, read my post again, I am not dutch and am glad I am not.

There are many different nationalities I would be proud to call myself but dutch is not one of them.

And will never be, ever.

All i fucking asked for was some empathy. To put yourself in the shoes of somebody who is surrounded by bigger people daily. Ah, a little bit of that is too much isn't it?

And what does nationality have to do with it. You said you lived in holland (its the Netherlands btw) and i wrongly thought you were Dutch, well that's a good basis to dismiss my experiences isn't it?

The only reason i said Dutch was because you brought it up first, this country is in good standing with the UN (imagine the situation somewhere else, see i'm aware of my privilege), and i pointed out to my posts were i said i have seen reverse sexism AND have called it out too.

But you know, there is a great difference between your experience and Ms. Watsons, unless you are extremely small/waif, you have no reason to think of these come-ons as anything other than annoying. You don't have to fear that the women in question is going to rape you. NOW do you see your privilege?

#729

Posted by: oihorse Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:47 PM

The skeptics movement has a surfeit of that passive aggressive attitude right now. As exhibit #1, I'll mention the infamous "Don't be a dick" speech by Phil Plait, which, while representing a good goal of asking for more tolerance, was turned into a flopping issue of disagreement specifically because it was all about tone, not substance, and because Phil could not found any of his arguments in specifics, keeping everything vague, and often cartoonish.


*clap* *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap*

Long overdue.

#730

Posted by: 'Tis Himself, Quel Dommage Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:52 PM

#730

Don;t be a dick.

#731

Posted by: 朴競花/박경화 (Gyeong Hwa) Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:53 PM

A lot of folks don't like how RW behaved. No need to take everything personally and most important: don't think for a moment that you represent all women, because you don't. Get over it.

Shorter: "I know what's best for women so shut up"

Sorry dude you don't. Caine point is very valid. Every guy that has come here is missing so many points and it's kinda sad since we're suppose to be a progressive one. The argument that Richard made is no different from fundies saying gays and women should shut up since it's worse elsewere. Like I said, you guys have the luxury to not be concern about assult or rape in that situation. Rebecca did not. And Rebecca had every reason to feel unsafe considering the data about assult and rape.

#732

Posted by: Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjectives Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:53 PM

Was was that actually Dawkins? I remain skeptical...

Richard

Then what the hell was the point of impersonating him? Doing so will get your ass banned as soon as PZ sees it. If you were trying to prove that we'd back off and be respectful of shit just because it came from a big name, it backfired completely. If it was trying to smear Dawkins' name, again, backfires as soon as it's found out. There's not even a trolling point to be had there.

#733

Posted by: RahXephon, un féminist sur la branche Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:56 PM

@Caine

No, just sarcastic. I'm frustrated with the conversation going in a loop because the trolls here don't understand basic facts (then again they are trolls, so...yeah).

#734

Posted by: irenedelse Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:56 PM

Was was that actually Dawkins? I remain skeptical...

Oh, great, the fake RD has officially come out as a troll at #730. And a pretty pathetic one, at that.

#735

Posted by: Caine, ghetto féministe Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:57 PM

Juju:

#722. I bet you'd like that, because that would nicely confirm your prejudices. But fortunately there are mainly intelligent people on this blog and they won't take the bait.

Like what, Cupcake? I'm a regular here and have dealt with enough MRAs to know their code speak quite well. I'm aware that there are many intelligent people here, I've been here a number of years. Funny, I don't recall you. What bait? That what MRAs argue comes down to bitches ain't shit? That's not bait, Cupcake.

A lot of folks don't like how RW behaved. No need to take everything personally and most important: don't think for a moment that you represent all women, because you don't. Get over it.

Oh, you don't like how Watson behaved and you want to whine about it, do you? Go ahead and whine. I'll let you know what I think.

I never claimed to represent all women, you idiot. Work on that reading comprehension, it's a valuable skill. I think perhaps you need to get over yourself, Cupcake.


#736

Posted by: John Morales Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:57 PM

RD@730, IMO, the balance of probabilities indicates so. (Obviously I can't know for sure)

Options:
* Movable Type has been hacked
* The real RD has abandoned his account and it's been resurrected by a third party
* RD's password is known to a third party
* it really is RD.

#737

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 8:59 PM

@Richard Dawkins

"Was was that actually Dawkins? I remain skeptical...

Richard"


how does he do it?


it takes me three paragraphs to accomplish the same level of troll he makes in half of a sentence.


anyone who disagrees with me is ignorant, insensitive, and needs to stfu.

#738

Posted by: John Morales Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:00 PM

Heh.

OK, I stand corrected.

Apparently MT allows multiple instances of a display name and associated link.

(Live and learn)

#739

Posted by: Caine, ghetto féministe Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:01 PM

-Not actually RD

Dipshit. Do us all a favour and don't ever come back.

#740

Posted by: irenedelse Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:01 PM

@ John Morales: As someone already pointed out on the thread, the real Dawkins didn't use a MT account before to post on Pharyngula.

#741

Posted by: ted Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:03 PM

@#704; That's a whole lot of words for "Oh that poor man, so misunderstood!"

Again and for the 500th time. RW was there talking about how she DID NOT LIKE being hit on. Then EG hit on her, in an elevator at 4 AM, after she said she was tired. It was also the only contact he had with her all night. there was no previous chance to access any mutual appreciation.

This isn't about negotiation or some kind of gentle mating dance. It's about a guy who was told "I don't want that." and responded with "How about now?" after arranging to get her alone.

#742

Posted by: 'Tis Himself, Quel Dommage Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:04 PM

The Great Juju up the Mountain #726

But fortunately there are mainly intelligent people on this blog and they won't take the bait.

You probably think you fall into this class of intelligent people. The evidence supporting this belief is lacking.

#744

Posted by: Brother Ogvorbis, Emperor of Steam and Fire, Penseur Extrémistes Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:07 PM

A lot of folks don't like how RW behaved.

Oh, yeah. I agree. Her behaviour was reprehensible. First she presents a talk in which she discusses, among other things, the discomfort some women feel when men make inappropriate propositions, or appropriate propositions in an inappropriate place and time. How horrible.

Then Rebecca Watson was approached, by someone who, apparently, had been in the audience, who then proceeds to make a perfectly appropriate proposition in an innappropriate time and place and Watson became uncomofortable. How dare she!

Then she related what had happened and McGraw missed the point, thinking that Watson was complaining that a man took interest in her. How dare Watson actually read a public blog and be concerned about the misrepresentation of Watson's concerns.

And, last of all, Watson had the gall to stand up in front of an audience (an audience there, in part, to hear from her as an invited speaker) and speak about the blog, expressing her view that her concerns were misconstrued. And, since the blogger was in the audience, Watson spoke directly to the woman who wrote a long blog claiming that Watson was unhappy that a man had taken interest in her. How dare she!

First, she spoke about a problem. Then she experienced the problem. Then she related the experience. Then she saw what she thought was a misunderstanding and attempted to correct that misunderstanding. That behaviour is reprehensible and should not be allowed! How dare she act like a human being when she is a woman! And how dare she react to the attacks in a calm an rational manner. Sheesh. That's horrible.

For those who don't already realize it, the above is sarcastic. It is also my quick and dirty and sarcastic interpretation of the actual events (any mistakes in the narrative are mine). Seriously.

From what I have read here and elsewhere, Rebecca Watson did nothing wrong. Nothing. The over reaction, however, has been laughable. If it were not so damn sad and disapointing.

#745

Posted by: The Great Juju up the Mountain Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:07 PM

#736 Hitchens "I always think it's a sign of victory when they move on to the ad hominem".

Resignation gracefully accepted. Good luck on your next debate.

JJ

#746

Posted by: maxamillion Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:07 PM

@ Porco Dio

Love your handle.

#747

Posted by: Therrin (Ben S) Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:08 PM

#397 Googqog

I would like to motion the thinkers in the 'atheist movement' & skeptics as well to the anti-feminist movement that needs to get started.
Aw shucks, I'd love to but I just signed up with the Klan last week. Only so much time in the day to spread the hate, y'know?
--
#415 Googqog
Well, I think we should make a law outlawing men talking to women AT 4AM IN A FUCKING ELEVATOR ya know, just to be on the safe side
Have you considered being a moderate Christian? You'd fit right in.
--
#449 Marc Abian
This suggests the reason he would have felt safe is that she would have felt unsafe. But how could this even be his reason if he didn't consider it?
As a shy male, I would be more comfortable approaching a female alone than one in a group. This would not even require conscious thought (addressing "if he didn't consider it"), I would feel less anxious in private. So as my safety increases (away from people), hers decreases (away from people).
--
#475 I swear over half the time I type out a response to a comment as I'm reading a thread, I find Giliell has already posted exactly what I was thinking (and often with better wording).
--
#500 bowedoak,
You seem to have missed the comments about education and passing on lessons learned, and how silly it would be to never make mistakes in the past.
--
#607 Justicar
Guess that means I hate women, and will be trying to get them back in the kitchen next, huh?
Since you asked, yes. Or, at the very least, you're unable to grasp the point being made.
--
#611 MichelleZB
It's not my fault that I've never been assaulted
It's not necessary for a majority of people in the world to be raped in order for rape to be bad. That some people have been should be enough to not deprecate their experience, especially when one has been fortunate in their upbringing.
--
#617 Mr. Not Nice Guy
My 2 cents are probably worth a lot less amidst all the noise
They're worthless regardless.
--
#627 Porco Dio
I live in Holland, a place where the type of genitalia you own does not infer some type of superiority or inferiority with respect to social interactions.
and
These silly accusations by "feminists" are counter-productive to their cause
It's nice to see that the concept of empathy is declining worldwide.
--
#636 #643 GooyeuNY,
Brains work best when used.
--
Eesh, refresh the thread at #652 and now it's down to #739. I gotta learn the secret to keeping up.

#748

Posted by: Porco Dio Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:09 PM

You know, I have lost all respect for Rebecca now...

Using her immense public forum to complain how "uncomfortable" she feels when someone propositions her in an elevator belittles all her other arguments.

Her stance on this issue belies the fact that she is just a whiny little bitch moaning about silly instances of her own perceived persecution and everything is slanted towards said perceptions and has nothing at all to do with true equality.

And that PZ uses his forum for this non issue also lowers my (until now) esteemed view of his opinions.

PZ, you should actually take a stand and tell Rebecca that she is silly and this issue is nonsense.

#749

Posted by: Porco Dio Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:14 PM

@ Porco Dio Love your handle.

Thanks, not many ppl get it ofc... :)

#750

Posted by: Improbable Joe Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:14 PM

All of this is weird to me.

I'm a married man. I've been married for 6.5 years, t0 a woman I've been with for almost 9 years. When we met, I was dating/sleeping with a bunch of other women. I've slept with well over 50 women, and during the first few months of dating the woman who became my wife I slept with at least 6-8 other women. I'm more than experienced with women, in case you missed the point.

The day I said that I was interested in a serious relationship with my now-wife, all the other activity ceased. We got serious, and then we moved in together, and then we got engaged, and then married. Six+ years later, and it is awesome!

So for me the claims of stupid guys that they can't meet a woman because of feminism? GET BENT! Guys who can't hit on women because they are afraid of being called rapists? Go to hell!

If you're a good guy, you get to meet women and hook up at least occasionally. I'm no Brad Pitt and I'm not super-hot, but I got laid more than enough without being a potential rapist, and without ever having to ignore a woman's 100% right to tell a guy to f*ck off.

#751

Posted by: 朴競花/박경화 (Gyeong Hwa) Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:15 PM

And with the asshattery at 750, It's clear that the trolls here hasn't been reading a single counter argument.

#752

Posted by: Bryant Belknap Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:15 PM

As an Amerikkkan white guy approaching half a hundred years in a hurry, I love this blog because it always makes me think even when the result is that I have to change my mind about something.

When I read the thing my first reaction was "so what?" and then I thought "well, exactly when and where is a guy allowed to ask?" and then people started explaining the "so what," and the fact that the when and where in this case were pretty damn awful. And I am much closer to understanding.

It is hard work changing half a century of training and inculcation. But I like to think I'm at least making the effort not to be such a dick so much of the time. I read and listen much more than I comment. I find I learn a lot more reading and listening then I do shooting my mouth off at the first though that enters my head. The first thought that enters my head is so often not a very good one.

Thanks to Carlie, Caine, Ing, and others who help to clarify, and who do battle with the MRAs. You probably aren't going to change them but it helps change people like me, who are willing, but maybe need to be nudged in the right direction.

#753

Posted by: 'Tis Himself, Quel Dommage Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:16 PM

The Great Juju up the Mountain #747

That wasn't ad hominem, that was stating a simple fact. You're not very intelligent as shown by the stupid comments you made. It's not my fault you're not smart enough to understand the difference.

#754

Posted by: irenedelse Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:18 PM

Grr, this thread is killing me. So much fail...

@ John Morales: Ah, right. My bad, then. And it makes me happy to not have tried to sign up with MT, if it's so easy to set up fake accounts with someone else's name.

@ Porco Dio: Do us all a favor and excavate your head out of your ass before your spout more hateful nonsense. Sheesh, one would think it's the Troll Olympics here!

#755

Posted by: A. Noyd Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:19 PM

As someone already pointed out on the thread, the real Dawkins didn't use a MT account before to post on Pharyngula.

John Morales linked one above, but there's also this one. Doesn't rule out something wacky with MT allowing multiple accounts to use the same 'nym, of course.

#756

Posted by: Caine, ghetto féministe Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:20 PM

Porco Dio:

PZ, you should actually take a stand and tell Rebecca that she is silly and this issue is nonsense.

That's not PZ's opinion. Why in the hell should he lie for your benefit?

You seem to have zero understanding of the events. By calling her a "whiny little bitch" you have lost all credibility and it would be nice if you had the dignity to shut the fuck up now, however, you've shown yourself to be a complete asshole who isn't capable of seeing women as human beings, let alone having the ability to look outside your own little comfortable box.

Into the killfile you go, you whiny little cupcake.

#757

Posted by: Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjectives Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:21 PM

As someone already pointed out on the thread, the real Dawkins didn't use a MT account before to post on Pharyngula.

Isn't this comment by the same kind of account that was used here?

#758

Posted by: John Morales Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:22 PM

Porco Dio: you are a known troll.

And that PZ uses his forum for this non issue also lowers my (until now) esteemed view of his opinions.

Blatant lying is par for the course for trolls:

Posted by: porco dio | December 30, 2008 12:13 PM

Hey PZ, how do you spell M*O*R*A*N?

"Hey, I was in that movie, too! I still haven't seen it, though." - don't worry, i'm sure you were better than that Dawkins creep.

(Predicable how from the woodwork they come, in these type of posts)

#759

Posted by: irenedelse Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:23 PM

@ Bryant: That's awesome, thanks for speaking out.

#760

Posted by: irenedelse Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:25 PM

@ Carlie & A.Noyd: Argh. See #756.

#761

Posted by: Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjectives Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:27 PM

Sorry for copying, A. Noyd, I didn't refresh before I posted! Bad me.

Bryant - I don't know how to say thank you without feeling like I'm taking undue credit, but I'm glad you said that. Anything that I say now is just the result of a similar kind of reading a lot of what other people had to say, and I like to hang in there on threads that make me want to rip my hair out because I hope that people reading along are thinking about it. Not to agree necessarily, but to at least examine their positions.

#762

Posted by: Caine, ghetto féministe Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:27 PM

Bryant Belknap:

Thanks to Carlie, Caine, Ing, and others who help to clarify, and who do battle with the MRAs. You probably aren't going to change them but it helps change people like me, who are willing, but maybe need to be nudged in the right direction.

Thank you. One thing you can count on the MRAs never grokking is that these situations are learning opportunities. I quite politely pointed this out to Porco Dio in #635. Not only did it not get a response, but xe now is hatefully spitting out things like whiny little bitch.

People such as yourself stand out, Bryant. Even if we don't get to hear from them very often.

#763

Posted by: 朴競花/박경화 (Gyeong Hwa) Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:28 PM

And that PZ uses his forum for this non issue also lowers my (until now) esteemed view of his opinions.

Oh noes PZ! You've lost the respect of someone who clearly isn't respectable! What ever shall you do now?!

#764

Posted by: strange gods before me ॐ homintern radfem Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:30 PM

Richard Dawkins does use an MT account here.

#765

Posted by: Scented Nectar Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:31 PM

Richard Dawkins wrote:

Was was that actually Dawkins? I remain skeptical...
Whoever you are, that was quite some letter you wrote to 'Muslima'. Moving like you wouldn't believe. You could sign it John Doe, or 'author unknown' and it would still be fucking profound. :)

#766

Posted by: kelek.myopenid.com Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:32 PM

You know, I have lost all respect for Rebecca now...
I'm sure she really cares about your loss of respect for her.
Using her immense public forum to complain how "uncomfortable" she feels when someone propositions her in an elevator belittles all her other arguments.

Her stance on this issue belies the fact that she is just a whiny little bitch moaning about silly instances of her own perceived persecution and everything is slanted towards said perceptions and has nothing at all to do with true equality.


Why am I not surprised that someone like you would use a gendered insult against a woman who dares to mention how uncomfortable she felt when a (clearly superior) male deemed her worthy of his attention and made an inappropriate comment towards her. How dare she not be grateful for such attention!

And that PZ uses his forum for this non issue also lowers my (until now) esteemed view of his opinions.

How nice, it's a non-issue because it doesn't affect you and all of the other cis-gendered (mostly) white male atheists who follow PZ's blog.

PZ, you should actually take a stand and tell Rebecca that she is silly and this issue is nonsense.

Fortunately, PZ is one of the few white male atheists who isn't a damned obliviously sexist idiot.
#767

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:34 PM

and thus the great schism of the atheist movement began in 2011.


which sect will you join?




#768

Posted by: John Morales Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:36 PM

fundip troll trolls? (Surprise!)

http://pharyngula.wikia.com/wiki/Memes#Deep_Rifts

#769

Posted by: A. Noyd Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:40 PM

Carlie (#763)

Sorry for copying, A. Noyd, I didn't refresh before I posted! Bad me.

Not at all. One could only wish one encountered more such "copying," as it would mean there were that many more people gung-ho about searching for evidence to put a hypothesis/claim to the test!

#770

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:44 PM

@john morales

thanks john,


i didn't realize there was a meme for such an occurance.

allow me to rephrase my previous post.




"the atheis movement is undergoing a schism, originating with the blogger known as unibrow.

DEEP RIFTS(thanks john) have formed within the ranks over whether or not unibrow needs to stfu about a man that mistakenly found her sexually appealing."




#771

Posted by: Lobo Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:48 PM

So are y'all science geeks or drama queens?

Since it seems like most of you are not capable of separating the event from the backdrop, let's switch the backdrop out and evaluate the actions of Mrs. Watson in a context that is less likely to invite sidetracks.

Instead of a keynote address to a bunch of potential young leaders, let's say it was an all-hands departmental meeting at Widgets, Inc. to address last quarter's financial results.

The boss is up at the podium getting into his presentation when all the sudden, you see your name in his slides with a quote about how you disagreed with some management decision your boss made. Then your boss says, "This is an incompetent employee who is quite frankly bringing the company down. Moving on."

Is it a little more clear why people may think that Mrs. Watson was using her position of power over the audience to victimize a member of audience? What Watson did transcends feminism and/or misogyny and lands squarely in the realm of gender-neutral assholery. All because someone (a woman, no less) disagreed with her assessment of a situation. She got so discombobulated by this disagreement that she deliberately set out to abuse the privilege of her position and grind a personal axe against the offending person by singling her out and trying to humiliate her in front of her peers. It's unprofessional behavior when a man does it. It's unprofessional when a woman does it. It is unprofessional in every context. It's so unprofessional that I wouldn't be surprised if she sees a steep drop-off in her invitations to speak at events. But given the vast majority of commenters here willing to excuse her nonsense because some dipshit made her uncomfortable a few months ago, the invitations may accelerate.

This isn't about gender, feminism, or misogyny, it's about assholery.

#772

Posted by: John Morales Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:48 PM

[meta]

I just want to note that I'm (like many others I suspect) exceedingly glad MT is spoofable, because it now makes me think that the damning comments by the purported Richard Dawkins above are probably not his. It really was a WTF moment.

(Phew!)

#773

Posted by: John Morales Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:51 PM

fundip, no worries.

(The more you disgorge your purulence, the more likely you are to get banned)

#774

Posted by: Rey Fox, Bird Caller Guy Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:52 PM

EVERYBODY JUST CALM THE FUCK DOWN.

You first.

#775

Posted by: fundip Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:53 PM

@john morales



some of the posts seemed like things dawkins would say.

especially the first two, and i agree with him.

#776

Posted by: 'Tis Himself, Quel Dommage Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:53 PM

Lobo #773

Your analogy is weak. A better analogy would be "Here is an employee who doesn't understand the situation but told everyone else about her opinion. The facts are actually such and so."

#777

Posted by: John Morales Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:54 PM

Oh look, another one:

So are y'all science geeks or drama queens?

False dichotomy.

(And it goes downhill from there)

#778

Posted by: MyOwnPath1 Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:55 PM

Thanks PZ for this post. I needed the reminder that women really are considered "lesser than" in the atheist movement. We have different ways of communicating, different concerns, different goals.... I will never go to a conference and keep my donations and talents to myself. Time to just live for now since life is so short and precious. I have plenty of limitations set by society already, why bother getting involved and taking on more? There are welcome mats elsewhere.

#779

Posted by: a_ray_in_dilbert_space, OM, A little FUCKING ray of sunshine Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:57 PM

I can only imagine how annoying it must be for women at a conference discussing important issues to be conversing about their talk and such issues with a guy only to have it become clear that his focus was about one to three feet below where it should have been.

This bothers me for several reasons:
1)it makes the community look hostile to the idea of taking women's ideas seriously
2)it makes men look like a bunch of shallow asses
3)it diverts attention from where it should be
4)it drives a divide between men and women in the community

I truly hope that most men would not be so crass as to proposition a woman out of the blue like this. Unfortunately, there are few enough prominent atheist women that all it would take is a small percentage of asses to ensure that every woman gets hit on.

So for those men who view every woman who shows up at a conference as a potential bedwarmer, here's a clue:

Unless you start to value women for their brains rather than their glands, you will never, ever know a woman well enough to call her a friend. No woman will ever fully trust you. You will never understand them, nor they you. That goes for your wife, your daughter, your girlfriend, your mother...Get to know women for who they are--and atheist conference is as good a place to start as any.

#780

Posted by: Larry Poppins Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:59 PM

I don't even know why I'm following this thread any more. All the new trolls sound just like the ones upthread. I have to hand it to you all for hammering back at all the "what me sexist?" horseshit.

All that remains for me to learn is: Is that really Richard Dawkins, and will the thread top 1000 before fundip gets plonked.

I think I need a frozen halibut, or perhaps a frozen margarita.

#781

Posted by: Blinn Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 9:59 PM

-On the Merits-

From what I've read, I'll agree with Ms. Watson that very little of the hostility she's faced has had much argumentative substance. So let me try to state a reasonable, substantive rejoinder. The case she made is that the behavior of the fellow in the elevator crossed the line from *attraction*, which is normal and healthy, to *objectification," which is shameful and wrong, a distinction she explains mostly via a link to Feminism 101. The link describes sexual objectification as follows:

"Sexual objectification is the viewing of people solely as de-personalised objects of desire instead of as individuals with complex personalities and desires/plans of their own. This is done by speaking/thinking of women especially as only their bodies, either the whole body, or as fetishised body parts."

The problem, so far as I can tell, is that her account of the incident in the elevator does *nothing* to establish that anything of that kind was going on. Even granting that the (by her telling, ambiguous) encounter was a sexual proposition, it followed a long encounter in which Ms. Watson was the featured speaker at a public event which the fellow in question had in all likelihood attended. For him at least, this was not a random encounter with someone with whom he was otherwise unacquainted. On the contrary, in all likelihood, he *did* have an active appreciation for Ms. Watson's intellect and personality.

We might further agree that he was guilty of some bad judgment or social awkwardness...but there's a clear distinction between this and sexual objectification....and a further distinction between sexual objectification and misogyny (after all, anybody can view some people as sex objects without thereby hating a whole gender, and a complicating factor of this is that some people present themselves to the world in the role of sexual objects, which in such cases makes the line between objectification and respect for personality or identity very difficult, if not impossible, to walk).

So I suppose what I find objectionable about this is that Ms. Watson is attempting to take what, in the grand scheme of things, looks like a case of individual bad judgment, hyperbolically inflating it to a case of misogyny, and then going on to somehow make it an example of the type of contact which should concern people qua members of the atheist community. The problem is that there's plenty of perfectly good evidence for the conclusion that we should be concerned about sexism in the atheist community. Why bring up this comparatively poor, at best ambiguous, specimen? It's guaranteed to shed more heat than light.

#782

Posted by: FossilFishy Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:01 PM

Bryant Belknap #754. Thank you so much for that comment. I was getting more and more depressed at the incredible ignorance displayed by the menz brigade here. Their inability to hear, let alone comprehend the counter arguments presented is beyond belief. It's good to see that just as arguing with a fundie won't change said fundie's mind, doing so in public can effect positive change in onlookers.

The thing that strikes me most about this whole thing is the fact that women's voices are not heard by oblivious privileged males. Even when those males consider themselves feminists or feminist allies. Astounding.

So once more with feeling: SHUT. UP. AND. LISTEN. TO. THE. WOMEN.

#783

Posted by: MichelleZB Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:03 PM

@ Therrin (Ben S)

It's not necessary for a majority of people in the world to be raped in order for rape to be bad. That some people have been should be enough to not deprecate their experience, especially when one has been fortunate in their upbringing.

I agree very strongly with both of those statements. In fact, your first statement was exactly my original point: that it doesn't help to claim that "all" women have been raped, since the real statistics are damning/horrifying enough.

Am I being accused of deprecating the experiences of sexually assaulted women simply by stating I haven't been sexually assaulted? I certainly hope not.

#784

Posted by: chigau (◦_◦) Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:03 PM

My evaluation of Baumeister's speech "Is there Anything Good about Men?" is that Baumeister should not drink before giving a speech.
also he should not use Wikipedia as his primary source of "information".

#785

Posted by: Caine, ghetto féministe Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:04 PM

Lobo:

let's switch the backdrop out

Let's not. It would be much more impressive if you demonstrated any comprehension of the situation.

This isn't about gender, feminism, or misogyny, it's about assholery.

Yes, it is indeed about gender. It's also about feminism. More to the point, it's about privilege, something many of you seem incapable of grokking at all. That happens when you're blinded by your own privilege. Amazing how that happens.

It's also amazing that expressing an opinion which happens to disagree with yours renders us all drama queens. Goodness.

#786

Posted by: a_ray_in_dilbert_space, OM, A little FUCKING ray of sunshine Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:06 PM

Sorry, Lobo, don't buy it. The one abusing privilege here is the idjit propositioning a woman he doesn't know in an elevator.

Every single thing that makes women feel unsafe or undervalued in the atheist community should be a concern to us. It should be a concern to women for what I hope are obvious reasons. It should be a concern to men because it reflects badly on us and drives a wedge between us and the women in the movement. Maybe name-and-shame is the only way to combat it.

#787

Posted by: Porco Dio Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:08 PM

@John Morales #760

That comment from 2008 is laced with sarcasm... Or are you too obtuse to notice that?

Do you always while away your hours picking through things that other people wrote and then pass incorrect judgment on the author and follow it up with the most immature internet habit of calling them a troll?

Get off the interwebz..., get a life.

#788

Posted by: Brother Ogvorbis, Emperor of Steam and Fire, Penseur Extrémistes Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:09 PM

Blinn:

Elevator.

4:00am.

And the reason for bringing it up, for using this minor personal experience as an example in a public talk, can be seen by reading through even a few of the MRAss comments in the abover thread.

However, the thrust of the OP was that the criticism did not show up when she gave the initial talk. The criticism did not show up when she related the uncomfortable incident. The criticism did not show up whan McGraw wondered in a public blog why Watson was upset that a man was interested in her. No, the criticism showed up when she, in another public talk, said, in effect, "There is a misconception about why I objected to Elevator Guy and since this was brought up in a public blog I will deal with it in public." Then the shitstorm of criticism appeared. And the criticism was not a critique of feminist theory, it was a critique of her tone -- she asserted herself in an unfeminine way. Thus showing that the atheist, free-thought and skeptic community, wonderfully diverse as it is, is not immune to the cultural baggage of aeons of endemic sexism.

#789

Posted by: Lobo Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:11 PM

#778, with the pretentious name I'm not going to type out just for spite:

1. You're wrong. Watson didn't put the quote up and then go into a bit about how or why McGraw was wrong. She put the quote up and then went on to call the woman ill-informed and a betrayer of the feminist cause (WTFTI). She wasn't interested in discussing the issue with any seriousness, she wanted to grind her axe from a position of presumed safety.

2. Nobody was disputing the facts of the encounter. Everyone involved knows exactly what happened. The disagreement was over the interpretation of the event, not the event itself.

2. Even granting your argument, it doesn't diminish the assholery of her actions. She singled out a member of the audience and attempted to humiliate her.

Try harder.

#790

Posted by: Kamaka Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:11 PM

@ fundip

You are a class A asshole. Congratulations!

@ Richard Dawkins fraud:

I pretty much figured it out right away that you were a bullshit, libelous liar. I've been reading the guy for 30+ years, that's not something he would write. What are you thinking, defaming another person's character by writing in their name? You think this is, what, funny? You have some important point to prove? Or are you so lacking in original thought that the best you can do is libel another human being.

If PZ can, I hope he outs you, you worthless piece of shit. Full identifying info. You would have been called out long ago if PZ wasn't busy.

Though you do win flaming asshole of the day on the ENTIRE intertubes. No small feat. Congratulations!

Go find a porcupine that's dead on the side of the road and swallow it whole.

And then give fundip a quill kiss.

#791

Posted by: Lago Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:12 PM

A close friend of mine was a bartender in a strip club. Being a better than average looking woman, men hit on her 24-7. One day a guy said, "Everyone woman has her price." She responded by saying, "I don't." and, "What I do is what I want to do."

...The guy started to offer her money to take off her top. He started at 50 bucks and kept going until he was in the thousands. She looked at the guy finally and said, "Watch this." She turned to a guy who had been sitting quietly on the other side of the bar and said, "Give me a quarter." He said, "OK" and reached into his pocket, pulled out a quarter, and flipped it to her. She then flashed him her tits. She turned back to the other guy and asked him, "Ya get it now?" The guy, still being confused, said "No." She responded by saying, "It is my choice and always will be my choice. The fact is I let him see my breasts for 25 cents, and I still wouldn't let you for several thousand. When are you going to realize that the choice is, and always will be, mine?"

#792

Posted by: John Morales Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:13 PM

Porco, you're telling me to get a life off the interwebz?

LOL.

--

Oh, what the hell. I can't resist addressing the next paragraph of the lobotomised one's eruction:

Since it seems like most of you are not capable of separating the event from the backdrop, let's switch the backdrop out and evaluate the actions of Mrs. Watson in a context that is less likely to invite sidetracks.

Translation:

When events occur, context is but a backdrop and irrelevant — so irrelevant, in fact, that imagining an entirely different contextbackdrop is a far better way to evaluate such.

(And it still goes downhill from there)

#793

Posted by: abb3w Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:14 PM

Well, waded through the first 300 comments. So, in case the thread gets slammed off to the endless land or forcibly closed before I catch up:

@109, irenedelse: What Rebecca Watson and a few others are trying to do, here, is not to say that the answer is "never", of course!

Except that since (as the science-minded should understand) that it is never possible to assign an absolute p=1 unary probability to any assessment of the state of the universe no matter how much evidence is amassed, and thus only experiment can determine (and without philosophical certainty even afterward) the welcomeness of an advance, then if the standard is that (as PZ seeminly suggests) it is impermissible to ever apply unwanted pressure in the form of unwelcome social advances, that is the net effect.

It is perfectly sound to discuss what degree of uncertainty one ought have before sending what types of signals - although philosophically it's necessary to state what Is-ought contextual basis for such "ought" assessment is. Unfortunately for that discussion, the issues of communications uncertainty seem to have gotten glossed over.

@116, kieran: The guy thought this was funny but apologised for scaring me.

...actually, that seems comparison seems to highlight what (in hindsight and In My Holy Opinion) the gent did wrong. The big error was not making an unwelcome pass. The big error was not apologizing to a sufficiently remorseful extent to avoid being made a public example.

Miscommunication can happen; clear communication requires seeking to communicate a correction once this is noticed.

@212, mck9: Nevertheless we cannot remove the ambiguity by fiat.

Ding. And ignoring the potential of ambiguity does a disservice to the social engineering effort, even more so than ignoring the uncertainty in the compression strength of pine does to the civil engineering effort of trying to build a wooden bridge.

@243, serendipitydawg: And I am the fairy Clinkerbell. Fuck. Right. Off.

And here, we have an instance of the unaware assertion of privilege by someone (nominally) more socially adept than another. Your modest effort at apology @262 and the apparent acceptance @290 constrains me to merely mocking that blindness rather than suggesting you fuck off yourself.

@246, Youngie: How does a person safely indicate interest, when unwanted interest is an offence? Yes, this constitutes sexual harassment (A civil offence).And I am not being glib, this is a serious issue that requires a real answer.

I'll repeat the question, in hopes of further highlighting it. I'll also add the possible refinement that a more semantically exact question involves replacing "does" with "ought"; and that doing so highlights a philosophically fundamental problem of premises. (For further emphasis on those lines, substitute "appropriately" for "safely".)

#794

Posted by: a_ray_in_dilbert_space, OM, A little FUCKING ray of sunshine Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:15 PM

Blinn: "On the contrary, in all likelihood, he *did* have an active appreciation for Ms. Watson's intellect and personality."

Gee, usually when I appreciate someone's intellect, I find it's sufficient to listen to them rather than bump genitalia.

Uh, dude, how do I break this to you. The fact that I listen to a woman give a talk does not put the two of us into a relationship. I don't know her. She is a stranger. I shouldn't take candy from her. Nor should I presume that she will succumb to my charms on a 2 minute elevator ride. Sorry, that that is some weak, creepy shit.

#795

Posted by: Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjectives Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:16 PM

The boss is up at the podium getting into his presentation when all the sudden, you see your name in his slides with a quote about how you disagreed with some management decision your boss made. Then your boss says, "This is an incompetent employee who is quite frankly bringing the company down. Moving on."

Nope. Rebecca is not now and was not then in a position of employer superiority over Stef. In fact, at academic conferences, it is considered to be demeaningly condescending to treat students as if they occupy a lower level than everyone else. The best respect you can show to them is to rip apart their bad ideas because you assume they can deal with it like grown-ups (and if they can't, they'd better learn quickly).

#796

Posted by: Caine, ghetto féministe Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:18 PM

Blinn:

On the contrary, in all likelihood, he *did* have an active appreciation for Ms. Watson's intellect and personality.

It does not matter what he had in that way. One more time: It. does. not. matter. what. he. had. in. that. way.

The problem is that he had a head full of privilege, to the point that he chose a small, enclosed space to decide to come on to a woman, in a hotel at 4 a.m. Most women would be skeeved by such a thing happening and would not welcome it at all. It was completely and utterly inappropriate. One more time:

It. was. completely. and. utterly. inappropriate.

It was an act of privilege and ignorance of that privilege. Look at what happens when women attempt to highlight that ignorance and turn it into an opportunity to learn. Look at yourself and the crap you wrote, excusing privilege.

#797

Posted by: MyOwnPath1 Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:20 PM

Regarding 793 The reality is that the woman bartender probably chose her profession because she felt it would make good money for the work. Yep, that's "freedom" for ya. Seeing what's possible beneath the low set glass ceiling. I wonder if she was truly unlimited what she'd do instead.

#798

Posted by: Raskolnikov35 Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:23 PM

Every woman posting on this site is a privileged white woman. Not one of you feminist whiners knows what it means to be under-privileged, so stop playing the I'm so under-privileged card and get real.

#799

Posted by: Porco Dio Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:25 PM

@ Caine, Fleur du mal

First you tell me that I should "have the dignity shut the fuck up" then in a later post you chastise me for not responding to you.

Are you insane?

#800

Posted by: Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjectives Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:26 PM

Oh, Raskolnikov. I almost feel sorry for what's about to happen to you. Except that I don't.

#801

Posted by: Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:28 PM

Jesus fuck, what an ugly thread. I do hope though that it answers, once and for all, the question of "why are there so few women in the atheist/skeptical movement?" for all those guys who didn't believe stuff like this happened or mattered, and who suggested we stop discussing this stuff lest we scare women away "for no reason".

Anyway, for anyone who wants one, I made a feminist atheist sign, available in regular and GNU

#802

Posted by: justawriter Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:28 PM

I find the title of this post highly ironic because the one thing Watson hasn't done, to my knowledge, is name the person who scared her in the elevator. She has been far more vocal about trying to shame the people who believe she overreacted to the situation.

#803

Posted by: Lobo Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:29 PM

787 & 788

I'll respond to both of you because you're basically saying the same thing.

I deliberately severed the "Elevator Incident" from the "CFI Incident" for two reasons:

1. That guy's bad behavior simply doesn't excuse her bad behavior later.

2. There is a glut of comments by people who can't seem to get past the "Elevator Incident" and are all too willing to give her a pass because of it. By casting it in a different context, I was hoping to demonstrate that she conducted herself poorly. If I made a misstep, it may have been to assume people couldn't rather than they just didn't want to. It's a lot easier to argue over where the "Elevator Guy" falls on the scale of monstrosity (1 being socially awkward, 10 being rapist) than it is to say something critical about someone you look up to.

3. Not calling you drama queens because you disagree with something I'm saying. I'm calling you drama queens because you're acting like drama queens. Stop doing that and I will cease to call you drama queens.

#804

Posted by: plien Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:32 PM

Posted by: Marc Abian Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 3:02 PM

We totally forget that millions of women are living in a mutilated state, and in sexual slavery (AKA forced marriage).

He made an excellent point about what a molehill having a guy make a cordial offer to you is, compared to the horrendous conditions those women are living in, and then people freak at him?

Ophelia didn't even make a big deal out of it. She basically said it was creepy and don't do it.

And all the men have to do is think "I can see how that would be creepy and I'll try to be careful that I don't cause someone similar panic with that kind of cluelessness" and everyone's happy. But no, they have whine and act like idiots, when really being asked to take other people's fears into consideration is no big deal, compared to what some people go through elsewhere in the world e.g. forced marriages, mutalation etc.

Quoted because it obviously needed to be said again....

#805

Posted by: John Morales Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:34 PM

justawriter:

I find the title of this post highly ironic because the one thing Watson hasn't done, to my knowledge, is name the person who scared her in the elevator. She has been far more vocal about trying to shame the people who believe she overreacted to the situation.

That's likely to be because you're a bit thick and failed to understand the OP.

Here, let me quote PZ, with emphasis for the comprehension-impaired.
But I don't want to talk about that. I want to mention one thing that annoys me. Rebecca Watson talked about this experience at a CFI conference, and one thing she did was to directly address, by name, criticisms of her reaction to being importuned in an elevator late at night.

#806

Posted by: Porco Dio Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:35 PM

@plein.

You are incoherent... and insane...

#807

Posted by: Andyo Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:35 PM

Guys the Richard Dawkins that published the 2 first ones is not the last one who published that he was not. The second one was just testing if MT was spoofable. Also, the URL are different (with and without "www").

It's not inconceivable that RD really posted those, but as I said before, I'm a pessimist.

Posts from RD in the past year, by date.

#808

Posted by: plien Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:35 PM

Sorry for blockquotefailure, Marcs point begins with "Ophelia", he was reacting to an asshole....

#809

Posted by: Caine, ghetto féministe Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:36 PM

Raskolnikov, ever the idiot, I see.

Every woman posting on this site is a privileged white woman.

How do you know? I'm not white, so you're wrong. A lot of the women here grew up in poverty ridden circumstances, so again, you're wrong.

Besides, that's not the kind of privilege under discussion. You've been here, spewing stupid shit long enough to have figured that out. Now shut up, Cupcake.

#810

Posted by: maggotpunk Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:36 PM

Thank goodness there are no real issues left to discuss so we can focus on the issues of some drama queen who was approached by some commoner with poor social skills in an elevator. I guess while the rest of us fight for our civil rights and preserve our eroding freedoms some people can whine on blogs and podcasts as if anyone really gives a shit.

#811

Posted by: Blinn Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:37 PM

Ogvorbis:
By all appearances, they had just spent several hours at a bar together; the fact that they would both be on an elevator upon leaving the same hotel bar isn't by itself sinister. But again, we can grant bad judgment without any of the other social-policy or sexual objectification conclusions following in any way...that's my point, and I suspect (though this is speculation) it's also what's motivating people like McGraw calling fowl. McGraw has not done a good job in stating her objections, and Watson would be with her rights to point that out. Instead, Watson decided to more or less call her, not quite a misogynyst, but slightly worse, a misogynyst's parrot, by attributing to her underlying thoughts or some more basic failure to appreciate a distinction than was fair to read from her comments.

I can see nothing in Ms. Watson's initial or follow-up remarks to suggest that she was being criticized for, as you put it, asserting herself "in an unfeminine way."

On a side note, I don't actually think that "criticism of tone" is a good description of the critical remarks she faced. I think the criticism was more in the line of basic standards of professional conduct in the course of delivering a public lecture. But that's a longer discussion, and it was obviously a no-brainer for Watson to cry foul over "tone" criticisms, since that's an obvious trope with, e.g. followers of Pharyngula. The fact that a description is tactically and rhetorically obvious does not render it correct.

#812

Posted by: MGolz Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:38 PM

Every woman posting on this site is a privileged white woman. Not one of you feminist whiners knows what it means to be under-privileged, so stop playing the I'm so under-privileged card and get real.

False assumptions ftw. Well, not exactly.

I'm a privileged, white woman. That does not mean all Pharyngula readers are. You're making an oddly big cognitive leap in assuming so considering that the blog receives millions of hits every month.

The point is this; yes, white American women (which I'm assuming is the majority who are arguing here) are privileged. That doesn't necessarily mean that they have the right to suck up anything they view as unjust. There's still evidence of sexism even now. And yes, I recognize the fact that are problems are very, very minor compared to the suffering many women cope with abroad

That's no excuse to tell a woman to suck it up when she observes a behavior she feels threatens and demeans women. Discussing it, rather that downplaying it is what improves the problem.

Issues of government suppression of rights in foreign countries is important and requires strict attention. But paying attention to only the most serious of issues is not the solution. Dismissing less serious cases is also not a solution.

Conclusion: Dismissing sexism in society, no matter how far it has advanced its human rights, is wrong. Yes, it's understood that women in other countries have it much, much worse. But being told to "suck it up" because of privilege isn't the right way to approach it.

#813

Posted by: Kamaka Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:39 PM

@ Caine

Per our recent discussion...

This is fucking unreal. Another Menz thread. Cluelessness, is it catchy?

#814

Posted by: strange gods before me ॐ homintern radfem Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:39 PM

Except that since (as the science-minded should understand) that it is never possible to assign an absolute p=1 unary probability to any assessment of the state of the universe

Wow, abb3w.

I have seen Heisenberg used to justify a lot of wild bullshit over the years, but never to justify following a woman out of a public area and propositioning her in a confined space.

#815

Posted by: Brother Ogvorbis, Emperor of Steam and Fire, Penseur Extrémistes Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:40 PM

Every woman posting on this site is a privileged white woman.

Oh, really? You wanna bet on that?

Not one of you feminist whiners knows what it means to be under-privileged, so stop playing the I'm so under-privileged card and get real.

Wanting and expecting to be treated as a human being, not as a semi-sentient sex toy, is whining? And you ask the females to get real?

Oh. I get it. This is an alternate definition for the word privilege with which I am heretofore unfamiliar.

#816

Posted by: 朴競花/박경화 (Gyeong Hwa) Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:42 PM

Every woman posting on this site is a privileged white woman.

What does one even say to this type of stupidity?

#817

Posted by: Myfanwy Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:43 PM

Re: Comments #104

Here's the argument I was making. The man in the elevator didn't physically touch her, didn't attempt to bar her way out of the elevator, didn't even use foul language at her. He spoke some words to her. Just words. She no doubt replied with words. That was that. Words. Only words, and apparently quite polite words at that.

Even the politest words can, depending on the circumstances, be quite threatening. Words that look quite innocuous when written down can have all the psychological force of a hammer blow when delivered. Context makes all the difference. Words have power, otherwise why vehemently protest against religion? If words are just words, then religious teachings needn't matter at all and we can safely ignore such things as ID. No, I have had experiences similar to Watson's and found them equally disturbing. Words have force, words start wars, and end them.

#818

Posted by: John Morales Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:43 PM

And yet another:

maggotpunk:

I guess while the rest of us fight for our civil rights and preserve our eroding freedoms some people can whine on blogs and podcasts as if anyone really gives a shit.

You are whining on a blog as if anyone really gives a shit.

(Nominative determinism strikes again!)

#819

Posted by: plien Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:44 PM

Porco Dio, you are too stupid to walk a mile in someone elses shoes & your outed as a troll. Please fuck of*.

*dead animals & tight orifices optional

#820

Posted by: Caine, ghetto féministe Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:45 PM

Jadehawk:

Anyway, for anyone who wants one, I made a feminist atheist sign, available in regular and GNU.

Thank you!

maggot:

I guess while the rest of us fight for our civil rights and preserve our eroding freedoms some people can whine on blogs and podcasts as if anyone really gives a shit.

My, my. What makes you think that speaking out against blind privilege and educating people is pointless or has no part in the fight for basic civil rights?

Your post makes you out to be a prime idiot who doesn't much care for using their brain. I've been fighting for womens rights, GLBT rights and many more causes for well over 30 years. You're really a stellar idiot if you think that fight doesn't carry over to the internet. What a whiner you are, maggot, here whining on a blog on the internet. Shouldn't you be out fighting for civil rights, Cupcake? After all, the world will fall apart without you, I'm sure.

#821

Posted by: Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjectives Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:45 PM

McGraw has not done a good job in stating her objections, and Watson would be with her rights to point that out. Instead, Watson decided to more or less call her, not quite a misogynyst, but slightly worse, a misogynyst's parrot, by attributing to her underlying thoughts or some more basic failure to appreciate a distinction than was fair to read from her comments.

She did, in fact, parrot misogynistic comments, whether she realized it or not. And that was Rebecca's point - that even young upcoming intelligent skeptical feminists are so bred and bathed in this shit that they will still spout it off on occasion without knowing they're doing it. The example wouldn't have meant anything at all if Rebecca hadn't identified who said it, because the whole crux of it was that it was someone that we would think ought to know better, but doesn't.

#822

Posted by: Caine, ghetto féministe Author Profile Page | July 2, 2011 10:53 PM

Kamaka:

Per our recent discussion...

This is fucking unreal. Another Menz thread. Cluelessness, is it catchy?

I know. It's unfuckingbelievable, ennit? They just keep crawling out from under the rocks.

Myfanwy:

Even the politest words can, depending on the circumstances, be quite threatening. Words that look quite innocuous when written down can have all the psychological force of a hammer blow when delivered.

Very true. I'd also point out that tone of voice, facial expression and body language factor in. What might appear innocent and harmless written down may have come across very differently in person.

Carlie:

And that was Rebecca's point - that even young upcoming intelligent skeptical feminists are so bred and bathed in this shit that they will still spout it off on occasion without knowing they're doing it.

Quoted and emphasized for Truth. One way too many people are missing.

#823

Posted by: Carlie of the lacy, gently wafting adjectives