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Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

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Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  KaineDamo on Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:19 pm

One issue that has stood out to me like a big red flag the last couple of months is the remarkable lack of skepticism from people that call themselves skeptics, when it comes to Rebecca Watson, her friends, atheismplus, and all the baggage that is included. I have seen people that call themselves skeptics accept almost without question whatever position or claim is made by the formerly mentioned, and any attempt at examination by those skeptical of those positions and claims is attacked and quickly labelled as sexist, tone trolling, mansplaining, privilege, and what are the ones used for women that are skeptical of Watson and co? I've seen 'stockholme syndrome' used, there were other colourful phrases that escape me at the moment.

I've chosen to focus on Rebecca Watson for this topic because of her position as a type of figurehead, but also because she is the perfect illustration for attracting the kind of blind support I'm talking about. The response to her slate article... it amazes me, quite frankly, that it is THAT easy to garner sympathy and support, on face value alone, from people that call themselves skeptics.

Someone once asked Matt Dillahunty if he has faith about things, and Matt responded that he doesn't have faith, he has 'tentative trust'. And I like that quite a lot. It's very simple to grasp. You give people a certain amount of reasonable tentative trust, until they break that trust. I'd be willing to give any individual who has claimed to be harassed or threatened tentative trust towards their claim. It's my view that Rebecca has broken that trust LONG ago, I no longer trust what she or her friends claim to be threats or harassment or offensive. Their definitions are much too broad. Rape threats are not ok. I have never seen any skeptic of Watson and co try to justify rape threats, I have only seen them condemned (and it is actually curious to me that I've never seen this acknowledged). But what seems to happen, from my perspective, is that everything Watson and co deem offensive is thrown into the same box. The word cunt, t-shirts that are offensive to SurlyAmy, obvious trolls... there's just a never ending parade of things that are used to justify a victim mentality.

And the moment this card is played, people leap to their defense, and support for them is used as a litmus test.

This article, while short, I think sums up a number of issues very well.

http://musingsbysoggymog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/failing-at-feminism-how-to-guide.html

Failing at Feminism; A How-To Guide
Right, can we get something straight here, do we think?

No one who insists that women should be protected from unpleasant messages, from invitations to coffee, or from criticism because she is a woman is any kind of feminist. If you put your opinions out there in a public forum, those opinions are subject to dissent and mockery – ownership of a vagina doesn't change that. More shockingly, I contend that even people who own [hushed whisper] penises are allowed to disagree with you. No, really. I know that sounds radical.

Rebecca Watson has appeared in Slate this week to bitch some more about how hard it is to be her – an educated, white, middle-class American woman whose rights are protected under law.

She claims she's been “grabbed and groped” at atheist conventions, and if that's true then THAT – I completely acknowledge – is out of order. But guess what? I get groped from time to time in bars and clubs, and on trains too. Do I blame that on the clubbing community? Do I blame it on commuters? Er, no – I blame it on the people who grope me. I'm not sure how that's difficult to understand. And no one's denying such people exist, by the way, even among the atheist community.

As for the rest of Watson's claims, that she receives nasty emails and tweets... well, so fucking what? I stated a few weeks ago in a tweet that I've never received abuse from other atheists. Since posting THAT tweet, I have. And again – so fucking what? What sane reason could I possibly have to think I can say something people won't like in a public space and expect not to get shit for it?! I've been getting sexist comments, sexually graphic messages, even direct threats from religious people for years. Do I blame the religious community for that? Again, no – because the vast majority of religious people don't behave like that.

I think the most galling part of that Slate article is the way Watson's wedged Richard Dawkins in there. I've suspected for some time that she's far more interested in creating a platform for herself than in fighting any kind of social injustice – I mean, the only right she seems to be interested in is her own right to piss and moan about how tough she has it, and she doesn't seem to have noticed that nobody's denying her that. I wish Dawkins hadn't sent that “Dear Muslima” note, not because I think he's wrong but because his doing so has given this shamelessly self-absorbed and deeply manipulative pseudofeminist more exposure than her opinions ever deserved.

Incidentally, she's given herself away dreadfully with her criticism of Dawkins' “Dear Muslima” comment – I'm astonished she didn't realise it before submitting her piece to Slate. She's slammed Dawkins for telling her – legitimately - that Western women haven't got it as bad as women in the Islamic world... ON THE SAME PAGE as telling us about this incident:




… so essentially, a message saying “you don't have it that bad, stop moaning” is OK if it comes FROM her... but not if it comes from someone else TO her. She's allowed to shrug off male circumcision on the grounds that it's not so bad as female circumcision, but Richard Dawkins isn't allowed to shrug off an invitation for coffee on the grounds that it's not so bad as getting beaten.

Right then.

(As it happens, I agree with Watson that female circumcision is probably more damaging most of the time than male circumcision – although I'm sure plenty of people disagree with me and I'm quite happy to discuss that. But I also agree with Dawkins that being beaten is worse than being invited for coffee; if Watson wants her point about relative harm to be valid, she has to at least consider the possibility that Dawkins' precisely analogous point might be valid, too.)

I sincerely hope Richard Dawkins will not be tempted to respond, because Watson doesn't deserve his notice. She's not a sceptic and she's certainly not a feminist; she's a self-serving, immature individual who's worked out that throwing the word “misogyny” around can get her exposure in – for example – Slate magazine (for which, by the way, I am disappointed in Slate). The fact that this tactic works is far more of a comment on the community calling itself skeptical than all her stories about nasty emails could ever be.

I don't need the patronising protection of Watson and others of her view, and I resent the implication that she speaks for me because I'm a woman too. I am not a weak, defenceless little creature hiding in the corner from all the nasty men, and I don't need to be rescued and patted on the head by anybody, not even another woman. Seriously; I can look after myself, thank you.

So, men; we all know how Watson thinks you're allowed to act, speak and think. Basically, you're not allowed to – not if Watson is present. I happen to think that's a little unreasonable, so here are some guidelines I set out should you happen to care what I think (unlike Watson, though, I don't make the assumption that you do):

1: Say what you like to me. If you disagree with me, say so. If you want to call me a cunt, go for it. I won't necessarily pay a blind bit of attention to you if the latter is how you choose to approach me, but I won't stop you doing it. Why would I? It's just a word, and as someone opposed to blasphemy laws in all forms it'd be pretty hypocritical for me to then turn around and say “but you have to be polite to me”.

2: (This one goes for women too.) If you would like to ask me for coffee - or even for sex - ask me. Really, it's fine. I'm quite capable of saying “no” should I wish to. Being attracted to someone is not a problem; in fact, some biologists and anthropologists have advanced the opinion that it's normal and even necessary.

3: Just think about it before you touch me. A touch on the arm or a playful nudge probably won't bother me if we're getting on, but a hand on my arse probably will (unless we're really getting on). Use your common sense; read my body language, listen to what I'm saying, put yourself in my place - and if you think physical contact would be unwelcome don't make it. I'm not an alien, I'm just a person. If that's too complicated, then wait to see if I touch you first – fairly or not, being female means I don't have to worry so much about making you feel intimidated (although I will, of course, also refrain from touching you if it seems likely to be unwelcome).

4: The above said, don't touch my breasts or my crotch however well you think we're getting on. If I'm OK with that level of physical contact, you'll know about it and we won't be at a damn convention.

5: This is the most important one, really; 99% of you don't need to worry about these guidelines. You're fine. The vast majority of you are not misogynistic gropers and you already think of women as, y'know, real people. And let's face it; the 1% of men who do think it's OK to grope a woman without her permission basically have no interest in how women would like them to behave, anyway. So carry on as you are, and don't let yourself get suckered into thinking women are feeble little things who'll be scared if you talk to them. THAT is condescending and sexist, and THAT pisses off reasonable women.

Watson I think, probably more so than anyone else on this issue, keeps overstating the significance of hate mail and troll comments, she perpeptually feeds drama, and she broad brushes too many people as a result of comments she deems as offensive.

I'm sure many people have more thoughts and insights into this topic.


Last edited by KaineDamo on Sat Oct 27, 2012 11:11 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Title change)

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  piginthecity on Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:36 pm

I don't know if i have insights.

I may have thoughts.

But I'm keeping them to myself.

Too personal a focus to be constructive.

Suggest at very least you change title to 'Have RW's recent actions damaged skeptical community ?'

Even then count me out.


Last edited by piginthecity on Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:48 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : clarify)

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  KaineDamo on Sat Oct 27, 2012 11:12 pm

I think the title change suggestion is fair enough. It's done.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  Dar on Sat Oct 27, 2012 11:19 pm

I'm with piginthecity on this one. Far too personal a focus.

The Atheism Movement isn't really well defined enough for anyone to break ranks with it. Rebecca can do and say what she wants to. Many of her points ARE valid.

Perhaps she overstates the problem of atheism being a men's club. That doesn't mean we should understate it. Men act differently in a men's club than they do in a place where gender is more representative of the population. Sometimes that behavior is taken as offensive. Sometimes that behavior is offensive. Then, of course, there is the minority of men that fail to treat women with the respect that any fellow human being deserves.

Atheism is simply lack of belief in a god. As such many many different views can and should coexist within the big tent of atheism. Currently, the men's club takes up most of that tent... so much so that it's impossible to remain within the big tent and not hear the commotion within the men's club tent.

There should be room for many different tents under the big tent of atheism. There should be room for a women's club. There should even be room for a misandry tent and a misogyny tent. We may speak ill of those tents, but there is no logical reason to justify kicking them out of the atheism tent when they are indeed atheists. There should also be room for a knitting tent, and a gaming tent, and a social justice tent, ect.

The men's tent currently overflows into the common area of the big tent, and that will change. The common areas of atheism will start to become more like the aisles of a store instead of just the hardware store. There will even be places in the store where men are not allowed, like the ladies restroom and dressing rooms. There will remain some areas where women aren't allowed too. That is fine, to be expected, and inevitable.

I may disagree with some of what Rebecca Watson has to say. Even so, she has the right to say it. Atheism is undergoing growing pains, and like it or not, she does help to point out some of those growing pains.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  lpetrich on Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:10 am

Does Rebecca Watson *really* deserve all the hatred and hostility and abuse that she has received? Seriously.

Especially since it's a response to something *very* mild. It's not like she had strapped on a dildo and raped that elevator "gentleman" in his rear end.

One ought to leave aside the question or whether or not she has a "victim mentality", because that's a separate issue.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  Skavau on Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:16 am

lpetrich wrote:Does Rebecca Watson *really* deserve all the hatred and hostility and abuse that she has received? Seriously.

Especially since it's a response to something *very* mild. It's not like she had strapped on a dildo and raped that elevator "gentleman" in his rear end.

One ought to leave aside the question or whether or not she has a "victim mentality", because that's a separate issue.
It is about more, I think, than just that. At least sensible criticism towards her has more reasons than that.
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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  Youthinasia on Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:48 pm

Dar wrote:Atheism is undergoing growing pains, and like it or not, she does help to point out some of those growing pains.

Generally I agree with the sentiment here, though I do think that there are those who are using this issue as a soapbox well and beyond the degree to which is warranted.

There is no reason for groups to be particularly heterogeneous or homogeneous, it's not a law of nature that all groups are equally represented within groups. That being said, we will begin to see (as Atheism becomes more acceptable socially) a shift in demographics, which is a good thing, but I have no illusions about Atheists as a community suddenly becoming more diverse.

Furthermore I find Watson's belief that rationalists and skeptics in the atheist community would automatically be more in line with her beliefs (or have better behavior) than is typical in general, to be baseless.

While I applaud her for bringing to light behaviors which may have had the effect of causing atheist women to feel marginalized, I do not accept her usage of trolls as being indicative of some implied grievous and rampant misogynistic undercurrent within Atheism in general. These are individuals, and trolls use the most vile and disgusting comments they can muster with the explicit purpose of getting a rise out of someone.

In the end I think that the issues A+ wants to push forward would be best helped by ending the discussion on this particular incident. I doubt Watson would do so seeing as how this has elevated her position within atheist circles. I strongly agree with the blog post put up by OP. She's fighting the wrong battle if she wants to win the war.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  lpetrich on Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:28 pm

Is it really Rebecca Watson's fault if certain other people keep on making an issue out of that elevator incident?

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  Skep tickle on Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:05 pm

She seems to be maintaining focus on it - stoking the fire. Not on the elevator incident per se but on her claims about how awful (misogynistic, etc etc) many men in the skeptic/atheist community are.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  Youthinasia on Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:15 pm

lpetrich wrote:Is it really Rebecca Watson's fault if certain other people keep on making an issue out of that elevator incident?

No certainly not, and I never said that it was.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  DMB on Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:01 am

I'm a woman FWIW.

I've heard Rebecca Watson speak at conferences and she is an interesting, if lightweight, speaker. I certainly think she's somewhat tob lame for the original article. I really can't see that a simple proposition, not couched in offensive language or accompanied by groping, is worth making any sort of fuss about. I can understand that at 4 am and feeling very tired she may have felt vulnerable in an enclosed space. Many of us might. But once nothing untoward actually happened and she safely got out, I'd have expected any feelings of unease to disappear. It certainly was a non-story and not suitable in such an article.

Furthermore she must have been extraordinarily naive to think that sceptic or atheist men are totally different from men in general. They have similar emotions and some of them get a bit drunk and lose their inhibitions. A smallish and very nasty minority grope or rape.

I think it was worthwhile to complain about the horrible sexist responses she gets on her blog. They are both frightening and disgusting. But she damped down the sympathy I feel for her over that by going on about this very trivial incident.

Perhaps nuns are an exception, but most women who live in the modern western heterosexual world do have to cope with a lot of nasty crap from men. Some men, that is. Most of us have been frightened on occasion, or have been groped and worse. But I still think that women need to try to be a bit understanding of men's difficulties. How are men ever to get off with an attractive woman without sometimes running the risk of being misunderstood and classified as dreadful sexists or would-be rapists?

In my working life and at these conferences I have long been used to the fact that there are far more men than women involved. But I have found that at least some of them are very helpful to and supportive of women. No man is ever going to think or behave just like a woman. But does it really matter?

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  lpetrich on Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:35 am

What started it all: About Mythbusters, Robot Eyes, Feminism, and Jokes - YouTube (June 20, 2011) - near the end

Update! Plus dating advice - YouTube (July 22, 2011):
Plus, a lot of you have been asking something along the lines of, "Well if we can't corner women in a hotel elevator and ask them back to our hotel rooms before we've said anything else to them, how are we ever going to get laid??" So I've decided to offer some advice in that regard.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  KaineDamo on Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:01 am

That assumption that she has that she is speaking for "most normal people" is so bothersome. Firstly, the elevator thing is so subjective. The risk/threat potential, at least statistically, is incredibly minimal. It's conceivable that there are women out there who in the same position would not have been creeped out.

Also. It's hard for me to conceive of very many scenarios in which someone is hitting on a person they are into, that wouldn't be at least a little bit uncomfortable, or that someone in the world wouldn't find threatening, offensive, creepy, or uncomfortable.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  scott1328 on Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:35 am

I suppose I am like everyone else who has stood apart from the fray. The EG incident as related by RW is so innocuous it borders on the banal.

RW offered this as an example to support her case of why women seem to be under-represented in Atheist/Skeptic circles. It certainly seems plausible enough. Surely, if EG creeped RW out, then other women surely might be creeped out in similar circumstances. Then for her to go on to suggest that guys shouldn't do this, this also seems reasonable enough.

Wherefore all the push back?

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  Atheist Dude on Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:46 am

scott1328 wrote:I suppose I am like everyone else who has stood apart from the fray. The EG incident as related by RW is so innocuous it borders on the banal.

RW offered this as an example to support her case of why women seem to be under-represented in Atheist/Skeptic circles. It certainly seems plausible enough. Surely, if EG creeped RW out, then other women surely might be creeped out in similar circumstances. Then for her to go on to suggest that guys shouldn't do this, this also seems reasonable enough.

Wherefore all the push back?

RW should have told EG what she was thinking, instead of telling all men "hey guy's, don't do that"

If she had a problem with EG, she should have told EG and left it at that. It's Passive aggressive BS.
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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  scott1328 on Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:56 am

Atheist Dude wrote:RW should have told EG what she was thinking, instead of telling all men "hey guy's, don't do that"

If she had a problem with EG, she should have told EG and left it at that. It's Passive aggressive BS.

It is not productive to argue a counter-factual. She did what she did.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  Atheist Dude on Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:08 am

scott1328 wrote:
Atheist Dude wrote:RW should have told EG what she was thinking, instead of telling all men "hey guy's, don't do that"

If she had a problem with EG, she should have told EG and left it at that. It's Passive aggressive BS.

It is not productive to argue a counter-factual. She did what she did.

I Agree it isn't a productive argument, however; Pointing out how it could be handled more assertively can be a learning experience for others.
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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  lpetrich on Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:49 am

Here's Rebecca Watson's recent article in Slate magazine: Sexism in the skeptic community: I spoke out, then came the rape threats. - Slate Magazine
It Stands to Reason, Skeptics Can Be Sexist Too

I spoke out about sexual harassment among atheists and scientists. Then came the rape threats.
After describing herself as part of a skeptic movement, she continued
I learned about the skeptics back in college, when I worked in a magic store and performed gigs on the side. I was a huge fan of James “The Amazing” Randi, a magician who offers a million dollars to anyone who can prove they have paranormal abilities. (There’s a huge overlap between magicians and skeptics, both of whom are interested in the ways we fool ourselves.)
She acknowledged that she received a lot of sexist nastiness when she started blogging and posting videos about skepticism, but "There was something downright amusing about a creationist calling me a cunt while praying that I’d find the love of Jesus."

But when she started talking about feminist issues, she started receiving sexist nastiness from people she considered in her community: fellow skeptics and atheists. She thought at first that education would change that, and she concedes that she didn't take very serious other women's complaints about sexist nastiness. Then in June 2011, she participated in a conference, “Communicating Atheism,” and "I used my time to talk about what it’s like for me to communicate atheism online, and how being a woman might affect the response I receive, as in rape threats and other sexual comments." That night, the elevator scandal happened, and she blogged about it when she returned home.
What I said in my video, exactly, was, “Guys, don’t do that,” with a bit of a laugh and a shrug. What legions of angry atheists apparently heard was, “Guys, I won’t stop hating men until I get 2 million YouTube comments calling me a ‘cunt.’ ” The skeptics boldly rose to the imagined challenge.
Toward the end, she stated that "I know that this article will only rile up the sexist skeptics." But she stated that she went ahead because she thinks that the skeptics movement's goals are good ones, and that they will not be helped by avoiding important issues.
I also believe that old line about sunlight being the best disinfectant. Ignoring bullies does not make them go away. For the most part, the people harassing us aren’t just fishing for a reaction—they want our silence. They’re angry that feminist thought has a platform in “their community.” What they don’t get is that it’s also my community.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  lpetrich on Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:50 am

scott1328 wrote:I suppose I am like everyone else who has stood apart from the fray. The EG incident as related by RW is so innocuous it borders on the banal. ...

Wherefore all the push back?
Beats me. I also fail to see why it aroused such outrage.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  lpetrich on Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:53 am

Atheist Dude wrote:
scott1328 wrote:I suppose I am like everyone else who has stood apart from the fray. The EG incident as related by RW is so innocuous it borders on the banal. ...

Wherefore all the push back?

RW should have told EG what she was thinking, instead of telling all men "hey guy's, don't do that"

If she had a problem with EG, she should have told EG and left it at that. It's Passive aggressive BS.
No it isn't. She didn't want other men to do that, it seems.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  Atheist Dude on Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:29 am

lpetrich wrote:
Atheist Dude wrote:
scott1328 wrote:I suppose I am like everyone else who has stood apart from the fray. The EG incident as related by RW is so innocuous it borders on the banal. ...

Wherefore all the push back?

RW should have told EG what she was thinking, instead of telling all men "hey guy's, don't do that"

If she had a problem with EG, she should have told EG and left it at that. It's Passive aggressive BS.
No it isn't. She didn't want other men to do that, it seems.


I guess we disagree.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  AliRadicali on Mon Oct 29, 2012 12:58 pm

lpetrich wrote:Is it really Rebecca Watson's fault if certain other people keep on making an issue out of that elevator incident?
Yes it is, she and her minions deliberately inflated the story by drawing attention to it, attacking detractors, etc. It wouldn't have blown up the way it did if had simply remained a single video with some well-meant advice.

DMB wrote:I'm a woman FWIW.

I've heard Rebecca Watson speak at conferences and she is an interesting, if lightweight, speaker. I certainly think she's somewhat tob lame for the original article. I really can't see that a simple proposition, not couched in offensive language or accompanied by groping, is worth making any sort of fuss about. I can understand that at 4 am and feeling very tired she may have felt vulnerable in an enclosed space. Many of us might. But once nothing untoward actually happened and she safely got out, I'd have expected any feelings of unease to disappear. It certainly was a non-story and not suitable in such an article.

Furthermore she must have been extraordinarily naive to think that sceptic or atheist men are totally different from men in general. They have similar emotions and some of them get a bit drunk and lose their inhibitions. A smallish and very nasty minority grope or rape.

I think it was worthwhile to complain about the horrible sexist responses she gets on her blog. They are both frightening and disgusting. But she damped down the sympathy I feel for her over that by going on about this very trivial incident.

Perhaps nuns are an exception, but most women who live in the modern western heterosexual world do have to cope with a lot of nasty crap from men. Some men, that is. Most of us have been frightened on occasion, or have been groped and worse. But I still think that women need to try to be a bit understanding of men's difficulties. How are men ever to get off with an attractive woman without sometimes running the risk of being misunderstood and classified as dreadful sexists or would-be rapists?

In my working life and at these conferences I have long been used to the fact that there are far more men than women involved. But I have found that at least some of them are very helpful to and supportive of women. No man is ever going to think or behave just like a woman. But does it really matter?
I don't think she'd be getting all those responses if her own positions weren't so extreme, or if she stopped being such a perfect victim about it. This is going to sound like victim blaming (BOO!), but fact that she gives these "trolls" so much credence and attention only fuels their trolling; in that regard it's no different from real life bullying.


scott1328 wrote:I suppose I am like everyone else who has stood apart from the fray. The EG incident as related by RW is so innocuous it borders on the banal.

RW offered this as an example to support her case of why women seem to be under-represented in Atheist/Skeptic circles. It certainly seems plausible enough. Surely, if EG creeped RW out, then other women surely might be creeped out in similar circumstances. Then for her to go on to suggest that guys shouldn't do this, this also seems reasonable enough.

Wherefore all the push back?
Well, if you can't even ask a woman out to coffee, what can you do? Besides the harsh attacks on critics, I guess what really irked a bunch of people is the sense of entitlement hidden in the presumption that somehow men should be blamed for making women uncomfortable, even when this discomfort is caused by something completely mundane. If an invite to coffee makes somone feel uncomfortable, maybe the problem isn't the community, maybe it's just that person's superthin skin.

lpetrich wrote:
Atheist Dude wrote:
RW should have told EG what she was thinking, instead of telling all men "hey guys, don't do that"

If she had a problem with EG, she should have told EG and left it at that. It's Passive aggressive BS.
No it isn't. She didn't want other men to do that, it seems.
Which is a preposterous demand to make IMO. It's fine to be considerate, and I even feel that a certain amount of consideration for your fellow human beings is moral, but there are bounds of reason. Men shouldn't be expected to twist themselves into pretzels trying to figure out ways to behave which under no circumstances can possibly cause offense or confusion among women.
Miscommunication is bound to happen somewhere, people are bound to take offense at something, and that's just the way things are. You don't have the right not to be offended. Herding all the men into a giant cage and keeping them there for the duration of the convention might make women feel more safe, but it's sure to hurt everyone's enjoyment of the event.
And yes, that's a hyperbole, but please consider what harm actually took and takes place at conventions(none), and the things the A+feminism people are demanding(restrict freedom of speech/expression). Completely disproportionate.
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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  DaveDodo007 on Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:15 pm

scott1328 wrote:I suppose I am like everyone else who has stood apart from the fray. The EG incident as related by RW is so innocuous it borders on the banal.

RW offered this as an example to support her case of why women seem to be under-represented in Atheist/Skeptic circles. It certainly seems plausible enough. Surely, if EG creeped RW out, then other women surely might be creeped out in similar circumstances. Then for her to go on to suggest that guys shouldn't do this, this also seems reasonable enough.

Wherefore all the push back?

It’s got nothing to do with the elevator incident as this drama blew up when Rebecca Watson acted unprofessionally when she called out Stef McGraw from the podium. She accused McGraw off ‘parroting misogynist thought.’ McGraw was in the audience and had no right of reply. It was even P Z Myers’ Pharyngula blog post about this incident (Always name names) which Richard Dawkins ‘Dear Muslima’ was written. It didn’t help that she had a go at Paula Kirby at the same meeting considering all she has done for the atheist community and especially trying to get more women involved in the meetings and speaking events.

Making it about the elevator incident is just a smokescreen to defect genuine criticism of RW as in awww the poor PUA's and their hurt fee fees. The main criticism of elevatorgate was mostly from women who said ‘he accepted no for an answer and that’s what we have been trying to get men to do for ages.’ I personally have never asked a woman out for a coffee in an elevator or a confined space and never will, so you can argue about that amongst yourselves.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  scott1328 on Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:32 pm

DaveDodo007 wrote:
scott1328 wrote:I suppose I am like everyone else who has stood apart from the fray. The EG incident as related by RW is so innocuous it borders on the banal.

RW offered this as an example to support her case of why women seem to be under-represented in Atheist/Skeptic circles. It certainly seems plausible enough. Surely, if EG creeped RW out, then other women surely might be creeped out in similar circumstances. Then for her to go on to suggest that guys shouldn't do this, this also seems reasonable enough.

Wherefore all the push back?

It’s got nothing to do with the elevator incident as this drama blew up when Rebecca Watson acted unprofessionally when she called out Stef McGraw from the podium. She accused McGraw off ‘parroting misogynist thought.’ McGraw was in the audience and had no right of reply. It was even P Z Myers’ Pharyngula blog post about this incident (Always name names) which Richard Dawkins ‘Dear Muslima’ was written. It didn’t help that she had a go at Paula Kirby at the same meeting considering all she has done for the atheist community and especially trying to get more women involved in the meetings and speaking events.

Making it about the elevator incident is just a smokescreen to defect genuine criticism of RW as in awww the poor PUA's and their hurt fee fees. The main criticism of elevatorgate was mostly from women who said ‘he accepted no for an answer and that’s what we have been trying to get men to do for ages.’ I personally have never asked a woman out for a coffee in an elevator or a confined space and never will, so you can argue about that amongst yourselves.

Well I guess I did ask why, thank you for your answer, I suppose keeping oneself out of the fray, tends to reinforce one's own prejudices. Clearly, I need to investigate this more thoroughly before I comment on this further.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  lpetrich on Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:22 pm

AliRadicali wrote:
lpetrich wrote:Is it really Rebecca Watson's fault if certain other people keep on making an issue out of that elevator incident?
Yes it is, she and her minions deliberately inflated the story by drawing attention to it, attacking detractors, etc. It wouldn't have blown up the way it did if had simply remained a single video with some well-meant advice.
If she hadn't gotten such a hostile response, there wouldn't have been a big issue, and it's likely that the two A+ forums would never have been created.

To me, that complain is like a bully whining "Boo hoo hoo hoo hoo! My target fought back! How terrible!! How wounded I am!!!"

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

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