There’s a common trope out there that those of us talking about sexism and harassment in the secular and skeptical movements have never provided any evidence that this stuff is really a problem. I’ll likely follow up on that more in other posts, but I wanted to share an example of how the conversation goes when someone engages one of these claimants.
In this case, it happened over at CFI’s blog, on a post where the comments are now closed after personal attacks from the usual suspects. The claimant is “Oliver”. I presume that’s Oliver Crangle aka Jaques Cuze aka jay, who has been engaging in a good bit of anti-feminist arguing in several places,
including the slime pit. [Oops. Realized that without benefit of caffeine, I was confusing Crangle with Edward Gemmer, who made a similar path through the blogs. As far as I know, Crangle hasn't been active at the pit.] Here’s where he started:
If you believe in equality between the sexes you are not necessarily an ideologue. Almost everyone involved in this dispute believes in equality. If you can find anyone in the skeptical community who disagrees with equality between the sexes I will eat my hat.
Fascinated by the claim, I responded:
What kinds of inequality do you consider hat-worthy? Are you hungry when you run into the guy who says girls are innately worse at math? How about the one who continues to repeat that women aren’t as interested in casual sex two years after disconfirming research has been published? If those don’t count to you, what does? What kinds of belief in specific inequalities amounts to a general belief in inequality to you?
They didn’t count, of course.
For me to eat my hat you would have to find someone who actively advocates rape, oppression, the exclusion of women from the skeptic movement, someone who actually refers to women as “f**k toys for privileged white men” or openly declares they think women are not people too.
Lucky for my hat that no such people exist.
Espousing an ignorant stereotype about women and maths or making a sweeping generalisation about womens views of casual sex (probably based on radical feminist demonisation of men who seek casual sex) does not equal an opposition to equality between the sexes.
Ah, so we were no longer talking about people who don’t believe women are equal. I noted his change.
So your hat isn’t really on the line for inequality, just for straw monsters that think roaring is smart. Good to know.
He pulled out his PC card.
If someone makes the observation that white men tend to do be at a disadvantage to black men in the Olympic 100 metres; regardless of the truth or ignorance of such a claim it doesn’t imply that that person believes that white men don’t deserve equality.
It’s just an observation, admittedly it’s an observation which upsets the politically correct status quo but it doesn’t say anything about that persons actual views on equality.
Despite all of the cries of sexism and misogyny emanating from your radical feminist faction (other than some internet trolling) you have yet to provide any evidence of there being a serious -real world- issue in the skeptical movement.
My hat is safe
He wanted someone advocating for different treatment based on those differences. So I found him one of those. It didn’t take long. Six minutes, including posting my comment, going by the time stamps on the comments.
Oliver, do you really think these sorts of poor and repeatedly refuted arguments just come up out of the blue? No, of course they don’t. They’re use to justify why fewer women are speakers in our movements: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/12/13/welp-im-all-convinced-and-stuff-now/
You know, inequality.
While I slept, Oliver and another commenter decided (for some reason) that I had said PZ was arguing for inequality. Yeah, I know. Oliver did, however, take the opportunity to state his personal bona fides.
I have never once supported the oppression of anyone or expressed a belief that women are not people and I resent the idiotic smear tactic of pretending that is my view when I have plainly said no such thing.
I believe in equality for all regardless of race, gender or sexuality.
So I set him straight.
J.D. and Oliver, try looking up “math” in the comment thread I pointed you to. I certainly wasn’t saying that PZ was using any such argument.
Then, oh, but reasons.
I’m not going to trawl comments. Internet trolls do not a case make.
If they did I would agree with Rebecca Watson that there was an epidemic of sexism, misogyny and rape threats but internet comments by anonymous trolls does not constitute evidence.
If you can produce a singe real world example of a person saying women should not be speakers at skeptic conventions or are fuck toys for privileged white men I will eat my hat.
No such people exist so my hat is safe
Because, you know, none of the work of our movements happens online. The interactions that happen here aren’t “real”. And the person who uses his real name and links to his Facebook page to tell us that there should be fewer female women speakers is an “anonymous troll”.
The comments were closed before I had a chance to point out the absurdity and continued shifting of goalposts. They were, however, open long enough for Oliver to make some unilateral dictates.
As for the subjective offence of pornography, gendered slurs or “objectification” EG:sexual attraction -from a man to a woman- without personality appreciation?
I’m afraid those complaints will just have to be shelved as what is offensive to you might be funny or sexually arousing to others and we can’t force society to conform to the taboos of the most sensitive among us.
So, ladies, Oliver has never said that women aren’t people. He’s just decided (no, of course you don’t get any input) that you’re going to have to deal with people who decide they’re attracted to you treating you like an object without a personality instead of a real person.
But at least his hat is safely up there on that cart-mounted goalpost.