A Dose of Perspective

The anti-Atheism+ crowd, the ones who go around complaining about it everywhere, like to suggest that everyone sees things the same way they do. In fact, they say this to each other a rather lot, reinforce the idea even.

Every once in a while, however, that idea comes up against a fresh audience. It did just that yesterday, on a MetaFilter thread dedicated to Annalee Newitz’s io9 post on conferences and conventions dealing with harassment. This being MetaFilter, the discussion was pretty good. In fact, it was better than I’ve seen MetaFilter on harassment, but they have been talking about the topic almost as much as the rest of us lately.

After a good chunk of mostly respectful and non-derailed talk, up showed Decani, whom some of you will recognize as Jack Rawlinson.

Re the only one of these three I actually know a lot about:

Though some would cast this as a war between sexism and feminism, it isn’t that simple.

You can say that again. And the only people casting it in that way are those on the Watson/Skepchick side.

There are women and feminists on both sides of the debate.

Aye, and plenty of them on the non-Watson/Skepchick side, too. And the numbers are increasing as Atheism+ spins ever further out into la-la land.

The divide is between people who believe feminism is integral to skepticism (Watson) and those who think it’s irrelevant (Dawkins).

No, it really isn’t. That shows an incredibly superficial reading of the situation.

Yeah, I know. It all looks so familiar, not to mention multiply debunked. But does it work on a novel crowd?

For that, you’ll have to read the rest of the thread. SPOILERS: At least until the flounce.

In Which I…Harbor Death Threats?

So, the reaction to my post on Isaac Asimov’s invitation to give a talk lauding sexual assault at Chicon III (and his turning it down because it would require him to get consent from the women who would act as his props on stage) is getting an interesting reaction. Most of it has been what I expected:

  • “Yes, it happened to me/someone I know.”
  • “Oh, Asimov? Really? Sad panda.”
  • “His female characters always seemed a little weird.”
  • “Wow/Grr. I can’t believe (though I do believe) people would behave like this.”

All pretty typical reactions. Not much of the denialism I was braced for. 

Then there were the reactions I didn’t expect, like the ones from Earl Kemp, issuer of the invitation himself.
[Read more...]

The Search for Slavering Dogs

Profile photo of drooling mastiff.

Photo by Robert Bejil Photography. Some rights reserved.

Dear Dr. Coyne:

I have a question raised by a recent post. In it, you set some ground rules for your comments:

In the comments section below, please stick to the interview and topics covered by Dawkins. We’re not going to have a pack of slavering dogs accusing Richard of being a “raving misogynist,” since he isn’t.

I checked. I did manage to find two people who had called Dawkins a “raving misogynist”. One of them was on Facebook. One on Tumblr. Neither of them appeared to be drooling. Neither appeared to be someone who comments on your blog.

So who are these “slavering dogs”? I mean, I can understand not wanting such a creature to comment on your blog, but with only two of them, neither of whom appears to be a fan, surely you don’t need to issue a general statement, do you?

Or maybe you’re being more general. You say in a comment:

No, I think the characterization is quite appropriate for those who call Dawkins a misogynist. And this is the end of that discussion.

I don’t think you can quite mean that, though. Reducing people to “slavering dogs” based on their opinion of one person’s behavior…well. And doing it so unilaterally, not subject to appeal? [Read more...]

A Note to Chill Girls and Queen Bees

First off, let’s establish whether I’m talking to you.

How do you know whether you’re a chill girl? Simple. Is your reaction to complaints from other women of harassment and discrimination based on gender to turn to the guys and say, “Nah, I’m fine. It’s all cool”? Then you’re a chill girl.

How do you know whether you’re a queen bee? Simple. Did you struggle your way up to a position of power or influence in what was decidedly a man’s world, only to then turn around and tell other women that unless they can do what you did, they have to stay in their subservient positions? Then you’re a queen bee.

So, if you are a queen bee or a chill girl, pay attention. [Read more...]