By Aron’s wife
…Groupthinker, Troll, Person Blinded by Privilege, Leg-Chewer, and especially if you are Thunderf00t (that’s honestly a joke TF). Do read this if you are tired of reading vitriol, and would genuinely like to know whether our community really feels welcome to women.
Sometimes labels are a useful shorthand for having a nominal understanding of a topic you are not familiar with. For example, people frequently refer to me as Asian because of what I look like. In a lot of ways the label is useful,because I was raised by an Asian parent and I have Asian physical characteristics. I really don’t discourage it for the most part, because it is more convenient than trying to explain to people that I am really not Asian in any real sense of the word.
I’m actually Eurasian and also raised by a white parent, and have yet to set foot outside this country. It is a chore to explain this even to people, who know me well. Especially because people can dismiss what you are saying as you being too sensitive. Also a lot of people don’t like ambiguity, and they don’t like doing the mental work about something they can’t be bothered about.
More seriously, we make labels like “misogynist” and “feminist”(only you have to mentally hiss that when you read it for the purposes of this discussion) that become more charged every time they are repeated. Pretty soon the labels start meaning different things to different people. At this point it can be more useful to show and not tell what action you are referring to and abandon the labels. Realistically not everyone is equally invested in putting time into learning about things that they don’t think directly affects them.
However not learning about different groups has become more and more impossible in a growing and increasingly diverse community. In fact, we live in a more mobile age where it is increasingly impossible to maintain a homogeneous, isolated community. (Notice the Chick Fil A President’s struggle to maintain a homophobic tradition) Friction is inevitable. I have been warned by some community members not to speak about this. I’ve been told it will blow over, and that it is drama intended to get more blog hits and video views. The problem with this opinion is that in the mean time people that are for the most part good are getting hurt.
Obviously if you are not a decent human being-meaning you fit neatly into one of the labels in the title, this post is a waste of your time. It is also a waste of your time if you can’t be bothered to understand what other people think and want to make a quick snap judgment and leave. If you are a decent human being and you genuinely care about how your actions may affect others; you’re going to take time to understand an issue before drawing a conclusion. Speaking of snap judgments there are a few common ones that are often repeated. These are a few from a Facebook discussion that are getting in the way of meaningful discussion. These are freshly minted comments; they were posted this week. I am posting these without naming names.
Stop talking about Rebecca Watson and Elevatorgate comments that are all basically saying this…
The elevator thing is still going on? Wow.
I hate to see an important movement collapse into itself over stupid bickering.
Don’t like the guy but I’m with tf00t here. The whole thing caused by that ridiculous elevator incident and Watson acting like an offended child, saying she now hates Dawkins and everyone who disagrees with her. Its now months that you guys have talked about nothing else but some supposed hatred against women. Just stop the bullshit.
You know what would provide some solution to all this, is if elevator guy actually came out and told his side of the story, in public. Because I like many others do not think that he actually exists. At least not outside RW’s mind, becauseyou have to admit if he only exists in her mind, it is an excellent tool to use to promote the views that she is talking about. She can imply whatever she wants about this person and not have him come out and rebut it. Well done, RW you have won so far, until people start to think about the issue and not just take your word for it. Take a step back and have a look everything is working out for RW and her click, she can do no wrong, so far. But when the crash comes and it will, her public will make her cry worse than Roth.
This is not just about elevatorgate, it is about one group creating dislike against another group. I can bet the real enemy is out there eating their chicken sandwiches and enjoying the dissent among the ranks.
“do you think there is a real problem with ‘hate against women’ in this community? “
I’ve got to say I’ve seen essentially NONE.
This is the thesis of a rant that denies there is any problem at all in the skeptic community with “hate against women”. You can eviscerate this argument easily with only one example of hate against women. Like for example, a co-founder of a skeptic online forum pondered this in a public forum…
Would it be immoral to rape a Skepchick?
Not for sexual gratification or power or anything like that, just because they’re so annoying.
I’m really torn on this one
After being a few rounds of laughs at the Skepchicks expense, his own forum members criticized him and he apologized for the joke’s offensiveness and “lameness”. (*edit this is the word choice in the apology not mine)However, to date I haven’t seen an apology for publicly shaming the Skepchicks, and having a laugh at their expense in the skeptic community. Whether you agree with Skepchicks or not do they deserve gender based hatred directed at them in the form of pondering raping them as a joke to shut them up?
The original ranter I quoted continues trivializing the numerous rape threats Watson got as mere trolling, and to be expected as a public personality. Is anything Watson ever said or done worthy of hundreds of threats written with the intent of shaming her with threats of violence?
The problem of gender based hatred wasn’t created by Skepchicks and Rebecca Watson. In fact, rape threats are widespread all over the internet to silence women from speaking publicly. Someone in the same online Facebook discussion shared this article from The Guardian with me…
Crude insults, aggressive threats and unstinting ridicule: it’s business as usual in the world of website news commentary – at least for the women who regularly contribute to the national debate.
The frequency of the violent online invective – or “trolling” – levelled at female commentators and columnists is now causing some of the best known names in journalism to hesitate before publishing their opinions. As a result, women writers across the political spectrum are joining to call for a stop to the largely anonymous name-calling.
The columnist Laurie Penny, who writes for the Guardian, New Statesmanand Independent, has decided to reveal the amount of abuse she receives in an effort to persuade online discussion forums to police threatening comments more effectively.
Lewis-Hasteley has also been surprised by some of the reaction to the growing campaign to protect women writers from this verbal abuse. “Someone asked me if I didn’t realise that I wasn’t really going to be raped. But the threat of sexual violence is an attack in itself, and some commentators have their Facebook pages searched, and their home addresses tracked. It’s a real feeling of being hunted by these people.”
If you’re still reading this post, my intent is to help promote a better understanding of why people are speaking out so strongly on gender-based hatred. I sincerely hope that more good people will be able to see beyond the labels, insults, and slurs to see the actual problem. Although, I do understand that many decent people are weary of the controversy, and would love to see it blow over. I really do hope that before it does our community will benefit from a better understanding of this issue that affects all of us.