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Social graces, who needs em?

Russell here. I haven’t really thrown myself fully into the Watson / Dawkins dust up, apart from a Facebook thread and a few choice remarks in comments. Rest assured, though, that I and pretty much every Atheist Experience participant I’ve seen in email agrees (as far as I can glean) with the main thrust of Martin’s post on the subject, to wit: “Dawkins is wrong, Rebecca is right.” We’ve gotten email trying to insist that we should inject some fake balance into this discussion, saying both sides have blown it out of proportion. Nope. IMHO, they haven’t, all the proportion blowing out of has been in one direction.

A thread that is pushing towards 400 comments probably doesn’t need more people repeating what’s already been said, but I want to take some time out to address one of the most… confused… comments that I saw thrown out and repeated a few times in there. It’s this:

This is embarrassing. I feel the need to comment on this because Martin, Tracy, and Matt are clearly being hypocrites here.

“Lets make a TV show where we call all religion false. People will feel offended/threatened/fearful for viewer’s salvation, but in the name of free discussion, its worth it. After all, people don’t have right not to be offended.”

And now look whats happened. “Its good for Rebecca to set incredibly subjective social rules for all men (applying to all women as well) because she might be frightened.”

Of course people don’t have the right not to be offended.

And by the same token, people don’t have the automatic right of association with people that they’ve offended.

Look, I don’t spend time talking about atheism because I think it’s naturally fun to offend people. I talk about atheism because I feel that it’s an intelligent point of view which has been unfairly misrepresented by a large number of religious people. When I’m on the show I have different goals depending on who I’m talking to. The three most common goals, for me, are as follows:

  1. Hello, fellow atheist! Don’t feel bad that you’re an atheist, because many other smart people agree with you and have good reasons for doing so! We support you and appreciate what you’re going through.
  2. Hello, theist! We may disagree with you, but we’re not a danger to you. We have values, we don’t harm people, and we aren’t on a mission to destroy your freedom to believe what you want. We think your beliefs are wrong, but we’d like to discuss why rather than drawing the knives. Yay for pluralism, am I right?
  3. Hey, audience! Get a load of this guy! His religion has caused him to have an extraordinary number of obviously false beliefs, so hilarious that they are transparent even to his fellow religious people! Let’s all enjoy him for entertainment value, since it would obviously be a waste of time to try to convince him of anything.

That’s the formula in a nutshell, and all three types of caller are valued. Caller #3 is the most likely to be “offended” by our topics, but that’s okay with me. He is free not to watch, and if he watches anyway, well, offense is part of the package deal.

But I also don’t expect to hang out with those people. I usually don’t come into their church, tell them things from their pulpit that will offend them, and then get angry because they don’t immediately hire me as the new pastor.

So the question is: do we, in fact, give a crap about having women like Rebecca and Tracie and and Greta and Jen Peeples and Jen McCreight feel comfortable as a part of the atheist activist and outreach community, or don’t we? If several of our existing activists explain what it is that is making atheist conventions a potentially uncomfortable environment, are you gonna say “Suck it up, babe, I have the right to offend you”?

Well, yeah, you have the right to do it. But you’re kind of like a guy who is sitting in a public place for hours making armpit fart noises. It’s not illegal to make armpit farts, it’s probably not “threatening behavior” per se, but you can rest assured that the vast majority of people will find you annoying and stay far away from you. Some might even approach you and say “Please stop doing that, it’s obnoxious.” As Richard Dawkins might point out, the amount of discomfort it causes people is quite trivial compared to what oppressed women in the Middle East have to go through, but it doesn’t change the fact that it will cause a lot of people not to like you.

So if I say “Please stop with the armpit farts,” I am not curtailing your free speech. And if you insist on your “right” to do it, and then as a result I choose to avoid you, I am also not curtailing your free speech. And if I later throw a party, and I say “Don’t invite him, that’s the armpit fart guy,” I am still not curtailing your free speech. I’m just exercising my freedom of association because I don’t like you.

Sometimes in the past I’ve talked about debating atheism as being a kind of competitive game, much like chess or poker or Starcraft II or football. In all competitive games, there is a certain amount of luck involved with the circumstances under which you play, but the main way to increase your skill is to play a lot. When you lose, you observe what your opponent did and see if there is anything you can specifically borrow from his style so that you improve the next time. When you win, identify why you won and keep doing that, but also review where you were weakest and how you can stop doing those things.

Being socially effective and well liked is no different, but this is a difficult thing for some atheists to get their heads around because a lot of us are — show of hands, please! — nerds. It’s not a coincidence that there are strong nerdy tendencies among a group that emphasizes intellect, rationality, and scientific literacy. It comes with the territory. I’m a nerd, I’m engaged to a nerd, I love talking to nerds.

But one thing that characterizes some nerds is that they care more about their chosen area of passion — whether it’s physics or Greek poetry or getting really good at Starcraft II — than about their personal interactions with other people. And that, of course, leads to frustration when they recognize that social acceptance doesn’t come for free; you have to work at that too.

Let me throw out a chess analogy here. I prefer to use chess rather than other games because I feel most people (particularly nerds) are likely to have at least a little bit of familiarity with it. At all skill levels, most players start the game by moving the king’s pawn. A smaller number move the queen’s pawn first, often as part of a queen’s gambit. It’s also possible to open with any other pawn or even a knight, but it’s very rare for good players to do this for a lot of reasons: you give up early control of the center, you delay your ability to move out key pieces on the board, etc.

Now suppose you’re just learning to play chess, and you decide that you want to open every game by moving your rook’s pawn, way over on the side of the board. After I watch your games a bit, I say “I think you should stop using that as your opening move, try something more traditional.” A player who wishes to improve at chess will seriously consider this suggestion and most will eventually recognize it as correct. This improvement comes in two stages: first unders
tanding the reasoning behind the strategy, and second, trying it out and observing that, yes, you win more when you do it.

But another reaction to this advice would be to throw a temper tantrum, saying “What an unfair demand! That’s the problem with this dumb game, it’s so rigid and has all these unspoken ‘rules’ that I’m expected to follow even though they aren’t part of the official rules of the game! I think you’re just imposing on my freedom to open with the rook’s pawn, and you can go fuck yourself.”

That player is always going to be bad at chess. He’s right, of course, to think that you “have the right” to make a rook pawn opening. But what he’s missing is that you don’t have the right to open with the rook’s pawn and then win the game. Being good at chess is not a right.

Forgive the incredibly convoluted analogy, but I do have a point. There is a way of acting which will be regarded as offensive and out of line by most people who give any actual thought to the matter. People who insist on their “right” to act this way do not have the right to be respected or appreciated for their independence, which would constitute “winning” the social game.

Periodically we’ll see discussions going on about why there are so many white dudes in the atheist activist movement. Atheist men would like to have more women around. Atheist women, minority that they are, would like to have more women around. Black atheists, and non-racist white atheists, would like to have more black atheists around. We don’t want that so that we white men can have more chicks to hit on, or so we can smugly say “I have some black friends!” It’s because we would like atheist activism to be an open and inviting community for all people of like minds to be comfortable congregating and exchanging ideas. We don’t want to be forever hiding our atheism because Christians are the only ones who know how to apply social pressure.

Because, see, Rebecca Watson does not presume speak for all women; but if you look around at the reaction to her story among female bloggers, you’ll see that she obviously speaks effectively for a lot of them. The atheist community is either going to be a place that welcomes and embraces guys being obnoxious douches for the sake of celebrating their freedom to do what they want… or it’s going to be a place where women like to be. It can’t be both. You can offend people if you want, but you can’t be aggressively, unapologetically offensive to people whom you then also hope will like you.

Those are the rules of the game. Sorry if it cramps your style. Learn to play or go find a different game that you’re better at.

Comments

  1. says

    While I agree that Rebekah has the right idea in this case, I feel that both have a bit of a sexist attitude. While Dawkin's statements are unfortunate and shallow, I think Rebekah's assumption about a man asking her to his sleeping quarters to discuss ideas was also shallow. What if he had wanted to do just that, with no sex whatsoever? From what she said, I agree with her point that the man was daft for not listening to her close enough so as to not make her feel uncomfortable (maybe he should have asked for a breakfast meeting instead,) but not every man under that set of circumstances has sex on the mind. She just went along with a gut reaction, which made Jump to conclusions based off of pessimistic absolutist's stereotypes. Not only is it unbecoming of her, but that also puts a notch into the guy's good name, all because of a tiny social mistake.

  2. says

    No. She didn't. As I said right there at the top, people who are scrambling to play the moral equivalence card by saying "both sides blew it out of proportion" are not correct here because they have to resort to mischaracterizing the nature of her complaint.

  3. says

    Well said, and I hope this is the last post on the matter.Men, please listen to what the women are saying. We have a valid point of view, even though it's not what you would feel in the same circumstance.

  4. says

    I have been on the periphery of this kerfuffle, so if I am sticking my oar in someone else s pond, please excuse me. AFAIK the story so far is a girl left a bar at 0400 hours and was hit upon by a fellow bar patron. The girl took umbrage at hit. Famous atheist said no umbrage justified. Now every body's knickers are in a twist. Is that about the size of it or have I missed one hundred layers of nuance?

  5. says

    Gosh, FDR, I can't see why you'd think you missed any nuance just because you stripped out every bit of context and background from your summary of the situation.

  6. says

    When Rebecca Writes:-(So many of you voiced what I had already been thinking: that this person who I always admired for his intelligence and compassion does not care about my experiences as an atheist woman and therefore will no longer be rewarded with my money, my praise, or my attention. I will no longer recommend his books to others, buy them as presents, or buy them for my own library. I will not attend his lectures or recommend that others do the same. There are so many great scientists and thinkers out there that I don’t think my reading list will suffer.)She really is chucking her dummy out the pram. And you are doing her no favors by not pointing out that she is being silly.

  7. says

    I really enjoyed your post Kazim (and now wish to play you in SCII). You made some great points that gave me a greater perspective on the matter.I already agreed with the point about Dawkins. His comment was simply fallacious. If my friend gets dumped and says he's feeling depressed I don't counter-argument with "dying kids in Africa". I address his comment on face value.I do have issue with Rebecca's statement. Not with the conclusion, mind you. She said she was "sexualized".Grab a snippit here: "It refers to the making of a person, group or thing to be seen as sexual in nature". I'll grant there is a high probability that he was interested in sex, but if the comment was meant as "a reduction to a sexual object" that is simply incorrect. One can be attracted, physically/sexually, and still see the person as more than a sexual object and trying to create a division between these two concepts is a false dichotomy.Maybe that's not what she meant by sexualized. Maybe she meant it under a looser definition, like: "It can also refer to the making of an interpersonal relationship into a sexual relationship." Then okay, sure. I have no issue with her statement at that point.But that still leaves me in an opposing stance against Rebecca supporters who are taking the incident and using words like "sexist" and "misogyny" because those words are incorrect applied in this situation.It was, like you said, bad social grace. And no, I have no objections to her stating it because if that's what she means, she's right. He's being armpit guy. But can we stop mislabeling the incident?I made a youtube video about the incident:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYo4dzbVWesWhere I describe the issue under "Being a desired minority in a majority situation". THAT'S what we need to increase awareness about. Tagging "sexism" and "misogyny" to the issue is going to rightfully create opposition.

  8. Brian says

    "What if he had wanted to do just that, with no sex whatsoever? "That's certainly a possibility, but there is one important fact to be considered: coffee and relative privacy was available at the hotel bar, in closer proximity than the man's hotel room. He was requesting she go out of her way to hang out with him.Besides, in what universe is it ever polite to immediately invite someone to your bedroom upon meeting them for the first time, for ANY reason?

  9. says

    I think Watson's original comment was fine. But now that anyone who doesn't 100% agree with the condemning EG as an obvious potential rapist, is a rape-appeaser, I've lost all interest in the opinions being flung around. It is just silly now and it makes everyone involved look silly.

  10. Brian says

    " One can be attracted, physically/sexually, and still see the person as more than a sexual object and trying to create a division between these two concepts is a false dichotomy."Rebecca wasn't offended by the idea that this man might be physically attracted to her. She was offended that he chose to take a rude, boorish action as a result. So many in this debate are conflating thoughts with actions, and that a condemnation of the actions is necessarily a condemnation of the thoughts. It's not. Not even close. And Rebecca, Jen, and others on that side of the issue have already repeatedly pointed that out.It is okay to think sexual thoughts about a woman.It is not okay to act on those thoughts in a way the woman finds unwelcome.It's really that simple.

  11. says

    @ FRakaFDR – yes. You've missed a hundred layers of nuance. You didn't even get the basic story completely correct.. Read for comprehension next time. NI_Scotty said: "I think Rebekah's assumption about a man asking her to his sleeping quarters to discuss ideas was also shallow. What if he had wanted to do just that, with no sex whatsoever?" Wow. Really? Somewhere there are operators standing by to sell you bridges, swampland.. er prime development sites, and books that guarantee you will be saved and get to heaven when you read them because OF COURSE no one in the history of the universe has EVER made misleading statements to get someone to do something they might not have done otherwise. If someone says something, it must ALWAYS be a 100% true and accurate reflection of their intentions and a guarantee of their honesty and good will. Why are you still here? Start dialing immediately! Log onto web sites and give them access to your credit cards and bank accounts. Convert to every "truth "that comes along and tells you about it. You obviously think the best strategy is to believe *everything* anyone tells you, right?

  12. says

    AbnormalWrench said… I think Watson's original comment was fine. But now that anyone who doesn't 100% agree with the condemning EG as an obvious potential rapist, is a rape-appeaser, I've lost all interest in the opinions being flung around. It is just silly now and it makes everyone involved look silly.Nobody did that, AbnormalWrench, which makes you yet another data point for the observation that the out-of-proportion blowing is being done almost entirely by one side.

  13. Martin says

    tonyD: I can cut Rebecca some slack, because to her, Dawkins' dismissive remarks come across as a personal insult. I do think that the subsequent blog hysteria that has created a Team Rebecca calling for a boycott of Everything Dawkins — as if decades of successfully promoting and advancing the cause of science, reason and atheism deserves to be thrown under the bus on account of one callous remark — is definitely an act of cutting off our nose to spite our face, and it does nothing but bring heat, though no light, to the argument.Still, Russell and I would be in full agreement that while some radfem supporters of Rebecca have made some excessive and dumb remarks, mostly we see some guys still stubbornly Not Getting It, and acting determined Not To Get It even when women do their level best to explain it to them. I've been particularly disheartened to see the quick-draw crack "You don't speak for all women!" used to immediately dismiss and negate in their entirety the opinions of those women who try to explain what all this means to them.

  14. says

    For the record, Martin, I also don't support a boycott of Dawkins. I am disappointed in his behavior but that has not diminished my appreciation for everything else he's done for the atheist community. If we boycotted everyone with whom we had major differences of opinion in one area, we wouldn't have an atheist community. I could fill pages explaining how many things I disagree with Christopher Hitchens about, for example.

  15. Martin says

    NI_Scotty: I think Rebekah's assumption about a man asking her to his sleeping quarters to discuss ideas was also shallow. What if he had wanted to do just that, with no sex whatsoever?In which I still my snark from Jen Peeples: Yeah, because it's less likely the guy was trying to get laid at 4 AM, than it is he had this really awesome espresso machine in his room he was itching to try out.

  16. says

    Kazim: If you haven't seen the vitriol being tossed around about potential raping and outrage of people not acknowledging said potential rape concerns, then you haven't been paying attention. I fully agree things have been taken far out of proportions, which is exactly why it is all so silly. You seem to be confusing the cause and effect.

  17. says

    @NI_Scotty It doesn't matter what the guy's intentions were. If she was in a situation where she was thinking "what if this guy's a rapist", then he failed a charisma check somewhere. (And, if I understand it correctly, this really is about women saying "if you creep us out, we won't go to your conferences")

  18. says

    I disagree with Dawkins in more than one area, counting this little scuffle. That does not mean I don't hold enormous respect for him.I only got a brief summary of exactly what was said between Watson and the guy at the bar. Before I can actually speculate on this, I'd like to know exactly what was said, verbatim.

  19. says

    "Rebecca wasn't offended by the idea that this man might be physically attracted to her. She was offended that he chose to take a rude, boorish action as a result. So many in this debate are conflating thoughts with actions, and that a condemnation of the actions is necessarily a condemnation of the thoughts. It's not. Not even close. And Rebecca, Jen, and others on that side of the issue have already repeatedly pointed that out."I'm not speaking against Rebecca when I say that. I'm speaking against anyone who holds the opposite viewpoint of what I stated. That those are the only two options. I hope that clarifies with to whom I'm addressing.In addition, your comment on the action. I disagree.. somewhat (depending if you agree or not with the following), the action, isolated in a vacuum is not rude nor boorish. Asking someone out with his particular phrasing under other circumstances could be socially acceptable and perhaps welcome, give or take the asker/askee. I just want to be clear that asking a woman back to your hotel for coffee because you find them interesting isn't intrinsically terrible. It is terrible when you just gave a speech saying you don't want that kind of stuff to happen, and when that kind of thing happens to you too much.It is inevitable that occasionally a man is going to ask a woman out when it is unwelcome. That's a guess we have to take from time to time. Asking a women with a chance of it being unwelcome is an okay thing to do.The important thing to take from this incident is: In this situation, the probability factor of it not being okay is so statistically high that you ought to keep your mouth shut and NOT take the risk.

  20. Brian says

    It amazes me how a lot of people are playing dumb with the whole "all he wanted was coffee!" thing. As Rebecca pointed out, coffee was available in a location that was closer and more public: the hotel bar they had just left. He also started with "don't take this the wrong way," which meant he knew how he sounded and was trying to get her to ignore it ("Don't take this the wrong way" is about as incredulous as "I'm not racist, but…". You might as well say "I'm going to do something offensive, but please do what I want anyway").The likelihood this guy was trying to get her up to his hotel room to share bodily fluids is far higher than if he simply wanted someone to share caffeinated fluids.

  21. says

    Just a few remarks.I've found it strange that very few people realise that Paula's unfortunate experience happened with a guy who was likely quite drunk (leaving a bar at 4am). You can tell guys or gals many things about social etiquette, but it usually goes out the window at around 2am after a few drinks. Drunks can be jerks, guys and gals.Secondly, Paula's exact words were "Guys, don't do that". I would not be surprised if Dawkins' reaction was more related to being peed off at her reference to "guys", thereby including him. As someone who sees himself at the forefront of gender equality, maybe he was upset at being lumped in with jerks who make girls uncomfortable at 4am in a lift? That doesn't excuse his response, which was quite stupid.

  22. Brian says

    "I just want to be clear that asking a woman back to your hotel for coffee because you find them interesting isn't intrinsically terrible. It is terrible when you just gave a speech saying you don't want that kind of stuff to happen, and when that kind of thing happens to you too much."It isn't intrinsically terrible, but context does matter. If the guy decided to start a conversation with her first, it wouldn't necessarily have been bad, after having a pleasant conversation, to ask her to his bedroom. The way he did it though, without any prior conversation, or even so much as an exchange of names, does make it rude. This guy was anonymous to her. So let me phrase it this way, do you think it's okay to go up to women you don't know and immediately ask them to go to your bedroom? Do you think it's reasonable to conclude that most women would find that unwelcome?

  23. Brian says

    @RookieRationalistAs a guy I wasn't offended by her "guys, don't do that" admonition at all. I know Rebecca doesn't think all (or even most) guys would do such a thing. But apparently a lot of guys don't realize how scary the elevator situation can be, especially since, as many have pointed out, we live in a world where elevator rape scenarios DO happen.

  24. says

    "So let me phrase it this way, do you think it's okay to go up to women you don't know and immediately ask them to go to your bedroom? Do you think it's reasonable to conclude that most women would find that unwelcome?"Question 1: In a vacuum, context independent? Yeah I think it's okay.But oddly, Question 2: Yes, I think that's reasonable.But let me clarify on Question 1. You have a point, right now, with answer 2 being what it was, again the statistical probability is terrible and perhaps therefore it should be cast into the "Bad social grace" pile.The reason I answered question 1 the way I did is because of another debate (which may or may not be fruitful to get into here) in which I feel perspectives of sex (with a large sarcastic *thanks a lot* going to religion) are overly negative. Female sexuality is talked about in negative terms too often where the idea of being able to be adventurous with sexuality (and being safe!) is acted as intrinsically wrong. And it's not.

  25. says

    I only get defensive during sensitive topics like this when blanket statements are tossed around. Naturally, I don't take well to being labeled as a potential rapist.

  26. says

    "Nobody labeled you as a potential rapist."Comments have been put around stating this incident was sexist, misogynistic and that "women are afraid in these situations because the man can be a potential rapist". And "The man" can mean ANY man.Have you just not seen these comments anywhere?

  27. says

    Well, I wasn't making a specific example from this incident. I'm just saying in general when other incidents similar to this happen.It's easy to take something offensively on both sides of the fence with this topic.

  28. says

    Brian I want to use some of the things you said when I make another youtube video about it (about things I've learned and what not). Do you mind if I direct quote you?

  29. Martin says

    Rod Keller: While I understand how offensive it is to be presumed a rapist, there is still something you need to consider, and which it is hard for us guys to cut through the filters of our male privilege in order to consider: all dating situations are different for women than they are for men.Unlike the man, the woman always has to consider the likelihood, even if it is .0001%, that the guy she agrees to have coffee with may be unsafe. Most sexual assaults are those in which assailant and victim are known to one another. If you ask a girl out, even for something as innocuous as coffee, she knows that you are most likely motivated by romantic and sexual interests. In most cases, these are just part and parcel of normal human courtship rituals, and not intrinsically threatening. But even then, a woman finds herself having to do a basic threat assessment of each and every guy she gets asked out by. Because, even if the likelihood that the smiling gent standing before her may be harboring a secret life as Ted Bundy is vanishingly small, it's still there, and to be considered. This isn't paranoia, it's just women having to consider their safety in a circumstance where men never have to consider theirs. I've read comments from guys in these threads angrily chastising "feminism" for making an issue of this. I would suggest their anger would be better directed towards those assholes who actually do assault women, and who have made sex and dating much more difficult work for the rest of us non-raper types. In any sexual/dating/romantic courtship scenario, that a guy is a safe bet is his burden of proof to bear. Man up and deal.

  30. says

    You may say that Kazim,but i am a realist i have observed that women are always right even when they are wrong.Even if you pin them down on a point where they are wrong, they will just move the goal posts.It's better just not to argue with them in the first place.

  31. says

    Ouimette & Riggs (1998) put it at 8.8%Rubenzahl & Corcoran (1998) put it at 10%Lisak and Miller (2002) got 6.5%Merrill et. al. (1998) got as high as 14.8%I couldn't find any study below 5% for men self-reporting whether they've ever attempted rape. Soooo…call me a skeptic but it seems the data indicate women are more than raational to perceive men as a potential threat. Sorry,Mac.

  32. says

    @MartinI actually have a friend, male friend, who was raped by a female. Drugged and used. But that's not a counter-argument of any sort, other than to the specific line "unlike men".I agreed with everything you said, so I'll just get down to my comments on the conclusion:"In any sexual/dating/romantic courtship scenario, that a guy is a safe bet is his burden of proof to bear. Man up and deal."First off, Man up and deal isn't required. I'd have taken your post seriously regardless. It's kind of rude, actually. Would you mind redacting it and changing it to "It's up to the man to man up and deal with that reality" because otherwise it seems directed at me.I can see what you are saying. One thing to note though, is that a rapist isn't going to attempt to appear as a rapist. He's going to take that burden of proof into account as much as the non-rapist is, if he wants to be successful. So when you have someone who hasn't raped anyone perform an act that leads to no rape, calling him a "potential rapist" adds no additional information to things that happened in the past.

  33. says

    Guys, women will err on the SAFE side and not care about hurting your sensitive feelings. If a woman has nobody around to come to her aid, if she's alone in a strange city, if it's 4:00 a.m., she'll feel vulnerable. If she doesn't feel 100% safe with you, she won't go to your room with you.Mac, do you leave your car door unlocked? Do you leave your house unlocked? The odds of being burglarized are nowhere near 100% and the crime of burglary isn't anywhere near as personally invasive as rape. So until you leave your car door unlocked and hour house unlocked, puh-leeeeeze. Women have the odds stacked against them once they've been put into a vulnerable position by virtue of the bad guy having a plan and more strength (most of the time) or a weapon. The consequences of being wrong are so dire that losing out on a roll in the hay with a nice but clueless man is a small price to pay for caution.

  34. Martin says

    Rod Keller: First off, Man up and deal isn't required. I'd have taken your post seriously regardless. It's kind of rude, actually….it seems directed at me.It was directed at males in toto.Of course a rapist isn't going to go out of his way to look like one. That was my whole point, which is why all men in a woman's potential dating pool have to prove the concern isn't warranted in their own case.A guy is a "potential rapist" to a woman up until she decides he isn't, based on getting to know him. This doesn't always mean she'll be right. There are indeed slick manipulators out there. But for general purposes, general principles can be applied. A guy who's going to be Mad, Bad, and Dangerous To Know will usually reveal this very soon. And it's not simply "potential rapist" that she worries about. It could just be "potential selfish jerk" or "potential lying cheater" or "potential whatever-else-that-might-turn-me-right-off" that a woman is scanning you for.

  35. says

    Good point LadyAtheist.I think one of my issues, is that being labeled a "potential rapist" feels the same as being labeled a rapist. It's not. I'm a man of statistics and as Damion points out, the odds are high enough that women would, like you said, err on caution.I think I'll have to take the potential part not as offensively.I still stand though, that this incident was not sexist or misogynistic. (At least by conventional definition).

  36. Martin says

    RodKeller: I still stand though, that this incident was not sexist or misogynistic.Oh I agree. But the ensuing arguments in the blogosphere have revealed that a lot of people still hold to preconceived, acculturated ideas — many of them rooted in male privilege and sexism — that we have to outgrow.

  37. says

    Just imagine what the guy from the elevator is going through right now. From the most innocent and probably silly and alcohol-induced attempt to get laid he started a shit storm in the atheist/skeptic community.

  38. says

    @Martin"It was directed at males in toto."It wasn't obvious.Everything else, I agree. I actually think I've learned quite a bit from this entire incident.

  39. says

    Well, to be fair, that's spinning my example a little out of context. I don't call everyone I meet on the streets a burglar just because there's a probability that they are one.I'm not saying that they shouldn't take precautions. I'm saying that when they address this issue, they should not toss around blanket statements like "All guys are rapists" when that is an incredibly rude thing to even imply.Frankly, it's similar to me saying that all women are after my credit cards. It happens. Doesn't mean that I operate under the assumption that all of them will.I try my best to present myself in a way that dislodges these kinds of preconceived notions.

  40. says

    Rod, children have been taught "stranger danger" and we don't take offense when they don't offer their immediate trust. Men should take the same non-offended stance toward women who are being cautious.It really is nothing personal. Rapists portray themselves as nice normal guys, and we can't tell the difference.

  41. says

    Russell, beautiful job here, and it amazes me that this has become all about elevator guy again in only about 30 posts. Brian, you said something that I have been thinking all along. I have been trying to think about how to put it into writing, and keep it short as well. I will try to be brief …this is not simply about the elevator guy, he is not being made an example of, but is being used as an ironic example of what Rebecca was talking about that daythis is not about thought crimes, it is not thinking of a woman as a sexual object, it is about TREATING women as sexual objects. It is about actions, let me try to draw some connections that may seem more familiar …actions are not based on thoughts, it is erroneous to say "I think X, that is why I do Y" actions are based on beliefs. Some of you may see where I am going with this. We have heard this before, beliefs inform our actions, as atheists, skeptics, freethinkers, whatever, we have many discussions because of belief, or lack of belief in what others believe.I don't think I need to go into the offense issue, Russell covered that quite well, so let's move on to a different set of beliefs, and corresponding actions…the belief that women always enjoy being hit on…the belief that women always take being hit on as a compliment…the belief that propositioning a stranger is not a problem, especially if she says no…I could go on, but I want to get to my pointbased on the fact that women are saying that they don't like being hit on all the time, being hit on at inappropriate times is not only not complimentary, but can be demeaning, offensive, even threatening, being propositioned by a stranger is also not desirable, and so on…we get to the fact that THESE BELIEFS ARE WRONGyou expect a theist to listen to your logic, reasons, and facts, why don't you do the same yourselves?

  42. says

    And the comments spill over…..Please guys, enough now. This is getting us nowhere apart from entrenchment. Can we all just be friends again? And hold hands? And laugh at theists?

  43. says

    "Oh I agree. But the ensuing arguments in the blogosphere have revealed that a lot of people still hold to preconceived, acculturated ideas — many of them rooted in male privilege and sexism — that we have to outgrow. "That's certainly true. I may myself be guilty of that ignorance at the start of my investigation (Or perhaps continuing onwards, I can't know what I don't know).One issue for me, is that I view the world as an idealist and not often enough as a realist. When people chastise what this guy did, it damages my idealist sensibilities where, in an ideal world, what he did was A-O-K, because it doesn't cross ethical boundaries.But the realist has to realize what world I actually do live in and work with it as I move towards the idealist one.

  44. says

    I'm posting this againe because it's a sentiment I'm not seeing mentioned very often:Without knowing exactly who Dawkins was responding to, I can't really judge whether he was a Class A dick or just mildly inappropriate. If he was responding to Rebecca's blog post about the elevator, where she was very casual and reasonable about the incident, then it would be the former.However, I suspect his reaction was more towards the way some people (including Rebecca in her key note speech) made a direct link between that kind of behaviour and full-blown rape. THAT was a bit over the top, in my opinion, and that may have been what Dawkins was responding to. His message, essentially was, "people who are comparing this incident to rape and hard-core mysogyny are being unreasonable."If indeed that was his point, I think it's a completely valid one (though perhaps poorly presented).

  45. says

    "this is not about thought crimes, it is not thinking of a woman as a sexual object, it is about TREATING women as sexual objects""ing hit on at inappropriate times is not only not complimentary, but can be demeaning, "Ugh, you're the kind of person I'm bitching about. Yes, treating women as sexual objects = bad. But that didn't happen here. He did not do something demeaning. He did something inappropriate. Please look up the definitions of demeaning and try and match it to the incident.

  46. says

    I work in a bar and i see every weekend men and women meeting there and leaving toguether. Mostly men break the ice and 90% of the times or more are refused. Women mostly flirt until the guy they like comes to talk with them. Until they manage that they say "no thanks" to all the other guys. They don't stop coming to my bar because are offended by all the guys asking them out, nor the guys rape them for saing "no". If she felt uncomfortable because they were alone in an elevator, asking didnt make it better and he did a stupid movement (like the opening rooks pawn) she said "no thanks" (check mate him) and that was the end of the game. Then she makes a post about how unfair and sexist is that. RD says is not a big deal (and i agree) and the whole webb calls him ignorant, macho, misoginist and everyone who defends his position is a clueless macho… i respect and love women. I don't judge them for how many sex parners they have or one-night-stands, i believe we have the same freedoms and rights and despise violence and agression. If you are a woman is ok to ask to a guy/girl to have sex with you and is ok if somebody asks you to say no if you don't want and should be respected over all, even if is your own partner no means no. Apart of that the elevator thing is not big deal and IMHO RD is right to say so :-p

  47. says

    Petr, Just imagine what the guy from the elevator is going through right now. From the most innocent and probably silly and alcohol-induced attempt to get laid he started a shit storm in the atheist/skeptic community.For what it's worth, I have given some thought to how embarrassed elevator guy must feel, and I do feel sorry for him in a way. It's unlucky for him that his fairly minor cloddish incident happened to be THE cornerstone that triggered the massive discussion on sexism and social awareness.Nevertheless, it's a discussion that needed to happen, and that discussion needed to start somewhere. I think of it a bit like a company that damages or rips off its customers on a small scale, millions of times owner. At some point, there is going to be a key lawsuit where the plaintiff is going to be the beneficiary of not just compensation for their injury and court costs, but MASSIVE PUNITIVE FINES. It has to happen sooner or later, because otherwise the company will just make a calculation that it's more profitable to keep doing whatever the bad thing is. "Making an example of" a particular case may seem harsh in that one instance, but it's necessary to stop small but widespread abuses.

  48. says

    Being labeled a "potential rapist" actually doesnt bother or offend me at all. Anyone is a potential anything, and until you know the person well enough i dont see why you would discount the possibility, and the risk. I know im not a rapist so the idea that someone that doesnt know me might think i am doesnt affect me. Its a reasonable and safe position for a woman that is encountered with propositions, and at 4 am in an elevator none the less?

  49. says

    @Martin You can call me a sexist.I don't care.I do not consider women inferior.If anything i have always thought the opposite.But don't assume you are gaining brownie points with women atheists for taking this line.Half of them will think your brown nosing them in the hope of a leg over.

  50. says

    @Rod Keller – as I said, this is not about "the incident," this is about how women are saying they are being treated at atheist, skeptic, etc. events@xairo – again, nothing to do with the bar scene

  51. says

    While there is evidence for the concept of male privilege, I think there are two sides to the story of EG. So this relentless social pressure to conform to "Rebecca is right" and the lambasting and name calling of anyone who dissents from Team Rebecca is odd, given that we are a rational community. Surely there is room for other views.I recommend reading A Passage To India, which is a superb novel about the allegations made by an English woman against an Indian man in a cave in India. The author illuminates ALL sides of the issue, which I feel is directly applicable to the elevator incident. The movie is also excellent. I would pose this as food for thought: if we could supply empirical evidence that would apply to male privilege in this instance (using double blind studies and surveys about 2 people in an elevator, etc.), would you, whichever side of the issue you are on, change your position if empirical evidence shows your side to be wrong?All embryonic social movements have these sort of internal squabbles. It is quite normal. But beware of one side dictating an absolute Truth. Interpersonal relationships are seldom so clear-cut.

  52. says

    You can call me a sexist.I don't care.I do not consider women inferior.If anything i have always thought the opposite.I bet some of your best friends are women.

  53. Martin says

    tonyD: You can call me a sexist.I don't care.I do not consider women inferior.If anything i have always thought the opposite.You derided the entire gender as liars. That isn't exactly an egalitarian point of view.But don't assume you are gaining brownie points with women atheists for taking this line.That you think this is what motivates me is the clearest evidence of your Not Getting It.mostserene1: The movie Rashomon has the same theme. But really, by this point, the topic at hand isn't really what did or didn't happen in the elevator, but how badly the skeptical community suffers from the same fraught gender politics as any other group. People insist upon clinging to preconceived and privileged ideas, instead of trying to understand the other view. You'd think guys would twig to the idea that respect gets you a lot farther with women than otherwise, and most do. But the ones who don't seriously don't.

  54. says

    @ martinI don't mean to say they are liars.I am saying they hate to lose an argument.There for it is best to avoid arguing with them.Also if you do argue with women you are running the risk of winning.The repercussions of which don't bear thinking about.I am of course generalizing.

  55. says

    "You'd think guys would twig to the idea that respect gets you a lot farther with women than otherwise, and most do."The one word I'd use to describe the entire situation that has unfolded over this is "respect".

  56. says

    Yes, and it is precisely that generalization that makes you sound like a contemptible sexist. Not men in general, just you. Likewise if you said "Asians are X," you'll almost certainly sound racist even when X is "good at math." Decent people prefer to deal with fellow humans as individuals, not stereotypes.

  57. says

    Martin:Thanks for reading my post. Male privilege exists, and MAY have played a part in the elevator, but as a former investigator, I am leery of making judgments based on a one person's testimony. As I understand it, she was tired, had the subject of privilege on her mind (based on her talk), and they both, presumably, had drinks. So I would not draw too much from the encounter, but I'm a female who is analytic by nature. The price of celebrity, even minor celebrity, is unwanted fan attention. I would guess (only a guess) that THAT, more than privilege, was the more active factor in the encounter. But having privilege on her mind, that was the optic through which she interpreted the interaction. Anyway, I've spend enough brain cells on this. Peace to all.

  58. says

    Sexual selection criteria would exist even in the most egalitarian of world's with no sexual hangups. Everyone has criteria or standards of what they want/like and what they don't. I guarantee you there is _something_ a person could do to you in a bedroom you wouldn't appreciate.NOTE: NOT TALKING ABOUT ELEVATOR GUY HERE, BUT TO ANYONE THINKING COLD CALL SEX REQUEST IS SUAVE: To approach someone and ask for sex, and not preface that request with any sort of situation in which the other person has been given an opportunity to get to know anything about you, means you have just come up to them and said, "Hey, you look like someone who doesn't any standards at all–care to have sex with someone you know nothing about?" In addition to calling me "desperate"–you're also assuming I'm an idiot.I suppose another option is "I know you have zero info on me with which to make even the most preliminary decision on whether you'd have sex with me, and it's not that I think you have no standards, but as I'm clearly an irresistible chick-magnet with more physically to offer you than any man you've ever seen–which is why you'll bed me based only on my looks at this time. I'm know you want me now." Lean in for effect when you say that last sentence–really makes an impression with the ladies.A young woman on another strand posted "Men do this all the time in clubs. Why is this such a big deal?"I haven't been clubbing in years, and thought perhaps times had changed, so I asked, "Really? I went clubbing every weekend for more than a decade and never had this happen. I've seen men offer to have a drink with a woman and to engage in conversation. I've seen people who just met talk all night and leave together for sex after the bar closed or after a few hours of getting to know each other. But I never had someone come up to me and just ask me to leave with them and go back to their place, giving me no opportunity to find out anything about them before even asking if I would have sex…?"She replied "Well, drunk guys do it."I wrote her back that I agreed there. I _had_ seen very drunk guys do this–the same guys hanging on other people to stand up, while drooling. The same guys liquored up enough to pick a fight over a napkin with a guy twice their size without a second thought. Drunk _people_ do a lot of stupid shit. But when I'm talking about "men"–I'm generally not judging them by their lowest possible state. Yes, if you're shitfaced, I recognize that's "prelude to an asshole" for men AND women, alike. And tomorrow when you're sober, you might actually be someone cool.But if you are a guy and you are modeling your "approach" after "Obnoxious Drunk Guy"–just be aware that's the "not coolest" approach.Fantastic post, Kazim. Nailed it. There's a world of difference between a woman minding her own business and a religion that causes no end of problems for humanity. The difference between me speaking out against harm, and saying "If it offends a few people, I can't help it" (since the existence of atheists offends many theists), and me approaching a person who isn't doing anything to me at all, with some insulting first impression, is night and day. Using an analogy where women are likened to a plague on the planet…well…gosh, glad to see how you really feel about me. Don't be surprised if one day I'm _responding_ to some rude crap you throw at me, unsolicited by me, with "Gosh, thanks, but I don't bed assholes." That's part of my sexual selection criteria.

  59. says

    "The price of celebrity, even minor celebrity, is unwanted fan attention. I would guess (only a guess) that THAT, more than privilege, was the more active factor in the encounter. But having privilege on her mind, that was the optic through which she interpreted the interaction."I have done some public speaking, and I agree: people think they know you better than they do, and you don't know them at all.I think the real story here isn't that someone said something that someone else didn't appreciate, but that it's become apparent that atheist men (on the web anyway) really don't get how hard it is for women to be taken seriously for their thoughts.When I'm speaking to a group I want them to be thinking about whatever it is I'm talking about. I don't want them to think "nice tits" or "she's ugly" or whatever. It's not just that it's unwanted attention to my body but it's unwanted *in-attention* to my mind. For someone who is speaking at a venue devoted to rational thought it must be doubly disappointing to be hit on.Anyone who has hung out in the AETV chatroom while Jan is hosting knows that there are a lot of puerile atheist men.

  60. says

    What I'm not seeing addressed here is the assumption of "sexualization" on Rebecca's part, by the individual in the elevator. That's what is truly disgusting about this whole thing. She is assuming the guy is sexualizing her, and that is wrong.

  61. says

    In my experience, when a guy invites you to his place he's thinking about having sex. He may actually have enjoyed her company and admired her mind but he had most likely mentally taken another step.If a woman invited you to her place at 4 a.m., would you really think it was for coffee?

  62. says

    A part of me doesn't want this kerfluffle to end. I just find the varied comments and commentary fascinating in an intellectual curiosity kind of way.On an emotional level, I'm too jaded by the internet to be surprised by the misunderstanding, ignorance, stubbornness, and outright misogyny in the comments of various blogs. On the contrary, I find I'm actually more overwhelmed with relief by the outpouring of understanding in the atheist and skeptical community that I've seen.And even if there is a large group of people who have expressed disagreement, I think many will at least be more conscientious of their behavior around women in the future. They can say whatever nonsense they want online, as long as they think twice about their brilliant idea of approaching me alone in an isolated area at night and invite me to their bedroom for some "coffee".

  63. says

    If I were invited up for a cup of coffee, I would be wrong to presume sex, correct? How is it ok for Rebecca to presume intent and essentially accuse the guy of being a "misogynist"?

  64. says

    I find it so interesting how easily the argument is shifted to "the misogynist male" when it very clearly is a female who is sexist towards males making a ludicrous argument. "Equality" doesn't mean "women > men", it means equality. This type of feminism that Rebecca Watson espouses is pretty darn disgusting, if you ask me, and I find it disheartening that so many in the skeptical community are so quick to side with someone without critical evaluating her claims.

  65. Martin says

    Welp, remember what I said about guys bound and determined to Not Get It? Here you go.Attn: Wee. Rebecca never called Elevator Guy a misogynist. Rebecca has never espoused the view that women are superior to men, nor have any of the women who've been posting their viewpoints here in the desperate hope some of what they try to explain will slip past your "what about teh mehnz?" firewalls.So, apart from all the straw women it's full of, your argument is flawless.

  66. says

    The car lock example should have driven it home really. Whenever you lock your doors, you don't really think that someone will try to steal your car every time, but you don't want to take any chance. Now imagine if some old lady saw you park your car and shouted at you "Why re you locking your doors?" and you answer, so it won't be burglerized, to which she responds "So you think everyone in this neighborhood is a potential criminal?" would you not find this unreasonable? It seems to me that the protesters against Rebecca are like that little old lady, taking umbrage for her neighborhood that someone had the nerve to lock his car. I note that some people are taking umbrage at the 'potential rapist' appelation because they seem to have no understanding what it implies. When we have statistics that claim e.g. 5% of men have at least attempted rape (I'm piggybacking on Damion's numbers here) That means that, in a chance encounter, where a women has no other information about the person you are, there is a one in 20 chance that the person there is someone who will attempt a rape. It doesn't imply that every man has a 5% possibility of becoming an attempted rapist.

  67. says

    Martin,I noticed, once again, that you're failing to address the fact that Watson assumed the man in the elevator was "sexualizing" her.

  68. says

    Caffeine AddictedI'm not sure that analogy holds up. If a black man asks you for 4 quarters, is it correct to assume he wants to steal your wallet? And if the black community fails to understand how the white man could validly assume the black man is "monetizing" him, well then he clearly has a hatred of white people.

  69. says

    @TraciehAs a Bi male, I take offense to your comments, which I hope don't reflect the majority of the staff.Within the gay community, one night stands, based on looks alone are common enough. To say that if I accept one, I am desperate and stupid and that the guy who asked me is an asshole, all of this by default, is completely asinine.Your commentary does not even closely accurately reflect the views of the asker nor the accepter in these cases.At the base level, the most one can assume is that the thoughts of the asker are "I find you on some level attractive and would like to partake in a sexual act for pleasure." and the acceptor "I also find you attractive and agree to mutual pleasure".I have agreed that for a woman, sex propositions can reflect a measure of danger and I can understand the err of caution and the expression thereof. I do NOT agree that any of the insane things you wrote are what someone is implicitly stating. It is what you think they are saying, which means it is a matter of YOUR perspective. It is not a matter of objective reality.If sex, which is a pleasurable physical act (hopefully) could be enjoyed, safely, with minimal discussion, then I am for it. I understand that for a female, with a male, this may not be a realistic possibility, but hypothetically, if it was, give me one good reason why anyone shouldn't?

  70. says

    A question for the men who think it's an insult for a woman not to trust them:If Rebecca had been raped by elevator guy, would you be saying "Well she shouldn't have gone to his room in the first place."

  71. says

    Wee, That example is completely lacking of context. If a man approaches me in the middle of the night, in a deserterf alley, when I am alone, I will be wary. If a man approaches me in the middle of a crowded street among other people, I would be a lot less concerned. This would be immaterial to the color of the man's skin. It would be on the same level of taking the precautions to lock my car in either locality. To expand on your example, imagine if the old lady in my example above was in fact black, and accused you of racism because you locked your car in a black neighborhood. Do you find that a reasonable accusation? Because it mirrors the claims by the various men who are claiming RW is sexist.

  72. says

    Thanks Russel :)I'm with you (if I'm reading your comments correctly) on there not being a need to boycott Dawkins. Goodness knows I've made mistakes. Maybe not as publicly, but I've enjoyed a foot sandwich a time or two. I also think Rebecca is well within her rights to choose not to buy his stuff anymore. If he directly offended me I'd probably feel the same way, but like Watson I wouldn't expect others to follow.In short I think she's handled the situation well, I think you all at tAE have handled your response well, and knowing all this I'm looking forward to finally poking my head out of my corner and attending one of the ACA events ;)

  73. says

    It's so nice how all these people I though rational now jump abroad the "Go Rebecca" team just because she's a big name (as evident from Kazims listing only "big name" female bloggers in support of Rebecca). There are numerous female atheist bloggers who disagree with her and imho the main blowing out of proportions came only after Rebecca made an ass of herself in her keynote speech and subsequent comments about it… it's so nice that you've all conveniently forgotten about that little inconvenience.I'm sorry that I'm not in your little "who gets it" gang, but this is starting to look very much like a cult of personality here.

  74. says

    Not that anyone cares, or needs to hear it, but here's where I currently stand on this whole thing:I cannot be certain whether Elevator Guy was making a sexual proposition or merely displaying crashingly bad social skills. While the former seems more likely, we must remember this was (a) a drunk guy from (b) a Skeptics' gathering… more pitiable than predatory, in other words. I have no quarrel with Rebecca Watson voicing her feelings on the matter. I do not take her specific comments about the incident as some manner of misandrist broadside. I do not feel personally affronted by them.While I understand the point Richard Dawkins was trying to make, his response to Watson comes across as callous, flippant and just plain stupid. He should apologize to her, personally, for that.Note that, please: Apologize, personally. Apology. Not self-abasement. Not presenting himself as the Emmanuel Goldstein of chauvinist Skepticism to indulge the Feministing crowd in their latest Two Minute Blog-Hate. I support Watson and others speaking out about what is and remains an important issue both for "our kind" and general society: sexism. But HOW we tackle problems matters as much as IF we do, and there are those among Watson's supporters seeking to turn what was at worst a clumsy, drunken pass into Skepticism's version of the Triangle Factory Fire in order to advance their gender politics.They screen their advance with plenty of Sturm und Drang about "male privilege," institutional this and systemic that but the simple truth is that the Agit-Prop value of l'affaire Elevator matters more to them than what actually happened.

  75. says

    @george,I agree with a lot of what you said.I wonder if an apology might not just blow the whole thing up again.There are gender gap issues here and there is also a generation gap issue that hasn't been commented on much.

  76. says

    @Draugo How could there have even been a controversy in the first place if this was just a case of people going where the fame is? If this was simply about people siding with whomever has the biggest name, everybody would have just agreed with Dawkins and the issue would be done. I know this might sound crazy, but maybe many are siding with Rebecca because they weighed the arguments and came to the conclusion that she is in the right?

  77. says

    @MadgeI do believe you are correct. I have been and still am a fan of Dawkins work; TGD was the first book I read when I was deconverting from Christianity. That I disagree with him now in no way diminishes the worth of his work; likewise the fact that I admire the man as an atheist does not make him right in everything.I hadn't heard of Skepchick until the internet exploded, but if asked I'd answer that I am emphatically supportive of her. Due to this exposure I am finding myself increasingly interested in the circles of feminist atheist bloggers. I've really enjoyed blog hopping and being exposed to the opinions of other female atheists. I'd noticed that there didn't seem to be many vocal women in the atheist community, and I'd wondered why while at the same time I'd been avoiding gatherings for the exact issues being addressed. Now that I know I'm not the only woman who feels this way and that there are men out there who Get It I feel much more inclined to participate. I hope more female atheists will step out of the blogo sphere and into the public sphere as this conversation continues :)

  78. says

    I actually agree with what Jen McCreight wrote a few days ago: Dawkins said some stupid things, he may have a limited and privileged perspective on the matter and doesn't really "get it". However, I (and Jen as well), agree that calling for a boycott, or even just saying that a personal boycott is merited, is a little bit excessive and going too far.Of course, Rebecca is fully within her rights to say that and probably feels more strongly than anyone else about the sort of thing that Dawkins said, but I highly suggest that people read what Jen had to say on the matter because she really wrote about it very eloquently:http://www.blaghag.com/2011/07/dawkins-is-not-misogynist.htmlAgain: I'm not saying that Rebecca is wrong in any way at all. She isn't. She's right. I just think that her reply in terms of a boycott was a little over the top and excessive.After all, Dawkins isn't the sort of person who won't ever back down, or apologize, or even refuse to be reasoned with. We may completely disagree with his stance right now on this matter, but he's still "a friend" in a sense. You don't help a friend by cutting them off completely in every single way. You reason with them and you make them understand. We all know that he's capable of understanding things given enough time.

  79. says

    Can I offer my fellow males a piece of advice if you should ever find yourself in an 'elevator situation' and you do not wish to risk being labelled a creepy predator.Ask yourself, 'What would Howard Wolowitz do?', then do the exact opposite.

  80. says

    Wolowitz: If it's "creepy" to use the Internet, military satellites, and robot aircraft to find a house full of gorgeous young models so I can drop in on them unexpected, then fine, I'm "creepy". If it's "creepy" to follow a drunk girl into the elevator at 4am in a foreign country and ask her back to my hotel room for "coffee," then fine, I'm "creepy."Oh crap, you're right; it totally works.

  81. says

    Well my take on this is that its mainly a question of different perspectives specially as nothing happened. I will just quote the [post on some of the Indian Atheist Sites."To me the error appears because , and every one agrees, that both of them are seeing this in a different way. Now we do know that we homo sapiens tend to react more to the perceived threat rather than actual threat. This is direct consequence of our evolutionary past. First we have to remember that most of the time intentions can only be ascertained by words. So we need to ask a question and the answer will determine the intention. Clearer the answer clearer the intent. Now switch to what happened. The confined space (Lift), being alone and history of males normal behaviour towards lone woman implies a high perceived threat from Female perspective. Then asking for Coffee at 4AM to his ROOM was unpardonable. Why not coffee shop. Even if it was meant to be harmless device can only happen in Hollywood and its ilk. Hence the perceived threat went up quite a notch. Now as in the end every thing went fine one possible conclusion could be that the actual threat was minimal. This is what Dawkins understood. His comparison to an imaginary Muslim women is one indicator. Clearly both sides are in an emotional state continue to harangue ( I think the debate time is over) and each is holding his/her perspective to be more correct and both do not try to clearly spell out and understand the perspective. So RD she is right in making her perception and intent of woman clear and yes and to continue to stress the perceived threat as always the real threat will be wrong"

  82. says

    How exactly do we get from the point that people in the atheist community should be more sensitive to the women, if we want them to hang around us more…… to accusations about flocking to cult personalities, thought crimes, and mass misandry?

  83. says

    Hey Guys,How do you feel about your girlfriend attending an event by herself and getting hit on constantly?I'm trying to instill a little empathy into the conversation.

  84. Afterthought_btw says

    You know what really bugs me about this whole thing?It isn't anything directly to do with the matter, either.It's that people continue to treat it all as having two sides. It doesn't. It has multiple sides, some of which are compatible with each other.There are the people who completely agree with Rebecca with regards to the incident in the elevator.There are the people who feel that her reaction was a bit over the top and unwarranted.There are people who have straight away tried to make connections from Rebecca feeling uncomfortable by a social inept guy to misogyny and rape.(Incidentally, judging by the event itself, I wouldn't be surprised if all he truly wanted actually was a coffee and a chat – it just seems so incredible that he thought that would be a smooth line to get in Rebecca's pants! I mean, that is just dumb: I think his ineptitude quite possibly clears him of sexism and misogyny.)There are people that have been angered by claims of a 'rape culture' and insinuations that any man could be a rapist, feeling (rightly or wrongly) as though if this was being said about any minority everyone would be outraged by it. There are people who have said misogynistic things.There are people who have rightly called them out on it.There are people who have said misandrist things.There are people who have rightly called them out on it (and then sometimes been labelled as misogynistic – which is quite funny sometimes when these are clearly feminists doing the calling out…)Then there are the people who have reacted to events based upon Stef McGraw's altercation with Rebecca Watson. A large proportion of the criticism of Rebecca comes from here, where she used her platform to call Stef McGraw out by name in an uneven playing field (You can see Stef's post about it at http://www.unifreethought.com/2011/06/fursdays-wif-stef-33.html, if you don't know about the incident – I notice no-one at AE has mentioned it). Then there are the people on each side in this thing with Richard Dawkins.Hell, there are probably more sides too, but I'm too sick of the subject to go into them. My point is that by simplifying it as is being done throughout the interwebs, including here, to just two sides, horrible strawmanning is going on, and there is not a chance of anything worthwhile coming from it.Kazim – it's not that both sides have blown it out of proportion, it's that there are lots of different sides that are getting muddled up so that each side thinks they are being unfairly criticised about things they don't agree with anyway. It doesn't help matters that there are misogynists and misandrists out there posting on other people's blog posts who provoke more rational people of each gender by some of their hate fuelled bile, in the process blowing things all out of proportion. And in this sense, Kazim, both 'sides' are blowing things out of proportion. (However, 'sides' is meant only extremely loosely.) It sometimes seems like a faux pas to point out that it's not only men that can have disgusting views of the opposite sex, but I'll risk it.I want to finish up by stressing that I think most, if not all, of the friction between the above groups (excluding the blatant misogynists and misandrists) is actually caused by misunderstandings and sweeping generalisations that people have found offensive. It's one of the reasons I'm not often weighing in on the matter – I suspect I agree with almost every group to some extent.

  85. says

    Draugo, I for one am not a fangirl and I think your "cult of personality" accusation is off base.There is a difference between how men and women see the world, and that's what is evidence here, not some cultish cabal.

  86. says

    I think it is fine for Rebecca personally to be unconformable with EG propositioning her. If EG did hear that she did not want to be propositioned, but he did it anyway, then I feel that he was wrong for not respecting her wishes. I am not sure that he was sexually objectifying her but I don't think she intended to make a big deal about it given that it was only one sentence of the entire point she was making.What I don't agree with is the escalation of the event by figures like PZ, Phil Plait and prominent bloggers. Especially ones introducing a possible rapist angle in Rebecca's defense when Rebecca had not even made such claims in her original video. This includes feminist bloggers like Amanda Marcotte, whom took the original story of EG, invented intent and maliciousness by EG and ran with it. Twisting the story to make a point about how men exploit women."In sum, men who corner women know what they're doing. And yes, they are relying on the fear of rape to grease the wheels towards getting laid. Rebecca may not have put it that way, but being a mean ol' feminist bitch, I'm happy to say it. Also: duh. It also strikes me, in my dealing with geek culture, that there's a taboo against rejecting someone, and creepy dudes also are happy to exploit that, knowing that women who reject them will be condemned for violating the "don't be judgmental" rule. "http://pandagon.net/index.php/site/comments/because_of_the_implicationIn short, I am in 99% approval of Rebecca, at least in her original comments.

  87. says

    Just on the lighter side, I think "Elevator Guy", a.k.a "EG" should get some sort of award anonymously just for having inadvertently created the term "Elevator Guy" that we can all share for a giggle. =)It's like "Comic Book Store Guy" (Simpsons), or "Body Suit Man" (George on Seinfeld) or something.

  88. Brian says

    "(Incidentally, judging by the event itself, I wouldn't be surprised if all he truly wanted actually was a coffee and a chat"If all he wanted was coffee and a chat, a much more convenient and physically closer location was available to him–the hotel bar he had just left. Also, he could have asked for an appointment. There was no need to ask her up to his room. Finally, he was in the group Rebecca told she was going to bed (she clarifies this in the July 5th Skeptic's Guide to the Universe Podcast), so he KNEW beforehand that she was not interested and IGNORED that. That's really the icing on the insult cake." – it just seems so incredible that he thought that would be a smooth line to get in Rebecca's pants!"Speaking as a guy I know for a fact that we have come up with far, far lamer pickup lines."I mean, that is just dumb: I think his ineptitude quite possibly clears him of sexism and misogyny.)"No offense, but I think that statement is dumb. Even though he probably didn't MEAN to be sexist and misogynistic, his actions could be interpreted that way quite reasonably. Being a nervous, inept guy doesn't excuse you from basic social graces.

  89. says

    This is a great summary Russell. It's amazing how a bit of advice can snowball into an ideology war. I don't, however, think overreaction was completely Unidirectional.Rebecca's response post on Dawkins told how he "will no longer be rewarded with my money, my praise, or my attention. I will no longer recommend his books to others, buy them as presents, or buy them for my own library. I will not attend his lectures or recommend that others do the same". Dawkins comments were ridiculous. I understand she's angry and offended, but this response (in my opinion) works to enhance the side-choosing hysteria. A reasoned, diplomatic approach may have curbed some of the hostility. In other words…she could use her relatively popular platform to try and establish a real dialogue with Dawkins…and come off looking more graceful. That being said…I'm enjoying the vigor of this discussion and hope we're all learning. Here's to decorum and a lowering of the collective Creep-O-Meter!Bob

  90. says

    As a fan of Dawkins and never hearing of Skepchick, I'm not falling in the cult of personality strawman put forward.She was made to feel creeped out by a socially unacceptable (totally legal) act; and asked guys "not to do that". Blogosphere explodes.Matt D linked an article that should enlighten even the most obstinate about the issue of privilege. https://sindeloke.wordpress.com/2010/01/13/37/

  91. says

    Benjamin,Rebecca didn't just tell the guy to "not do that". She presumed intent and made a victim of herself when she wasn't a victim of anything other than being made to feel uncomfortable. Let me quote."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."Then, she goes on to address the matter of whether she is blowing things out of proportion, and uses whatever truly misogynist comments in her video as evidence that this "sexualization" and "misogyny" really exist. The comments in her video play no role in what happened in the elevator, and don't excuse her blowing it out of proportion. "I wanted to thank all of the misogynists who commented on that video because some people will watch that video and they'll think I'm exaggerating. You know how girls are? Sensitive…and then they'll read the comments! And they'll realize exactly how terrible you are and how it is a problem."Why don't people see this?

  92. Mic says

    I was going to write a response to this whole liftgate (elevatorgate) affair but it started to look more like an essay rather than a blog comment, so I gave up. It was frustrating to me that there were so many missteps and wrong turns by the major players involved that it would take a very long essay to break down and analyse all of the constituent elements to the unfolding story. The way that Rebecca Watson has responded to Richard Dawkins' comments tends to bring the cynic in me to the surface. I can't help but feel that there may be an element of opportunistic political manoeuvring in all this by Watson and friends who wouldn't mind taking Dawkins down a peg or two. Perhaps they had been harbouring feelings prior to this incident that his approach and style no longer best represents the atheist and skeptic movements. Or maybe all the craziness has turned me into a conspiracy nut. You Decide!Now I wont subject anyone to a lengthy essay but here are a few thoughts that I've yet to see anyone express. There were a lot of accusations of reverse sexism being bandied about in the comments sections of blog posts, mostly on the topic of elevator guy being referred to as a “potential rapist.” Rebecca Watson did not in fact use the term herself as some people mistakenly believed. But there was something in her original youtube video which if not boarding on sexism then at least what I feel is a sloppy manner of speech. What I am referring to is her admonishment “guys, don't do that.” Now, I am aware that when Rebecca says “guys” it is most likely her intention to direct the statement only to men who would think of behaving in a similar fashion to elevator guy. However, saying “guys, don't do that” could give the impression on the face of it, without running it through a probable intent filter that all men should heed her words. You may be thinking “so what, if you are not the kind of guy who would disregard a woman's feelings then you have nothing to worry about.” Perhaps the following example will illustrate why I think this is at the very least a sloppy manner of speaking: On a number of occasions while watching the evening news with different women, a female politician or news presenter has been speaking and the women in the room have started criticising the hair or dress sense of the speaker, mid broadcast, I find this quite annoying on a number of fronts and break in to say words to the effect “I am more interested in what she has to say right now, not how she looks.” If I were to write or say something about this which was intended for public consumption, I would most definitely NOT, after describing my experience say “girls, don't do that” If I were to say “girls, don't do that” wouldn't you agree that coming from a man this could easily be interpreted as patronising and insinuating that this is the general behaviour of women rather than it being something I've observed a couple of women doing and not really knowing how prevalent it is among the female population?

  93. says

    Lady Atheist- "Wee, if I ever invite you to my room at 4:00 a.m. for 'coffee,' be sure you have condoms before you say 'yes.'"This doesn't mean the presumption is any less wrong when the proposition is "a cup of coffee". I also know plenty of women who would be incredibly upset if you presumed such a thing from such a proposition. So what? The fact here is you are wrong to conclude intent in this manner and context.

  94. says

    Caffeine Addicted -"That example is completely lacking of context. If a man approaches me in the middle of the night, in a deserterf alley, when I am alone, I will be wary. If a man approaches me in the middle of a crowded street among other people, I would be a lot less concerned. This would be immaterial to the color of the man's skin."So you agree, presuming that the black man wants to steal your wallet simply because of the color of his skin and a request for 4 quarters is wrong."It would be on the same level of taking the precautions to lock my car in either locality.To expand on your example, imagine if the old lady in my example above was in fact black, and accused you of racism because you locked your car in a black neighborhood. Do you find that a reasonable accusation? Because it mirrors the claims by the various men who are claiming RW is sexist. "How is that at all an appropriate analogy? Replace "man" in Watson's complaint with "black man" and "cup of coffee at my place?" with "4 quarters" and then replace Watson's irrational conclusion of "sexualization" with "monetization" and you've got an accurate analogy. And then when the black community doesn't understand how a white person could feel uncomfortable, it's clearly because they have a hatred of white people.

  95. says

    A post that features my very own quote. I'm flattered. No, really, I want to get along with you on this. But, I do want to stick up for what a said just a little bit.I'm wasn't trying to make a nihilistic "no etiquette" case. There are good reasons to have customs and norms. All of your examples Russell are great.I think there's a conflation of one instance of insensitive behavior, and a gender proportion problem (more of one gender means more unwanted advances to the other.) That's why I was trying to argue for solid footing, so to speak. Offensiveness can be slippery slope.Invoking rhetoric about free speech did me no good. Sorry. This blowup has taught me a lot about what I should not say. (But I already knew stranger propositions were wrong, I swear!)

  96. says

    Wee, by "wrong" you mean "incorrect," it seems. What you don't seem to get is that women don't care about being incorrect in times like those. So what if he had the highest motives? Considering the circumstances, she went with the odds. It's not like there's a 100% reliable way of reading minds on the spot.Men, you just have to accept the reality that women will misinterpret your motives sometimes. It's not "wrong" to err on the "safe" side, especially at 4 a.m.

  97. says

    LadyAtheist,I understand the circumstances of the situation at that moment. I understand it made her feel uncomfortable. I'm not faulting her for that. I'm faulting her for, after the fact, using her own perceptions as evidence of misogyny in the atheist "movement".Ok, so she assumes he is sexualizing her to "err on the safe side". Good. Do that. By all means don't go up to a strangers hotel room for a cup of coffee because you fear something more. But nothing happened. She didn't go to his hotel room, she went to her hotel room because she presumed "sexualization", and nothing happened. This doesn't excuse using her perceptions of the proposition as factual. Rebecca would have gotten her point across in a much more constructive way had she said, "This made me feel uncomfortable, and regardless of the intentions of the man, made me feel sexualized.". As opposed to stating the man was sexualizing her. That is her perception, and she is victimizing herself when nothing happened, to drive home this actually very real point about misogyny. It is this that I find detrimental to the "expanding the consciousness" of men in the atheist movement.

  98. Afterthought_btw says

    Brian:(First off, that bit you quoted was mainly meant flippantly, but anyway…)Bit 1) I had not heard that clarification. Can't say that I see how it means he was automatically after sex, however. Maybe there was more to it than what you said. Anyway, if he is shy, he almost certainly did not want other people to see him get shot down, so he would of course wait until he was alone to ask. It being a busy conference (even at 4am evidently), suggesting they went to sit in a busy area where other people would almost certainly interrupt their conversation would also be rather counter-productive. Rebecca is well known, and other people would likely want to talk to her, after all. That certainly does not prove he wasn't earnest.Secondly, Rebecca was in a different country (and continent), but afaIk there is no reason to believe that EG was a long way from home, or that he would ever get a chance to attend an appointment with her. It's not too much of a stretch that he wouldn't be able to afford a plane to America from wherever he lived (presumably Ireland) in order to keep an appointment. Again, this is not a particularly convincing argument to me.Even with the clarification, however, that still doesn't alter the fact that he may have viewed this as his only chance he'd ever have to ask, and didn't want to lose the opportunity. It still doesn't necessitate that his goal was sex. It still doesn't mean he couldn't have just wanted coffee and a chat.To be honest though, I'm not sure why you cut my sentence up like this, and thus lose the context of what I was saying. To clarify, I was suggesting that the naivety of his approach suggests it was quite possibly genuine – note: not unquestionably, nor almost certainly, nor even vastly probable, but rather quite possibly.Bit 2) Er… okay… Well then, those people aren't the brightest lights on the Christmas tree when it comes to picking up people they are attracted to. So?Bit 3) So… you call my comment dumb, and then essentially rephrase it. Ri-ight… (Just to make sure you understood, I was calling EG's supposed chat-up line dumb (or socially inept if you prefer) – you almost seemed to take it personally.)Unless you are trying to argue that merely by someone taking something to be misogynistic, the person that said it actually is a misogynist? I seriously doubt you are, but that's the only way I could see how you could disagree with what I said from what you wrote.Honestly, as far as I can tell, you've taken a flippant remark, not really understood what I was saying, called something I said dumb, and then finally agreed with the thing you called dumb. I'm confused.Also, I really didn't want to get into a discussion on the incident itself, as I said in the above post, but you seem to be making a big deal of what was really an aside (hell it was even in brackets). So if I come across as being a little irritated, that is why, I'm afraid. Sorry. I think I've taken out most of the really snarky bits I wrote at least.Or maybe you are just trying to illustrate the point of my post, by assuming that I fit into one of two sides when there are far more than just two sides in this discussion, and I am a member of a number of them? (As a result, of course, you would be assigning me views which I simply do not hold.) If so, thank you for the illustration, I suppose.Finally, just to avoid any further possible confusion:I think Rebecca was perfectly entitled to feel uncomfortable because of this event.As an aside, as I went to post this, some of the string of letters I had to type to post it in the 'Word Verification' were (in this order): 'stfu'.Maybe I'll take the advice. :)

  99. says

    @"all men are potential rapists" accusation.I'm really a bit sick of it. I'm a woman and I know that there are rapists out there. Most men are not.Here's the problem: I can't tell you which one is and which one isn't.I can't read minds. I only find out after the event and hindsight is 20/20. That's what most women are aware of.We get told rape-prevention tips from early youth on. And to give you a clear-cut example of male privilege, young boys usually don't get told, there's little need.Yes, it has a toxic influence on most women's mind over time. If you get told time after time again not to walk home alone after dark (as if you were living in some bizarre fantasy novel where the monsters come out after dark), how does that make you feel if you do? And avoiding it for the rest of your life is hardly an option.If you get told time after time again that you must never accept a drink from a stranger because of drug-rape, how does that make you feel if some guy who might actually be Mr. Perfect comes up to you and offers you a drink?If you are a minor atheist celebrity and get e-mails threatening you with rape by your enemies, and e-mails telling you how they'd like to fuck you by your "fans", how would you take the "invitation for coffee"?I can understand that RW is personally angry and offended by RD. If you followed the whole thing from before it became "Rebeccagate", you'll remember her original talk at the conference. You'll remember that she told about those mails, how they creeped her out, how such things make women uncomfortable to come to engage in the atheist comunity.You'll also remember that RD sat right next to her when she told those things (and EG was somewhere in the audience).After he sat next to her when she explained how such things make her feel, he made such a comment basically telling her how she should feel. I'd be angry and sad and offended by him, too.

  100. says

    [Note: I wrote the following series of comments for the other post before I saw Russell's new post here. Since the attention has shifted from that post to this one, I'll put my comments here. Hopefully, they'll still be relevant.]Over the weekend, while I've refrained from posting, I've been seeing the same problematic arguments being raised and new ones added to the mix, and it's been very disheartening to discover such pervasive intellectual failure among our community. I don't read comments on this blog very often, but when I've done so in the past, I've never seen a significant number of troubling opinions from different people, until now. I've written a lot of material to counter the points that naysayers have attempted to make, which will post after this. But first, I want to direct everyone's attention to two things…First, despite honest efforts by a few commenters, including myself, a clear explanation of "male privilege" has still not been posted. So please read the following article (published in January 2010), and take a while to digest it, before you try to argue against the term or misuse it in some ignorant way: Second, the naysayers have huffed and puffed, but quite strangely they still haven't clarified a very crucial matter (which I noticed even as I was writing the rebuttals): Why is anyone defending Elevator Guy and trying to excuse or apologize for his behavior? Seriously, this is not rhetorical question, so please actually answer it.If you naysayers continue to avoid addressing those two items, then I will just keep pressing you on them, because this discussion can't proceed in a productive manner unless we're all on the same page as a starting point.

  101. says

    In what world does a woman's statement that she's exhausted and going to get some sleep, after a night of socializing, suggest that she would be open to the possibility of (a) drinking a caffienated beverage so that she could do more talking (with a complete stranger, no less), or (b) engaging in casual sex (with complete stranger, no less). OK, the possibility does exist, fair enough. But it falls under the category of "pretty damn unlikely." Did you know God might also possibly exist? If you're not omniscient, then how could you reasonably dismiss God? Seriously, guys. That's exactly the same sort of logic as the whole "ESP" and "mind-reading" nonsense.So, fellow atheists, please apply your mad skills of rationalism: Why do you think that propositioning the woman (be it for sex or just for coffee) is a good idea, after hearing her say that she's tired and wants sleep? Perhaps your answer is, "Because I want to have sex/coffee with her, and I'll never know if it'll happen unless I ask." OK, so why do theists believe in God? A common answer will be, "Because I want to go to heaven when I die, and I can't get there unless I have faith in Him." So you know how there's Pascal's Wager? Well, now we have something that I shall dub "Murphy's Wager" (since that guy kept going back to it in his comments). In both "wagers," the short-sightedness, not to mention the single-minded selfishness, required to twist logic and throw rationality out the window is almost mind-boggling.If the cold come-on is your primary or only strategy, especially if you're shy, then you're likely to suffer from long periods of sexual frustration. Even if most women were not turned-off by it (which is, for the record, contradicted by an endless abundance of real-world experience and evidence), the odds would always be against you. This is because several men are usually vying for the attention of a moderately attractive (at least) woman, and she's probably going to choose the one(s) with more to offer in terms of looks, personality, and/or chemistry. And don't forget that most women are not attracted to most men, just as most men are not attracted to most women. Thus, statistically speaking, sexual attraction between two complete strangers is more likely to be one-sided than mutual.

  102. says

    Elevator Guy watched Rebecca Watson all night and made no attempt to interact with her while she was mingling with fellow conference attendees (according to her clarifications, posted on other sites). When she left the other people in order to be alone (i.e., by heading back to her room), he followed her and apparently didn't ever start talking to her until they were in the elevator together, alone. Sorry, but there is no other way to characterize this behavior except as borderline stalking. It doesn't matter if his intentions were innocent and warm-hearted; that doesn't change the nature of the act. Many stalkers don't see their behavior as malicious, even if they were convinced to agree that it's abusive. The key point is that one such act directed at one person is creepy, while a pattern of such acts is criminal. This is not merely a subjective matter. If there were nothing wrong with a single act, then why would several such acts constitute something illegal?The harsh truth is that being shy, or otherwise socially inept, is no excuse for bad behavior. Seriously, when does that excuse ever work in social environments (except when a person has a mental handicap such as an autism-spectrum disorder)? Bad behavior needs to be called-out and corrected; that's the only way that shy people can learn to function better socially. Trying to defend Elevator Guy's behavior as a reasonable tactic for shy people to use has another serious problem: Studies have shown that women overwhelmingly prefer potential mates who project confidence. (Supposedly, confidence is generally deemed to be even more important than looks as a factor for attraction.) And as important as confidence might be for romantic relations, it's even more important for sexual relations, as shyness makes a poor first impression for how one might perform in bed. Shy guys who don't learn how to approach women in more socially acceptable ways will, in all likelihood, continually experience rejection (which hurts far more for those who are shy than for those who are confident) that only worsens their problem.So does anyone have a rational argument for how Elevator Guy's behavior could possibly reflect confidence instead of shyness?

  103. says

    When a stranger follows you into a place with no one else there, and asks you to go to another place for some private one-on-one time, how could you not feel at least a little bit worried, a little bit threatened? It doesn't matter who it is or what the request is. It could be a heterosexual man (or woman) following another heterosexual man (or woman) into an elevator and saying nothing but a polite-sounding invitation for drinks. Do you honestly believe that only a few reasonable people would think, "Who is this person, and what the hell does he/she want with me"?If you're a man and are turned on by the thought of an unfamiliar (but attractive) woman sexually propositioning you in an elevator, then your judgment is being distorted by more than your male privilege: You're thinking with your penis rather than your brain. For all that you know, she could be a psycho killer whose main thrills in life come from ensnaring men. Or maybe she wants to drug you and steal all of your money, your identification, and your credit cards (a situation that would be far worse if it happened in a foreign country, which was where Elevatorgate took place). Maybe it's a honeypot scheme in which she's already pregnant by another man, but she plans to use the sexual encounter with you as the basis for extortion. This world is filled with all kinds of characters, right?The bottom line is that casual sex with strangers is a highly risky activity, and most people who engage in it do not properly comprehend the risks. Beyond the dramatic scenarios above (which are not totally unrealistic), there are the more mundane dangers of STDs and unwanted pregnancies. Condoms break, and some have defects, and plenty of people don't even know how to properly use the birth control devices that they have in their hands. Some men refuse to wear condoms, and there are even some prostitutes who acquiesce to the small number of clients who insist on going bareback.All things considered, sex with someone that you do know offers much greater safety and security than sex with someone that you don't know. Casual sex with strangers is not worth defending simply because it may be "fun." There are plenty of people who enjoy drag racing and may be skilled enough to minimize the inherent dangers, but even if it were legal, would it be a wise thing to do? It's like when people talk and text on their phones while they drive: "I know how to do it safely, so there's nothing wrong with it." Puh-leeze. Even aside from the objectification issue, sexually propositioning a total stranger is degrading because you'd be treating that person as someone who's too stupid, ignorant, or naive to realize the multitude of dangers inherent in such an encounter. And you're just trying to take advantage of that person to satisfy your sexual desire.And again, even if the request weren't sexual in nature, it would still be unsettling. Your loneliness and desire for platonic companionship is no excuse for ignoring the risks of going to a private place with a total stranger.

  104. says

    @MattAnderson:Good enough for me. I don't expect to agree with me on everything, but it sounds like you've accepted most of what I was saying about manners, so I guess the post is a success insofar as we reached some common ground.

  105. says

    Having read almost all of the comments on the other post, I've noticed that almost all of the naysayers' points go back to the same basic argument: Rebecca Watson's feelings and views (and those of the women who have stated their agreement) are not shared by all women. Some women appreciate Elevator Guy's kind of behavior. That is reason enough to consider what Elevator Guy did to be a valid, justifiable, and not inappropriate way to approach women in general. Otherwise, men might be missing plenty of good opportunities for sex and romance, and the women who crave that sort of attention are having their feelings disrespected, disregarded, and dismissed.What a profoundly pathetic, myopic, and disingenuous argument. If this is really the best that you guys have (considering that it's the most persistent), then you ought to be ashamed for having the gall to claim a position of rationality. Guess what? There are plenty of women who are pro-life activists or sympathizers. The pro-life camp has also said that pro-choice women do not speak for all women. Does that mean that abortion is not a women's rights issue? (No, I'm not sorry that I dragged abortion into this debate. I don't care if anyone wants to start debating about abortion or not; the point is that the same sort of logic would apply to issues far beyond Elevatorgate, so you'd better start thinking about how consistent your beliefs and opinions may or may not be.) So tell me, who's actually trying to speak for all women?To suggest that an issue be universal to the experience of all members of a group in order for it qualify as a genuine civil rights, or human rights, issue is appallingly disingenuous and a red herring. One could theoretically defend every single civil/human rights violation (and thereby invalidate every single civil/human rights law) because one could find someone somewhere who is not only not offended by such degrading treatment, but actually enjoys it. I'm not even talking about consensual BDSM scenarios. T. E. Lawrence privately admitted that when he was taken prisoner at Deraa, he experienced sexual pleasure when he was tortured and sodomized (raped) by his Turkish captors. Which reminds me: So Stockholm syndrome means that kidnappers should be punished with no more than a slap on the wrist?Some have attempted to argue that the fact that women have criticized Watson, not just men, greatly undercuts Watson's case. To them I say: Do you know what the term "Uncle Tom" means?

  106. says

    Noah has discussed something that I've already mentioned several times, and yet no one else here has addressed: sexual harassment. Do you guys understand what sexual harassment is? It's not something that applies only to work environments. The reason why the laws pertain to the workplace is because sexual harassment is believed to create a "hostile work environment." So it's not so much the behavior in itself that's the problem; it's effect of such behavior, and the only way that the law can work to minimize the effect is to criminalize the cause. Legislators weren't being prudes when they passed the laws; they had to be made to understand the real psychological harm that sexual harassment was causing to many employees (mostly women).I have absolutely no doubt that there are some women who enjoy receiving sexually suggestive compliments from male coworkers. Does this mean that there's no basis for sexual harassment laws; i.e., sexual harassment is an invalid legal offense because one person's harassment is another person's compliment? Attitudes like that are what delayed the passage of sexual harassment laws until decades after women became commonplace in previously male-dominated (or male-exclusive) work spaces, post-WWII.I have absolutely no doubt that some woman somewhere would be incredibly flattered (and turned-on) if a stranger flashed his male organ at her to show her how "well-hung" he is. Does this mean that you should ever attempt to do it whenever you feel like it, on the off chance that it might get a girl to jump into bed with you?I have absolutely no doubt that there are some women who like when unfamiliar or somewhat-familiar men "grab their ass." (That's not even as extreme as Doug's story about the anonymous lady who grabbed his crotch and kissed him.) Does this mean that you should ever attempt to do it whenever you feel like it, on the off chance that it might get a girl to jump into bed with you? Unfortunately for Doug, what happened to him is what almost all of us would sensibly recognize as sexual assault. So what if he happened to find it pleasurable, that one time? Does this mean that groping a stranger on a crowded bus or subway is OK? It's all "subjective" after all, right?

  107. says

    The argument that censuring the kind of bad behavior displayed by Elevator Guy qualifies as "white knight" antics would be laughable, if it weren't so despicable. Shifting the guilt by twisting the underlying issue is just simply sleazy. It belies even more sexism. You might as well declare that no one should tell husbands not verbally abuse their wives, because, as the saying goes, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me." If each person is responsible for how she/he reacts to something, then suggesting that another's words, no matter how malicious, can have a serious impact is denigrating the person's strength of character, yes? Similarly, we must deny that there are many women who are trapped in abusive relationships, because to accept it, and suggest that something needs to be done about it, is equivalent to putting women on a pedestal as frail objects that need to protected or saved, yes? In fact, no women need to be saved from any men, because we have believe in them to have the strength to overcome their hardships, yes?The point is that, unfortunately, in a patriarchal society, women may feel disempowered by the men, or their perspectives may be distorted by lives of persistent disadvantage, such that they don't understand what's wrong, or what could be done, even if they intuitively realize the misery of their situation. This is how oppression works and how it perpetuates. Rarely does overtly oppressive action need to be taken. And that the oppressed keep failing to assert themselves is not a simple matter of strength or weakness. Everyone in the oppressive society (both oppressors and oppressed) just continue to live under the belief that everything is how it's supposed to be. The women in Islamic theocracies are among the most oppressed in the world, but they are still women, just like the women in western societies who have benefited from the numerous feminist movements in the previous century. No one will say that those Islamic women are "weaker" or more "fragile" than American women or European women. The Islamic women are just way more oppressed, and for that alone, they need help.The other point is that by censuring a certain kind of male behavior, we're not making any implications about women. We're simply asking men to be mature, take responsibility for their behavior, and carefully consider how any behavior in question might be received, before moving forward, as a matter of respect. This is applicable to all relations, not just those between heterosexual men and women.

  108. says

    Afterthought_btw,Well said. Dan Botzu,Ah yes, Amanda Marcotte.Remember the infamous Duke University Rape Hoax of 2006-07? Not only were the charges exposed as a farrago of lies and the accuser to be crazier than an outhouse rat, but the DA's legal misconduct was so extreme as to result in his disbarment – the first in North Carolina history – and the state AG not only wound up dropping all charges but flatly declared the four defendants innocent.In other words, this wasn't your run of the mill "we got the wrong guy" police case. This was a spectacle of legal nuclear meltdown the likes of which are rarely seen.Amanda Marcotte blogged away through it all, pointing and shrieking like one of the Body Snatcher aliens and screaming "Rape apologist!" at anyone expressing any doubts about the case, the accuser or the prosecutor.Not for one second, right until the bitter end, did Marcotte reckon with the accumulating mountains of evidence that the men were innocent, there that were compelling reasons to look askance at the actions of local government officials or that the whole thing stank to high heaven.Nope. You either agreed with her or you were a "rape apologist" thoughtcriminal and Enemy of Feminism.So now you say she's bringing her special blend of venomous mendacity to ElevatorGate?Why am I not surprised?

  109. says

    I wasn't going to comment on the issue of the rape threat, but a couple of days ago, I read a personal account by a female atheist blogger who had sent a letter to Richard Dawkins in the hope that it would make him more aware of the realities of rape. Her words moved me so much that I was compelled to write about the issue here.Murphy and his fellow naysayers all seem to operate under the belief that rape is not even a valid point of discussion because nothing of the sort was involved in the incident. They think that there was nothing wrong with Elevator Guy's behavior because he simply left after being rejected. In other words: No harm, no foul. How wonderfully deluded. Look, in the real world, threats are not assessed in the aftermath of an event. They are assessed before anything ever happens. Maybe you need to consult a dictionary for the actual definition of "threat," instead of going by the one from the dream-world inside of your head.I can't even begin to fathom how these guys expect women to be wary of rape while at the same time ignoring many of the possibilities of rape. I mean, these guys do think that women should be concerned about rape, right? After all, it is a fairly common crime, and the vast majority of cases involve males raping females. (By the way, negative points to the clueless dude who mentioned how a significant number of rape reports have been found to be bogus. You know what? Rape is actually underreported, because many victims feel deeply ashamed and even think that it was their fault. Good job, man.) Perhaps they think that rapists are easy to spot? Again, how wonderfully deluded.I would think that adults, especially rational ones, generally have the wisdom to realize that malice often hides behind a mask of decency or charm. Rape is a fascinating and complex subject, because of the broad range of psychosocial aspects involved. For instance, most rape actually occurs between people who are at least somewhat acquainted with each other. It could be family, friends, neighbors, or coworkers. Even longtime boyfriends and husbands can rape their significant others. Rape can happen on dates that start off very well, regardless of whether it involves sedation or physical aggression.

  110. says

    As a female, you can never accurately anticipate who will be a rapist and who won't be. This can make the world seem like a scary place, even though most men are not rapists and never will be. Thus, a certain level paranoia is understandable, if not entirely justifiable. In any case, the best strategy to stay safe is to be particularly wary of men whom you don't know, and to be suspicious of any sexual advances to which you didn't make any suggestions that you'd be receptive. (By the way naysayers, what do you know about the experience of being a woman? Not much? Then maybe you'd better shut-up and listen to women, instead of dismissing them as being unrepresentative of women in general.)Let's revisit the elevator incident with a few minor tweaks to the scenario. Let's say that Watson did not say that she was tired and heading to bed. Let's say that she never had any concern about being raped, never in her whole life. Let's say that she takes Elevator Guy's suggestion at face value, and they go to his room to talk over coffee. Now, while they are alone in the room in the middle of the night, Elevator Guy starts to get a little too friendly. It begins with playful touching, which Watson brushes away, but he's persistent. So then he proceeds to grope her, and she becomes increasingly uncomfortable. Soon, she's saying "no" over and over again and fighting to get away, but to no avail. He overpowers her and rapes her.Would that really have been an unrealistic possibility? In my alternate scenario, Watson gets raped even though she trusted Elevator Guy. And frankly, she was in more danger by going to his room than she was in the elevator, because the hotel room is a much more private place and doesn't have any time constraints for him to do what he needs to do. Naysayers, if that had happened, what would you be saying to Watson now? What would you suggest that she could've done to avoid getting raped?

  111. says

    A few commenters have tried to attack Watson's credibility by noting her appearance in a certain calendar that apparently relies on sex appeal to sell. I don't know the nature of the calender, but I understand the gist of the argument: Because Watson was happy to present herself in a sexualized way to the public in this one instance, she has no business complaining about being treated as a sex object by anyone. This argument, to me, reflects a sexist mindset at least as much as an utterly boneheaded one. In my earlier comments, I explained my view that sexual objection in limited contexts is acceptable, while sexual objectification as a general approach to interacting with people is unacceptable. The same applies here. In a restaurant, you can order your waiter to do your bidding; that is, after all, his job. If you encounter the same person outside of the restaurant context, does that mean that you are justified in demanding that he serve you?The same idea applies to the treatment of women who work in highly sexualized professions. That includes relatively tame examples, such as waitresses of Hooters and similar establishments, as well as the extremes of pornography and prostitution. Look, no one here has yet argued that you are forbidden to enjoy these things. No one has argued that respecting women enough to not treat them generally as sex objects means that striptease, porn, and prostitution should be outlawed. (On the contrary, I specifically stated my passionate support for porn and prostitution.) But the idea is that sexy waitresses, models, strippers, porn stars, and prostitutes are people, too. Just because they allow themselves to become sex objects within the narrow scope of their jobs does not mean that they appreciate or deserve being treated as sex objects in any other aspects of their lives. You may not regard their work as dignified, but would you be so heartless as to refuse them basic human dignity?Plenty of porn actresses also work as prostitutes to supplement their income. Many, probably most, do not. Performing in pornography is not really fundamentally different from prostitution: A porn actress is still being paid to have impersonal sex, and usually the sex acts are not what she would choose to do purely out of her own sexual desires. So with this in mind, should all porn actresses be receptive to any random person who offers money in exchange for sex? Certainly not, and many porn actresses would be offended by such offers and insist that they are not "whores." What gives, you wonder? Why isn't your money as good as a pornographer's? The difference between a porn actress and a prostitute is that the porn actress is paid to have sex with other professional performers in controlled environments. On the other hand, prostitutes are far more indiscriminate about their clients.

  112. says

    I remember a newsmagazine story about porn stars years ago, in which one of the most successful of recent performers revealed that she felt extremely disheartened by her difficulty in forming relationships with men. Most men were only interested in having sex with her. The story documented an instance in which she was excited to finally find a nice guy to date, only to be quickly heartbroken to discover that he, just like all of the others, was only looking for sex. Play the victim-blaming game all you want, but that doesn't alleviate the responsibility that all moral people have to treat other people as fellow human beings.But even prostitutes, however indiscriminate they may be about their sexual activities, do not deserve to be treated as less than human or as second-class people. Most of them have self-defined work hours, workplaces, and a range of activities that they will and will not do. Just because they willingly accept money to have sex with strangers does not mean that anyone is justified to approach one just anywhere, anytime, and ask for immediate service. And even if you've paid to be with one in the appropriate time and place, you don't have the freedom to do whatever you want with her. Despite whatever you might think, prostitutes can be raped by clients when they're on the clock. It's like when husbands rape their wives: They think that they are entitled because of a covenant. In reality, mutual consent is essential to every sexual interaction.These days, prostitution is generally done as a surprisingly common short-term solution to immediate financial problems, and it's also done with enough secrecy such that if you live in a big city, there's a decent chance that you might be acquainted with a prostitute (active or retired) without even knowing it. If you suddenly discovered that one of your friends is (or was) a prostitute, then would you start to make countless sexual comments and jokes and advances toward her and offer her money to have sex with you? If you say yes, then what kind of a friend are you?To go outside of the sex industry, most celebrities do not appreciate when others think that they deserve attention only for the things that made them famous. There's an old episode of "The Simpsons" in which Bart becomes famous for coining an unintentionally humorous catchphrase that causes a media phenomenon. Soon, he is asked to perform the catchphrase wherever he goes, and his initial enjoyment of the attention rapidly turns into annoyance. Most celebrities hate to be followed by reporters and paparazzi. If you asked a paparazzo, he'd probably say that his targets should not complain, because his work feeds their stardom, and they've already sold themselves to the public, hence they owe the public access to every part of their lives. (Do you sense the entitlement attitude here?) Most celebrities also try to be incognito in everyday life and desire to be treated as regular people. Encountering starstruck fans might be flattering at first, but it quickly gets old.

  113. says

    Here's another way to look at it: Let's say that a woman moved from a highly sexualized profession to a mundane one. For instance, suppose that a girl retires from pornography to do office work. Does this mean that she's now fair game for her coworkers to make sexual advances and sexually suggestive comments toward her? Does her former career invalidate any possible claims for sexual harassment? If your answer is yes, then I'm sorry to tell you that you are a misogynist.There are a pair of long-running annual events called "GlamourCon." These are conventions in which many of the adult entertainment industry's most popular porn stars, glamour models, and producers gather to interface with the general public. Attendance is open to everyone, but convention rules state that attendees must be on their best behavior or else they will be thrown out of the venue. This means no touching, no sexual advances, and no crude remarks. I've never heard of any serious problems with disobedience of these basic rules.A few years ago, there was a video that was circulated in which an overeager fan placed his hand on the breast of a popular Internet model as they were posing for a photo together. She chuckled and politely swatted his hand away. In the comments below the video, all of which were from devoted admirers of glamour modeling, virtually everyone condemned that fan's behavior. That makes me wonder: How can a huge bunch of horny men have no problem maintaining civility around people who make a living producing masturbation fodder for them, while a bunch of male atheists don't have the good sense to treat their female counterparts with the same sort of respect?

  114. says

    I cannot believe that a bunch of so-called rational atheists would appeal to free speech as an excuse for bad behavior. This is incredibly disingenuous. How is this even remotely a free speech issue? How are Elevator Guy's free speech rights being violated? How many of you would refuse to condemn the inflammatory statements of the Westboro Baptist Church, on the basis of their free speech rights? All of the rational atheists that I know would fight to protect WBC's rights while condemning their speech (and behavior). Just because you have the right to say (or do) something, it doesn't meant that you should. And while free speech means that no one has the right to not be offended, it also means that no one has the right to not be censured. I would love to see someone defend neo-Nazis like the people here are defending Elevator Guy.Naysayers, at the end of the day, all of your arguments prove to be faulty. As we keep refuting them, the new ones that you may offer are not any better. Maybe the time has come for you to admit that you're wrong? Isn't the ability to admit when one is wrong a key characteristic that separates us rationalists from deluded people? Yes, many matters in life cannot be clearly separated into "right" and "wrong." But you are as wrong about your views as theists are wrong about their beliefs.By the way, to those who cling to the idea that Elevator Guy's invitation was not necessarily sexual in nature, I ask: Then why did he invite her to go to his hotel room in the middle of the night if he was only interested in coffee and conversation?

  115. says

    ydgdmlu:"Naysayers, if that had happened, what would you be saying to Watson now? What would you suggest that she could've done to avoid getting raped? "Well, people would ask her how stupid she could be to follow a complete stranger into his hotel room in the middle of the night in a foreign country.They can have their cake and eat it. Lean back and say "but he probably only wanted coffee, don't be mean" when she refuses, lean back and tell her she's to blame on accounts of being stupid if she says yes and something bad happens to her.

  116. says

    That is a lively discussion on privilege on the sindeloke.wordpress link above. It looks like privilege is something you either "get" as a concept, or not. I would point out that mothers are as responsible for creating the gender role of women as men are (unfortunately), because even today most women are taught as children that their mission in life is To Get A Man! Whereas men are taught job one is to get a career/job. These roles are reinforced from childhood on, making it difficult for one gender to put itself in the shoes of the other. There are exceptions, but in general, women are judged more for their looks and men for their earning power. This is changing (since the 1960s especially), but change is slow. Just look at all of the TV shows on wedding dresses, weddings, beauty pageants, and you will get a sense of what we are up against culturally.

  117. says

    Some have attempted to argue that the fact that women have criticized Watson, not just men, greatly undercuts Watson's case. To them I say: Do you know what the term "Uncle Tom" means? (ydgmdlu) As in Uncle Tom Syndrome? Just unwitting tools of the Patriarchy, eh?***PENALTY FLAG***No sooner do I recall Amanda Marcotte slandering those who didn't toe her gender politics line, then you step up with a real-time example of the same.Hey, bring up "false consciousness" next so we can get some nice, classical Marxism in here.Funny, I could have sworn we were just talking about not being disrespectful and dismissive of women's thoughts and feelings.Wouldn't that include giving women critical of Watson (or me, or you, or anyone) credit for their own agency? Acknowledging their sincere and distinct reasons for thinking as they do, regardless of whether we agree with them?Or are some animals really more equal than others?

  118. says

    Feminist Susan Brownmiller memorably asserted that rape was a political act by ALL men against ALL women. Thus we may conclude that the EG had, in a political sense, raped RW, thereby stripping her of power and humiliating her. Her public recitation of the incident was a way of cleansing herself and purging society of the transgression.

  119. says

    I have just read up, and from what I gather, it's just that the guy made her feel uncomfortable, popping an invitation in an enclosed space such as an elevator. Which makes me wonder… What if the invitation was extended, not in an elevator, but in a hallway?Would it still be sexualizing? If yes, how could one possibly ask someone over for a coffee without looking like a creep?If no, what's the sexualizing part? The guy had horrible timing, and though she *experienced* it as sexualizing, I have seen no reason to assume the guy *was* hitting on her.To me, this seems like someone with bad timing skills invited her, which makes her *feel* awkward. I'm not even talking about her rejection. It goes without saying that that is entirely her prerogative whatever happens. It's just that people seem to read so much into the guy's question when there's not really a reason to assume it was anything else but One Big Misunderstanding.What am I missing?

  120. says

    I'm sorry but Watson just comes off like a snobby high school cheerleader. I mean how could EG ever dream of having a chance with HER. Doesn't he know who she is?!? Doesn't he know how popular she is? He should know his place. Reject the guy sure, but publicly calling him out is just mean. All for the high crime of being attracted to her.

  121. says

    @Rod Keller:>Within the gay community, one night stands, based on looks alone are common enough.I have a gay male friend who sometimes sleeps with multiple (new) partners in a week and has an on going fuck buddy. His profile was featured recently on a gay dating site, which got him a load of hits. He said the ones that just asked for sex, with no other info, went straight to trash. He described the situation as telling him “God your fat, wanna have sex?” So, being desperate isn’t just something that looks bad if you’re straight and female apparently.I don’t have any issue with one night stands. And if you are into looks alone, that’s fine. My friend has had stalkers—are you OK with someone stalking you? Really—all you’re concerned about are looks—if the guy isn’t balanced, that’s acceptable to you? If he's violent, you're OK with that, so long as he's hot? If he is demeaning toward you–you're down with it? Because I don’t think you’re being quite honest here. If you ever complain about the behavior of someone you take home, you’re a hypocrite—as long as they’re good looking. As long as you’re 100 percent accepting of whatever treatment you get from someone you take home—violence, rudeness, mental imbalance, snoring even, you name it—then you’re being honest that you are doing this on “looks alone.” But if there are behaviors that would ensue that would make you end the transaction with a “good looking” date, in that case, you’re saying “I have criteria beyond looks”—and I suspect if you’re honest, you do.>To say that if I accept one, I am desperate and stupid and that the guy who asked me is an asshole, all of this by default, is completely asinine.If it’s true that looks is your only criteria, and being treated in a nonviolent, respectful way by the people you bring home is irrelevant to you, then I do think you’re desperate and stupid. But that’s your right.

  122. says

    I know I'm late to the party (different Carlos) but here are my 2 cents…I agree the guy in the elevator was probably creepy but this situation is just overblown.From what I've read he didn't grope her, even touched her, didn't follow her, stalk her, or harassed her, he certainly didn't try to rape her, kill her, or ANY of the insinuations that have floated around.As for "it's not that he hit on her, it's because it was in an elevator at 4am". This is just a bunch of BS. Had the guy not been creepy but instead being charming, funny and swept her off her feet she would be talking about how lucky she was to be there at the right moment when her prince charming was also in that elevator at that hour. "It was just fate!"

  123. says

    Hello, its me again. I've been thinking more and more about this topic, and it is bringing me to a personal dilemma:Virtually my whole life, I've rejected religion. I never had a reason to be vocal about it. But then I discovered atheist material that sent the message, "be proud of atheism, tell people you're an atheist, don't be afraid of discussing religion".But what's been the point? It upsets people, and virtually never changes their mind. Its been talked about that our way is not really whats turning people from religion. I'm starting to feel like I've been used as a billboard. In the process, I've been sold an ideology where offending Christians is all part of the game.Now I'm being told I had better be considerate of people's feelings. I really, truly want to believe that. Atheist rhetoric seems to be mostly preaching to the choir, making big bucks for some.I guess this has made me really jaded of the atheist movement. Can someone help me out here?

  124. says

    @MattIt's really up to you to sort through.I'd point out that there's one standard:1) Trying not to offend people2) Trying to dispel myths about atheism.3) Trying to discuss the issues any why one side or another is wrong (and why we're right).We're not always successful, but we're not out to offend Christians. It just happens.Christians are wrong about their position, and hold irrational beliefs, so we confront that. Women do not (really) have that same problem, generally.So Christians are bound to get offended, but typically for good reason. Women are getting offended, but for bad reasons.

  125. says

    Also, I would say, if it takes a thousand hours of discussions to save one person from insanity, it's worth it. Religion and inanity aren't going to go away on their own. It has to be constantly fought.

  126. says

    I posted on another strand that I'm going to visit another country this fall. In preparation, I very excitedly found a website that discussed the culture and customs there. Even though it's an English speaking nation, the nuances and differences were fascinating and funny. And I learned a lot–because I didn't want to go over there and look like the idiot American tourist.One very interesting thing was they have an etiquette about buttering bread and muffins. I wouldn't doubt that if I found a "Ms. Manners" book, it might have this same style of buttering in it. But I wasn't really raised with that, and never heard anyone I've known make an issue out of how to butter bread. But after reading "this is how they do it in THEIR country," and learning that not doing so isn't just considered uncouth, but disgusting, can you guess, when I'm there, how I'll butter my muffins?I had heard a friend from there mention someone buttering the wrong way once, and how gross he thought it was. And I thought "Wow, you're really critical about buttering." But I didn't say that, because it wasn't really relevant, just a passing thought. At any rate, now that I see this isn't just him, but is a cultural context, his behavior makes sense.OF COURSE I will butter my bread and muffins in the prescribed way while I'm in that country. WHY WOULDN'T I? It's very easy. Doesn't put me out at all. Will avoid making the people around me lose their appetites…so, sure. I can do that much. It won't impose upon me at all. In fact, it will be a learning experience and fun to do things differently for a few weeks. I'm looking forward to the differences–not dreading having to learn new things and conform to a new set of cultural and social expectations. And if I make a mistake and do something "rude" by their standards, I won't get obnoxious about it. I'll apologize, and hope that my accent will let them know "I'm not from around here, sorry, didn't know."It really doesn't matter to me–never even crossed my mind–to ask "Do I agree with this bread buttering technique? Can my friend explain WHY it's gross? Not like I'm licking the butter dish…so what's their problem? I NEVER buttered bread this way, and I've got a right to butter my bread however I like. These people need to just deal."What a great attitude that would be to take with me on holiday! I'm sure it would guarantee me and everyone around me a really fun time. I'd be well liked and meet lots of new friends.Clearly facetious. I think the point is, I CAN butter how I like. And, sure, I could meet up with some people there that don't care about how I butter my bread. My friend was offended by someone else living there, so there are apparently people living there who don't subscribe to this silly bread thing. So, that totally justifies me ignoring their "majority" social protocol. Not like the way I butter bread is any sort of health issue. It can't harm anyone. In fact, if anyone complains about me buttering the bread like an American tourist while I'm there, I'll tell them exactly that. "I can butter my bread however I like–quit whining!"If I don't care about making friends there–that's fine. But the truth is, I do want to make new friends there. So, I'm going to just have to learn to butter bread a little differently for a few weeks. Ain't life a bitch?!

  127. says

    Hmm, the link isn't working, I must've done something wrong. I'll just post the quote.__________________________BSkrilla said…"Initially Rebecca's comments in her video were measured and reasonable. The reaction to these comments has been anything but reasonable; on both sides of the argument. People need to calm the fuck down and realize that both sides have valid points. The way this whole debate is playing out is making me really sad. The guy who asked Rebecca in the elevator was probably a little tactless and could have chosen a better time/way to flirt with someone he admires. Rebecca's response to this was reasonable. She didn't scream rape, she didn't call him a sexual predator, she just suggested to men that this isn't the best way to come on to a woman and that it can be a little creepy. I think this is a wildly uncontroversial statement. This is where the internet got a hold of it and things got stupid. Suddenly atheists are standing across the aisle from each other, one side yelling "RAPE APOLOGISTS!", the other yelling "CRAZY RANTING FEMINAZIS!" This is ludicrous. It is not evident from anything that Rebecca has said that the man did anything more inappropriate than asking a woman out (with implied sexual intentions), and it is also clear that Rebecca did not berate him as a sexual deviant. It is the rest of the internet that has taken this story and ran. Let's handle this situation reasonably. Rebecca asking men to be more considerate of women's feelings is reasonable. Men asking not to be considered misogynistic sexual predator's when clumsily attempting to flirt with a girl is also reasonable. Calling every woman who asks for respect a feminazi is not reasonable. Calling every man who thinks it's a bit hyperbolic to call this elevator encounter a terrible example of male privilege in the atheist movement a misogynist ass who doesn't "get it" is unreasonable. Can we please handle this like the rational adults we claim to be?"

  128. says

    I'm going to throw down with the United Atheist League on this one, because their answer to the Great Question is the only one that is based on good science.

  129. says

    I don't really wanna get dragged back into the depths of this discussion. There isn't really much that I can add to what i've already written, and I think George is saying most of what I would say anyway (in probably a much more eloquent manner)I would like to hit two points quickly though, and that’s it:social graces who needs emI agree with pretty much everything you said Russell, however social grace, and sexism/misogyny is not the same thing which is my issue with where this situation has gone. Yes the guy was tackless and socially ungraceful. And yes sexism and misogyny are bad. I just don't see how in this particular situation we get from one, leading to the other.@ydgmdluSo, fellow atheists, please apply your mad skills of rationalism: Why do you think that propositioning the woman (be it for sex or just for coffee) is a good idea, after hearing her say that she's tired and wants sleep? Perhaps your answer is, "Because I want to have sex/coffee with her, and I'll never know if it'll happen unless I ask." OK, so why do theists believe in God? A common answer will be, "Because I want to go to heaven when I die, and I can't get there unless I have faith in Him." So you know how there's Pascal's Wager? Well, now we have something that I shall dub "Murphy's Wager" (since that guy kept going back to it in his comments). In both "wagers," the short-sightedness, not to mention the single-minded selfishness, required to twist logic and throw rationality out the window is almost mind-boggling. Perhaps you should reread what I wrote buddy. I don't remember arguing anything like this, but something I DID keep “going back to” was that if elevator guy did actually harass her after she said she was tired and wanted to sleep, then elevator guy was clearly in the wrong. However, you (and others) don’t score logical points with me by recounting the story backwards in such a way as the rejection happens before the proposition actually took place, and then exclaim “AHA SEE!” when that isn't clear from the initial comments from Watson about the incident. Every indication is that they were talking in the elevator, he asked if she wanted to continue the discussion over coffee, she said no because she was tired and wanted to sleep, he said ok and left, end of story.I don't even want to bother with the rape comment you made about me because I think the shear irony of posting that right after George's “Amanda Marcotte” post is comment enough. I said repeatedly that she was justified in worrying about rape (if in fact she was worried. It doesn't actually sound like it from her comments) and she is also justified in recounting those feelings of threat to others after the fact. If you still don't understand my position after i've already tried explain it something like 5 times, them i'm sorry but there’s nothing more I can really say to you. I don't like to call people liars, but you sir are an incredibly disingenuous debater. I mean really… “Murphy's wager”? Please keep the Ad hominims to a minimum and stop twisting my words beyond reason to try and make yourself look clever.

  130. says

    "If it’s true that looks is your only criteria, and being treated in a nonviolent, respectful way by the people you bring home is irrelevant to you…"First, you put words and thoughts into people who make sexual requests, then you follow up by putting words in my mouth and attempting to straw man my position.If you are able to re-read my actual position and address it at face value, I'll continue this, but as it stands you are absolutely not worth my time.

  131. says

    I just want it to make it known that what I posted earlier is not by me, I just agree for the most part with what this person says. I was just mainly curious if what "BSkrilla" said "mischaracteriz[es] the nature of [Rebecca's] complaint".

  132. says

    Yeah, i got that it wasn't your post matt, but none the less, i agree with what it says too. I don't think it mischaracterizes the nature of Rebecca's complaint at all. I think most of the miscaracterization has been in the from of commenters sensationalising and turning this situation into a bigger issue than it is.

  133. says

    Oh man, I finally understand where my frustration in all of this is coming from. There are two models of social graces:1)Looking at one person's feelings (taking offense etc.) and accommodating them.2)Taking into account both party's wants and coming up with a mutual agreement.The first is good in examples like Tracie's, where a short-term fix will make a vacation much better.The second is good if we have a serious discussion about we want from our culture. I think some men are objecting to the way arguments have veered towards the first model. It doesn't mean the solution is bad, we just are afraid of being left out of the negotiation table.This has probably been said in many ways before already. I just couldn't pinpoint the discrepancy, and wanted to share if anyone cares at this point.

  134. says

    Watson's own answers to a lot of the questions being posed: http://skepchick.org/2011/07/frequently-answered-questions/If nothing else, I'd like to point out number 4 on the list:"My current disinterest in his books is entirely about conscientiously giving my money to people and causes I believe in and who believe in me. I am not calling for a boycott. Analogy: I am a vegetarian, but publicly stating that fact and appreciating that other skeptics are vegetarian is not a campaign to make you be a vegetarian, too."After reading her initial response to Dawkin's criticism, that was the impression I had. I think it's sad that she's had to spell it out so many times, but I commend her for doing so.

  135. says

    @MattAndersonI can totally agree with that. I think this is probably one of the best comments I’ve seen so far on the entire subject.

  136. says

    And to add to my post a bit,The women are likewise afraid of their feelings not being respected, therefore losing their place at the table.This internal squabble is a vicious negotiation where each side is scrambling for their voices to be heard, and everyone is talking past each other.

  137. says

    Sky Diver wrote:I'm sorry but Watson just comes off like a snobby high school cheerleader. I mean how could EG ever dream of having a chance with HER. Doesn't he know who she is?!? Doesn't he know how popular she is? He should know his place.Reject the guy sure, but publicly calling him out is just mean. All for the high crime of being attracted to her. Giliell answers:Yes, that's because we all know how those women really are. If they tell the world repeatedly that they're not avaible for quick sex because they're in a commited monogamous relationship, what they really mean is that they're just not avaible for a loser, but sure if the right hot guy came along, that would change everything.If they say repeatedly that they really don't like being hit on, what they really mean is that they don't want to be hit on by that guy, surely it didn't mean they don't want to be hit on by the cool guy.When they leave a bar that serves coffee and pleasant company with interesting conversation declaring that they're damn tired and want to be alone and sleep, what they really mean is that they don't want the company of those people or the coffee brewed on a space-ship sized comercial espresso machine. It surely doesn't meant that they don't want the company of Prince Charming and the converasation of Prince Charming and whatever instant coffee Prince Charming has to offer in his hotel room (just entertaining for a minute the idea that this was about coffee and conversation anyway).Also, when they say no they really mean yes. Women, you can't trust them.His crime was not "being attracted to her". His crime was to disregard her clearly stated wishes to not be hit on in the first place and doing so in a totally inappropriate way in the second place.@Rod KellerI'd say again that context is the thing. I know there are gay bars that cater specifically for one night stands, providing a Dark Room and everything. I know of rest areas on the Autobahn that are renowened as meeting places for people of all kinds of orientations and desires where they meet and where you can read their respective wishes and advertisements written on the wall. If I went to such a place, I'd obviously be rather surprised if anybody there would try to get a date for lunch to get to know me better. The direct question "Do you want to do XYZ with me" would be rather more appropriate.Yet when I go to the "normal" gay cocktail bar or take a break at one of the mall-style rest areas on the Autobahn, that question would mark the person immediately as an idiot.That's what a lot of people don't get in this whole debate: It's about context.

  138. says

    My main frustration with this is not the context, I'm in complete agreement that certain etiquettes should be promoted, rather it's in the delivery and reactions of both initial parties.Firstly, I agree that Dawkins was out of line with his rather pretentious rebuttal, in my opinion he should have, at very least, kept his nose out of it. On the other hand, Watson's "disowning" of Dawkins struck me as more than a little juvenile.The problem is not so much the reacting as it is the fact that they're both fairly visible members of the skeptic community, and as such have an unavoidable influence.In short, I feel the situation could have, and should have been handled with far more maturity. On Dawkin's part, a caustic missive was not only unwarranted, but unproductive. On Watson's part, well.. all I can say is that despite the enormous amounts of respect I have for her activism, I can't help but see the disowning incident as something a teenager might do. As right as she is, it's still a wholly unproductive and irrational response.

  139. says

    Just to be clear about my feelings with regard to Dawkin's letter:I agree with, what seems like, the majority, in that it was pretty offensive. The idea that he could dismiss a social ill in lieu of another is ludicrous at best. While it's true that, measured against human suffering, one is far more egregious, it does not negate or diminish the fact that the other is a real problem that needs to be addressed. Both problems need addressing, and Dawkin's caustic reaction to Watson for doing so is at very best absurd.As an aside: As I've stated before, I'm finding the way that this has manifested to be more than a little disappointing. Both in the reactions of the two primaries, as well as the way in which the discussion has evolved.In my opinion, this is much more an issue of respect and consideration than it is of gender bigotry. The actions of the "Elevator Guy" should, as far as I'm concerned, be scorned, and the reasons for such scorn (the inappropriate time, place, presentation, as well as the complete lack of consideration for the feelings of the other party) should be expressed. However, I do not believe that this type of consideration should be presented as gender specific. Situations can and do arise on both "sides" and should be repudiated for their content.In short, I believe that scorn should be leveled at those who cannot or do not treat others with at least a basic level of respect and courtesy regardless of how the recipient may be classified (e.g. female, male, black, white, straight, gay).Just for clarity I'd like to add that when I say respect and courtesy that I do not mean that "we" should avoid offense and/or conflict at all costs. Merely that "privilege" (as it pertains to social interactions) should not be assigned at all.(I'm trying my hardest to qualify what I say in order to avoid misrepresentation, but I'm finding the dynamics to be far more complex than my vocabulary allows.)

  140. says

    @Rod Keller:>>"If it’s true that looks is your only criteria, and being treated in a nonviolent, respectful way by the people you bring home is irrelevant to you…">First, you put words and thoughts into people who make sexual requests, then you follow up by putting words in my mouth and attempting to straw man my position.Rich from the guy who seems to have ignored my opening statement in my initial post: “Everyone has criteria or standards of what they want/like and what they don't. I guarantee you there is _something_ a person could do to you in a bedroom you wouldn't appreciate.”You then said that “looks alone” was a common sexual selection criteria in your demographic. First of all, the offer isn’t looks alone. It’s actually lower than that. My friend I mentioned earlier can’t “perform” unless the legs are to his liking. So a guy who approaches him in a bar saying “wanna get out of here?” who isn’t in shorts, hasn’t even provided him with sufficient aesthetic information to choose on “looks alone.” But you’re saying it supplies YOU with sufficient “looks” info to make that decision. And you admit, the moment you call it a “looks alone” offer, that it doesn’t include any further information for you to judge whether this person is acceptable to you or not as a sex partner. We agree.But now you’re objecting when I point out that I think you have MORE requirements than you’re honestly letting on (just as I noted in my first post that anyone likely would). When I suggest you aren’t concerned with mentally stable, nonviolent, respectful, you get annoyed/offended…after labeling the transaction yourself as an agreement to “looks alone.”Is “looks alone” all it takes to make a person acceptable as a sex partner to you? Because it sounds now like you’re saying “Well, no.” And I think that’s more honest of you. Is there _nothing_ that would be “unacceptable” to you in a bedroom as long as the person is good looking? I’m getting the impression now that you object to that characterization—and that, of course, you want a partner who isn’t disrespectful, nuts, violent, rude, gross…and whatever else you wouldn’t accept. If there are other criteria that would make them unacceptable, then your list of requirements is NOT “looks alone.”So, what you’re actually describing then, is a situation where you admit you have REQUIREMENTS A, B, C, D, and E, to make a partner acceptable to you for casual sex, but you actually accept offers of “A only,” with absolutely NO attempt to confirm your other requirements are included in the offer, and with absolutely NO concern to whether B, C, D and E, that you require, are going to be part of this bargain. Is it reasonable to be surprised if someone says “I think you’re not being very smart about this”? If you think that’s not a fair assessment, then we’ll have to agree to disagree. You seem to be offended I’m saying it’s stupid to accept offers that you admit imply “looks alone” when you actually have far more REQUIRED criteria of which you’re aware, at the time you accept the offer of “A only.” Why would you be surprised that would be labeled something other than "smart"? Or that someone would note it seems to give an appearance of desperation–that you agree to accept less than you want/think you deserve?>If you are able to re-read my actual position and address it at face value, I'll continue this, but as it stands you are absolutely not worth my time.Again, that's your right.

  141. says

    "Being socially effective and well liked is no different, but this is a difficult thing for some atheists to get their heads around because a lot of us are — show of hands, please! — nerds."And that goes both ways, Kazim. For all I know, Rebecca Watson clearly fits your 'nerd' profile. Maybe she is the one who needs to up her social skills and drop the self-righteous whining.

  142. says

    It's definitely me? Where's that coming from? Let me guess – from a self-professed nerd who apparently knows his social norms better than any other fellow nerd on here. Hey work with me here alright.

  143. says

    Just because I said some nerds have a hard time grasping this concept doesn't mean that the outcome is totally arbitrary here. And no, I don't know social norms better than "any other fellow nerd on here" — there are a LOT of other fellow nerds who didn't have a hard time understanding the concept of respecting people's boundaries and successfully navigating social complexities without being armpit fart guy.

  144. says

    Kazim back to the chess analogy. Yes, if someone is making a dumb move you tell them; maybe even let them take it back. You don't go post on your blog about what an idiot that guy was.

  145. says

    Yes, inviting someone over coffee, irrespective of the their actual intentions, is very rude and unbecoming of them. Come on. Where and how exactly was he breaching RW's boundaries again? The fact that he got into the elevator with her? Or inviting her for a coffee? All said and done, this guy prefaced his invitation with a "don't take this the wrong way" too. That's not creepy, is it?I'm a huge TAE fan, but I'm going with The Amazing Atheist on this one.

  146. says

    @flame0nIt's all about context. It was 4AM, in an elevator, in a foreign country. She was tired from talking about how she did not want to be hit on all the time at conferences all day. She had announced to the bar she was exhausted and going to bed. Also, he didn't "scare the bejesus" out of her. She was cautious about him, then the next day politely said "Hey guys, don't do that."Why is this so hard for people to get?

  147. says

    @TraciehIf it so helps clarify, change "looks alone" to "On the basis of the limited information gathered by the appearance and mannerisms during the sexual request, which does not stringently mean only aesthetics".Yes, appearance is not the only criteria. If someone asks me for sex without saying anything else, I am still making snap judgements on other qualities AND on their appearance. That doesn't change the fact that I object to every assumptious claim you make, unless, you are saying that these are subjective for you, but you are stating "This is what this guy must be thinking". How is this a claim of subjectivity? If you want me to take it as just your opinion, why not state it from YOUR point of view."To approach someone and ask for sex, and not preface that request with any sort of situation in which the other person has been given an opportunity to get to know anything about you, means you have just come up to them and said, "Hey, you look like someone who doesn't any standards at all–care to have sex with someone you know nothing about?" In addition to calling me "desperate"–you're also assuming I'm an idiot."If you think I say yes to a snap sexual request and I find signs of trouble that I can't change my mind and leave, that makes no sense. It also doesn't follow that if I find someone physically attractive and say yes on that basis, that I automatically care nothing about any other quality. If the "alone" part was confusing, that's clarification on my actual view. Desperate, by the way, is taking an option due to lack of options. If one accepts a snap sexual request, it tells us nothing of what options that person actually has. If that person has dating options but chooses this one, they are disqualified from "desperate".My point is that if someone asks for sex, without giving an opportunity to get to know them better, then all the stuff you wrote absolutely does not follow by default.

  148. Brian says

    @Carlos,"I agree the guy in the elevator was probably creepy but this situation is just overblown.From what I've read he didn't grope her, even touched her, didn't follow her, stalk her, or harassed her, he certainly didn't try to rape her, kill her, or ANY of the insinuations that have floated around."First of all, if I went up to an African-American person and said "man, you niggers are all so lazy," that would be offensive. That would be so offensive I would deserve quite a tongue-lashing to say the least. People would make a big deal about it. And rightly so. Just because I didn't make physical contact with someone doesn't mean I can say whatever I want to them and expect them not to have a problem with it.Second of all, you're wrong. He was in the group she was in when she said she was going to bed, so he did follow her to the elevator, which depending on who you ask is borderline stalking behavior as well. He knew that she didn't want to stay up any longer and cornered her in an elevator to ask her to stay up longer anyway. He made no attempt at initial conversation and completely ignored everything she had been saying up until that point. If he had said, "look I know you're tired, want to grab a coffee tomorrow and talk?" it'd be a completely different situation.Finally, no one except those mischaracterizing Rebecca's side of the issue have insinuated that the man was trying to rape, kill, or otherwise harm her. The facts are that he was a total stranger to her, many rapists are good at blending in and appearing non-threatened, elevator rapes do actually happen in real life, and there was no way for Rebecca to tell if this guy was a rapist or not."As for "it's not that he hit on her, it's because it was in an elevator at 4am". This is just a bunch of BS. "Well, it must be nice to be able to unilaterally dismiss her concerns as "BS.""Had the guy not been creepy but instead being charming, funny and swept her off her feet she would be talking about how lucky she was to be there at the right moment when her prince charming was also in that elevator at that hour. "It was just fate!""Oh, the old "if things were different, things would be different!" argument. One of my favorites! Yeah, you may be right, but that's not what happened. The guy WAS creepy, and the imaginary alternative scenario you've dreamt up still didn't happen. So how is that relevant at all?

  149. says

    Kazim back to the chess analogy. Yes, if someone is making a dumb move you tell them; maybe even let them take it back. You don't go post on your blog about what an idiot that guy was.Obviously you have never seen a sports blooper reel.Hell, just yesterday I was watching a video in which one of my favorite Starcraft II commentators totally makes fun of somebody who plays very, very badly.Of course you draw attention to how people play badly, because depending on the situation it can be either instructive or hilarious. Or both.

  150. says

    Maybe it's the elevator that scared the bejesus out of RW. Anywhere else on a sunny day, she would have probably gone for it.This gets my vote for the most obviously, nonsensically trollish and pointless comment on the entire thread thus far.

  151. says

    It's disappointing to see the Atheist Experience come out on the side of Feminist Rightthink, but at least as rational people we can agree to disagree. No wait, I forgot! Not anymore we can, since everyone on the other side is now either a rapist (or at least a rape apologist) or in case of female, a gender traitor (my favourite is gender traitor thanks to the implication that while rapists are generally just locked up, treason is perhaps the most common capital offense of all).So yeah, I don't "get it". I'm even guilty of not wanting to "get it". When "getting it" includes internalizing demeaning and denigrating bullshit like the "Schroedinger's Rapist" article, I see no reason to "get it" at all. I don't want even want to be associated with people who think of me (and all men) as a sociopath-until-proven-not, and furthermore want men to think of themselves as such. Luckily I'm not the only one and a lot of good people (Dawkins aside) have taken a stand against this kind of dogmaticism that has crept up in the until-recently-rational atheism movement (check out the latest Mr Deity for one). A lot of people consider this whole brouhaha a success in that it has smoked out all the misogynists, MRAs and whatnots out of the woodworks but fail to realize that it cuts both ways. A lot of people have had their eyes opened as well to the fact how uncritically rad fem dogma is accepted in many circles, and are appalled.

  152. says

    This analogy-making is never going to end. Anyone can bring up a situation with the context tweaked in their favor, to an infinite number of possible scenarios.Quick propositions are stupid because of the completely universal failure rate. Even worse with the details surrounding the elevator incident. This fact trumps all; don't do it guys.Having to point this out on the internet is unpleasant. Fine, I'll take her word it was necessary. Male viewers may have taken it as patronizing. That's OK too.Please understand, when other blogs began attaching heavy feminist rhetoric to the situation, it scares us. Dawkins responded clumsily to it, trying to address how out of hand it could get. It was unfunny and unconvincing.Men: Take the lesson learned and stop rationalizing pick-ups in elevators. You're just taking that position because you're trying to prove we have been talked down to. None of you would dare pull a stunt like EG now, and you know it.Feminists and TAE: Stop using flimsy arguments like male privilege. You're making men feel marginalized, and it has failed to convince anyone. The Privilege Delusion was a bad attempt at reading Dawkin's mind. Understand men have been bothered by a perceived lack of respect. If you don't, this will never end.

  153. says

    @ Matt and Matti – I'm sure that in person you are quite nice and would never deliberately set out to make a person, of either gender, uncomfortable. So, obviously, none of this is TRUE or REAL.Poor baby, I'm so sorry you are misunderstood. Come to momma and let me kiss it all better. /sarcasmHowever, if pointing out cultural shortcomings, not specifically directed at you, has you denying them as absolutely impossible, even though you have been told by people with first hand experience and statistics to back them up that they can and do happen as stated, perhaps they are striking your prejudices too close to home for you to be objective about it. Matt, speaking for your gender, you "have been bothered by a perceived lack of respect." Well, d'oh! There is a "perceived lack of respect" for women in the atheist community. Not so comfortable on the receiving end, is it?

  154. says

    "Matt, speaking for your gender, you "have been bothered by a perceived lack of respect." Well, d'oh! There is a "perceived lack of respect" for women in the atheist community. Not so comfortable on the receiving end, is it? "That's exactly my point. We both have a say in this, and we want this be resolved in a way that is respectful to everyone.Maybe you disagree with our objections to the radfem end of this discussion. But don't go "Neener Neener! Now you know how it feels!"

  155. Leo says

    This is something of what has been said on the web about this elevator guy:A- “he sexualized her” (Watson, looking at the comments I would say half of the community, and a lot of the comments on Watson posts)B- “he sexually objectified her” (Watson, looking at the comments I would say half of the community)C- “he harrased her” (PZ Myers, like half of PZ Myers readers I could be sure)D- “he is a sexist” (Amanda Marcotte, a 'good feminist' that Watson links in her post, and of course like 75% of the comments there)E- “was following her, and cornered her, to press her to accept the “invitation” ” (frames him as a stalker, Amanda Marcotte, as I count like 90% of the comments there, and a lot of the comments on Watson posts)F- “he is a misogynist” (Amanda Marcotte, group of people on PZ blog and in Amanda’s, I would say about 30% more or less, go count there)G- he deliberatly intoduced “a whiff of coercion and fear into a situation” to get his dick wet, because he knew and every men really knows, as she explains (Amanda Marcotte)Kazim, You tell me as a Sckeptic if there is sufficient evidence to ground these accusations.You tell me as a Humanist, that if we don't have enought evidence to ground this accusations we must care for the innocent.Telling someone to their face that their actions are uncool or creepy (as they of course were) is not the same thing as shaming them on the internet. The punishment don't fit the offense. I hope you sleep well at night, because this guy if innocent and aware of this probably hasn't.

  156. says

    "Maybe you disagree with our objections to the radfem end of this discussion. But don't go "Neener Neener! Now you know how it feels!""Can I facepalm without sounding like a "radfem" to you? How about a "headdesk'?Ok – YOU are not a rapist. I believe you. If I attend a conference and the guy in the elevator with me has "Matt Anderson" on his name tag, I promise not to be worried. The ENTIRE issue began with a lack of respect for RW. All she said was, "Guys, don't ask women to your room for any reason when you have had no previous conversation especially if the woman has already said she doesn't like that. Asking at 4 am in an elevator just makes it worse."The escalation to everything you apparently object to is only in response to nuance-blind men who "don't see the problem" and want women to just shut up about it. Yeah, we get that. How can it be "respectful to everyone" if the only apparent option "men" will accept is for all us women to say, "We are so sorry we forgot our place and made men uncomfortable by bringing this up. We promise to let men hit on us any time men want to from now on because we now understand that most men are not rapists and the ones who ask us to their rooms for "coffee" at 4 am are just too clueless to figure out any other way to start a conversation, or they just hope to get lucky and do not necessarily mean anything personal by it. If a woman does get raped that will be too bad." Should there be a corollary that if a woman does not meet the average man's standards of attractiveness, they should scuttle out of the way?Or is it only the second sentence of that you want to hear? That's still disrespectful by my standards.What is it you do want? What statements by women would make you content that a resolution to this mutual "lack of respect" problem could be achieved? Don't just tell us we are wrong. Spell out *your* idea of a resolution for us.Gwynnyd (old school feminist. I burned my bras in 1969)

  157. says

    "What statements by women would make you content that a resolution to this mutual "lack of respect" problem could be achieved?"Well, to start off, tone down. Facepalming or headdesking isn't helping me 'get' your point. Normally I wouldn't care, but we are talking about respectful language.Second, don't straw man what I'm saying. I stated that quick propositions are wrong. I even told other men to stop rationalizing it for sake of argument. And I don't know where you got 'unattractive women needing to scuttle out of the way'. Of course women _and men_ should be able to pursue people of different attractiveness.The apparent solution to me is men just take the lesson "don't make strange pick-ups in elevators" for what it is, even if we grumble about its obviousness. In turn, women need to stop with hyperbolic rape language, or male privilege ad hominems, and so on.

  158. says

    Well, I'm relatively new to this whole shitstorm, but I'm already burned out on the whole question of whatever EG did or didn't do. What I find sad about this whole issue is that I think almost everyone on this blog would agree that what EG did was foolish, inconsiderate, and that RW was perfectly reasonable in feeling uncomfortable with what EG did. The majority of the dispute seems to rest on whether or not you believe EG was merely a socially inept doofus or a borderline sexual predator. I say, with the broader issues that need discussion, what does it really matter? Is there sexism in the atheist community? Definitely, and I think it's difficult to deny. Just go look at the youtube comments on any attractive female atheist blogger's channel and see how many are comments that are completely oblivious to whatever often insightful argument is being made. It may not be misandry or sexism proper, but it is completely denying her intellect to do so, especially without having at least first commented on the subject at hand. This is the most minor of instances when one compares it to the kitchen jokes, rape threats, and other sexist idiocy that female atheists encounter.Now, is EG a sexist pig with predatory tendencies or some poor guy with the social graces of Rainman? We don't know. What we have is a 30 second description of behavior. That's it. Everything else is supposition. In short, we lack conclusive evidence either way, and since this isn't relevant to the larger issues at hand, I strongly suggest we drop it in favor of more productive discussions.I do want to discuss, however, why at least I personally was initially offended by RW. What I'm about to say isn't implying that this offense was justified, but I present it merely in the interest of trying to end the misogynist vs misandrist accusations that have been levied. I personally was raised marginally Roman Catholic, but my parents were also socially liberal on most issues. I also have OCD, which is now under control, but one result is that I will feel guilty for things that I shouldn't. This, combined with the media environment at the time I was growing up, led to some pretty messed up values with respect to sex. The Catholic Church naturally taught that anything sexual other than reproduction was wrong. Meanwhile, I remember growing up hearing many messages about how male sexuality was effectively ruining the world. Eating disorders were blamed on fashion models, which at the time I found attractive, so I felt simultaneously that I was partly to blame. Men manipulated and use women for sex. Women in this narrative were always presented as victims, and when you combine this with what Catholic school taught me about sex, sex was just a bad thing. As embarrassing as this is, I didn't have a girlfriend until I turned 19. We actually went out for a few months before doing anything beyond kissing, and the first time we seriously made out, I cried when we were finished because I thought I had somehow hurt her, even though she initiated and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Now, where does this fit into my reaction to RW's initial post? I had no problem with her feeling uncomfortable with what EG did. I thought her response of "don't do that" was perfectly reasonable. Then, however, she then stated he sexualized her. To me, this term implies that he dehumanized her and objectified her in some way. While it might be a hasty and irrational reaction, I saw "request for coffee" = sexist, dehumanizing man, and all of a sudden all of the issues I had tried to work through popped back up. Suddenly, it felt like all that pent up negativity was being placed back on me, but this time it was by one of our own. If asking someone for coffee was bad, then what about finding women sexually attractive? Does that make me a sexist prick? Naturally, this wasn't RW's intent, and my psychological baggage brought this on.cont.

  159. says

    While I'm sure my personal experiences regarding sexuality may be extreme due to OCD, I at the same time I'm sure I'm not the only person here who had society and religion give him or her a negative view of sexuality. Add this into other experiences, such as women growing up with the possible threat of rape (and while I don't have that fear, I do know what it is like to grow up in an area where violence if prevalent), we have an explosive mix of psychological factors that I think have come into play here and have reduced the ability of people (not everyone) on both sides of this issue. I think we can all agree that sexism is bad. While I don't think we will all necessarily agree on what constitutes sexism, I think we can all agree that it is happening within our community, and it needs to be addressed. However, given the context of the situation being discussed here, I both sides can agree that there is a middle ground in which individuals of all genders can feel respected and appreciated while still giving us room to also pursue romantic opportunities like mature adults.

  160. says

    @Brian"if I went up to an African-American person and said "man, you niggers are all so lazy," that would be offensive."Riiight… ask your black female friends (if you have any) if being proposed in a hotel elevator at 4am is A) offensive and B) anywhere near as offensive as someone walking up to you and saying "You niggers are all so lazy!"The silliness of "if things were different"…Tell an oppressed woman who's pointing out the double standard she lives in that "your silly argument of 'if I was a man I wouldn't be treated this way' is just ridiculous, of course things would be different if things were different!"Let me ask you, would anyone come in the defense of a somewhat-famous white dude who makes a video telling how uncool and creepy it is for a black woman to try to flirt with him in a hotel elevator at 4am, how scared he was that this black woman was just trying to mug him right there, and as a warning to black people: you have to be sensitive to the feelings of white people, you don't know how threatening it is for whites to be in an elevator with a black person?

  161. says

    @VigilanteNighthawkI more or less agree with your reaction to the video in that I have no problem in her pointing out that the guy came out as creepy and advise guys not to do it. Hell, *I* would use it as an example of how not to hit on a girl.The problem is that in the video she uses the elevator incident as an example of the misogyny problem she sees in the community. After all, being proposed on an elevator can only mean the guy is misogynistic pig who thinks of women as objects. Moreover she explicitly labels as a misogynist anyone who doesn't agree with her (in that there is a problem) and of course thanks the good and decent people who do agree with her.Now I admit it's a very good tactic that of demonizing people who disagrees with you (it has worked wonders for religions), so I won't be a Scrub and just tip my hat to her :)

  162. says

    @ MattAnderson – You say -"The apparent solution to me is men just take the lesson "don't make strange pick-ups in elevators" for what it is, even if we grumble about its obviousness. In turn, women need to stop with hyperbolic rape language, or male privilege ad hominems, and so on."So, men should try to remember to be polite in social situations, but they are allowed to grumble, and women, even if they feel generally second class and often uncomfortable, should never try to explain why they feel that way? @ Carlos who said "Let me ask you, would anyone come in the defense of a somewhat-famous white dude who makes a video telling how uncool and creepy it is for a black woman to try to flirt with him in a hotel elevator at 4am, how scared he was that this black woman was just trying to mug him right there, and as a warning to black people: you have to be sensitive to the feelings of white people, you don't know how threatening it is for whites to be in an elevator with a black person?"I think the issue is that your white guy just spent the day explaining to all and sundry, including the black woman who stood back and just watched him, how off-putting he finds random propositions from strangers. When this black woman gets into an elevator with him and propositions him anyway, she begins the conversation with the phrase "Don't take this the wrong way", showing that she knows that what she says next will be unacceptable. He finds her creepy and it makes him uncomfortable because she obviously knew and still did not respect his stated boundaries and he says so in a video. Someone else makes it about race and the fear of mugging by a black person so it blows up out of all proportion.Race and gender have very little to do with the main issue. It's a RESPECT issue. All the rape stuff was only brought up because the clueless didn't understand why *any* woman would find a 4 AM invitation to "talk and drink coffee in my hotel room," from a stranger who waited until they were alone in an elevator to make the proposition, to be creepy and unacceptable.I'll put on my mom hat and remind you that it is ordinary politeness to do things that make the people near you feel comfortable. If they come right out and tell you they are uncomfortable because of something you are doing, it is rude and pointless to tell them you are not doing anything to make them uncomfortable. They ARE uncomfortable, regardless of your intent. It was hard enough to say that to you because they, too, were brought up to be polite and make the people around them feel comfortable. If you still want to associate with them, at least take them at their word and talk to them about the issue or the behavior with the possibility in mind that you might have to change what you are doing. (Notice that this is carefully ungendered. It makes no difference who is doing what and who is made uncomfortable by it.)Gwynnyd

  163. says

    "So, men should try to remember to be polite in social situations, but they are allowed to grumble, and women, even if they feel generally second class and often uncomfortable, should never try to explain why they feel that way? "I'm not really in your guy's conversation here, but this was a complete strawman.

  164. says

    @Brian:> no one except those mischaracterizing> Rebecca's side of the issue have> insinuated that the man was trying to> rape, kill, or otherwise harm her.No, but Rebecca herself did say: "I don't appreciate being sexualized that way." How does she know he was "sexualizing" her? Someone's (gut) feelings do not constitute fact.@VigilanteNighthawk> Now, is EG a sexist pig with predatory> tendencies or some poor guy with the> social graces of Rainman? We don't know.> What we have is a 30 second description> of behavior. That's it.> Everything else is supposition. > …> I had no problem with her feeling> uncomfortable with what EG did. I thought> her response of "don't do that" was> perfectly reasonable. Then, however, she> then stated he sexualized her. Exactly this. RW was giving a factual account which includes her personal feelings, but closed off with an accusation of her being sexualized, assigning an intention to Elevator Guy that she can not possibly know is there. A whole community of people gets dragged along in this speculation and before you know it, the guy's a rapist.I'll Occam the shit out of this situation and say the guy was just inept, pending evidence of the guy, you know, *actually sexualizing her*.

  165. says

    @Unknown/GwynnydI think you're missing a nuance. Men should not do a specific behavior because it always fails. Politeness/being offended is a non-existent in this case.I keep elaborating on this, then deleting what I write, so I'll just leave it at that for now.

  166. says

    I come to post one last thing. Does anyone know if Rebecca Watson actually agrees with some of the people claiming this was sexual assault and implied rape? I see in her article "the privilege delusion" she sites Amanda Marcotte's piece, in tacit approval, about how men who proposition women in elevators are implying they will rape her to grease the wheels towards sex. Pretty disappointing I can't find anything by Rebecca clarifying her stance on it given she directly linked to it in her main post and seems to have read it.The whole thing bugs me because it seems so sketchy to link to these types of articles but never come out and say whether you support them or not, like an under the table high-five or something.

  167. says

    Could people please stop making black/white man/women race analogies?Because you are (deliberately?) posing the opressed group in one example (people of colour were(are) opressed by white people who still cling to racist stereotypes that are illogical, unreasonable and not justified by real world data (that being a victim of a black criminal as a white person is somewhat more likely than being a victim of a white criminal) to be the opressive group in the other example (women who've been opressed by men and who still in the first world suffer very real from sexism, sexual harassment and violence as being as unjustified in being a bit wary and more cautious when it comes to men).If the history and experiences of white people with people of colour somewhat resembled that of the history and experiences of women with men, then you might have a valid analogy.BTW, I'm waiting for some quotes where people who are put into "Camp RW" actually claimed that he was a rapist and sexually assaulted her and where they actually claimed that all men are rapists (I'm aware of the "a room of their own women", yes I find them crazy, too).And, to be a bit sarcastic, I fully support the right of assholes to behave like such, it makes them easier to spot.

  168. says

    @GiliellI think anyone being cautious around someone they don't know is perfectly reasonable. However, there is a huge line between understanding a woman's apprehension and caution and claiming (as Shrodinger's Rapist does) that women in general consciously view men as potential rapists. Just about every woman I've shown that article to has been either horrified or simply stupified by the assertion made.

  169. says

    @Giliell"Could people please stop making black/white man/women race analogies?Because you are (deliberately?) posing the opressed group in one example (people of colour were(are) opressed by white people who still cling to racist stereotypes that are illogical, unreasonable and not justified by real world data (that being a victim of a black criminal as a white person is somewhat more likely than being a victim of a white criminal) to be the opressive group in the other example (women who've been opressed by men and who still in the first world suffer very real from sexism, sexual harassment and violence as being as unjustified in being a bit wary and more cautious when it comes to men)."You're missing the point of these analogies. Note that the primary justification in this case wasn't any appeal to statistics, but the anxiety/discomfort of RW.Let me put it this way: consider the claim that "all people of mid eastern ethnicity are potential terrorists". Now we all dismiss that out of hand as horribly racist and demeaning (setting statistics aside for now).Now, suppose that post 9/11 I've had, what I freely admit to be an irrational, fear of flying on airplanes with such people. Then suppose that in order to deal with this fear, I start making demands of "consideration" like: Could you guys avoid flying unless absolutely necessary? And if you find it necessary, could you at least dress and act as Western-like as possible to help me (and probably many other western passengers) with our anxieties? What RW said doesn't come anywhere near this, but the logic is pretty much the same. And if you want to bring statistics into it, I think you'll find that statistics can be abused to support almost any bullshit case, this one included. For example according to "Schrodinger's Rapist", 6 of my co-workers are rapists. Why? Because 1 in 6 women have been sexually assaulted and even if every rapist assaults 10 women (a "generous" assumption), that means that 1 in 60 men are rapists. Nevermind the fact that a considerable amount of rapists aren't actually "in the wild" but in fact locked up in prisons. It's like the guy in the lifeboat demanding to know which one of the 10 other people are gay (I forget the reason).Crap like this has people seeing terrorists and rapists everywhere. I freely admit that anxieties are real, even if the person feeling them realizes that they aren't really justified. And if they really want to feel justified, they probably can do some statistical magic to achieve that. The problem with that is that it leaves us with "brown people = terrorists" or "men = rapists".So yeah, EG was at the very least socially inept and quite possibly something of a dick. This however poorly justifies tarring and feathering all men in order to help the anxieties of one or even a group of people.

  170. says

    Matti: "This however poorly justifies tarring and feathering all men…"It's not tarring and feathering all men, it's just asking them to be a little thoughtful. I don't even know why this is something guys should need to be told – though obviously many do. It's just common sense to me not do things to make women feel uncomfortable. If there was a town where there was a spate of men being overpowered and raped by other guys in lifts, then I would feel uncomfortable myself in a lift there at 4am with another guy asking me back to his room 'for coffee'.

  171. says

    A lot of people consider this whole brouhaha a success in that it has smoked out all the misogynists, MRAs and whatnots out of the woodworks but fail to realize that it cuts both ways. A lot of people have had their eyes opened as well to the fact how uncritically rad fem dogma is accepted in many circles, and are appalled. (Matti) Indeed, and well said. I have a theory about why this is so… but perhaps later for that post.The whole thing bugs me because it seems so sketchy to link to these types of articles but never come out and say whether you support them or not, like an under the table high-five or something. (Dan) Good catch, Dan!I've said before and say again here: The political and propaganda dimensions of this are far more interesting (and important) to me than playing CSI:Elevator and forensically reconstructing a drunken pass.You've noticed a key aspect of how Agit-Prop works, Dan: Repeating and log-rolling certain perspectives and claims without explicitly endorsing them, so that discrete elements can be tactically jettisoned if they become a liability while still pushing the overall narrative.You also get a glimpse of this every time someone says "Look, even if EG didn't actually do this or intend that… the real point is blah blah sexism blah blah privilege blah blah diversity…"See how that works? The facts are not important; the lesson is what matters. You coming out of it with the 'correct' ideas about gender politics is what matters.

  172. says

    Yup that's getting to the heart of it and that's the problem. there has been big broad brushes painted everywhere with this crazy bs. From a so-called rational sketic crowd, who self worship their own critical thinking skills.The AE team are just as guilty if not more so of this dogmatic mass hysteria, and some of the hypocracy has been astounding. Suck as kazim's outrageous claim that it is only one "side" of this debate who have blew it out of proportion. Ummm hello, i know theists have to deliberately miss shit, but i didn't realise you had to aswell in order to maintain your delusion; rebecca never escalated this by declaring it male objectification of her, headsup to the rebecca fan club, just skip the next paragraph."Richard Dawkins believes I should be a good girl and just shut up about being sexually objectified because it doesn’t bother him. Thanks, wealthy old heterosexual white man!"As a side, i find it hard to listen to someone lecture about objectification who releases a pinup calender.Then there are those who admonish those who refuse to acknowledge the implicit meaning behind a "4 am coffee" i think i'll use rebecca's standard for interpretation here: (don't worry it's on the first page)http://skepchick.org/2011/07/dawkins-overflow-thread/in the above Rebecca denies uses semantics and appeals to literalism in a dishonest representation of the implicit meaning. So by rebecca's standard EG was just askin for coffee.Don't worry rebeccawatson.plc is doin just fine.Then there are those who say rebecca is justified to bash on richard as he had a position of power which he used to humiliate rebecca and dismiss her concerns: Well that's just about as rational as you can get now isn't it pffffft. Oh see this replicted when rebecca bashes on the student blogger from her pulpit, but i forgot that was justified calling out it's all about context, smells like someones been taking apologetics classes.Anyways that's my two euro's, from a horrified gender traitor, oh who happens to be irish livin in ireland, keep your priviliged cultural supremacy to yourself about what happens in irish elevators, i find it offensive.

  173. says

    George, I think you're misrepresenting that argument.When people say (in your words): "Look, even if EG didn't actually do this or intend that… the real point is…", they're not saying 'we can ignore the facts', they're just disagreeing with you on what facts are actually important here.To be precise, they're saying that the pertinent facts in the situation are how people reacted to the story. Their reaction is a fact, regardless of what EG's intentions were. I was going to come up with an analogy here, but figure that whatever situation I use to illustrate my point, people will think I'm trying to say that both situations are exactly the same, and will thus dismiss it out of hand.I'll have a stab at a very non-contentious analogy. If a bunch of people come out of a theatre production of Merchant of Venice talking about how awful Jews are, we can call them out on it despite them reacting to a piece of fiction. The point would not be anything to do with whether Shylock was wronged or even if the guy existed, the point would be the theatre goers attitude problem.

  174. says

    Handy discussion tip: If you can't find any general argumentative traction with the points you're making, you can always complain that the other side is being "dogmatic" and engaging in a conspiracy to shut you down. It works so well for creationists.The AE team are just as guilty if not more so of this dogmatic mass hysteria, and some of the hypocracy has been astounding. Suck as kazim's outrageous claim that it is only one "side" of this debate who have blew it out of proportion. Ummm hello, i know theists have to deliberately miss shit, but i didn't realise you had to aswell in order to maintain your delusion; rebecca never escalated this by declaring it male objectification of her.Yes, sure, that's only because I'm in Rebecca's "fan club" despite having never heard of her before the instead.OR, alternatively, it's because her point about elevator guy acting like a cloddish twerp was VALID; and it IS an illustration of a pattern in the way atheist women are frequently (though not always) treated, which I've observed directly for years; and your efforts to dismiss and trivialize this point are just not being well received because they are a bad point.But no, conspiracies and appeals to imaginary dogma are so much more useful.

  175. says

    "The NERVE of this black woman, I just did a lecture on the problem of blacks in this community treating whites like they can just rob and assault them! She had the nerve of FOLLOWING me to the elevator and ask me if I wanted "coffee" (when we all know what's on black's heads when they see a white person: A wallet for them)"."This just proves my whole point of how insensitive blacks are to white's position. To you it may seem like just a girl trying to flirt with a guy but coming off as awkward, but to us whites it's a real threat we have to deal every day when we're in contact with blacks"."Word of advise to you blacks, you have to be sensitive to the feelings of white people, you don't know how threatening it is for whites to be in a confined space with a black.""To all the people who disagree with me, thank you for proving my point in that you hate white people and think that you can rob and assault them when you please. Also thanks to all the good and decent people who do agree with me. Either way it's good that we're finally talking about this problem."Nope, not racist at all… just a white guy voicing his concern and trying to raise awareness of a situation.

  176. says

    AndrewWhen people say (in your words): "Look, even if EG didn't actually do this or intend that… the real point is…", they're not saying 'we can ignore the facts', they're just disagreeing with you on what facts are actually important here.To be precise, they're saying that the pertinent facts in the situation are how people reacted to the story. Their reaction is a fact, regardless of what EG's intentions were. Exactly what I was trying to point out.Earlier, Matti had stated in a post:So yeah, I don't "get it". I'm even guilty of not wanting to "get it".And, unsurprisingly, after proclaiming proudly that he (I think "he") wants to be willfully ignorant, thereupon went to not "get" what it was he wasn't "getting". It's a demonstration of the superficial understanding these people have about what the topic actually is. The elevator incident is merely a catalyst to initiating a discussion about an ongoing problem – how women are treated in the atheist community.Instead of understanding the problem, many have opted to magically transform "try to respect the womens' points of view more if we want them to hang around us" into "uncritical and irrational acceptance of feminist dogma".It's like we're having two different conversations at the same time.

  177. says

    @JT:"try to respect the womens' points of view"Question: Which womens' point of view should I respect? The "gender traitors" like Abbie of ERV and Miranda Celeste are making a lot more sense to me than the people who damage their credibility from the get go by linking to Amanda Marcotte.

  178. says

    Matti:"You're missing the point of these analogies. Note that the primary justification in this case wasn't any appeal to statistics, but the anxiety/discomfort of RW."No, the point is that the analogy is absolutely flawed. Because the anxiety/discomfort RW Watson felt comes from real experiences, supported by actual data, unlike the white person's anxiety, which comes from irrational prejudice.That's why all those analogies utterly fail."For example according to "Schrodinger's Rapist", 6 of my co-workers are rapists. Why? Because 1 in 6 women have been sexually assaulted and even if every rapist assaults 10 women (a "generous" assumption), that means that 1 in 60 men are rapists. Nevermind the fact that a considerable amount of rapists aren't actually "in the wild" but in fact locked up in prisons. It's like the guy in the lifeboat demanding to know which one of the 10 other people are gay (I forget the reason)."Holy shit you actually have never looked into the data about rape.The very fact that you think that "a considerable amount of rapists is in prison" is evidence enough of this.I suggest you take a look at this link:http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/report/rape-victims-worldwide-denied-justice-and-dignity-2010-03-08Quite interesting is the section about Scandinavian countries, which are generally considered to be among the most advanced in terms of gender equality. Rape victims who don't fit the "perfect victim image" have a hard time getting authorities to even investigate. Rape is among the crimes with the lowest number of actual reports and it doesn't get better from that point on.If you (or anybody else)are really interested I'll provide you with links to studies about the percentage of rapists and their number of crimes. Those are self-reports, not something somebody made up.

  179. says

    Yeah you think we don't get that EG is a vehicle being used to push an agenda? That's the most obvious part of this nonsense. And it's why kazim's ludicrous statement that Rebecca's cheerleaders are in no way blowing the incident out of proportion is counter intuitive. In order for the agenda to be pushed it has to be blown out of proportion. (the evidence for this is all over the blogs).So what is the issue? When the issue is actually addressed, the goal posts get shifted back to the context of EG. This is so much bs it hurts. if we are going to talk about the issue of guys being more interested in girls tits than their ideas then lets talk about it, instead of indulging the rad fem crazies or patronising INDIVIDUALS, by lumping them into their genders and assigning stereotypical labels.

  180. says

    I would like to know exactly how Shrodinger's rapist is even relevant to the RW situation. To my knowledge, RW herself never made any sort of implication that she feared, consciously or otherwise, being raped. She said she felt uncomfortable. Yes, being hit on by a stranger they aren't attracted would make many people of both genders feel uncomfortable. Discomfort does not automatically imply fear for safety. The discomfort could simply be awkwardness from a bad attempted at being picked up combined with feeling annoyed at having to deal with it late at night. There has been no implication by RW that I'm even aware of that she felt unsafe. The most she mentioned was that she was late and in an enclosed space, but if it was a story about feeling unsafe, I'm fairly certain she would have explicitly mentioned it somewhere. The fact that she DEFENDS EG saying that coffee could have just been coffee further backs this conclusion. The "rape fear' allegations are not only completely irrelevant to the discussion in this instance, they actually go so far as being sexist in themselves, painting RW as a paranoid individual who is constantly scanning her environment for rapists. As for the article itself, it goes too far. I'm more than willing to grant that women will be apprehensive around strangers, but I'm also more than willing to bet that the level of apprehension varies from woman to woman, depending on psychological makeup, past experience, and her current environment. My sister, who weighs 200 lbs and can hit as hard as my brother and I is likely not to feel the level of discomfort a 110 lb woman would in a similar situation. Again, I can perfectly understand a woman feeling a bit nervous with regard to her safety in various situations and showing what is wise caution. Shrodinger's Rapist, however, paints a picture of woman in a perpetual state of hyper-vigilance, consciously scanning the horizon for any potential threat that could come her way. If a woman who is not in a dangerous situation is really behaving in such a manner, then she needs therapy. I'll include rape survivors in this, as such a state is indicative of PTSD, which though understandable, is a condition that needs treatment. Again, to make it explicitly clear, I'm NOT discussing women who at times feel nervous around male strangers and take precautions to ensure their safety. As to the whole RW vs Dawkins debate, I'll say this. RW's statement of being sexualized is in my opinion the catalyst for this, as sexualized tends to connote dehumanization. If her statement was simply being hit on by strange guys makes me feel uncomfortable, then Dawkins' response was heavy handed, and he would do well to apologize. If RW's intent, however, was to claim that she dehumanized by someone, however ineptly, showing an interest in her, then Dawkins' reply would be perfectly justified. If anyone knows is either of them has said anything that would clarify their positions on this issue, I would greatly appreciate if someone could point me towards them.

  181. says

    @Kazim"Yes, sure, that's only because I'm in Rebecca's "fan club" despite having never heard of her before the instead.OR, alternatively, it's because her point about elevator guy acting like a cloddish twerp was VALID; and it IS an illustration of a pattern in the way atheist women are frequently (though not always) treated, which I've observed directly for years; and your efforts to dismiss and trivialize this point are just not being well received because they are a bad point."I don't think there is some kind of conspiracy on the part of AE or all skeptics. In fact, I generally agree with RW original post and the AE assessment that if a women doesn't want to be propositioned that the guy should respect her wishes. My distinction is that there are a number of people here pointing to bigotry on the opposite side (ie Amanda Marcotte)and feel discouraged that the claim was made that only one side was to blame for the escalation.I think many are frustrated that nobody seems to be addressing it, either here or on skepchick, when people point out the claims made that this case is an example of sexual assault and implied rape. Which definitely served to escalate the situation beyond the original points.

  182. says

    So let me get this straight, I've been reading about this today at various sites… Skepchick made a video describing a man who politely albeit at 4am in an elevator after drinking at a bar, asks her to join him in his room for coffee, after which she declines his offer. Then proceeds to label him as sexualizing her, which is an assumption as she couldn't have actually known what he really wanted, unless she went with him, which was obviously a bad idea.Then a young female blogger "mcgraw" writes a post in opposition to the video, and subsequent twitter chats leads skepchick to find this and "cry about it to her boyfriend?" The next day skepchick uses her pulpit as keynote speaker at a conversion to call out the girl as "propagating mysogynists thinking?" which makes this girl feel picked on and unfairly accused for not agreeing with skepchick. Later that night the dorms erupt with chatter about this incident.PZ myers gets into this and writes something about it along with a slew of other bloggers. Dawkins comes around wondering what all the commotion is about and writes fallacious comments to skepchick. Then skepchick reacts by calling dawkins an old privileged white guy sexist and calls for a boycott of him. Female bloggers start making sides Amanda marcott etc. for skepchick, ERV etc. defending mcgraw and calling Skepchick a “bitch”.Later more people find out about this through the grapevine and wonder why everyone is upset over a creepy guy in an elevator. Obviously not knowing what is going on the majority of commenters think skepchick is to blame and write things similar to Dawkins, like “get over it he only hit on you politely” When this is seen by bloggers for Skepchicks side they are called antifeminists, sexists, mysogynists, rapists, etc.. and are getting banned from blogs (albeit sometimes warranted) i.e. PZ myers blog “Russel this is happening, “amanda called hement mehta a sexist paternalist and in various comment sections mostly youtube as this seems to occur often there”, I don’t think your absolutist statement about this is correct or correct in most social contexts”.Ummm so after that, I guess I agree with both sides, sexism obviously is a problem in the atheist community and the whole world, but what elevator guy (EG) supposedly did or didn’t do or wanted to do, no one knows except EG and in my mind is just a complete unknown. I don’t think that skepchick was right to label him as “sexualizing her” as this was an unknown assumption. I agree with people saying “what is the big deal?” only in the sense of EG not that sexism isn’t a problem that needs to be fixed in the atheist community. I also agree with the people who say skepchick started this and blew it out of proportion for an “egotrip”, it wouldn’t have gone so far if she didn’t call out mcgraw (unfairly in my opinion) during her keynote speech after showing horrible youtube comments about people wanting to rape her and her odd boycott of Richard dawkins and calling him names. I also see a lot of strawman or just plain bad arguments being thrown around and a lot of “of course that’s what he wanted”, no it’s not obvious and it is a bad argument from one person’s personal retelling of the story. Not sure what else to say about this or if I have the story right… Now to leave the community for a few weeks and everyone forgets about this, and actually deals with real problems… (that’s a joke if you didn’t get it)

  183. says

    @GiliellI'm not saying you haven't made a valid point also that rape is a huge problem (much bigger than many people think), but I think what Matti was talking about isn't that the data wasn't real, so much as that the data is descriptive rather than prescriptive. The data only tells you how many rapists there are. It becomes a very dangerous game of marginalisation when you take that data and try to apply it as fact to individuals in a Schrodinger's Rapist scenario, which is where the brown people = terrorists analogy came in.Yes RW had personal experience and yes there is data. There are also a lot of New Yorkers with personal experience from 9/11, and the data would suggest that a terrorist is statistically more likely to belong to a muslim group than a christian or atheist group. But I think we recognise that assuming someone is a terrorist because of their middle eastern decent / muslim beliefs is wrong.And this isn't even limited to human rights type situations. My mother hand breast cancer, and was forever telling me that she hated the way doctors gave her statistics about the likelihood of remission or relapse etc, because they were so broad and didn't actually apply to her directly. She is excellent at maths, but not statistics. She just couldn't get over the fact that statistics and probability can only recommend the best set of choices based on previous occurrences. They aren't a crystal ball to look into your personal future.I don't think Matti was saying that the data wasn't there or that we shouldn't be cautious and try to take steps to reduce the occurrences of rape (and terrorism) but rather he was saying we should be very careful about marginalising entire groups of people (through gender, race, religion, etc) based on statistics.

  184. says

    Murphy: "The data only tells you how many rapists there are. It becomes a very dangerous game of marginalisation when you take that data and try to apply it as fact to individuals in a Schrodinger's Rapist scenario, which is where the brown people = terrorists analogy came in."There's the problem: It still doesn't hold. Because it still misses a life-times worth of experience that for a lot of women confirms that data.I'm frank with you, I'm not a rape survivor, I'm glad I'm not. That I'm not is partly owed to the fact that I once was a little faster in my car locking the door than the guy was in grabbing me.The racist/terrorist analogy would hold up if you indeed turned around the tables and talked about black people beeing a bit aprehensive about white people. I have a life time's worth of experience that, even though most men aren't rapist, just like most white people aren't members of the KKK, there are a lot of men who think they can take liberties, think I'm not a full human being, think I'm not capable to think logically and so forth. I fact, if you apply this to the black/white analogy, you'll see that this is about the same treatment black people suffer at the hands of white people.And yes, we rightly condem this racist behaviour. And then people come and turn this around and apply it to male/female relationships as if men suffered at the hands of women just like blacks suffer at the hands of white people and therefore women who are aprehensive of being alone with strange men equal racists.And this is the point where I call your analogy bullshit. Because it means that you either really have no clue about the reality of sexism in the first world, or that you're deliberately trying to establish men as the victims.@Aruman ChanYep, you missed about really every point in this whole debate by miles.

  185. says

    I see the word "agenda" being thrown around a lot as a pejorative. Just to be clear, having an agenda is not necessarily a bad thing. It is not indicative of a vast feminist conspiracy to control the world.So just to be clear, yes, this does in fact touch on areas which also happen to overlap with the agenda of feminism; that is, establishing equality between men and women.The next time an individual uses the word Agenda in a negative context, I hope they will consider the possibility that they have an ill informed view of what that agenda actually is.

  186. says

    @GiliellAnd this is the point where I call your analogy bullshit. Because it means that you either really have no clue about the reality of sexism in the first world, or that you're deliberately trying to establish men as the victims.Its not a dichotomy Giliell. I am aware of the reality of sexism in the first world. I'm not trying to paint men as victims, I'm not saying men are suffering at the hands of women, and I’m not saying that women aren't justified in being cautious around strange men. I'm just saying that from the standpoint of pure statistics, there is a logical fallacy of composition to go from a statistic about a group to the whole group.

  187. says

    MurphyYes, and I gave you an example why it's not pure statistics. The statistics are only something that empirically verifies the "anecdotes" (it's a bad word in this context) women experience throughout their lives.There are no statistics that support the "ooooh, black man = mugger" or "oooohhh, muslom = terrorist" analogy, nor can people (unles they're currently stationed in Afghanistan or so) seriously claim to have that amount of experience with black muggers and muslim terrorists. That's why the analogy is completely flawed, because the premises are absolutely not the same.

  188. says

    The analogy is further flawed. This isn't about treating a guy acting normally as if he's a rapist. We've gone over the details of the situation so many times that I can't believe it needs reiterating again. She tells everyone she's tired and wants to go to bed. She's just been talking about weird behaviour from guys. The fact that even though the guy knows these details he then propositions her in an inclosed space at 4am means that he's already putting himself in the category of 'man who is a potential threat'. And it's disingenuous for people to still be arguing that it may have been a genuine offer of coffee. Get real.

  189. says

    @GiliellYou know, I wrote this page long spiel about how there are actually stats, and that you were awfully quick to write off other peoples personal experiences when they didn't suit you, but before I posted it, I quickly skimmed over your blog and saw this at the end of your blog post on this very subject:I'm German. I'm an anti-fascist, I come from a family who suffered greatly under Hitler. I work hard to fight racists and (neo-)fascists. Still, usually when being abroad, some people will treat me with caution, with a certain amount of dislike by default for my nationality. Yes, it hurts. Yes, it offends. But I understand why they do so. And I try to make them see that I really am one of the nice Germans. I apologise if i'm taking this slightly out of context but I think your own words exemplify the point I was about to try to make much better than anything I could write myself.I understand why they do it too… and they're WRONG. They do it because they're racist and bigoted and you shouldn't have to put up with that kind of shit. You might think your nations history justifies people to automatically treat you as a criminal or a fascist while you're abroad, but I don't. If I see some guy make outward displays of fascism such as a swastika tattoo then i'm gong to be very wary of the him, but no amount of third party anecdote+statistics about the war is going to convince me that I should be suspicious of all germans.

  190. says

    @Andrew RyanYes, we've gone over the details so many times, and yet the details still seem to change with every new damn post.She tells everyone she's tired and wants to go to bed. Eh, and here I was under the mistaken assumption that half the complaint arose from the fact that she was propositioned by a complete stranger and that didn't make any effort to previously talk to her at the bar. Now you're saying they were hanging out together as part of the same group of friends? I'm mean, I wasn't there to see how she did it, but when I tell “everyone” i'm tired and going home, “everyone” constitutes the friends I'm hanging out with… unless you personally make a regular habit of standing up on a barstool and announcing to the whole bar that you're leaving, it sounds like you've got a bad case of the want my cake and eat it toos…And it's disingenuous for people to still be arguing that it may have been a genuine offer of coffee. Get real.I think its equally disingenuous for people to still be arguing with certainty that it wasn't a genuine offer of coffee when they have no evidence. As far as I know, even watson herself said that a coffee could have just been a coffee.Frankly I don't think anyone is really still arguing whether it may have been a genuine coffee. People on both sides of the fence are pretty much in agreement that whether it was a genuine coffee or a veiled offer for a one night stand, it was blunt, trackless and just a little bit creepy. The question people are debating at this point is whether “tackles and creepy” necessarily means “sexually objectified and misogynistic”, and whether its justified to label as a rape apologists or a gender traitor, people with a differing opinion to team watson on what constituents sexual objectification.

  191. says

    "People on both sides of the fence are pretty much in agreement that whether it was a genuine coffee or a veiled offer for a one night stand, it was blunt, trackless and just a little bit creepy."No, the way it strikes me is that people are saying that as long as it might have been 'just a coffee'… at 4am, (offered to a woman who's already told everyone she's shattered and needs bed) then it wasn't 'blunt, trackless and just a little bit creepy'.If everyone was in agreement that it was 'blunt, trackless and just a little bit creepy' then there wouldn't be a problem.

  192. says

    If everyone was in agreement that it was 'blunt, trackless and just a little bit creepy' then there wouldn't be a problem.Well I don't know what to tell you Andrew. I'm looking back over the comments, and most of the main detractors like George, Matti, Matt Anderson, VigilanteNighthawk, etc are now all discussing issues like Shrodinger's rapist and the community mentality like this:http://www.unifreethought.com/2011/06/fursdays-wif-stef-33.htmlbut if you wanna keep thinking that everyone is still hung up on coffee, that’s you're prerogative i guess…

  193. says

    MurphyWell, since you read my blog you also read the rest of it.That was not an allegory of the situation we're talking about.It was an example to show that I'm not talking out of my ass when saying I understand how men must feel when they are put into an "unpleasant" category for belonging to a group they didn't actually chose to belong to.I know how that feels, I do.But I also have empathy enough to understand why certain people might have a less than generous feeling towards me, and, now coming back to our topic at hand, just like most people are perfectly willing to get to know me and make up their mind about me on basis of the actual encounter (still doesn't mean they'll end up liking me), women are totally keen to get to know men be it as friends, partners, one night stands, just not at 4 am in an elevator.You know, must of us really DO like men.But I'd like to come back to the question on my blog: What would you tell your daughter?Because most men, once the man in question isn't themselves, are totally ok with being very cautious and acknowleging the risks.

  194. says

    @GiliellI'm only 26 and don't have any children, but you know, its actually something I've thought about quite a bit over the years. That if I ever have children, and one of them is a girl, I would feel very uneasy about things like boyfriends and the such like (certainly more so than I would be worried about a son having girlfriends). I will definitely grant you that point, that although rationally I wish I didn't feel that way, I am probably quite prejudiced in this regard. I think the mentality of how protective a father is over his son is very different to how protective he is over his daughter.On the other hand, because i've spent so much time thinking about it, I’ve also come to the conclusion, that ultimately, I would (or at least I hope I would) raise a child to think for themselves, and hope that they make all the right decisions throughout their own life without interference from me, which is pretty much how I feel about my little sister and her finance now.On this particular issue I think its pretty clear that Rebecca Watson made the right decision, and I would hope my hypothetical daughter was weary of the risks and said no to a stranger propositioning her in an elevator at 4am as well.That much should be clear because i've said earlier in this thread, and the previous one by martin, that hitting on girls in elevators at 4am is not something i'd do myself, even without your daughter analogy. My problem with the analogy is that if the world operated on the basis of what I would or wouldn't do, then there would be no trance music, and certainly no shitty romantic comedies staring Hugh Grant (which I’m told that some people actually enjoy… *gag*) When it comes down to it, though I wouldn’t do what he did, and i'd hope my daughter would have the good sense to turn elevator guy down, I don't think what he did was intrinsically sexist, objectifying, or misogynistic, just rather tackles, creepy and socially inept.So yeah, it shouldn't be surprising that i'd expect my daughter to say no to a complete stranger asking her back to his room in a hotel elevator at 4am (even if it was apparently just for coffee), but at the same time, given that I don't think he was really sexist or misogynistic, and that he went away without causing a problem after being rejected, as a father I wouldn’t exactly be filled with pride, either if my hypothetical daughter took that anecdote and turned someone who is perhaps just a bit socially awkward, into an international internet villain, and labelled those who disagree with her position rape apologists.

  195. says

    "When it comes down to it, though I wouldn’t do what he did, and i'd hope my daughter would have the good sense to turn elevator guy down, I don't think what he did was intrinsically sexist, objectifying, or misogynistic, just rather tackles, creepy and socially inept.""So yeah, it shouldn't be surprising that i'd expect my daughter to say no to a complete stranger asking her back to his room in a hotel elevator at 4am (even if it was apparently just for coffee), but at the same time, given that I don't think he was really sexist or misogynistic, and that he went away without causing a problem after being rejected, as a father I wouldn’t exactly be filled with pride, either if my hypothetical daughter took that anecdote and turned someone who is perhaps just a bit socially awkward, into an international internet villain, and labelled those who disagree with her position rape apologists."Amen.

  196. says

    "as a father I wouldn’t exactly be filled with pride, either if my hypothetical daughter took that anecdote and turned someone who is perhaps just a bit socially awkward, into an international internet villain"Good job Rebecca didn't do that then.

  197. says

    "Good job Rebecca didn't do that then."Bad job you didn't watch the complete video then. In it she uses the elevator incident as an example of the rampant misoginy in the community. Then she thanks all the misogynists who disagree with her for proving her point and thanks the decent people who do agree with her.I don't know about everyone else but I would be behind her 100% had she only said "Hey guys, that was creepy, don't do that" and left it there, but she didn't stop there. She basically said it was a sexist and misogynistic thing to do and if you disagree with her it's because you're a misogynist too.Socially inadequate yes, sexist and misogynistic no.

  198. says

    @Rod Keller:>If it so helps clarify, change "looks alone" to "On the basis of the limited information gathered by the appearance and mannerisms during the sexual request, which does not stringently mean only aesthetics".You misunderstood my context, but I doubt it matters.>but you are stating "This is what this guy must be thinking". How is this a claim of subjectivity? If you want me to take it as just your opinion, why not state it from YOUR point of view.I said: To approach someone and ask for sex, and not preface that request with any sort of situation in which the other person has been given an opportunity to get to know anything about you, means you have just come up to them and said, "Hey, you look like someone who doesn't any standards at all–care to have sex with someone you know nothing about?"At what point in my example did this person give any indication they respect the fact someone requires more than just a cursory glance to decide if they’ll have sex?I then said:>In addition to calling me "desperate"–you're also assuming I'm an idiot.When I explained what it means to operate on “looks only” you got angry I’d suggest you would accept violent or verbally abusive behaviors. You’re now saying you don’t mean “looks only.” A person comes up and asks me for sex. They have offered no information about themselves. I can’t deny they absolutely consider I might say “yes.” You’re asking me why someone asking me for sex, who assumes I go for A-only, would be offensive. Go back up and look at how you reacted when I suggested you go for A-only without regard for B, C, D and E.> I am still making snap judgements on other qualities AND on their appearance.It’s like me walking up to you with a beautiful covered platter and asking if you’ll eat whatever is under this. If you say “yes”—how have you exercised “judgment”? You have no idea what you’re being asked to eat. That’s a coin flip, not a “judgment.”> If you think … I can't change my mind and leave, that makes no sense.Battery and rape are the result of someone abusing another person either before they were able to leave, or by literally restricting their ability to leave. Suggesting this happens “makes no sense”?> It also doesn't follow that if I find someone physically attractive and say yes on that basis, that I automatically care nothing about any other quality.I said: “what you’re actually describing then, is a situation where you admit you have REQUIREMENTS A, B, C, D, and E, to make a partner acceptable to you for casual sex, but you actually accept offers of “A only,” with absolutely NO attempt to confirm your other requirements are included in the offer, and with absolutely NO concern to whether B, C, D and E, that you require, are going to be part of this bargain.”If you care about B-E—you’re not taking _any_ steps to ensure that you’re getting them. This works the same way in any area of life—not just sex. If you want a color TV and you also “care about” getting surround sound, and you buy a color TV and don’t ask or check to see if it comes with surround sound—that would be stupid.> Desperate, by the way, is taking an option due to lack of options.Unless you’re stranded on a dessert island with one other potential sexual partner, there is never a lack of “options” of all varieties—and yet everyone has seen “that guy” or “that gal” who was considered “desperate.” How can that be? Anytime you see someone accepting less than what they could be getting—settling—that’s the appearance of desperate.> My point is that if someone asks for sex, without giving an opportunity to get to know them better, then all the stuff you wrote absolutely does not follow by default.Again, I agree to disagree.

  199. says

    Murphy:"I think the mentality of how protective a father is over his son is very different to how protective he is over his daughter."So, do you think that's because fathers tend to think that their daughters are weaker and more precious than every other woman, or because they suddenly realize that there's a whole load of shit they never had to worry about because it didn't concern them?"My problem with the analogy is that if the world operated on the basis of what I would or wouldn't do, then there would be no trance music, and certainly no shitty romantic comedies staring Hugh Grant (which I’m told that some people actually enjoy… *gag*)"No, sorry, that comparisson doesn't hold. Those examples you give are about taste and choice, not about respecting other human beings and not deliberately inflicting pain on them."but at the same time, given that I don't think he was really sexist or misogynistic, and that he went away without causing a problem after being rejected"Well, there's again the problem that you're interpreting the thing after the fact that "nothing happened".That's the thing again about not knowing at that moment, which is what caused the distress. A lot of considerate men do, when walking a lonely street in the dark, especially when they're overtaking a woman, change the side of the street so they don't put her into distress. They know that the woman is perfectly safe with them, that nothing would happen, but they also know that she doesn't. I can tell you that it adds to your stress level, hearing those steps coming nearer and nearer, not knowing whether it is just an ordinary guy on his way home or in fact a bad guy. Remember, I've been in the situation when it was a bad guy.EG probably never thought about it, which is at least about privilege.Sexism (I think that misogyny is a bit far but I'm also not aware of many people actually claiming that, but it certainly brought a lot of misogyny to light) comes into play because it plays a role quite often in interactions of men with women. The fact that he simply ignored her clearly stated wishes and thought he "knew better" is most likely sexism. Because it's something that men often don't do with other men (apart from the fact that they hit on men less frequently). The whole culture and concepts around "hitting" and "courtship" are soaked with sexism and people accept and internalize without consciously chosing to.The "last" accusation is usually that because she said "sexualized" she implied "dehumanized" which I think is as far a stretch as it is from privilege to misogyny.I think we all sexualize other people. Walking down the street thinking "look at that butt" we sexualize the owner of said butt. But thinking that walking down the street isn't a problem, it's a problem when we meet said person and treat them, even unknowingly, as a butt-supplement.So far I haven't met anybody who, told the story with just the basic facts "asked her for coffee in his hotel room at 4 am", thought it was about real coffee and not about sex, so I think RW was justified to assume that, too. And since he just ignored her clearly stated wishes and preferences, he didn't treat her as a human being whose wishes matter, but well, as a vagina supplement.

  200. says

    This charge of him being "socially ungraceful" or not following some "social protocol" just does not mesh with my personal experience with women and with speaking with women about this incident. As far as I can tell, the social protocol with regards to asking somebody to talk over coffee at their place is not only that it is not offensive, but that its welcome. Even if you are not interested in the person, it means that somebody likes you. Most people like to be liked. It sounds even more ridiculous when you consider that his actual words were very polite.

  201. says

    Carlos: "In it she uses the elevator incident as an example of the rampant misoginy in the community."Except of course that she didn't. Which means that you either never bothered to watch the actual video or are simply lying.

  202. says

    "Except of course that she didn't. Which means that you either never bothered to watch the actual video or are simply lying."If you stop the video right after "… don't do that" then no she didn't.

  203. says

    > So far I haven't met anybody who,> told the story with just the basic> facts "asked her for coffee in his> hotel room at 4 am", thought it was> about real coffee and not about sex,> so I think RW was justified to assume> that, too.Oh, if you haven't heard of it, then it doesn't exist. Gotcha.

  204. says

    Carlos:"If you stop the video right after "… don't do that" then no she didn't. "You mean when she explains how "incredibly uncomfortable" that makes her? Where she explains why doing this at 4 am in an elevator isn't a good idea? When she tells that it added that this happened right after she finished talking on how she really doesn't like that? Or when she says that "everybody else seemed to get and and thank you for that", which means that she actually thought she'd made some progress in raising awareness. Well, I suppose you got her thoroughly convinced of the opposite by now.You do realize that what she says about the misogynistic comments refer to those left on the video of the actual talk? Way before she ever posted the "Elevatorgate" video?Do go over and read those, and if you still think they don't display misogyny I can't help you. Or go to her channel and look at the comments people leave there.They are raving with misogyny. They don't attack her position, or even her character, they attack her as a woman. They use cunt, slut, bitch, whore and the likes. And if you think that's not misogyny, you probably also think that the N-word isn't racist if the black person in question has done something you deem wrong.@TagDazeNo, cupcake, it doesn't mean it does not exist. But if the overwhelming consensus on the meaning of an expression is X, it would be stupid to assume it is Y just because that might also be the meaning. You know, if somebody told you that "John" is gay, would you be justified in assuming he is homosexual?

  205. says

    Ughhhhh could we please stop with the hyperbolic, anecdotal, presuppositional bs.Seems to me like the skeptic crowd are officially churching. YaY for the skeptic crowd. There's a new code of conduct in the skeptic church, and if you don't get it then you aren't one of us, so please leave.Hey i'm fine with that :) as the reason i never joined the cult was incase i got associated with pop shallow internet celebrity fundamentalists by default of chromosone arrangement. i think the church should be renamed though as skepticism obviously isn't one of it's tenents.What the fundiefems and their panderers miss, is that by indulging in stereotypical labeling of males they are the enemies of equalisim. YES i've created a new ism, i'm an Equalist not a feminist. The sooner we stop playing to the underdeveloped and subjectively warped ideas of the likes of rebecca,(who one day wants to be a pinup and the next day castrate males for googling porn). the sooner we can get to not having divisional tribalistic puke.Oh and while i'm at it i'm going to debunk the total bs i see here about women being the prey of sexual predatory males. Shhhhhhhhhhh it's a secret, girls like to fuck, don't tell anyone it might ruin the social constructs you have created which makes the world make sense to you.But hey that's just my opinion on my own sexual "deviancy" and yeah i must be a deviant, or maybe it's just because i'm totally comfortable with my identity, and my body. That makes me privileged. Just don't legislate for me as to who can approach me and when, i don't need mummy or daddy or big brother to come with me into elevators. I find the implied gender weakness to be abhorent misogyny.

  206. says

    @GiliellAhhh plausible deniability, one of the greatest rhetorical tools. She didn't say the guy in the elevator was an example of misogyny in those exact words. It just so happened that while she was talking about misogyny she said that everyone got the message except for the elevator guy and how she doesn't like to be sexualized like that, but never really explicitly use the misogynist adjective on him.Thanks for clarifying your stance.

  207. says

    A part of me wants this discussion to keep going, because I do believe that we (both males and females) should be working to improve relations, and eliminate those aspects which impede social progress.The other wishes that Sarah Palin would become president, and that her wacko, nutjob religiosity would compel her to press that big red button for jebus, and solve all our problems it the worst way possible..

  208. says

    @Giliell"Do go over and read those, and if you still think they don't display misogyny I can't help you. Or go to her channel and look at the comments people leave there.They are raving with misogyny. They don't attack her position, or even her character, they attack her as a woman.They use cunt, slut, bitch, whore and the likes. And if you think that's not misogyny, you probably also think that the N-word isn't racist if the black person in question has done something you deem wrong."I'm not sure how seriously we should take youtube comments. Maybe there are some real misogynists in there, but I bet they are mostly trolls. Visit a site like Encyclopedia Dramatica and you'll find similar (and worse) things encouraged, and I doubt any of them believe what they say. Its all calculated to offend.

  209. says

    @Tracie>Again, I agree to disagree. >You misunderstood my context, but I doubt it matters.I do not know what you attempt to accomplish when you write sentences like this, or your previous "feel free to believe whatever you want"'s as if I wasn't aware of that information. You appear to be arrogant as if your opinion is correct as a default, because you are Tracie. I doubt that's what you would say you believe, but I don't know what you expect me to take of it.Maybe you think I don't care what your opinion is, I just want to argue. Maybe you think I hold my own beliefs to such esteem that no new information could break them.Allow me to state, that my beliefs are not an unscalable wall to which I hold the highest authority. I do not consider myself grand marshal of reasoning. I CAN be wrong. My beliefs are simply what the best reasoning capacity I have used have brought me to *at this time*. I absolutely hope you feel the same way, because otherwise I am really wasting my time.And while I strongly believe I can be wrong, statements like this give me no reason why I should think I am and make me feel like you don't really care if I understand your perspective or not, because at the end of the word context, you could have written "This is what I really believe..".I do care, so knock that crap off.>I said: To approach someone and ask for sex, and not preface that request with any sort of situation in which the other person has been given an opportunity to get to know anything about you, means you have just come up to them and said, "Hey, you look like someone who doesn't any standards at all–care to have sex with someone you know nothing about?">At what point in my example did this person give any indication they respect the fact someone requires more than just a cursory glance to decide if they’ll have sex?Here's my problem with this, your second and final question doesn't match the initial question. You are making it so that if I agree to your last question, that they don't think someone they ask requires more information that a cursory glance then I have to be automatically agreeing with them thinking you have no standards. Or that you're desperate. Or that you're stupid.These are not equivocal concepts to me. I think it's extremely easy to draw a hypothetical in which Person X asks Person Y for sex, without a chance to get to know them better, and not think that person A) Desperate B) Stupid C) Having No Standards. Do A-C for you absolutely have to follow with no hypothetical that can be different? Why?Maybe you think, the sheer audacity of the question/situation, that only a Desperate, Stupid and Standardless person can possibly accept. Perhaps you can't draw a hypothetical person who accepts that doesn't have those qualities.So let me attempt to draw some that may convince you otherwise.Gay club, well known for quick hookups, participants have sex in the bathrooms, which are constantly packed with other people doing the same thing. It's a very busy atmosphere. Person X is quite handsome and has many relationship offers, but monogamy is not his cup of tea at this point in his life. In fact, he finds this gay club setting thrilling, and therefore additionally appealing. If someone comes up to him and asks him for sex, and he says yes without bothering to probe for additional information and gauge B-E on the limited information of mannerisms. He's quite picky about who he accepts the offers to within the club, but occasionally someone will catch his eyes. At any point Person X can call out in the bathroom because of abuse and there will be help, because this club does not tolerate that.Is person X, Desperate? Stupid? Without Standard?

  210. says

    How about a regulated brothel scenario? Girls and clients both protected.MUST they be Desperate? Stupid? Without Standard? (I'll grant the girls in this situation are somewhat without standard, except that condom use is mandatory.)How about a party, sex on the bed, with a friend of a close friend who has been vouched for?But you might say, Aha! These are situations in which B-E are accounted for! Yeah, I was never arguing that they couldn't be, was I? In fact, that is my point. A proposition for sex, without prior conversation, CAN account for B-E. And these hypotheticals, to me, do not indicate Desperation or Stupidity in accepting.And then you can say, Well, you didn't understand the context of my original situation. I wasn't talking about THESE situations!No, I didn't understand your context, because your original statement was:>NOTE: NOT TALKING ABOUT ELEVATOR GUY HERE, BUT TO ANYONE THINKING COLD CALL SEX REQUEST IS SUAVE: To approach someone and ask for sex, and not preface that request with any sort of situation in which the other person has been given an opportunity to get to know anything about youWhat can I possibly derive from that, other than you think any situation is bound by the qualities you set forth.

  211. says

    So maybe you think my hypotheticals still require desperation and stupidity. Please explain why that is a necessity if this is the case, because I absolutely do not see where you are coming from.>When I explained what it means to operate on “looks only” you got angry I’d suggest you would accept violent or verbally abusive behaviors. I didn't get angry. I simply disagree, because that's not what I believe. I'm not going to have a viewpoint because someone suggests it to me. So why even argue about what I *must* believe? You can just ask if something I say doesn't make sense.>You’re now saying you don’t mean “looks only.” Right, I said if that's a confusing way to put it, then I offered a clarification. So let's use that.>A person comes up and asks me for sex. They have offered no information about themselves. I can’t deny they absolutely consider I might say “yes.” You’re asking me why someone asking me for sex, who assumes I go for A-only, would be offensive. Go back up and look at how you reacted when I suggested you go for A-only without regard for B, C, D and E.All of this only follows if I hadn't redacted and clarified. But since I did, none of this follows?>It’s like me walking up to you with a beautiful covered platter and asking if you’ll eat whatever is under this. If you say “yes”—how have you exercised “judgment”? You have no idea what you’re being asked to eat. That’s a coin flip, not a “judgment.”Again, situation matters. If my girlfriend asks me to, I'll say yes. I could be saying yes to anything, but I trust the situation enough that I don't need to probe farther. And I still hold to the fact that after I say yes, once the platter is lifted, I can just change my mind. Additionally, if a hobo asks me, I'm going to say no.

  212. says

    >Battery and rape are the result of someone abusing another person either before they were able to leave, or by literally restricting their ability to leave. Suggesting this happens “makes no sense”?I am in agreement there are situations in which you couldn't change your mind, like this one you have outlined. But again, your statement isn't equivocal because you're not taking hypotheticals into account in which you CAN change your mind. I disagree that the can't is the only possibility after saying yes.>I said: “what you’re actually describing then, is a situation where you admit you have REQUIREMENTS A, B, C, D, and E, to make a partner acceptable to you for casual sex, but you actually accept offers of “A only,” with absolutely NO attempt to confirm your other requirements are included in the offer, and with absolutely NO concern to whether B, C, D and E, that you require, are going to be part of this bargain.”>If you care about B-E—you’re not taking _any_ steps to ensure that you’re getting them. This works the same way in any area of life—not just sex. If you want a color TV and you also “care about” getting surround sound, and you buy a color TV and don’t ask or check to see if it comes with surround sound—that would be stupid.See I just don't agree that this is what I'm doing. I hope the hypotheticals above clarified that.Maybe you are under the impression that I'm arguing in favor of EVERY cold call sex request ever. Because I'm not. I'm arguing only in favor of ones I consider sensible, and arguing against the fact that none such sensible situations exist.>Unless you’re stranded on a dessert island with one other potential sexual partner, there is never a lack of “options” of all varieties—and yet everyone has seen “that guy” or “that gal” who was considered “desperate.” How can that be? Anytime you see someone accepting less than what they could be getting—settling—that’s the appearance of desperate.Some people do find themselves with a lack of options and go dangerous routes because of them. I'm merely suggesting that such a person is not a requirement to accept. And the "appearance of desperate" is not equivocal to desperate. When you say "accepting less", you are making a subjective value judgment, where as the person accepting can find it to be the superior choice. Do you want him to find it to be inferior because you think it is?Lastly, you never answered my hypothetical from my first response to your original post, I'd still like to know the answer:"If sex, which is a pleasurable physical act (hopefully) could be enjoyed, safely, with minimal discussion, then I am for it. I understand that for a female, with a male, this may not be a realistic possibility, but hypothetically, if it was, give me one good reason why anyone shouldn't? "

  213. says

    *THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE PART 2, PLEASE PUT IT BETWEEN PART 1 and PART 2*How about a regulated brothel scenario? Girls and clients both protected.MUST they be Desperate? Stupid? Without Standard? (I'll grant the girls in this situation are somewhat without standard, except that condom use is mandatory.)How about a party, sex on the bed, with a friend of a close friend who has been vouched for?But you might say, Aha! These are situations in which B-E are accounted for! Yeah, I was never arguing that they couldn't be, was I? In fact, that is my point. A proposition for sex, without prior conversation, CAN account for B-E. And these hypotheticals, to me, do not indicate Desperation or Stupidity in accepting.And then you can say, Well, you didn't understand the context of my original situation. I wasn't talking about THESE situations!No, I didn't understand your context, because your original statement was:>NOTE: NOT TALKING ABOUT ELEVATOR GUY HERE, BUT TO ANYONE THINKING COLD CALL SEX REQUEST IS SUAVE: To approach someone and ask for sex, and not preface that request with any sort of situation in which the other person has been given an opportunity to get to know anything about youWhat can I possibly derive from that, other than you think any situation is bound by the qualities you set forth.

  214. says

    @GiliellOk, now i'm going to ask you a question Geliell… if you think you're on the right side of this argument, how come you have to keep taking such manipulative liberties with facts and chronology to make your case?The fact that he simply ignored her clearly stated wishes and thought he "knew better" is most likely sexism. Fact my arse… It was only just several post ago that I pointed out this contradiction to Andrew Ryan (who conveniently chose not to comment on it, but rather continue complaining about coffee). One of the central premises of this whole debacle is that she was hit on by a complete stranger who made NO previous attempt to talk to herNow, unless you want to jettison that premise from your argument, and say that they were actually already hanging out together at the bar as part the same group of friends, then there is no evidence AT ALL that she had clearly stated her wishes to him and that he could possibly ignore said non-existent statement.As far as I know, even Watson herself didn't make this claim. All she did was make a passing statement that it was ironic she'd given a keynote speech that day, in which she said she didn't like getting hit on… Of which, there is also no evidence the guy attended either (after this last month, I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to sit through an hour of her sexist misandery)Please stick to the facts and stop making up whatever contradictory BS suits your argument at the time.Well, there's again the problem that you're interpreting the thing after the fact that "nothing happened".That's the thing again about not knowing at that moment, which is what caused the distress. Sure, and if you bothered to read what I keep repeatedly writing, you would know that I agree with you. She was justified in feeling distressed “at that moment”. She is even justified in recounting that distress to others “after the fact”. But in the same way as it would be stupid for her to be expected to have 20/20 foresight “at that moment”, she and others also doesn't get to railroad the guy “after the fact” based on speculative “what ifs” when nothing DID actually happen.I think one of the Watson supporters in the other thread of martins made an analogy about a raccoon and a bear. If your camping in the woods and you hear a noise, it could be a raccoon, it could be a bear. Best be cautious just in case. I completely agree with that analogy. You are justified in worrying about bears in that situation. After the fact, you are justified in telling people how freaked out you were at the time you heard the noises. But if the situation unfolds and it turned out it was in fact a raccoon, what your not justified in doing is telling people that it actually was a bear after the fact. Maybe there is a huge bear problem, and maybe we need tighter bear control, but being scared by a raccoon, even if you thought it could have been a bear at the time, does not justify any such a campaign.@4LeafShamrocki'm an Equalist not a feminist I like your way of thinkingp.s, sorry y'all I this is a bit scrambled and fraught with spelling errors, I have to leave for the airport in about 5 minutes.

  215. says

    @GiliellWell, there's again the problem that you're interpreting the thing after the fact that "nothing happened".Sorry I should have worded that better. In the same way that you say i'm not justified in interpreting the thing after the fact that nothing happened, you're also not justified in interpreting the thing after the fact and saying something did or could have happen, when it didn't. It cuts both ways.Ok, airport time. Two weeks in sunny Sydney… See y'all

  216. says

    "Its all calculated to offend."This is an unavoidable consequence of anonymity, and it's difficult sometimes to separate those who are contributing (whether it be positively or negatively) and those who are being intentionally antagonistic.The problem is that all too often those on one "side" lump the characteristics of those who are on the other "side" into broad generalizations, regardless of the sources, and typically respond to the most extreme of the opposing opinions.For example (non-specific): Those who do not feel that men should be generalized negatively being regarded as rape apologists.While there is certainly issues with gender equality, I do not believe that all negatively received interactions are examples of gender bigotry. More often than not it's more than likely poor social skills combined with inflated self-perception. While I do believe that this should be addressed, I do not believe that it should be used to demonize the gender as a whole.This is not to say that I think that one should not be caustic, I simply mean to say that, while it may be men who are the typical perpetrators, it's not their(our) gender that is at fault. I.E. being a man does not make you a chauvinist. Nor does expressing that sentiment make one a misogynist (or, in the case of women who agree, a gender-traitor).On the other-hand, recognizing that there is a real and substantial problem; that lack of consideration and poor timing/social graces is a very real cause for discomfort, is not an example of misandry. Men are effectively the only perpetrators of rape, and as men are typically physically stronger, there is a very real cause for concern when that consideration for perspective is not taken into account.How one person approaches and interacts with another person is important. This is true regardless of who either person is. The fact that one subset of humans might have more considerations when interacting than another only means that we, as humans, need to have a dynamic approach to how we communicate. Not all women are the same, nor are all men the same, and generalizations are typically only applicable on very loose assessments.(please do not misinterpret that, when I refer to women as a subset, I mean only that both men and women are human beings; men are a subset as well) Quick-note: I am well aware that there are many on either "side" that are not actually making extreme claims. This is simply my attempt to highlight what I see as misrepresentations and/or misinterpretations. Whether it be intentional or not is largely irrelevant as it causes issues with understanding on both sides.Bigotry is bigotry, regardless of which hand it's held in, and should be avoided at all costs.

  217. says

    Given my experiences in adolescence, all this talk of "male privilege" with respect to fearing violence is frankly becoming offensive. I wish my penis was some sort of sword that magically blocked any aggressors coming my way.I grew up in an urban area. People being beat up by groups of thugs was a daily occurrence. We had a riot in my down when the Rodney King verdict came down. People at times were seriously injured. Everyone who wasn't participating feared for their safety. Do I or did I then have to fear rape, regularly? No, but I still had to fear everything else, including being robbed, beaten, stabbed and harmed and or killed in a variety of ways. While I was fortunately never seriously harmed, I was beaten up on several occasions, I was once stalked by a psychotic and only escaped because a mutual friend intervened (and the stalker was committed), and I was once surrounded by a group young men (both white and black) and almost thrown in front of an oncoming train. BTW, this all happened before I turned 14. In addition, my sister and her friends were once chased down the street by a knife wielding maniac, and a former girlfriend of mine had a knife held to her throat in the middle school hallway. THAT was my daily experience until I left for college.What did I do about it? I began to mind my own business to avoid any situations in which I could become a target. I trained in Jeet Kun Do, and I taught my sibblings how to defend themselves. I cultivated situational awareness so I could see potential threats coming. It's been a decade since we lived there, but that experience never goes away. Even though we are all safe, if we are out together at night even in our safe, middle class enclave, anyone approaching us puts us on edge. It still happens that one of us may even be startled enough to take a defensive fighting stance. All this, even though we KNOW that we are perfectly safe. In spite of this, I don't expect people to walk on eggshells around me. I wouldn't expect anyone who was in my vicinity to have to cross the street to make me feel more comfortable. It's not my right to demand that type of treatment. These people mean me no harm and in all likelihood are minding their own business. I'm not saying that I wouldn't try to be considerate if I was around a woman that was distressed by my presence, but the suggestion in that article is frankly the worst way to approach this problem. First, it is making one person take responsibility for the emotions of another person. It does not make any sort of suggestion to women for ways they can feel safer. Women are capable of defending themselves. The majority of woman with the proper training can generate enough force to break bones and even kill an assailant. Barring that, the average woman can carry a tazer or pepper spray. Does this mean a woman who doesn't take these measures deserves whatever happens to her? Not in the slightest. However, it would increase any woman's confidence to be able to defend herself in some manner, and this would in turn not only make women feel more comfortable, but it would likely provide at least some small reduction in successful rapes. The worst problem is that the decent men who would even take the time to read let alone consider the article are NOT the problem here. Rapists are the problem. Teaching everyone how to identify situations in which rape can occur and any potential (if there are any) characteristics rapists would possess would be far better. Women could avoid dangerous situations, and both women and men could assist others who were in the process of potentially becoming victims.

  218. says

    @ Daemon6 – "While there is certainly issues with gender equality, I do not believe that all negatively received interactions are examples of gender bigotry. More often than not it's more than likely poor social skills combined with inflated self-perception. While I do believe that this should be addressed, I do not believe that it should be used to demonize the gender as a whole."*I* do not think the whole male gender *has* been maligned because some of subset of it acts in a manner that can be called "gender bigotry," however, if you feel that way, I respect your POV. But… I think we agree that all the sturm und drang of Elevatorgate was probably not the optimal way to present the issue. Let's be positive instead of negative. We agree the goal is to make atheist/skeptic conferences places that (aside from the content of any particular event) intelligent people of the female gender want to attend because they have some assurance that a large majority of the male gender in attendance will not be behaving towards them in ways that can be misconstrued as misogynist.So, people who think RW did it wrong:How would *you* address the issue of a subset of the male gender that attends atheist/skeptic conferences having "poor social skills combined with inflated self-perception" if not, like RW, to publicly bring to their attention that their behavior is too often indistinguishable from that of a misogynist? Looking back over far too many thousand messages, it's too easy to say what we should NOT do, so be specific on actions that could actually be put into place. Give helpful examples. Remember the goal.Gwynnyd (still showing "unknown" for some reason – sorry about that)

  219. says

    @Gilleal"So, do you think that's because fathers tend to think that their daughters are weaker and more precious than every other woman, or because they suddenly realize that there's a whole load of shit they never had to worry about because it didn't concern them?"You are likely not going to like my answer, but as someone with a younger sister, I took the pro-active approach and taught her how to defend herself. Talk about male privilege all you like, but I grew up in a dangerous areas where everyone who wasn't a thug had the very real potential to become a victim. I did not, however, take the added, sexist step, and pretend that my sister was a delicate flower who needed to be guarded. Instead, I gave her the tools necessary to protect herself, with lethal force if required. I know it's not a guarantee by a long shot, but overall, I pity the bastard who dares to try anything with her. I know she's more than capable of doing serious harm to anyone who messes with her. I protect her the best way I possibly can, by making sure that I don't have to be there for her to be protected. My mother, similarly, is a teacher, and she's been able to take down high school quarterbacks that were a foot taller than her. Maybe the women in my family are atypical, but they are not people to be attacked if the attacker cares anything for his or her safety. (Furthermore, where I grew up, there were women who could and would easily take down the majority of posters here, myself included in that.)"That's the thing again about not knowing at that moment, which is what caused the distress.A lot of considerate men do, when walking a lonely street in the dark, especially when they're overtaking a woman, change the side of the street so they don't put her into distress. They know that the woman is perfectly safe with them, that nothing would happen, but they also know that she doesn't. "And with all due respect, a lot of considerate men don't know this. Why? Because they aren't thinking about raping or harming women. It's the furthest thing from their minds. "I can tell you that it adds to your stress level, hearing those steps coming nearer and nearer, not knowing whether it is just an ordinary guy on his way home or in fact a bad guy. Remember, I've been in the situation when it was a bad guy."Read my prior post. I'm no stranger to this, and while I'm not trying to argue at all that your experience wasn't traumatic, I've got more experience in this area than you do. I can relate to how you feel now that it has happened, but I think the solution of expecting everyone else should spend their time looking over their shoulder not to accidentally startle others is wrongheaded.

  220. says

    @GwynnydWith all due respect, I believe you misunderstood my intention."Quick-note: I am well aware that there are many on either "side" that are not actually making extreme claims. This is simply my attempt to highlight what I see as misrepresentations and/or misinterpretations. Whether it be intentional or not is largely irrelevant as it causes issues with understanding on both sides."My intention was to point out to those who would use such conflations, that such generalizations are unwarranted.As I've said in previous posts, actions which could be construed as misogynistic should be repudiated, it is, as far as I'm concerned, unacceptable behaviour.As for how they should be handled, I have absolutely no idea. As I've said, every person is different, and how they react is wholly personal. With regard to violence, the answer should be clear. With regard to inappropriateness, the best suggestion I can make is to call it to light and treat that persons action with the scorn it deserves.I just realized that I might not fit into the category for those who you were asking. I believe Ms. Watson (I don't know how she likes to be referred and, frankly, I loath using the first name of people I do not know) was well within her right when she brought it up at the function, as her topic was women in the atheist/skeptic community.I have issues with how other aspects were handled. Specifically, the Dawkins fiasco. While I do believe his letter was unwarranted and unproductive, I do not believe that publicly disowning him was anything more than reactionary and fairly juvenile. She certainly had a right to be offended, but the way it played out was absurd.

  221. says

    I would also like to note that, while I do not believe all negatively received interactions are examples of gender bigotry, I do recognize that said examples could actually be such. In those situations I would have the same level of contempt for that person that I would have for any bigot, compounded with the consternation I have towards the inconsiderate.

  222. says

    @Unknown/GwynnydI think you posed a similar question to me earlier, and it is a tough one.Offhand I would say social skills can only be improved by practicing them, or by observing good behavior by others. The first 18 years of our lives are spent being bossed around by adults, and interacting with other children. Those with odd parents tended to be worse off than other kids, like myself.When I got a job out of high school, my social skills took a U-turn. Just getting out there and interacting with adults was the best thing to happen to me. I think its hard to cram that sort of experience into a lecture. Frustrating, I know, but what can you do?

  223. says

    Murphy:"Fact my arse… It was only just several post ago that I pointed out this contradiction to Andrew Ryan (who conveniently chose not to comment on it, but rather continue complaining about coffee). One of the central premises of this whole debacle is that she was hit on by a complete stranger who made NO previous attempt to talk to her"I think there's a missunderstanding here.You can, in fact, be a total stranger and still have knowledge of somebody's wishes.It has been established that EG was part of the group of people who hung out at the bar where this whole issue was a topic of discussion. He was there to hear that she was tired and going to bed and that was the moment he chose to seperate from the group, too.He was stil a complete stranger in terms of never having spoken to her. He had that whole long night to make her acquaintance, to say hello, to tell her everything he found interesting about her or her talk, yet he never even made the effort of saying "hi, good talk on the panel".I agree, that might be because he's shy.But that doesn't excuse him from the fact that he knew her wishes and ignored them.I fear that by now there are quite a lot of versions of the story around with few people bothering to go back to the original.

  224. says

    VigilanteNightmare:"Given my experiences in adolescence, all this talk of "male privilege" with respect to fearing violence is frankly becoming offensive."No, nobody has ever said that men don't have to fear violence. The privilege is that once you're out of a catholic school, sexual violence is hardly an issue for you anymore.NObody ever said that men don't have worries and problems. It's that extra-bit of shit you don't get.And yes, I have heard a lot of people talking about teaching women martial arts, and even though I agree that it's a good idea, I don't think it will solve the problem in the long run. It turns the question of "shit, what is he going to do to me" to "shit, what do I have to do to him". Which is better, of course, but then people are going to complain again.But then again you seem to suppose that the actual attacker is unarmed. But that's not even the subject of the discussion, largely. It'n not about the actual rapist, but about the good guy who still makes a woman uncomfortable."Teaching everyone how to identify situations in which rape can occur and any potential (if there are any) characteristics rapists would possess would be far better. Women could avoid dangerous situations, and both women and men could assist others who were in the process of potentially becoming victims. "You know what's the problem here?Elevators actually count among those things. I'm sure I can dig up the links again if you don't believe me, but there's not only a body of sites about "rape awareness and prevention tips (some run by the police) that feature elevators as potentially dangerous places and guys who follow you there as potentially dangerous, but also a serious amount of stories where attacks happened/started in elevators."And with all due respect, a lot of considerate men don't know this. Why? Because they aren't thinking about raping or harming women. It's the furthest thing from their minds. "And here you hit the nail on the head. That's what RW tried to explain on the panel, and also in the video. We have pretty little chances to explain to rapists why they shouldn't rape. But we think we have a chance in expalining this to you, the decent guys. There's nothing bad in not having thought about it before, but screaming "you think all men are rapists" when we tell you how uncomfortable it makes us, that's a problem.Raping and hurting isn't on your mind, you know that the woman is perfectly safe with you, but she can't read your mind. You can't read hers either, so she tells you what's on her mind. Now you know. You can take that simple step to signal to any strange woman on an empty sidewalk in the night "look, I'm one of the good guys, you're safe with me"

  225. says

    For the most part, RW was in the right. Even vlogging about the incident. The only thing worth debating initially was her use of the nebulous word "sexualized". This "incident" is a universal learning experience. This is a time to look back and say "How could this be better?"We can all agree that EG created an uncomfortable situation. Unknowingly. It's doubtful he was trying to create an intimidating situation, as he didn't take advantage. More likely that he just feared reprisal in front of a large group. (There are more shy men than rapist men)RW was completely correct to voice her discomfort in an effort to educate others on how to maintain an easy going atmosphere. I assume she meant to educate others on the thought processes of women who are alone in strange places by bringing up rape and misogyny, as those are the fears present at the time. This is potentially an emotional subject for both sides. There are men and women who fear sexual assault for the women in their lives, and as a result are no doubt appalled at people not taking seriously the threat presented in some situations. There are men and women who are at times, not the quickest to pick up on social clues, but are kind of heart, and would be mortified at being mistaken as a sexual predator.We as a community just have to recognize when our emotions are taking hold and make sure that we're still being rational when discussing what is quite frankly, a very complex bit of social interaction.

  226. says

    Murphy: "It was only just several post ago that I pointed out this contradiction to Andrew Ryan (who conveniently chose not to comment on it, but rather continue complaining about coffee)"Well, you disputed something I said:Andrew: "She tells everyone she's tired and wants to go to bed."Murphy: "Eh, and here I was under the mistaken assumption that half the complaint arose from the fact that she was propositioned by a complete stranger and that didn't make any effort to previously talk to her at the bar."I then made a choice about whether it was worth taking the time to go back to the original video, transcribing what she said, and posting here to back up what I originally said. I decided that it probably wasn't worth my time. Sue me.But now Giliel's answered for me:"It has been established that EG was part of the group of people who hung out at the bar where this whole issue was a topic of discussion. He was there to hear that she was tired and going to bed and that was the moment he chose to seperate from the group, too."Perfect, thanks Giliel.

  227. says

    @GillielNever did I once say that I feared sexual violence. I just feared every other form of violence. I did go to a public high school, and it was the town I lived in, not the school, that was the problem. I went to that school in fact not because my parents were religious, but but because the regular school system was just unsafe. They couldn't afford to send me to a private high school, but I was fortunate enough to be in honors classes where I was largely isolated from those who would cause trouble. My privilege now is having enough money to live in a safe area, not being male. Furthermore, you miss the point that I *still* have those instincts ingrained in me. Strange people (yes, people,including violent women) still make me nervous. The point, however, was that I'm not making my emotional hang ups other people's problem. Yes, I don't have to deal with fear of rape. I just fear everything else, including potential death. What I'm saying is I know exactly what it is like to fear for my safety, including to fear for my very life, and yet somehow because I don't have to fear ONE form of violence, my experiences in this issue are somehow irrelevant."But then again you seem to suppose that the actual attacker is unarmed."I'm speaking as both a victim of violence and a martial artist. I can tell you, I'm not worrying about what I'll have to do to someone when when someone approaches; I'm mentally preparing myself to fight or run if necessary. Part of the training is getting over your natural desire to not harm others if it becomes absolutely necessary. I know if the attacker is armed my chances are slim at best. It's not about being able to magically able to stop yourself from being harmed. What it does do, however, is give you a sense of what steps you can take, even if it sadly enough surrendering. Even if everyone woman carried a gun, it still wouldn't be a guarantee. After all, once someone has drawn on you, if you don't have your gun drawn, you're still effectively screwed. NOTHING is a guarantee, but knowing you can do something instead of nothing does help make you feel safer, which is the issue we are discussing here. "Elevators actually count among those things."I agree, and I can understand RW's discomfort. I'm not denying that at all. In fact, I do think EG was stupid for doing what he did. I'm more concerned about your street scenario. "There's nothing bad in not having thought about it before, but screaming "you think all men are rapists" when we tell you how uncomfortable it makes us, that's a problem."My apologies if it came across like I was saying that I thought the women in this thread were accusing all men of being rapists. My disagreement here is the expectation that men should now be on the look out for any possible opportunity that could make a woman potentially feel uncomfortable when the man in question is simply minding his own business.If I'm alone on a street late at night, I'm looking for potential threats. I'm looking for any potential place an attacker could be hiding. I'm looking for any potentially suspicious person who could attack me. I'm probably not even going to notice the woman in question. If I do and I notice I'm making her uncomfortable, I will take steps to avoid making her uncomfortable. My issue here is that it is becoming the expectation of one individual to be responsible for the emotions of another. The woman's fear is understandable, but the solution of treating women with kid gloves instead of as potential actors in their own defense is what really bothers me.

  228. says

    As an off-topic note:This whole debacle has had a surprising benefit (at least in my opinion). It completely ruins the assertion that atheists assign "prophet status" to our visible representatives :P. There are very few within the atheist community who are so widely known for their staunch stance against religion and theism. Yet, unlike the religious, when our "luminaries" cross unacceptable lines they get railroaded :P. Personally, I think this is absolutely fantastic! If you're a public figure and a visible representative of a movement there should be absolutely no point in which the views you express are accepted uncritically.

  229. says

    the blog is dead, long live the blog!I've been lurkin at AE for months but it took the AE team's position on this to make me signup and post, don't know whether that's a good thing or not. I think part of the problem blogging has brought is that everyone thinks that they should be the one on the podium telling everyone else exactly what is wrong with the world and how it should be fixed. Too much hot air inflating way too many egos.So now i'll go back to lurking, i'm way too cool to be posting on a nerd site anyway :PLuvs ya all and stay skepty x

  230. says

    I had a rather amusing idea for a possible solution :P. If you could convince the gay members (or the straight members who are secure) to make tactless passes at those individuals who show themselves to be particularly inconsiderate I think it would not only be fairly amusing, it would highlight how uncomfortable those situations can be. Granted it would not be an exact example, but it would still (hopefully) be enough to jar a few into realizing how badly they come across.Just an amusing thought, though I think I'd get a kick out of seeing the shock on some lechers face :P.

  231. says

    If I'm choosing a babysitter for my child, all adults (since this is generally the demographic responsible for said) are potential child abusers, whether physically or sexually, until I obtain references, criminal background checks and am otherwise reassured they mean my child no harm.Am I an "ageist" or "misanthropist" for feeling this way?

  232. says

    I have to say I agree with Martin, Russell and Tracie (and some other posters here).Sorry folks, people agreeing with RW are not "overblowing" anything. They're trying to use this incident as a teachable moment. Male privilege is a problem in the skeptical community just as it is in other segments of society. Hell, it's even a problem on the political left. The male privilege isn't so much in EG's advances towards RW (even though that incident by itself shows that he could stand to gain more understanding on the issue). And, no, he's not a rapist. But, anyway, the male privilege showed itself in1. Richard Dawkins' dismissive response to RW about the ordeal and2. comments from many others in the skeptical community (I would surmise most of them male). When she shows that she was uncomfortable with the situation, what would have been helpful is for us to just state, or at least learn that "OK – I see where you're coming from. I'll be more mindful of those things in the future". Instead we get the same kind of defensiveness that shows whenever the subject of male privilege is broached as we do whenever the subject of white privilege, or straight privilege, or religious/Christian privilege is broached. That defensiveness is understandable, but I would challenge us males to try to be less defensive and just listen a little more. 3. Unlike Dawkins, who actually showed a willingness to hear out another point of view, some are basically trying to dismiss RW as an easily-offended drama queen, which, is exactly what some of us are talking about when we talk about male privilege.I'm not a cad in any way, shape or form, but I too am a product of a culture that objectifies women in so many ways, and I'm still in need of unlearning a lot of it.

  233. says

    @VigilanteNighthawkReading my post again and your reply, I notice my post was a fail. I'm sorry, I tried to make several points and I didn't make them well. I'll try again.I don't deny that you had a very tough youth, much harder than mine. I tried to explain the concept of privilege which you rejected.A lot of people's reaction when hearing first about privilege have the initial reaction of "what's that supposed to mean, I have plenty of shit in my life and X has it much better than me".That's not what the concept of privilege is about, it doesn't claim that every white heterosexual man has it always better than any black lesbian.You have to look at it more like in a scientific experiment: If all factors between two people are the same except X (gender, race, sexual orientation), and one person has it better than the other just for X, that's privilege. "My apologies if it came across like I was saying that I thought the women in this thread were accusing all men of being rapists"My fault again.This is a claim that's been commonly made by others, not by you, I should have made that clear."My issue here is that it is becoming the expectation of one individual to be responsible for the emotions of another."It doesn't. But just because it's not your responsibility doesn't mean you can't do anything about it.It's not your fault that women feel threatened on a street alone at night. But now you know something that you can do, a small thing that will make their life a little better. Just one tiny little gesture. It doesn't change anything about the real bastards out there, but it changes that one situation for that one woman." The woman's fear is understandable, but the solution of treating women with kid gloves instead of as potential actors in their own defense is what really bothers me. "It doesn't. I don't feel treated like a delicate little flower if somebody acts with a bit of consideration.Of course, it's placing the whole responsibility again on the women to learn martial arts. It smeels too much of "if women only did X (dress modestly, don't drink…). It smells too much of "if women only were strong enough it wouldn't happen"I think we all know that women can defend themselves, but again, it's not a solution, because it will probably just mean an arms race. I know it's a very American idea and I come from a different culture.

  234. says

    In a society where women are constantly harressed for sex even after politely declining richard dawkins should be slammed for his bigotry and silencing tactics.Which is exactly what it is, women have the right to complain about sexist rubbish and they should!

  235. says

    What is ironic is how Murphy has completely undermined his position by admitting that he would be more worried about his hypothetical daughter than his hypothetical son. He tries to brush away that worry by claiming that it's irrational, but why does he think so? What if there's really a good reason behind that worry?Everyone knows the cliche of fathers telling their teenage daughters that "boys are after only one thing," but this aphorism has never been debunked and relabeled as a myth. No matter how nice they may seem, most boys really do feel that sex is a top priority in their relationships with girls. Some boys pathetically beg for it. Others occasionally tease their girlfriends about it as a subtle way of goading. A small number become aggressive, abusively pressuring their girlfriends to have sex, which becomes part of a very underreported statistic. Within this subset are the date rapists who drug their victims. These rapists don't even need to be aggressive or manipulative.The point is that while a small number of all men actually are rapists, many more men who only desire sex will find ways to take advantage of women, be it through drugging or psychological manipulation. So this is yet another thing that women have to fear, on top of the typical notion of rape as sexual assault when the woman still has her full physical and mental faculties. And again, this is not a reasonable fear for men to have in general.Murphy and guys like him don't think about that; thus they continue living with cognitive dissonance. They can condemn predatory behavior in one context but passionately defend it in another.

  236. says

    I have one self declared Christian moralist in my organisation – which is a university. She lacks social graces – budging into people's office, evedropping and lately evil. Because of her wonderful Christian love, she has suceeded in driving away her assistant (who is a non Christian and has far high qualifications from her) and two clerks who she aledged leaked assignment answers to students (which was not proved). The evil un-Christian thing she did to me was to evesdrop my conversation and bad mouth me to my best friend. Now both of us (my bff and I) are not on speaking terms. The Judas witch goes to the Baptist church in Penang, Malaysia.

  237. says

    @ydgmdluI'm not exactly sure what your problem with me is, or why you've seemed to personally single me out amongst the other people in the thread arguing the same points. I really should just drop this, but you seem to be trying to make this as personal as possible, so I feel I must once again reiterate a few things.What is ironic is how Murphy has completely undermined his position by admitting that he would be more worried about his hypothetical daughter than his hypothetical son. He tries to brush away that worry by claiming that it's irrational, but why does he think so?I thought I was clear (but obviously not clear enough) that I believed it was basically social conditioning. I know its not the correct position to hold, but it is basically the position that our society holds, and thus the condition that i've been raised to hold. This is probably an excellent example of the whole “male privilege” thing everyone keeps mentioning. Now, perhaps in this context there are actually some legitimate concerns that makes sex more perilous for girls, such as the possibility of teen pregnancy, and that most sexual assaults are committed by males, but as a matter of equality and respect, actively treating girls as somehow “precious” is wrong, and unfortunately I sometimes do have to remind myself of that. I was simply trying to be as open and honest about myself in this discussion as possible when presented with a well thought out question by Giliell, and I think its unfortunate that for some reason you've decided to twist that to your own ends of trying to personally make me look like the most ignorant misogynist that a strawman will allow for.Murphy and guys like him don't think about that; thus they continue living with cognitive dissonance. They can condemn predatory behavior in one context but passionately defend it in another. Again, way to go with putting words in my mouth. Cognitive dissonance? Well I don't know about that, but I personally don't think I’ve “passionately defended” predatory behaviour at all. My point in all of this has simply been that no matter how hard you and others have tried to desperately re-frame the facts, with all manner of sensationalism and wild hypotheticals which didn't actually take place, time of day not withstanding I don't see how asking a girl to coffee, and then leaving without a fuss when she declines the offer, classifies as predatory behaviour. Now, maybe I am wrong, and its a fact that the guy really is some kind of horrible predatory monster, all I can say is that those facts are yet to be presented to me. I'm not saying there aren't predators out there, but in this particular case, all I see is a guy that whilst being tackles, can't really be accused of anything further than lacking social graces (to refer back to Russell's original post).No matter how nice they may seem, most boys really do feel that sex is a top priority in their relationships with girls. I can't help but think its just as sexist the way you keep assuming that for girls, sex isn't a top priority in a relationship and/or that they don't sexualise and objectify men too. I understand that you want to support people (in this case women) who are sometimes treated as less than equal. That’s fine, because I want a world with equality too, but as a foundational premise, your image of all women being perfectly innocent eunuchs, frankly boarders on the disturbing. Perhaps you shouldn't be spending so much time devising clever insults toward me because of my social misunderstandings (i'll admit I certainly do have a few), and spend some time examining your own.

  238. says

    You're back from Australia? Hope you had a good time.In case you missed it:Murphy: "It was only just several post ago that I pointed out this contradiction to Andrew Ryan (who conveniently chose not to comment on it, but rather continue complaining about coffee)"Well, you disputed something I said:Andrew: "She tells everyone she's tired and wants to go to bed."Murphy: "Eh, and here I was under the mistaken assumption that half the complaint arose from the fact that she was propositioned by a complete stranger and that didn't make any effort to previously talk to her at the bar."I then made a choice about whether it was worth taking the time to go back to the original video, transcribing what she said, and posting here to back up what I originally said. I decided that it probably wasn't worth my time. Sue me.But now Giliel's answered for me:"It has been established that EG was part of the group of people who hung out at the bar where this whole issue was a topic of discussion. He was there to hear that she was tired and going to bed and that was the moment he chose to seperate from the group, too."Perfect, thanks Giliel.

  239. says

    Hey Andrew. I actually live an Alice Springs at the moment, which is smack bang in the middle of Australia, but it is 1500-2500km away from any capital city, so when travelling to Sydney it might as well be another country :PI did see your post, but much like you, I thought that the conversation had gone on for long enough and I had to decide where I should spend my time. The only reason I respond to ydgmdlu at all was that for some reason, he seems to be making this allot more personal that it needs to be.However, it seems you do want a response. The first thing that comes to mind is that I hope (if you identify as being a skeptic) you recognise that simply relying on someone (in this case Giliell) who makes a claim that something is a well established fact on an internet message board, doesn't actually make it a well established fact as a matter of reality. That requires evidence, not hearsay.Andrew: I then made a choice about whether it was worth taking the time to go back to the original video, transcribing what she said, and posting here to back up what I originally said. I decided that it probably wasn't worth my time.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKHwduG1Frk here is the important part as far as I can tell starting around 4:40 to 5:05Watson: At the bar later that night, actually at four in the morning, we were at the hotel bar. 4am I said, you know, I’ve had enough guys, I’m exhausted, I’m going to bed. So I walk to the elevator and a man got on the elevator and said “don't take this the wrong way, but I find you very interesting, and i'd like to talk more. Would you like to come to my hotel room for coffee?” Not 'the' man. Not 'this' man. Not 'that' man. But 'a' man. Entirely non specific. Doesn't sound to me like they were in any way even casual acquaintances. Certainly no indication they were previously part of the same group. Now granted she does say “we were at the hotel bar” but as I stated to in my previous comment to you, I have to assume given the context of the video (and just social interaction in generally), that when she refers to “we” or says goodnight to “everyone” she was talking about her friends like AronRa and DPR Jones etc, not the entirety of the bar. Especially considering she switches from using “we” at the beginning to “a man” later on. Either way, there’s really nothing specific in her wording that should lead us to think that her and elevator guy were actually hanging out as a matter of course.So first of all, we only have Watson's side of the story (that these events even happened at all in fact), and secondly, even based on her one sided retelling of things I don't see anywhere where she even attempts to establish this specific nuance of the situation as a “fact”.As far as I can see, this so-called “fact” isn't well established at all, but rather well speculated on, in discussion forums such as this one. All she did in her initial video, was just make a really vague statement aimed at all guys about the irony of being hit on, when earlier during the day in her panel with AronRa, she generally remarked that she disliked being hit on by guys at conferences.(this is the video she talks about him posting at around 5:00 http://www.youtube.com/user/AronRa#p/u/10/W014KhaRtik also with no explicit indication that the elevator guy actually attended said panel) As far as I can see everything after that has basically been internet message board conjecture. By all means, if you wanna transcribe the rest of her original video be my guest, but I doubt you'll find anything useful.

  240. says

    And really, even if this was a demonstrable fact, none of this clears up the issue that I initially pointed out to you. I still see a massive contradiction in people arguing on the one hand how horrible it was that she was cornered and propositioned by a complete stranger late at night, whilst on the other hand claiming that they were actually acquaintances hanging out at the bar together and so he should have known better. I don't see how you can have it both ways. The premises are clearly contradictory to the others position.Either the guy was a stranger or he was an acquaintance. If you're going to embark on a witch hunt, at least try and keep the story consistent rather than re-enacting the Monty Python Holy Grail angry mob scene of “she turned me into a newt… but I got better…” And I don't necessarily mean you personally here Andrew so please do take this as a personal attack. Without rereading the nearly 300 comments, I can't remember if you originally claimed they were complete strangers or not, but allot of other people have. It just seems to me that as an overall group situation, nobody can actually agree on any common facts and without the introduction of new evidence, the story still changes each time a new message board comment is posted. It reminds me allot of Christianity, where they all claim to worship the same god, but can't agree on any of the facts beyond that which is why there are thousands of denominations, some of whom even war with each other.It seems unfortunate, that there has been so much BS conjecture, witch hunting, name calling, and baseless sensationalism involved in the discussion of this particular topic, that you and I will probably never really know the true facts of what actually transpired in that late night hotel bar or elevator. It is entirely possible they were hanging out at the bar together and that he should have known better, but there is no evidence I can see to actually establish that as fact. Its how the null hypothesis at the centre of the scientific method works. Its how our judicial systems work. I'm not necessarily saying 'innocent', I’m just saying that based on the poor evidence available, the most accurate conclusion I can come to is 'not guilty'. And thats pretty much how I still feel about the wider issue as well. If you think there is actually demonstrable tangible evidence to label this guy as the sexist, misogynist, predatory objectifier, who actively tries to use the fear of rape to passively force women into having sex with him as some people on this very message board have claimed, then by all means, please present said evidence.I just don't see it myself. However I look at it, the facts are really very simple at face value. He asked her (in a slightly loserish way) to conversation over coffee, she said no, he went away without a fuss. I haven't actually seen any compelling evidence to the contrary that this is the horrendous misogynistic situation people are making it out to be. If like others you wish to reinterpret events, personally assign subtext to parts of it, and read meaning from between the lines which isn't necessarily there, all based on nothing more than a one sided vague ironic “don't do it guys” statement made halfway through an 8 minute youtube video, that’s up to you I guess, but until the time real evidence is shown, I’m simply not willing to take part in a hysterical internet lynch mob.

  241. says

    No, as set out in the original story, he was there to hear her give the speech about not creeping girls out, or whatever, but he hadn't been introduced to her, hadn't made any initial conversation with her, hadn't made any contact with her at all. He was definitely still a stranger to her. Unless you think that the very fact that she recognised him as 'someone who was in the bar earlier listening to me' means she can no longer call him 'a stranger'. That would be a nit-picking complaint – it didn't make him any more trustworthy or any less creepy when it came to the lift scenario, so would make no difference to the semantically understood use of the word 'stranger'."I haven't actually seen any compelling evidence to the contrary that this is the horrendous misogynistic situation people are making it out to be."You'd have to show me evidence of anyone making it out to be a 'horrendously misogynistic situation'. It's other people's reaction to the original blog that has been misogynistic. But we're going round in circles now, as that's been pointed out already many times.

  242. says

    Unless you think that the very fact that she recognised him as 'someone who was in the bar earlier listening to me' means she can no longer call him 'a stranger'. As I said, the spamfilter seems to have eaten the first half of what I wrote, where I transcribe what she actually says in her original video, and she doesn't say anything like you claim she does. It still hasn't appears yet, so I'll see if it will let me repost it now, but I wouldn't get my hopes up. Blogger can be kindof craptastic sometimes.You'd have to show me evidence of anyone making it out to be a 'horrendously misogynistic situation'.You mean such as bloggers like Amanda Marcotte saying things like this “In sum, men who corner women know what they're doing. And yes, they are relying on the fear of rape to grease the wheels towards getting laid.“But we're going round in circles now, as that's been pointed out already many times. agreed

  243. says

    (reposting)Hey Andrew. I actually live an Alice Springs at the moment, which is smack bang in the middle of Australia, but it is 1500-2500km away from any capital city, so when travelling to Sydney it might as well be another country :PI did see your post, but much like you, I thought that the conversation had gone on for long enough and I had to decide where I should spend my time. The only reason I respond to ydgmdlu at all was that for some reason, he seems to be making this allot more personal that it needs to be.However, it seems you do want a response. The first thing that comes to mind is that I hope (if you identify as being a skeptic) you recognise that simply relying on someone (in this case Giliell) who makes a claim that something is a well established fact on an internet message board, doesn't actually make it a well established fact as a matter of reality. That requires evidence, not hearsay.Andrew: I then made a choice about whether it was worth taking the time to go back to the original video, transcribing what she said, and posting here to back up what I originally said. I decided that it probably wasn't worth my time.(youtube link removed to see if it would skip the spam filter) here is the important part as far as I can tell starting around 4:40 to 5:05Watson: At the bar later that night, actually at four in the morning, we were at the hotel bar. 4am I said, you know, I’ve had enough guys, I’m exhausted, I’m going to bed. So I walk to the elevator and a man got on the elevator and said “don't take this the wrong way, but I find you very interesting, and i'd like to talk more. Would you like to come to my hotel room for coffee?” Not 'the' man. Not 'this' man. Not 'that' man. But 'a' man. Entirely non specific. Doesn't sound to me like they were in any way even casual acquaintances. Certainly no indication they were previously part of the same group. Now granted she does say “we were at the hotel bar” but as I stated to in my previous comment to you, I have to assume given the context of the video (and just social interaction in generally), that when she refers to “we” or says goodnight to “everyone” she was talking about her friends like AronRa and DPR Jones etc, not the entirety of the bar. Especially considering she switches from using “we” at the beginning to “a man” later on. Either way, there’s really nothing specific in her wording that should lead us to think that her and elevator guy were actually hanging out as a matter of course.So first of all, we only have Watson's side of the story (that these events even happened at all in fact), and secondly, even based on her one sided retelling of things I don't see anywhere where she even attempts to establish this specific nuance of the situation as a “fact”.As far as I can see, this so-called “fact” isn't well established at all, but rather well speculated on, in discussion forums such as this one. All she did in her initial video, was just make a really vague statement aimed at all guys about the irony of being hit on, when earlier during the day in her panel with AronRa, she generally remarked that she disliked being hit on by guys at conferences.(youtube link removed to see if it would skip the spam filter) also with no explicit indication that the elevator guy actually attended said panel. As far as I can see everything after that has basically been internet message board conjecture. By all means, if you wanna transcribe the rest of her original video be my guest, but I doubt you'll find anything useful.

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