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May 29 2012

It happens every time like clockwork

Oh, FFS. ***Another*** member of Skepchick was inappropriately propositioned for sex after appearing as a speaker at a conference. In this case, a couple of relative strangers flipped her a card with their number and a picture of their naked bodies. But that’s not the worst part, from my point of view.

No, the worst part is that by the time I read this post, the comment thread was already a mile long… and I was immediately saying to myself “How long is this thread going to go on before somebody starts trying to justify it?” And, you know… I hate being right.

I’m not even gonna go into detail here, but the answer is “about a third of the way down the page.”  And the comment in question, by donboc, was: “I’m sure I’m going to get a sh!tstorm for writing this, but what was so upsetting about the experience?”  Then it gets worse.

Headdesk

This comes after a persistent concern troll has been plaguing the Atheist Experience’s inbox all day, telling us not to post anything about feminism anymore because that belongs on a separate blog, and it upsets people.

Fair warning: I’m in a mood to ban commenters.  Please make me.

116 comments

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  1. 1
    Aedan

    [From your friendly neighborhood moderator: We have a winner! Our very first commenter thought I wasn't serious, attempted a clueless rant, and is banned. Thanks for volunteering, Aedan! --Kazim]

    1. 1.1
      Pinkamena, Panic Pony

      Bent, you must get.

    2. 1.2
      pentatomid

      Wow, that was quick.

  2. 2
    David

    *sigh*

    If a woman wants to see you naked, she will at the very least drop hints and she might even make it obvious. If you want to hint around at it yourself, do so in a place and in a manner that gives said woman the ability to opt-out without feeling that her safety or consent was at risk of being violated. The less choice she has in any aspect of it, the less likely she’s going to respond well to your pitch, and the more likely you’re going to make the whole situation extremely uncomfortable for her. Let’s keep the exhibitionism where it belongs – where the only people who see the show are the people who WANT to be there and watch it.

    TL,DR: Don’t harass women, goddammit.

    1. 2.1
      Ryan

      The story almost seemed fine until “..with their naked bodies on them..”

      Sigh.. At least the “elevator gate” incident was at least arguably not inappropriate. There’s just no room for argument on this one.

    2. 2.2
      KCH

      “Don’t harass women, goddammit.”

      If it was “Don’t harass anyone”, I’d totally be on board. I don’t think it’s appropriate for this situation to happen to anyone. D=

  3. 3
    Devnull

    I mean, I havent read about the case at all, but if I was some naked-photo-card carrying freakazoid and I thought I was getting “Im-a-freak-too” vibes from you, I might think about giving you a card….. but then as soon as I realised I had misinterpreted your “I-like-your-shirt” vibe as a “Im-a-freak-too” vibe Id just about be the most apologetic person in known history.

    What makes these cases concerning isnt so much people propositioning each other for sex (lets face it, it goes on all day every day, and if it didnt nobody would be getting any), but that people are so wildly misinterpreting the intentions of complete strangers, and then showing no remorse.

    The interaction should probably go something like:

    “Hey, we’ve known each other a while now, and I cant shake the feeling that Im getting some sort of vibe from you?”
    “No. Not at all.”
    “Oh crap, Im so sorry. My bad. I completely misinterpreted… Jesus I feel like a shit… ”
    “hahahhaa, you idiot. Forget about it.”

    instead it appears to be

    “Hey sweetcheeks, I know we’ve never met, but wanna go get oiled up together? Here, have a naked photo”
    “What!?! Oh dear god, let me off this damn lift!”
    “Cmon baby, you know you want me. You’re so hot when you’re cornered”

    Here’s a clue – if it’s your first interaction with that person, I can almost guarantee you that its a great idea to keep your trap shut and stop acting like a creep.

    I think the overarching principle being missed here is “stop acting like a cockhead”.

  4. 4
    atheistthaigirl

    So these people had printed nude business cards of themselves ready to reveal to this speaker from Skepchick at a convention? It seems like a lot of work for a traveling mob of misogynistic creepers. Whether they believed they could get laid or they just wanted to piss her off it’s laughably pathetic. Honestly though, I’ve had experiences with creepers, but if I must inevitably interact with pigs in my life and if I could exchange past experiences then I’d honestly prefer a weirdo in a crowded room flashing a nasty picture that I’ll either ignore or loudly mock over being stalked, threatened, and forced into a violent confrontation. To be clear, I’m not justifying the creepers at all, but the speaker could’ve easily encountered something far worse.

    Anyway, I encourage you to post more things relevant to feminism since it only upsets worthless morons.

  5. 5
    atheistthaigirl

    So these people had printed nude business cards of themselves ready to reveal to this speaker from Skepchick at a convention? It seems like a lot of work for a traveling mob of clueless misogynistic creepers. Whether they believed they could get laid or they just wanted to piss her off it’s laughably pathetic. Honestly though, I’ve had experiences with creepers, but if I must inevitably interact with pigs in my life and if I could exchange past experiences then I’d honestly prefer a weirdo in a crowded room flashing a nasty picture that I’ll either ignore or loudly mock over being stalked, threatened, and forced into a violent confrontation. To be clear, I’m not justifying the creepers at all, but the speaker could’ve easily encountered something far worse. If she wasn’t in a crowded room then please correct me.

    Anyway, I encourage you to post more things relevant to feminism since it only upsets worthless morons. Some people who are just starting to embrace skepticism will find this blog and be introduced to concepts that make them interested in learning about how women are crapped on by society.

    Devnull: “You’re so hot when you’re cornered.” That made me laugh.

  6. 6
    atheistthaigirl

    Some people who are just starting to embrace skepticism will find this blog and be introduced to concepts that make them interested in learning about how women are crapped on by society.

    Devnull: “You’re so hot when you’re cornered.” That made me laugh.

  7. 7
    atheistthaigirl

    How did my unfinished comment get posted before my finished comment?

    1. 7.1
      davidjanes

      Aliens?

  8. 8
    MichaelD

    Scary thought are they trying to out do each other 0.0

  9. 9
    zoebrain

    “No thanks, I only do Rishathra with Intelligent species”.

    If they get the reference, then maybe they just lack social skills, and are clueless products of a misogynist culture rather than complete anal orifices.

    1. 9.1
      Another Anonymous Coward

      Zoe, love the comment, and the sig name….maybe we should dunk all the people who don’t get it on unwelcome advances into colloquial *flup*??

  10. 10
    Daniel

    This is so absurdly stupid it almost sounds like trolls. Poe’s law….

  11. 11
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    “No thanks, I only do Rishathra with Intelligent species”.

    That’s hilarious.

    As I’ve noted in the other discussions, IME swingers generally are effectively a “traveling mob of misogynistic creepers” (Thanks for the phrase, atheistthaigirl). The whole swinger subculture started out being called ‘wife swapping,’ and while the name has changed, the culture has to only a marginal degree. Incidentally, I am not stating a blanket disapproval of nonmonogamous lifestyles, merely that 100% of the people I’ve met who identify as swingers are total skeeves and that the history of the swinger subculture in particular is deeply misogynistic, skeevy, and prone to poor boundaries.

    1. 11.1
      Xairo

      “IME swingers generally are effectively a “traveling mob of misogynistic creepers”” Sure, all swingers hate women and go around harassing ppl with naked pictures…

      I’m sure you know loooooots of swingers. Your whole comment is one of the most ignorant and stupid things i’ve ever read: you are fractally wrong (state of being wrong at every conceivable scale of resolution) your point would be:

      if one couple (which we don’t even know if they are swingers) harasses a girl the whole swinger community is “atravelling mob of mysoginist creepers” therefore:

      If a girl harrases an other girl the whole lesbian community are a “traveling mob of misogynistic creepers”?

      And if a guy harasses a girl the whole hetero community are a“traveling mob of misogynistic creepers”?

      Duuuuuude please

      1. Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

        “Girl,” huh? Telling…

        1. gfunk

          Until the Godless Bitches episode that covered the subject, I had no idea referring to adult females as “girls” was considered derogatory, I just always used them interchangeably. I guess if the female was much older than me, I would go with woman or lady, but I am almost 40 and probably called females in their 30s and 40s girls a lot. I am changing that, but just stating it here because I think a lot of guys are clueless about it and really just need a little education.

          1. annabucci

            Well I refer to females as chicks so you’re doing better than I am.

          2. John Horstman

            Ms. Daisy Cutter, Gynofascist in a Spiffy Hugo Boss Uniform, I’m not sure how old you are, but the “girl as derogatory” idea is firmly rooted in Second Wave theoretical perspectives and a time period before the 1990s (my understanding is that it was an entirely accurate analysis: “girl” was frequently used as a way to dismiss or infantilize women). In my social circles, all women under 30 (generally) self-identify as “girls” and refer to other women under 30 as “girls” and men under 30 as “boys” or “guys”. Same is true of men under 30 – these days, when used by younger people, it’s not so much an indicator of gendered infantilization as a generational rejection of ‘older’ people and the generational social norms through disidentification, much like the 60′s phrase “don’t trust anyone over 30″, encoded into daily speech. Similarly, one isn’t likely to hear the under-30 crowd using phrases like “real men” or “real women” except in ironic disidentification, possibly thanks in large part to the success of feminist theory in de-essentializing gender roles/performativities in the cultural consciousness.

            It’s certainly still a legitimate point to raise if the person in question uses “men” for men and “girl” for women, but that’s not happening here. Xairo is rightly pointing out an unfair (my only knowledge is through fora like Slog/Savage Love, which paint a picture of organized swinger communities as vesting more power in women than men) characterization of “swingers” (introduced with the apologetics-friendly “IME”).

          3. Xairo

            Ok, i had no idea “girl” was derogatory… English is my 3rd language and in Catalan and Spanish “male” (mascle/macho) “female” (femella/hembra) are used only when talking about animals.
            I’m from spain my wife is french and we live in Germany and we have friends from all around the world and when she (she is 34yo) goes out with her friends she says “i’m going out with the girls”, or even “with my girls”. I had no idea someone would be offended by that, I swear didn’t mean it to.

      2. amyc

        ^^^This. I’ve recently made friends with some couples all from the same swinger group (I’m not a swinger, but I am pro-poly). If anything, they’re more progressive when it comes to ditching gender roles than any other group I’ve ever hung out with.

  12. 12
    BigE

    I find it odd that she seems to be questioning the skeptic community because of one lousy interaction, even multiple lousy interactions. I’m not trying to downplay her feelings at all, but she said everything else was great about the event. I also don’t understand why people are so surprised to run into assholes in their respective communities. Even if there is only one person in a room, that room will eventually have an asshole in it.

    1. 12.1
      Martin Wagner

      Well, it doesn’t mean you don’t call assholes out. And the thing about assholes is they have a habit of turning “that great event” into “that great event, except for this asshole.”

      1. gfunk

        She’s reporting on this not because it is a freak occurrence, but because it is a pattern- one that was driving women away from these events. And since people were asking “why are there more women at our meetings,” women started responding.

  13. 13
    Matthew

    “about a third of the way down the page.”

    Heck, it started getting creepy at no 12, dismissive at 16.

    I didn’t have the stomach to do much more than glance at the rest but it did seem that the cleaning crew was out in force and doing a pretty good job of getting the shit stains out of the carpet.

    Maybe I’m too much of a pollyanna but this wash, rinse, repeat thing seems to be making headway.

  14. 14
    summerseale

    Maybe it’s because I’m not in America since a few years but…

    I actually don’t see it in the atheist community online. What I mean is that the major atheist blogs I read almost every day (this one, Greta Christina, Friendly Atheist, PZ, and others) aren’t actually full of sexist pigs. The huge community of atheists I’m part of on G+ don’t have a sexist pig in the lot that I’ve ever seen.

    So where are they coming from? I’m honestly a little more than confused at this point. I’m not saying it isn’t happening because, obviously, it’s more than a little hard to deny that it is actually happening. But am I missing some sort of huge atheist sexist community out there? That’s what I really don’t understand yet. Every single atheist online whom I’ve talked to, debated about policy, agreed with or disagreed with, has been a complete “feminist” on every front.

    So where are these jerks hiding? Or maybe I’m just not in tune enough with some big atheist circles yet? Honestly I don’t have a clue and I’m finding this not only disturbing, but incredibly surprising.

    1. 14.1
      summerseale

      BTW, just to add: I am not a “skeptic” on this issue. I agree that it must be happening, and quite a lot. What I’m wondering about is what I am missing in my experience. Maybe somebody can point me to some places where it’s common? (aside from a convention, I mean. I’m talking about online or something)

      Because, if anything, I’d *love* to tell those jerks where they can stick it. =P

    2. 14.2
      pentatomid

      Reddit and ERV are just two places where you’ll find plenty of sexist assholes. And then there’s TheAmazingAtheist and his followers on youtube, of course.

      1. summerseale

        Thanks for answering.

        I don’t use Reddit. For some reason, I don’t feel like I have time for it. What’s ERV?

        As to the Amazing Atheist: I don’t watch him. I think I’ve seen a couple of his videos before but I don’t remember what they were about. I didn’t know he’s a sexist like that.

        1. Russell Glasser

          Reddit: I still use it. It’s entertaining and a good source of news stories. But as it’s a largely unmoderated free for all, it can get icky in there on occasion.

          ERV: http://freethoughtblogs.com/blaghag/2012/05/oh-yeah-well-youre-ugly/

          Amazing Atheist: http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2012/02/08/horrible-people-dont-realize-theyre-horrible/

          1. summerseale

            Wow. Just…wow.

            Ok, I’m totally blown away. I guess I haven’t been paying attention in some places as I do skip a lot of entries on blogs on a daily basis as I tend to be pretty busy with work and travel. And it’s a damn good thing I don’t read reddit. Don’t the moderators there do anything about this crap?

            I hope this guy and his followers, and people like him, aren’t invited to conferences. Are these the kind of guys that get invited who are going around harassing women at these conferences and conventions? Why do organizers ask them to come, given their records?

            Wow. Seriously stunned and angry. Thank you for pointing me to the link, Kazim, I really appreciate it. I think I did make a reddit account several months ago to eventually learn how to use it and post there (which I never did, but that’s not unusual for me to start an account on a web site only to never really use it). I think, however, that I’m just going to go there soon and delete my account.

          2. gfunk

            On Reddit, as long as you keep things sorted to the Best posts and the Best rated comments, the creeps almost always get voted down to the cellars. And even the most sexist (or otherwise irrational or dishonest) posts are usually effectively dismantled in the top comment threads.
            I am often pleasantly surprised by how often really concise and strong posts are at the top of Reddit threads. But if you don’t sort by Best, you will lose faith in humanity.

        2. summerseale

          Oh and on the subject of ERV, I’ve never heard of that person and that blog before so I’m not going to venture there. I quickly scanned the link you posted and that was enough for me to realize it’ll probably be a waste of time for me to be there anyway. Thank you. =)

          1. Metaphysical Ham Sandwich

            On Amazing Atheist, I can’t say you’re missing much. He just rants about political things mostly.

            ERV though, has some important and interesting things to say about ERVs (endogenous retroviruses, her field of expertise) so you may be doing yourself a disservice by ignoring her completely.

          2. SaintWaitress

            I know this is a serious topic, but I must say love the user name Metaphysical Ham Sandwich. That was a hilarious episode.

          3. Russell Glasser

            Thanks :D

        3. pentatomid

          Just for clarity, I’m not saying every atheist on reddit is some kind of sexist asshole. Far from it. And from what I’ve heard, things may be improving (I haven’t checked it in ages). But the assholes are present there, and when feminism related topics come up, it doesn’t take long for the raving MRAs to appear.

      2. The Layman Atheist

        Every time I see his name I can’t help but add the prefix “Not so”.. All of us have a responsibility to represent positive atheism or keep our mouths shut.. the dude many times fails on the latter..

    3. 14.3
      LykeX

      I actually don’t see it in the atheist community online. What I mean is that the major atheist blogs I read almost every day (this one, Greta Christina, Friendly Atheist, PZ, and others) aren’t actually full of sexist pigs

      Part of the reason for that is that those blogs have a very active community of people who quickly come out in force whenever a pig shows up.
      It’s not that the pigs don’t come, it’s just that they’re not allowed to accumulate. They meet quick and fierce opposition, so they don’t stick around.

      Incidentally, this is exactly what we need to have happen at real-life events.

    4. 14.4
      LeftSidePositive

      Okay I totally laughed my face off when you said it wasn’t showing up in your blogs of choice. The next time I need a pithy example of selection bias, I’ll use that one. ;)

      Your good taste in blogs aside, I wanted to say I appreciated the way you went about getting info on this. As you seemed to be concerned in your addendum, I for one didn’t think there was anything that could be misinterpreted as denialism in your post–I think if more people approached these types of things with a “I don’t know where you’re coming from and here’s where I’m tripping up in trying to understand…” I think we’d get a lot farther in life in general. (Of course, in my experience the vast majority of people saying “I haven’t seen X!” aren’t actually trying to learn, but oh well).

      As for other examples:

      Hemant actually has a few bad apples, but most of his commentariat keeps them in check:

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/05/26/hustler-magazine-rails-against-conservative-atheist-s-e-cupp-with-a-photoshopped-phallus

      And this blog got quite a taste of them, too:

      http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2012/05/27/mass-hysteria/

      1. amyc

        yeah, I tried to slog through those with LeftSidePositive, but she’s more amazing than I will ever be. I stopped checking those threads after awhile, because it started getting nasty and I didn’t want the ick to rub off on me.

  15. 15
    koliedrus

    Perhaps I’m just showing some of my paranoia here when I mention, “Divide and Conquer”.

    It’s a time-worn tactic.

    It’s also quite effective.

    1. 15.1
      Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

      “Ladies, stop complaining about teh menz! It’s so divisive!

      1. sambarge

        Yes. It’s never “Men stop harassing women! It’s so divisive.” Funny how that is.

        1. John Horstman

          Not “never”: Men Can Stop Rape exists, and the FtBloggers are pretty damn consistent with that message. So are the Skepchicks (and I know some of you are regulars there, too). There is also the whole SlutWalk movement. Hyperbole doesn’t play very well in these debates; “rarely” or “too infrequently” would be better choices (hyperbole like that can make e.g. sympathetic men sometimes feel like they’re being attacked or lumped in with misogynists, since statements like this are universalizing, even if intended as demonstrative hyperbole; while it SHOULDN’T be necessary to worry about privileged potential allies’ feelings, as a matter of effectiveness, it sometimes pays to do so, especially when the dismissive or combative statements are actually untrue). You’re making a perfectly valid point – koliedrus is engaging in some pernicious apologism – but the point is undermined by making a statement that’s untrue to try to emphasize it, a statement that obfuscates the actual work of men and women holding men accountable for harassing women by denying that it happens at all.

          I don’t even think you have to/should be nicer, just accurate if you’re going to be snarky or otherwise incisive.

          1. LeftSidePositive

            A subtle, but I think significant point: I read her comment specifically as mocking the people who use the “you’re being divisive!” language and how *they* habitually don’t focus on perpetrators, but I don’t think she meant to imply that no one in general focuses on perpetrators, just not in the “unity-at-all-costs” brigade.

          2. amyc

            LSP, are you the same one from Friendly Atheist? I don’t think I’ve seen you comment here before, but I don’t comment as often on this blog.

          3. LeftSidePositive

            amyc (you’re amycas over there, right?)

            Yep, same one. I’m new commenting on the Atheist Experience in particular, but I’m around FreeThoughtBlogs quite a lot.

    2. 15.2
      LykeX

      So is victim blaming. Stop doing it.

  16. 16
    Katkinkate

    I had a quick squiz at the picture in contention and I didn’t see 2 naked people. I saw a woman naked from the waste up with a man hiding behind her while he squeezed her boobs for the camera. I saw a guy displaying his woman for advertising purposes while hiding his own vulnerability behind her.

  17. 17
    Zengaze

    What the fuck is up with people did somebody engage in a gene experiment mixing up rabbits, people and dogs? You expect a skeptic community……… Ah fuck it

  18. 18
    Borax

    I don’t have a problem with swingers or people wanting group sex. However, this is just creepy. I am a man but did run into something like this a few years ago. There was a couple I had spoken to a few times at a local bar. One night the husband pulled me aside and asked me if I would have sex with his wife while he took photos (for the record, No one in there right mind wants photos of me naked). It creeped me out. I then found out that they had asked many other people for the same photo op at the same bar. I felt very uncomfortable with this proposition and can only assume that it would be worse for a woman. I say that it would be worse for a woman just because damn near every woman I know has had a more vulgar proposition.

  19. 19
    Mike

    I admit to conflicted feelings on this. On the one hand forcing a picture of yourself nude upon another person is clearly a dick move, and should be punished. On the other hand if somebody wanted to walk around nude at the conference because they prefer being nude, I would offer a hearty Hail and Welcome and show them to the punch bowl. Are those two concepts antagonistic? What makes a photo on a card an unforgivable assault in my mind but actual live nudity is freedom of expression.

    1. 19.1
      Russell Glasser

      It would be okay if the entire conference was a nude event, as that implies informed consent among all participants. It’s not okay for a couple of people to unilaterally turn a non nude event into a nude one. Similarly, it wouldn’t be okay for them to flash the speaker in a raincoat.

      1. Mike

        I guess I was trying to say that I can respect a person’s wish to be nude in public either as a comfort issue or to protest the yoke of religious oppression (and who among us doesn’t protest that yoke in some way).

    2. 19.2
      Tom Foss

      It’s the difference between different kinds of nudity. Naturists and nudists will at least argue that there’s nothing necessarily sexual about a naked human body. “Call us for teh sexies and this is us naked,” however, is explicitly about sex.

      It’s like the difference between a nude art model and a flasher. One is using the nude form in a way that is not necessarily sexual, the other is making you an unwilling participant in their sexual expression.

      1. Metaphysical Ham Sandwich

        We’re just not there as a society. One of Elyse’s bolded points:It’s not okay to assume a stranger welcomes your nakedness.

        Simply being naked is to most people a projection of sexuality and proposition completely independent of your intention.

    3. 19.3
      Kate

      Mike, I see your point, but I think the difference lies in the fact that a nudist would be presenting him or herself naked solely for the purpose of wanting to be naked. That person wouldn’t be singling someone out for a sexual proposition, and I’m sure that if he or she did, your feelings about that nudist wouldn’t be as indifferent. If, however, you hand someone a picture of your naked body, you are singling someone out for one purpose, and that’s where the discomfort lies.

      The root of the problem here isn’t nudity — it’s intent, approach, and pretense.

  20. 20
    Mike

    Kat, I think you hit the nail an the head in my dilemma. The card wasn’t free expression, it was exploitation. It’s not the nudity we all cringe at, it’s the privilege being enforced. The wife is being used as bait by the husband.

    1. 20.1
      Metaphysical Ham Sandwich

      Wat? How can you just make that inference? Maybe the wife was in on it. Elyse says she was approached by the couple, not just the husband. I’m not sure how or why you’d want to spin the wife as another victim here.

    2. 20.2
      Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

      No, actually, some of us did cringe at the nudity, not because we’re “prudes,” but because, in our society, nudity implies intimacy, and people who push their nudity on you without your consent are forcing intimacy with you.

      I have no idea whether the wife is as skeevy as the husband, and I don’t think it matters w/r/t the effect it had on Elyse.

      1. Martin Wagner

        Seeing as how she’s front and center in the photo, I’d say “yes.”

    3. 20.3
      Mike

      Bait does not imply victimization, although it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve heard of a swinging couple where hubby was calling the shots and the wife was terrified to say no. I’m saying that the bothersome part of the story for me is that simply asking the question and accepting the answer is not good enough for this couple. They feel the need to dominate you, invade your mindspace, before you even know they want to ask a question.

      1. Xairo

        “Bait does not imply victimization, although it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve heard of a swinging couple where hubby was calling the shots and the wife was terrified to say no.”

        Ofcourse, and that happens aswell in all other kind of hetero/homosexual/poliamory relationships but we don’t say “It wouldn’t be the first time a husband abuses his wife” when we see a married couple and asume it’s probably their case as well.

        Ok, for all “I have nothing against swingers but” I’ll try to put some light:
        Swingers are like any oher community there are thousands (literally!) of really cool people and some jerks. Mostly are coules crazy in love for each other that just wish to make their partner fantasies come true and often there have less problems with cheating since they usually are quite sincere with each other and talk about their likes and wishes apart of breaking the routine of a life long relationship but this is not a rule, and there are exceptions ofcourse. The thing is that you will never know about the “normal people” since swingers don’t wear t-shirts or anything and many they don’t even call themselves “swingers”, the do it sporadically but not to the point that it defines what they are (like you don’t call your self a “swimmer” if you go once in a while to swimm). Swingers usually meet in special clubs or contact through specialized websites and just fulfill their fantasies that go from just watch and be watched to what ever is ok for every one. In couples are usually the women the one that make the contact with each other, make the first step and put the limits. The clubs and couples usually are very protective women and when the woman takes a “submisive” role is mostly to fulfill her own sexual fantasies and not because she is “forced”.
        The classic rules are “Anything is possible but nothing is mandatory” and more important “NO MEANS NO!”
        As I said, not because there are idiot-atheists the whole community are idiots and not because some swingers “try to convert vanillas” (a vanilla is how some swingers call non-swingers) doesn’t mean all are lie that.
        Thank you :-)

        1. Xairo

          Oh, i forgot! What is funny is how many religious ppl are actually swingers! And the excuses that they put are unbeliable XD but that’s an other story.

        2. Russell Glasser

          I think I tentatively side with Xairo on this one. I like to listen to Dan Savage, read Doctor Nerdlove, and have read some books on sexuality that are critical of monogamy. The consensus from people I respect seems to be that fidelity is a complicated beast, and you and your partner should do whatever works for you within within your comfort zone.

          I’m not entirely sure how sharp the lines are between “monogamish,” “open relationship,” “polyamorous,” and “swinger,” but my sense is that there’s a whole sort of general mish-mash with all kinds of people involved. I don’t think being any specific type of non-monogamous person makes you a creep, and I’m sure that there are plenty of anecdotal examples of both good and bad apples, in their community as in ours.

          1. Xairo

            :-)

  21. 21
    Paul R

    This only shows that the skeptic/humanist/atheist community is no different from any other in that it has bad apples that will spoil the rest of the bunch. To Martin W’s point: Yes, these idiots should be called out, every single time if possible.

  22. 22
    Marnie

    This is a problem of what I like to call the “golden rule fallacy.” It plays out something like:

    Person A: I find it really insulting when I’m propositioned while I’m working, as though my insight, training, education, research and presentation skills are all secondary to my physical appeal. Please don’t do that.

    Person B: Well, I would LOVE for a stranger to come up to me and tell me how attractive I am and offer to sleep with me, therefore, your feelings are invalid and you have overreacted and you don’t want anyone else to have sex, which makes you a bad person.

    I think there are ways to draw up a comparison without the strong tendency towards a gender divide. For instance: Imagine you are giving a lecture to a group, on a topic that is important to you. You are a minor public figure, you have championed charitable causes, interact with people casually on social media and are generally well respected. You finish your lecture, and are putting away your materials whe a person walks up to you, mentions they’ve talked to you on Twitter a few times and then asks if they can borrow $30.

    Wait what? Why would a relative stranger with whom you’ve been friendly but not friends, ask you for money while you are working? How is that even relevant or appropriate to the situation? You might be inclined to say “I’m sorry, I’m not comfortable with your asking me for money. I’m uncomfortable even being put in the situation of having to turn you down in a situation where I shouldn’t even expect to be asked.”

    If the other person said, “Jeeze, people lend other people money all the time. I thought you supported charity. Isn’t that giving people money? What’s your problem? You are so greedy, you don’t want anyone else to be able to borrow money from other people.” You might rightfully think they are a dumbass. The arguments don’t follow. Saying that in this time and place amongst the people present, this request is rude and inappropriate is not the same as saying that all requests to borrow money are rude and inappropriate. Comparing donating to a charitable cause, with loaning a relative stranger cash is a false equivalent.

    I know the analogy isn’t perfect and I’m sure there are people who honestly wouldn’t think a thing of that situation and would just say no or yes, but for most of us, that would seem pretty inappropriate, at best. If you genuinely didn’t know that propositioning people for sex (or money) is rude in certain situations and someone says it’s rude, then accept that you did something rude, apologize sincerely and be more conscientious about it in the future. It was about the behavior, not about the individual until the individual made it about himself and the same goes for everyone who defends the bad behavior. The behavior is irredeemable, the individual is not.

    1. 22.1
      Russell Glasser

      Very well said. This sort of thing is why I think the golden rule is way too simple, and should really be replaced with something like this:

      “Do your best to treat others the way they want you to treat them. As a first approximation, you can usually assume that they want you to treat them similarly to the way you would want to be treated. But you should still ask.”

      It’s not nearly as pithy though.

      1. Marnie

        @Kazim

        Didn’t someone recently coin the term, “the platinum rule” in which you do your best to treat people in the manner they would like to be treated, while still accounting for the best interest of yourself and others?

        I’m sure they worded it better, but I think that is along the lines of what you are saying.

        1. Xairo

          “The Ardent Atheists” claims that the platinum rule is his invention and he uses it quite often saying: “The golden rule makes the sadist and the masochist unhappy” (which i don’t know if is true since i’m neither but it is funny)

  23. 23
    Metaphysical Ham Sandwich

    So….not in an elevator, at work, at a conference, when you out number the person, or while naked. Got it.

    1. 23.1
      Metaphysical Ham Sandwich

      Just want to clarify, I think the nude card flinging was sociopathic. My glib joke was referring to propositioning generally.

      1. Russell Glasser

        Recognizing that you are trying to be cute here, I’ll just say that it depends very, very much on what you actually mean by “propositioning.” Does it mean going up to a person whom you just met in a non-sexual context, and saying “Hey, you’re cute, want to fuck?” Then, no. You shouldn’t do that in an elevator, at work, at a conference, or when you outnumber the person… and I don’t see many valid reasons why you would BE naked around them, unless you hang out at orgies a lot.

        People who want to be socially functional generally have to learn that you meet somebody, you act friendly towards them, you indicate mutual interest, and THEN you work up your way to seeing if sex is an option. And if it’s not welcome, then you go back to “friendly,” or else you thank them for their time and walk away.

        When I see people (sincerely) reacting to posts about truly invasive behavior by saying “OH, so you’re saying I can’t flirt with anybody ANYWHERE EVER?!?!?” then that’s generally a sign that this person can’t tell the difference between “flirting” and sociopathy. And my usual response therefore becomes: “No, YOU can’t flirt with anybody. Other people can. But not you. Go pay for it instead.”

        1. leftwingfox

          When I see people (sincerely) reacting to posts about truly invasive behavior by saying “OH, so you’re saying I can’t flirt with anybody ANYWHERE EVER?!?!?” then that’s generally a sign that this person can’t tell the difference between “flirting” and sociopathy.

          Oh my, yes.

          Given enough comment thread, most folks who start like this will wind up weaving giant warning flags for themselves.

    2. 23.2
      Lou Doench

      Not in a box.
      Not with a fox.
      Not in a house.
      Not with a mouse.

      (sorry, I have small children, couldn’t resist Seussing)

      1. Russell Glasser

        I almost included that myself, to be honest.

  24. 24
    Zengaze

    And it’s chock full of wonky beliefs. I never read ftb before axp moved, I was always just a lurker at axp, the move has prompted me to post, and it’s also got me reading other blogs, and the only thing that is agreed with, is gods don’t exist

  25. 25
    annabucci

    That sucks that people still have to deal with creepy people while at work. These people need to make a better apology. I also think their names should be publicized so that others know who to avoid, and to make potential creepers aware that their actions aren’t going to be hidden away.

    I don’t know exactly what I would’ve done had I been in her situation. I think I would’ve been like “what the fuck is this?” and then I probably would’ve been really mean and insulting to them.

  26. 26
    DethStrudel

    Honestly, I don’t see the problem. I walk up to men at the RNC all the time and give them a card with a picture of me in leather chaps bending over and riding Ted Haggart, and I ALWAYS get laid there! So what if the occasional straight person doesn’t get it? They just don’t know they want it!

    I’m sorry, but if you can’t just hand someone a card showing your intentions and not have them completely at your beck and call, foaming at the mouth with lust and admiration for your audacity, then there is something wrong with society and YOU.

    ::trolltrolltrolltroll::

  27. 27
    Fabricio

    [Moderator snip, in which sexual harassment is trivialized and dismissed as "first world problems"]
    Yeah, ban this, Russel, ban that, Russel, whatever makes you feel comfy inside.
    [More snip]

    Request granted!

  28. 28
    annabucci

    “When I see people (sincerely) reacting to posts about truly invasive behavior by saying “OH, so you’re saying I can’t flirt with anybody ANYWHERE EVER?!?!?” then that’s generally a sign that this person can’t tell the difference between “flirting” and sociopathy. And my usual response therefore becomes: “No, YOU can’t flirt with anybody. Other people can. But not you. Go pay for it instead.””

    Kazim wins the thread.

    10,000 internets for you!

  29. 29
    Daemon6

    I honestly don’t comprehend the mindset that would allow you to think that handing *anyone* a naked picture of yourself (or even of someone else) would be ok O.o. I can’t help but think that these people must have some type of social disorder..

    1. 29.1
      John Horstman

      Yet it apparently happens all the time on Twitter and ChatRoulette. Most of the time it’s a function of Male Sexual Privilege, though when it’s a couple, I think it fits in more with Sociopathic Narcissism.

      1. Metaphysical Ham Sandwich

        Just curious, why is it not sociopathy when a single male does it?

  30. 30
    Jeff

    I’m going to be honest and say that this kind of thing is driving me away from the blog. I’m also becoming more unlikely to ever attend any kind of atheist gathering if this is the kind of thing that goes on there.

    Kazim, why are you banning comments over this? You (not just you, all of you) usually seem much more level-headed and have more restraint with banning. It is supposed to take a “goats on fire” type to warrant that. You almost(?) seem to be taking pleasure in it. An atheist blog banning people over their thoughts on pick-up methods? Sorry if that wasn’t what the comments were, but I can’t seem them now.

    At least we’re teaching the religious how to divide and conquer us, using the wedge issues of pick-up lines and homosexuality. Soon nobody will even remember what we banded together for in the first place.

    1. 30.1
      Martin Wagner

      Not Getting It level: 10.

      1) The issue is not “pick-up methods,” it’s inappropriate pick-up methods, which can and often do verge on harassment. Seriously, if you honestly think there can possibly be any context in which it is appropriate to approach a total stranger after hearing them give a talk, and, without even so much as a “Hey I just met you, and this is crazy…”, hand them a calling card with a nude photo of yourself and an offer of three-way sex, I think there are probably a few things you have to learn about what is and is not a “pick-up method.”

      2) Kazim only threatened to ban comments by idiots insisting on derailing the thread. This often happens when people try to talk seriously about public situations in which women feel sexually harassed or intimidated. Clueless Dudes pop up and whine about how all the man-hating femynysts just want to ban sex and waah why doesn’t anyone have sympathy for the Dudes?

      While we need to stay focused on fighting religious idiocy, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t clean house when we need to. And it’s evident that there are a bunch of men in atheism who have a Woman Problem, and this ought to be addressed stat, before it divides the movement. It’s a lot like what Dawkins calls “consciousness raising.” And if anything, I’d say it’s a real plus that in the atheist community, we are at least willing and determined to argue these issues out, as opposed to what happens among the religious when sex scandals occur, which is lie, cover up, and blame the victim.

      1. Jeff

        Doesn’t matter, Martin. Off Topic Level 10. Focus on the issues that unite us.

        1. LykeX

          Your comment right here is dividing us. Fuck off.

          1. LeftSidePositive

            That’s beautiful.

        2. amyc

          Jeff,

          I don’t see how discussing appropriate and inappropriate interactions at atheist/skeptic conventions is off-topic. Why is it wrong for us to discuss policies that would prevent/stop harassment from happening at atheist/skeptic conventions?

          Why do you say that those who discuss and talk about it are dividing the movement? Why don’t you say that the people who harass are dividing the movement?

          If this were about racism within the atheist community, I think you would see my point. What if black people were harassed and felt excluded or looked down on at atheist/skeptic events? Would you dismiss their complaints as “dividing the movement?” Or would you say,”hey, it’s really shitty that somebody would behave like that. What can we do to fix it?”

      2. Jeff

        I don’t come to an atheist blog to read the latest news on feminism, and I honestly have very little interest in this topic (specifically who is propositioning who in what manner) as a whole. What bothers me is to see our “members” going at each other (including people getting banned), on what is supposed to be a unifying blog, over issues that are not relevant to the cause. This blog is part of your public face, not a discussion in a pub.

        1. Martin Wagner

          Just because you think it isn’t relevant doesn’t mean it isn’t relevant. Sexual harassment is, in fact, highly relevant to women in atheism, which is why it’s being discussed. And it isn’t even a feminist issue, it’s a human one. It’s your prerogative if you want to decide it’s unimportant to you. But don’t demand silence on it when it’s clearly important to others.

          And just because we’re talking about this, now, doesn’t mean we’ve abandoned all other issues.

          1. Dan

            I am going to somewhat agree with Jeff.
            “Fair warning: I’m in a mood to ban commenters. Please make me.”
            Gives me a negative impression of the mods on this blog and how they handle dissenting opinions.

          2. Martin Wagner

            Maybe he wasn’t in the mood for bullshit. It can happen.

            In any case, Russell has since banned all of two people. So it’s hardly something to get all our kickers twisted about.

            We actually wield the banhammer in a very circumspect manner here. One has to be a real dick to earn it. Thing is, someone’s always willing to fill the role.

        2. LykeX

          I don’t come to an atheist blog to read the latest news on feminism, and I honestly have very little interest in this topic (specifically who is propositioning who in what manner) as a whole

          Welcome to the wonderful world of being part of the problem.

          You’re why we need to keep talking about this.

          1. Xairo

            “Welcome to the wonderful world of being part of the problem.

            You’re why we need to keep talking about this.”

            That is probably my favourite comment oth the whole thread!
            +1

        3. amyc

          This isn’t the latest news about feminism. This is the latest news about how women who attend atheist/skeptic conventions are treated.

          1. Jasper of Maine

            Seriously, I don’t know why this is complicated.

            If Russell were to have posted a post talking about how atheists were being attacked by mimes, these people would pipe up with “Why are we talking about mimes again? Mimes aren’t an atheist issue!”

    2. 30.2
      Russell Glasser

      I’m going to be honest and say that this kind of thing is driving me away from the blog. I’m also becoming more unlikely to ever attend any kind of atheist gathering if this is the kind of thing that goes on there.

      Well in that case, I’m thinking mission accomplished. Please tell me what’s delaying your departure from this blog, so I can stop doing it post haste.

    3. 30.3
      Jasper of Maine

      Screw all the women being driven away from the events and atheist community, we don’t want to offend Jeff!

  31. 31
    terrycollins

    “This comes after a persistent concern troll has been plaguing the Atheist Experience’s inbox all day, telling us not to post anything about feminism anymore because that belongs on a separate blog, and it upsets people.”

    I don’t want to be on that guy’s side and bow to the more local needs of the ACA. It’s your blog, so champion what you see fit.

    It’s sad to see that sexism/sexual discrimination is a bigger problem for some in Austin, than what I’ve encountered here in Quebec. The boss for the past 5 years at our radio station has been female, the president and vice president are both female, and 75% of my co-workers are females. I also have never personally met anyone who would promote themselves as a feminist or someone who complained about sexism. The radio is public access so we give a voice to many organizations who want to promote their causes, but no feminist movement group has ever asked to air their concerns.

  32. 32
    vethtiche

    Well LeftSidePositive,

    I have finally responded to you. Post 52 on previous blog, didn’t want to bring it on here. It should be the last one.

    Ignore it if you like anyway. I’m pretty done. Personally, I don’t mind taking a step back and start anew.

    Sexism (ie sexual harassment) really does seem to be quite prevalent in the States – and I mean it in an overt sense (harassment). Which is something of a culture shock to me.

    Where I come from, sexism appears more covert. These flashing pictures things are hardly common, except maybe in bars & pubs. But at a conference! Well….

    1. 32.1
      Xairo

      “These flashing pictures things are hardly common, except maybe in bars & pubs.”

      “These flashing pictures… common … in bars & pubs”

      Wait…what?

      I’ve been a bartender for over a decade and a half and I’ve and visited bars all around the world and i’ve never ever seen anybody flashing naked picures of him/her/their-self/ves (and i’ve seen a few things, trust me) It is anything BUT common!

      Where do you come from? Now i’m curious…

    2. 32.2
      Rosemary

      I don’t think you have traveled widely enough yet. I was born in Australia, experienced the attitudes of newly arrived UN-assimilated migrants to that country, lived in Indonesia for a while and then moved to California in the U.S.A.

      In my experience the Islamic population in Indonesia and freshly exported Greek and Italian migrants are far more likely to engage in sexually exploitative and rude behavior than the average U.S. resident. That is not to deny that a section of the U.S. community is just as unrestrained and objectionable, I just do not believe that it is fair to suggest that the average U.S. citizen is worse than the average citizen in many other countries, especially in cultures that have strong patriarchal systems. Nor am I suggesting that this phenomena is absent in any large and varied community, even those that are largely secular. Clearly, this behavior stems from natural urges that the socializing programs of any coherent culture seeks to contain. The more freedom and human rights given to individuals in a community the more the unfettered expression of such behavior is condemned.

      1. Xairo

        “I don’t think you have traveled widely enough yet.”
        Well, i thought that since i’ve been in 20 different countries from all around the world i’ve travelled a bit but i guess i was wrong :-)
        Since you seem more travelwise that me tell me, please, were is “common to flash naked pictures of oneself” in a bar or pub?
        Thank you.

  33. 33
    Rosemary

    I suspect that a (small) part of the problem is that some people view atheism as the freedom to abandon not only the sexually repressive stance of fundamentalism but any sexual repression at all. It is almost as if these people have accepted the theist stereotype of atheists as people who have no reason to be moral. I think it is very important for the well-being of all atheists that this mis-perception is dealt with firmly and LOUDLY. Atheists have as much reason as any other grown up to behave in a sexually and socially responsible manner. Lack of belief in supernatural elements is not a good reason to behave like an immature dick.

    1. 33.1
      davidjanes

      I think you are spot on, and something like this is true of every movement or philosophy. The negative stereotypes come from somewhere, even if they don’t represent the majority.

      Also, I think the strident tone often adopted by the New Atheists fosters and environment where the first defense mechanism against any perceived attack is to go on the offensive first, and as loudly as possible. This is not always productive.

  34. 34
    donboc

    Honestly, really?

    I already apologized to Elyse on the other thread. It was a poor time and venue for me to try to address my curiosity, so clearly I don’t think that my post was a totally awesome idea.

    On the other hand, selective quoting and untrue editorializing sure do make me sound worse than I was.

    You wrote,

    “And the comment in question, by donboc, was: ‘I’m sure I’m going to get a sh!tstorm for writing this, but what was so upsetting about the experience?’ Then it gets worse.”

    But then it doesn’t get worse. The full intro to my post was the following:

    “Hi Elyse,

    Longtime reader; love your writing. I’m sorry that you had this upsetting moment.

    I’m sure I’m going to get a sh!tstorm for writing this, but what was so upsetting about the experience? I mean this as a real question. I am not suggesting that nothing was upsetting or that you shouldn’t have been upset — only that I don’t see what was so upsetting.”

    Then I wrote some specific questions. Then I closed with,

    “I’m writing because I want to learn. I think you’re right on just about everything I’ve seen you write, and you clearly found this experience to be very upsetting and as I said earlier I’m sorry that you were subjected to an experience that made you so upset. I suspect, based on my experience with your writing and thinking, that there’s actually a very good reason to be as upset as you are, and once I understand it I’ll look at the situation similarly to how you do. I wrote as much as I did not to be absurdly argumentative (I’m not trying to win an argument) but just to lay out for you what I don’t understand and where I’d really appreciate clarification.”

    Should I have been smart enough to realize what was upsetting about the encounter without having to ask? Probably. Should I have been smart enough to decide not to ask questions that could potentially have seemed as though I was suggesting that Elyse was in the wrong for feeling as she felt? Definitely. But I was absolutely not “trying to justify it.” I was trying to understand what was so upsetting about the situation, because I’ve never had a terribly similar experience and I’m not a woman and I guess I was being a bit slow and unempathic.

    The following points are excellent:
    Sexism is awful.
    Hurting people is awful.
    Threatening people is awful.
    Making people feel unsafe is awful.
    etc., etc.

    But you don’t need to selectively quote me to make me look worse than I am in order to make these points.

    1. 34.1
      Russell Glasser

      Donboc,

      I wasn’t saying that you were the entire problem, or even most of it. I’ll take your word for it that you have learned from this experience, and I’m glad of it. I recognize that your comment was not intended to be belligerent or to downplay her experiences.

      What I was saying is that “I don’t see what the big deal is” was the first of many (in my experience) inevitable comments that do seem to trivialize these kinds of events — intentionally or not. “It got worse” on the thread, FAST — not just by you, but by people who felt like piling on to say that her experience didn’t matter.

      Sorry if you felt picked on, but it’s frustrating to see these threads devolve time and again from sensible discussions of dealing with inappropriate behavior in public, to mass shouting matches about people’s rights to do whatever they want without repercussions.

      1. donboc

        Hi Kazim,

        Thanks for replying. Fair points.

        -D

  35. 35
    johngros

    This is why women should not speak. Their intellect leads to rape, mini skirts are nothing compared to a well formed argument put forward by a woman. I gotta stop now, I’m getting myself hot and flustered.

  1. 36
    Sexism The Ten Commandments of Flirting, Or, How to Not Be Creepy at Atheist Conventions | Open Source Thinktank

    [...] that have them, saying that they create too much “drama”, or that they’re “dividing the movement” (and harassment [...]

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