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What misogynists call outspoken women

It’s about time.

Rebecca has pointed out the activities of her more obsessed and malevolent haters. I’ve been following one particular clump of them, at intervals, all this time – yes they’re still at it. Would you believe it?

I’ve now amassed a following of obsessive creeps who have seemingly devoted their lives to hounding me down and making sure I never dare to speak my bitch mind again. Their tactics? Scientologist-level private investigation to dredge up the deepest, darkest mysteries of my past combined with grade school-level name-calling. It’s impressive, really. Really. Really.

You sure as hell have, I thought as I read that. Boy have you. The ones at Abbie Smith’s blog – that’s the clump I mentioned above – are the ones I know about, and that exactly sums up what they’ve been doing.

Abbie Smith at ERV was, as far as I could tell, the first to actively encourage people to replace intelligent discussion and inquiry with blind hatred and bile. That’s where the name “Rebeccunt Twatson” apparently arose – see? Impressive! If you listen hard enough, you can hear the ghost of Ambrose Bierce chuckling and nodding his head in approval.

And Twain and Mencken joining in. Right. Abbie Smith has also repeatedly called Rebecca a bitch – or a fucking bitch – in comments at ERV. People who should know better have egged her on. It’s been disgusting.

Then there’s a blog called Grey Lining written by someone named Franc Hoggle. Apparently nearly every post is now about me. Lucky me! He focuses on the really important things, like how I made a YouTube video recently in which I mistakenly said that Galileo was executed by the Church. Within minutes, I updated the video to flag the fact that I was wrong, but that doesn’t matter. Hoggle says that I must be “dumber than dog shit” and suggests I be taunted for the rest of my days. How dare anyone ever get anything wrong and then immediately correct it!

That’s when Franc Hoggle isn’t vomiting his hatred all over the undead ERV thread on the subject.

Then there’s this elevatorgate blog, in which a man attempts to convince my fellow SGU co-hosts to kick me off the podcast. I learned of this one from Steve Novella, who emailed it to me with the subject line “Another stalker”…

I think Steve discovered that blog because that person was one of the ones derailing this SkepticBlog post about the SGU 24-hour podcast. That’s right: a quick, simple, upbeat post from Steve publicizing our 24-hour show was quickly turned into a whine-fest from people demanding Steve “fire” me from the show. To support their argument, they linked to the above blogs because they seriously believed that it would convince others. As you can see in the thread if you dare to dig through it, they were not successful.

I followed that one, too, mouth hanging open in astonishment.

(They talk a lot of shit about me too, by the way. Nowhere near as much as they talk about Rebecca, or PZ, but still a lot.)

…they can continue to call me a cunt. After all, they derive so much joy from it, and to me it only makes things clearer. “Cunt” is what misogynists call outspoken women with contrary opinions, in an attempt to silence them.

That’s what this is really about: silencing. No one starts an entire site like the “elevatorgate” blog in the hopes of having a debate. No one comes up with a nickname using a word like cunt because he wants to resolve differences. No one tells a woman she would be lucky to get raped because he wants to offer solid evidence to contradict her point that misogyny is just as bad amongst skeptics and atheists as it is elsewhere.

Oh it’s about silencing all right – they make that very clear. They try to pressure everyone who invites or hires Rebecca to do something to univite her or fire her. This is frankly and explicitly about silencing.

And it’s a fucking outrage.

Comments

  1. screechy monkey says

    “This is frankly and explicitly about silencing.”

    And yet they’ll swear repeatedly that this is all about the Politically Correct FemiNazis trying to silence them.

  2. Hamilton Jacobi says

    I can’t believe that thread over at ERV has continued uninterrupted to this day. The word “obsession” doesn’t even come close to describing it.

  3. says

    I know, isn’t it amazing? I thought it had died out weeks ago but then someone alerted me to some new outburst and I saw that it had been simmering away all that time…

  4. meanmike says

    Who are these people? If they are indeed part of the skeptic community, I recommend they skeptically review their behavior. It strikes me as such an emotional, dinosaur brain reaction to so small a thing (and to be clear, I don’t think Rebecca did anything wrong). Let’s keep it rational, people.

  5. Aliasalpha says

    Are they the same people repeating the same shit over and over or is it a constant parade of new people reacting to the old story who keep sounding the same?

    I’m not sure which would be sadder really.

  6. mordacious1 says

    That ERV thread pretty much died a couple of weeks ago, then PZ did a post referencing the “Hoggling” thing and it took off again. Lately it’s been sputtering, with just a few posters until today when PZ referred to it again. Now it’s taking off.

    If everyone is so upset about it, perhaps they should ignore it and let it die a natural death instead of stoking the embers.

  7. claire ramsey says

    Damn, I thought we’d evolved beyond this. Primitive lizard brain is right. It’s sickening. What are these commenters afraid of? And don’t they have anything else to do? Maybe they are institutionalized?

  8. says

    I’ve seen stuff like this before, in different circumstances, so has PZ. In my opinion the community is reacting healthily by naming and shaming these vile individuals and expressing strong solidarity. There should be as broad a target as possible.

    Sadly they will never stop. They will continue even past the point where nobody will have anything to do with them. So be it. They made their choice.

  9. Pierce R. Butler says

    They try to pressure everyone who invites or hires Rebecca to do something to uni[n]vite her or fire her.

    Sounds more organized than the drooling mob of knuckle-draggers we see in the comments.

    Any evidence of $ponsorship by any of the innumerable Usual Suspects from the Vast Right-Wing ConspiracyⓇ?

  10. Pierce R. Butler says

    That’s where the name “Rebeccunt Twatson” apparently arose …

    Uh, waitaminit!

    Does National Geographic know what goes on under their new roof?

  11. Jim says

    I wonder if Abbie is/will be happy with the make up of her new audience? I can’t imagine becoming a magnet for MRA’s and misogynists is really what she intended.

  12. Pen says

    It’s hard to imagine how some people can be so lost to all sense of proportion. Any half reasonable person, even if he disagreed with Rebecca’s point of view, would have ended their involvement in the discussion a long time ago with ‘I’m afraid I just can’t see it that way…’.

    It’s in people’s responses to criticism, rather than in the actions that incurred the criticism that they actually expose themselves as misogynistic, bigoted and very much invested in exercising power over the person doing the criticizing.

  13. Sally Strange, OM says

    That ERV thread pretty much died a couple of weeks ago, then PZ did a post referencing the “Hoggling” thing and it took off again. Lately it’s been sputtering, with just a few posters until today when PZ referred to it again. Now it’s taking off.

    If everyone is so upset about it, perhaps they should ignore it and let it die a natural death instead of stoking the embers.

    If she didn’t make me so mad, I wouldn’t have to hit her!

    Same mentality.

  14. Francisco Bacopa says

    I used to be a regular reader over at ERV. Just kinda dropped out after this all started going on. Haven’t been back since. I couldn’t believe what was happening there, of all places.

  15. mordacious1 says

    What?! You extrapolated that from a “leave it alone and it will die out” comment? Sally Strange indeed!

  16. Artemisia says

    I’m just horrified by the vitriol being thrown at those who have dared to expressed such moderate feminist viewpoints. I actually caught the error RW made on Galileo early on and so pointed it out on facebook and she fixed it straight away.

    Modelling self correction in the face of evidence of error is EXACTLY what we want skeptical leaders to be doing. Thinking you’re always right is something any one can (and often does) do.

  17. Dave says

    So, how many of these aggressive obsessives are a few lunchboxes short of a picnic? How close are we to needing to mount a decade-long campaign to send round the Canadian police[fn. Reference to recent arrest and mental-health-related detention of notorious internet death-threatener "Mabus"]?

    Fucking loons, can they not see how pathetic a version of masculinity they are demonstrating, how embarrasingly unlike anything that could fairly be described as a ‘real man’ they are?

  18. Rinus says

    Seems to me all sides are doing their best to keep this thing going. Watson gets some nasty email and it starts another circlejerk in the blogosphere. Is there any major blogger who isn’t reposting the same stuff (other than Hemant)?

    It’s the internets. Everyone gets a say. Doesn’t mean you have to give them the undeserved attention you lot seem so keen on handing out in an attempt to.. I’m really not sure, actually..

  19. says

    I wonder if Abbie is/will be happy with the make up of her new audience? I can’t imagine becoming a magnet for MRA’s and misogynists is really what she intended.

    Well, she sleeps in the bed she made. Or as my mum used to say: If you got to sleep with the dogs, you get up with fleas.
    My sympathy for her died off long ago. She had a hell lot of possibilities to stop it. She chose to let it go on and encourage it at every possible occasion. So, if those are her choices, then she has to live with the consequences.
    She has lost a pretty lot of regular readers interested in science over this.

  20. Bernard Bumner says

    Seems to me all sides are doing their best to keep this thing going. Watson gets some nasty email and it starts another circlejerk in the blogosphere.

    So, what then? Watson should just remain silent in the face of the extreme animus she is subject to? If only she didn’t complain, then nobody would have to point out what a bunch of arseholes her stalkers are?

    It’s the internets. Everyone gets a say. Doesn’t mean you have to give them the undeserved attention you lot seem so keen on handing out in an attempt to.. I’m really not sure, actually..

    Well look at you: taking the moral high ground by not joining in. And then coming here to tell us all that you’re rising above the fray. Very noble.

    Except that you are joining in. By holding and articulating that opinion, you’re joining in. It may be a tutting, contrary one, but nonetheless you are participating in this and helping to perpetuate the argument.

    This may be the internet, but that doesn’t mean that everyone gets to say whatever they want to without being held to account. Sometimes it is simply necessary to point out arseholes acting like arseholes.

    A case in point; you are trying to be high-minded, and it makes you act like an arsehole.

  21. raymoscow says

    … yes they’re still at it. Would you believe it?

    There are some seriously messed up people out there who happen not to believe in god. I really don’t know why these people keep on except that they apparently really, really do hate women, or at least the sort of woman that Rebecca represents.

    Do I agree with everything she says or does? No. So what? I do happen to agree with most of what she says, and I find her worth listening to. But even if I didn’t, I could just ignore her and carry on. It’s not like we don’t all have better things to do than to harrass other people.

    Guess what, Watson haters? Your junior high called, and they have revoked your graduation. You get detention, with the rest of the bullies who didn’t finish 8th grade.

  22. Gordon says

    I’ve tried discussing this topic with “the other side” and I just cannot grasp their position. They seem obsessed with diverting onto tangents, or claiming false victimhood, or getting bogged down in the most pedantic/semantic details (or any mix of the three).

    I just don’t get it. I’d have assumed any normal human being hearing the original minute long anecdote would have thought, “yeah, don’t do that,” and moved on with their lives. It was clearly creepy, amost certainly not intended to be creepy, and therefore a learning moment for all those interested in not unintentionally coming across as creepy.

    Rebecca was trying to do a favour to exactly these clueless people who are attacking her!

  23. Rinus says

    Bernard –

    You do realize your post consists of little more than you putting words in my mouth, right?

  24. IIzO says

    As far as i know the only interesting thing the “otherside” has is the fact that it is indeed based on a sexist presuposition that Rw made her comment about elevator guy.

  25. robindch says

    Whatever about the people writing nasty things to and about RW, I find it unhelpful for her to continue to go on about it, when just about everybody else has dropped it and generally moved on, and generally having learned something. Regardless of the justice of her complaints, the supercilious tone she injects into this debate seems little different from the people she’s complaining about, and frankly, it does her few favors.

  26. says

    It’s hard to imagine how some people can be so lost to all sense of proportion. Any half reasonable person, even if he disagreed with Rebecca’s point of view, would have ended their involvement in the discussion a long time ago with ‘I’m afraid I just can’t see it that way…’.

    Yep.

    There’s plenty of room to disagree with Rebecca (I’m in the camp that agrees largely, but has some reservations about how McGraw was treated, for example) without turning into a frothing-at-the-mouth obsessed misogynistic maniac. This is messed-up shit…

  27. says

    Ah yes, of course she should shut up. Because someone being supercilious clearly demands a response of lengthy screeds of vitriolic personal abuse, along with stalking, threats of rape and murder. Obviously both sides are equally in the wrong there. *rolleyes*

  28. says

    robindch

    Whatever about the people writing nasty things to and about RW, I find it unhelpful for her to continue to go on about it, when just about everybody else has dropped it and generally moved on, and generally having learned something. Regardless of the justice of her complaints, the supercilious tone she injects into this debate seems little different from the people she’s complaining about, and frankly, it does her few favors.

    If she could just shut up, really, like a good girl needs to!
    If she just stopped complaining about people giving her threats of death and rape maybe people would stop doing it.
    If she just sucked it up and hadn’t dared to pass a line on a video about that guy none of this would have happened.
    Clearly, this is all her fault.
    And clearly, she’s asking for it.
    Stop talking about the horrible things you suffer they spoil my lunch! It is totally unhelpful for you to complain about it.

    Tell us, robindch, what hole did you crawl out where a passing remark equals a gendered insult, and where a conplain about the insult equals a rape threat, and where a complain about the rape threat equals a death threat?

  29. says

    James Sweet

    There’s plenty of room to disagree with Rebecca (I’m in the camp that agrees largely, but has some reservations about how McGraw was treated, for example) without turning into a frothing-at-the-mouth obsessed misogynistic maniac. This is messed-up shit…

    You know what, when this whole thing more or less started, and I read the now infamous “always name names post”, I expected a discussion about the social conventions, about debate conventions, did RW misjudge the situation with Ms McGraw and so on.
    That would also have been an interesting debate that never happened. But Tielserrath over at Pharyngula made the most accurate observation: the original “Elevatorgate” was like Pippin throwing stones into that lake: a tiny thing, but it stirred up an ugly monster.

  30. marta says

    “Regardless of the justice of her complaints, the supercilious tone she injects into this debate”

    Rebecca Watson has been hounded, harassed, stalked, and bullied. Unmercifully. For months.

    And what you find worthy of criticism is Watson’s “supercilious tone”?

    What the hell is the matter with you?

  31. Bernard Bumner says

    You do realize your post consists of little more than you putting words in my mouth, right?

    Okay, just to be clear:

    Seems to me all sides are doing their best to keep this thing going. Watson gets some nasty email and it starts another circlejerk in the blogosphere.

    What should Watson do about those emails? Should she have remained silent? If not, then what should those vocally supporting Watson do with the information, once they receive it?

    You seem to be judging people for perpetuating the argument, as though it is not an argument worth having. What point am I missing?

    It’s the internets. Everyone gets a say. Doesn’t mean you have to give them the undeserved attention you lot seem so keen on handing out in an attempt to.. I’m really not sure, actually..

    You aren’t counselling us to stay out of the (as you see it) circlejerk? You aren’t posturing to be high-minded?

    I didn’t put any words into your mouth, I commented on what I thought was the only reasonable interpretation of the words you wrote. If I’m wrong, then feel free to tell me why. Your response is inadequate to convince me that I was wrong.

  32. Bernard Bumner says

    As I said across on Pharyngula, even if someone passionately disagrees with Rebecca Watson, even if they dislike her, even hate her, how can they condone the actions of people who have set out to utterly destroy her?

    As you point out, Ophelia, this isn’t just a case of trying to undermine someone’s internet crediblity, but to systematically silence her voice and to cause her harm.

  33. says

    Seems to me this stopped being about whether one agrees with Rebecca a long time ago. I’m not sure if it’s even about feminism or misogyny any more. To me the continued harassment appears now to be very little more than an outlet for unhindered psychotic nastiness.

    I assume the police have been informed?

  34. marta says

    I can’t say it better than you did, Hermione, except to say that the repeated bullying of Rebecca Watson is approaching cruelty.

    It is not possible any more to be agnostic on this subject. I appreciate the efforts of many to avoid taking sides, but that time is over.

  35. julian says

    It’s the internets. Everyone gets a say. Doesn’t mean you have to give them the undeserved attention you lot seem so keen on handing out in an attempt to.

    Did it ever occur to you that maybe, people who have been victims of bullying, slut shaming and this kind of abuse might want to take this opportunity to express their support for someone being subjected to the same harassment they’ve endured?

  36. Gnumann says

    I’m not sure if it’s even about feminism or misogyny any more

    Oh, it sure is. It’s vitally important to have that in mind.

    Some of the perps might not be misogynist in their own mind, but their behaviour is coming right from the sexism in our society.

  37. says

    Good point, julian.

    This isn’t just “what they’re doing to Rebecca” – it fits a pattern. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve had (and continue to have) some of this kind of thing myself; a fraction of what Rebecca’s been getting, but it still fits the pattern.

  38. Elly says

    The problem with the internet, is that it provides instant gratification for cowards who wouldn’t have the courage to say the things they say in a “live” gathering of actual people. Words that might be responded to by an awkward silence, or even openly disagreed with (at least by some), are received differently online. Self-selected audiences provide support for antisocial and hateful opinions, and bloggers with an agenda can restrict, edit, or otherwise control the number of dissenting voices seen/heard in the comments.

    As such, there are no immediate social consequences for people who engage in this feral behavior. They get to feel powerful at someone else’s expense (cue Denis Leary’s “Asshole”) without drawing any professional or personal consequences (at least immediate ones, which are the ones that sting the most).

    Compassion doesn’t come easily to some people (*cough* robindch *cough*), which is why social restraints are important. It’s lot like regulations on businesses – remove them, and the race to the bottom begins (as we’ve unfortunately seen).

  39. Rieux says

    I find the whole thing just unspeakably depressing—and obviously I have the luxury (which Watson doesn’t) to escape from it and spend my time and attention on other things.

    Before this disaster, I thought that the atheist community (such as it is) was more enlightened than the broader society around us regarding sexism and privilege issues in general. I certainly didn’t think we were immune from misogyny and male privilege or anything, just measurably better than the populace at large. Now—no, it really would appear we aren’t. We might in fact be worse.

    And then, several people here have seen me write some very critical things about Unitarian Universalism, a religious (or quasi-religious) community I was a part of for several years. I don’t take anything back that I’ve said—but with regard to this issue, UUism is much much much better than the atheist community has shown itself to be recently. I’m sure there’s male privilege to be found in UUism, and if you looked hard you could probably find honest-to-goodness misogyny in some UU corner or other—but no way in hell could anyone in a UU congregation or administration get away with launching the kind of woman-hating insanity that Watson has been subjected to. The contrast is painful.

    There is some hope to be found in the reaction from a meaningful number of prominent atheists, including Ophelia and PZ (indeed pretty much the whole FTB crew, no?). Still, the whole thing is just a neverending facepalm, and I feel like a total coward for pretty much entirely avoiding it.

    I am so, so sorry for Watson and everyone else who has been on the business end of this ugly garbage. I’m ashamed for my Y chromosome… and even my atheism, a bit. What a disgrace.

  40. theobromine says

    Around these parts, the atheist community is (more or less) divided into a group of people who would consider themselves to be primarily Humanists and/or UUs, and a group who consider themselves to be primarily rationalist atheists (but also “small-h” humanists from the perspective of morality etc). Probably most members of either cohort would agree with the statement that it is a good thing to “disagree without being disagreeable”. The funny thing is that they mean something rather different to each group. For the UU/Humanists, it means that one should never express one’s strongly held opinions in cases where it might ruffle feathers. I’m not talking about dying grandmothers, I’m talking about discouraging even internal group discussion about subjects, eg of philosophy and morality upon which members might disagree. On the other hand, for the atheist-rationalist types, disagreeing without being disagreeable means that people are encouraged to freely express opinions, but that personal attacks are not allowed.

    Seriously, reasoned discussion and free discourse, including disagreement is a Good Thing. And I guess it is naive for me to ask what possible advantage there is to having disagreement that comes with gratuitous personal attacks? In addition to fracturing a community that is already small enough, it seems to me that it also gives ammunition to those who would claim that the only way to avoid unpleasantness is to simply not discuss anything controversial.

  41. Sastra says

    I also thought the freethought/skeptical/atheist/humanist community had its act together on the issue of sexism a hell of a lot more than it apparently does. I’m hoping this is a (painful) stage in its growth.

    I am so, so sorry for Watson and everyone else who has been on the business end of this ugly garbage.

    Yes. Really.

    I know Rebecca slightly — have been to some of her Skepchick parties, etc. Even if I had thought she was over-reacting to the Elevator Issue (which I didn’t, I watched the video), I couldn’t imagine getting angry with her personally. In addition to her usual willingness to discuss disagreements clearly and fairly, she’s one of the most personable people I know. Nice.

    Not that this should make a difference. Those of us who are not so personable shouldn’t have to go through ‘the business end of this ugly garbage’ either. It just makes it even more surprising to me than it already is.

    It’s not about Rebecca. It couldn’t be. In fact, I suspect the issue isn’t even the issue any more — if it ever was.

  42. says

    Did it ever occur to you that maybe, people who have been victims of bullying, slut shaming and this kind of abuse might want to take this opportunity to express their support for someone being subjected to the same harassment they’ve endured?

    QFT. It’s not just on “the internets,” either. I experienced a similar thing once when I reported a fellow student for sexual harassment. Suddenly, a shit-ton of men I didn’t know were following me, threatening me, telling me what a liar I was, and sexually harassing me too, just to prove they could.

    These weapons-grade misogynists hounding her for months are stalkers, harassers, or worse – that much is obvious from their behavior – and as such, it is obviously in their self-interest to make an example of a woman who was subjected to similar behavior and said, publically, that it’s not ok.

    This is NOT just about RW anymore. This is about the message these fuckwits are sending to ALL women in the skeptical movement and beyond: this is what will happen if you tell. It’s not far removed from the pedophile who threatens that he’ll kill the kid’s parents if he tells anyone.

    Goddamnit, we need to stand up to this crap. If we shut up and hope it will go away, the gender terrorists win. Women get the message that everyone will turn a blind eye, so it’s best to just try to enjoy it. If you don’t resist, maybe he won’t hit you. This time.

    Fuck that noise.

  43. says

    Elly

    The problem with the internet, is that it provides instant gratification for cowards who wouldn’t have the courage to say the things they say in a “live” gathering of actual people. Words that might be responded to by an awkward silence, or even openly disagreed with (at least by some), are received differently online. Self-selected audiences provide support for antisocial and hateful opinions, and bloggers with an agenda can restrict, edit, or otherwise control the number of dissenting voices seen/heard in the comments.

    Nah, I’m not buying the “it’s the internet” explenation. Apart from RW herself obviously, some of the most visible actors on this scene have very prominent RL names and faces attached to them.

  44. Rinus says

    It’s not far removed from the pedophile who threatens that he’ll kill the kid’s parents if he tells anyone.

    Really now?

  45. gingerbaker says

    “It is not possible any more to be agnostic on this subject.”

    If the subject is misogynistic physical threats launched at Rebecca Watson, I agree with you. That’s inexcusable.

    If the subject is who is on the side of the angels in the whole affaire d’ElevatorGate I’d like to retain the right to be agnostic.

    RW has displayed some questionable behavior toward more than one person in this sordid tempest. Posting reams of hysterical posts demanding a boycott of Richard Dawkins in retribution for his alleged ‘misogyny’ was not only extremely damaging to the atheist cause and community, but did feminism no favors either. Rather ironic from someone who is making the case that her comments should be interpreted with generosity, respect, and without reprisal.

  46. says

    Posting reams of hysterical posts demanding a boycott of Richard Dawkins in retribution for his alleged ‘misogyny’ was not only extremely damaging to the atheist cause and community, but did feminism no favors either.

    Which did not happen.

    The only pattern here is that every event in this affair gets inflated into absurdity by the misogynists.

  47. says

    Posting reams of hysterical posts demanding a boycott of Richard Dawkins in retribution for his alleged ‘misogyny’ was not only extremely damaging to the atheist cause and community, but did feminism no favors either.

    Which is something that only happened in your head (and those of quite a few other people).
    OK, I’ll type this v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y:
    Rebecca Watson never called for a boycott of Richard Dawkins. She stated publicly that she’s not giving a fuck about him anymore after he publicly “schooled” her in a very condescending manner as to what she is allowed to think and feel and what not.

    OK, I’ll tell you now that I have a shitty car. It’s a Toyota. I won’t ever buy a Toyota in my whole life again.
    Now, did I just call for a world-wide boycott of Toyota or did I make a personal statement?

  48. says

    Rinus – Really now. The behavior – threatening violence to intimidate someone into not speaking out against their behavior – is the same.

  49. marta says

    @52

    The continued hounding, harassment, stalking and bullying of Rebecca Watson is a massively out of proportion response to anything you claim she might have done. It is indefensible.

  50. raymoscow says

    What Giliell said is how I remember it, too. There were no hysterical (or otherwise) demands for a Dawkins boycott.

    And this is beside the point anyway, since such actions (although fictional in this case) would not merit the harassment that Watson has received. Nothing does.

  51. Rinus says

    Rinus – Really now. The behavior – threatening violence to intimidate someone into not speaking out against their behavior – is the same.

    Yeah. You’re right. Anonymous remarks in the comment sections of youtube (or something similar) is the exact same thing as raping a child and threatening to kill him/her if the breathes a word of it to anyone.

  52. anthrosciguy says

    You know, ye who say RW et al. should just shut up and it will die out (which is precisely what “leave it alone and it will die out” means) should remember that folks like that don’t stop at Rebecca. She would just be the warning hanging in the tree at the crossroads for everyone, including you, to remember so you’ll think long and hard before you do even so much as the gentle reminder RW offered which started this incredible, sustained, burst of hatred.

  53. says

    Rinus, right, as long as the threats are made anonymously, they don’t count as threats – they’re mere “comments.”

    And women are never raped. And when they are, which they aren’t, the kind of thing happening to RW never happens to them.

    Good thinking.

  54. says

    Plus we were leaving it alone and it didn’t die out. That “Kick her off the podcast!!11!” campaign at SGU was just a couple of weeks ago. That thread at ERV has been going for almost two months.

  55. Rinus says

    Rinus, right, as long as the threats are made anonymously, they don’t count as threats – they’re mere “comments.”

    And women are never raped. And when they are, which they aren’t, the kind of thing happening to RW never happens to them.

    Good thinking.

    Again, I completely agree. What Watson has experienced is the exact same thing a child experiences when it is raped and silenced by threats of death afterwards.

    People who don’t agree are just antagonists who, as P.Z. rightly point out, always inflate things into absurdity. something people like you never do.

  56. says

    Before this disaster, I thought that the atheist community (such as it is) was more enlightened than the broader society around us regarding sexism and privilege issues in general. I certainly didn’t think we were immune from misogyny and male privilege or anything, just measurably better than the populace at large. Now—no, it really would appear we aren’t. We might in fact be worse.

    Maybe, but we haven’t got enough information to decide for sure. In many of the cases that Rebecca cites, the Haters are lone wolves who are galvanized by an issue that many of us have forgotten about.

    But it wouldn’t really surprise me if it turned out that a vocal minority in the population of skeptics would be more abusive than vocal minorities in mainstream communities. I’m sure they’ve convinced themselves that they’re debunking something or other. Since debunking is a skeptic’s holy quest, you can expect them to go on for a while yet, thinking that they’re just being good skeptics (even when they’re really just being unreasonable assholes).

  57. Rinus says

    Rinus, nobody said it was “the exact same thing” – that’s your language. But threats are threats. Don’t minimize them to make a point.

    Some mild sarcasm to point out the extreme stupidity in that line of reasoning was warranted. It’s on a par with ‘You know who else did that? Hitler!’ type arguments.

    But sure, feel free to focus instead on how I minimized threats of rape. (Which I didn’t actually do at any point.)

  58. Dan L. says

    So depressing. ERV’s “debates” with Dembski are pretty much what got me paying attention to the atheist blogosphere in the first place, now I can’t even look at that blog without wanting to sick up.

    And Jerry Coyne keeps plugging that awful Sneer Review blog which last I checked is about 50% “slag RW” posts.

    Don’t these people have friends or lives or families? Or morals or principles? Seems like there’s better targets for this kind of vitriol. If you need proof for that just read the Ryan report or, you know, read stuff about the daily life of Saudi women. Rick Perry. It’s not like there’s a lack of things to get upset about.

    Cowards and bullies, man. Thanks for continuing to say the things that need to be said, OB.

  59. Dan L. says

    But sure, feel free to focus instead on how I minimized threats of rape. (Which I didn’t actually do at any point.)

    I agree that the comment you responded to went into unnecessary and silly histrionics. Please choose to be the bigger person. This sort of argument can only make the situation more depressing.

  60. says

    I’m continually amazed at the people who think shutting up will somehow magically fix this festering wound.

    It’s like the Catholic church shushing victims and shuffling around pedophile priests. The problem will just go away if nobody complains and everybody tows the line. We see how well that works.

    So fuck that shit.

    It needs to be faced. It must be addressed.

    Otherwise the skeptical movement is just another group of loosely organized fools pretending to think and act critically but actually tossing in the hat when the questions get too tough.

  61. says

    But sure, feel free to focus instead on how I minimized threats of rape. (Which I didn’t actually do at any point.)

    Except actually –

    Anonymous remarks in the comment sections of youtube…

    And as Ophelia pointed out, no one said they were the exact same thing. What you call mild sarcasm, the rest of us call a strawman.

    unnecessary and silly histrionics.

    Oh, goody, a dude has decreed my comment silly and unnecessary. I must be doing something right.

  62. screechy monkey says

    It’s interesting. When PZ does one of his recurring “I get email” posts, reprinting some disgusting and/or moronic rant from (usually) a Christian, nobody seems to show up in the comments to complain that PZ should just “let it die” already. When he mentions that he still gets complaints and threats from the Great Cracker Desecration, nobody chides him for re-opening that issue. People seem to understand that if the problem hasn’t gone away, you don’t stop talking about it.

    No, these complaints only seem to come up when an atheist blogger posts about harassment or insults or threats from a misogynist. Then suddenly we’re supposed to pretend that the underlying problem has gone away, even when “the other side” is actively continuing the battle.

    “Ho hum, don’t bother us with this trivial news of misogynistic insults and threats! Get back to making fun of dumb Christians!”

    (Not that I mind the mockery of dumb Christians, mind you.)

  63. robindch says

    Giliell: “If she could just shut up, really, like a good girl needs to! If she just stopped complaining about people giving her threats of death and rape maybe people would stop doing it.”

    I’m upset about every aspect of this lamentable saga – from the no doubt inept approach made by some guy in Dublin (at the conference I was at myself), to Dawkins stupid response to Watson’s honest and reasonable vlog, to Watson’s unhelpful reply to Dawkins and the rest of the spiralling, subsequent nonsense. The skeptical and atheist communities really should have done far, far better on all fronts.

    However, Watson has made a number of claims about endemic sexism within the skeptical and atheist communities which she failed to back up with evidence at the time she made them, and which run counter to every experience that I’ve had in similar circles, over a longer period of time than Watson herself. Meanwhile, on her flikr account, she posted pictures of herself appearing to wear nothing more than knickers, she appeared to sell skeptical thong underwear at at least one skeptical/atheist conference, and she appeared in a calendar which featured nude and semi-nude women. And that’s just what the atheist + agnostic forum on boards.ie located within a few days. I think it’s reasonable to assume that there’s more out there.

    It’s of zero importance to me whether Watson is male or female.

    It’s of the highest importance that Watson, to say the very least, appears to have double standards.

  64. screechy monkey says

    Meanwhile, on her flikr account, she posted pictures of herself appearing to wear nothing more than knickers, she appeared to sell skeptical thong underwear at at least one skeptical/atheist conference, and she appeared in a calendar which featured nude and semi-nude women.

    And therefore forfeited her right to complain about sexism?

    And that’s just what the atheist + agnostic forum on boards.ie located within a few days. I think it’s reasonable to assume that there’s more out there.

    Don’t worry, I’m sure the haters are diligently searching for additional “evidence” on this terribly relevant subject. Why yes, I bet the dirty little slut has probably had sex, too!

  65. marta says

    “Meanwhile, on her flikr account, she posted pictures of herself appearing to wear nothing more than knickers, she appeared to sell skeptical thong underwear at at least one skeptical/atheist conference, and she appeared in a calendar which featured nude and semi-nude women.”

    Your point is that Rebecca’s gettin’ what’s comin’ to her because there are pictures out there of her in her underwear?

  66. says

    Meanwhile, on her flikr account, she posted pictures of herself appearing to wear nothing more than knickers, she appeared to sell skeptical thong underwear at at least one skeptical/atheist conference, and she appeared in a calendar which featured nude and semi-nude women [....] It’s of the highest importance that Watson, to say the very least, appears to have double standards.

    If SHE can take her clothes off, why can’t I take her clothes off? What a double standard!

  67. Hamilton Jacobi says

    It’s of the highest importance that Watson, to say the very least, appears to have double standards.

    Let me get this clear. “Double standards” means “does not wear a burka” together with “does not want to put out for random strangers in an elevator”? Or is it “does not wear a burka” together with “objects to being hounded, harassed, and vilified for months on end”?

  68. theobromine says

    [Watson] posted pictures of herself appearing to wear nothing more than knickers, she appeared to sell skeptical thong underwear at at least one skeptical/atheist conference, and she appeared in a calendar which featured nude and semi-nude women…

    It’s of zero importance to me whether Watson is male or female.

    It’s of the highest importance that Watson, to say the very least, appears to have double standards.

    I’m missing something here. Where are the double standards? Has Watson told anyone, male or female, how much or how little clothing they ought to wear? Is posing nude or semi-nude to be considered an open invitation for sex? What double standard does selling skeptical thong underwear demonstrate or imply?

    Here’s the thing: The person beside you in your house, in your classroom, at your workplace, or across the world on the internet is Another Human Being. Regardless of what sex, gender, or sexuality they are, regardless of how attractive they are, and no matter how how much or how little skin they are showing (and what colour it is), they are to be treated with the same level of respect you would demand someone give to your spouse, your child, your sibling, or your parents (not to mention yourself).

  69. Philip Legge says

    It’s of the highest importance that Watson, to say the very least, appears to have double standards.

    No one’s behaviour is entirely blameless, especially when people take it upon themselves to obsessively ferret out every possible piece of dirty laundry that can be dug up from the past. It is not, however, a double standard to be generally sex-positive while also clearly delimiting the boundaries to social interactions. Your posts have been about justifying the silencing of criticism of inappropriate behaviour, and the desire for unlimited male entitlement.

  70. thztds says

    It’s of the highest importance that Watson, to say the very least, appears to have double standards.

    So it’s of much less importance that she’s been harassed for months?

    I’m sure we’re all glad to know that the vile behavior of some people towards her isn’t the most important part of this whole mess. From now on whenever someone is treated to months of verbal abuse on the internet, we’ll all check to see if the abused person “appears to have double standards.”

    No actual double standards required of course. . .

  71. says

    You know, robindch, you’re the one who said this about 12 hours ago –

    Whatever about the people writing nasty things to and about RW, I find it unhelpful for her to continue to go on about it, when just about everybody else has dropped it and generally moved on, and generally having learned something.

    That just shows that you don’t have any standards at all, double or single, because there are still people writing worse-than-nasty things to and about RW. They haven’t dropped it, they haven’t moved on, and they sure as fuck haven’t learned something.

    And speaking of standards, I don’t much want a slightly more genteel version of the same thing here.

  72. F says

    Yeah. You’re right. Anonymous remarks in the comment sections of youtube (or something similar) is the exact same thing as raping a child and threatening to kill him/her if the breathes a word of it to anyone.

    It is the exact same silencing tactic – which is what the comparison is. odd how you can’t see that.

    More suspect is your attempted further diminution of the issue by relegating the entire continued campaign of harassment and threats to “Anonymous remarks in the comment sections of youtube (or something similar)“, which is utter bs. Nice try on hedging that statement with the parenthetical remark. You don’t have clue one about any of this, do you?

    And for everyone else saying “drop it and it will go away” – you are obviously wrong. It was dropped, didn’t go away. You have mis-identified the persons responsible for perpetuating this situation.

    —-

    One side note on the “I didn’t think my fellow atheists were like that” concept: While it is undeniable that atheist communities have a sexism problem, not every MRA moron attacking Watson is an atheist. Some additional idiots have swelled the ranks. Not that this makes the atheist problem any less significant.

  73. bluejohn says

    Freethought Kampala has a nice summary of the whole episode. James is a pleasant fellow who would be open to discussing the issues. It would be nice if Ophelia and PZ would engage in the discussion.

  74. julian says

    It’s of the highest importance that Watson, to say the very least, appears to have double standards.

    About what exactly?

    Please explain to me, I’m rather slow you see, just how Rebecca Watson is holding a double standard. From what I’ve, slow me again, always been lead to believe a woman was allowed to be ‘sexy’ while retaining her right to not be harassed.

    And that’s just what the atheist + agnostic forum on boards.ie located within a few days. I think it’s reasonable to assume that there’s more out there

    Oh yeah, definitely no slut shaming or harassment here. This isn’t in anyway creepy or inappropriate behavior.

  75. Rinus says

    It is the exact same silencing tactic – which is what the comparison is. odd how you can’t see that.

    No. It’s not.

    If all you’re trying to do is come up with an analogy, making one about child-rape and death threats is idiotic. It’s a deliberate attempt to associate all the rage and contempt people have for child-rapists with [insert person you don't agree with]. It’s the ultimate Godwin, the sexism version.

    More suspect is your attempted further diminution of the issue by relegating the entire continued campaign of harassment and threats to “Anonymous remarks in the comment sections of youtube (or something similar)“, which is utter bs. Nice try on hedging that statement with the parenthetical remark. You don’t have clue one about any of this, do you?

    You know, some advice for both you and Ophelia.

    When you accuse someone of trying to diminish the seriousness of threats of rape, not caring about women being raped or something along those lines, you’re really pulling out quite the debate stopper.

    But yeah, go ahead and lump everyone and everything that doesn’t agree with you uncritically into one single category, defined by the worst possible example you can find.

  76. says

    However, Watson has made a number of claims about endemic sexism within the skeptical and atheist communities which she failed to back up with evidence at the time she made them, and which run counter to every experience that I’ve had in similar circles, over a longer period of time than Watson herself.

    Examples, please? And why is that even relevant in a thread that’s discussing systematic hounding, harassment, and relentless attempts at marginalization of Watson?

  77. says

    It’s a deliberate attempt to associate all the rage and contempt people have for child-rapists with [insert person you don't agree with].

    Like child rape, sexual harassment, stalking, and death threats are not behaviors that reasonable people “disagree with” each other on. So yes, I’m deviously attmepting to associate all the rage and contempt people have for child-rapists (and murder-your-parents-threat makers) with – and this is important – the rage and contempt we all SHOULD have for sexual harassers, stalkers, and rape and death threateners.

    It’s not a Godwin if you’re comparing Hitler with Qaddafi or Mussolini, you moron.

  78. says

    Watson’s unhelpful reply to Dawkins and the rest of the spiralling,

    Translation:
    She was attacked, patronized, condescended and then she was angry, how dare she?
    Didn’t she know that women aren’t allowed to be angry and that being angry makes you wrong?

    However, Watson has made a number of claims about endemic sexism within the skeptical and atheist communities which she failed to back up with evidence at the time she made them

    Translation: I never read anythy that happened at that time, nor did I read anything since.
    Well, there was her original talk in which she pointed out the sexist stuff she gets from atheist/scepitical men “who mean well”, pushing their sexual fantasies and invitations onto her. There was the outrage about a speaker at a conference who praised some women in the community because they were good-looking and therefore would attract many new people, there were the numerous examples of women who had complained about sexual advances on meetings.
    And then of course there was the bazillion of atheist MRAs and Mensplainers who showed up after her video. Then there are the attacks she currently writes about.
    How much more evidence do you need?

    , and which run counter to every experience that I’ve had in similar circles, over a longer period of time than Watson herself.

    Translation: Things are only real when they affect me.
    No idea what your sex, gender, colour, orientation is, but it strikes me as a 1st grade display of privilege.

    Meanwhile, on her flikr account, she posted pictures of herself appearing to wear nothing more than knickers, she appeared to sell skeptical thong underwear at at least one skeptical/atheist conference, and she appeared in a calendar which featured nude and semi-nude women.

    Translation: Women how show off their bodies, who are sexually active, who are not ashamed of themselves lose every right to be treated with dignity and respect. Yeah, talk about misogyny.

    It’s of the highest importance that Watson, to say the very least, appears to have double standards.

    Which are?

  79. Bernard Bumner says

    Rinus, you weasel, stop dancing around trying to distract evevryone from the topic. Why not state your opinion about the original post?

    You haven’t actually bothered to attempt to make any substantive points since that first comment. You seem to be contrary without attempting to make any point. You still haven’t bothered to explain why my interpretation of your words was wrong.

    Do you have anything meaningful to contribute?

    robindch:

    Meanwhile, on her flikr account, she posted pictures of herself appearing to wear nothing more than knickers, she appeared to sell skeptical thong underwear at at least one skeptical/atheist conference, and she appeared in a calendar which featured nude and semi-nude women. And that’s just what the atheist + agnostic forum on boards.ie located within a few days. I think it’s reasonable to assume that there’s more out there.

    It’s of zero importance to me whether Watson is male or female.

    It’s of the highest importance that Watson, to say the very least, appears to have double standards.

    Are you insane? What signifies a poppet?

    Rebecca Watson could trampoline naked in my bedroom without granting me any right to invade her sexual or personal boundaries. (It does give the right to as her to leave.)

    The revelation that Rebecca Watson is naked under her clothes does nothing to suggest that she opperates double standards. It certainly doesn’t legitmately make her a target for disgraceful and horrific persecution.

    Your need to punish Rebecca Watson for daring to show off her flesh is very revealing. That, and you obviously like a good, old-fashioned witchhunt.

    Burn the witch!

  80. says

    bluejohn – I had a discussion with James at Facebook, but we fundamentally disagree. I don’t think more discussion (on this subject) would be productive.

    (What we disagreed about is that his view is: men have the right to ask women [politely] for sex, even if they are total strangers and it’s out of the blue, and it’s akin to racism to make a social or moral rule saying they shouldn’t do that. My view is: women’s right not to be pestered in that way trumps men’s right to invite stranger women to have sex.)

  81. julian says

    Rinus, do you have a point to make or are you here just to remind everyone that you’re oh so superior?

  82. Rinus says

    Eh, I’ll make it a mass-reply.

    Rinus, do you have a point to make or are you here just to remind everyone that you’re oh so superior?

    Well, that post is a lovely bit of irony. Cheers.

    Rinus, you weasel, stop dancing around trying to distract evevryone from the topic. Why not state your opinion about the original post?

    You haven’t actually bothered to attempt to make any substantive points since that first comment. You seem to be contrary without attempting to make any point. You still haven’t bothered to explain why my interpretation of your words was wrong.

    Do you have anything meaningful to contribute?

    I already said that I didn’t recognize anything of myself in your interpretation of my posts. As such, I don’t see why I should even bother defending myself. You can make up anything you like, but I can’t be bothered to have an argument over something that seems to exist only in your head.

    Like child rape, sexual harassment, stalking, and death threats are not behaviors that reasonable people “disagree with” each other on. So yes, I’m deviously attmepting to associate all the rage and contempt people have for child-rapists (and murder-your-parents-threat makers) with – and this is important – the rage and contempt we all SHOULD have for sexual harassers, stalkers, and rape and death threateners.

    It’s not a Godwin if you’re comparing Hitler with Qaddafi or Mussolini, you moron.

    No fair, my ‘morons’ got edited/filtered to ‘antagonists’.

    Other than that.. you’re still bringing up child rape? Really not sure what else there is to say about that.

  83. says

    men have the right to ask women [politely] for sex, even if they are total strangers and it’s out of the blue, and it’s akin to racism to make a social or moral rule saying they shouldn’t do that.

    This makes me angry.
    It does. Because guys never considerate how threatening such a behaviour actually is.
    I had this once happening to me. The guy and I were chatting on a bus-trip to a congress. He was from the arab world (before the usual suspects feel justified: he was an atheist) but had lived for some years in Germany and we were chatting basically about German politics, immigration and asylum issues until, out of the blue, he told me that if he’d learned one thing in Germany, it was that German men sucked in bed (I had mentioned the existence of a partner before that point) and what German women really needed was a firm arab dick and that I was totally welcome to have his.
    I instantly changed seats and clung to my friends for the rest of the day.
    It completely took away any liberty I had because suddenly I felt small, vulnerable and preyed upon.
    And I’m not a survivor. I’m a very lucky woman who was fortunate so far that none of the men in my life ever tried to assault me and the stranger who tried wasn’t fast enough. So I don’t carry a lot of ballast on this issue. I can only imagine what this might have done to a rape-survivor.

  84. says

    men have the right to ask women [politely] for sex, even if they are total strangers and it’s out of the blue

    It is IMPOSSIBLE to politely ask a stranger, out of the blue, if you can put your penis inside them.

    , and it’s akin to racism to make a social or moral rule saying they shouldn’t do that.

    No. It’s sexism to make a social or moral rule saying I’m not allowed to determine whether your out of the blue request for sex from me, a total stranger, was sufficiently “polite” enough that I cannot object to it.

  85. Bernard Bumner says

    Shorter Rinus: I have nothing to say, so I’ll just make farting noises with my armpit…

  86. julian says

    Right. Trolls, ego, do not feed.

    men have the right to ask women [politely] for sex, even if they are total strangers and it’s out of the blue, and it’s akin to racism to make a social or moral rule saying they shouldn’t do that.

    ‘It’s akin to racism?’

    Demanding you take into account the other person in your conversation is ‘akin to racism?’ And what exactly is ‘politely’ doing in there? There is no polite way to ask someone for sex. It’s inherently disrespectful to go up to a stranger (and I’m going to say that regardless of gender) going about their business. It’s intrusive and presumes a lot about what that person is willing to tolerate. And, like I said before, it falls into the same category as cat calls, so it’s going to create an equally hostile environment.

    If this gentleman wants to argue it’s fine to approach strangers for sex (which in many situations it might be), I hope he at least has the integrity not to try and nice it up to make it seem more acceptable.

  87. says

    I know, I know, I know. This is why I didn’t want to continue the discussion (along with other reasons, like the fact that FB threads are a crappy place for an extended discussion, and the fact that I wasn’t getting anywhere). I like James Onen but that claim just makes me crazy.

    I told him about the month I spent in Paris at age 17-18 (birthday while I was there), being constantly hounded by men following me and asking me to have sex. It was horrible. It took away my treasured freedom to wander around exploring strange cities; it made me feel hunted and simply unable to have the privacy-in-public that I longed for. His view was basically tough shit – women just have to put up with that.

    Why it’s racist – it’s something about how saying a man can’t get in an elevator with a woman is comparable to saying a black person can’t get in an elevator with a white person. (Only nobody said the first thing…but anyway, it was something about that.)

  88. Grace says

    “Meanwhile, on her flikr account, she posted pictures of herself appearing to wear nothing more than knickers, she appeared to sell skeptical thong underwear at at least one skeptical/atheist conference, and she appeared in a calendar which featured nude and semi-nude women.”

    I’m speechless. Someone actually used the way a women was dressed argument to make her complaints of sexism and harrassment and threats of rape directed at her not to be believed or taken seriously.

    Ha.

    “I think it’s reasonable to assume that there’s more out there.”

    YES. Because if there are any more sexy photos out there, any reasonable person would conclude this slut has even less credibility.

    But you’ve never noticed any sexism in the skeptic/atheist community.

    Yep. Totally.

  89. Grace says

    “Meanwhile, on her flikr account, she posted pictures of herself appearing to wear nothing more than knickers, she appeared to sell skeptical thong underwear at at least one skeptical/atheist conference, and she appeared in a calendar which featured nude and semi-nude women.”

    I’m speechless. Someone actually used the way a women was dressed argument to make her complaints of sexism, harrassment and threats of rape not to be believed or taken seriously.

    Ha.

    “I think it’s reasonable to assume that there’s more out there.”

    YES. Because if there are any more sexy photos out there, any reasonable person would conclude this slut has even less credibility.

    But you’ve never noticed any sexism in the skeptic/atheist community.

    Yep. Totally.

  90. says

    men have the right to ask women [politely] for sex, even if they are total strangers and it’s out of the blue…

    No, actually, we don’t. When we do so, it is (or it should be) with the understanding that laughter, ridicule, contempt, gossip, and a slap in the face are among the likely results of such requests.

    …and it’s akin to racism to make a social or moral rule saying they shouldn’t do that.

    Rules of behavior are “akin to racism?” Which of those words do you not grasp the meaning of — “akin,” “to,” or “racism?”

    That has got to be the stoopidest nugget of self-righteous self-pity I’ve ever heard.

  91. Bernard Bumner says

    Hoggle, you are one of the obssessors-in-chief over at ERV, and your blog stands as testiment to that. You are a nasty bully and a stalker.

    Your putrid opinions condemn you utterly.

    Go and get whatever help it is you need to be able to leave Rebecca Watson alone. Dedicating your time to trying to destroy someone you disagree with is a sign of sickness. You need to stop.

  92. bluejohn says

    Thanks Ophelia. I am glad you had a discussion (albeit a truncated one on facebook). I think it is useful that you have identified a fundamental disagreement — one around which there is much passion. I think James might identify the distinction as one of special pleading (women’s discomfort about ‘sex/objectification’ is a unique situation as compared to others). Similar to the claims that bad/sexist words about women are worse than bad/sexist/racist words about men/blacks/elderly. I think it may go back to the distinction between gender feminism and equity feminism. Again, thanks for engaging with James. I find the philosophers like James and Jean Kazez to be better (maybe calmer) discussants of this debacle than the scientists or journalists :).

  93. theobromine says

    Similar to the claims that bad/sexist words about women are worse than bad/sexist/racist words about men/blacks/elderly.

    Has *anyone* claimed this? It seems to me that we haven’t even got to the point where sex-based insults against women are considered to be at the same level of badness as racist insults (not sure about ageist).

  94. julian says

    women’s discomfort about ‘sex/objectification’ is a unique situation as compared to others

    *twitch*

    You know, I’m starting not to regret missing out on college. Already had my fill of being forced to enjoy degradation and being insulted.

  95. says

    Similar to the claims that bad/sexist words about women are worse than bad/sexist/racist words about men/blacks/elderly.

    There are no such claims. None. As theo said – the struggle is to get people to realize that they are as bad as racist words. (“Elderly”? Are you kidding? That category doesn’t make the cut at all. Being 150 myself, I’m sharply aware of this.)

    Don’t be taken in by the bullshit about “the distinction between gender feminism and equity feminism” at ERV. Those people don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s just bullshit to claim that only loony radical “gender” feminism has a problem with calling women “cunts” or with univited sexual propositions from strangers.

  96. Rinus says

    One of the odd things about the process of politically correctness and the re-branding of words is that some people are going to be alive and about to notice it.

    Maybe in a few years from now, words like cunt and twat will have become less generic insults and strictly sexist terms, unacceptable in polite (as far as cussing can ever be considered polite, that is) conversation. Problem is, at the moment, they have more than one meaning.

    Then there’s cultural differences, whereby the same word carries a different meaning across cultures. I’ve only been to the US a few times, but several times I got corrected on my usage of ‘black’ rather than ‘African American’. For someone from the Netherlands, where the vast majority of black people are neither from Africa or the US, but from varying former colonies or non-European parts of the kingdom (Suriname, Netherlands Antilles, etc.), that term is rather.. silly.

  97. says

    That’s not going to happen in a few years – but over a longer time, sure, it could. Fine. But it hasn’t happened yet, so when a bunch of people take 3 months out of their lives to call one woman a cunt and a twat over and over and over again, it’s not “political correctness” to say that’s misogyny and sexism in action.

  98. Rinus says

    so when a bunch of people take 3 months out of their lives to call one woman a cunt and a twat over and over and over again, it’s not “political correctness” to say that’s misogyny and sexism in action.

    Making Abbie what, exactly? A self-loathing gender traitor or a woman so befuddled by societal norms she can’t see her own sexism?

  99. John Morales says

    Rinus, nah. She just likes blog hits, and those are the only posts that garner them.

  100. Bernard Bumner says

    Hoggle, stop crossposting your filth. Go and get help. You are sick and obsessed. Your behaviour is completely out of proportion and not a normal reaction to disagreeing with someone.

    You are an odious bully. Keep your obsessive thoughts between you and a good counsellor.

  101. robindch says

    @elly: “Compassion doesn’t come easily to some people (*cough* robindch *cough*)” “The problem with the internet, is that it provides instant gratification for cowards who wouldn’t have the courage to say the things they say in a “live” gathering of actual people”. Self-pwnage, elly.

    @ophelia: “That just shows that you don’t have any standards at all, double or single, because there are still people writing worse-than-nasty things to and about RW. They haven’t dropped it, they haven’t moved on, and they sure as fuck haven’t learned something.” Yes indeed, they haven’t. I sincerely hope that she has reported every criminal threat to the police whom I trust will investigate and prosecute to fullest extent of the law. Has she? And if not, why not? Also, RW needs to understand that there are trolls out on the internet who enjoy needling people. Doesn’t matter what the topic is. Doesn’t matter who offensive it is. It happens. But so long as she reacts as she does, this will unfortunately continue.

    @Bernard: “The revelation that Rebecca Watson is naked under her clothes does nothing to suggest that she opperates double standards. It certainly doesn’t legitmately make her a target for disgraceful and horrific persecution.” And where exactly did I say that it does? If you have taken the time to read or even better, to understand, what I wrote, you’d have found that I actually pointed out that RW is behaving hypocritically – on the one hand, talking (in her initial responses to Dawkin’s kak-handed response to her vlog) about universal, endemic sexism within atheist + skeptical circles (something that my female friends have never mentioned or complained about), and her claim that men within both communities *universally* viewed skeptical women as women to fuck, while at the same time, selling thongs to men at atheist + skeptical conferences. A bit of consistency wouldn’t go amiss here.

    Initially, RW had me and everybody I know, on side — she made a calm and reasonable response to a stupid move in an elevator, and good on her for doing it. Then Dawkins responded stupidly. Then RW went nuclear, accused me and all other men of being potential rapists and much other gratuitously offensive crap. She went out of her way to ratchet up the heat, at no point seeming to realize that she was losing supporters of both sexes wholesale by delivering a series of unsubstantiated blanket accusations that bordered on, and frequently ventured into, the truly hysterical. At this stage, this debate has stopped being about sexism in any useful sense, and has instead turned into The RW Show.

    If she really wants to do something about sexism, and I sincerely hope she does, then she can start by trying to get back on side all the people who originally supported her. And actually do something about it. But until that time comes, she can continue to discuss the tiresome trollish reactions she induces with her shrinking/shrunk group of online supporters.

    The best of luck to her.

  102. tawaen says

    “Yes indeed, they haven’t. I sincerely hope that she has reported every criminal threat to the police whom I trust will investigate and prosecute to fullest extent of the law. Has she? And if not, why not? Also, RW needs to understand that there are trolls out on the internet who enjoy needling people. Doesn’t matter what the topic is. Doesn’t matter who offensive it is. It happens. But so long as she reacts as she does, this will unfortunately continue.”

    Why would she report them, if nothing will be done about it? And why would she need to justify her decision about reporting or not reporting to strangers on the internet? Also, what is your proof that the people harrassing her are trolls? It sounds like they’re just your average PO’d mysogynist to me, no accusation of trolling necessary. Which means your assertion that ignoring the propblem will make it go away is also unsubstantiated. Misogynists don’t disappear if you ignore them.

    Also, you didn’t explain how wearing or selling thongs makes her hypocritical when talking about sexism within the atheist community. How does what she wears change anything? Does a woman have to wear a prairie dress before she can experience and identify sexism?

    “Initially, RW had me and everybody I know, on side — she made a calm and reasonable response to a stupid move in an elevator, and good on her for doing it. Then Dawkins responded stupidly. Then RW went nuclear, accused me and all other men of being potential rapists and much other gratuitously offensive crap. She went out of her way to ratchet up the heat, at no point seeming to realize that she was losing supporters of both sexes wholesale by delivering a series of unsubstantiated blanket accusations that bordered on, and frequently ventured into, the truly hysterical.”

    Wow, ummm… So she’s hysterical for being able to correctly identify that people who ignore her clearly stated boundaries are more likely to ignore other boundaries or turn violent when denied than people who respect her boundaries? Hysterical is also a poor choice of words… But considering your other issues, it’s not surprising you would choose to use it.

    I don’t see her loosing any allies that she isnn’t better off without, anyway.

  103. says

    Then RW went nuclear, accused me and all other men of being potential rapists and much other gratuitously offensive crap…

    Exact quotes, please? YOu MRAs have been blatantly LYING about what RW and otehrs have said, for several months now, so you really need to back up your assertions if you want to be taken seriously.

  104. Bernard Bumner says

    If you have taken the time to read or even better, to understand, what I wrote, you’d have found that I actually pointed out that RW is behaving hypocritically…

    Don’t blame my reading comprehension when it is your own shoddy writing causing the problem.

    …on the one hand, talking (in her initial responses to Dawkin’s kak-handed response to her vlog) about universal, endemic sexism within atheist + skeptical circles…

    Universal? Where did she say anything about universal? Or endemic?

    She said it was problem. Lots of people agreed. Lots of people disagreed in a manner which showed it to be true.

    …(something that my female friends have never mentioned or complained about)…

    Therefore invalidating the large number of reports of sexist treatment of women?

    They sound a lot like my black friends who never encounter racism.

    …and her claim that men within both communities *universally* viewed skeptical women as women to fuck…

    I’m not sure you know what universal means. If you do, then it should be clear that she didn’t say that.

    …while at the same time, selling thongs to men at atheist + skeptical conferences. A bit of consistency wouldn’t go amiss here…

    Underwear sellers forfeit their right to be treated properly?

    I’m not really sure how to explain to you that selling thongs is not the same as inviting sexism, because frankly I’m not sure how you managed to reason yourself into that position in the first place.

    All I can say is that showing off sexuality (and it really isn’t even that) is not the same as making yourself a sex object.

    Honestly, if being associated with underpants is now to be considered sufficient to make you a legitimate target for unwanted sexual advances, then the world is sicker than I imagined.

  105. says

    robindch –

    RW needs to understand that there are trolls out on the internet who enjoy needling people. Doesn’t matter what the topic is. Doesn’t matter who offensive it is. It happens. But so long as she reacts as she does, this will unfortunately continue.

    It will also continue if she doesn’t. It will continue no matter what. Did you not notice that this was the whole point? That the woman-hating bullies went right on with their foul poisonous garbage week after week after week even though RW was not reacting and neither were the rest of us? It’s ludicrous to take that lofty “just ignore it and it will go away” line – it will not go away.

  106. Gingerbaker says

    “…OK, I’ll type this v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y:

    Rebecca Watson never called for a boycott of Richard Dawkins. She stated publicly that she’s not giving a fuck about him anymore after he publicly “schooled” her in a very condescending manner as to what she is allowed to think and feel and what not….”

    I never said that she called for a boycott of RD. She did, however, announce that she was going to boycott him. And then, if memory serves (I could be wrong about this – it may have been another blog)she happily served up, without commentary, a large number of spittle-flecked comments specifically responding to her announcement of boycott, (I used the word “posts”, above, and should have used the word “comments”, sorry) many of which called not only for a boycott of RD but for the end of his career.

    That you think RD’s comments – which pointed out the need for perspective in the face of furious hyperbole and an appreciation that people of good will may actually have a different opinion in regard to this ugly mess – was an effort to control “what she (RW)is allowed to think and feel”, then his call for needed perspective has been ably demonstrated.

  107. Bernard Bumner says

    …if memory serves…I could be wrong about this – it may have been another blog…

    Well, don’t you think it is important enough to check? Isn’t that a fairly important point of contention?

    Are you just going to offer the defence that you may have misremembered?

    Do you mean the article where she wrote this?

    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.

    And then, followed up with this, presumably in response to those who accused her of organising a boycott:

    PPPS: Nope, I didn’t call for a boycott. I’m relaying the fact that I have no interest in giving this person any more of my money or attention. Other people have independently told me they’re doing the same. This is not an organized campaign, and no one is going to be vilified for continuing to give their own time and attention to Dawkins.

    If you are thinking of a different thread, then don’t you owe it to your own argument to seek it out?

  108. julian says

    which pointed out the need for perspective in the face of furious hyperbole and an appreciation that people of good will may actually have a different opinion in regard to this ugly mess

    Oh bullshit. You know damn well that while Richard Dawkins may have wanted to say that, he most certainly did not. It was dismissive(‘push the stop button’) of the life experiences of every person on that thread who had been affected by rape and sexual assault. He behaved like an ass. Let’s not pretend he didn’t.

  109. Rinus says

    Rinus, nah. She just likes blog hits, and those are the only posts that garner them.

    I figured it was more of a ‘doing it for the lulz’ thing. Then again, I used to spend an unhealthy amount of time on 4chan, and those threads, if anything, read like that.

  110. says

    That you think RD’s comments – which pointed out the need for perspective in the face of furious hyperbole and an appreciation that people of good will may actually have a different opinion in regard to this ugly mess…

    Wow, you actually think that the original “Dear muslima” comment just pointed out the need for perspective?
    Also, of course, in a reasonable, calm, intellectual manner, totally bare of any hyperbole or such.
    You, know, I was there on Pharyngula when it happened (cool, I get to sound like Elrond). I was among many others who at first thought that this was some impostor who’d somehow managed to create a fake “Richard Dawkins” account and who wanted to troll.
    I, and many others, couldn’t actually believe that Richard Dawkins, the great fighter for humanism, the champion of human rights, the compassionate Richard Dawkins, the Richard Dawkins who’s sat next to Rebecca Watson when she gave her original talk on misogyny and sexism within the atheist community, would dismiss her experience off-hand and tell her that, no matter what she experienced, it was zero bad.
    Oh, yes, he said it was zero bad. He didn’t say, “OK, come on, it was a bad move but it’s not the end of the world”.
    He also didn’t say “folks, you’re blowing this a bit out of proportion now afterwards, he explicitely mocked her experience, not the discussion afterwards.
    That’s not trying to get things back into perspective, that was what actually blew it out of it.

  111. says

    If someone is encouraging a little knot of people to call a woman a cunt a twat a bitch and all the rest of it (smelly, fat, crazy, ugly, etc etc etc), and that someone is herself calling the woman a fucking bitch, “for the lulz,” then that someone is certainly doing a misogynist thing. I have no idea whether or not Abbie Smith is a misogynist, and I don’t really care. I know only what she’s been doing for the past three months.

  112. julian says

    Then again, I used to spend an unhealthy amount of time on 4chan, and those threads, if anything, read like that.

    Oh yeah. That they do.

  113. Dan L. says

    @Yakamoz

    Oh, goody, a dude has decreed my comment silly and unnecessary. I must be doing something right.

    Am I being accused of asserting male privilege here? I’m not going to pretend to be immune to it, but please try to be less stupid: your handle is gender neutral and I had no idea whether I was describing the statement of a male as “silly and unnecessary” or that of a woman. This is not an instance of sexism.

    Also, no you’re not doing something right. Abusive blog posts, comments, and emails are definitely over the line and wrong, but the fact that you’d misappropriate the experiences of the victims of juvenile sexual assault to try to score some points against internet assholes makes me a little angry.

    Perhaps the only way I wouldn’t find the comparison “silly” (really, I find it tasteless and remarkably stupid, I was trying to be nice calling it “silly and unnecessary”) is if you yourself were the victim of juvenile sexual assault and online bullying and found, based on your own experiences, that getting hounded in emails and blogs is actually as bad or worse than getting raped as a defenseless child. I somehow doubt this is the case. I think you were appropriating the experiences of some group of victims to which you don’t belong to simply try to score points in an internet debate. And I find that contemptible.

    So no, you’re doing something very wrong, and that comes from the pinkest, squishiest, most victim-friendly, politically correct part of my being.

    @Bernard Bumner:

    Blown away that someone would actually defend Yakamoz’s contemptible attempt to hitch her argument to the suffering of abused children.

    And yes, I understand the sense in which the tactics are equivalent, but if that was the point of the comparison then Yakamoz could easily have used an example that doesn’t involve invoking a very emotionally resonant but ultimately unconnected group of victims (to which I’m almost certain Yakamoz does not belong) who don’t deserve to be used as a political football in service of someone else’s agenda (even if it’s a worthwhile agenda).

  114. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Dan L.:

    (to which I’m almost certain Yakamoz does not belong)

    Upon what basis does your near-certitude rest?

  115. Bernard Bumner says

    @Bernard Bumner:
    Blown away that someone would actually defend Yakamoz’s contemptible attempt to hitch her argument to the suffering of abused children.

    Are you suggesting that I was doing that?! I made no comment about Yakamoz’s posts.

    I offer one now; that Yakamoz explained perfectly well the intention behind drawing the parallel. It isn’t an argument I would have offered (and hence did not) but it works in some respects.

    …to which I’m almost certain Yakamoz does not belong…

    a) Why?
    b) Is that important?

  116. says

    You claim I said this:

    getting hounded in emails and blogs is actually as bad or worse than getting raped as a defenseless child

    But then you say:

    I understand the sense in which the tactics are equivalent

    So, to recap: although you clearly understood the analogy, you have chosen to feign outrage that some internet asshole said getting hounded in emails and blogs is “as bad or worse” than being raped as a child.

    Which, as you acknowledge, was not actually what was said.

    So who is using the as a “political football in service of someone else’s agenda?” Whose appropriating their suffering to score points against internet assholes?

    @John, I was wondering that myself.

  117. John Morales says

    @131, your spamming is not just unethical, but pragmatically futile.

    (B&W readers aren’t as stupid as you obviously are)

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