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A man generally cannot know

Someone called “bluejohn” suggested yesterday that I should engage with James Onen of Freethought Kampala on the subject of Rebecca Watson and elevators and sexism. I replied that I already had.

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.)

That was that, but I saw this morning that James had flagged up his recent FK post on the subject on Abbie Smith’s thread (the one full of “cunt” and “fucking bitch” and all the rest of the thoughtful, non-sexist vocabulary), so I read/skimmed it. The core claim that I disagree with is there, so…I’ll say why I disagree with it. (Facebook is a crappy venue for a complicated discussion, which is another reason I didn’t pursue the one with James there.)

James starts with something PZ said back in July:

There is an odd attitude in our culture that it’s acceptable for men to proposition women in curious ways — Rebecca Watson recently experienced this in an elevator in Dublin, and I think this encounter Ophelia Benson had reflects the same attitude: women are lower status persons, and we men, as superior beings, get to ask things of them. Also as liberal, enlightened people, of course, we will graciously accede to their desires, and if they ask us to stop hassling them, we will back off, politely. Isn’t that nice of us?

It’s not enough. Maybe we should also recognize that applying unwanted pressure, no matter how politely phrased, is inappropriate behavior.

James responded:

Unwanted pressure? Unwanted?

Here is where the problem lies: a man generally cannot know until after attempting the proposition that it was unwanted. Not only that – it is, after all, also possible for a proposition to be unwanted at first but for the recipient of the proposition to change her mind after persuasion.

This basically means you can’t really tell if your advance is unwanted unless you actually make your move first, and even when the person seems initially reluctant, she can still be persuaded to take you up on it and can later find herself having fun. That said, there is an interesting debate to be had here about what degree of persuasion one might say is acceptable.

Yes, it is at least formally true that you can never tell if an advance is unwanted unless you make it. However it is also true that requests for friendship or conversation or sex or similar levels of intimacy from total strangers are not generally wanted, for fairly obvious reasons: we don’t know you. Friendship and conversation and sex are for people we know at least a little. In some situations this can mean just 5 minutes of chat, but it means that. It doesn’t mean a man walking up to a woman and making an invitation. This rule that James calls “arbitrary” makes it possible to walk around in the world without being constantly subject to interference from strangers. The end of that rule would mean women would not have that freedom until they hit age 40 or so.

Human interaction is complicated thing. I would be curious to see how feminists would propose to delineate between scenarios like these, and those in which the offer was completely rejected despite attempts at persuasion – in such a way that the determination that the advances were completely unwanted can be made prior to actually making the advance. Can it be done? Is it possible to establish a meaningful and consistent default position on the matter? I highly doubt it – there is simply too much ambiguity.

I wouldn’t propose to delineate between them. I would say I don’t care about delineating between them, because I don’t want strangers “persuading” me to do what they want in the first place. Here’s what you do: if it’s a situation where you can flirt with the person first, then there’s your opportunity for persuasion. Seize it. If it’s not – then that’s just too bad. That’s one person you’re not in a position to invite to have sex with you. You can, of course, and as James says you have a “right” to – it’s not illegal. But you shouldn’t. It’s rude, it’s vulgar, it’s intrusive, it’s self-absorbed, it’s obnoxious…and it’s sexist.

The solution to such ambiguity is simple – as a way forward, women who attend atheist-skeptic conferences that are absolutely certain they don’t want to be hit on should wear a clearly visible “do not proposition me” sign on their backs. If not, maybe a colour-code can be designated for such women by the event organisers – let’s say, red – and then it could be announced that all women wearing red clothes should not be propositioned or approached by strangers. But will they do this? Most probably not. They will, in all likelihood,  protest that it should not be incumbent upon them to make clear to others not to hit on them – yet at the same time they want to be in a public conference where human beings, the highly sexual creatures they are, are freely interacting.

I don’t think they can’t have it both ways. Feminists need to take responsibility for the things they are asking for. Either visibly label yourself as unapproachable, or expect that during the course of a conference a person who takes an interest in you might proposition you, as it is their right to do so. It is also your right to decline such an offer. If you have a problem with this, then just don’t attend these conferences. And its as simple as that.

Just stay at home, in purdah, in other words. “Simple” indeed.

Now…maybe there is some room for maneuver here. Maybe James is thinking of a conference as the equivalent of 5 minutes chatting – as a kind of introduction in itself. I’ve been thinking about the street (or it might be a bus, or the supermarket) in what I’ve said. But even with a conference-as-introduction – as I’ve said before, an invitation for coffee in the afternoon is one thing, while the same in an elevator going up at 4 in the morning is quite another. Given that that’s the invitation in dispute, there’s still probably not much room for maneuver.

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. says

    I’m glad you’re around to make these lucid arguments. I find that I have trouble taking the initiative to actually read this crap, which is not exactly a strong skeptical stance.

  2. Daniel Wilson says

    “It’s rude, it’s vulgar, it’s intrusive, it’s self-absorbed, it’s obnoxious…and it’s sexist.”

    Rubbish, it isn’t sexist. A man could do the same thing to another man (that it would be foolish, ill-advised behaviour if he did doesn’t alter the point).

  3. Kiwi Sauce says

    I just skim read the FK post you linked, I don’t think you are going to convince him to change his mind as he already has a negative attitude towards women:

    Women lie/women are unreliable as witnesses:
    Isn’t it ironic then, that the SKEPTICAL COMMUNITY has exploded over what is essentially an anecdote from ONE individual?…Question 1: Did this ordeal actually take place?…Question 2: Did the events unfold as she described them?…Question 7: Does this man actually exist?…All these are basic questions, for which no verifiable evidence has been adduced, besides Rebecca Watson’s saying so.

    Women mustn’t make any off-topic points on panels:
    Dawkins was therefore used to Rebecca Watson bringing up her personal anecdotes about sexism and misogyny on a regular basis. Here he is on a panel having to sit through yet another of her talks on misogyny

    Women shouldn’t be concerned about threats to them, think of the menz:
    Where is the concern for Dawkins’ personal safety from Rebecca Watson? Or should we only be especially concerned if such e-mails are sent to a woman?

    Any women electing to do anything sexual in a context of her choosing is a slut for life, so don’t whine about unwelcome and unwanted attention:
    Further, in her talk why does she complain when her fans send her emails outlining their sexual fantasies about her yet she goes out of her way to depict herself in a sexually provocative manner to them?

    And dammit male privilege:
    Let me grant, for the sake of argument that male privilege is a real thing.

    There is also stuff I refuse to cite about the names Rebecca is being called. But in this line, he ignores how the genitalia insults for women are different from genitalia insults for men:
    Once again, if what feminists are calling for is equality for women – that is, if they want men to treat women in exactly the same way that men treat fellow men – well, they should know that men frequently insult each other with profane words when they disagree over issues.

    James is another of those charming MRAs.

  4. sharoncrawford says

    This post at FK is just a waystation on the road to full MRAism.
    I’ve given up arguing with men like him. They’ll never be convinced that women are actual people. We’re an exotic foreign species that is mysterious, unreliable, and out to punish men.

    Their greatest fear is that women want the “upper hand” in order to treat men in the way men have treated women. (Some parallels to racism, homophobia, etc.) Equality sounds like a mortal threat.

  5. Rinus says

    Rubbish, it isn’t sexist. A man could do the same thing to another man (that it would be foolish, ill-advised behaviour if he did doesn’t alter the point).

    And privilege being used as the end-all debate-winner in 5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. 1.. go!

  6. pj says

    Either visibly label yourself as unapproachable or expect that during the course of a conference a person who takes an interest in you might proposition you, as it is their right to do so.

    I’ve heard some societies have adopted this labelling yourself as unapproachable stuff, where women cover up themselves with I kid you not a friggin tent so that not a smidgeon of skin is visible. So menfolks can differentiate the unapproachable women from the free-for-all freeranging pussy.

    We should totally do the same.

  7. Grace says

    So when Dawkins says he gets hate mail from religious fanatics, before I believe yet another of his whining anecdotes that he brings up on a regular basis, I should ask myself:
    Did this ordeal take place?
    Did the events unfold as he described them?
    Do these people actually exist?
    All these are basic questions, for which no verifiable evidence has been adduced to my satisfaction. I haven’t seen a harcopy of these said emails so I must assume he is a liar.

  8. penn says

    I think there are a couple of issues here. Prior to the elevator incident hadn’t Rebecca been talking about not liking to get propositioned as well as being tired and wanting to go to bed in the presence of elevator-guy? If I have my facts straight, then it’s obvious the guy did know prior to his proposition that it was unwanted.

    In other situations it could be less clear-cut. If you’ve seen someone around and hung out in groups with them, then asking them to coffee at 1 PM probably isn’t a big deal. But, appropriate actions at 1 PM and near large groups of people often vary from appropriate actions alone in enclosed spaces at 3 AM.

    James’s reliance on rights I think indicates that he’s arguing against a strawman. No one has said that elevator-guy didn’t have the right to ask Rebecca for coffee. It’s been said that he was being creepy and rude. We all have the right to do numerous creepy and rude things.

    For instance, I have the right to call James a dipshit, and he has the right to spend a few hundred words defending my right to do so if anyone dares to say I’m being rude.

  9. says

    To turn James’s proposal about labelling on its head, why don’t men who attend conferences and other public events for the purpose of chatting up women wear e.g. fake twirly moustaches so that the rest of us can ignore them and get on with the subject at hand?

  10. Kristen says

    You know he’s really not giving much credit to men if he believes they lack the rationality to interpret the context of a situation of when they can and can’t hit on a woman.

    His example of women wearing signs at conferences ends up not being a jab at nonsensical women and their “weird”, “ambiguous” rules, but rather a jab at men who needs direct signs instead of wasting their time using their brains to logically assess the situation.

  11. Rowan says

    I did have a thought that people who were happy to be propositioned at conferences might wear a pink pin or something. But it only takes someone to forget to take it off at 4am when they’re shattered or for somebody else to think it signifies availability for more than propositioning and… totally unworkable. The idea that people not available for propositioning should wear clothing to indicate that is repulsive.

  12. Pteryxx says

    I did have a thought that people who were happy to be propositioned at conferences might wear a pink pin or something.

    Ooh, I know… return of the handkerchief code! The MRAs’ll LOVE that.

  13. says

    Daniel Wilson says:
    Rubbish, it isn’t sexist. A man could do the same thing to another man (that it would be foolish, ill-advised behaviour if he did doesn’t alter the point).

    Not only is it foolish and ill-advised, it opens the man up to being murdered by the strange man he propositions out of the blue, and provides that man a defense: gay-panic.

    How many women get to use the straight-panic defense? That’s why it’s sexist. Women are there to be propositioned. Men are free to traipse through life with the assumption that other men will only behave in this way towards designated members of the sex-class.

  14. Kiwi Sauce says

    Being propositioned is contextual, unless you think that a woman who is wanting to be propositioned by a particular person is happy to be propositioned by anyone. So wearing a damn pink pin, or FSM forbid make-up/attractive clothing, is not a generic sign that it’s okay for you to proposition that particular woman. This comes across as a sexually available women is sexually available to all men, which is misogynistic to say the least.

    If you think you need a damn sign, you need counselling. Seriously. WTF is wrong with picking up on body language, tone of voice, content of speech, appropriateness of environment, etc? And, seriously, if you think women who want to be propositioned should wear a sign, you’re the one who needs a sign.

  15. Cam says

    If I ever run across James, I’m going to ask him for fifty bucks and his watch. Because, hey, he might want to give them to me, if only to bask in the warm glow of his own generosity. If I don’t ask, I can’t know, right? And not only that — it is possible that at first he won’t want to give me fifty bucks and a watch, but after a little persuasion he’ll change his mind. I can see no problems with this plan.

  16. says

    Indeed Ophelia and I had a very engaging and stimulating debate on the matter on Facebook. The link to that exchange can be found here. As you will see, away from the angry hordes typically found on atheist blogs, we were able to have a calm, rational discussion. We respectfully disagreed with each others’ views.

    Anyone interested in critiquing my article is welcome to do so on my blog. I will not censor any comments. Come and speak your mind.

    Or if you are in the UK maybe we’ll get a chance to talk about it face to face this coming week :-)

    Otherwise thank you for posting this, Ophelia. I will probably write a response in a few days’ time.

  17. says

    Look at it another way: what would be the rule of thumb for allowing someone you just met at a Skepticon to crash on your couch? Not your best bud or even a casual acquaintance, but someone you met in an elevator at 4 am!

    Before you get all riled about sex vs. inanimate furniture, remember that I’m talking about boundaries.

    Now the argument looks… creepy.

    strange men have the right to ask any random woman [politely] if they could crash on [her] couch, 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.

    Would I allow someone I didn’t know, who asks me out of the blue, to crash on my couch? Do I even know this person? Will my laptop/ipad/iphone/wallet/car keys still be there the next morning? Will I get knifed in my sleep? Wouldn’t I just say, “sure,” because [insert dumbass excuse here]?

    HELL NO

    I’d probably have reservations about someone I’d met only that day. I would have to get to know the person in order to determine if he/she is couch-crashable. Maybe even hang out with ‘em for a while.

    But, but, but, what about one night stands?!

    (Sigh) Okay, I’m old and the days of my raging hormones are long over, so all I have to go on is my own experiences, and they include these: any relationship based upon sex will eventually crash and burn and disrespect is a poor way of introducing myself.

    So, go ahead and ask any random person that you think might have a great couch, or even a ‘passable’ one, if you can crash. Do it because you’re tired of sleeping in the lobby or in your own room because it is too lonely and damnit you deserve to crash because you haven’t crashed in FIVE YEARS and that cutie at the bar looks like she (or he, who cares?) might have a pretty sweet couch.

  18. DavidByron says

    You seem to be saying women’s rights trump men’s more basic rights or that women have rights no man has. In other words you are a female supremacist.

    Why should your views be taken more seriously than someone who says white people should have more rights than black people?

  19. says

    I did have a thought that people who were happy to be propositioned at conferences might wear a pink pin or something.—Rowan

    No need. They’re called “escorts” and they’re pretty easy to spot in the hotel lobby.

    The idea that people not available for propositioning should wear clothing to indicate that is repulsive.

    The idea that some people are so emotionally stunted as to not understand boundaries, respect and common sense is pretty repulsive, too.

  20. Philip Legge says

    Civilised men don’t cat-call women walking down the street from moving cars.
    Civilised men don’t wolf-whistle women from the top of building sites.
    Civilised men don’t sexually proposition women they’ve never met as the first thing that they utter from their mouths.

    Perhaps James works from a different base level of civility. I read two earlier essays at Freethought Kampala, and my conclusion was that he makes some preliminary assumptions and then takes a predictable and rigorous scepticism to a whole lot of widely-differentiated material, supposedly to winnow the wheat from the chaff. He is not actually scientific about this, because he would then have to question his premises if the material he discovers actually contradicts it. None of his premises are up for discussion, and not surprisingly arguments against them carry no weight.

  21. Barkdog says

    There is one part of this entire discussion that completely eludes me. Why on earth would a man (and I am one) proposition a woman before getting to knew her at least superficially? Sex does, after all, imply some interpersonal interaction. It really works better with some familiarity. And if you are going to make cold hits, at least grow a thick skin and expect some hostility.

  22. Emrysmyrddin says

    OK, I’m now creeped out knowing that I live in the same country as this guy, let alone might one day attend the same conferences… :s

  23. Rrr says

    Thus spoke lately (on an elevatored level) the goy what nose rubberish:

    Rinus says:
    October 2, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Rubbish, it isn’t sexist. A man could do the same thing to another man (that it would be foolish, ill-advised behaviour if he did doesn’t alter the point).

    And privilege being used as the end-all debate-winner in 5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. 1.. go!

    Now, what were those lines late in the Scottish Play again? Something about fucking stupid clown insignificant noise? Anyway, too late for all that anyway. This boat has sailed, leaving someone sniffling ashore, pining for the Fjords and deeply feeling all blue.

  24. Nice Ogress says

    Usernames Are Stupid’s post at #17 is the awesome-iest rebuttal ever and lays the whole ugly mess bare.

    YES. Why are the rules different for sex than for, y’know, other social interaction?

    Could it be…because guys don’t see sex as a social, friendbuilding activity? Sex is not a THING you DO with ANOTHER PERSON. It’s a THING you GET when you WIN at the GAME. It’s the PRIZE. No other people are involved – women aren’t people, for the purposes of sex. They’re the obstacle in the way.

  25. Nice Ogress says

    Gah, once again I fail at basic narration. the last four sentences of that post are meant to be snark, They’re not actually the premise I am arguing, but the MRA-styled reverse of it. I hope that’s clear.

  26. Philip Legge says

    Barkdog, there is a species of man who in certain social situations will go around asking unknown women at point blank for sex: lots of women, as in dozens of them, one after the other. Apparently even if the “success” rate is as low as one in a hundred, this is supposedly “justification” of the technique, despite there being an overwhelmingly strong likelihood that for some of the other women, the question was invasive, impertinent, unwelcome, and uncivil (as is obviously plain, not all women are the same).

    The feelings of the women who object to this example of cold calling are thus deemed to have no right to not be approached (thanks David Byron, for your input on that subject). The Elevator Gate scenario demonstrated the MRA types are unwilling to give women the right to complain about it as well.

  27. Philip Legge says

    Some words dropped out of my second paragraph. “The feelings of the women who object to this example of cold calling are thus deemed to be of no importance and they have no right to not be approached…”

    And Nice Ogress, your Snark is noted (is it a Boojum?).

    Yakamoz at #13 had already demolished Daniel Wilson’s post at #2 (“Rubbish, it isn’t sexist”), and I would point out further that these examples of incivility are sexist when considered against men seeking out other men at beats or bathhouses for sex (and usually anonymous strangers at that). Those men know there are social situations where cruising for sex is appropriate, and situations where it is not.

  28. penn says

    Cam (@15), I think that is a brilliant plan. When James is in a foreign country alone in an elevator (or dark alley) at 3 AM just ask him for his wallet, watch, and cell phone. He clearly respects your right to ask. How could you possibly know such an offer would be unwanted without actually asking!? And remember that it’s also your right to try to persuade him after he declines.

  29. penn says

    I should also add that he’d clearly still respect your right to ask if you had a couple of friends with you, and if you and your friends happened to be large muscular young men because being alarmed by being cornered and propositioned by a group large muscular young men is obviously “akin to racism”.

  30. Cam says

    Thanks, penn! And hey, I say, there’s no reason that anybody shouldn’t give it a shot. He might not want to give me his watch and wallet, but that is no kind of evidence that he wouldn’t want to give it to you.

    You’re exactly right: James respects our right to ask, and he’s made it clear that as far as he’s concerned, dealing with askers is zero imposition. It would be only reasonable for lots of people to ask James for his watch, wallet, and cell phone, wherever he goes. We might get lucky! And maybe if we try hard enough, one of us will hit on the right strategy of persuasion! If he doesn’t like it, it’d be simple for him to stay home.

  31. Godless Heathen says

    I finished dinner right before reading this and I almost puked at how disgusting and awful James’ opinion is. Ick.

  32. DavidByron says

    I was referring to Ophelia Benson and now I see Philip Legge explicitly agrees but it’s a view generally shared by feminists that women’s feelings trump a man’s basic human rights.

    This of course never applies the other way around. No feminist says that women must never hurt a man’s feelings.

    This sort of thing shows how conservative the feminist movement is as they have a Victorian attitude towards men. A man must be a perfect gentleman but a woman never has to be a lady. That sexist attitude is actually very similar to the attitude of many traditional religious conservatives.

  33. penn says

    Cam, I really think you’re on to something. And there’s no reason to wait to see him to ask. We could just call his house at 3 AM and ask if he wants to make a donation. To show how close we are to him, we could start the conversation with “Hey James. I know where you live. How are your wife and kids?” People like it when you show interest in their lives. And remember that anything we say is okay as long as we eventually respect his answer.

  34. penn says

    I don’t know if James is married, but if he is he clearly wouldn’t have a problem with his wife being propositioned alone at 3 AM in an elevator. How could anyone know they don’t have an open relationship? And even if they didn’t have an open relationship earlier in the day, how would anyone know they don’t now without asking?

  35. Cam says

    Now, that might go a little far, penn. James does seem to hold that people can expect to be free of harassment as long as they don’t go out in public among us freely-interacting humans. It is a pleasant coincidence that a James who sits silently alone in his own home is just the sort of James I’d be happy with.

  36. Karmakin says

    When this first came around I was bashed on this but whatever. I think James and David provide quite good evidence for this. While I think the sexism is definitely there, at the same time there’s a certain amount of extrovert privilege going on here.

    Some people simply can’t understand that in terms of the right of Person A to be left along and Person B to come into their direct personal space, the right of Person A should easily trump the right of Person B. Now, there’s definitely body language that can be employed to counteract that, of course, but one should ALWAYS error on the side of caution with this sort of thing.

    Approaching someone in an elevator is so much the opposite of that it makes my head spin, of course.

    But I do think that the view that Person B’s right to “chat someone up” trumps Person’s A right to be left alone is unfortunately all too common. It’s not an issue distinct to the atheist/skeptic community, as such this issue is more of a reflection of wider social norms.

    And while yes, for a variety of reasons this behavior mostly is Male on Female, I have had it happen to me as Female on Male, as well as Male on Male, as it doesn’t always have to be about sex, of course.

  37. Cam says

    Not that it’s actually harassment, though, right? I would never condone such a thing. If twenty people happen to ask James to hand over his wallet, it’s not like any of them are harassing him.

  38. DavidByron says

    I see some here are trying to create an analogy that other people would agree represents more than “zero bad”, but is still someone just respectfully and politely accosting another person in public.

    But you haven’t done it.

    My guess is that James would agree that some stranger asking him for some money, politely and respectfully, just exactly once and then immediately taking “no” for an answer, would not be objectionable and would constitute “zero bad”, even if it happened in an elevator at 4 am.

    Sensing that, some have tried an example where James is asked repeatedly and with hostile intent and with an implied physical threat to him and his family, and definitely NOT taking “no” for an answer. Yes that would no longer be “zero bad”. It also wouldn’t be anything like the situation with Watson and EG.

  39. Philip Legge says

    For the record, David Byron misses the nuance of my post, in that when I assert what these men believe to be their “basic human rights”, it doesn’t mean I agree with him that these confer the men with the moral or ethical high ground. The actions we are talking about are basically uncivil and disrespectful, even if they are allegedly a “right” that men are entitled to wield. (My citation that he had provided input on this point was an attempt at irony, since he had given an exemplar of this uncivilised belief that rights trump human decency. You do have the right to be an arsehole, and people have the right to call you on it.)

  40. penn says

    Karmakin, chatting someone up is different than propositioning them when they’ve clearly indicated that they are not generally or currently interested in such propositions.

  41. kraut says

    “My view is: women’s right not to be pestered in that way trumps men’s right to invite stranger women to have sex.”

    I find that notion that the owner of an implement called casually a cock does have a right to invite anybody who is a stranger to have sex. Since when it is a right do do so?

    If sex is advertised as a commodity by a hooker, yes, you can engage in a transaction with her regarding that commodity – but it does certainly not follow that this right extends to any woman who does not engage in the sex trade.

    The arrogance of those arseholes who think they have a right to ask any woman (or man for that matter) for sex and are offended when it is pointed out to them that this right does not exist shows me clearly that there simply psychopaths who should be observed closely. From that assumption of a right to ask anybody to the right to rape anybody is only a very small step. I think that threshold is acyual

  42. says

    Really. Really. You’re in a hotel elevator at 4 a.m. and a complete stranger politely asks for your wallet – and you’re fine with that.

    Riiiiiiiight.

  43. John Morales says

    DavidByron:

    it’s a view generally shared by feminists that women’s feelings trump a man’s basic human rights.

    Obvious attempted obfuscation.

    Try comparing like with like and see how this contention is sophistry which misrepresents the actual claims:

    1. it’s a view generally shared by feminists that women’s basic human rights trump a man’s basic human rights.

    (But human rights are just that; they aren’t gendered)

    2. it’s a view generally shared by feminists that women’s feelings trump a man’s feelings.

    (But it’s not feelings that are the subject of contention, rather behaviours)

  44. DavidByron says

    It isn’t simply that you don’t have a right to be left alone and/or to never be offended and/or to always have your wants respected when you are in public. Although certainly I’d challenge anyone to work out how that right could possibly be applied in real life without all sorts of practical problems. It just couldn’t work.

    My point is that the feminists ONLY believe in that right for women against men. They are therefore being explicitly sexist. This sexist attitude is an example of female privilege. It’s a bit like the way the ruling class might demand that peasants always treat them with the utmost restraint and respect (eg never speak to the queen unless addressed first). This sort of rule cannot work in general in a society but can be made to work as a hierarchical class division, in this case with women seen as the first class sex with rights over men.

    Now this has nothing to do with “body space”. You don’t need to invade anyone’s body space to address them. People often have to crowd together in elevators but that didn’t happen in this case, not that it would matter if it had.

  45. karmakin says

    Well, it’s not a black or white thing of course. Trying to talk to someone in a confined space or when they’re obviously busy walking from point A to point B or whatever is entirely different than trying to talk to someone who is sitting alone at a mixer event or at a bar. The circumstances change, the ethics of said action change as well.

    I’m not saying that there is no difference, at all. Just that this is a problem that isn’t really limited to the skeptic community, and the lines for what is commonly thought to be acceptable behavior I don’t think are quite what they should be.

    For what it’s worth, I’m heavily influenced by reading previous comments pre-EG that indicated that one potential reason why women may feel uncomfortable at skeptic’s/non-belief conferences is because of concerns about being hit on.

  46. penn says

    Sorry David, but you clearly did not read James’s post. He does not state that one needs to accept the initial answer. He explicitly states “Not only that – it is, after all, also possible for a proposition to be unwanted at first but for the recipient of the proposition to change her mind after persuasion.” He’d be quite the hypocrite if he didn’t respect someone’s right to persuade him to give up his wallet.

    I should also note that there have been no suggestions of making implied physical threats. It’s all words. Any perceived threat is in his head and is frankly “akin to racism” for not respecting people who don’t know better than to avoid using veiled threats in their conversations. I’ve seen a lot of people excuse EG’s behavior for his lack of social skills, so you can’t hold that against these hypothetical individuals.

  47. karmakin says

    I should add, I think a good potential solution to this would be for such conferences to schedule and run such “mixer” events, or even a variety of them. Some probably already do, of course.

  48. John Morales says

    PS I note that, above, David B refers to “a man” and to “women”; a subtler form of not comparing like with like.

    (Tsk)

  49. DavidByron says

    Fine with that?

    Are you forgetting Dawkins original comments on this about the chewing gum? He said he didn’t like people chewing gum. Maybe he considers it rude. Maybe he just doesn’t like it. Maybe it creeps him out. That doesn’t mean he gets to dictate that nobody chew gum around him. He realises that.

    What if EG had stood up at the conference and gone on about how oppressive and sexist it was that the women he propositioned kept turning him down? Would that statement of his feelings, as ridiculous as it obviously would have been, mean every woman then had a moral duty to not hurt his (now made explicit) feelings by rejecting his sexual offers?

    Of course not. Your feelings don’t trump other people’s rights. Shit happens.

    Btw if the point of someone asking for your wallet (rather than for some money as I put it) was an implied threat of robbery, then you are not analogous with the original case. Threatening people with implied violence si not “zero bad”. There was no hint of that in Watson’s case except the expectations which feminists appear to promote whereby all men are said to be violent. If that is your argument then I will simply argue that (1) men are NOT all violent and (2) suggesting they are goes to show how sexist you are. Watson herself did not make any suggestion that there was any hint of threat in the encounter.

  50. says

    Oh indeed not all men are violent, and not all huge strong men are violent, so if a huge strong man asks for your wallet in an elevator at 4 a.m. there is no reason at all to feel even slightly insecure. Not all men are violent therefore all requests for sex/rape are completely threat-free. That’s logic.

  51. DavidByron says

    Karmarkin:
    “Trying to talk to someone in a confined space or when they’re obviously busy walking from point A to point B or whatever is entirely different”

    This is a different point and easier to dismiss. To take the last first, Watson wasn’t busy at all. She was standing doing nothing in an elevator. As for confined space people who use elevators take that risk voluntarily. Personally it always makes me feel uncomfortable if people talk to me in an elevator (or a bathroom) but apparently other people see it differently as it often does happen. I still take the elevator rather than the stairs. None of this makes a difference. My slight feeling of being uncomfortable for a few seconds doesn’t trump someone else’s right to be what I regard as rude but which apparently they seem to think is not.

  52. Kiwi Sauce says

    John @54

    Thank you, so I need to use the standard html link syntax. I was trying to use the first one as given under allowed tags, and it wasn’t working.

  53. penn says

    “What if EG had stood up at the conference and gone on about how oppressive and sexist it was that the women he propositioned kept turning him down? Would that statement of his feelings, as ridiculous as it obviously would have been, mean every woman then had a moral duty to not hurt his (now made explicit) feelings by rejecting his sexual offers?”

    That’s a really nice strawman you have there. There’s an obvious difference between the subject of an action and the object of an action. If I choose to ask you for something, I don’t have any right to dictate your answer. That’s ridiculous and coercive. And if you had previously repeatedly indicated that you aren’t interested in that something, then it would be perfectly reasonable to call my actions rude, and ask me not to do that in the future. That’s all Rebecca did in her video (at the time she just said “No thanks.”).

    Also, I don’t know where you keep coming up with these threats in our examples. If you feel threaten by groups of young men asking you for things they have no right to while your alone at 3 AM then you’re just a bigot.

  54. penn says

    “My slight feeling of being uncomfortable for a few seconds doesn’t trump someone else’s right to be what I regard as rude but which apparently they seem to think is not.”

    David, would you honestly still think that if that individual had heard you say numerous times that you don’t like to be spoken to in bathrooms or elevators? Would it make it different for you if they were defying your explicit wishes to serve their own wants?

  55. DavidByron says

    Ophelia you are trying to say that a man merely asking a woman something is always an implicit threat of violence by the man.

    That is sexist. Please quit being sexist.

    For your analogy to work as something not “zero bad” it doesn’t need a strong man it needs someone demanding your wallet — an implicit threat. I wouldn’t be worried by a big guy asking me what time it is at 4 am. Or asking me what time checkout was the next morning. No implied threat. The point of the wallet is that nobody has any reason for asking for your entire wallet beyond robbery. That is why someone merely asking for money doesn’t work for you. Has to be the entire wallet.

    You need an implied threat of violence to get to an agreed “bad” instead of “zero bad”. Since you are insisting that threat of violence is an apt analogy to a man simply politely asking a woman a question you are saying you beleive any man even politely asking a woman a question is threatening violence.

    That is sexist. Please quit being sexist.

  56. John Morales says

    DavidByron:

    What if EG had stood up at the conference and gone on about how oppressive and sexist it was that the women he propositioned kept turning him down?

    Again, your putative analogical hypothetical is meretricious, and relies on imagining that initiating an action is equivalent to responding to one.

    Would that statement of his feelings, as ridiculous as it obviously would have been, mean every woman then had a moral duty to not hurt his (now made explicit) feelings by rejecting his sexual offers?

    Your attempted gotcha is otiose, since, for the reason given above, it is not a comparable example.

  57. John Morales says

    DavidByron

    Ophelia you are trying to say that a man merely asking a woman something is always an implicit threat of violence by the man.

    Nonsense. You are trying to erect a straw dummy.

  58. Philip Legge says

    There was no hint of that in Watson’s case except the expectations which feminists appear to promote whereby all men are said to be violent.

    Another strawman, as it’s not asserted that all men are violent, just as it’s not asserted that all sexual propositions are unwelcome. The unknown potential of the elevator encounter is what made it “zero bad”: context matters, and this is from a poster who fails at reading nuance and wants to justify every possible act of rudeness.

  59. penn says

    Expecting a stranger to give you their wallet is just as reasonable as expecting them to want to go back to your room when they’ve indicated repeatedly that they generally and currently aren’t interested in such offers.

  60. John Morales says

    [meta]

    penn, I reiterated your point above because I’d not read your comment before posting mine.

    (You get precedence! :) )

  61. says

    a man generally cannot know until after attempting the proposition that it was unwanted.

    That’s not true. It’s simply not true at all.

    You can do things like talk to the other person for a while; go on dates together; share thoughts with one another. I didn’t charge up to my wife-to-be one day and say “Hey! Wanna have sex?” I actually got to know her quite well, and when our relationship turned sexual, it was by mutual desire.

    I really don’t know why these guys can’t understand that.

  62. says

    What PZ said. This is all I’m saying. I said in some contexts it could be as little as 5 minutes. (Being generous here.) But it has to be something. Not “Hi, wanna come to my hotel room for ‘coffee’?”

    This is actually not extreme crazed radical gender feminism here. It’s not even feminism – it’s certainly compatible with feminism, but it’s not exclusive to feminism.

  63. Philip Legge says

    Hi penn, the “Don’t take this the wrong way, but would you please hand over your wallet, watch, and phone?” version of the 4am alone in an elevator scenario would work exactly the same as the “coffee” version. It is not uncommon in some places to be asked for money by beggars in the street, and there is usually some basis for the question and the answer to be conducted in entirely civil terms, even if the person is annoyed to be asked while on other business, or the beggar is annoyed at the person’s decision not to be charitable.

    Once again, context matters, and the request (demand?) for wallet and other items in a confined space in the early hours of the morning would even more than the request of “coffee” appear as a threat, and that the request is presumably to be backed up with other forms of persuasion. The only thing that is different is that the “coffee” request is (very weakly) plausibly deniable in Pinker’s analysis, so that the person asking can argue in defence, “Did you think I meant sex? No, I really did mean coffee.” With the demand for wallet etc., there is rather less avenue for deniability there. For the other party however, the fact they have no idea whether the questioner is prepared to use other methods if they don’t get the answer they want is what makes the situation “zero bad”.

  64. DavidByron says

    “David, would you honestly still think that if that individual had heard you say numerous times that you don’t like to be spoken to in bathrooms or elevators? Would it make it different for you if they were defying your explicit wishes to serve their own wants?”

    Well in this thread I’ve asked Ophelia to quit being sexist and she ignored my wishes. Let’s say I asked people in a thread to not insult me and they refused. Would that be “zero bad”? rude? Nothing at all? Would it depend on the context? Would it be subjective?

    You don’t always get exactly what you want in life especially when it comes to other people with their own goals. Sometimes you say you don’t like gum chewers and they still chew gum. Maybe they think they have a right to chew gum regardless of someone else’s wishes?

  65. penn says

    Philip, I appreciate your reasonable analysis. But, I didn’t mean for the wallet scenario to be directly analogous. The point was that James’s arguments work equally well to explain away either scenario, not that there was no difference. It was also to point out that context does matter.

    The appropriateness of requests like “Can you spare $1 for bus fare?” or “Want to get some coffee?” depend on a number of things like wording, time, place, and previous expressed wishes of the requestee.

  66. DavidByron says

    From the point of view of it being a disgusting and sexist thing to say there is no difference between feminists saying all men are violent (or all men are rapists) and saying all men are potentially violent or all men might just be a rapist.

    The weasel word doesn’t help you look better.

  67. stacy says

    The point is that any given man might be one of the violent ones, DavidByron. A woman can’t know. The bad guys don’t have “RAPIST” tattooed on their foreheads.

    Sheesh.

  68. Rowan says

    An attempt to clarify: the pink pin thought actually occurred to me after an earlier conversation regarding elevatorgate which touched on the fact that some people attending events like atheist conferences are looking for sex, while others aren’t. Assuming that there’s nothing wrong in looking for sex while attending atheist conferences, only in being pushy about it, (people of all genders) wearing some sort of symbol seemed the most obvious way to reconcile that mode of attending with the ones that aren’t sexually focused.
    Such a system would only work, however, where people already knew how to respect others, and in the world we currently live in it would merely shunt the harassment from most women in attendance to those wearing the relevant symbol: it would still be incumbent on someone making an approach to look for active interest in the approachee.
    (The best way to reconcile looking-for-sex with not-looking-for-sex is probably to have workshops and social spaces set aside for such activity; it might lower the tone, but no less than would the handkerchief code.)
    The problem with Freethought Kampala’s red blouse proposal is that it assumes consent to propositioning is the default state; a positive symbol doesn’t help matters if it’s also taken to imply that consent is the default state of its wearers.

  69. says

    Now now, David Byron. You said “Threatening people with implied violence [is] not “zero bad”. There was no hint of that in Watson’s case except the expectations which feminists appear to promote whereby all men are said to be violent.” My point was not that all men are violent, it was that in some situations it is entirely reasonable to think that a particular person might be violent. A stranger requesting money in an elevator at 4 a.m. would be one such situation. You’re very certain that “there was no hint of that” with coffee guy, and my point is that you can’t possibly know that. Both of those scenarios hold some potential for violence. It’s neither crazy nor radical-gender-misandrist-troublemaking to think so.

  70. Grace says

    I was asked to go back to a man’s room when staying at a hotel once. I wasn’t in the elevator, I actually got off on the wrong floor. But I was supposedly by R. Dawkins logic safe (remember he said all Rebecca had to do was push the botton for the next stop and get off?) This was in the middle of the day, not 4am. I was terrified, ran back to the elevator and that door couldn’t shut fast enough. I was 14 at the time, but I don’t think I’d be any less afraid/creeped out now as an adult.

    Rebecca didn’t say she was afraid but felt uncomfortable. Which is her right, don’t know how that is reverse-sexist of her. I work in a hotel now and I imagine if a random man in the elevator I ride up to work in turned to me and in his first few sentences asked me back to his room. Yes, I would feel incredibly uncomfortable and would wonder if he was in his right mind. So, yeah, don’t do that guys.

    If we were on a date and my date asked me to his room that would be completely different story.

  71. DavidByron says

    penn,
    “Expecting a stranger to give you their wallet is just as reasonable as expecting them to want to go back to your room when they’ve indicated repeatedly that they generally and currently aren’t interested in such offers.”

    That statement is obviously false.

    The first is an action nobody would ever voluntarily take under any circumstances. The second is one many people would be happy to take, which suggests the initial refusal might be circumstantial and therefore open to persuasion.

  72. Philip Legge says

    Hi penn, my analysis wasn’t meant as criticism of your post, but I wanted to tease out some of the ideas. Part of the problem is that a certain brand of person wants to be able to frame and apply exact and overly-simplistic rules that cater for every possible situation. Sometimes commonalities can be drawn out, even if it’s the differences that may be of more interest.

    (And perhaps the person who puts his own words into someone’s else’s mouth for the purpose of calling it sexist is being rude in a different way, also.)

  73. DavidByron says

    Ophelia,
    “You’re very certain that “there was no hint of that” with coffee guy, and my point is that you can’t possibly know that.”

    That is what Watson reported. If you are saying that despite Watson not feeling any sense of intimidation, violence was still possible then I accept that.

    However that is just as true of any interaction under any circumstances between any people regardless of sex or conditions. If you are saying that potential means that EG was immoral then you are saying all human interaction is immoral.

    But let’s be real here. What you really mean is that all men are violent. And “potentially” is just a weasel word because “potentially” would apply to women too, and under any circumstances. What you want to say is that violence was especially a concern simply because of the gender of EG. You are saying EG can be assumed to be violent for no other reason than how he was born.

    Please quit being sexist.

  74. penn says

    I’ve got to say that I love the strawliberal argument that showing caution towards strangers making unreasonable requests while alone in a foreign country at 4 AM is a form of bigotry. I may out myself as a self-hating man here, but does anyone not feel more threatened by men than women when they are in potentially vulnerable situations? Is it misandrous to admit that?

  75. John Morales says

    [meta]

    I suspect I’m not the only one who is careful to use “David Byron”, rather than David, when addressing that specific person.

    (I’m normally more informal when ambiguity is possible, but in this case explicitness seems appropriate)

  76. DavidByron says

    Silly feminist warning about potentially offensive “trigger” wording to follow:

    Why do you feminists think adding the magic word “potentially” to a bigoted slur makes it all OK? Does this seem racist to you:

    “Jews are all, potentially tight-fisted big nosed creeps who run Hollywood, eat Christian babies and killed Jesus.”

    Is that racist? I added the magic word.

    Disclaimer (which I only feel the need to add because of the company here): that sentence does not represent my feeling about Jews but is intended as an example of obviously bigoted and racist speech.

    Oh but its all true you say. Of course it is: after all you said “potentially” didn’t you? if it’s true it cannot be offensive right? And if you say “potentially” then it’s always true, right?

    Please quit being sexist.

  77. John Morales says

    DavidByron addresses Ophelia:

    Please quit being sexist.

    Your despicable tactic might have been minutely efficacious were it not so transparently risible.

    (Please stop hitting my fist with your face, you’re bleeding on it!)

  78. penn says

    “The second is one many people would be happy to take, which suggests the initial refusal might be circumstantial and therefore open to persuasion.”

    Oh, so you don’t think people need to respect first requests? You wouldn’t mind if someone tried to persuade your wife (hypothetically if you don’t have one) to sleep with them while alone in an elevator at 4 AM then? It’s certainly an offer “many people would be happy to take”, and plenty of marriages are open these days. Also, there’s no harm in trying to convince her that an open marriage is a good idea, is there?

  79. says

    DavidByron wrote:

    The point of the wallet is that nobody has any reason for asking for your entire wallet beyond robbery. That is why someone merely asking for money doesn’t work for you. Has to be the entire wallet.

    OK, how about this:

    “Don’t take this the wrong way, David, but could I have your entire wallet?”

    The wrong way meaning that I’m not trying to rob you. Maybe I just want to look at the contents, check out your ID, see what credit cards you have, etc. At 4 a.m. with no one else around. That is how unreal you folks are being about this situation.

  80. DavidByron says

    Ophelia, “What PZ said.”

    What PZ said ignored or simply didn’t see the word “generally”. Generally you cannot tell if…. he replied by saying that under specific circumstances you can tell. That’s no contradiction.

    PZ needs to learn to read more carefully is all (or if he ever credited his opponents with intelligence or treated them with respect enough to figure they wouldn’t write obvious nonsense that would have worked for him too).

  81. John Morales says

    [meta]

    DavidByron:

    Is that racist? I added the magic word.

    Is Judaism a race?

    (Your ignorance and illiteracy are exemplary)

  82. says

    David Byron – what I really mean is absolutely not that all men are violent. For fuck’s sake I know men who are not violent. We’re talking about encounters with strangers here. Encounters with strangers do have the potential for violence. Accuse me of really meaning that, if you like – all strangers are (as far as we know in advance) potentially violent. Encountering strangers is a fraught thing, and when it’s close up and in an enclosed space with no immediate way out and no allies, the fraughtness goes up a lot. This is true for all humans, indeed all animals.

    Read Patricia Churchland’s Braintrust – it’s a good book, so you won’t lose anything. She argues that a lot of what we now think of as morality is rooted in signals we use to convey trustworthiness, which were needed because strangers are scary. Humans are social, and trust me-cues make social life possible. Hitting on a woman in an elevator is not a good trust-me cue.

  83. Kiwi Sauce says

    Coming back to Rebecca’s point, all she did was point out that either the guy or the behaviour was “creepy”. The third definition of creepy applies here, or the second definition from here. This isn’t saying any or all men are rapists, it’s just saying that that particular guy’s behaviour, taken in the context in which it occurred, was odd. And it was.

  84. John Morales says

    DavidByron:

    What PZ said ignored or simply didn’t see the word “generally”. Generally you cannot tell if…. he replied by saying that under specific circumstances you can tell. That’s no contradiction.

    As I have come to expect, you are being specious.

    Your attempted point relies on wilfully* failing to apprehend two different senses of ‘generally'; specifically, that which is the norm and that which cannot be universally quantified.

    * I’m being charitable; consider the alternative.

  85. DavidByron says

    stacy,
    “The point is that any given man might be one of the violent ones, DavidByron. A woman can’t know. The bad guys don’t have “RAPIST” tattooed on their foreheads.”

    Please quit being sexist.

    Not only is this a sexist negative stereotype of a birth group that you are perpetuating, it is also gender profiling.

    Gender profiling is wrong for all the reasons racial profiling is wrong in eg Alabama and Arizona’s anti-immigrant laws. Do you support racial profiling? If you don’t would you mind trying to explain to me why you think racial profiling is bad, but gender profiling is good?

  86. penn says

    I think the misandry bullshit is concealing the fact that if EG were a women it still would’ve been rude and creepy.

  87. penn says

    DavidByron, name someone who has said that if EG were a women it would’ve been “zero bad”? Has anyone said that? No, no one has said that. So, drop the anti-male sexist bullshit.

  88. says

    It’s not gender profiling if you’re alone in an elevator with a stranger who is asking you for sex! “______ profiling” is a term for cops, not random people. Jeezis.

  89. DavidByron says

    Grace,
    “I was supposedly by R. Dawkins logic safe (remember he said all Rebecca had to do was push the botton for the next stop and get off?)”

    That’s a misconception / misrepresentation. At the time Dawkins commented there was no hint of this all men are potential rapists argument. The situation that Dawkins said Watson could escape by pushing a button was the “stuck in elevator with ever so slightly uncomfortable feeling having just been propositioned” situation.

    After he said that feminists started the rape rape rape sexist nonsense. I am actually shocked it took then that long. At any rate Dawkins NEVER said that anyone could escape a violent attacker in an elevator merely by pressing a button. That’s plain daft.

    “I work in a hotel now and I imagine if a random man in the elevator I ride up to work in turned to me and in his first few sentences asked me back to his room. Yes, I would feel incredibly uncomfortable and would wonder if he was in his right mind. So, yeah, don’t do that guys.”

    When feminists say men are potential rapists that makes ME feel incredibly uncomfortable. So, yeah, don’t do that girls.

  90. DavidByron says

    penn,
    “you don’t think people need to respect first requests?”

    I think it is not black and white. That is why it is important to be very clear in refusal if you are likely to be offended by repeated requests. In this case Watson was clear and RG dropped it, so the question doesn’t arise.

  91. Philip Legge says

    DB still doesn’t understand both the meaning and application of the word “potential” – presumably because he is selfishly or empathically unable to put himself into the position of the other. Your calling stacy’s post sexist fails the test – the evidence backs her up. The statistics show that most violent crimes are carried out by men, and there are likewise statistics showing what crimes are frequently related to the gender/situation of the victim. The creepiness of the scenario under discussion increases the perceived threat, even if the creep’s intentions are not hostile.

    Penn at #81, it’s pure anecdotal unscientific opinion, but thinking about the majority of social encounters where I’ve been made to feel slightly wary or very uncomfortable, it’s strongly dominated by men rather than women – mind you, it’s not entirely one way when it comes to imagined or real threat of violence, either.

  92. DavidByron says

    Aratina Cage,
    “Don’t take this the wrong way, David, but could I have your entire wallet?”

    Again that doesn’t seem realistic as anything but an implied threat. Now if they said eg,

    “Excuse me but I think you grabbed my wallet by mistake back in the bar. Look here’s yours.”

    Well then I don’t think I’d take that as an implied threat.

  93. John Morales says

    DavidByron:

    After he said that feminists started the rape rape rape sexist nonsense.

    No, he didn’t say that, AFAIK.

    More to the point, the reasonable fear of possible rape was a response (not by Rebecca) to your type wondering how Rebecca could possibly be justified in feeling uncomfortable given the situation.

  94. DavidByron says

    Would feminists who say it was immoral for EG to ask Watson anything also think it was immoral for him to say,

    “Excuse me but you left your wallet at the bar. Here it is.”

    That would be wrong because he is a potential rapist, right? He shouldn’t attempt to give her the wallet back?

  95. penn says

    “When feminists say men are potential rapists that makes ME feel incredibly uncomfortable.”

    Strange men ARE potential rapists! Rapists aren’t mythical genderless creatures. If that bothers you, take it up with the rapists. If we get rid of rape culture then a lot of women would feel more comfortable receiving and accepting sexual propositions from men. So everyone wins, but the rapists.

  96. Philip Legge says

    Would feminists who say it was immoral for EG to ask Watson anything also think it was immoral for him to say,

    You still don’t get it: you’re trying to define some absolute rule about what is permissible by sneaking around and tinkering with the circumstances. Returning a wallet is an obvious favour to the person who loses it (no one like losing personal property) and there would be nothing creepy in returning it at the earliest possible opportunity; there are plenty of social situations where transactions like this occur.

  97. DavidByron says

    Ophelia. Let me say that I am willing to apologise for suggesting you were sexist but so far I just cannot see it any other way because your various attempts to explain yourself sound to me like nonsense. For example:

    “all strangers are (as far as we know in advance) potentially violent. Encountering strangers is a fraught thing, and when it’s close up and in an enclosed space”

    OK so (1) are you saying there would be “zero bad” if EG had questioned Watson not inside a lift? as far as I know that’s not true is it?

    or (2) are you saying it is immoral to ever enter an elevator that someone else already occupies? Kinda ruins the point of an elevator doesn’t it? Also Watson reported that she and EG entered the elevator at the same time (they waited for it). Does that mean that Watson exhibted the same amount of insensitivity towards EG?

    Neither of these seem remotely likely that you believe them.

    or (3) the bit about an enclosed space isn’t necessary as you think all human encounters are potentially violent and therefore all human encounters are immoral?

    Can you try to explain what you are saying and how it does NOT negatively stereotype men as a birth group? For example can you confirm you think all the logic applies equally to women too? Please be aware that it really really sounds like you are being extremely offensive and sexist even if you didn’t intend that.

  98. Chakolate says

    I think he’s on to something, he just didn’t get it quite right:

    “Women who attend atheist-skeptic conferences that are absolutely certain they don’t want to be hit on should wear a clearly visible “do not proposition me” sign on their backs.”

    This is almost right. In fact, men so inclined should wear a sign that says “I’ll hump anything, just ask.”

    Sheesh.

    I think you may have to give up on this guy – he seems to only think of women as good for one thing, and to hell with whether they want that or not. ‘Persuade’? Try ‘pressure’, ‘wear her down’, ‘intimidate her’. No means no.

  99. DavidByron says

    Philip Legge,
    “you’re trying to define some absolute rule about what is permissible”

    Whereas you are trying to be arbitrary and inconsistent?

    I take it for granted that my opponents are reasonable people who are not hypocrites and/or inconsistent when I try to figure out what they mean to say. Therefore when you and the others make a moral claim about EG I assume you mean it to be a generic absolute rule. That’s me assuming the best about you.

    If you reject that assumption – if you say that no, this is an entirely arbitrary and irrational rule you are proposing here, then I would tend to read that as evidence of more sexism and also dismiss your claims that it is a moral issue.

    Are you so claiming?

  100. says

    @DavidByron:

    Again that doesn’t seem realistic as anything but an implied threat.

    It’s only a threat if you are a heartless Scrooge McDuck with your personal possessions. /sarcasm

    Now if they said eg,

    “Excuse me but I think you grabbed my wallet by mistake back in the bar. Look here’s yours.”

    Well then I don’t think I’d take that as an implied threat.

    No no no. You can’t have them presenting evidence of trustworthiness. It has to be analogous to Elevatorgate. How about this [on the elevator at 4 a.m., a stranger who followed you in asks]:

    “Don’t take this the wrong way, but you look like a good person and I am in desperate need of money to pay for a taxi ride home since I just lost my wallet and and was wondering if you could check your wallet for me to see if you have any spare cash?”

  101. says

    There’s one big thing that I have observed from all this menz whining about how dare we perform threat assessment how insulting elebenty u r ugly frigid slut cunt!!!! That one thing is that some men are absolutely, utterly incapable of accepting that not everything is about them personally. No matter how much you point to crime statistics and police safety guidelines and personal histories and sociological studies and psychological studies – it’s all irrelevant, because no other person in the universe counts.

    This level of self-absorption makes them impervious to all reason that relies on the ability to consider another human’s point of view. It’s as if they have less theory of mind than your average neurotypical 5 year old. In my terms, this demotes them to teh Menz™ – a term that I prefer to use because that leaves “men” as a happily neutral term for adult male humans.

    I would also like to note that this sets them totally apart from people on the autism spectrum – who are usually painfully aware of their own struggle to understand social behaviours. In particular, most Aspies I know are prone to be extremely literal, and so would NEVER interpret “I’m tired” as “Ask me for sex”.

  102. DavidByron says

    Philip Legge,
    “The statistics show that most violent crimes are carried out by men, and there are likewise statistics showing what crimes are frequently related to the gender/situation of the victim.”

    The same argument people on Stormfront use against black people.

    I doubt that observation will cause you any pause.

    But it ought to.

    Again this is gender profiling. If you are against racial profiling please explain to me why racial profiling is wrong but gender profiling is good. After all nobody disagrees that more Mexican looking people in Arizona are illegals than white looking people. The point is that’s its immoral discrimination.

    Serious question: can any feminist explain WHY racial profiling is wrong. I seriously wonder because if you did know why it is wrong I don’t see how you’d make the same argument as conservative racists make.

  103. Philip Legge says

    DB, I am not attempting to be inconsistent, and if you want to read my views on this issue at greater length, here’s a few pointers. Real life isn’t black and white, and you are patently attempting to manipulate either the variables of the scenario or pre-suppose totally inflexible rules of social behaviour in order to catch feminists in some sort of hypocritical trap, say either your imagined “feminists are just as sexist” line or “feminists are immoral” instead. It’s a transparent ploy, and I’m not going to answer it.

  104. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    DavidByron is playing the male privilege game to the hilt. He’s whining (and yes, DavidByron, you’re whining) that women taking reasonable precautions against rape is “sexist.” What DavidByron really means is that he doesn’t like to admit that, under certain circumstances, women might consider him to be a possible rapist.

    DavidByron’s widdle feewings are all hurtipoo and it’s the evil, castrating wimmenz’s fault. If they were nice to poor, uncomfortable-feeling DavidByron, the wimmenz wouldn’t express their concerns in his presence. It makes his widdle head ache and that’s not being nice to imposed-upon DavidByron. He’s a nice guy, really he is. And not in the least bit rapy at all, at least not as far as he’s concerned. Besides, DavidByron is a MAN, the proud possessor of a PENIS, and that trumps wimmenz’s concerns and opinions. To disregard DavidByron’s penis is sexist!!1!!one!

  105. DavidByron says

    Ophelia,
    “It’s not gender profiling if you’re alone in an elevator with a stranger who is asking you for sex! “______ profiling” is a term for cops, not random people. Jeezis.”

    Could you expand on that? I’m not clear what you are saying. Are you saying that profiling is only immoral if a representative of the government does it but a civilian doing the same sort of thing would not be acting immorally?

    Let’s say that I am shopkeeper in Arizona and I see some Mexican looking people coming into my shop. I tell them to get lost because I think they are illegal immigrants. Is that OK? Because I am a civilian and not a government official?

    Or was your objection something else? Please explain why you don’t think treating men differently from women because of traits that some small minority of men have is not gender profiling? that seems like the definition to me. You are gender as a proxy for violence aren’t you? Or perhaps you are not since you objected, but many people here appear to admit that is exactly what they are doing.

  106. Philip Legge says

    Again this is gender profiling.

    Bullshit. And you removed the context, which was that I was speaking of “perceived threat”: creepy behaviour by strangers is simply intimidating. Your segue from there to race I regard as offensive.

  107. DavidByron says

    penn,
    “name someone who has said that if EG were a women it would’ve been “zero bad”?”

    Name a feminist who has said it would have been the same if EG was a woman. Yes you claimed it would be rude for a woman but you refused to say a woman would have been a potential rapist.

  108. DavidByron says

    Kiwi Sauce,
    “all she did was point out that either the guy or the behaviour was “creepy””

    “Creepy” is slut shaming for men. You are attacking the man for simply exhibiting sexual behaviour. That’s sexist.

    Please quit being sexist.

  109. John Morales says

    [meta]

    DavidByron, your little mantra grows ever more tedious, not just because it’s stupid (as it is on the etymological fallacy) but because it’s so very ironically inappropriate.

    (realism ≠ sexism)

  110. Philip Legge says

    “Creepy” is not slut-shaming men: women are equally capable of being creepy. The Elevator douche, whether knowingly or not (and the report points to “knowingly”) was acting like a creep. It’s not sexist to call out someone for displaying creepy behaviour.

    Time for soup (my participation from here-on will be limited).

  111. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    DavidByron, we’ll stop being sexist right after you show that you give a damn about someone other than yourself. Because right now what you’re doing is whining about how your male privilege is being disregarded.

  112. says

    I note that I get a couple of honorary mentions from this dimwit Onen as well, alleging at one point that I attempted to get Abbie Smith “blacklisted”, whatever that means. What utter rubbish. I have to conclude that writing a reply to this idiot would be a complete waste of time.

  113. DavidByron says

    Philip Legge,
    “you removed the context, which was that I was speaking of “perceived threat”: creepy behaviour by strangers is simply intimidating.”

    But EG exhibited no behaviour that was creepy, intimidating or threatening in any way. He was just male. You are using gender as a proxy for creepy, intimidating and threatening. That is gender profiling.

  114. mandrellian says

    Popping in to say that I’m a regular lurker here and at Panda’s Thumb & PZ’s place. Why is that relevant? Because the latter two attract more than their fair share of creationist visitors. What have creationists to do with RW’s elevator incident? Well, the only people I’ve ever encountered that are as obtuse, as immune to reason, nuance & subtlety, as adept at seemingly miscontrusing others’ points and as skilled at constructing caricatures of others’ arguments as creationists are … you guessed it … Mens’ Rights Arseholes. Get shot down by a girl you don’t know? Clearly a bitch. Nothing to do with you having no fucking sense of personal boundaries, body language, normal everyday common-sense politeness or even the English fucking language. If you wouldn’t proposition someone in a supermarket queue at lunchtime, why is it ok at dawn in an elevator?

    Seriously, what part of “Strangers, please don’t hit on girls you don’t know at 4am when they’re off to bed alone; it’s a little creepy” equates to “ALL YOU FUCKING MEN ARE GODDAMNED RAPISTS”?

    Is it really so hard to see that the core message here is “Your first sentence to a woman you’ve never met, regardless of your right to free speech, shouldn’t be “PLEASE GRANT ME ACCESS TO YOUR VAGINA””?

    Is it really evidence of some covert matriarchal man-hatred that some people agreed with Rebecca Watson’s point that there is a time and place to hit on people and that EG chose the wrong time and place – and was civilly asked not to do that kind of thing?

    Come on, blokes, aren’t we meant to be all tough and caveman-y? It’s frankly pitiful that this months-long trollstorm/whine-session could erupt because some clueless chap copped a “no”.

    Simply: get to know someone, even for a drink or two, before presuming the right to ask for anything more than the time.

  115. Philip Legge says

    You are using gender as a proxy for creepy,

    Again, I call bullshit. Read what I said:

    “Creepy” is not slut-shaming men: women are equally capable of being creepy.

  116. Kiwi Sauce says

    Why don’t the MRAs just get a blow-up doll? That way, they can pick the look of the one they use, they don’t get turned down, and dolls don’t get pregnant when they refuse to wear condoms. It’s a win-win for all. :)

  117. julian says

    Name a feminist who has said it would have been the same if EG was a woman. Yes you claimed it would be rude for a woman but you refused to say a woman would have been a potential rapist.

    A women would have been a potential rapist, mugger, stalker whatever. The reason ‘men are potential rapist’ is being pointed out is because women are raped by men far more frequently then they are raped by other women (even though it still happens.) People are tying to impress upon you that it is a very real problem globally. We men (the ones are performing the vast majority of these crimes) should be addressing the issue.

    And please save the racist bs. This isn’t racist, sexist or anything. Men (irrespective of culture, country, city and status) rape and there is no way for a woman to tell if the strange man stopping her in an enclosed space to ask for sex is going to be one. He’s already engaging in suspicious behavior and has already shown himself indifferent to how she might feel. There’s no reason not to be cautious around such a person.

  118. DavidByron says

    This question is actually worth asking seriously (the original poster was not being serious):

    “what part of “Strangers, please don’t hit on girls you don’t know at 4am when they’re off to bed alone; it’s a little creepy” equates to “ALL YOU FUCKING MEN ARE GODDAMNED RAPISTS”?”

    I would like to know why feminists leaped from “this made me feel uncomfortable” to all the rape talk. Feminists are the ones that made that connection. To me the two things seem completely separate. The bizarre and sexist accusation calling an entire birth group by negative stereotypical remarks seems completely unrelated to Watson saying she felt uncomfortable (but not threatened in any sense).

    Beyond the obvious explanation — feminists are sexists — I cannot see why the leap was made. Perhaps a non-sexist feminist could try to explain where all the “rape” came from?

  119. julian says

    Why don’t the MRAs just get a blow-up doll? That way, they can pick the look of the one they use, they don’t get turned down, and dolls don’t get pregnant when they refuse to wear condoms. It’s a win-win for all

    It really isn’t. What turns MRA’s on is the hunt. They’re men, you know, manly men, and they don’t want pussy given to them. No, sir! They want to chase the pussy, pin it down and enjoy it. Why else would they defend their ‘right’ to constantly hound women for sex? Why else would object to women who’ve been raped multiple times being suspicious of strangers? Why else would they make a big show of the women who don’t mind constantly being hounded for sex and holding them up as the standard all those stupid feminazi bitches should emulate?

  120. julian says

    I would like to know why feminists leaped from “this made me feel uncomfortable” to all the rape talk.

    It may have something to do with several having been raped in similarly ‘safe’ circumstances and trying to get across why they and others might feel uncomfortable and a little creeped out in such a situation.

    Pretty sure this has been explained to you multiple times.

  121. says

    @DavidByron

    Beyond the obvious explanation — feminists are sexists [*cough*BS*cough*]— I cannot see why the leap was made. Perhaps a non-sexist feminist could try to explain where all the “rape” came from?

    Beyond your bullshit, it isn’t just about the possibility that she could have been facing a rapist. The bottom line is that it is unnecessarily putting a woman in a worrisome situation where they are made to feel unsafe by a man.

    She wasn’t at a sex club or a coffee club. It wasn’t appropriate what he did. It was disrespectful of Rebecca. It was disrespectful of women.

    And just think about all the times you or someone you know reacted differently than you would have wanted and created an ugly situation–how did EG know that he wasn’t going to be bent out of shape emotionally when rejected? How did he know that Rebecca wasn’t going to humiliate the fuck out of him and provoke him into anger?

    Well, people don’t know. This isn’t just for Rebecca’s sake or the sake of women to get the word out that this kind of behavior is not a good idea. It’s for everyone involved.

  122. says

    The timeline:

    1. Watson makes her rebuke of EG (“guys, piece of advice, don’t do that, it’s creepy”).
    2. People jump down her throat for ostensibly saying “never flirt with anyone”
    3. MRAs and other apologists for EG demand an explanation for why it’s creepy to begin with
    4. Feminists, countering both memes, say “because there was no context of friendship between them, this was a cold-opening on an elevator at 4 am, all of which triggers all the ‘don’t do this to avoid rape’ training that girls are given for years by a victim-blaming society
    5. MRAs get their knickers in knots over being called potential rapists

    How many times can DavidByrne ignore the timeline proffered and replace 2, 3 and 4 with “???”

  123. DavidByron says

    Julian, you obviously feel good about being inconsistent with respect to gender in a way penn wanted to deny. Of course your views remain your own, still I think they do represent the feminist view better.

    You repeat the argument for racial profiling (no need to go over that again). You repeat the sexist negative attack on men as a birthgroup (characterising them as rapists). But you add an element which is new and I would like to talk about. You said,

    “We men (the ones are performing the vast majority of these crimes) should be addressing the issue.”

    You are saying men are collectively guilty of the crimes that some men commit. The liberal view is that an individual is guilty only for the crimes or wrongs they commit. They are not guilty of crimes other people committed. However hate groups have a different concept of guilt called collective guilt. For example, one I referenced above

    “The Jews killed Jesus”

    Now for sake of this example you have to assume Jesus actually existed and was killed by some Jews. With me? The twist is that all the other Jews that didn’t “kill Jesus” including millions not even born yet somehow take on the guilt of those Jews. It’s sort of like the idea of Original Sin applied to hated minority groups. As soon as you are born into that birth group you are born with sin. In the case of feminists, feminists believe that as soon as a male baby is born that child has the sin on its hands of all the crimes that all men have ever been accused of by feminists.

    It’s completely irrational and anti-liberal of course.
    And of course it’s sexist.

    Please quit being sexist.

    I don’t know about you Julian but I didn’t rape anyone. I am not about to rape anyone either. I find your comment that somehow I am responsible because “we” commit rape to be utterly offensive.

  124. A. Noyd says

    Philip Legge (#118)

    “Creepy” is not slut-shaming men: women are equally capable of being creepy.

    The one person I encounter on a regular basis who creeps me out is another woman. But since it’s in a context where the power dynamics are always in my favor, it’s not something I worry about trying to fix.

  125. John Morales says

    julian,

    Pretty sure this has been explained to you multiple times.

    It has*.

    Even I did so, not that long ago.

    (Disingenously purblind, is DavidByron)

    * And, in the original threads, much evidence was adduced to sustain the claim, too.

  126. DavidByron says

    Julian,
    “It may have something to do with several having been raped in similarly ‘safe’ circumstances”

    So you admit that feminists are sexist, but say they should be allowed to be sexist? Kind of like the way it’s cool for the KKK to be racist because some have been robbed by black people?

    You wouldn’t for example say that anyone who was attacked by a member of a minority group and then comes to blame and fear that whole minority group should be given psychiatric help with their irrational fear and prejudice?

  127. says

    Onen the creep :

    Here is where the problem lies: a man generally cannot know until after attempting the proposition that it was unwanted. Not only that – it is, after all, also possible for a proposition to be unwanted at first but for the recipient of the proposition to change her mind after persuasion.

    However a man, unless he is a clueless neanderthal with the empathy and common sense of a troglodyte, can assess whether a proposition in for example a confined space, however politely presented, to a person he has never spoken to before, might make the other person uncomfortable. Somehow there is a lack of ability to see things from a woman’s perspective present with all these MRAs, which is why we are still here going on about this 3 months after the fact. Oh, and here’s to hoping that no female ever has to experience Onen’s powers of persuasion.

  128. DavidByron says

    Aratina Cage,
    “The bottom line is that it is unnecessarily putting a woman in a worrisome situation where they are made to feel unsafe by a man.”

    That completely fails to explain where the hell rape came from as an issue. Watson did not feel unsafe. Watson did not feel worried. Watson did not say she thought she was going to be raped or report ANY hint of anything like that.

    Where does the rape come from?

    Unless you are saying ANY male-female interaction is tantamount to rape?

  129. stacy says

    I went out to dinner and missed some of the, urm, fun.

    DavidByron here is trying to turn the elevator saga into a story about “gender profiling”. I’d like to overlook that and go back to a comment he made earlier, because it bugged the hell out of me but it took me a while to figure out why it bugged me. Here’s the comment, with my attempt to parse it:

    You seem to be saying women’s rights trump men’s more basic rights

    I first supposed DavidByron meant something like, “a woman’s ‘right’ (social expectation not to be propositioned by a stranger at 4 am in an enclosed space) trumps a man’s ‘right’ (as in, Constitutionally protected, formal right) to free speech (including the right to proposition her), [sez you feminists]”

    Is that what you meant, DavidByron? Because, no, that’s not what we’re saying. Nobody has suggested that EG didn’t have the ‘Right2′ (second sense) to do what he did. We’ve just said that he was rude to do so–in other words, that he stepped on her 1st sense right (right1). Which is his Right2. BUT the woman also has a Right2 to call him out as clueless (which is what happened here). Because men’s Rights2 of free speech of course aren’t somehow “more basic” than women’s.

    Right?

    Or are you miffed because you think EG’s right1 to proposition RW is somehow “more basic” than her Right2 to suggest such behavior was inappropriate? Because that’s what happened here.

    Or were you comparing EG’s right1 to RW’s right1–the right to make an advance even under a circumstance likely to cause discomfort to the advancee–well, you can argue that the two people have equal “rights”, in this situation, and, in a sense, they do–but now we’re not talking about Rights2, we’re talking about what’s socially appropriate.

    So what makes his right “more basic” than hers, here, exactly?

    Saying that men’s right1 is “more basic” than women’s right1 is sexist.

    Please stop being sexist.

    Saying that men’s right1 trumps a woman’s Right2 is sexist.

    Please quit being sexist.

    Now, back to the “gender profiling” bafflegab–the fact remains that the elevator scenario would be uncomfortable for many women, for more than one reason, and a woman has an absolute Right2 to say so and to suggest [which is what RW did] that men not do that if they’d like to avoid making women uncomfortable.

    Refusing to acknowledge that rape, by men, is a real and not uncommon thing that happens to women, that we are aware of it and worry about it, have to worry about it when we’re in vulnerable situations alone with strange men, is sexist.

    You’re being sexist. Please quit being sexist.

  130. Kiwi Sauce says

    julian @128

    Thanks for the clarification. One question: why then do they think there would be fewer “feminazi bitches” at an atheist convention? The more MRA outbursts I read, the more I wonder how these guys can muster up sufficient brain cells to walk and breath simultaneously.

  131. julian says

    You are saying men are collectively guilty of the crimes that some men commit.

    Yes and no. We are guilty of creating, nurturing and protecting an atmosphere that gives rapists perfect cover to operate under and dismisses the fears of women who have/may been raped. It is our responsibility to fix that.

    It’s no different then asking a group of Christians to stamp out the child abusers in their church when they’ve been giving them cover for 100+ years.

  132. DavidByron says

    Jason,
    “all of which triggers all the ‘don’t do this to avoid rape’ training that girls are given for years by a victim-blaming society”

    Could you expand on this please? It seems like you are admitting that the leap to rape was wholly irrational. You explain it by saying women are a little brain washed and as a result they sometimes just shout “rape” at odd times?

    But if that is the case then why do feminists persist with the whole rape thing now that they have realised that their “rape Tourrets” has embarrassed them in public again?

  133. Pteryxx says

    Yeah, it is all about the hunt. The MRA’s want an opponent they can “defeat” or else it’s no fun, like all bullies.

    I suggested back on Rebecca’s original thread that a particular right-to-proposition dude simply give a woman a business card with HIS phone number on it, instead of harassing her for hers. He said that’d never work because then he wouldn’t be in control.

    Unless you are saying ANY male-female interaction is tantamount to rape?

    Mister “It’s not black-and-white” @97 has a carefully nurtured comprehension fault, methinks. Only the man gets the benefit of uncertainty, to this one.

    penn,
    “you don’t think people need to respect first requests?”

    I think it is not black and white. That is why it is important to be very clear in refusal if you are likely to be offended by repeated requests.

    They understand, they just don’t like the answer

  134. says

    Watson did not feel unsafe. Watson did not feel worried. Watson did not say she thought she was going to be raped or report ANY hint of anything like that.

    You’re getting confused about the larger discussion over the details. The details are that Rebecca Watson expressed that she did not like it and said the obvious–that guys shouldn’t do that. Women are people, duh. How about acknowledging that instead of treating them like mindless objects? I would have to go back and watch it all over again to get the actual quotes, but not right now.

    Then the misogynistic haraunging of Rebecca Watson started happening which kicked off a larger discussion where people expressed their solidarity with Rebecca Watson while analyzing the situation. As it is, whether Rebecca Watson was fearful or worried is not the point, the point is that there are good reasons for men not to behave as EG did and the threat to the woman of being assaulted or even raped looms large in those reasons, and the other point is that the misogynistic language and obsessively misogynistic behavior directed at Rebecca Watson is reprehensible coming from within the atheist/skeptic community.

  135. mandrellian says

    DB @ 126:

    This question is actually worth asking seriously (the original poster was not being serious):

    “what part of “Strangers, please don’t hit on girls you don’t know at 4am when they’re off to bed alone; it’s a little creepy” equates to “ALL YOU FUCKING MEN ARE GODDAMNED RAPISTS”?”

    I would like to know why feminists leaped from “this made me feel uncomfortable” to all the rape talk. Feminists are the ones that made that connection. To me the two things seem completely separate. The bizarre and sexist accusation calling an entire birth group by negative stereotypical remarks seems completely unrelated to Watson saying she felt uncomfortable (but not threatened in any sense).

    Beyond the obvious explanation — feminists are sexists — I cannot see why the leap was made. Perhaps a non-sexist feminist could try to explain where all the “rape” came from?”

    Oh, I was being serious. Rebecca didn’t mention rape, but many people completely overreacted to what she said and made hyperbole, hysteria and histrionics the theme of their responses to her piece; many instantly painted her as some “all men are rapists” straw-feminist. That’s what I was referring to: RW’s opponents misrepresenting what she said and acting like idiots.

    However, the fact is that rape is, by a clear and unequivocal majority, a male-on-female crime. RW didn’t mention rape but she obviously felt very uncomfortable. Why? I can’t say for sure – a million things can go through your mind when a stranger asks something you’re unprepared for. But if I was in her situation, the potential for an attack would’ve been just one of the possibilities whirring through my head.

    As any victim or near-victim can tell you, rape can happen anywhere, any time, for any or no reason and by anybody. If anyone on RW’s side of the fence brought it up it’s because even the slimmest -possiblity- of rape is enough to make someone very, very uncomfortable. Being propositioned in a small enclosed space by a stranger an hour before dawn is enough to make anyone think “What the hell is going to happen if I say “no”?” I’ve been in far less uncomfortable situations myself (e.g. a beggar asking for money – I have no idea what to expect if I refuse or have no cash) but I’ve still automatically scanned around for escape routes, other people or anything I could use as a weapon. Friends of mine have been violently mugged, myself & others targeted by strangers for fights over nothing, others have only escaped serious injury through self-defence training and a (thankfully) very small number actually have been raped. That’s why I watch my back & the backs of those around me when out & about – even in a familiar place – because you don’t know when or where someone will decide that you’re fair game.

    Now, I don’t know RW’s history with violence or unwanted advances, so who knows what she was thinking at the time. However, her initial video was a perfectly reasonable call for reasonable behaviour. If others mentioned the possibility of rape as potential source for RW’s discomfort, fine. That’s their guess. It’s understandable. I haven’t read everything on the topic (there’s simply too much) but what I’ve really grown to detest about the whole situation is the reactions of those who completely (perhaps intentionally) misread it and instantly wanted to paint RW as a man-hating fembot or whining little tart.

    The lack of understanding and empathy running throughout this ridiculous and overblown shitstorm is exhausting. One woman says “Please don’t, that’s creepy” and all of a sudden it’s a gender war with men, for god’s sake, bleating about being victimised by horrible sexist feminists. It’s insulting to the intelligence of all of us.

  136. John Morales says

    DavidByron bull-headedly ignores all previous responses, and futilely (not just pointlessly) repeats lows:

    [1] Where does the rape come from?

    [2] Unless you are saying ANY male-female interaction is tantamount to rape?

    1. I duly repeat my personal answer for the third time in this specific thread:

    Even I did so, not that long ago.

    2. I care not to make the effort to document the numerous responses where this claim has been explicitly repudiated and clarified, since DavidByron will ignore such effort, and any lurkers can hardly be unaware of such repeated instances.

    (Patently, wilful obtuseness is DavidByron’s forté)

  137. DavidByron says

    stacy,
    if all you are saying is that you think EG was rude I don’t think we disagree substantially. Personally I don’t think there’s enough evidence to draw any conclusion on that one way or the other, so I make the presumption of innocence, but I understand that people often jump to conclusions with little basis, regardless of how unjust and irrational it is.

    The main issue I have is that many feminists said EG was sexist. If you don’t think that’s true I agree with you substantially.

    ————————————

    You also say that women “have to worry about [rape]“. Bizarrely you say that denying this is sexist. In reality women are much less likely to be assaulted than men are. That is even more true in public places (ie not at home). Were you aware of that?

    I am curious. Would you say it is sexist against men to deny that men ought to be a lot more worried about assault than women are?

    I would say nobody ought to worry so much about assault that it is a big concern of their’s in such a safe place as a public hotel in a fine city such as Dublin. I would say that if anyone is that worried they ought to seek professional psychiatric help with that phobia (ie irrational fear).

    However it is clear Watson does not need such help because if she was the slightest bit afraid like that then she wouldn’t have been out and about at 4 am in a strange city by herself.

    In my view feminists display sexism against women when they spread hysterical fears about assaults on women for their own political advantage. That’s really disgusting.

  138. says

    Sorry, John Morales. For some reason I missed your answer (#100) and it is indeed a great answer to DavidByron’s embogglement. I should have just pointed him there, too, since it includes the insight that the entire situation was originally analyzed in response to the blank stares of some as to how that could have made Rebecca Watson uncomfortable at all!

  139. Pteryxx says

    Heya mandrellian. If you’re up for it, I’d actually recommend Rebecca’s second video on this whole kerfuffle:

    Update Plus Dating Advice!

    I thought I would just address the one BIG question, (serious look) the one that I keep seeing over and over and over again. Which is something along these lines: “I’m a man, and I don’t see, uh, the PROBLEM, in cornering a woman in an elevator and inviting her back to my room, despite the fact that she said she’s tired and going to bed, despite the fact that she said she didn’t want to be hit on (shrug) and, despite the fact that I’ve never talked to her before; I don’t see a problem with the situation. So if you say I can’t do THAT, then, HOW can I possibly get laid?”

    Emphasis mine… shows where their priorities are. ~;>

  140. John Morales says

    Kiwi Sauce,

    The more MRA outbursts I read, the more I wonder how these guys can muster up sufficient brain cells to walk and breath simultaneously.

    It’s not that they’re necessarily stupid (though it helps), it’s that they’re intellectually-cowardly self-entitled reactionary bullies who, much as DavidByron does, pretend to misapprehend reality so as to maintain as much of their social privilege as they can.

    (The tide is turning, but.

    And I’m not sorry for you, O assholes!)

  141. stacy says

    (Patently, wilful obtuseness is DavidByron’s forté)

    Hanlon’s Razor, MRA version: Never attribute to bad faith that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

  142. DavidByron says

    More attempted answers to my “Where did the rape rape rape come from?”

    mandrallian says it was Watson’s opponents who started saying rape. But if that is so then why did the feminist pick it up and run with it?

    And then John Morales makes his first cogent contribution by basically telling the truth. The problem is that the truth is exactly what the feminists were trying to avoid because it sounds to sexist.

    Feminists brought up the rape rape rape stuff because they believe that all men are basically rapists (sorry “potential” rapists) and therefore to them it was legitimate for Watson to make a big fucking deal about an utterly trivial event because they can always play the “rape” card.

    Yeah, thanks for that John.

    Which just gets back to the point that the more intelligent feminists were trying to variously deny. Namely that feminists are sexists who routinely characterise men as rapists.

    So here goes.

    Feminists: what part of lying about a minority birth group with disgusting stereotypical characterisations (ie. “men are all potential rapists”) do you NOT GET as being discriminatory and offensive?

    I hate to go to the race analogy so often but it seems like the only way with you. If a group of people went around constantly banging the drum and saying black people were all manner of evil criminals (sorry “potentially” all criminals), you would say they were utterly racist jerks.

    What are you doing that’s any different?

    I’m going to get banned right now just for asking that aren’t I?

  143. stacy says

    You also say that women “have to worry about [rape]

    Yes.

    Bizarrely you say that denying this is sexist.

    How is that bizarre?

    In reality women are much less likely to be assaulted than men are. That is even more true in public places (ie not at home).

    Now you’re changing the subject from “rape” to “assault”.

    “Assault” means a lot of things. Two guys getting into a fight is “assault”.

    (In case you hadn’t noticed, men are, generally, bigger and stronger than women. In any case, we were discussing rape, not the far more general category “assault”. And men are much less likely to be raped than women are.)

    Were you aware of that?

    Yes. Red herring. See above.

  144. stacy says

    The main issue I have is that many feminists said EG was sexist.

    Did they?

    I believe that people began to claim that Watson was “demonizing” EG or “men’s sexuality” or men in general.

    That reaction was what was called sexist.

    At least that is my understanding.

  145. John Morales says

    [meta]

    DavidByron hopefully bleats:

    I’m going to get banned right now just for asking that aren’t I?

    I very much doubt “right now”, since Ophelia is probably asleep.

    Besides, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but you’re the only exemplar of the insecure men’s brigade here, and it’s kinda fun (not just useful) to have a specimen to dissect.

    Finally, and more to the point, Ophelia is rather tolerant.

    (Try harder, you may achieve your goal, yet!)

  146. stacy says

    DavidByron,

    For what it’s worth, I am a feminist, and I don’t assume that EG is any more sexist than any of the rest of us. I don’t suppose that he’s a bad guy at all.

    And I don’t think that all men are rapists.

    I do think you should try to understand that women do have to worry about rape, and that it will tend to make us uncomfortable when we’re alone with a man we don’t know well or have good reason to trust. Unless, of course, we’re bigger than him, or armed, or Beatrix Kiddo, or something.

  147. DavidByron says

    I never know what to say when people say I am gay.

    It’s like if you say “HELL no I am not gay”, that implies you think that being gay is bad somehow. It is much the same with the MRA thing. I am not a MRA. Not that there’s anything wrong with that….

    This is not a syllogism:

    (1) DavidByron criticises feminism
    (2) MRAs criticise feminism
    (3) therefore DavidByron is an MRA

    —————————————

    stacy,
    Rape is a kind of assault and other than the “rape Tourrets” that feminists have I see no valid reason to not include all assault. Or is there some reason women should be afraid of being raped but should not fear any other assault?

    It is not clear but men may be the majority of rape victims in the US. Depends how you count the statistic I suspect. You are probably forgetting about jail and prison rape but men report being raped at one third the rate women are even outside of prison according to the National Violence Against Women Survey. Of course for assault overall there’s no doubt men are the majority of victims.

    ——————————————

    See you guys tomorrow maybe, and thanks for keeping it a fairly clean fight.

  148. mandrellian says

    Pteryx @ 148

    Thanks for the suggestion! I’ve seen RW’s update already and the responses to it. Enlightening, one could say, if one were sarcastic.

    DavidByron @ 152: the Big Difference between the MRA whiners mistaking “Don’t hit on me, stranger” for “MAN=RAPE” and when the RW supporters mentioned rape (as opposed to your suggestion that they “picked it up and ran with it” – hope you’re not implying that it takes a man to broach a subject and a woman to keep it going, btw) is this: to a woman alone in an unfamiliar space with a stranger who wants to have sex with her, rape may very well be playing on her mind as a possible outcome of the encounter, especially if she says “no”. This is NOT because she views all men as potential/actual rapists and NOT because she sees all come-ons as assault. For all I know rape is the furthest thing from the woman’s mind! However, rape happens in precisely the sort of situation RW found herself in: small space, strange guy making a proposition, RW saying “No thanks”. That some people pointed this out is NOT evidence that all feminists are sexists who think all men are rapists, by thought if not by deed.

    It’s really not that difficult to comprehend why people were mentioning rape, even if RW didn’t. As I said, the main difference was between how the he-men talked about it and how RW’s supporters talked about it.

    Seriously, this isn’t rocket surgery.

    Please stop being obtuse.

  149. says

    This is a manifold problem that DavidByron is attempting (wilfully) to make unidimensional. @140, he asks:

    Could you expand on this please? It seems like you are admitting that the leap to rape was wholly irrational. You explain it by saying women are a little brain washed and as a result they sometimes just shout “rape” at odd times?

    This is, of course, the most uncharitable view of the situation that led to apologists demanding to know what made EG’s advance “creepy” and getting “because people have been trained toward rape avoidance”.

    Women are in general treated as hostile witnesses in all matters regarding their personal sexual self-realization. If they wear something attractive, if they have a drink at a bar, if they go to a party, if they are out walking late at night, they’re “looking to be raped”. They’re engaging in activities that make them an easier target for rape. They are blamed for being insufficiently self-protective. And when they get raped, and they report this fact to the police, they are treated as though they were not raped — they are treated as though they merely had sex and regretted it, or that nothing had actually happened at all and they’re crying wolf.

    So when someone considers a situation (like being in an elevator at 4 am in a foreign country with someone who has had access to you for hours but whose first words are the equivalent of “wanna come back to my place”) as creepy, they are actually reacting to the fear inculcated in them by the situations described above — played out innumerable times — that they are vulnerable and have done too little to protect themselves from being cornered into said situation. And if something had gone wrong, if she had been attacked, the MRAs would demand that she be held to account for not stepping off the elevator immediately, or for not having been escorted to her room, or for not carrying mace or something.

    And if all else fails, they’d characterize her as “loose” for having spent hours in a bar to begin with.

    It’s win-win-win all around for people like David. They get society into a state where we blame the victims, they get to rape indiscriminately because these women won’t get taken seriously, AND they get to cry “sexual profiling” in self defense in discussions like this, because women are taught to be afraid of men when being accosted “cold”, without prior contact. Plus they even get to call the societal victim-blaming state a way to get feminists irrationally screaming rape.

    Never mind the vast statistical prevalence of men raping women rather than the other way around (or rather than men raping men). Just because the other situations happen doesn’t mean it’s so statistically prevalent that society has engendered a victim-blaming culture when it happens. Though in those situations where a man rapes a man, the man is accused of being gay (as though that were a bad thing) — as a way to accuse the man of secretly wanting the sex that was forced on him.

    It would have been a much different situation if EG had approached her at the bar and suggested they get coffee the next day in a neutral location. Did that happen? Of course not. And that’s why the isolate-then-attack tactics seem “creepy”.

    But David’s got too much invested in getting the whole situation ass-backward so I fully expect he’ll find some loophole in the situation I laid out to suggest that the problem is actually that women are taught to avoid being raped. What’s worse is, if he’s a genuine actor, he just wants men to be treated equally and not as potentially hostile entities. The quickest way to achieve your goals, David, is to get on board with ours. Make it so men can’t rape women without getting away with it, and women will have less to fear and will be more amenable to random strangers asking other random strangers to coffee at 4 am with less fear of potentially being assaulted, sexually or otherwise.

  150. John Morales says

    [OT + pedant]

    This is not a syllogism:

    No. But it is a straw dummy.

    BTW, Tourrets → Tourette’s syndrome.

    I note I find your attempted imputation is as miserably malicious as it’s contemptible and unavailing.

    (But par for the course that I have learnt to expect from you)

  151. says

    Jebus, I just skimmed this guy Onen’s other EG post, which I note is from 11 September, 3 months after we left Dublin. What a blatant and embarrassing attempt to rehash the discussion to receive some attention.
    And, I’m being charitable here, the guy is a hopeless babbler before the lord. From his “conclusion”, linked by Ophelia above :

    For example, perhaps skepticism is not something that works well in a group setting, or as a movement. On the other hand, perhaps it is.

    Huh ? What ? Perhaps red is green and sweet is sour, but why bore us to tears with these idiotic ejaculations ?

    Is radical gender feminism consistent with skepticism? Maybe it is. I’m inclined to think it is not.

    Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication.
    I mean, what is this guy trying to say ? Is he trying to say anything at all ? It’s all just incoherent fluffy babbling to me.

  152. Rinus says

    I think the great, bearded white knight of the interwebs said it all in a recent tweet:

    Learn to be civil and honest with women, not me. I don’t give a damn.

    As for:

    The timeline:

    1. Watson makes her rebuke of EG (“guys, piece of advice, don’t do that, it’s creepy”).
    2. People jump down her throat for ostensibly saying “never flirt with anyone”
    3. MRAs and other apologists for EG demand an explanation for why it’s creepy to begin with
    4. Feminists, countering both memes, say “because there was no context of friendship between them, this was a cold-opening on an elevator at 4 am, all of which triggers all the ‘don’t do this to avoid rape’ training that girls are given for years by a victim-blaming society
    5. MRAs get their knickers in knots over being called potential rapists

    You do know that’s a rather selective time-line, right?

    While no doubt some guys got their knickers in a twist over the rather harmless comments in her initial vlog, that’s hardly the only point of objection brought against Watson.

    Plenty of people only got miffed after the way she called out McGraw and her handling of the Dawkins ‘incident’, which she did everything she could to blow completely out of proportion.

    You can lump all those people together, of course. Just pick the worst of them and pretend that’s what they all have in common.

    Hell, that seems to be the new tactic, learned from Watson herself. Start a talk on sexism in the atheist community by reading out a few select choices of anonymous emails and/or comments made in youtube threads and follow it up with a list of everyone who doesn’t agree with you. Add in a few choice phrases like ‘a following of obsessive creeps’ and ‘these people’ in one of your posts and presto; ERV is now in the same category as people sending death and/or rape threats.

  153. says

    and presto; ERV is now in the same category as people sending death and/or rape threats.

    She has allowed it to go on for 3 months, and has proudly called it her “monument”. That makes her an enabler of those who have sent threats to Rebecca Watson, asked for her to be dropped from speaking engagements and stalked her on the internet. Which part of that do you not understand, dimwit ?
    All it would have taken for Abbie is one “sorry you guys, but this is getting a bit far, and I can’t really support that kind of thing”. Instead, she keeps cheering on her retarded mob of internet losers in their quest to make Watson’s life miserable. It’s inexcusable.

  154. Rinus says

    She has allowed it to go on for 3 months, and has proudly called it her “monument”. That makes her an enabler of those who have sent threats to Rebecca Watson, asked for her to be dropped from speaking engagements and stalked her on the internet. Which part of that do you not understand, dimwit ?
    All it would have taken for Abbie is one “sorry you guys, but this is getting a bit far, and I can’t really support that kind of thing”. Instead, she keeps cheering on her retarded mob of internet losers in their quest to make Watson’s life miserable. It’s inexcusable.

    Heh. I reread my post and felt that perhaps I was stretching it a bit too far towards the end. Then you actually quote the sentence in question and re-affirm it.

  155. bad Jim says

    This could be worse. It could be the average discussion of female genital mutilation, which inevitably turns into an argument about circumcision. The general rule is that a complaint by a woman, if mild, is perceived as an intolerant affront by men, but even if absolutely horrifying and life-altering is considered no more important than a routine but perhaps unnecessary procedure.

    The dialog is always the same:

    Don’t do that.

    THAT’S NOT THE SAME AS RAPE!

    Crude surgery on female genitalia, approximating castration, ought not to be tolerated.

    BOYS HAVE FLAPS OF SKIN EXCISED!

    Why would anyone think that men are generally the victims, given thousands of years of history?

  156. Daniel Schealler says

    *double facepalm*

    Fucking hell.

    Look, this is easy.

    Context matters. There’s a time and a place. 4 a.m. in an elevator and after two or three sentences of small talk is not the time to make a proposition.

    Catching a woman’s eye across the room to see if she returns the gaze, sucking up your guts, introducing yourself and engaging in a conversation, reading the cues of body language and then, after spending some time together – drop a hint or two. Test the waters. Be subtle. If you get a warmer response, then hit up with the euphemistic pickup line.

    Sure, in this context you might still offend – but it’s a very different kettle of fish to coming up out of the blue and simply popping it out there.

    Fucking hell.

    I’m about as scruffy and shy and awkward and plain ol’ artless as it is possible for a man to be… And even I can wrap my head around this.

    What’s wrong with people? Context. Geez.

  157. Rinus says

    Rinus, try as you may, you cannot change the reality of what happened or the gravity of what happened or the perpetrators of the whole affair.

    Funny, I thought that was my line?

  158. John Morales says

    Rinus:

    Funny, I thought that was my line?

    One you’ve never made, but if you want to lay claim to it, well… it would be no less credible than DavidByron’s exhortation to “Please quit being sexist.”

  159. Rinus says

    One you’ve never made, but if you want to lay claim to it, well… it would be no less credible than DavidByron’s exhortation to “Please quit being sexist.”

    Really? I thought that, at the very least, I made an effort to do just that by pointing out the time-line I quoted seemed rather arbitrary.

    As for DavidByron: I don’t really care what he said. His words, not mine. Again, your preferred style of arguing seems to be by associating everyone that has an opinion different from yours with one another. Not all that convincing, really.

  160. hotshoe says

    ERV is now in the same category as people sending death and/or rape threats.

    Yes, definitely. I have zero evidence that Abbie would restrain herself from sending death threats, and plenty of evidence that she musters a level of hate (towards Ms. Watson, and others) which could activate her to send death and/or rape threats.

    Do you have any evidence that she didn’t ? That is, do you know who did send them, and know therefore Abbie is cleared because all the real perpetrators have been identified ? So who are the identities behind the death threats to Ms. Watson ? If NOT Abbie, then who ?

  161. Grace says

    Hey DavidByron,

    If you want to go after the people who support the “all men are rapists” BS, try Mr. Sam Harris, who says “there is nothing more natural than rape.” And how about Steven Pinker (a fellow MRAish douche) who slobbers his praise all over “A Natural History of Rape” which advises all women to go out on dates with an escort to prevent the “natural” impusle in men to rape anything female. Pinker, who thinks anyone who believes rape is about power and control and not about sex is delusional.

    Feminists don’t say this shit, these guys do. These supposed reasonable, rational men who think they’re smart becaused they’ve figured out religion is stoopid. These fuckers are the rock stars of the Atheist community. No one dares critizice them here I can see.

    I dare you to hold them accountable.

  162. Rinus says

    Do you have any evidence that she didn’t ? That is, do you know who did send them, and know therefore Abbie is cleared because all the real perpetrators have been identified ? So who are the identities behind the death threats to Ms. Watson ? If NOT Abbie, then who ?

    Pretty sure you have to hand over your sceptic membership card for that one.

  163. John Morales says

    Rinus, I note in passing that “selected” is rather different to “arbitrary”, but to the point:

    You’ve not claimed the timeline provided above was wrong, only that it is incomplete (presumably, to such degree that it is misleading).

    You are welcome to provide your own version, so that their relative merits may be compared. Here, I’ll even help you (courtesy of Greg Laden) with a set of then-topical links, dated July 6.

    (Note that even by then the shit had well-and-truly hit the fan)

  164. hotshoe says

    Do you have any evidence that she didn’t ? That is, do you know who did send them, and know therefore Abbie is cleared because all the real perpetrators have been identified ? So who are the identities behind the death threats to Ms. Watson ? If NOT Abbie, then who ?

    Pretty sure you have to hand over your sceptic membership card for that one.

    You mean you just realized how unskeptical you’ve been for swallowing Abbie’s side of the story all along ? Good. That’s great news.

    A shame it took you so long to realize that you had no basis for thinking that Abbie was innocent in this affair and that you’ve been taking her side out of unexamined assumptions. I don’t want you to hand over your skeptic card, though; I’m happy for you to have it back now that you’ve seen how foolish you were to not look at Abbie’s motivations and behavior as skeptically as you should.

  165. Rinus says

    Rinus, I note in passing that “selected” is rather different to “arbitrary”, but to the point:

    You’ve not claimed the timeline provided above was wrong, only that it is incomplete (presumably, to such degree that it is misleading).

    Ah, good point. ‘Arbitrary’ was indeed a poor choice of words. (I think I’ll play the non-English speaker card at this point as an easy ‘out’ :p)

    ‘Selective’ is indeed a better way of putting it.

    You are welcome to provide your own version, so that their relative merits may be compared. Here, I’ll even help you (courtesy of Greg Laden) with a set of then-topical links, dated July 6.

    (Note that even by then the shit had well-and-truly hit the fan)

    Yeah, can’t really be bothered with that, to be honest. I’m a lurker and occasional commenter on blogs such as these.

    Besides, I think you can point out the flaws in one particular representation of the facts without offering an alternative.

  166. says

    I don’t think Abbie Smith is happy about how this turned out for her, and I don’t think she envisioned to once be famous for hosting losers and haters like Hoggle, justicar, Kingsford Gray or Welch on her blog. But she could have stopped this 3 months ago, and she didn’t.
    But while I have some pity for ERV (and I am convinced she made some of her bad choices based on past hurt and personal experiences, but then again, we all do), going back to the topic of the post, the sensefree blubber from James Onen is just as painful.

  167. Rinus says

    You mean you just realized how unskeptical you’ve been for swallowing Abbie’s side of the story all along ? Good. That’s great news.

    I was trying to point out that lumping everyone into a single category, stereotyped by the worst possible example, isn’t the most reasonable way of going about things.

    A shame it took you so long to realize that you had no basis for thinking that Abbie was innocent in this affair and that you’ve been taking her side out of unexamined assumptions. I don’t want you to hand over your skeptic card, though; I’m happy for you to have it back now that you’ve seen how foolish you were to not look at Abbie’s motivations and behavior as skeptically as you should.

    So.. just to clarify. You’re suggesting that the reasonable course of action is to suspect Abbie is sending threats of rape and/or death to Watson?

  168. SAWells says

    Consider a game of Russian Roulette. The revolver has six chambers and one of them contains a bullet. That means five of the chambers are completely safe and one of them is lethal.

    Now, _you don’t know which chamber is loaded_. So if that revolver is aimed at your head, you have to figure that there’s a one in six chance of that chamber being lethal.

    David’s complaints about sexism sound to me like one of the empty chambers complaining about being stereotyped. I’m harmless! I’m not loaded! I never did anybody any harm! Why are people so scared of me? How I suffer!

    This sort of thing has been running through these threads for months now. Women point out that, if you proposition them out of the blue, they cannot know if you are safe or dangerous; so they have to treat you with, at least, caution. David seems to misunderstand this as some sort of accusation that he personally might at many moment rape somebody.

  169. says

    So.. just to clarify. You’re suggesting that the reasonable course of action is to suspect Abbie is sending threats of rape and/or death to Watson?

    Just to clarify. You can read ? It doesn’t appear so.

  170. Bernard Bumner says

    ERV is now in the same category as people sending death and/or rape threats.

    ERV plays host to some of the people involved in the obsessive campaign to punish Rebecca Watson. She encourages them by actively taking part in the Monument. She has chosen to continue cheerleading people like justicar and Franc Hoggle. She has become a willing figurehead for their cause.

    Does that make her the same as people sendng death and/or rape threats? Maybe the better question is, has she acted as any responsible person should, given her central role in that part of the mess?

    As for the OP:

    This basically means you can’t really tell if your advance is unwanted unless you actually make your move first, and even when the person seems initially reluctant, she can still be persuaded to take you up on it and can later find herself having fun. That said, there is an interesting debate to be had here about what degree of persuasion one might say is acceptable.

    I’m going to repost what I think I said as well as I can elsewhere. This –

    The message that many people just don’t want to accept is: You do not have the right to approach anyone to make an offer of anything.

    If you choose to make an unsolicited offer, then accept the consequences. If you make someone uncomfortable because of your unwanted, unasked-for actions, no matter how seemingly reasonable they are in your own mind, then it is your fault. Every time.

    It doesn’t even matter whether the offer is for coffee or coffee.

    When you approach a stranger, you have no idea of the baggage they are carrying, no idea of their history, no idea of what they want, what they are are thinking and perceiving, no idea of what makes them uncomfortable.

    You have no right to expect them to entertain your small-talk, your complements, or your clumsy propositions. They do not need to temper their response, to treat the situation with a proportionality that you impose and which satisfies you. They don’t need to try to understand your motivations before judging you, or make excuses for your behaviour.

    They don’t need to do anything to ease your conscience, because they didn’t ask to be put in that situation.

    And the solution that Jame suggests is simply wretchedly horrible:

    The solution to such ambiguity is simple – as a way forward, women who attend atheist-skeptic conferences that are absolutely certain they don’t want to be hit on should wear a clearly visible “do not proposition me” sign on their backs… maybe a colour-code… it could be announced that all women wearing red clothes should not be propositioned or approached by strangers. But will they do this? Most probably not.

    What about the people who don’t want to be involved in a meat market?

    What about those sexually available people who don’t want to wear a big badge saying Pester Me For Sex? How many of the sexists are going to see a green badge as a Go signal to ignore a rebuff from one of these sluts? How many of the frigid women wearing red badges are going to be marginalised and excluded?

    Perhaps there could be a separate Skeptical Speed-dating event at bigger conferences, but again, how many guys are going to think it is an invitation to have sex?

    The fact is that this argument isn’t about giving socially-skilled men an opportunity to initiate relationships, it is about some people trying to defend clumsy sexual propositions from men who don’t understand why their behaviour is unwlecome.

  171. Rinus says

    Just to clarify. You can read ? It doesn’t appear so.

    Helpful. Cheers.

    Does that make her the same as people sendng death and/or rape threats? Maybe the better question is, has she acted as any responsible person should, given her central role in that part of the mess?

    No, I really don’t think that’s the better question, considering she keeps being mentioned in the same breath as these people.

    I don’t think Abbie Smith is happy about how this turned out for her, and I don’t think she envisioned to once be famous for hosting losers and haters like Hoggle, justicar, Kingsford Gray or Welch on her blog. But she could have stopped this 3 months ago, and she didn’t.
    But while I have some pity for ERV (and I am convinced she made some of her bad choices based on past hurt and personal experiences, but then again, we all do), going back to the topic of the post, the sensefree blubber from James Onen is just as painful.

    ERV plays host to some of the people involved in the obsessive campaign to punish Rebecca Watson. She encourages them by actively taking part in the Monument. She has chosen to continue cheerleading people like justicar and Franc Hoggle. She has become a willing figurehead for their cause.

    Heh, those two bits are just dripping with condescension.

    Is too far fetched to suggest that if Abbie had a penis, you two wouldn’t be bending over backwards to make excuses for her, expressing sympathy over her ‘past hurt’ that lead her down the dark side* and suggesting she’s but a figurehead and cheerleader for the true evil: the men posting on her blog?

    *whereas James Onen gets fuck all sympathy and his posts are just senseless blubber; maybe he has a past, too?

  172. raymoscow says

    OK, sexually propositioning a woman (or man) one doesn’t know seems a bit rude to me.

    I haven’t been ‘hit on’ all that often by strangers, but as I recall it’s always involved a lot of friendly talk well before sex was even hinted at.

    The most abrupt proposition I can recall was from a guy in a restaurant in Hamburg who asked “You go to bar with me?” in broken English, as the opening line. (I declined, since I’m not gay, but he didn’t know that.) But even that was just an invite out for a drink — and, to bring up an old subject, I wasn’t trapped by a stranger in a lift in the middle of the night, either.

    Is it sexist to expect women to tolerate behaviour that men typically wouldn’t? I think so.

  173. Pteryxx says

    Is too far fetched to suggest that if Abbie had a penis, you two wouldn’t be bending over backwards to make excuses for her, expressing sympathy over her ‘past hurt’ that lead her down the dark side* and suggesting she’s but a figurehead and cheerleader for the true evil: the men posting on her blog?

    *whereas James Onen gets fuck all sympathy and his posts are just senseless blubber; maybe he has a past, too?

    So you’ll blame Rorschach and hotshoe for supposedly suggesting Abbie’s an innocent pawn, WHILE blaming them for supposedly suggesting Abbie’s sending threats? Your doublespeak is showing. And you project sexism where there is none, equate sympathy with condescension with excuse-making, and presume that Abbie’s disclosed past ISN’T worthy of sympathy while James Onen deserves sympathy without no hint of any past event to be sympathetic ABOUT!

    Sheesh, the one and ONLY consistent principle of all your arguments is bias.

  174. hotshoe says

    You mean you just realized how unskeptical you’ve been for swallowing Abbie’s side of the story all along ? Good. That’s great news.

    I was trying to point out that lumping everyone into a single category, stereotyped by the worst possible example, isn’t the most reasonable way of going about things.

    Certainly it’s more reasonable to lump Abbie in with the worst possible examples we know – whom she voluntarily hosts and exults in – than it is to separate her from those examplars based on some limp excuse like “but she’s not really as bad as those guys”. Of course it’s not black and white (very little if any human interaction is) but Abbie deliberately chose her side and the side she chose is the side including those who are sending death and rape threats. Not our side.

    Certainly it’s more reasonable than your position, that is your wish to be able to defend Abbie’s gang and to repeat their anti-Watson criticisms without having to suffer any taint by association. That’s not rational; that’s not how it works: when you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

    A shame it took you so long to realize that you had no basis for thinking that Abbie was innocent in this affair and that you’ve been taking her side out of unexamined assumptions. I don’t want you to hand over your skeptic card, though; I’m happy for you to have it back now that you’ve seen how foolish you were to not look at Abbie’s motivations and behavior as skeptically as you should.

    So.. just to clarify. You’re suggesting that the reasonable course of action is to suspect Abbie is sending threats of rape and/or death to Watson?

    Don’t be stupid. I’m not suggesting any such thing.
    I don’t actually suspect Abbie of sending secret death threats. I don’t suspect anyone in particular of it. How could I ? I don’t have any specific evidence. But I’m skeptical of your insinuation that she couldn’t be one of them. You were wrong to pretend that we are somehow contemptible for lumping Abbie “in the same category as people sending death and/or rape threats.” If nothing else, she belongs in that category for her part in giving them shelter on her blog, the same way the driver of the getaway car gets lumped in with the bank robbers (even if he never pulled a gun and threatened any bank guards).

    We know someone has been sending threats. We know Abbie hates Ms. Watson, likely hates her more than she hates anyone else on the planet right now. Abbie has motivation, she has ability to commit the crime, and she could be one of the ones who have done it. It’s not reasonable to arbitrarily exclude Abbie from a list of possible perpetrators. On what basis could you justify excluding her ? “Oh, but I know her, she’d never do a thing like that”. Bah.

    Meanwhile, we know Abbie through the actions we can observe: her hosting of the whole “cunting” gang. She loves them for their open public threats against Ms. Watson; she encourages and celebrates each attack. It’s your failure – not mine – if you assume she could NOT ever have privately escalated her behavior into emailing an actual death threat. I don’t assume anything.

  175. says

    So, I see that David Byron is still claiming that women are sexist in being a bit cautious with strange men and Rinus is still claiming that Rebecca Watson did not behave 100% according to what he would consider right so therefore she is to blame, too.

    Dear Rinus, let me rephrase what I said at another place:
    Even if RW were boring, superficial, dumb as bread and a hooker, if she had slut-shamed Ms McGraw and called Richard Dawkins a disgusting old pimp, even if all that were true, it would not invalidate any of the points.
    It would not invalidate that it is creepy and a display of privilege to proposition to a strange woman at that time ad place.
    It would not undo the tons of MRA noise that came afterwards.
    It would not mean that the vicious attacks, the sexist name-calling, the threats and the earnest attempts to ruin her life were anyhow justified.

    On the OT

    This basically means you can’t really tell if your advance is unwanted unless you actually make your move first, and even when the person seems initially reluctant, she can still be persuaded to take you up on it and can later find herself having fun.

    Anybody else noticed how “person” became “she”?
    I think the author tried to make it appear as if he were talking about people in general, but then that stupid little pronoun slipped in:
    She can be persuaded to have fun. A he would clearly know what he wants and never forget, a man a word. It’s only our silly pink ladybrainz that don’t know what’s good or us, what we really want and most importantly, our words cannot be trusted.

    If not, maybe a colour-code can be designated for such women by the event organisers – let’s say, red – and then it could be announced that all women wearing red clothes should not be propositioned or approached by strangers. But will they do this? Most probably not.

    Well, you can definetly tell that a guy has excluded himself from any reasonable discourse if he suggests that women dress appropriately so the poor menz don’t get confused and then claims that women are responsible for waht follows if they don’t stick to those rules.
    Of course, such a rule would make all women who do not wear red fair game, up for grabs. You should have worn red if you didn’t want this to happen!
    I suggest something different: Just move to Saudi Arabia, they have a code system similar to that which works really well.
    AFAIK there are almost no reported rapes or complainst of sexual harrasment there.

  176. Rinus says

    So you’ll blame Rorschach and hotshoe for supposedly suggesting Abbie’s an innocent pawn, WHILE blaming them for supposedly suggesting Abbie’s sending threats? Your doublespeak is showing. And you project sexism where there is none, equate sympathy with condescension with excuse-making, and presume that Abbie’s disclosed past ISN’T worthy of sympathy while James Onen deserves sympathy without no hint of any past event to be sympathetic ABOUT!

    Sheesh, the one and ONLY consistent principle of all your arguments is bias.

    Well, that’s one way to sum up my posts.

    Certainly it’s more reasonable to lump Abbie in with the worst possible examples we know – whom she voluntarily hosts and exults in – than it is to separate her from those examplars based on some limp excuse like “but she’s not really as bad as those guys”. Of course it’s not black and white (very little if any human interaction is) but Abbie deliberately chose her side and the side she chose is the side including those who are sending death and rape threats. Not our side.

    a) Wouldn’t it be more reasonable not to do any lumping at all? To make a distinction between people sending death threats and people cussing on their personal blog?

    b) What do you mean by ‘voluntary hosts and exults in’? Did anyone actually come forward or anything? Did she actively encourage anyone to send rape threats? Granted, I haven’t read all of the thousands of comments on her blog, so maybe I missed out on that part.

    We know someone has been sending threats. We know Abbie hates Ms. Watson, likely hates her more than she hates anyone else on the planet right now. Abbie has motivation, she has ability to commit the crime, and she could be one of the ones who have done it. It’s not reasonable to arbitrarily exclude Abbie from a list of possible perpetrators. On what basis could you justify excluding her ? “Oh, but I know her, she’d never do a thing like that”. Bah.

    What list of possible perpetrators? I wasn’t aware we’d quite reached that stage yet.

    Aren’t you taking this whole thing a bit too far? All I said was ‘lumping is bad, hmmkay?’. What the fuck, man.

  177. Rinus says

    Dear Rinus, let me rephrase what I said at another place:
    Even if RW were boring, superficial, dumb as bread and a hooker, if she had slut-shamed Ms McGraw and called Richard Dawkins a disgusting old pimp, even if all that were true, it would not invalidate any of the points.
    It would not invalidate that it is creepy and a display of privilege to proposition to a strange woman at that time ad place.
    It would not undo the tons of MRA noise that came afterwards.
    It would not mean that the vicious attacks, the sexist name-calling, the threats and the earnest attempts to ruin her life were anyhow justified.

    Nor would it mean that it’s all-right to set bunnies on fire.

    Your point being? I don’t really see why you feel the need to point out to me that sending people rape threats is wrong. Do I really give off that impression? If so, perhaps I should start pre-fixing my comments with an anti-rape statement, just to make it clear.

  178. says

    Your point being?

    That you constanty try to shift the focus from the misogyny at display to the minor “crimes” of Rebecca Watson as if they had anything to do with the situation at hand.
    Even if it were totally inappropriate to use Ms McGraw’s comments in her speech (I’m not saying it was, the whole point got totally lost in the discussion), it would have ZERO to do with what’s happening now.
    Even if she had called for a boycott on Dawkins, which she didn’t, it would have ZERO to do with the sexist agenda we’ve been faced with ever since.

    I don’t really see why you feel the need to point out to me that sending people rape threats is wrong.

    Strawman. Can I keep it for my rabbits?
    Nobody said you condoned them. I’m saying you’re minimizing them by constantly comparing all of that to “what RW did wrong”.

  179. says

    I’m not sure anyone has pointed this out yet, but I stayed in the same hotel as Rebecca during the conference and my room didn’t even *have* coffee-making facilities.

  180. says

    I’m not sure anyone has pointed this out yet, but I stayed in the same hotel as Rebecca during the conference and my room didn’t even *have* coffee-making facilities.

    Ahhh, yes, the ever-lasting claim that this was really about “coffee”.
    I mean, when I put this scenario to my husband (who thinks that the internet is where wikipedia lives), without any additional information, just mentioning 4am, hotel, elevator, invitation for coffee, he understood “sex”.
    The more information you add, like the fact that they just left a place where they probably served good coffee, the less likely it becomes that it was about “coffee”.
    But it’s a nice passive-agressive way: How can you ever think it was about sex, sex was never mentioned, he might have meant coffee, they often have instant coffee in hotel rooms, you are sexist in claiming that the man meant sex, you are the one who thinks that men only think about sex.
    Those MRAs will of course team up with those claiming that it is totally ok to ask her for sex and she should have been glad that anybody still wants to hump her.
    Conveniently, they would most likely also claim, had she accepted and been attacked that she shouldn’t have been so stupid to think that it was an invitation for coffee and that in saying yes she obviously consented to having sex and that if he then tried to force himself on her*, it would have been her fault because she obviously made him believe he could.
    Gets her coming and going.
    *I’m not claiming that EG ever thought about assaulting her or would have done if she’d been dancing naked in front of him. I’m just discussing scenarios and we know that this is what happens because millions of women had it happen to them.

  181. says

    (…) even when the person seems initially reluctant, she can still be persuaded to take you up on it and can later find herself having fun.

    Seriously? No means no, not “ask again” or “maybe”. WTF?

  182. Bernard Bumner says

    Is too far fetched to suggest that if Abbie had a penis, you two wouldn’t be bending over backwards to make excuses for her, expressing sympathy over her ‘past hurt’ that lead her down the dark side* and suggesting she’s but a figurehead and cheerleader for the true evil: the men posting on her blog?

    I don’t even know how to make sense of that. I would just say that I’m not excusing any of Abbie Smith’s behaviour, but I do think that her role can clearly be described.

    I doubt that Abbie Smith is directly involved in the worst behaviour directed at Rebecca Watson, simply because I don’t think that she is stupid enough to risk her career, and because I don’t think she has shown any evidence to suggest that she is as obsessed as some of her commenters. I have no way of knowing whether or not she would like to be involved in the worst of it, and I have no real idea of what ills she wishes on Watson. No idea. I’m not privy to that, obviously.

    However, the obsessive revenge schemes of people like Franc Hoggle and justicar are detailed on their own blogs and in the comments, now almost singularly dedicated to smearing Watson, PZ Myers, Ophelia Benson, the commentariat at Pharyngula, Salty Current, and so on.

    Abbie Smith is remiss in allowing those people to continue to post the invective, the lies, and the innuendo on her blog. She is irresponsible in giving them that platform, but she also goes further and thereby encourages their hate campaign against Watson. In that way, she is both a cheerleader and a figurehead. They receive encouragement without her explicit complicity in the vilest acts, and in turn they await her every interjection and they use her blog as a rallying point. Those are descriptive terms, rather than words intended to minimise her role.

    She is also being a bully.

    Heh, those two bits are just dripping with condescension.

    No, they really aren’t. If there is disappointment in my feelings, and a certain amount of sympathy for Abbie Smith, then it is because I actually used to enjoy her blog (and in particular her coverage of virology). I had respect for her as rare pugnacious female voice in skepticism, whereas now I see her irresponsibly enabling a horrible personal and massive overreaction to a perceived misdeed. It seems to me that her aptitude and appetite for a verbal confrontation have caused her to act poorly. From my point of view, I can observe a tragic element to this.

    James Onen gets fuck all sympathy and his posts are just senseless blubber; maybe he has a past, too?

    Whereas I have been a longtime reader of ERV, I have no real idea of who James Onen is.

  183. says

    You can, of course, and as James says you have a “right” to – it’s not illegal…

    This goes to a question that should have been asked at the very start of this debate: what, exactly, do these men mean when they say they have a “right” to ask for sex? If all they mean is that it’s not illegal, then we can all agree to this bold-sounding but meaningless assertion. It’s not illegal to hate Jews either. So what? There’s LOTS of moronic things we can do without breaking any laws.

    OTOH, if they mean they think they have a right to behave as they wish and never be judged by anyone for their behavior, then I, for one, have to say that’s a “right” NO ONE has. We are each judged by our actions, legal or not, and we all have to live with that fact every damn day. If you can’t handle that fact, get help.

    Having said that, thre’s really not much else we can say to a group of hardcore woman-haters who have repeatedly shown that they’re not listening to anyone else, and flat-out LYING about what others have actually said. (Rebecca Watson showed disregard for Dawkins’ personal safety? Where the fuck did that come from?)

  184. says

    Ahhh, yes, the ever-lasting claim that this was really about “coffee”…

    That’s another thing that kills me about these whiny-boys: when a woman says no to sex or a date, she really means something else, like she needs more persuasion; but when a man says “let’s go up to my room for coffee at 4am,” he really means nothing more than coffee and how dare anyone be so bigoted as to think he could possibly mean anything more than coffee, that’s just like racism!!

    These “men” are nothing but overgrown boys refusing to be honest or sensible. Arguing with them is like trying to reason with a child who’s throwing a tantrum: all you’ll get from them is grownup-sounding words spat out indiscriminately to make noise and confuse.

  185. Godless Heathen says

    I’ve read/skimmed through all of the comments that were posted last night and I have a few thoughts.

    1. No means no and it’s completely disrespectful of a woman’s boundaries, autonomy, and personhood to try to “persuade” her to have sex with (or go on a date or whatever) with you after she’s said or implied no (implied with body language/actions). Frankly, this “persuasion” can often be threatening and involve blocking her way, physical force, stalking, or, yes, rape.

    2. While the issue of being assaulted or raped by strangers is, of course, an important issue, the majority of rapes are committed by acquaintances. These men often use the same tactics as strangers-They ignore boundaries, apply pressure (both subtle and overt), and act in ways that can also raise red flags. I just wanted to remind everyone of that.

    3. Women are people. Just like men. They aren’t always looking for sex and they aren’t in a state of constant sexual availability. Women don’t like being hit on all the time. They go to conferences for reasons other than hooking up.

    4. MEN CAN CONTROL THEIR SEXUAL URGES. Most men do it everyday. It’s bullshit to argue that it’s the woman’s responsibility to prevent men from acting on those urges in inappropriate ways. IT’S THE RESPONSIBILITY OF EACH MAN.

  186. says

    Is too far fetched to suggest that if Abbie had a penis, you two wouldn’t be bending over backwards to make excuses for her…?

    Yes, Rinus, it is, since the quote you’re responding to here didn’t make excuses for her in the first place. Are you really that illiterate? Or are you so desperate to find a wrong to whine about that you’ll willingly misrepresent what others say a much as you want?

  187. Rinus says

    That you constanty try to shift the focus from the misogyny at display to the minor “crimes” of Rebecca Watson as if they had anything to do with the situation at hand.

    I really don’t see how that’s the message you got from my posts.

    Wall of text by Bernard

    Fair enough, sort of like like the opposing side’s P.Z., then?

  188. says

    Rinus – you’re being a pain. You said you haven’t read enough of the comments at Abbie’s to understand what people are talking about – so stop arguing about it then. Your opinion isn’t informed, so stop offering it.

  189. says

    Abbie Smith is remiss in allowing those people to continue to post the invective, the lies, and the innuendo on her blog.

    She does more than allow it – she actively encourages it. She does what’s known as egging them on.

    (It’s interesting, by the way, to note the sexual loathing in much misogyny – like that student nurse in South Carolina with his rant about axe slashes and gaping bloody wounds, and like Hoggle’s musing about the smelliness of my underwear drawer. Don’t forget Abbie’s immortal “sniffing around smelly skepchick snatch.”)

  190. Bernard Bumner says

    Fair enough, sort of like like the opposing side’s P.Z., then?

    No. No, not at all.

    If you think that the ridicule of bigotry that PZ permits at Pharyngula is equivalent to the very personal, hateful smear campaign that ERV is hosting, then I am at a loss as to how to convince you otherwise.

  191. says

    Rinus

    I really don’t see how that’s the message you got from my posts.

    You mean, when you write posts like this:

    While no doubt some guys got their knickers in a twist over the rather harmless comments in her initial vlog, that’s hardly the only point of objection brought against Watson.

    Plenty of people only got miffed after the way she called out McGraw and her handling of the Dawkins ‘incident’, which she did everything she could to blow completely out of proportion.

    You seriously wonder?
    And after that’s, IIRC, what you’ve been going at at the other thread as well?
    None of those things have fuck to do with the topic at hand yet you keep bringing them up.
    Would the whole thing have died away if RW had chosen not to adress points like McGraw’s (or if the person who’s points she adressed had been, let’s just pick a name of a well-known female atheist blogger, Ophelia Benson’s, to resolve the issue of the power imbalance*)?
    Probably.
    Would it have died away sooner if she’d simply ignored the condescending privileged bullshit Richard Dawkins said?
    Yes, very likely.
    Would things have been better?
    Absolutely not.
    This whole debate has brought forth an ugly monster that lay dormant amongst the atheist/skeptical community.
    Misogyny in the community is real and a lot of people whom we’d never have suspected showed their true, misogynistic colours.
    I for one am glad that they’re out in the light where we can see them. I’m glad that now I know at least some people with whom you need to watch your back.

    *BTW, I have never seen one of the people who complain about the perceived power-imbalance between RW as the seaker and McGraw as a student participant step up and chastize world-famous, super-rich, more than admired Richard Dawkins for attacking a young blogger on one of the most prominent atheist formus there is. Speak of double standard.

  192. says

    Raging Bee:

    That’s another thing that kills me about these whiny-boys: when a woman says no to sex or a date, she really means something else, like she needs more persuasion; but when a man says “let’s go up to my room for coffee at 4am,” he really means nothing more than coffee and how dare anyone be so bigoted as to think he could possibly mean anything more than coffee, that’s just like racism!!

    Very nicely put.

  193. says

    (…Don’t forget Abbie’s immortal “sniffing around smelly skepchick snatch.”)

    Wow, that’s almost as clever as the shit I used to say when I was thirteen! That seems to be the mental age of the entire “men’s rights” movement.

    Oh, and who the fuck keeps posting incomplete pointless out-of-context quotes under ‘nyms that are taken from the titles of other posts? Pointless troll is pointless.

  194. Bernard Bumner says

    She does more than allow it – she actively encourages it. She does what’s known as egging them on.

    Oh yes, I certainly didn’t mean to suggest that her role was passive in any sense; simply that the mildest wrongdoing was to play host to them, and that alone would be bad enough.

    When I said that she also goes further, I should have made it very clear that I meant the misogynistic insults and the sexist denigration of Watson. It was she – of course – who coined Twatson, now a slogan of choice for the witchhunters.

  195. says

    This whole debate has brought forth an ugly monster that lay dormant amongst the atheist/skeptical community.

    How much of this mindless hatred is really coming from within the skeptic/atheist community? I don’t have to be an atheist to post on any of the blogs where I’ve seen this hatred; so we really can’t conclude that any of the MRAs are atheists either. In fact, their normal habit of bringing totally unrelated pet peeves to the discussion, and totally ignoring the actual facts originally quoted, strongly suggests they’re full-time trolls looking for any blog with any mention of their pet issues, and latching onto whatever they find without regard to whoever was there before them.

    Seriously, do any of these haters show any sign of having attended an atheist event? Of knowing people in the atheist community? Of having any direct involvement in any of the incidents they’re crying so piteously about? These aren’t atheists, they’re bigots doing everything they can to sow discord and alienate women from the atheist community, alienate atheists from everyone else, alienate women from (their laughable caricature of) “feminists,” and generally spread hatred and dumb down every debate they can find.

  196. says

    Oh, and who the fuck keeps posting incomplete pointless out-of-context quotes under ‘nyms that are taken from the titles of other posts? Pointless troll is pointless.

    Hmm, that’s what I’m asking myself, too.
    Because this time I’m pretty sure it’s not the blog-owner.
    Maybe it’s a bot that posts links to articles that talk about the thread?

    Something else, could you please stop implying that they do that shit because they’re like kids, or teens, or boys?
    I think that’s an actual insult to kids, teens and boys.
    While they have their age as an excuse to do some stupid things, those people have not.

  197. says

    Bernard, no actually it was “Justicar” who coined “Twatson.” Justicar the pseudonymous makes very free with other, real-named people. The warm new friendship between him and Abbie and Miranda is deeply touching.

  198. says

    Sorry, I certainly don’t mean to insult kids, teens or boys. My comments are made with the understanding that it’s perfectly natural for kids to be immature, but not for so-called adults to keep on doing what they should have grown out of long ago.

    When I compare the MRAs to teens or children, I do so because I observe them acting (and “thinking”) the way I used to act and “think” when I was thirteen and younger.

  199. says

    Raging Bee

    How much of this mindless hatred is really coming from within the skeptic/atheist community? I don’t have to be an atheist to post on any of the blogs where I’ve seen this hatred; so we really can’t conclude that any of the MRAs are atheists either.

    Well, it’s not as if “Elevatorgate” was the first incident of that kind.
    There were women before complaining about being harassed and “propositioned at” at conferences.
    There were small eclats when women were shut up, or praised for their looks rather than their brains.
    Don’t forget Rebecca’s original talk before the whole thing became EG, where she did not only mention the hate-mail that contains rape-threats, but also the fan-mail that contains elaborate descriptions of what they’d like to do with her in bed.
    Also, if you dared to go on youtube after EG, almost the whole atheist vlogger community was against her, and I don’t mean the mindless commenters but rather big channels with a subscriber base of several thousand people.
    And last but not least there’s Abbie Smith who is without doubt part of the community, and many of her fanboys (and girls) were and are regular participants on atheist blogs

  200. Bernard Bumner says

    Maybe it’s a bot that posts links to articles that talk about the thread?

    Is this automated crossposting, then?

    If so, I can stop chastising Hoggle for crossposting his crap over on the other thread. I presumed he was just trying to pollinate the blogosphere with his weeds.

  201. says

    Well, he probably is. He’s doubtless aware that the pingback will show up. I can always delete them but [shrug] – at the same time other people might as well see what he is.

    I used to delete the ones from “You’re Not Helping” the instant they appeared – but that was different: nobody knew then who YNH was.

    This is all very reminiscent of YNH of course – the sustained, obsessive malice and rage and misogyny, and the sexual loathing. (YNH called me a useless putrid twat. Hoggle says my underwear drawer is smelly.)

  202. Pteryxx says

    Bernard, no actually it was “Justicar” who coined “Twatson.” Justicar the pseudonymous makes very free with other, real-named people.

    Hey now. Justicar’s got every right to be pseudonymous, no matter what he does to other people’s names. (He might well be a hypocrite about it, but still.)

  203. julian says

    Fair enough, sort of like like the opposing side’s P.Z., then?

    Prof Myers launches harassment campaigns aimed at silencing people he doesn’t like?

    News to me.

    ((Yes launch. I’m less willing to cut her slack than the others here. Ms. Smith has made it clear she wants women like Rebecca Watson, Ophelia Benson and Stephanie Zvan dragged through the mud and stomped on. Figuratively speaking of course. She’s a bully but she isn’t that kind of bully. Just the kind that makes your online life hell and then laughs at you for letting mySpace affect meat space or some other gibberish.))

  204. Bernard Bumner says

    Bernard, no actually it was “Justicar” who coined “Twatson.” Justicar the pseudonymous makes very free with other, real-named people. The warm new friendship between him and Abbie and Miranda is deeply touching.

    Ah, my mistake. I thought it originated with the Dawkins coup de grâce in Vegas post of Smith’s (she uses it in the OP, and is almost immediately called on it in the comments).

    When did Justicar (proud, I’m sure) first coin it?

  205. DavidByron says

    I don’t believe that anyone addressed the position I was putting forward in any of the comments back there. As a reminder I am saying that the feminists who say women should think of men as potential rapists are sexist jerks and should be ashamed of themselves.

    I seem to be the only person here who thinks that running around denigrating an entire birth group with the most vicious accusations is somehow wrong. But you know let me check on that. Is there anyone here who is a feminist and also thinks that this “all men are potential rapists” slogan is sexist and offensive?

    When I tell people that the modern feminist movement is a hate movement they always try to tell me that, no, there are some good feminists who are not sexist jerks. Well? Are there any here who are not sexist jerks?

    Again the feminists here are saying women should feel uncomfortable when men are around – that they should feel threatened. If I heard someone saying that white people should feel threatened by black people (maybe because they are all “potential” thieves) I would think they were racist. If I heard them advocating to white people to roll up their car windows if they see a black pedestrian, or to follow black people around their shop to make sure they don’t steal anything, I’d be pretty confident that those people were racist.

    How is different for feminists to make those same (or worse) accusations to men as a group?

    If those racists then lecture me on statistics saying that black people commit more crime than white people (again as feminists have done here) it would not change matters. Even if those figures were taken at face value (and I would not) the act of discriminating against black people on that basis would constitute racial profiling— just as feminists here seem to uniformly advocate gender profiling against men.

    Now look — if you are a white person and you get uncomfortable around black people I wouldn’t say you’re racist just for that. People are a complex mess of conscious and unconscious activities. Sometimes you can’t control weird shit that comes up from your unconscious. The question is how you act on that. You can shake your head and say “no” to yourself, or you can construct an elaborate system for justifying that prejudice and teaching it to others.

    Feminists chose the latter course. Feminist dive into their prejudice and justify it, coddle it and encourage it. I have a problem with people like that.

    Now as I say, my impression is that basically ALL feminists are sexist in this way. ALL feminists say that going around claiming “men are all potential rapists” is OK, and ALL feminists seek to grow their inner hatred of men by finding ways to justify it. But people tell me I am wrong and many feminists are not like that.

  206. says

    I don’t believe that anyone addressed the position I was putting forward in any of the comments back there.

    Yes, DavidByron, we DID address your comments: we demonstrated that you’re a fucking liar. Your assertion that feminists want to exterminate all men was just the tip of the dungberg.

    And now it seems you’re taking your bigoted nonsense here, probably because you’re realized that ERV’s cesspool is finally being marginalized like it deserves.

  207. says

    Hey now. Justicar’s got every right to be pseudonymous, no matter what he does to other people’s names.

    I disagree – he hasn’t got every right to be pseudonymous if he exploits his pseudonymity to talk shit about people who are not pseudonymous. I understand that people have reasons to use a nym, but then they should realize that they have extra responsibility not to exploit the advantage.

    When did Justicar first coin “Twatson” (oh yes, he’s very proud of it) – he used it repeatedly at Miranda’s very early in the whatever-this-is, having I think coined it on his own blog (which I don’t read).

  208. julian says

    As a reminder I am saying that the feminists who say women should think of men as potential rapists are sexist jerks and should be ashamed of themselves.

    Your arguments have been addressed repeatedly by just about everyone on this thread. More than once. You really should be more honest in your self-evaluation.

  209. says

    (And besides, Peteryxx, notice I didn’t say Justicar doesn’t have the right to be pseudonymous [in the comment you replied to]. I pointed out what he does with the pseudonymity.)

  210. says

    David Byron, you really are saying the thing which is not, here. You’re ignoring what I said about strangers. Put on a better show of arguing honestly and you might get something out of the discussion.

  211. says

    Before anyone wastes any time trying to argue with DavidByron, I’d just like to point out some things I’ve learned about him since I first encountered him in 2002.

    DavidByron once accused liberals of being the most bloodthirsty people alive, while pretending to be some sort of radical leftist and making truly asinine and divisive statements about nearly everyone else. Such statements included accusing other people who opposed the impending Iraq war of actually being pro-war. (That was on a supposedly anti-Iraq-invasion blog, which vanished shortly after Bush Jr. got reelected, and which was widely seen as a Republican front aimed at making liberals look bad.)

    He has lately shown up in ERV’s cesspool, calling himself a “lefty” and using erzatz liberal-sounding rhetoric to attack feminists as bigots advocating gross inequality and discrimination against men. No actual evidence, mind you, just labelling, word-games, and blatant misrepresentation of what advocates of women’s equality actually said.

    And, as I said before, he accused feminists of wanting to exterminate all men. He’s nothing more than a deliberate purveyor of mindless hate, and possibly a Republican operative whose job is to divide, defame and spread hatred whenever he can.

  212. says

    I seem to be the only person here who thinks that running around denigrating an entire birth group with the most vicious accusations is somehow wrong. But you know let me check on that. Is there anyone here who is a feminist and also thinks that this “all men are potential rapists” slogan is sexist and offensive?

    I am a man and I do not, because women are constantly told to look over their shoulder in case they might be raped, and if they are raped it’s insinuated that they weren’t looking over their shoulder hard enough so they must have deserved it.

    What part of that do you and your MRA buddies not get?

  213. says

    This is all very reminiscent of YNH of course – the sustained, obsessive malice and rage and misogyny, and the sexual loathing. (YNH called me a useless putrid twat. Hoggle says my underwear drawer is smelly.)

    I think Elevatorgate may be worse than the YNH/Intersuction imbroglio in the number of minds it has corrupted by making them indifferent to (and even getting some to join in with) blatant misogynistic bullying and lies as opposed to having it happen from a bunch of sockpuppets.

    For all of Wally Smith’s misbehavior, he never really had an effect on much of anything outside of the blogosphere other than causing slight tension at a few conferences where Chris Mooney spoke. The damage caused by Elevatorgate easily rivals it.

  214. says

    For all of Wally Smith’s misbehavior, he never really had an effect on much of anything outside of the blogosphere other than causing slight tension at a few conferences where Chris Mooney spoke. The damage caused by Elevatorgate easily rivals it.

    Exceeds. Chris Mooney didn’t receive endless amounts of hate mail, some of it stalkerish, for anything regarding the YNH debacle.

  215. says

    Oh yes. YNH was very minor in comparison. It looms large for me because I was one of his chief targets, not because I think it was of huge consequence.

    Mind you, it wasn’t just me. It was very unpleasant for the people in his lab, too.

  216. Rinus says

    Rinus – you’re being a pain. You said you haven’t read enough of the comments at Abbie’s to understand what people are talking about – so stop arguing about it then. Your opinion isn’t informed, so stop offering it.

    I said I hadn’t read every one of the some 5-10.000 comments in the various threads on ERV and as such, I could have missed out on something.

    But of course, everyone else here has no doubt read every single one of them. After all, everyone else is offering their opinions without being dubbed ‘a pain’.

  217. DavidByron says

    I see a lot of people answering me but nobody responding to what I said. When this happens I draw the obvious conclusions, namely that the people replying are not able to articulate their reasons for disagreeing with me. You know you’re allowed to just say that, OK? You’re allowed to say, I don’t feel happy with this line of reasoning but I can’t find the words to describe why.

    Some say that my points have already been answered. If that is so then please point to where. Give a link. Or briefly restate the answer again please.

    Ophelia says I am arguing dishonestly but again I have no idea what that is supposed to mean.

    Then there’s the usual bunch calling me names and one calling me a rapist.

    Look if you can’t answer me then all this messing about isn’t going to disguise that fact. And if by chance one of you beleives you genuinely could answer me but have chosen not to, well then, you can hardly be surprised when you are lumped in with the rest can you?

    Oh and Raging Bee? Love your enthusiasm but just for the record I have to say that much of what you are saying about me appears to be false. However, even if it was all true, or even if I was a rapist as another feminist enthusiastically claimed, it doesn’t make any difference to my message and trying to invalidate what I said by talking about the messenger is not rational. You know that.

  218. DavidByron says

    Ophelia:
    OK I managed to track down the comment you were talking about (next time could you help me out with a link or a comment number).

    OK, so here’s what I think you are saying and then could you please tell me if that is correct?

    You are saying that you can justify being uneasy / uncomfortable in an elevator regardless of whether the person accosting you is a man or not. You are saying women are potentially violent too, and so what you are saying is not a point about men, or any denigration of men. Is that correct?

    Of course I am not just talking to you and many people here have been pretty explicit that it is because the stranger was a man that the fear of rape comes up. Could you tell me whether you agree or disagree with the sentiment expressed by so many here, that all men are “potential rapists”?

  219. says

    Rinus. You took issue with this claim

    Certainly it’s more reasonable to lump Abbie in with the worst possible examples we know – whom she voluntarily hosts and exults in – than it is to separate her from those examplars based on some limp excuse like “but she’s not really as bad as those guys”.

    by saying

    What do you mean by ‘voluntary hosts and exults in’? Did anyone actually come forward or anything? Did she actively encourage anyone to send rape threats? Granted, I haven’t read all of the thousands of comments on her blog, so maybe I missed out on that part.

    (In # 188).

    If you had read much of those threads you would know perfectly well what “voluntarily hosts and exults in” meant (and that it’s not about rape threats). There is for instance the fact that she called the whole mess “The Monument” and said it’s a monument to everything she loves. She loves people repeatedly calling a woman a bitch and a twat and a cunt.

    And you are a pain. You’re not saying anything of substance, you’re just quarreling about nothing, apparently for the sake of it. If you have something to say, say it, but don’t just needle endlessly; it’s boring.

  220. says

    David Byron, has anyone other than you actually uttered “the sentiment expressed by so many here, that all men are “potential rapists”?” Start with that, and then maybe I’ll take the trouble to explain to you again.

  221. julian says

    After all, everyone else is offering their opinions without being dubbed ‘a pain’.

    They’re also trying, regardless of how well it may meet your satisfaction, to actually argue their case. You haven’t and refused to, so honestly don’t see why you’re complaining about being considered slightly more constructive than a buzzing gnat.

  222. says

    I see a lot of people answering me but nobody responding to what I said.

    That’s typical troll behavior: repeat the same insulting rubbish over and over, and repeatedly insist that no one has “responded” to you, when the responses are up there for all to see.

    …I have to say that much of what you are saying about me appears to be false.

    Yeah, you have to say it “appears” to be false, because you know you can’t say it IS false.

    However, even if it was all true, or even if I was a rapist as another feminist enthusiastically claimed, it doesn’t make any difference to my message and trying to invalidate what I said by talking about the messenger is not rational. You know that.

    So you’re saying that being a liar doesn’t change anyting about your “message?” What color is the sky in Trollistan?

  223. says

    Notice how DavidByron refers to his “message?” That’s another sign of a troll: the belief that he’s here on a “mision” to deliver a “message” that’s more important than anything else anyone is talking about. Where did you get your “message,” Byron? A burning bush? A solid gold tablet?

  224. says

    DavidByron #232:

    I see a lot of people answering me but nobody responding to what I said. When this happens I draw the obvious conclusions, namely that the people replying are not able to articulate their reasons for disagreeing with me. You know you’re allowed to just say that, OK? You’re allowed to say, I don’t feel happy with this line of reasoning but I can’t find the words to describe why.

    Want to know what I see?

    A blustering fool who is making all the passive-aggressive claims he can in an attempt to avoid actually addressing anyone who responds to him.

  225. says

    Ophelia says I am arguing dishonestly but again I have no idea what that is supposed to mean.

    What, you don’t know what the word “dishonest” means? If you’re really that stupid, you don’t belong here. And if you’re not really that stupid, then you’re lying, and again, you don’t belong here.

    And this, of course, is another characteristic of trolls: make s simple and direct statement, backed up with facts, and they’ll act all hurt and puzzled and pretend they don’t know what you’re talking about — even after they’ve spent a zillion posts pretending they’re the smartest guys on the Web.

  226. says

    Is there anyone here who is a feminist and also thinks that this “all men are potential rapists” slogan is sexist and offensive?

    The only thing that’s “sexist and offensive” here is your deliberate misrepresentation of what that line of reasoning actually says — again, despite having seen corrective information.

    What the feminists are actually saying here is… Oh wait, you just admitted you can’t understand what the word “dishonest” means; so there’s no way you’ll understand the explanation I was about to give. Never mind.

  227. says

    I was feelng generous today, so I figured I’d go WAY the fuck out of my way to prove my accusations against DavidByron. Here’s the comment where he accuses feminists of wanting to “exterminate” men:

    http://scienceblogs.com/erv/2011/07/the_monument.php#comment-4686944

    And here’s the actual quote:

    In fact radical feminists don’t want to make men into women. They want to exterminate men.

    And that’s only the beginning of a comment oozing hateful falsehoods like a malignant tumor. Yeah, he pretends to single out “radical” feminists here — but a) he never made any distinction between “moderates” and “radicals;” b) he clearly seems to to think all “feminists” are “radical” and a “hate group” (sort of like how Republicans see liberals); and c) even the most radical feminists never wanted to exterminate all men.

    Trust me, Ophelia, this guy’s nothing but a hateful malicious troll. You may not want to ban him now, but I can pretty much guarantee you’ll be considering it very soon, for perfectly good reasons, if he doesn’t go away on his own. He has no more place here than a Nazi in a synagogue.

  228. says

    Sorry, I was posting in a bit of a hurry. Here’s the true gem of DavidByron’s real character, from the same comment:

    Extermination of all men is a core feminist value — this is not extreme or unusual for the movement (although as with other hate movements explicit eliminationist rhetoric is usually hidden for PR purposes).

  229. says

    RB, oh, I know. But he’s in the bait phase of his bait and switch for now.

    At the same time, amusingly, he’s stashing his comments at ERV in case they “disappear” here – and also saying the uglier stuff he’s not yet saying here.

    He’s also equating feminism to racism and women to…white people uneasy around black people. Der. No, you goon, the comparison should be black people uneasy around white people.

    Women are the white racists and men are the black objects of racism. Women are the Nazis and men are the Jews. Women are the Serbs and men are the Bosnians. Etc.

    [eye roll]

  230. jamessweet says

    Yikes, well over 200 comments! I’ll just keep my two cents short and sweet:

    It would be really cool if we lived in a world where a person of any gender could, in a social setting (there are good reasons why this wouldn’t apply in a professional setting) pitch sex to another person of any gender even if they didn’t really know them, and it would never be all weird and creepy and possibly insulting or even threatening. We don’t live in the world, and we’re a loooooooooong ways away from it. Deal with it.

  231. says

    James – with all due respect, I don’t think that would be cool. I don’t think invitations to intimacy of any kind from total strangers can ever be ok to everyone no matter what. I don’t want strangers inviting me home to dinner, either, and I don’t particularly want to live in a world where I would. That’s because strangers are people we don’t know, and it just is odd to go from zero to what-goes-with-friendship in an instant. If we lived in a world where that is normal and ok then we would be a different kind of being, one to whom there is no difference between friends and strangers. That sounds too alien to be appealing.

    Honestly this isn’t a very demanding standard. You just need some conversation first. (More than “Don’t take this the wrong way but.”) It’s a natural gradation. Zero to “wanna fuck?” isn’t (to most women and to at least some men) isn’t a natural gradation.

  232. Kevin says

    damn guys, use the head on top of your body. You meet someone at the bar at a conference strike up a coversation, talk for awhile, sure ask (just don’t wait until you’re in a confined space). You get on an elevator, exchange pleasentries for 10 seconds, don’t ask.

    We’re not deep-sea squid hurling semen at every person that walks by.

  233. Moewicus says

    James Onen’s points about this are pretty much all odious.

    Isn’t it ironic then, that the SKEPTICAL COMMUNITY has exploded over what is essentially an anecdote from ONE individual?…Question 1: Did this ordeal actually take place?…Question 2: Did the events unfold as she described them?…Question 7: Does this man actually exist?…All these are basic questions, for which no verifiable evidence has been adduced, besides Rebecca Watson’s saying so.

    In other words, despite everything we know about people–that they exist, that they proposition one another, that they make serious social blunders, that they can be inconsiderate of other people’s stated wishes–Onen wants to arbitrarily exclude Watson’s account from all the other accounts which are equally supported by mountains of prior evidence, for the sake of whatever purpose motivates him. It is not skepticism in the sense of the modern skeptical community that Onen is appealing to, it is skepticism of the “if I didn’t see it it did not happen” variety. So no, nothing particularly good would come from engaging Onen: he is transparently irrational on this issue.

    Once again, if what feminists are calling for is equality for women – that is, if they want men to treat women in exactly the same way that men treat fellow men – well, they should know that men frequently insult each other with profane words when they disagree over issues.

    Translation: “how do you like equality now? na-nee-na-nee boo-boo.” It’s an excuse to bully a woman talking about sexism masquerading as egalitarianism. Implied conclusion: women can’t handle equality, so they should stop trying.

    As for DavidByron: l.o.l.. He takes deliberate obtuseness and makes it an art form. Why so sexist, Ophelia?

  234. says

    We’re not?! Damn, being a man is harder than John C. Holmes’ movies made it out to be. I’ve been cheated! It’s teh wimmin’s fault!

  235. jamessweet says

    I don’t want strangers inviting me home to dinner, either, and I don’t particularly want to live in a world where I would.

    *shrug* Different preferences I guess; I’ve got some great memories from back when I was younger and some crazy night me and a couple friends would meet some people at a bar, hit it off, and end up hanging out back at my house after the bar closed. That’s sort of the same thing. Hell, that’s basically how I met the drummer and keyboard player in my band… we used to go to the same bar, hardly knew each other, I was there with a friend who plays guitar and we suddenly realized everybody knew how to play an instrument, so we said, “Let’s get together and jam next week!”

    At the time, I probably did not know those guys for much longer than Elevator Guy knew Watson when he propositioned her. And that’s sort of my point: There are scads of reasons why a couple of guys in a bar saying to a couple of other guys in a bar, “Wanna come back to my place and jam?” vs. a guy in an elevator saying to a lone woman in an elevator, “Wanna come back to my place and get out coffee on?” In arguing in favor of consequence-free propositioning, Onen seems to be ignoring all of the many factors that make those two scenarios different.

  236. says

    Women are the white racists and men are the black objects of racism. Women are the Nazis and men are the Jews. Women are the Serbs and men are the Bosnians. Etc.

    Yeah, notice DavidByron is saying all this at about the same time as Republicans are calling black critics of racism “racist” and liberals “fascist?” That’s not a coincidence — Byron and the Republicans are getting the same talking-points from the same source, and using them to serve the same agenda.

  237. Daniel Schealler says

    @Raging Bee #252

    And don’t forget that war is peace, freedom is slavery, and of course ignorance is strength.

  238. julian says

    @jamessweet

    Isn’t that what Ms Benson is advocating, though? You encounter a stranger (or several) you exchange pleasantries (and alcohol), you realize you would like to pursue a relationship with these people and then you all work out what would be ok for all of you.

  239. Philip Legge says

    At the same time, amusingly, he’s stashing his comments at ERV in case they “disappear” here – and also saying the uglier stuff he’s not yet saying here.

    Not a surprise that he’s playing both sides of the street — the ERV threads are acting as a meeting point for the collection of haters to post records of posts and more inflammatory commentary that would be seen as flame bait. The parallels with Wally Smith are obvious — but he wasn’t trolling Twitter as well, and was puppeting on only two blogs (one, then the other).

    I’m laid up in bed having put out my back with a sneeze — this is about the longest comment I’m prepared to write on an iPhone with “auto-incorrect”. My thoughts on the supposed “intelligent design” of the human apparatus are unprintable!

  240. julian says

    At the same time, amusingly, he’s stashing his comments at ERV in case they “disappear” here – and also saying the uglier stuff he’s not yet saying here.

    Not a surprise that he’s playing both sides of the street — the ERV threads are acting as a meeting point for the collection of haters to post records of posts and more inflammatory commentary that would be seen as flame bait

    There’s this whole paranoid vibe I was getting from that place. Taking screenshots of all their posts. Taking screenshots of everyone’s replies. Obsessing over entirely irrelevant details. Reaching for the worst possible reading of everything coming from ‘them.’

    I don’t find it creepy so much as I find it sad. That kind of behavior can’t be positive, can it?

  241. Barry Galef says

    “Here’s what you do: if it’s a situation where you can flirt with the person first, then there’s your opportunity for persuasion. Seize it. If it’s not – then that’s just too bad. That’s one person you’re not in a position to invite to have sex with you.” Exactly! So simple, it’s hard for me to believe there’s any argument about it.

  242. Philip Legge says

    julian: paranoid, obsessive, creepy, sad? The ERV crew are all of that, but harking back to my first post way up the thread, their little klatch are able to keep the rage on a low simmer on their own blogs much of the time, and at the first sign of a suitable topic here or at Pharyngula or Skepchick, the heat is turned up. Now you’d think it would run out of steam eventually, but those guys are re-inforcing one another via blog posts (Hoggle’s ridiculous diatribe pingbacked earlier stands as a prime example of ranting kook), via comments, via twitter. I suppose they’re getting *something positive* out of it… personal development for trollishness.

    Meanwhile, back in the civilised world, it seems no one has explained why it’s appropriate at *all times and places* for people to have untrammelled entitlement to ask unknown strangers for sex, point blank. Probably that’s because it’s fundamentally uncivilised behaviour.

  243. Philip Legge says

    harking back to my first post way up the thread

    … which doesn’t actually say what I thought it said. Ignore this, the comment’s in another recent thread and it’s too painful for me to retrieve it.

  244. DavidByron says

    This is absurd but it is a “mistake” feminists repeatedly make.

    Ophelia:
    “Women are the white racists and men are the black objects of racism. Women are the Nazis and men are the Jews. Women are the Serbs and men are the Bosnians. Etc.”

    FEMINISTS (of either sex) are the white racists. Ophelia do you somehow think that most other women see men the same way that you do? I know feminists pretend to represent all women but that is a FICTION that I for one never forget is false. You appear to be making the mistake of believing your own propaganda. Most women reject feminism. Most women don’t hate men. I know, shocking isn’t it? You represent exactly one person on this planet. You have no more idea what the other 3 billion women on the planet think than I do.

    Catching up with comments… I see nobody has felt able to respond to what I was saying yet.

  245. DavidByron says

    OK so NOBODY here can articulate any sort of argument or justification for why it’s OK for feminists to spread negative stereotypes about an entire birth group — calling all men “potential rapists”?

    Nobody can tell me why that isn’t sexist?

  246. julian says

    Ophelia do you somehow think that most other women see men the same way that you do?

    With respect as a human being and possibly the expectation of respecting her boundaries?

    Most women reject feminism.

    Yes we’ve seen your friend, Ms Smith, post.

    You have no more idea what the other 3 billion women on the planet think than I do.

    must…get through this…without…laughing…

    I see nobody has felt able to respond to what I was saying yet.

    Saying it again and again won’t make it true. :)

  247. julian says

    OK so NOBODY here can articulate any sort of argument or justification for why it’s OK for feminists to spread negative stereotypes about an entire birth group

    psst

    No one’s doing that./whisper

    Actually a lot of people are. The folks saying men will always hound women for pussy, men don’t don’t know how to take no for an answer, men treat all ‘equals’ with an incredible amount of bile (and hate therefore women really don’t want to be treated as equals), ectectect.

    Feminist are usually the one’s reminding everyone that’s all bullshit.

  248. Moewicus says

    DavidByron, people have been challenging your premises, which you have not acknowledged. For instance, your implied premise that feminism is the hatred of men is simply incorrect. Nor has anyone said that all men are potential rapists. The fact that no one accepts your loaded premises doesn’t mean that they’ve failed to respond.

  249. DavidByron says

    Orphelia suggested nobody on this thread had said men were potential rapists. Here’s a short list of partial comments from a PART of this thread (I got bored half way through) which I think is enough to demonstrate that is clearly not true. More to the point when I asked if anyone here who was a feminist actually disagreed…? Not one person said they disagreed. Zero and counting.

    ===============================================================

    stacy,
    “The point is that any given man might be one of the violent ones, DavidByron. A woman can’t know. The bad guys don’t have “RAPIST” tattooed on their foreheads.”

    penn,
    “men ARE potential rapists!”

    julian,
    “The reason ‘men are potential rapist’ is being pointed out is because women are raped by men far more frequently then…”

    Setar (in response to my asking if any feminist thought ‘all men are rapists” was offensive),
    “I am a man and I do not”

    Philip Legge,
    “DB still doesn’t understand both the meaning and application of the word “potential””

    John Morales:
    “the reasonable fear of possible rape was a response (not by Rebecca) to your type wondering how Rebecca could possibly be justified in feeling uncomfortable given the situation.”

    Aratina Cage,
    “it isn’t just about the possibility that she could have been facing a rapist. The bottom line is that it is unnecessarily putting a woman in a worrisome situation where they are made to feel unsafe by a man.”

    Jason Thibeault,
    “MRAs get their knickers in knots over being called potential rapists”

    mandrellian,
    “However, the fact is that rape is, by a clear and unequivocal majority, a male-on-female crime. RW didn’t mention rape but she obviously felt very uncomfortable. Why? I can’t say for sure – a million things can go through your mind when a stranger asks something you’re unprepared for. But if I was in her situation, the potential for an attack would’ve been just one of the possibilities whirring through my head.”

  250. Daniel Schealler says

    @DavidByron

    OK so NOBODY here can articulate any sort of argument or justification for why it’s OK for feminists to spread negative stereotypes about an entire birth group — calling all men “potential rapists”?

    People have been doing this. Julian did this in 125. You’re just not listening.

    Here’s another crack at it.

    In the paragraph quoted above you are arguing against a position that is a more extreme version of that which your opponents actually hold. I’m not going to cry fallacy or anything, I’ll just write it off as rhetorical hyperbole.

    Note that here I am using the word ‘all’ in the strict sense of the term.

    No-one is arguing that all men actually are potential rapists*.

    Additionally, no-one is arguing that all men should be regarded as potential rapists.

    Even further, no-one is arguing that all unknown men should be regarded as potential rapists.

    Instead:

    1) We are arguing that it is justified and sensible for a woman to exercise judgement to determine whether or not an unknown man should be regarded as a potential rapist.

    2) We are arguing that it is justified and sensible for a woman to err on the side of caution in such judgments.

    3) We are arguing that it is justified and sensible for a woman to employ simplified heuristics as an alternative to in-depth research on a man’s character in such judgments.

    Note that the three numbered points I have given you above are conclusions. I acknowledge that supporting arguments are required. These will be supplied for all three on request.

    But at this point I’m going to stop and see how you react to this before I go any further. I still haven’t decided whether or not to take you seriously.

    * I dismiss without qualification the interpretation of ‘potential’ along the lines of ‘anything not physically impossible’ as superfluous to this discussion. From context it seems clear to me that the term potential is being used in the sense of ‘a credible threat’, so I’m going to continue with that usage.

  251. DavidByron says

    Moewicus,
    “DavidByron, people have been challenging your premises, which you have not acknowledged. For instance, your implied premise that feminism is the hatred of men is simply incorrect. Nor has anyone said that all men are potential rapists. The fact that no one accepts your loaded premises doesn’t mean that they’ve failed to respond.”

    Nobody has said told me feminists don’t hate men. Well apart from you just here. Why would they bother? It’s a given thet they disagree with me. It’s not a premise but a conclusion of these other observations (or to be precise its a conclusion that the “potential rapists” thing is a PART of the evidence for). You don’t disprove something by simply saying it.

    I just posted a partial list of examples of the “potential rapist” thing from this thread alone.

    I did ask if any feminist disagreed with the “potential rapist” thing. I can’t help noticing that neither you nor anyone else (including Ophelia) has replied to say they do disagree.

    You issued an Obama/Bush-style non-denial denial there. “America does not torture” is not a denial but a dismissal and you chose the same wording. Oh gosh nobody says that. Oh really? Turns out America doesn’t torture because apparently waterboarding doesn’t count.

    So no feminists have ever talked about “Schrodinger’s Rapist” then? Really? That’s your story is it? And that’s Ophelia’s story. You both never heard of Schrodinger’s Rapist? Or any other time when feminists have said men are potential rapists?

    But you wont say you condemn such talk as sexist will you?

    Perhaps you can clarify your position?

  252. says

    James @ 251 – what julian said (@ 254). Yes: “meet some people at a bar, hit it off, and end up hanging out” – that’s exactly what I’m talking about. Do that first and then end up doing whatever; great; fantastic. I thought you meant without doing that first. That’s what Elevator Moment was – no meeting, no hitting it off, no ending up.

    So, really, we don’t even need to dream about a future world like that; we’re already in it.

  253. says

    David Byron, as Daniel just explained, it’s not “all men are potential rapists” – it’s “in particular situations, a given man who is a stranger to you is a potential rapist.” The first three words are important. I pretty much never have that thought, because I’m pretty much never in such situations.

    I hitch-hiked a lot in my youth, usually on my own. I took the calculated risk, because I didn’t want female vulnerability to prevent me from having adventures. I didn’t think the men who gave me lift were potential rapists (and I was right, although there was one guy on the way to Drimoleague who took a very odd and risible and roundabout way of…well never mind that now). But that doesn’t mean all women have to or should make that assumption in all situations.

  254. Philip Legge says

    I swear it’s Mary Midgley and the word “selfish” all over again, where the word was opportunely used by a scientist in a precise, technical fashion to illustrate a concept that she was totally unable to grasp. Here it’s a perpetual bullshitter who’s stuck on a single word which he can’t grasp the meaning of, even when the precise way in which it is being employed has been repeated over and over again. It’s obsessively one-note and idiotic. Even the trolls at ERV view the guy as a troll’s troll.

  255. DavidByron says

    Daniel Schealler
    I don’t know why you think you are talking for everyone else here. It is clear that many people really did mean “potential” to mean “anything not physically impossible”.

    And your own interpretation here doesn’t make much sense because of the situation under consideration. EG didn’t make any sort of action or inaction that would suggest he was a rapist. Absolutely nothing beyond being male. For feminists to say that EG was a potential rapist then, means they are saying all men are.

    The only other out I can see was Ophelia’s attempted out. She said that everyone was a potential threat and so it wasn’t sexist (just ridiculously paranoid) to think about everyone you meet as a potential threat. At least that MIGHT have been what she meant but when I asked her if that was what she meant or not she refused to say.

    But back to your interpretation (of other peoples’ words). If that was the intention then EG would have to have exhibited specific behaviour that provided evidence that he was likely to be a rapist. Or at least evidence that he was plausibly a rapist. Anything solid to suggest an elevated sense of threat might be there. But there’s nothing. Nothing but the fact he was a man.

    Now it is true that some feminists have made an issue of being in an elevator. So is it your claim that any time a man is in an elevator that is evidence that he is a rapist? Or any time a man is in elevator and talks to a woman, does that mean he is more likely to be a rapist — in your view?

    Daniel Schealler
    “We are arguing that it is justified and sensible for a woman to employ simplified heuristics as an alternative to in-depth research on a man’s character in such judgments.”

    But what heuristic?
    The only one I can see suggested is “It’s male therefore it’s a potential rapist”

    And finally can you confirm that you think saying men are “potential rapists” is sexist and offensive?

  256. DavidByron says

    Ophelia,
    “in particular situations”

    Well as I said to Daniel what aspect of the Watson-EG encounter marked EG as a “potential rapist” beyond the mere fact of his being male?

    Again would you please condemn as sexist the idea that men are all “potential rapists” — as for example in “Schroedinger’s Rapist”?

  257. says

    Repetitive troll is repetitive.

    Repetitive troll is repetitive.

    Oh, and did you notice the troll responded to everyone here except me? He knows I’m right, he knows I’ve proven him both wrong and a liar, and all he can do now is pretend I’m not here. That’s pretty much how he’s always worked: keep on spouting pure horseshit and “win” by no means other than sheer quantity of hate-spam.

    PS: Have you figured out what the word “dishonest” means yet? You did admit having trouble understanding it, remember? Once you’ve admitted you’re that stupid, you can’t pretend you’re smart anymore.

  258. Daniel Schealler says

    @DavidByron

    I don’t know why you think you are talking for everyone else here.

    I used the inclusive ‘we’ because I don’t think that my views in this would be considered entirely unrepresentative to other people under the feminist banner.

    However, if the others here want to take issue with what I am saying, then as capable and forthright individuals they are free and able to do so. They do not need you to do it for them.

    Also: I certainly could have qualified that better in my comment, but I thought that I shouldn’t have to armor myself too tightly against facetious semantic quibbling over pronouns. Instead I emphasized clarity and brevity.

    I don’t mind genuine requests for clarity or sincere instances of confusion. But if you’re going to persist in trying to score cheap points by wrangling over semantic non-issues then my days debating whether or not to take you seriously will swiftly come to a middle.

    It is clear that many people really did mean “potential” to mean “anything not physically impossible”.

    Before writing my last comment I went through this thread with a simple find/navigate to get a feel for how the term ‘potential rapist’ has been used. I see a lot of people using it consistently with an interpretation of ‘credible threat’, as well as in the sense of being a situational judgement call made from a position of imperfect and incomplete knowledge rather than a reflection on hard-and-proven reality.

    I do not see anyone, except possibly yourself, using it in the sense of ‘anything not physically impossible’.

    Then again – this is a long thread. Perhaps I missed something. Citations are always welcome.

    Additionally:

    If we’re going to go down that route then every healthy adult human being on the planet is a ‘potential rapist’.

    For every healthy adult X, there will exist some human Y such that X will be physically capable of overpowering and sexually violating Y. Ergo every human adult is a potential rapist?

    Do I really have to follow through with explaining why this usage of ‘potential’ is absurd in this context? Are you going to make me do that? Really?

    And your own interpretation here doesn’t make much sense… EG didn’t make any sort of action or inaction that would suggest he was a rapist.

    I thought that we’d gotten far enough away from the topic of EG himself to be on a separate topic now.

    Besides: The first usage of the term ‘rapist’ in this article and the associated comments is yours. You’re the one who raised the issue.

    I skimmed through the comments leading up to that usage, and it’s not clear to me that the topic of rape was indicated or implied in the context of any of them. Of course, again – it is a long thread, and I may have missed anything, so citations to the contrary are welcome.

    However… If you didn’t think it was relevant, then why did you raise it in the first place?

    If you didn’t raise it and were responding to someone else, who and what were you responding too? Citations welcome.

    But back to your interpretation (of other peoples’ words). If that was the intention then EG would have to have exhibited specific behaviour that provided evidence that he was likely to be a rapist. Or at least evidence that he was plausibly a rapist. Anything solid to suggest an elevated sense of threat might be there. But there’s nothing. Nothing but the fact he was a man.

    Again – you’ve shifted.

    The topic under discussion was the following paragraph you posted:

    OK so NOBODY here can articulate any sort of argument or justification for why it’s OK for feminists to spread negative stereotypes about an entire birth group — calling all men “potential rapists”?

    I do not want to get side-tracked back into Elevator Guy. That is a separate issue.

    To my best evaluation of this thread, you are the one that raised the subject of rape and thus sent us on a 190-message off-topic derail. Which of itself is fine – conversation should be allowed to move in interesting topics.

    However, please take some responsibility for the specific paragraph of yours to which I was replying. Please concede the point under discussion before moving onto another.

    Daniel Schealler
    “We are arguing that it is justified and sensible for a woman to employ simplified heuristics as an alternative to in-depth research on a man’s character in such judgments.”

    But what heuristic?

    I don’t think there will ever be a consecrated list of allowed and not-allowed heuristics.

    However, I can think of one example.

    While walking in a dark and deserted street a few years ago (lots of trees blocking the streetlights) I ran into a woman I used to know at uni. Nothing major, just a former acquaintance. I said hello and called her by name – and she stiffened. Which, in hindsight, was completely reasonable. I was a formless male silhouette coming at her from the shadows and calling her by name – she probably would have barely remembered me even with full lighting. It was clear from her body language she just wanted to be left alone. So I blushed with embarrassment, apologized, and carried on down the street without turning back while kicking myself for not thinking it through.

    Note that I don’t consider that Sarah wronged me in any way. She applied a very reasonable heuristic: Strange men coming at you in the shadows when you’re alone and there are no witnesses around and that can call you by name are very credible threats to your personal safety.

    So there you go.

    In that situation, with the behavior I had thoughtlessly exhibited, Sarah’s conclusion may have been false but was nonetheless entirely reasonable.

    So there. You now have one alternative from a feminist to: “It’s male therefore it’s a potential rapist”

    And finally can you confirm that you think saying men are “potential rapists” is sexist and offensive?

    I’ll qualify that if you don’t mind, because you’ve left it very vague and have proven willing to attempt to score cheap points via semantic nonsense once already.

    A simple (therefore imperfect) definition of bigotry is: Making a general statement about every member of a diverse and varied group as if it applied equally to all members of that group without qualification.

    Insofar as this applies to gender, then it may be labelled as sexist.

    However – before you try and cram an example of female fear of rape into the ‘sexist bigotry’ box, you first need to pay careful attention to the context in which the words are being used, and also remain mindful of the fact that other people can have widely differing experiences to the world than yourself that are no less valid than your own.

    Conclusion

    Now – I think I have responded well to many of the points you have just raised. Occasionally harsh, but consistently fair.

    What usually happens at this point is that the person I am arguing with will continue to pick at irrelevant minutia in my response and completely shift away from the initial points I was trying to make.

    I want to resist that happening.

    So, to emphasize again my original argument to you:

    You said the following:

    OK so NOBODY here can articulate any sort of argument or justification for why it’s OK for feminists to spread negative stereotypes about an entire birth group — calling all men “potential rapists”?

    1) I indicated that this was an extreme version of the feminist position that is not actually held by those you consider to be your opponents.

    2) I attempted to redress the issue by trying to frame the feminist position (as I view it) on the topic you mentioned in that paragraph.

    3) I clearly specified that I could back up that position with supporting argumentation if pressed to do so. I have yet to be pressed.

    In response so far you have:
    * Quibbled over semantics
    * Attempted to shift our (your and mine) conversation away from the specific claim to which I was responding
    * Attempted to re-phrase your original position to me in the form of the question – And finally can you confirm that you think saying men are “potential rapists” is sexist and offensive? – while ignoring the actual points I had previously made as to why that is not a position currently held
    * Asked for an example of a valid heuristic (YAY!)

    So there we go – the question ‘But what heuristic?’ actually fit against my previous reply! Excellent.

    So out of your 351 words (I am discounting the use of my name) a mere 3 were actually valid responses to the points I raised in my reply.

    That’s a relevance-to-noise ratio of just over 0.85%

    You’re going to have to do better than that.

  259. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    DavidByron –

    You said above that you think that there is either a blanket, general rule or that there is arbitrariness.

    You have said that you “think well of people” by assuming that they are arguing for general rules rather than being inconsistent and arbitrary.

    Is it possible that a “general rule” might be a rule that covers a behavior in certain contexts? Is it acceptable to allow effluent to escape your factory or not? What if the effluent is pure water distilled from steam that escaped through a pressure valve? What if it is 15 molar hydrochloric acid?

    There’s nothing wrong with arguing that there is a “rule” that applies in some situations and not others.

    Or at least so I believe.

    If not, here’s a challenge for you: Is it wrong for one human being to kill another?

    According to you, you must state a general rule or be deficient and arbitrary. Which shall it be? Do you have a general rule for us?

  260. DavidByron says

    Ophelia,
    It seems like if you actually did think that calling all men “potential rapists” was sexist, then it wouldn’t take any time at all to say that.

    Are you trying to make me look good?

  261. stacy says

    The hypocritical (because utterly unconcerned with the ravages of actual racial bigotry) and vacuous idiocy of the MRA attempt to compare “potential rapist” talk with racism is easily demonstrated by this fact: Most crime is intraracial.

    If a substantial minority of members of one particular race went around targeting members of another particular race for a particular crime, and if said crime were fairly common, then, yes, it would be reasonable, for members of the targeted race to feel nervous around strangers of the first. It would not be morally bad for members of the second race to “discriminate” by being cautious around members of the first in some situations.

    Indeed, there was a time in American history when that scenario was true. At one time, black people were in real danger of being lynched by whites. No doubt, under certain circumstances, blacks felt very nervous around whites.

    How terrible. Looking at all white people as potential lynchers. How racist.

    And, DavidByron, that’s all I’m going to say on that subject.

    You’re either incredibly stupid or arguing in bad faith. Or both. Therefore, I will not from this point forward be interacting with you or addressing anything you have to say. Please refrain from claiming that my ignoring you means I think you have any sort of cogent or unanswerable point. I don’t.

  262. stacy says

    Aw, sorry, Ophelia. At some point while catching up on the comments, I felt inspired and posted without carefully reading all the later comments. Turns out that at #245 you made the point I made above.

  263. DavidByron says

    Daniel,
    “Do I really have to follow through with explaining why this usage of ‘potential’ is absurd in this context?”

    No, look, you’re completely missing the point.

    Honestly I am not sure given the weird threats you issued that you want me to explain it either. It would take me some time to educate you because you are so far off track. Is that investment of time going to be worth it? On the plus side you did write a lot which I think is a good proxy of good intent. On the negative side anyone who threatens to quit a conversation in every post they write has to be a good candidate to do exactly that. If you carry out that threat I just wasted all my time.

    I started to write a reply and got half way so I might as well leave the text in (below). It looked like the 2nd half of what you wrote was off topic anyway due to your misconceptions about what I was saying. But before I go further YOU need to quit this threatening to quit the conversation (holding the conversation hostage) crap.

    Oh and for god sake if you write so much would it kill you to drop the petty insulting shit?

    Noted: you refused to condemn “all men are rapists” as sexist.

    =========================================================================

    You miss the point. I guess you are concentrated on your own ideas and are missing what others have said. I did point that out to you already and all I got back was another huffy threat by you to quit the conversation. Two threats in two comments. What is that about? So let me tell you. Yes of course it is absurd to say all men are rapists. But bigots are people who say absurd things. My point in highlighting this use of absurdity by feminists is to provide evidence that they are bigots (ie that they are prejudiced against men).

    “I thought that we’d gotten far enough away from the topic of EG himself to be on a separate topic now.”

    You’re wrong. The feminist justification for making a big deal of the EG issue is the threat of violence (and specificall rape). I am arguing that this leap to rape is evidence that feminism is a sexist movement. Why else would they suddenly come out with this idea that EG was going to rape Watson (sorry “potentially” going to rape her).

    I assume you’ve read around these threads a bit? In this specific thread the topic of violence came up by a feminist suggesting an analogy to the EG situation (stranger demanding your wallet) which specifically had an element of threatened violence. I pointed out there was no threat of violence in the original and therefore it was a bad analogy and that’s how we got on to the threat of violence / potential rapist issue.

    Do you know about Schroedinger’s Rapist?

    You’re suggesting it was me who mentioned potential rapist first but that’s just ignorance of your topic here. You’re saying EG is a separate issue because you are ignorant of the topic. If you don’t understand (as explained above) then you can ask me to clarify but I suggest that continually saying I’m off topic before you even comprehend the topic is a bit childish and overly aggressive.

  264. Daniel Schealler says

    @DavidByron

    I am no longer taking you seriously.

    Here is why.

    1) Firstly, I have stated clearly, fairly and repeatedly the kinds of things you are doing that are causing me to not take you seriously. This isn’t ‘threatening to leave the conversation’. This is expecting you to live up to an intellectually honest standard of discourse.

    You have not desisted in doing these things despite clear explanations as to what I expect from you and why. I’ve given you every chance. You have no excuse.

    2) Secondly, you continue to shift the topic rather than address or concede the points I am making. Now you want me to talk about Scrodinger’s rapist. But I do not want to talk about Scrodinger’s rapist yet. I do not want to talk about Elevator Guy yet. I want to talk about the paragraph to which I originally replied.

    You are refusing to defend one of your previous positions despite my clear and focused critique of that position. Instead you want to shift the goalposts.

    So – what? I address your new topic, then you shift again? Then again? Then again?

    No. I want to pin you down on a specific position and make some progress first without you jumping all over the place.

    3) Misrepresentation.

    You said:

    Previously, you said this:

    And finally can you confirm that you think saying men are “potential rapists” is sexist and offensive?

    Now, you have said this:

    Noted: you refused to condemn “all men are rapists” as sexist.

    Firstly, note that these two statements are not equivalent.

    In particular you have included the word all. I specified earlier that I am using ‘all’ in a very precise sense in this context, and that this would shape my response.

    Secondly, I did in fact respond with the following:

    I’ll qualify that if you don’t mind, because you’ve left it very vague and have proven willing to attempt to score cheap points via semantic nonsense once already.

    A simple (therefore imperfect) definition of bigotry is: Making a general statement about every member of a diverse and varied group as if it applied equally to all members of that group without qualification.

    Insofar as this applies to gender, then it may be labelled as sexist.

    Note the first paragraph: I’ll qualify that if you don’t mind, because you’ve left it very vague and have proven willing to attempt to score cheap points via semantic nonsense once already.

    Here again – you have misrepresented and quibbled rather than engage with the points I am making.

    ————-

    David, you have one last chance to convince me that you’re worth being taken seriously.

    Please respond meaningfully to the points I made in my first response to you as they apply to the paragraph of your text that I originally quoted.

  265. DavidByron says

    Crip Dyke,
    “If not, here’s a challenge for you: Is it wrong for one human being to kill another?”

    Well I do think that is the sort of question that can be handled well by the sort of system I’d expect for analysing the Watson-EG thing. Good question.

    Briefly.

    I’d generalise the question to violence (not just killing) and respond in terms of a just war / right to defence / right to defend another theory which would predict situations where a killing was acceptable. Those would be situations where the killing is reasonably believed to be necessary to prevent or significantly minimize an imminent and on-going lethal threat to self or to another.

    Certainly you might disagree with that but it is a systematic approach which can be discussed and examined for internal inconsistency.

    …. does that answer your question?

  266. DavidByron says

    OK Daniel?
    I’m going to suggest that with Ophelia already thinking I am typing too much here, and you are writing 7 pages to me and my “short” reply ran to 2 pages, that we’re NOT going to be able to talk here.

    So I suggest this blog I sometimes write at:

    http://www.pffugeecamp.com/

    It’s zero censorship so nobody will care how long you go on. Is that an acceptable solution? Please respond.

  267. Daniel Schealler says

    No David.

    I’ve wasted enough time on you already in the hope that you’d prove to be worth taking seriously.

    You’ve failed at every turn.

    Goodbye.

  268. DavidByron says

    Daniel
    Comment 3 and yet again you make a threat.

    I dunno about you. I’m not going to “convince you” outside of a conversation that is itself in jeopardy am I? That meta isn’t actually possible. How you feel about me – a person you don’t know at all – can only change as a result of a conversation you keep threatening to NOT have.

    You will have to decide for yourself what to do.

    Anyway even your “you douchebag” comment ran to 3 pages. I know I’m bad at monopolising threads but you are 10x worse. Therefore I am convinced we can’t talk here or we will derail anyone else’s chance at talking and I will probably get banned by Ophelia as a result (in any case it would be rude).

    Sure come over to Pffugee camp. You’ll love it. We are all nutcases there and I think you’ll fit in. …. and I get the feeling that doesn’t happen to you often…..

  269. DavidByron says

    MMmhhmmm.
    Daniel? You have to face facts that 99% of people wouldn’t put up with you. Seven pages of shit? I’m guessing you don’t get a lot of people replying to you. So what are you anyway? You have some mental condition right? Seven pages doesn’t put *me* off at all. I’d be happy to discus this or anything else with you. and I don’t even care that you spend half of those pages talking shit about me.

    Where are you going to find anyone else willing to put up with that shit? Think about it. My offer stands.

  270. DavidByron says

    stacy,
    that comment was just another variation on the “it’s OK for me to make bigoted statements about minority group X because I have some statistics that say minority group X really is more criminal than white folks”

    None of that logic works because it is profiling.

    I don’t think you understand that concept. I asked way back there if anyone could explain in their own words WHY profiling is wrong.

    Apparently about 90% of the people who say profiling is bad can’t articulate why it is bad. What I would like here is if you could go away and really THINK about that. Because if you can come up with a reason for why profiling is wrong that same logic will allow you to tell when a situation is and is not profiling, right? (In the alternative maybe you’ll come back and tell me you have decided profiling is not wrong.)

    I think that would be a much more productive approach.

    And you seem to be one of the most productive approach type of people on this thread.

    I realise this isn’t a satisfying answer but it’s actually quite hard to explain why what you wrote is invalid. At least I find it hard.

  271. says

    First DavidByron says this:

    Ophelia says I am arguing dishonestly but again I have no idea what that is supposed to mean.

    Then he says this:

    It would take me some time to educate you because you are so far off track.

    So are you too stupid to understand a simple argument, or are you smarter than all of us? You can’t be both at once. (I’m going with stupid, since you can’t even keep your lies straight.)

    Either way, you’re not worth taking seriously as anything but a malicious lying piece of shit. The fact that you don’t seem to care about your image or integrity says a lot about you.

  272. Francisco Bacopa says

    Didn’t read all the comments.

    Just wanted to say again that what Rebecca said in her video was rather mundane and no big deal. I’ve made a couple of moves almost as bad as elevator guy quite a long time ago, but figured things out on my own because I have empathy and stuff.

    Maybe some dudes can’t learn this stuff on their own just from watching what happened. Maybe they might learn something from Rebecca’s rather low-key discussion of what happened. And it not like she got all emotional about it. She was calm and just stated that this incident was a rather minor example of the kind of thing she was talking about.

    Where does the outrage come from? I do not understand it.

  273. stacy says

    Snip, snap, snout.
    This tale’s told out. :)

    (Ref to The Three Billy Goats Gruff. For some reason I cannot post links or hyperlinks on FtB.)

  274. Daniel Schealler says

    @stacy #291

    Really? I think I’ve managed it before.

    Hmm…

    http://www.google.com/

    Testing

    That worked in Preview – I’ll hit ‘Submit Comment’ and see what happens.

    Do you have a FtB account, or are you using the public interface?

    I have an account – which might explain why I can post links if you can’t.

  275. mandrellian says

    Crikey, DB’s still here, still mansplaining and still so obtuse I’m beginning to think he’s actually bent back on himself like a reflex angle – I guess you’d have to to fit your head in your rectum.

  276. Josh Slocum says

    I have rarely seen (outside the Rebecca Watson melt-down) a more deliberately faux-obtuse, maniacally entitled commenter as you, David Byron. You’re a sorry spectacle and people of very high quality (and unbelievable patience) have given you far more time and engagement than you deserve.

    I hope someone puts a cap on the trash bin soon as it’s overflowing already.

  277. mandrellian says

    Ophelia:

    “David Byron, stop issuing demands. This isn’t all about you.”

    But you’re wrong, Ophelia. It IS all about him. He’s made this entire goddamn thread all about HIM and the non-absorbency of his mind.

    I previously mentioned my lurks at PZ’s place and Panda’s Thumb, where any threads mentioning evolution are epic creationist-magnets. The mentality displayed by DB is, apart from the topic under discussion, a carbon copy of trollish creationist word gaming, ignorance of basic concepts, goalpost-shifting, constant whiny demands for clarification and – most visible here – utter failure (or flat refusal) to comprehend anything written by anyone to explain or elaborate on anything. It doesn’t matter how detailed a response is or how clear an explanation or how neutral the tone of a post: for a troll like DB it’s ALWAYS in need of further explanation, ALWAYS ignored in favour of his pet viewpoint and ALWAYS way too hostile or sexist. And when any response clearly and unequivocally answers a question, the troll either changes the subject or rewords the question or changes the criteria for a satisfactory answer.

    There is NO way to display to this kind of troll that they’re wrong, because in their mind it is not possible. They ARE right and it is OUR FAULT that we haven’t noticed yet.

  278. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    David Byron @283 –

    …. does that answer your question?

    No. That’ doesn’t answer my question at all. You said that there existed some factors to be taken into consideration – just war & defense of self & defense of others. You did not provide an actual rule that I could apply. Saying I should take “just war” into consideration does not tell me if a particularly military operation is or isn’t just.

    What if a person currently assigned to a war zone, who is a military service member, in uniformed and armed, comes upon a member of that group of people that the service member has been told is the enemy – let’s say an Italian during WW2. The other person has no idea that the service member is present.

    Under your current “answer” to the question, I do not know if the military person in question is entitled to shoot or if more information is required. Do you want more information (we can take for granted the actual historical facts about Italy in WW2, that there was a declaration of war between the US & Italy & whatever else you want to say is relevant, but in order for your answer to be a general rule, I would have to know which of those specific details are relevant to the soldier making the kill decision above. Therefore, your answer is wholly insufficient – the soldier in the current example is waiting for you to say what else, if anything, must be known about war and the target, before the trigger is pulled.

    I therefore note that you have refused to come up with a clear and consistent rule regarding when it is or isn’t okay to kill another person.

    Are you arbitrary and inconsistent? Or are you just incoherent?

    Please provide a rule that is general that lets me know when I can and cannot kill – according to your moral philosophy. It should cover the above example but not be limited to it. If it’s limited to an example, then it’s not a general rule is it? I want to think well of you & that you’re not being arbitrary & inconsistent, but I need more information before it’s clear that you are thinking in terms of general rules.

    So, Please tell me exactly what your rule is. That’s not so hard is it? Killing is one of the most clear cut of moral situations, not at all like sexual communication.

  279. says

    It’s interesting to note that, according to DB, most western police forces and muslim extremists are obviously hardcore feminists.
    Because yes, EG behaved in a way women are warned to be weary of:
    Not talking to you in the open although there’s the possibility, following you into a small enclosed space, making the proposition there, yep, sets off the alarm bells.
    (during the original episode people dug up links to actual police sites that advocated that women take extra precaution when entering elevators alone at night)
    Women are advocated never to accept drinks from men they don’t know well, because they could be drugged. So, if a man offers a woman a drink, he automatically gets sorted into the “potential danger” category.
    Especially young women are told to make sure that when they go clubbing, they stay together and leave all together, no-one earlier, no-one later. So, if a man tried to persuade one of them to stay behind or leave with him, he gets sorted into the “potential danger” category.
    Those are the wonderful “rape-prevention tricks” that women are taught by people who think it’s the women’s responsibility to not get raped.
    Maybe somebody should teach the men those things, too, so they aren’t outraged when they do something perfectly harmless (like offering to buy you a drink) and then get treated coldly because they never heard about the fact that it’s dangerous for women to accept such an offer.

  280. Rinus says

    Not talking to you in the open although there’s the possibility, following you into a small enclosed space, making the proposition there, yep, sets off the alarm bells.
    (during the original episode people dug up links to actual police sites that advocated that women take extra precaution when entering elevators alone at night)

    So would you say EG was wrong to get on the elevator to begin with? If ‘setting off alarm bells’ is the problem, I could imagine merely entering the elevator could do that. The potential for rape wasn’t really increases by his making a proposition, I’d imagine. If anything, being polite and accepting ‘no’ for an answer without making a fuss (which I believe is the way it happened) would likely diminish the threat, no?

  281. says

    Rinus

    So would you say EG was wrong to get on the elevator to begin with?

    Not necessarily. But since elevators are small enclosed spaces, if you really want to make sure that people are comfortable with your presence, stop for a pretence like tying your shoe laces and see if the other person holds the door for you.

    If ‘setting off alarm bells’ is the problem, I could imagine merely entering the elevator could do that. The potential for rape wasn’t really increases by his making a proposition, I’d imagine.

    This is meant not to insult you, but you’re clueless. That’s not bad since you’re willing to learn.
    Jason Thibault has a wonderful post where he explains that making any kind of proposal in an elevator always adds pressure:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2011/07/14/the-problem-with-privilege-or-after-this-can-we-get-back-to-the-actual-issues/

    I can only speak for myself, but people joining me in the elevator don’t really set off my alarm bells. I live on the 13th floor, so this is something that occurs several times a day.
    People making smalltalk don’t set off my alarm bells.
    Yet a man making a thinly veiled sexual proposition would set off my alarm bells, especially if that man had the opportunity to do so when we were not in the elevator.

    If anything, being polite and accepting ‘no’ for an answer without making a fuss (which I believe is the way it happened) would likely diminish the threat, no?

    Here’s where you take the wrong turning. The “bad” happens before he accepts the no. Imagine to be in a woman’s place in that moment, when you have to calculate in your head what might happen next. After all, he has already ignored your requests not to be propositioned to several times (if we’re talking about RW), or has invaded your personal space and cornered you (if we’re talking about any such situation.
    On my blog you’ll find a post called “a little story about no” where I elaborate on the problem.
    The bad happens when you don’t know if he’s just a clueless “good guy” or a dangerous “bad guy”, because the good guy is behaving the exact same way a bad guy would do and you only find out when the shit hits the fan.

  282. DavidByron says

    What’s up with the name, “Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden”?

    What does the “crip” bit mean?

  283. Blobulon says

    “Either visibly label yourself as unapproachable or expect that during the course of a conference a person who takes an interest in you might proposition you, as it is their right to do so.”

    How about you wear a t-shirt that says you may proposition sex at any time, so those of us attending the conference to hear the speakers can stay the hell away from you?

    (Apologies if this has already been said, I have’nt made it through all the comments yet.)

  284. says

    You don’t know what a crip is either? Tell you what, boy, we’ll explain what a crip is AFTER you show us that you’ve finally managed to understand that simple statement that had you so befuddled earlier.

  285. says

    If ‘setting off alarm bells’ is the problem, I could imagine merely entering the elevator could do that. The potential for rape wasn’t really increases by his making a proposition, I’d imagine.

    If that’s really what you would imagine, there is something badly amiss with your imagination.

    Honestly; seriously?

    Somebody you don’t know gets on the elevator with you. Totally routine; happens all the time; mildly uncomfortable because one either stares into space self-consciously or makes dopy small talk self-consciously, but no big deal, life in the big city.

    Somebody you don’t know gets on the elevator with you and makes a highly personal request or invitation. Whole different scenario.

    I’ve talked about this before but I don’t think I ever see anyone else talking about it, and I think it’s part of the picture. Hollywood-type celebrities quickly become aware that total strangers think they know them, and talk to them accordingly, forgetting that the knowing doesn’t go in both directions. In a safe public place this is not a threat; in a secluded one it can be, especially for female Hollywood-type celebs. I think the same thing was probably going on with El Guy – he forgot that Rebecca didn’t know him the way he thought he knew her. He perhaps (this is just my guess) didn’t realize the extent to which he matched the scenario “Somebody you don’t know gets on the elevator with you and makes a highly personal request or invitation.”

    So anyway: no: adding a personal request certainly does not make the scenario less threatening. If you can’t even figure that out you shouldn’t be discussing this – you’re too clueless or mind-blind or something.

  286. says

    It would be a strange sort of world that if we fancied something we would go up to random strangers and ask for it. I’d really like 10 quid – let’s ask that bloke there in the smart suit. 20 people have asked him today and he’s getting narky? Well, that’s just him being unreasonable.

    I have been on holiday in a country where random strangers have come up to me and tried to have sex with me (Greece, a few decades back). It’s disgusting – makes you furious. It’s not just the asking. It’s the thought that everyone is looking at you with that in mind. When I came back to the UK and was treated with the normal indifference, it was an intense relief.

    There’s a code in our society that if guys want sex they get into situations where it’s reasonable to ask for it – at singles bars, say, or at parties, or some part of town where money changes hands. There’s another code that openly ogling women is not the done thing, that it’s impolite and a bit crappy. Those are fairly crude and basic codes, but work well enough.

  287. says

    “When I came back to the UK and was treated with the normal indifference, it was an intense relief.”

    Eg-zactly. Oh that normal indifference – what heaven it is.

  288. hotshoe says

    It would be a strange sort of world that if we fancied something we would go up to random strangers and ask for it. I’d really like 10 quid – let’s ask that bloke there in the smart suit. 20 people have asked him today and he’s getting narky? Well, that’s just him being unreasonable.

    Yes, that bloke in the smart suit will be thoroughly annoyed after the twentieth time today that someone spare-changes him while he’s just trying to go about his business, down the block to the bus stop, whatever. Of course our bloke doesn’t feel threatened, he just feels that “something should be done” to keep those strangers from hitting him up. Maybe he’ll write a blog post about “cleaning up the city”. Maybe he’ll even compassionately suggest they need better programs to deal with addictions and poverty.

    But you know what he won’t do ? He won’t learn from his own experience that women (also human, just like him) don’t like being hit up either. Most humans dislike being hit up for companionship/sex by random strangers even more than being hit up for spare change. Whether threatening or not, it’s annoying, it’s rude, it’s unproductive and it’s something that bloke in the smart suit wouldn’t like if it happened to him twenty times a day.

    But when it happens to women, oh well, no big deal.

    And god forbid a woman should (compassionately) suggest that men learn better manners than to hit up female strangers (because it’s counterproductive even if the dudes don’t realize it’s rude). God forbid any woman should write a blog post or make a video that even mentions in passing that she’s annoyed.

    Because women aren’t, after all, really human. Can’t empathize with women, can you ?

  289. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    DavidByron @ 304

    I’d like a reply to my last post, but in the meantime, Crip means exactly what that word has been short for for decades, it means what it meant before a gang took it and made it their name, then made it a household word.

    You really don’t know what “crip” means?

    Perhaps you should learn to google.

  290. Rinus says

    Blegh, was writing up another long’ish reply but really, it doesn’t seem worth it much. There’s only so much that can be said about elevator-etiquette.

  291. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Raging Bee @ 306

    BTW – thanks.

    This person’s reading comprehension is seriously lacking.

  292. says

    Rinus – and you weren’t even managing to say what little there is.

    (Sorry, that’s unkind, but really, you do seem to have been just commenting for the sake of quarreling rather than actually saying anything.)

  293. says

    DB’s reading comprehension is just fine — when he chooses to use it. He’s fully competent, he knows he’s lying, he knows he’s been caught at it, he knows he can’t defend any of his asinine assertions…and he doesn’t give a shit about the truth.

    In fact, the really disgraceful thing about DB is that he seems to have absolutely no integrity, and no desire to get any either. Most dishonest people at least aspire to be SEEN as honest, and tend to avoid situations where they’re not seen so. But DavidByron doesn’t even aspire to clear that low bar. Someone with that little respect for himself can never be expected to respect anyone or anything else. One can’t help wondering what sort of upbringing this lowlife had.

  294. Daniel Schealler says

    @Raging Bee #315

    I’m not entirely sure about that.

    If you look at DB’s comments in 286 and 287, he seems to have gotten a bit tetchy with me.

    Even further, he went to the effort of Googling my name to hunt down an old abandoned blog of mine, leaving me a message inviting to debate on the forum he linked to above.

    I don’t think that either of these would have happened if he was as unconcerned with his self-image as all that.

  295. stacy says

    Jeez Louise, Daniel! He tried to buddy up to you (and later to me). When that didn’t work he tried to provoke you into further engagement by insulting you. Then he displayed a sudden “friendly”–or something–interest in Crip Dyke’s nym. Now he’s Googled you?

    Manipulative behavior is manipulative. And kinda scary.

  296. Daniel Schealler says

    @stacy #317

    It hadn’t occurred to me that it was particularly scary. He’s not left threats or anything, and it was only one message. It’s not like he’s gone the full Mabus or anything.

    I guess I got over the ‘people will occasionally Google my name’ when I made the decision to switch over to my real name a few years ago. Doesn’t bother me too much.

  297. Philip Legge says

    Giliell, connaiseuse des choses bonnes:

    Jason Thibault has a wonderful post where he explains that making any kind of proposal in an elevator always adds pressure:

    Yes. There’s also a high-powered business practice which involves giving a sales pitch in the ten or twenty seconds that you’re standing alone with the other person, which is particularly coercive because of social norms: if you’re on the receiving end of the spruiking, you’re in such a confined space that you can’t credibly pretend you didn’t hear the speaker (unless you point to the hearing aid or iPod headphones in your ears, and shout, “SORRY, WHAT?”).

    There’s also as Ophelia pointed out, plenty of etiquette for these momentary confinement situations: general small-talk is usually non-threatening, possibly you might start to get to know someone (if it happens to be another person in the block of apartments, or someone in the same office, that you only vaguely knew of). On the other hand, small-talk as a five-second overture before a sexual proposition? Seriously creepy.

    Anyone still wondering why should read the rest of Giliell’s post at #303 and Ophelia’s at #307. Here’s one last point: if Elevator Guy got on an elevator with you and made a (im-)plausibly deniable request for “coffee” back in his room (in a hotel that doesn’t have coffee facilities in the rooms, note!) what might his expectations be?

    Best case: the woman comes back to my room for “coffee” (presumably with a bit of luck, sexy tiemz ensues?).
    Worst case: she refuses, I safely go to my room.

    Compare the case of the woman who doesn’t want to go back to his room for coffee: what are the possible consequences of refusal?

    Best case: he accepts my refusal, I safely go to my room.
    Worst case: he doesn’t take no for an answer… (No need to fill in the dots.)

    Notice that Elevator Guy’s worst case is exactly the same as the woman’s best case. The woman’s worst case is a small, but non-zero possibility. So do we understand why this scenario is not “zero bad” yet?

  298. Kiwi Sauce says

    Because it’s zero bad, at worst, from the perspective of EG and who cares what Rebecca thinks?

    /sad panda face

  299. Philip Legge says

    Kiwi Sauce,

    good response. Because caring about what the other person thinks would involve using a theory of mind, and being a rude or intimidating arsehole is preferable behaviour to employing all of that sensitive empathy shit?

    Also pertinent to James’ comments in the original post, if a person answers “no”, he just views that as an opportunity to attempt some other form of persuasion. Whereas empathy would entail considering that refusal to take “no” as an answer in that situation would be setting off the warning bells for many people of whatever gender.

  300. Kiwi Sauce says

    Hi Philip,

    exactly. :( Having worked on Equal Employment Opportunity policies, this discussion has been interesting because harassment – sexual or otherwise – is defined on the basis of how the recipient views the behaviour and not on the basis of intent.

    The other thing that pisses me off about the arguments from the opposing side is that their point boils down to they have every right to tell Rebecca how she should feel. Screw that, no-one has any right to insist that another person feel they way they think that person should feel.

    I appreciate the comments that you and others have expressed so well. I’ve been following the posts.

  301. says

    So, Rinus, you’ve been given ample opportunity to learn, room to discuss, but you decide not to.
    Well, so we can’t help you.
    Of course, those problems, the very problem at the basis of Schroedinger’s rapist don’t concern you much. You don’t live in a world where you’re given rape prevention advice, where you’re constantly reminded of the fact that your behaviour is judged by a higher standard, where people once in a while decide that they can just take a grab at your crotch, your breasts, your butt, where you know that in case you are raped you are not likely to get justice and that in the run of it every aspect of your life and behaviour will be dragged through the mud, where people feel entitled to judge you by a standard they don’t even match half-way themselves.
    It will not make your life better if those things change, so why should you care?
    Well, you don’t have to, but don’t complain if we judge you by that.

  302. illuminata says

    Discussions like this really drive home the fact that some dudes live in places not even close to reality.

    My abusive, rapist ex was the picture of niceness. No one (including myself) would have thought he was capable of doing what he did. Yet, he did it.

    So, when I hear someone cry sexist wolf in response to the very basic fact that strangers are unknown to us, and therefore we can’t assume they’re not even potentially dangerous, I’m immediately suspicious of them.

    What sort of person thinks its bigotry to be wary of people you don’t know, when they do things that are threatening, or inappropriate, etc? Someone who is either so completely socially tone-deaf that they are that sort of person, or someone with an agenda against reality.

    Do these people never lock their doors? Do they so totally trust strangers that they never for a moment worry about their own safety?

    I find that hard to believe.

    So, what we really have here, are misogynists who are pissed off that women aren’t sex vending machines. Therefore they will cry sexist wolf and pretend not to understand the issue, just to put the blame on those bitches who think they have the right to autonomy.

    Its transparent and full of epic fail.

  303. says

    Exactly. This is what I was saying to David Byron. It’s not all men, it’s not men as such, it’s strangers. The stranger part comes first, before you even get to gender and size, weight, behavior, manner, and other physical and social cues.

  304. mordacious1 says

    Ophelia 325

    You’re actually safer with strangers. Roughly 77% of rapes are committed by someone that the victim knows.

  305. julian says

    @326 Mordacious1

    Eh?

    Who said rape had to be the only issue to be wary about? You are not safer among strangers. Besides, ‘familiars’ rape more often because they have more opportunities to than strangers do.

  306. Rinus says

    So, Rinus, you’ve been given ample opportunity to learn, room to discuss, but you decide not to.
    Well, so we can’t help you.

    Well, the rest of your post does a pretty good job of answering that question:

    Of course, those problems, the very problem at the basis of Schroedinger’s rapist don’t concern you much. You don’t live in a world where you’re given rape prevention advice, where you’re constantly reminded of the fact that your behaviour is judged by a higher standard, where people once in a while decide that they can just take a grab at your crotch, your breasts, your butt, where you know that in case you are raped you are not likely to get justice and that in the run of it every aspect of your life and behaviour will be dragged through the mud, where people feel entitled to judge you by a standard they don’t even match half-way themselves.
    It will not make your life better if those things change, so why should you care?
    Well, you don’t have to, but don’t complain if we judge you by that.

    That’s an awful lot of judgements you can’t possibly make without some impressive psychic abilities.
    It’s not so much that I’m offended or anything. After all, you really don’t know the first thing about me, so to even make these statements says more about you than it does about me.
    You do however give off a pretty clear signal that I’m wasting my time here. You seem to have made up your mind and I really can’t be bothered investing an awful lot of time in the hopes of changing it. If I knew you personally, it would certainly bother me if this was your opinion of me. But since you don’t, well.. *shrug*.

  307. says

    But that’s just more of the same, Rinus – it’s all meta. Everything you say is meta. There’s often some meta in comments, and that’s natural, but it seems pretty pointless if there’s no substance. I think you are wasting your time here if you’re not going to contribute any substance.

  308. Godless Heathen says

    @illuminata

    So, what we really have here, are misogynists who are pissed off that women aren’t sex vending machines.

    Wow, that is an amazing way to explain the problem. I’m going to start using that phrase, if it’s okay with you.

    @julian

    I don’t know if you’re safer among strangers or among people you know, but the fact remains that the majority of rapes are committed by people the victim knows.

  309. says

    Rinus:

    That’s an awful lot of judgements you can’t possibly make without some impressive psychic abilities.

    Nope, just reading abilities needed.
    Because you have not shown any genuine interest in or basic understanding of those things. All you’ve demonstrated is a certain amount of cluelessness combined with an “oh, it’s too much to bother” attitude.
    The only thing why I think that I’m not wasting my time is because sometimes there comes a guy and says “thanx to those discussions I know understand better”

  310. illuminata says

    Godless Heathen says: – Its not my phrase – I stole it from Pandagon, or IBTP or Shakesville – I can’t remember. So steal away, i say. ;)

  311. says

    Godless Heathen, it’s true that most rapes are committed by someone the victim knows – either a friend or a partner. Part of that, as has been pointed out, is that the stranger only encounters the victim once or twice. After that, the stranger can switch into the friend category. But we can’t ignore the fact that a rapist may befriend his victim deliberately, both to gain easier access, and for the plausible deniability it affords (“He said she said! We were in a relationship! Mixed signals!”).

  312. Rinus says

    But that’s just more of the same, Rinus – it’s all meta. Everything you say is meta. There’s often some meta in comments, and that’s natural, but it seems pretty pointless if there’s no substance. I think you are wasting your time here if you’re not going to contribute any substance.

    If by that you mean I don’t rush to apply the ‘misogynist’ or ‘feminazi’ label straight off the bat then yes, I suppose you’re right.

    Because you have not shown any genuine interest in or basic understanding of those things. All you’ve demonstrated is a certain amount of cluelessness combined with an “oh, it’s too much to bother” attitude.
    The only thing why I think that I’m not wasting my time is because sometimes there comes a guy and says “thanx to those discussions I know understand better”

    Heh. I’m not all that familiar with this particular blog and I was curious to see where people here stand.

    Also, I hardly need lessons as to how to behave myself in polite society. Besides, you did seem to make a point out of focusing on a few select sentences and calling me clueless. I don’t really mind, but I’m hardly going to thank you for it.

  313. John Morales says

    [meta]

    If you can’t be a good example…
    Then you’ll just have to be a horrible warning.
    — Catherine Aird

  314. Dr. D.E. Cameron, retired says

    Well, this was unexpected:

    “It’s not all men, it’s not men as such, it’s strangers. The stranger part comes first, before you even get to gender and size, weight, behavior, manner, and other physical and social cues.”

    Stranger danger is a very pervasive, a very real danger that must be controlled for, and men–all men–must wake up about this. More police are a good start, but also a social climate where women’s concerns about rape anxiety are given a good long, solid listening.

    We are ‘herd-wired’ to do certain things, and one of them is to proposition the opposite sex, or to be promiscuous. Most mammals are such.

    We are also herd-wired to sexual behavior patterns, and sexual relationships that can be changed or reversed, and, with the right training, and perhaps even the use of chemicals that alter the way we interact with others, we can eradicate the rapists, or at least redirect them into other areas of social interaction that are healthier.

    Perhaps this young man simply needs to be examined in regards to acting out behavior, because he obviously needs to be controlled if he cannot hear a simple “No.” I instantly wonder if he was on Ritalin when he was young, or if he is still taking it.

    It is a proven phenomenon that the word “No” always means “No,” and even when I was younger, that could be changed as well. But the bottom line is that young men need manners, and social training if we are to create a better world.

  315. julian says

    If by that you mean I don’t rush to apply the ‘misogynist’ or ‘feminazi’ label straight off the bat then yes, I suppose you’re right.

    You honestly not get why you’re being called a troll?

  316. Pteryxx says

    Following up on Yakamoz:

    Godless Heathen, it’s true that most rapes are committed by someone the victim knows – either a friend or a partner. Part of that, as has been pointed out, is that the stranger only encounters the victim once or twice. After that, the stranger can switch into the friend category. But we can’t ignore the fact that a rapist may befriend his victim deliberately, both to gain easier access, and for the plausible deniability it affords (“He said she said! We were in a relationship! Mixed signals!”).

    Also, some rapists and stalkers will claim a relationship where none exists and use that for plausible deniability. We’ve seen the argument that Elevator Guy was at the conference/at the bar somewhere near Rebecca, therefore he wasn’t a “stranger” anymore. Along with unfounded speculations that maybe they talked, maybe she led him on, etc… all of which aren’t even relevant to the issue of consent in the first place, but still get trotted out to attempt justification.

  317. Seatofmypants says

    I’ve read a lot about Elevatorgate and the issues surrounding it and as an “L-plate” skeptic, I feel I must be missing something. There are high-level debates about human rights and “the right of the woman to go to bed trumps the right of the man to inquire about potential shared enjoyment of coffee which may or not be a clumsy metaphor for doing the nasty” and so on. As is often said though, you do not have the *right* to not be offended or upset.

    Creepy Elevator Guy (CEG) absolutely had the right to enter the elevator and proposition Ms. Watson. Absolutely, without question. Now whether it was polite, reasonable, socially-acceptable or just situationally-naive is definitely open to debate, but suggesting that some inalienable “right” has been violated is plain crazy.

    By the same token, Ms. Watson absolutely had the right to call out CEG in her video, saying that she found his behavior unpleasant, unwanted and generally creepy and/or intimidating. She has the right to inform people of actions she finds inappropriate and she has the right to make a statement suggesting that perhaps the female component of the skeptical movement (for lack of a better word) is not there for the sexual gratification of randy beta-geeks.

    When we get to the issue of “privilege” I think it becomes less clear to me. The idea of male privilege in this context seems to resolve solely around rape-avoidance and “Schroedinger’s Rapist” (which incidentally is my new favorite phrase). Men are generally physically larger and stronger which (subconsciously or otherwise) puts pressure on women to accede to demands they consider unreasonable, based on the possibility that refusal to comply will be met with (possibly sexual) violence.

    As I understand it this is classed as “privilege” because people who have that privilege (men, basically) can’t empathize with the feelings of powerlessness and situational-weakness that women feel in these unbalanced encounters. As such men can consciously or unconsciously exploit this power asymmetry in situations such as Elevatorgate.

    So if privilege breaks down to “an exploitation of situational power-asymmetry to achieve an end at the expense of the weaker party” then doesn’t Rebecca’s use of her position as a well-respected, widely-heard commentator to castigate some guy in an elevator also count as an abuse of privilege? How can she empathize with the feelings of some guy being criticized without the protection of a huge following and support network? Then of course we have Mr Dawkins with an even larger and more rabid following exploiting his power asymmetry with Rebecca to say what HE wants.

    Basically I think the whole talk of “rights” in these discussions is overdone. From what I’ve read everything breaks down to the right of a woman not to be raped (which is absolute and unquestioned) and the best way for a woman to avoid being placed in a situation where that might happen. Rebecca might well feel very uncomfortable being placed in a situation where a guy she doesn’t know is coming on to her in a confined space. That said she absolutely does not have any inalienable right to not be placed in that situation. Instead she (as does everyone in our society) has a duty to ensure that everyone understands the additional pressures and fears (real or imagined) women deal with when interacting with men and alter their behavior accordingly.

    Being 6’5″ tall and socially-awkward, I am conscious that I might appear intimidating, so I will often avoid situations where I think a woman might feel uncomfortable or threatened by my presence. However I feel that is my “duty” as a responsible and caring member of society and not her “right” to have me nowhere near her. I think if this whole discussion was framed as the “duties” of society (or the skeptical community or whatever) instead of the “rights” of women, it would be easier to find a consensus.

  318. Seatofmypants says

    Oh…amazingly in that massive post, I missed something out!

    Clearly all men are not rapists, in the same way that all snakes aren’t poisonous, all dogs don’t bite and all email attachments don’t contain malware.

    When approached by a man, a woman has a wide range of possible outcomes from “50 years of wedded bliss, 10 adorable grandchildren and a yacht” through to “violent sexual assault followed by murder”. Other outcomes include the acceptance of a polite refusal, a one night stand or even (God forbid) a pleasant chat over a cup of coffee. In that regard every man IS a potential rapist. In the same way every woman is a potential adultress, gold-digger or poisoner. Every man is also a potential perfect husband. It’s not sexism, it’s statistics!!!

    If I interact with a dog I don’t know, I’ll be wary around it until I have gathered enough evidence to assure me it isn’t going to bite. That doesn’t make me “doggist” or “speciesist” or whatever, it makes me risk-averse. The fact that I could run up to 100 different dogs and stick my hand in their mouth without being bitten doesn’t stop me wanting to avoid the small chance I will be bitten.

    And if an unknown Creepy Elevator Dog ran up to me in a confined space, barking and showing it’s teeth, I would be substantially more likely to expect a good biting and I would act accordingly!

  319. Bernard Bumner says

    Creepy Elevator Guy (CEG) absolutely had the right to enter the elevator and proposition Ms. Watson. Absolutely, without question.

    Being able to, or not being prevented from, is not the same as a right.

    Once you give something the status of a right, then it necessarily implies that your ability to do it takes priority over someone’s ability to stop you. In this case, a right to proposition someone would necessarily imply that they must accept being propositioned.

    That really isn’t reasonable. The fact that people think that EG was exercising a right is precisely why they have rushed to defend his behaviour, yet condemn Rebecca Watson’s reaction.

    It allows them to pretend that he was not behaving badly, but that she was being intolerant.

    Further details of the story also demonstrate that it was very clear that she didn’t want to be propositioned. Once that was clear, the argument about any right to be bumblingly offensive evaporates in any case.

    So if privilege breaks down to “an exploitation of situational power-asymmetry to achieve an end at the expense of the weaker party” then doesn’t Rebecca’s use of her position as a well-respected, widely-heard commentator to castigate some guy in an elevator also count as an abuse of privilege?

    She didn’t castigate him. She didn’t identify him.

    She merely described his behaviour as an example of what not to do.

    Also, if you imagine that speaking out against sexist behaviour is an act of privilege because the speaker happens to be relatively well known and have an established platform, then you would have to say that almost any human rights campaigner is acting with privilege.

    Social privilege comes not from the special advantages that an individual might enjoy, but from the systematic advantages that whole groups enjoy.

  320. Seatofmypants says

    Social privilege comes not from the special advantages that an individual might enjoy, but from the systematic advantages that whole groups enjoy.

    Such as…whole groups of pre-eminent bloggers? Sorry that was meant to be a joke (refer to earlier “socially-awkward” comment).

    Also, if you imagine that speaking out against sexist behaviour is an act of privilege because the speaker happens to be relatively well known and have an established platform, then you would have to say that almost any human rights campaigner is acting with privilege.

    Yes they are, in that they know that any statements made against an individual or a smaller group will be given more weight, more coverage and will be discussed more than the comments of that individual or smaller group. The internet has gone some way to balancing this, but I think it’s still true.

    Once you give something the status of a right, then it necessarily implies that your ability to do it takes priority over someone’s ability to stop you. In this case, a right to proposition someone would necessarily imply that they must accept being propositioned.

    I’m not sure I agree with this. I would argue that his right to say something absolutely supersedes her right to not hear it. In the same way her right to safety and autonomy trumps any claim he might have to use her against her will (whether it’s drinking coffee and talking or sex or whatever).

    This is why I discussed duty. It is his right to say what he wants to who he wants. It is his duty as a member of a society which wants to move towards a happier and more equitable existence to know when to temper what he says to avoid causing offense or discomfort to others.

    Some of these things are enshrined in laws (for better or worse) so while I have the right to free speech, if I use that right to encourage racial hatred or violence, I can expect to go to prison. This is because I have failed in my duty to my community to work towards a better integrated, more lawful society. I don’t think we should be legislating to make clumsy passes illegal, but this is about education anyway.

    This isn’t even a case of one right trumping another. He has a right to say what he wants, she has a right be safe and secure in her person. He is (ab)using that right to act like a jackass, she is conditioned to feel uncomfortable and/or in danger in that situation. He is being unreasonable, she is not. From a purely societal point of view, he is in the wrong, she is not. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have the right to proposition her. It also doesn’t mean she has a right to not be made upset or uncomfortable.

    It’s a question of levels, or tiers. Rights are the most basic, the most fundamental of things. After that comes civilization and community and lawfulness. These things have become so conflated in modern times. For example I do not believe that women have a right to education. I also don’t believe than men have a right to education. I believe that civilized societies should strive to provide the best possible education to all their members equally, because it offers significant benefits to all members of that community.

    Free speech is a right, discretion and empathy are duties. In the same way, autonomy is a right, education and driving are privileges that should be afforded to all members of a society equally and where this isn’t the case, that society is failing its members. You could argue there is a right to equal treatment under the law, but provided the law enshrines equal provision of basic human rights (life, autonomy, safety, speech) then everything else is a matter of duty towards society and privilege of membership of that society.

    That really isn’t reasonable. The fact that people think that EG was exercising a right is precisely why they have rushed to defend his behaviour, yet condemn Rebecca Watson’s reaction.

    This is a failure of logic and reasoning, not of the underlying argument. Having a right means (in theory) that no external agency can deprive you of that right without just cause. I add the last bit because not many people think murderers shouldn’t be deprived of their right to autonomy or Jihadists shouldn’t have their free speech curtailed in extremis.

    That doesn’t mean however that exercising your rights to their fullest extent in every conceivable situation is a good idea. Community and Society are about compromise…giving up a degree of self-interest and autonomy to receive shared, mutual benefits. If everyone said whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted and however they wanted, in every situation there would be no trade, no marriage, no politics and very little of anything else we recognize as civilization and culture.

  321. Seatofmypants says

    In the interests of furthering my image as “the double-posting guy” I’d like to clarify my thoughts about rights. Specifically my belief that rights aren’t something that are accrued as your society becomes materially better-off. Saying I have a “right” to education makes as much sense as saying I have a “right” to a free Ferrari. Rights such as existence, autonomy and free speech are by their very nature ideals. Education is a material “thing” which needs to be provided.

    If education is available within a society, then not allowing all people equal access to it is wrong, detestable, unfair and just downright poor behavior. It’s not depriving them of any rights though. Now not being allowed outside violates someones right to autonomy, but saying someone can’t use a car doesn’t. It inflicts possibly crippling limitations on their interaction with their society and is again a pretty crappy thing to do and it should be protested against as such. I don’t know that it violates any right though.

    It have the right to go to any restaurant I want, but the law dictates that I must pay the bill (and therefore be allowed to pay the bill) so are restaurants that charge high prices violating the rights of poor students? It’s a weak analogy I know but I can’t think of a better one right now.

  322. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Seatofmypants:

    Such as…whole groups of pre-eminent bloggers? Sorry that was meant to be a joke (refer to earlier “socially-awkward” comment).

    <Sigh>

    What, are you The Legendary Black Beast of Aaaaarrrrrrggghhh?

  323. Seatofmypants says

    What, are you The Legendary Black Beast of Aaaaarrrrrrggghhh?

    Just when I thought my “Atheist/Skeptic with Aspergers and an axe to grind” thing was the ultimate stereotype, someone just had to break out the Monty Python quotes.

    I’m not angry, I’m just…disappointed I guess.

  324. Bernard Bumner says

    Seatofmypants:
    Rights are defined in terms which necessarily restrict behaviour. My right to x must naturally preclude your right to prevent me from x.

    For example I do not believe that women have a right to education. I also don’t believe than men have a right to education. I believe that civilized societies should strive to provide the best possible education to all their members equally, because it offers significant benefits to all members of that community.

    Believe what you want, but the right to education is enshrined in law in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 26).

    Some of these things are enshrined in laws (for better or worse) so while I have the right to free speech, if I use that right to encourage racial hatred or violence, I can expect to go to prison. This is because I have failed in my duty to my community to work towards a better integrated, more lawful society.

    Freedom of opinion and expression is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    None of us really do have a right to free speech, given the legal restrictions on speech which do exist – you have no right to defame, or to threaten, or to make misleading claims. You have no real right to free speech. You have the right to say anything you want within a clearly defined framework of what the law considers to be acceptible. That is clearly not really free speech.

    Free speech is shorthand for a much more complex concept taking in the right to express opinions without interference from the state and others.

    I don’t think we should be legislating to make clumsy passes illegal, but this is about education anyway.

    I agree. But who has suggested that it should be a crime?

    I think it is really up to you to make the case that propositioning could be thought of as a right.

    At best, I think you could argue that it is a liberty right. That seems like a very weak claim in this context.

    Would you also like to defend as a right my sitting next to you breaking wind whilst emitting a persistent and annoying, high-pitched trill from my nasal cavity?

  325. says

    Seatofmypants
    You kind of lost me there.
    Why are you discussing rights as if we were talking about legal rights?
    Nope, legally EG didn’t do anything wrong.
    Just like the Westboro Baptist Church doesn’t do anything legally wrong when they picket at funerals.
    But their behaviour firmly excludes them from the decent human beings category.
    It is a socially accepted right to mourn your dead in peace. That is a right most people even grant the families of pedophile mass-murderers. It’s not a legal one.
    Currently, society grants men the right to proposition to strange women out of the blue, it doesn’t grant women the right to not be bothered by such men, especially not after they declared several times that they’d prefer people not to do.
    That’s where privilege comes into play, that’s where sexism comes into play: In assuming that the right of the man since it is remotely related to “free speech” trumps the right of the woman.

  326. Godless Heathen says

    I’ve been trying to put the reasoning behind my earlier comment about strangers vs. acquaintances/friends/family into words and I think I know what it is:

    The discussion in the comments here have focused a lot on the stranger issue. While I do agree that there are certain behaviors and comments that would raise red flags when strangers do or say them that wouldn’t raise a red flag when an acquaintance or friend does or says them, the issue isn’t solely one of strangers vs. acquaintances/friends.

    A boundary violation is a boundary violation and not getting consent is not getting consent REGARDLESS of whether the person committing those violations is a stranger or friend. The boundaries are different for strangers than they are for friends, while consent is not, but we shouldn’t ignore the fact that acquaintances/friends/lovers can violate boundaries and ignore lack of consent just as easily as strangers can. This is super important for everyone (men AND women) to remember.

  327. Godless Heathen says

    Why does a man’s “right” to hit on me trump my “right” to not be hit on?

  328. says

    Why does a man’s “right” to hit on me trump my “right” to not be hit on?

    [sarcasm]Because his right is free speech, first ammendment in a constitution written by men for men, when the term men really meant men and didn’t include those nasty women.[/sarcasm]
    Which is also a funny point to make since actually a pretty international community is discussing an incident that took place in Ireland.

  329. Pteryxx says

    I get tired of hearing over and over that regarding all men as potential rapists (even when one says he isn’t) is so horribly sexist, insulting and unfair; but regarding all women as potential sex vending machines (even when one says she isn’t) is totally non-sexist, justifiable, and essential.

  330. julian says

    Why does a man’s “right” to hit on me trump my “right” to not be hit on?

    Because HOW CAN HE NOES?!?!?!?!?!

  331. Seatofmypants says

    I think I’ve been misunderstood. As I mentioned previously I’m very new (Gnu?) at this, so I still have my L-plates and training wheels firmly attached!

    Framing something as a “right” seems very entitled and as people have pointed out above also requires a state of opposition. Why is it assumed that the right not be hit on supersedes the right to proposition random strangers? I’m not saying it doesn’t, but it seems to turn dispute resolution into essentially a game of Top Trumps.

    I have never suggested that Rebecca Watson was in the wrong, nor that the behaviour of EG was justified in any way. I think that Richard Dawkins may have had a point, but that he presented it in possibly the worst way imaginable to the point of cringing embarrassment on the part of many people in the community and not a small amount of outright anger.

    As I mentioned above, my point revolves around the fact that we have a sliding scale of things which should influence interaction and behaviour. At the top we have Rights, which I think should be simply-defined and few. If you want to be a good person, you should respect the Rights of other people. You could subdivide these further into what could be termed Natural Rights (right to life, right to freedom from harm) and Civil/Legal Rights (right to vote, right to free speech, right to education). Then we have Laws, which generally limit the freedom of everyone with the intention of benefiting everyone. A law should not be able to trump your Rights, but in more and more cases they seem to. Lastly we have social convention and civic duty. I see this as the most positive and aspirational tier, where individuals and groups can make decisions to improve their society.

    By framing the behaviour of EG and others like him differently, by saying their behaviour is unacceptable and doesn’t belong in a world where we want to build a community fairness and equality where women can feel comfortable expressing their views, going to a bar and going to bed without needing to worry about being objectified or propositioned, we take away the whole negative side of the debate. Rather than “my rights arguably trump your rights so nerrr!” we have “let’s work together to improve the community for everyone”.

    It might be that I’m making distinctions where none exist, but people saying “Rebecca has the right not be to propositioned” sort of makes my brain hurt a little.

    Last thing;

    blockquote cite=”I think it is really up to you to make the case that propositioning could be thought of as a right.

    At best, I think you could argue that it is a liberty right. That seems like a very weak claim in this context.

    Would you also like to defend as a right my sitting next to you breaking wind whilst emitting a persistent and annoying, high-pitched trill from my nasal cavity?”>

    This seems like a non-argument to me. We as humans build incredibly complex social constructs with huge gray areas which are massively nuanced by things such as location, tone of voice, time, lighting level, drunkeness and so on. As a man with Aspergers, I’d probably prefer it if no-one ever spoke to me without written warning first, but I would never question the right of someone to speak to me. Everyone has different boundaries, different norms.

    The situation in question with Rebecca and EG is extreme and he should have known better. What if he had offered to buy her a drink in the bar at 3am? What if he’d complemented her on her presentation in a flirtatious manner? I’m not arguing that a “right to proposition” exists. I’m arguing that framing the entire scenario as a dance-off between his rights and hers leads down a garden path of arbitrary claim and counter-claim of non-existent rights.

    In the example you gave, I would probably move first. If you followed me, I would ask you to stop. If that didn’t work, depending on how strong my feelings on the subject were at the time, it might descend into an argument and perhaps we’d end up with a split-second decision as to whether my “right” not to be annoyed trumps your “right” not be punched in the nose!

    But it’s not about rights, is it? The very idea is ludicrous. It’s about the willingness or not of someone to follow social convention and be polite. It can’t be enforced or legislated for, there is no European Bill of Not Farting and Making Weird Noises With Your Sinuses.

    So to sum up; I think EG was wrong to do what he did. I think the reaction of Rebecca Watson was appropriate and constructive. I think that enough verbal and non-verbal cues were given to dissuade anyone except the most socially-inept person from putting the moves on Rebecca on the way to bed. I think the reaction of the community has been less than constructive and I think the couching of a conversation about social interaction and personal boundaries as a war of inalienable rights is both unhelpful and divisive.

    I’m going to drop out of the comment thread now. It’s been an interesting dipping of my toes in the water of rational/skeptical debate, but I feel I’m both outgunned and under-prepared :)

  332. Bruce Gorton says

    My few cents

    1: Kruger is awesome – and it has been a great week here. We even got singing and dancing at the enrance to our chalets. Okay it was toyi toying, but still, they could carry a tune.

    2: The bulk of elevatorgate? Over-explaining. You don’t really have to describe why it creeps you out to have someone staring at you and licking his lips, or picking his nose and eating it, its just not something you want to go to bed with. Elevator Guy would still have been creepy without rape fear playing any role whatsoever.

    People seem to have mistaken the idea that you do not have the right to not be offended, for the idea that you do not have the right to be offended and voice that offence. That to me is the big skeptic issue at the heart of it.

    3: Just a note on James Onen, he is an excellent ally on multiple issues in Uganda including gender equality.He is basically a good person, do not allow your disagreement with him on one issue to cloud your view of him in general.

    I am using a worse connection than usual and it appears to slow down how fast the letters I am typing show. Please excuse any typos.

  333. hotshoe says

    By framing the behaviour of EG and others like him differently, by saying their behaviour is unacceptable and doesn’t belong in a world where we want to build a community fairness and equality where women can feel comfortable expressing their views, going to a bar and going to bed without needing to worry about being objectified or propositioned, we take away the whole negative side of the debate. Rather than “my rights arguably trump your rights so nerrr!” we have “let’s work together to improve the community for everyone”.

    Agreed.

    Now, if only we – as a community – could get the overconfident pick-up artists and MRAs to agree!

    Not that I hold out any hope, as your ideal framing is exactly where this discussion began, with Ms. Watson’s statement that their behavior “doesn’t belong where we want to build a community of equality” (I paraphrase) …

    Seems so simple a request. But since the MRAs immediately got up on their hind legs and started braying “Rights! My Rights! My Rights!” I really don’t see any alternative to countering them on their own terms. As Bernard notes, no one has an unlimited right of free speech. And as Giliell adds, a main reason why free speech is enshrined as a constitutional right (in the USA, where it is so enshrined) instead of the opposing right to be left alone and not spoken to, is because the constitution was written by men. The USA Founding Fathers were visionary in many ways, but they were also naturally more interested in protecting an issue near to their own hearts – that of being able to make political speeches – than they were in protecting an issue they never had to worry about personally – that of being left unmolested by strangers who want to bend your ear (for whatever purpose).

  334. hotshoe says

    I’m going to drop out of the comment thread now. It’s been an interesting dipping of my toes in the water of rational/skeptical debate, but I feel I’m both outgunned and under-prepared

    I’m not going to contradict your feeling, but I don’t agree – your posts so far are well-written and enjoyable to hear. Feel free to stick around and contribute – or not – as you think appropriate.

    Best wishes!

  335. says

    seatofpants – well I don’t disagree with you that “rights” is the wrong word here – but I implied that in my post.

    That’s one person you’re not in a position to invite to have sex with you. You can, of course, and as James says you have a “right” to – it’s not illegal. But you shouldn’t. It’s rude, it’s vulgar, it’s intrusive, it’s self-absorbed, it’s obnoxious…and it’s sexist.

    I said “right” because James had, but the scare-quotes indicate that I don’t think it’s the right (er, correct) word. Then again it is used that way informally – as in, “You have no right to talk to me that way!” and the like. But I think should/shouldn’t are much closer to what we’re talking about.

  336. Godless Heathen says

    Why is it assumed that the right not be hit on supersedes the right to proposition random strangers?

    Well, why did you assume the opposite?

    Also, you’re the person who brought rights into this thread in the first place, so I don’t understand why you’re suddenly arguing that we shouldn’t frame the elevatorgate or propositioning in general in the context of rights?

    You are arguing both sides of the issue and I’m really not sure what point you’re trying to get across?

    And, finally, ever heard the phrase, “your rights end where mine begin?” I think that’s appropriate here. It’s also what makes the situation more complex and nuanced than the idea that men have the right to hit on women any time they feel like it no matter what.

  337. Kiwi Sauce says

    The comments around propositioning random women are giving me a mental picture of a bar with slot machines – it reads like some of the guys think that the propositioning is just like feeding coins into a machine: eventually they’re going to get a pay-off.

    That’s one reason why women are so flattered when a guy who has been hitting on other women, without success, comes up to them. And why we also feel so flattered when we are one of the to be hit on and then watch the guy do the same to other women after we decline. Sometimes there’s even the bonus of having an epithet flung at us after we say no.

  338. says

    I would argue that his right to say something absolutely supersedes her right to not hear it.

    Pure fucking horseshit. Did someone say “bizarre sense of entitlement?” Freedom of speech has NEVER been that absolute, and has never meant that anyone can say anything to anyone else’s face without regard for anyone else’s rights, feelings or basic security. “Freedom of speech” has never meant “freedom from basic rules of personal conduct.” You have no more “right” to ask a woman for sex than to shout insults or threats in her ear.

    One needs to remember that “her right to not hear it” is NOT just a right not to hear someone say something; it’s part and parcel of her right to go about in public, and enjoy being where she’s entitled to be (like, oh I dunno, a hotel where she’s paid for a room?), without undue harassment from strangers. And yes, untimely invitations from strangers can easily be considered harassment — especially when the guy doing the inviting thinks he has a “right” to bother whoever he wants.

  339. Dr. D.E. Cameron, retired says

    I am a bit disheartened in the attempts by Mr. David Byron to conflate feminism with the hatred of men at large, or to suggest that all women are the same, or that all feminists are the same.

    Are you a scientist or an authority of some sort Mr. Byron, or do you merely hate women?

    There is no such thing as hatred of men, which you seem to imply, at least when compared to misogynists who serve as servants of patriarchy and its enablers. But in positing that feminists are all the same in some regards, you utterly fail to recognize the importance of robust dialogue to change the world.
    In fact, I will posit here and now that you are the exact stranger that is being discussed above, @338.

    Stranger danger is a very serious threat to our ability to reveal the harm that individual men cause to their intimate partners, children and so forth, and if we lose our focus on stranger danger, then who can wage the necessary wars for American freedom?

    Pterryx notes that this man on an elevator was clearly a stranger, and as all the literature tells us, strangers are the biggest threat to maternal order, and feminist constructs of women’s common origins and unified goals.

    @338 “therefore he wasn’t a “stranger” anymore.” We know this to be a primary method of individual men to attain mere sexual gratification with women who they perceive as more powerful than themselves, at the expense of relationships.

    And this of course has the potential to negate attempts by the larger society to use women for good, or better things.

    If it were not for the dialogue of feminism, which must be nurtured at every expense and opportunity–there would be no modern world as we know it–or, more appropriately, the world as it should and ought to be.

    It ought to be very very clear to anyone who claims rational thought that women, and then by assumption, mothers, are the most capable people to teach children dialogues of change.

    And, because all women are inherently dis-advantaged by patriarchy, there should be entitlements that free their voices from the great oppression of all men.

    In my early research in this area, I was able to enable the free flow of social constructionist dialogues by empowering the women who understood the concept, and the importance of controlling the natural, biological impulses of all men to rape and kill, and exploring instead, preemptive war on bad social constructs of male power.

    As someone above noted thusly about one aspect of men, the “overconfident pick-up artists ” I was able to intimately review male behavior, and the then to positively correlate it with how they control a wider society. The individual man who is allowed to meet a woman, and possibl;y have sex with her, disables her choices to meet more powerful men, who know how to use her more appropriately.

    As I noted above, some of my work involved the use of drugs, and other methods to enable liberation, but primarily, my research was focused on the role of the mother and her role inactivating the natural will of young girls to become more than mere objects in the power games of individual men, and extrapolate women’s true potential into the larger paradigm of a controlled society, where women had a voice as well.

    In doing so, women were thus able to embody the rhetoric of power in such a way that today, the “pick-up artists,” and other similarly minded short term thinking individual men who contravene, or selfishly enjoy women, clearly sacrifice all women’s natural rights of authority and autonomy, and greatly at the expense of utilizing women for more noble, and much wider national, or social aims.

    In short, it was this that made America great again, and gave women a seat at the table of power, in my era, in Viet Nam, Cambodia, and Laos; and lifted the veils off of the women of Islam, most recently in Libya, and elsewhere.

    Mr. Byron, I must question you at this time in one matter: are you on any medication? Because your overtly masculine tendencies can be altered with proper medication.

  340. Daniel Schealler says

    Framing this as a free speech issue is a red herring.

    To my knowledge, no-one is saying that creepy the propositioning of women should be criminalized or legally suppressed.

    To my knowledge, we are saying that the creepy propositioning of women should be met with uncompromising public criticism.

    The cure to poor speech (creepy propositioning) is more speech (uncompromising public criticism).

    Don’t get distracted by the herring. Stick to the scent.

  341. Grace says

    Dr. D.E. Cameron, retired said:
    “The individual man who is allowed to meet a woman, and possibl;y have sex with her, disables her choices to meet more powerful men, who know how to use her more appropriately.”

    I know, right? Men with power need to use me more appropriately.

  342. Seatofmypants says

    @362 – Daniel Schealler

    Thankyou Daniel for putting the point I was trying to make (haltingly and generally poorly) across well in 5 sentences.

    It’s not about rights and entitlement, it’s about our community building a consensus on what behaviors and attitudes are and are not acceptable and then working as a community to “normalize” behaviors and attitudes.

    Any community will have (and benefits from) a wide range of personalities and characters and that includes people who are bombastic, charismatic or flirtatious as well as those who are shy, awkward or lacking confidence. The task is to smooth off the extremes of those behaviors. If people want to “have coffee” with someone, that’s not a problem. Approach them in a suitable location and do it in an appropriate, non-creepy way and be receptive to signals of disinterest and discomfort. Not only is it safer and better for the woman (or man) being approached, it’s also infinitely more likely to succeed!

    In the same vein we should look to encourage participation and try to help the quiet, less confident folk have more of a voice.

    This can be achieved by education, discussion and criticism. “Thou shalt not proposition” is less helpful.

  343. John Morales says

    Seatofmypants:

    This can be achieved by education, discussion and criticism. “Thou shalt not proposition” is less helpful.

    You mean, like “Word to the wise, guys, don’t do that [specific circumstances earlier specified]. It makes me incredibly uncomfortable.”, but not like “Thou shalt not proposition” [blanket diktat]?

    Hm.

    (That poor equine is definitely deceased)

  344. says

    seat of your pants – but you were making a point that hardly anyone here would dispute – you were hammering on an open door. You were explaining something that pretty much everyone already understood. It’s still not clear to me why you thought we needed to be told something we already knew.

  345. Dr. D.E. Cameron, retired says

    Ms. Grace: “I know, right? Men with power need to use me more appropriately.”

    Well that is up to you. I was saying that these young men who think that women only want sex–when all the research shows us that quite the opposite is true, are deluded. Wherever do they get such ideas?

    And women are largely strapped into a system of codified rape, and specialized sexual abuse at the hands of men, and clearly, these young fellows with ideas about sex being a ‘simple’ matter of a simple yes or no spoken to their face need to be contained at all costs.

    They get in the way of a woman using a more powerful men to attain her biological imperatives, or her freedom from patriarchal constructs. And as I suggested above, it is within our grasp to medicate the male sexuality in order to control it completely, giving voice to the female imperatives of liberation.

    Of course, this is all predicated on the idea that the video game generation and Ritalin were likely not enough to constrain young boy energy and sexual exploration, and larger measures might be needed, if we are able to use them more appropriately.

  346. Godless Heathen says

    Dr. D. E. Cameron, Retired,

    I have absolutely no idea what any of your comments mean. Also, stop using the word “use.” Women don’t want to be used by men, men don’t want to be used by women, women don’t necessarily want to use men for personal gain and I’m sure most men don’t want to use women for personal gain.

    And, finally, the stereotype isn’t that women only want sex, it’s that men want sex always and women want it never. Women do want sex, though. I don’t know why you think they don’t.

  347. Grace says

    Dr. D. E. Cameron, Retired,

    We need to medicate men’s sexuality and control it completely in order for women to acheive liberation?

    “these young fellows with ideas about sex being a ‘simple’ matter of a simple yes or no spoken to their face need to be contained at all costs.”

    Right. That’s exactly what were trying to do. What hysterical castrating bitches we are.

    “They get in the way of a woman using a more powerful men to attain her biological imperatives…”

    Clever. You are saying women want to deny young men all expressions of sexuality in order to free women to hit up rich men for their own use. In other words, women are castrating gold-diggers. Duh.

  348. Dr. D.E. Cameron, retired says

    Oh dear. It appears that I am struggling to make my meaning clear.

    Godless Heathen: Also, stop using the word “use.” I don’t at all mean to be rude, and with all due respect, please, do not ‘tell me’ what words I can and cannot use!

    However, I understand the implications of such a word–would “employ” be abetter semantic option?

    Now, in regards to your statements: “Women don’t want to be used by men, men don’t want to be used by women.”

    I must say that in my research I was able to realize that in fact, SOME want to be used, for whatever reason, while others, due perhaps to circumstance, were willing to be used–whether they knew it at the time or not! And of course my colleagues and I were able to isolate and capitalize upon such human impulses quite overtly, and longitudinally.

    Now, “women don’t necessarily want to use men for personal gain and I’m sure most men don’t want to use women for personal gain.”
    I will preface my comments with a notation that you said “necessarily” in regards to some women’s use of men. If that is true, I truly wish to live in your society!

    But sadly, people DO use each other in a gendered world–almost as if they are deluded into believing that there is nothing other than gender, and it’s cohorts of sexism, relational, sexist biases, and paradigms of power that capitalize on such human naivete–human belief in their pre-determined destinies.

    It would be simply unimaginable however, to concieve of a world that is ungendered, because it borders on the impossible. I will tell you why: American society is in fact one that embodies gendered definitions of humanity much to its advantage in matters of illegally waged wars of capitalistic conquest.

    “And, finally, the stereotype isn’t that women only want sex, it’s that men want sex always and women want it never. Women do want sex, though. I don’t know why you think they don’t.”

    In this, it is impossible to disagree; however, again, the caveat: power is “necessarily” situational, relational, and biased in it’s extrapolation, which precludes larger discussions about individual choice, and sexual freedom.

    Now, in as much as the foregoing can be construed true, we agree for the most part.

    Now, Grace–may I call you Ms. Grace, or is Grace vanishingly enough?

    As regards my statement, as you note aptly:”We need to medicate men’s sexuality and control it completely in order for women to achieve liberation?”

    Of course! There was no other way, based upon my research, and a social climate that was prohibitive of the expression of women’s sexuality. The personal is indeed political, and men are merely obstructions to the expression of a woman’s full potential.

    That potential qualified by the idea that women, and their wombs, can be infiltrated, and made imperial in advance of the next threats to American FREEDOM–and their willingness to continue to engender the dialogue through their mate choices. Their willingness to impart, and supplant video games and proper medication for a boys natural hormonal, sexual ‘rape’ impulses, in the place of science, mathematics, and socially concerned rhetorical nurturing.

    “What hysterical castrating bitches we are.”

    Well again, language fails me! I cannot speak for who “we,” or, you, any more than you can. Castration, and it’s concomitant anxieties are in the hands of the holder.

    Now: enough paraphrasing of “me.”

    You said ” women want to deny young men all expressions of sexuality in order to free women to hit up rich men for their own use. In other words, women are castrating gold-diggers. Duh.”

    I do not know everything about “all women,” as feminists speak quite sufficiently, and quite assertively about that–this, was, of course, part of my earlier research into human submission and human proclivity; so I do know a little bit about messages, and senders.

    I also know a bit about engendering dialogues that perpetuate sex and class and gender frustration in thus ‘engendered societies,” and about creating messages that are palatable, though uninformed, or inappropriately malformed.

    But certainly, most women are not gold diggers per se, but rather, they are unwilling to address the centerpiece at the table of privilege: themselves, as ducks to be roasted, tasted, or raped like mallards; rather than as ducks that fly freely above such limiting discourse.

  349. Grace says

    Dr. Cameron,

    What is your field of research, if I may ask?

    You sound like an MRA who’s had one too many bad trips.

    Actually never mind. You remind me of my (former) priest who told me I needed to cover my head in church so as not to tempt men or angels with my lovely head of hair.

  350. Godless Heathen says

    You sound like an MRA who’s had one too many bad trips.

    Yeah, seriously, what the hell?

    Link to your published research.

  351. says

    Oh dear. It appears that I am struggling to make my meaning clear.

    Oh dear, you got that right. Do you enjoy struggling fruitlessly in chains you put on yourself?

  352. Dr. D.E. Cameron, retired says

    Oh, my, Grace that sounds horrible! He talked about your hair! That certainly is horrible indeed. It sounds very controlling, and patriarchal. Thank God we have the church scandals to keep our minds off of the other dirty deeds of past era’s.

    I am not certain what type of dialogue you wish to engender in regards to medical equipment, but you could say that my area was somewhat related to the “MRA”, but I think you are confusing the Magnetic Resonance Angiogram with the MRI, and neither were available in my era.

    In those days, we used equipment that foreshadowed the use of the MRI to do brain scans, and I did work with magnetic and pulsar techniques with my research subjects, but these techniques were not as you might know them today.

    And, yes, I did indeed take many trips, all over the world! It was a glorious time of unrestrained freedom for scientists! Unlike today, where we have a climate where scientists are distrusted by many, then science was near to God, and mere civilians would never have thought to challenge our assumptions and theories and biases and so forth.

    What we did we did for the good of all humankind. It was a rare time of unrestrained scientific opportunity! A time when science was allowed to form identities, rather than merely inform them.

    Most of you know my work from pop media venues such as “The Electric Kool-aid Acid Test”, Stonewall, Timothy Leary, Ginsburg and so forth–but I assure you that they were not my direct doing! They had gone renegade, and caused me no end of grief! Absolute miscegenation of my greater intentions.

    You might also have heard of Hunter S. Thompson, or the Reverend Jim Jones. I was loosely affiliated with every one of them.

    But of course my field was in the research areas of the mind, and how we could better employ theories of mind if you will–to create a state of affairs wherein the public at large could be better restrained from enacting their human impulses, and act for the greater purpose of the Nation and it’s thus engendered society instead.

    A great deal of my research was spent exclusively studying patients who revealed the extent to which a population of willing subjects would submit themselves to artificial constructs of controlled human interaction, and of course, human sexuality was a primary area of research.

    Why do you ask for publications? My work casts a very long shadow. It is literally everywhere today. Here is a resource you can refer to if you need to: http://www.wanttoknow.info/770721nytimes.ciahumanbehaviorcontrol

    However, I urge you to avoid the implications of a ‘conspiracy’ of any sort, and trust that what is done by science is always nobly intentioned. Mostly, it is important to sort the fact from the fiction of my great and noble legacy, as so much of it languishes in the arms of the conspiracy theorist, and not quite enough in the arms of the historians of tomorrow.

    Quite revealing of a nation that is progressing as it currently is, and as you might discover, quite revealing of your own character as well.

  353. Grace says

    Dr. D.E. Cameron, retired,

    My priest brough up my hair as kind of an opposite approach to your suggestion to medicate men in order to curb their lust, since you believe having sexual feelings for a woman and seeing her as fully human are mutually exclusive. He believed I should cover the obscenity my hair and curves and legs so as not to tempt the males in the congregation with lustful thoughts. Maybe you could go to the Bishops of the Eastern Orthodox Church and propose your solution of medication. (I doubt they’d be interested though, since the daughters of Eve must forever carry the shame of leading men astray and getting everyone booted out of Paradise).

    I asked an innocent question about why I needed to wear a scarf in church and he told me not only will I tempt men to have lustful thoughts, but apparently there are angels who lust after women and even have sex with them( it’s in the bible, I checked). That conversation was only slightly less bizarre than yours.

    My church was/is very patriarchal. That’s what they called themselves in church newlsetters, The Patriarchy.
    At least they were honest about it.

  354. Dr. D.E. Cameron, retired says

    Grace: You miss my point entirely. I am fully aware that women are a very powerful drug, and quite intoxicating–enchanting indeed.

    And you are not correct that I see women as less than human–but I recognize the nature of that humanity–no better example can be given than modern feminist constructs of power–women echo men in every single way.

    Most of my work dealt with that exact aspect of human sexuality, and the results of that were very clearly this idea of women’s liberation. Yet are women liberated? Is such a thing even possible? Because in your era–that of greatest opportunity to do so, women still wed themselves to patriarchy, and the wars and violence of the world.

    Whereas it is a safe and accurate statement that patriarchy is and has been a driving force of what you might well and also accurately call the oppression of women, you might also recall that nearly all ape species are this way. Violence seems to be the agreed upon ape behavior.

    And one other ape behavior is as common in human apes as it is in chimpanzees: females ALWAYS seek to mate “up.” The very second a patriarch shows weakness, or age, the females in his troop disown him. Such has been the case recently with Richard Dawkins.

    Even bonobos use violence at times, despite them being the only matriarchy of the apes. And there solution, though interesting, isn’t catching on with the other apes as yet. Why is that?

    And therein lies the rub: the breeding continues, doesn’t it? It is not as if patriarchy itself is to blame entirely. As much as it may be convenient to tell the patriarchs to go, and procreate with themselves, it isn’t possible. Why is that?

    Fast forward to the modern era, and you will find two striking things about society: as we veer towards more matriarchal paradigms, or at least women’s empowerment through career choices, and education, we also are engaged in more Machiavellian wars than ever before in the history of our world. And women buy-in entirely.

    And I would also remind you that it is a volunteer military doing this, and that 30% of them were raised by women alone, while entirely 60% of them were raised in less than patriarchal homes–split families, gay families, divorced families–the plurality of family that came on the heels of women’s empowerment.

    And I also remind you that such a generations males were raised on Ritalin, and video games, as well as media messages that were and will be tolerated by our war-like species. All of this was overseen by a generation of mothers who allowed it to happen–who bought in to a message that boys were out of control, and potentially harmful, unless medicated.

  355. EnlightenmentRIP says

    A man generally cannot know

    You brag about exposing epistemic relativism in your old ‘about’ section. Do you even know what it is? You are beyond mere moron.

  356. says

    Incoherent troll is a;sgo hsgovz;dlfg eprog adfohv hhsvprowe r hzc.

    Most of my work dealt with that exact aspect of human sexuality…

    Speaking of which, you were asked to cite your published work, and have yet to do so.

  357. The Ys says

    I’m late to the party, but:

    The end of that rule would mean women would not have that freedom until they hit age 40 or so.

    I’m over 40, and I still get harassed. I’m even wearing a wedding ring and that apparently has no value.

    Most strangers don’t bother me. A few men have struck up casual conversations with me while we’re waiting in line somewhere. No problem with that. The men that interrupt me when I’m in the middle of something without even asking if they’re interrupting me? And just start spitting out random facts about their lives without introducing themselves? I wish they’d grow up and act like responsible adults.

    When you interrupt someone, you find out if you’re bothering that person before you start demanding his or her attention for your own personal interests. That’s called courtesy, and should be employed regardless of the situation.

  358. says

    Comment 381 is particularly point-missing because I was quoting James Onen: he is the one who said “a man generally cannot know.”

    A slight misreading or conflation of someone else’s words with another’s has been a real problem throughout this whole Elevatorgate incident. At least some people are starting to realize this now after a lot of misplaced shouting and/or writing about it and are finally coming to terms with that, which is good to see. I can only hope EnlightenmentRIP will realize the mistake they made and apologize for #381.

  359. Kiwi Sauce says

    I don’t hope that any of us convince the trolls/MRAs/whatever that their point is incorrect, or that any apologies might be forthcoming.

    What I hope is that:
    – people who have been subjected to behaviour similar to EG and have wondered whether their vague feelings of unease are justified (because in the past they have been made to feel like they shouldn’t trust their feelings), are now convinced that they should trust their feelings
    – others, with an open mind, who wanted to know more (and who may not have posted) have now been provided with more elaboration and they come to the rational interpretation.

  360. Plop says

    The “don’t ask stranger women out” is totally true !
    A woman can walk on the street without receiving sexual comments and invitations !

    The little point i’d make is about meeting places, such as a bar or a disco. These are places designated to meet other people, and – unless the girl is with a bunch of people talking happily – you can go and tell her “hi”. But still not make her a sexual proposition right away !!!

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