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Jul 27 2012

Number 4

Amy has the latest, from Nick Lee, the President of Atheist Alliance International.

Movement leaders frequently bemoan the gender imbalance in the movement and wonder what can be done to motivate more women to become active leaders. We need the diversity of thought and experiences from females (and minorities), not as tokens but as fully engaged leaders.

We do NOT need to be driving women away with frat house behavior.

Just Stop It!

50 comments

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  1. 1
    Rieux

    Is my list looking prescient or what?

  2. 2
    Ophelia Benson

    Totally prescient!

  3. 3
    Jasper of Maine

    Well clearly FTBullies have infiltrated and mind-controlled the heads of the atheist organizations. Probably with Floride or something.

  4. 4
    Joerg

    Take that comfort blanket away from DJ Grothe, he should feel all the cringes this hopefully causes him.

  5. 5
    C. Mason Taylor

    Oh, come on, Joerg; personal is one thing. Spiteful is another.

  6. 6
    nohellbelowus

    The issue is complicated by the presence of sexual tension in male/female relations, and most people learn by experience the rules about how to do that social dance.

    A true statement by Nick Lee, but gaining that experience through trial & error is a classic Catch-22. Men need genuine, real-world practice in their interactions with women, not just verbal instructions from feminist blogs, books, videos, or from friendly mentors (of either gender).

    Trial and ERROR. There is no way around it.

    I could explain to you how to write a cover letter, for instance, every single hour for the next three months. But if you never actually wrote one during that entire time, you would have very little idea how to really do it — especially if I didn’t allow you to look at examples while you were being tested.

    Now, extend this analogy by assuming the HR person who read your first tentative attempt at a cover letter merely scoffed at it, and then posted it on the company intranet as an example of how not to do things.

    Then, to complete the Catch-22, the HR person suggests to you that you need to learn how to write cover letters, and then starts telling you exactly how to do it.

    Being merely told how to do something, and being able to do it, are two entirely different worlds. If you are a beginner in golf for instance, listening intently to your golf coach is a very good idea, but if it isn’t accompanied by considerable practice on your own, you will never hit the ball with any grace, power, or control — unless you are a natural of course, which in my long experience with the game is exceedingly rare.

    Practicing one’s romantic approaches on generous, tolerant, casual (or platonic) female friends or acquaintances is also problematic, because the actual intent, body language, and emotions on display are vastly different from the real McCoy, and subtleties like these mean nearly everything during that all-important first impression.

    The solution space must involve some kind of real in-situ training, not just helpful words of advice. Trial and error in male/female relations can result in damaging physical, legal and emotional consequences. So given that the errors will naturally occur, the question has to become how can the intelligent and open-minded skeptical community ameliorate a situation which by definition is ticklish and fraught with errors of judgement on both sides.

    Recognizing the Catch-22 is a good start. Compassion for the Catch-22 is even better.

  7. 7
    Sassafras

    nohellbelowus@6-

    If you are a beginner in golf for instance, listening intently to your golf coach is a very good idea, but if it isn’t accompanied by considerable practice on your own, you will never hit the ball with any grace, power, or control

    If you decide to practice your golf game inside a grocery store, people will very reasonably be angry and confused and demand you stop. Further, the ones causing problems are the types that not only don’t listen to the golf coach’s instructions, they claim that trying to tell them how and where it’s appropriate to play golf is thought police bullying, and then they threaten to rape and murder the golf coach.

    I have a great deal of sympathy for guys who are legitimately trying to figure out that social song and dance (I’m autistic, so I definitely can understand how challenging some social interactions can be). But they don’t get sympathy for trying to get their flirt practice anywhere and everywhere, and they lose all sympathy when they don’t back off at signs of disinterest.

  8. 8
    mildlymagnificent

    some kind of real in-situ training, not just helpful words of advice.

    So, sensible people who know their novice status in an area like golf don’t immediately enter a major pro-am tournament. Most of us go quietly and discreetly to a few par 3 practice facilities and improve our skills in the least challenging environment possible.

    Same thing goes for inter-personal issues. You develop your limited skill set in the least challenging environment you can find. That generally means you spend a *lot* more time befriending people and learning their conversational responses and body language in completely neutral exchanges.

    If you find yourself relaxing with people who seem relaxed in your company, you can see how small steps in new directions do or don’t get good responses in turn. You learn how to step back by making very, very small steps forward in the first place.

    When you learn to do it right, you’ll find yourself with several new friends and occasionally, eventually, something more.

  9. 9
    punchdrunk

    @nohellbelowus Where’s the sympathy and training for lonely, rejected women?
    Where’s all the hand-wringing and hookers for cat ladies?
    For women on the spectrum?
    Why do unfuckable women make do with hands and vibrators, but men need human sex toys for ‘practice’? Why do men feel entitled to sex and companionship, even if they have to coerce it with money?
    It sucks to be lonely and rejected, truly, but what are you doing with ‘practice women’ that “can result in damaging physical, legal and emotional consequences.”?!
    You sound dangerous.

  10. 10
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Something I find odd is how many people think it should be a high priority for atheist/skeptic communities to work on helping people find dates. Get-togethers and especially conferences/conventions aren’t there primarily to provide test subjects for someone’s “pick-up” strategies, or to act as singles’ mixers so that geeks can get some nookie. There’s a social element to it, but that’s not generally the primary goal… so I’m not particularly sympathetic towards those people who have such a skewed sense of the occasions.

  11. 11
    Ophelia Benson

    I would go all the way into extremist territory and say that conferences and conventions aren’t at all there to provide test subjects for someone’s “pick-up” strategies. They’re not there to provide a safe place to practice social skills. Like other adult gatherings, they assume a certain level of adult social skills.

    I notice that this can include teenagers (Jessica Ahlquist and Rhys Morgan, to name two I’ve seen functioning well in person).

    Conferences and conventions just aren’t there to give remedial social training to the clumsy.

  12. 12
    Lyanna

    Sorry, but I’m not a set of training wheels.

  13. 13
    nohellbelowus

    They’re not there to provide a safe place to practice social skills. Like other adult gatherings, they assume a certain level of adult social skills.

    Conferences and conventions just aren’t there to give remedial social training to the clumsy.

    That’s a point of view. (Do conferences take place in hotel bars at 4AM?)

    So perhaps in addtion to rules of etiquette, the conference organizers should impose some sort of “social clumsiness” test at the door, reject the losers, and then refund the money to any prepaid attendees if they don’t pass? I’d pay money to watch that!

    Without such a test, it’s right back to reading rules on paper and listening to verbal advice. Which doesn’t constitute practice, and therefore doesn’t address the real problem, as I’ve explained above.

  14. 14
    Ophelia Benson

    It’s a point of view? Meaning, just a random opinion with nothing much to back it up?

    I don’t think so. I don’t think any Big World settings where adults have to work together are there to provide a safe space to practice social skills. I think basic social skills are assumed in settings of that kind. Adults just are expected to act like adults in adult settings. That’s the default assumption.

    Of course they/we don’t always succeed, and that’s the source of much of the comedy in the world – but the expectation is in place. (If it weren’t there would be no foothold for comedy.)

  15. 15
    nohellbelowus

    I don’t think so. I don’t think any Big World settings where adults have to work together are there to provide a safe space to practice social skills. I think basic social skills are assumed in settings of that kind. Adults just are expected to act like adults in adult settings. That’s the default assumption.

    You know what happens when we assume things.

    I think you’re making my point for me. Some people are never trained in “safe spaces”. Should we simply not allow these people to attend “Big World” conferences? Should we test them at the door first? Or just continue to laugh at the consequences of their social clumsiness?

    Do you personally believe the Elevator Gate internet shitstorm was funny, for example?

  16. 16
    Myoo

    The Elevator Gate internet shitstorm was not funny, it was an ugly display of entitled people who can’t stand to have someone else tell them “guys, don’t do that”. The guy who hit on Rebecca Watson was not mocked, he was not ridiculed, he has not had to face one iota of consequence for what he did.

  17. 17
    nohellbelowus

    @16:

    I agree it wasn’t funny. I don’t agree that Elevator Guy didn’t suffer consequences, but that is completely irrelevant to the point I’m trying to make about practice.

  18. 18
    Myoo

    @nothellbellowus
    First of all, I bet you can’t tell me the name of the guy; second of all, if it’s completely irrelevant, why did you bring Elevator Gate up? Third of all, you can practice your social skills without treating every woman like a practice dummy.

    You see, I have poor social skills, probably due to all the bullying I suffered when I was a kid, I was insulted, mocked and beat up. None of that consisted of someone calmly describing something I did wrong and suggesting I don’t do it anymore. What did help in me developing social skills was when people, some of them women, didn’t ridicule me and in fact afforded me the same respect anyone else deserves. Several of these people became my friends.

    So if I’m going to pick a side between:
    a)people asking for the freedom to harass women under the guise of “practice”.
    or
    b) women asking to be treated with respect.

    I’m going to have to choose b)

  19. 19
    Ophelia Benson

    Some people are never trained in “safe spaces”. Should we simply not allow these people to attend “Big World” conferences? Should we test them at the door first? Or just continue to laugh at the consequences of their social clumsiness?

    Those aren’t the only possibilities. In other words, none of those. But if people behave badly in public, there are usually consequences. It’s certainly not the responsibility of secularist conferences to fix this problem.

    Do you personally believe the Elevator Gate internet shitstorm was funny, for example?

    That’s a very bizarre question to ask me of all people. I doubt that you took as much punishment for “Elevator Gate” as I did.

    In any case what’s it got to do with anything? Elevator guy wasn’t inept or clumsy. He was just entitled.

  20. 20
    Godless Heathen

    Something I find odd is how many people think it should be a high priority for atheist/skeptic communities to work on helping people find dates.

    I agree. This apparent focus on hooking up or finding dates or SOs at conferences is definitely a turn-off for me (in terms of attending conferences).

  21. 21
    nohellbelowus

    Those aren’t the only possibilities. In other words, none of those. But if people behave badly in public, there are usually consequences. It’s certainly not the responsibility of secularist conferences to fix this problem.

    I agree it is not the responsibility of any particular person, group, or event. I’m not assigning responsibility, or placing blame. I agree that there are consequences. These things are beside the point I’m making, however.

    The question is, once again, how can we expect men to behave “properly” when many of them have never had sufficient training in proper etiquette in safe places, or in public schools, or on Par-3 golf courses, or in any other place? Surely you must agree there are such people. (Elevator Guy was one of them, right? That’s pretty good evidence.) Whether they are “skeezy creeps” or “entitled jerks” is irrelevant — they are not trained to meet society’s expectations.

    And, once again, merely telling them what society expects doesn’t constitute training.

    Let’s stick with the heterosexual case, for simplicity. Even if women have no interest whatsoever in being “training wheels” for inexperienced men (and I would never suggest that this is their duty), surely we must be talking about females of some sort, right? Realistic androids aren’t available yet as surrogates.

    The fact is, even if there are good ways to learn how to properly interact with women, in every circumstance, for every personality-type, at Big World events or Little World events, not every man will avail himself of this training, nor will many of them even know it exists. The first step for these men is admitting that they have a problem, and that may be a step too far for some. It doesn’t excuse them… I never said it did.

    So what we’re left with, is some random dude on the six-sigma fringe, or even on the entitlement fringe, whose behavior around women can result in an ugly internet shitstorm, that hurts nearly everybody.

    So the point becomes, why are we so upset about these kinds of events occurring, when we have done essentially nothing to effectively prevent them?

    No real practice or training == no savvy around women.
    No savvy around women == internet shitstorms (aka consequences).

    We’re happy with this, right? We’ve done nothing to prevent it. Is this rational? Methinks it’s not.

  22. 22
    Ophelia Benson

    Oh bollocks. If that’s what you’re saying you’re stretching the meaning of “training” out of all recognition. In that case it’s not about training at all, it’s just about doing what other people want instead of what Self wants. It becomes like helping yourself to the last cookie without asking if anyone else wants it.

    You’re not talking about training, you’re talking about motivation to be less than assertively greedy and demanding.

  23. 23
    Ophelia Benson

    And as for doing nothing to prevent, you could say that about anything. We’ve done nothing to prevent people from texting while driving – despite saying “DON’T TEXT WHILE DRIVING” a lot. The gap there is not training, it’s motivation. It’s the decision to heed what other people are likely to want even when it blocks what you want.

  24. 24
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    Ophelia, your example of taking the last cookie really resonates with me.

    I have a fairly rude teenager who literally refused to say either “Please” or “thank you” his whole life, so far. It’s bizarre, it was intractable, there was never any correct behavior to reinforce, and trying to extinguish the incorrect behavior (eg grabbing for a cookie without saying please) had only minor success.

    But even this peculiar young man knows what is the expected behavior. It’s just a question of whether (he thinks) it’s worthwhile to demonstrate what he knows.

    I just don’t buy it that there are any measurable percentage of persons out there who don’t know at least the basics of behaving “properly” around new acquaintances. By the time you’re old enough to attend a skeptics’ meeting, you’ve been exposed to all kinds of lessons on how to behave at school, with both kids and adults, at the store when your folks took you shopping, around the neighborhood, maybe at chess club or scouts … I just don’t buy it that there are any significant number of persons who were raised by wolves and have no idea how to introduce themselves to a human potential partner.

    As other people have reported, those who are not neurotypical – who have a legitimate reason to be excused from understanding how to interact – are the same people who are most careful to memorize the social “rules” and to venture the most carefully into new areas where they might be mistaken.

    It’s the entitled jerks who overstep boundaries. It’s not because they weren’t given deportment classes in high school. It’s because they choose to ignore what’s expected of them, because they think they will get what they want with less effort if they just grab for it.

  25. 25
    nohellbelowus

    In that case it’s not about training at all, it’s just about doing what other people want instead of what Self wants.

    You keep wanting to impugn people’s motives, and I’m doing my best not to take that low road. I’m looking for common ground solutions, not another useless “he said, she said” flame war.

    If someone is taking too many cookies, put the cookies out of their reach. Or, design and impose stricter consequences for taking the last cookie. Purposely catch them in the act of taking the last cookie, as many times as required, for them to learn proper etiquette. This constitutes training. If done effectively, the teenager won’t even want to SEE a solitary cookie in a cookie jar.

    We’ve done nothing to prevent people from texting while driving – despite saying “DON’T TEXT WHILE DRIVING” a lot. The gap there is not training, it’s motivation.

    No, I think it’s simpler and more Pavlovian than that. In the case of texting while driving, the only effective training would probably be a close call or an accident — or even several. Without experiencing real-life consequences, behavior like this won’t likely change, no matter if ten thousand people shout at the culprit every single day, on their way to work for instance, to not to text and drive. Being pulled over by police while texting and driving is another good form of training. Cameras installed in cars (as they are in police vehicles) would be another, much more drastic means of accomplishing the desired ends.

    But merely telling people stuff isn’t training. And without training, we get what we get. Which nobody seems to want.

  26. 26
    Myoo

    @nohellbelowus
    So, these men that aren’t “trained” to interact with other people, do they sexually harass other men as well, or does their lack of “proper etiquette” only manifest itself around women?

  27. 27
    nohellbelowus

    @Myoo:

    How would I know? I don’t know.

    One of the problems is the fact that the general consensus seems to be that men simpy need to learn how to treat women “like normal human beings”. Like equals.

    Surely one can see how a platitude like this is essentially useless, given the variety of human behavior on our planet.

    Yes, men are incredibly stupid, insensitive, and rude, around both genders. But is merely telling them this going to change the situation? I’ve spent more than enough words now explaining why I believe the answer is an emphatic “no”.

    Men need training, not just verbal input.

  28. 28
    mildlymagnificent

    But is merely telling them this going to change the situation? I’ve spent more than enough words now explaining why I believe the answer is an emphatic “no”.

    Men need training, not just verbal input.

    If people can’t, don’t or won’t learn the easy way – training – by listening, observing, insight into their own behaviour – then they have to learn the hard way.

    When we compare to driving, there are basic no-nos like texting, drinking, speeding, disobeying lights and signs. If you don’t learn from booklets, advice, instruction or warnings, you have to learn from accidents, fines, loss of licence.

    Men who are unable or unwilling to take advice or warnings about behaviour will have to take the penalties of dislike, ostracism or exclusion. That should be part of the “advice” they’re given.

    If you don’t take heed of what we’re telling you, people won’t like you and you might find yourself friendless and out of pocket into the bargain.

  29. 29
    nohellbelowus

    If people can’t, don’t or won’t learn the easy way – training – by listening, observing, insight into their own behaviour – then they have to learn the hard way.

    Exactly.

    So why then, are we surprised and shocked about Elevator Gate? Why the incredible fallout? We should expect these kinds of things to happen, if we are rational people.

    This is precisely the point I’ve been making. We don’t have to accept bad behavior, but we certainly should expect it.

    So… are we all okay with it? Are we all okay with it the next time it happens?

    I’m not. I’m looking for solutions. I really don’t want to see Elevatorgate II the Sequel, and I don’t like seeing the skeptical community fractured like this. It can’t possibly help us succeed in our goals.

  30. 30
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    You keep wanting to impugn people’s motives, and I’m doing my best not to take that low road. I’m looking for common ground solutions, not another useless “he said, she said” flame war.

    But the fact is that we have research which shows that men do know what they’re supposed to do, they do know the various verbal and non-verbal methods people use to indicate “no”, and they choose not to listen to those “noes” because it blocks what they want. This isn’t impugning motives, this is observed reality.

    If someone is taking too many cookies, put the cookies out of their reach. Or, design and impose stricter consequences for taking the last cookie. Purposely catch them in the act of taking the last cookie, as many times as required, for them to learn proper etiquette. This constitutes training. If done effectively, the teenager won’t even want to SEE a solitary cookie in a cookie jar.

    FFS. Even parents who have intention and motivation to raise their own children up right can’t purposely catch each kid taking the cookie “as many times as required” to train them – or if they’re spending their entire lives surveilling the cookie jar, then they aren’t accomplishing any of the other things needed to raise children. Really, that’s not how you raise decent human beings, by teaching them to fear “big brother is watching” and to fear the consequences. Really, how you raise decent human beings is to teach them empathy (for the other members in the family who will be sad if they never have a chance to split the last cookie) and self-respect (in being able to restrain oneself, to make progress towards a goal without needing an immediate reward).

    But somehow, you think it was worth your time to write that nonsense as some kind of analogy for how we’re supposed to train the jackasses in the sceptic movement to stop hitting on single women in hotel elevators. Seriously ?

    With whose time and with what money paying their salaries are we supposed to proceed with this training ? Are you volunteering the rest of your life to train the men who seem to need it ? If you aren’t, why do you think you’re entitled to impose the burden of supplying the training on any of the rest of us ?

    I thought you were trying to “look for common-ground solutions”. This isn’t even close.

    Get real.

  31. 31
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    Exactly.

    So why then, are we surprised and shocked about Elevator Gate? Why the incredible fallout?

    Stop. Just stop. The incredible fallout was from the entitled selfish men (and some women who support them) who don’t like being told they can’t grab whatever they want.

    These are exactly the same men you suppose need training and suppose could be trained, if only someone would do the work of training them.

    No way. They don’t even want to hear the minimum of “guys, not a good idea to do that”. They’re adults (legally, at least) and they won’t let anyone tell them how to behave. They absolutely are not going to listen to you say “Let me show you how you really should behave; follow me to the training room”.

    You need to step back from the thrill of your great idea about “training” and think about the real world a little more.

    I really don’t want to see Elevatorgate II the Sequel, and I don’t like seeing the skeptical community fractured like this.

    I don’t much care what you want, but if you’re sincere, you need to start with them, the entitled guys who caused all the horrible fallout last time. And good luck with that. Don’t be here trying to put the burden on Ophelia and the rest of us to prevent The Sequel.

  32. 32
    nohellbelowus

    But the fact is that we have research which shows that men do know what they’re supposed to do, they do know the various verbal and non-verbal methods people use to indicate “no”, and they choose not to listen to those “noes” because it blocks what they want.

    What men? What age? What socioeconomic background? Are men simply born with this knowledge? All men? Bollocks. Cite the research please, if you want to pursue this point further.

    Really, how you raise decent human beings is to teach them empathy (for the other members in the family who will be sad if they never have a chance to split the last cookie) and self-respect (in being able to restrain oneself, to make progress towards a goal without needing an immediate reward).

    How is this approach working out for you? Here is your own quote from your previous post:

    I have a fairly rude teenager who literally refused to say either “Please” or “thank you” his whole life, so far.

    Not so well? There are many opinions on parenting, from experts, that don’t agree with yours. The larger point is that you are training your teenager, which is actually agreeing with what I’ve been saying all along.

    You must train your teenager to behave properly, but somehow all “men” already know how they’re supposed to conduct themselves, because research points to this conclusion? I’m sorry, but this sounds incoherent. If men know how to conduct themselves properly, they were trained how to do it.

    But somehow, you think it was worth your time to write that nonsense as some kind of analogy for how we’re supposed to train the jackasses in the sceptic movement to stop hitting on single women in hotel elevators. Seriously?

    Not much content here. The analogy works on several levels, with respect to training men to recognize and respect the boundaries. Please cut the theatrics and cite the research you are hinging your entire argument on. And by the way, no disrespect intended, you don’t have the last word on parenting. There are entire generations of parents who would disagree with you, including my own.

    Furthermore, I’ve never said women have the responsibility to train men. But if we’re talking about heterosexual relationships, then yes, females by definition would be required in any realistic, heterosexual training program. I’m not volunteering anybody, I’m just stating the obvious.

    With whose time and with what money paying their salaries are we supposed to proceed with this training?

    I think it would optimally occur in high schools and colleges. See the end of this post if you like, for a few more details. If it’s important enough to us, we would find ways to fund it. Replace “physical education” with charm school, for instance. Nobody would miss it.

    Are you volunteering the rest of your life to train the men who seem to need it?

    I would happily participate, wherever possible!

    If you aren’t…

    I am.

    …why do you think you’re entitled to impose the burden of supplying the training on any of the rest of us?

    Strawman. I’m not entitled to do anything.

    I’d happily volunteer where possible. This is a major social ill, and we need to address it. If Paul McCartney felt the need to sing Hey Jude at the Olympic opening ceremony in London, I think there’s definitely a global problem. (Just kidding, of course.) As I said earlier, I’m not volunteering women. But obviously females are required for realistic, effective training — don’t you agree?

    I thought you were trying to “look for common-ground solutions”. This isn’t even close.

    Get real.

    No content here worth discussing!

  33. 33
    nohellbelowus

    Stop. Just stop. The incredible fallout was from the entitled selfish men (and some women who support them) who don’t like being told they can’t grab whatever they want.

    More theatrics. My apologies, but I don’t have a dog in this hunt. I’m searching for solutions in training space, not finger-pointing space.

    These are exactly the same men you suppose need training and suppose could be trained, if only someone would do the work of training them.

    Yes. Ideally it would be done earlier, at the high school or college level, but I do believe even old dogs can learn new tricks.

    No way.

    Yes way.

    They don’t even want to hear the minimum of “guys, not a good idea to do that”.

    Strawman. The Elevatorgate fallout was a lot more complicated than that. I have no dog in this hunt, however. It’s irrelevant to my point about training.

    They’re adults (legally, at least) and they won’t let anyone tell them how to behave. They absolutely are not going to listen to you say “Let me show you how you really should behave; follow me to the training room”.

    Strawman. Assertion without evidence. You have absolutely no way of knowing this. Have you seen the movie My Fair Lady? It’s fiction but it isn’t inconceivable. The prospect of pairing up with a potential mate and friend is one of the strongest incentives a man could possibly be presented with. You are, once again, blindly impugning the motives of men, and I’m not buying it. I think most single men would be thrilled with idea of improving their inter-gender relationships, via fun and realistic training sessions; lessons which could themselves end up creating lots of happy couples.

    You need to step back from the thrill of your great idea about “training” and think about the real world a little more.

    No content here. Why so sour? Forgive me for not believing that you grasp the “real world” any better than I do. Try and use reasoned argument, not petulant demands.

    I don’t much care what you want, but if you’re sincere, you need to start with them, the entitled guys who caused all the horrible fallout last time.

    My entire argument has been about training these men. Try and pay attention. I won’t take sides. It’s juvenile.

    And good luck with that.

    Thanks?

    Don’t be here trying to put the burden on Ophelia and the rest of us to prevent The Sequel.

    Please try to avoid juvenile demands. I’ve made a reasoned argument, and I didn’t impugn women, or make any specific demands upon either Ophelia, or anybody else. Please try and pay better attention.

  34. 34
    callistacat

    “Try and pay attention. I won’t take sides. It’s juvenile.”
    “Please try to avoid juvenile demands.”

    Well, how is hotshoe to know not to be juvenile if you don’t TRAIN her? It’s about training.

  35. 35
    mildlymagnificent

    I think most single men would be thrilled with idea of improving their inter-gender relationships, via fun and realistic training sessions;

    So your next step would be to design a process for identifying and distinguishing such people from ordinary, everyday men who need no training of any kind in communication between themselves and women.

    The research referred to here – http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/mythcommunication-its-not-that-they-dont-understand-they-just-dont-like-the-answer/
    - is about how men and women are entirely clear, error-free, accustomed and comfortable with both delivering, hearing and understanding negative messages that never use the word ‘no’. In fact, most people would be surprised or even offended at blatant, unqualified ‘no’ statements in social interactions.

    Once you have a reliable method for sorting out your much smaller, focused groups from the socially competent population at large, then you can work out whether they would or wouldn’t welcome the kind of intervention you propose.

  36. 36
    Ophelia Benson

    @ 29

    So why then, are we surprised and shocked about Elevator Gate?

    We’re not. As has been said some 10 billion times over the past year, “Guys, don’t do that” isn’t an expression of surprise and shock. What came after that has very little to do with “training.”

    For the rest of it – you’ve got some kind of Inspired New Plan to Fix All the Things, here, and you’re not finding any buyers. Thanks but no thanks.

  37. 37
    Ophelia Benson

    Also, nohell, in #33 you begin to get rude. Don’t. The problem is, you seem to have an idée fixe here, and you’re trying to flog it to us. It’s not a particularly compelling idea, and you’re not doing a good job of persuading. This is naturally irritating, for several reasons. Don’t do it any more.

    Perhaps we’re “training” you.

  38. 38
    nohellbelowus

    It’s not a particularly compelling idea, and you’re not doing a good job of persuading.

    Forgive me for not finding this a particularly compelling refutation, especially since it has zero content, but given my experience and training I do in fact clearly recognize it as one of those subtle, feminine signals that I should stop being such an insensitive, entitled male and hit the road.

    (Ouch. That’s a heavy door you’ve got there, Ophelia.)

  39. 39
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    So your next step would be to design a process for identifying and distinguishing such people from ordinary, everyday men who need no training of any kind in communication between themselves and women.

    The research referred to here – http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/mythcommunication-its-not-that-they-dont-understand-they-just-dont-like-the-answer/
    - is about how men and women are entirely clear, error-free, accustomed and comfortable with both delivering, hearing and understanding negative messages that never use the word ‘no’. In fact, most people would be surprised or even offended at blatant, unqualified ‘no’ statements in social interactions.

    Yep, this is exactly the research which I mentioned above, about which nohellbelowus said “Bollocks”.

    Thanks for posting the link, plus your well-phrased summary of the problem!

  40. 40
    Ophelia Benson

    nohell, if you pick out one sentence, naturally it won’t have a huge amount of content, but there was some content to what I said. I said you seem to have an idée fixe, and you do. You don’t seem to have persuaded anyone that your idée fixe is the answer to everything (or to anything).

    And how cute that your “training” trained you to end with some sexist taunts after all. So much for the value of “training.”

  41. 41
    nohellbelowus

    The paper I just read is Celia Kitzinger and Hannah Frith, Just Say No? The Use of Conversation Analysis In Developing A Feminist Perspective On Sexual Refusal, Discourse & Society 1999 10:293. Their methodology is a reanalysis of other date[sic], including conversations in focus groups including 58 school and university students that they previously collected for other papers. (The authors are at UK schools and from the language used their participants seemed to be predominantly Brits.)

    The actual paper wasn’t available online, but I did read Thomas MacAulay Millar’s description of the findings.

    Very interesting! (Thanks to mildlymagnificent for providing the link).

    Alrighty then, let’s just take the idea to another level, and train men how to better resist their sexual impulses, or perhaps how to handle rejection more gracefully, since the research indicates that they already know everything they need to know about recognizing when it’s time to look down at their watches, and mumble something under their their breath about being late for an appointment.

    If we accept the conclusions of this paper as an inevitable fact of life, then how can it be rational to simply complain about the situation?

    What are we going to actually DO about it? Verbally tell men to not do it? “Read the rulebook, you entitled creep?” For perhaps the final time, because I can see Ophelia’s curtain hook coming, this will NOT work, because it doesn’t constitute effective training.

  42. 42
    Ophelia Benson

    Who’s “we”?

    I’m not training anyone, because I don’t want to, I don’t have time, it’s not my job, it’s not my skill.

    If the door hit you so painfully, why are you back?

  43. 43
    Myoo

    This isn’t about a few men who, well, gosh darnit, just don’t know any better and need training. Most of the people causing problems know perfectly well what they are and aren’t supposed to do, but they just ignore it, and the way to deal with that is to make it known that this behavior is unacceptable and set consequences for it.

    And let’s say for a moment that this is just a few about a few socially awkward people who don’t know any better. Even if that were the case, it wouldn’t make them unable to understand other people when they explain that certain behavior is wrong, and if they are indeed well-meaning, then they will refrain from that behavior because other people are telling them that it is wrong. No additional training necessary.

  44. 44
    mildlymagnificent

    train men how to better resist their sexual impulses

    For buckets of money, I’m perfectly willing to run classes teaching such men how to sing “Some Enchanted Evening” in tune, out loud, with panache and flair – as well as silently inside their heads as a calming mantra to gain time while they gather their shattered wits and start making coherent adult conversation with devastatingly attractive strangers.

    Honestly. Irresistible sexual impulses? Really?

  45. 45
    nohellbelowus

    Honestly. Irresistible sexual impulses? Really?

    Of course. May I offer up the term serial rapist as one possible reply?

    The law is there to protect citizens from their complete lack of control by locking them up. That’s the extreme example, and to it I’d add peeping Toms and flashers.

    Every time she passes by, wild thoughts escape…

    (That’s Bono from U2.)

    I really have to go now. It’s been fun. Bye!

  46. 46
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    Thank God it’s gone!

  47. 47
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    Oops, sorry, Ophelia. It was an irresistible impulse.

    No, seriously, sorry, I regretted my one liner the moment I hit submit but – no edit function. Ah well, now everybody knows I’m stupid. Err, that I don’t think things through.

  48. 48
    Ophelia Benson

    Not a problem; the commenter is being a pain in the ass.

    No doubt this is a temporary state of affairs…

    :b

  49. 49
    Godless Heathen

    Irresistible sexual impulses.

    Ah, yes. Because men are always masturbating, humping, and having sex with people and things. They can’t control their sexual impulses at all, ever, in any situation.

    And women have no sexual impulses, so they have nothing to control.

    Riiiight.

    This is my “favorite” argument defending harassment and assault. Because it’s so blatantly wrong and makes no sense.

  50. 50
    Lyanna

    Let’s train this troll by booting him out if he reappears, shall we?

    I fail to see how having and enforcing a sexual harassment policy, and shaming people who use misogynist terms (as we’ve been doing), isn’t sufficient “training” for a grown man.

    What do we do about Elevator Guy? We punish him in accordance with the policy, if his behavior violates it. End of story. We don’t need to do any more.

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