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Underneath it all

Jean Kazez has a good post on the backlash against feminism today. She warns against exaggerating the size of the backlash specific to atheism, and says the issues boil down to skepticism about various claims. She then makes a distinction between two types of backlasher.

The respectable skeptic may be on board with all substantive feminist goals, but they lean very liberal on sexual issues and libertarian-ish on rules and codes. They may also have distinctive positions on purely empirical matters, like how often harassing incidents occur, and what the impact is of discussing them at blogs. Their views on what will advance the status of women may also be distinctive. It strikes me as inflammatory and distorted to accuse these people of misogyny, or even of being anti-feminists.  Even if some of these people dress their views in provocative clothing, underneath it all they do not have troubling attitudes toward women. 

The second group is another matter. These are people who are seized by a desire to attack women when there’s the least hint of a question about male behavior at blogs and conferences. The notion of codes being imposed on their behavior sends them into a rage.  These are the people whose existence you have to find surprising … and very disturbing.  At the very least, they’re seriously lacking in empathy. Some of them even seem to feel an awful lot of hatred. I don’t know how numerous they are, but too numerous–and their ranks seem to be growing too.

She thinks it’s important not to treat group 1 as enemies, because they’re not, and because doing so inflames group 2. I’m not sure about that second claim – I think group 2 are kind of self-inflaming. But the first one is right. But there’s a problem…

It’s the bit about the provocative clothing. Let’s call it provocation, for short, so as not to confuse it with the more familiar meaning of “provocative clothing,” which is obviously not what’s meant.

When provocation is repeated enough, or strong enough, or done at a turbulent enough time…Well it’s a problem. Endless jokes about coffee and elevators at a time when Rebecca Watson is being systematically trashed don’t seem like just casual harmless jokes – in fact what they feel like is, precisely, buried misogyny coming out of hiding. Maybe that’s not what they are. But how is one to know? By the same token, swapping jokes and taunts with group 2 also feels like misogyny coming out of hiding. Calling disagreed-with feminists Feminazis and Femistasi does too. So does endlessly tweeting and retweeting blog posts by people in group 2.

Group 1 doesn’t come across as quite as different from group 2 as Jean describes them. Now, this is in large part because they started small but took flack anyway – in short, they got pissed off. They got pissed off so they threw in their lot with group 2. They’re now quite entangled with group 2, although they’re certainly not identical with it.

So, I see what Jean is getting at, but I don’t know what if anything can be done about it at this stage.

 

Comments

  1. 'Tis Himself says

    I understand the difference between Group 1 and Group 2. However if members of Group 1 keep making “we haven’t needed a harassment policy up to now, so let’s not rock the boat” and similar noises, it’s very hard to tell them apart from Group 2. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck and walks like a duck….

  2. Wowbagger, Antipodean Dervish says

    When people in Group 1 leap enthusiastically to join and/or defend the actions of people in Group 2 when bad shit happens, it’s kind of telling that the wall between the two isn’t as high as it should be.

    It’s also a problem that prominent Group 1 people seem to be exclusively telling those who the people in Group 2 are opposing that it’s entirely their fault and not bothering to condemn the far more problematic actions of the people in Group 2, e.g. the sort of person who’d repeatedly tweet about the ‘hatred and villifcation’ of people at Pharyngula but remain silent about the unashamedly misogynistic, homophobic and transphobic slurs aimed at people like Surly Amy, Matt Dillahunty, Natalie Reed and Alex Gabriel.

  3. julian says

    However if members of Group 1 keep making “we haven’t needed a harassment policy up to now, so let’s not rock the boat” and similar noises, it’s very hard to tell them apart from Group 2.

    It’s worse than simply sorting them into the wrong group. It ceases to matter all together where they belong. What makes group 2 “bad” is that they’re impeding “good.” If group 1 is engaging in the same behavior, whatever the reasons, they’ve also doing “bad” because they too are now impeding “good.”

    I really don’t have any solutions. Everyone’s galvanized and (while it clearly doesn’t bother me) it’s bothering enough people that it’d be nice if things got worked out.

  4. says

    They may also have distinctive positions on purely empirical matters, like how often harassing incidents occur, and what the impact is of discussing them at blogs. Their views on what will advance the status of women may also be distinctive.

    This bit struck me particularly; They have distinctive positions on these matters because their positions are factually incorrect. Factually incorrect positions remain factually incorrect regardless of the sincerity or intent behind them. There is, therefore, no valid excuse for honest members of group 1 (I used to be one) to remain such for any significant length of time after the facts have been presented to them. Therefore, anyone who persists in ‘Group 1′ behavior after having the facts presented to them is, in practice, a member of Group 2 who is towards the low end of the asshole scale, or better at covering.

  5. says

    I know I ran in to one of those Group 1 types last night on Facebook. (Someone I’ve met.)
    I’m pretty sure there’s a range of those, even. Having some degree of disagreement with feminist sorts, in general or at least particular ones. I think they easily get angry at being mistaken for Group 2.

    Of course, that provocative clothing angle is part of it. I think the feminists often being in a sort of siege mentality is also part of it. You’ve got some real nastiness out there, so Group 1 can look like they’re piling on with Group 2. Part of that seems to me to be because they don’t recognize the context or the feminists’ viewpoint very well at all, they just toss out their criticisms and expect some blank slate reasonable discussion, while also oblivious to some of those complaints having already been thoroughly discussed and that others just disagree with them on how serious the problem is or disagree that it was a problem.
    The general problem on the Internet where people seem to have great difficulty in giving a charitable reading to others’ even mildly critical comments helps add to spiraling anger and insults.

    I know I can have some quibbles too, and often don’t feel comfortable trying to voice them. Because the atmosphere gets very acrimonious very fast, so it’s very difficult to have a rational discourse over some point that’s usually fairly small.
    Dumping the haters, the Group 2 types, seems like an important first step to getting toward any civil discussion.

  6. Silva says

    And just like any demographic of people that can be divided into two groups, it’s not just groups; it’s a spectrum. There are men who want to be feminists but aren’t sure they can pull it off. There are men who feel threatened by strong women but are ashamed of it. There are husbands whose wives have submissive personalities, so that is their point of reference and for them to imagine otherwise is too big a leap. There are men who say, “Wait, I never did anything wrong” who are trying to be feminists, but to others, sound like like sexists. And, also, gender is a spectrum, and people who fall on various places on the spectrum can have different – and sometimes unexpected – tones in the equality debate. I’m struggling with that with a friend of mine who might be toward the middle of the spectrum, but geez louise, some of this person’s attitudes toward equality are… unintentionally, I’m sure… I dunno. Unexpected.

  7. karmakin says

    Yeah this conversation is going to end well.

    I agree with 99% of what is said in both the linked post and this post (the only disagreement I have is that I don’t think that the anti-feminist label is either distorted or inflammatory, I’ve seen it used enough to think otherwise).

    Both are “enemies” but both require a very different strategy to deal with. Group 1 needs education, that feminism isn’t the dogmatic nightmare that they think it is. Group 2 needs an entire culture/social rework, and probably isn’t worth the effort.

    I think it’s probably too late for that at this point, as well, at least inside the skeptic movement, where the battle-lines are so brightly drawn. However, I do think there are lessons that can be learned in terms of feminism in the broader sphere, in how better to bring people on as allies. (I think the whole EG fight was triggered over a misunderstanding)

    I could be wrong, and Group 1 could be tiny and Group 2 could be massive. But if that’s the case, then there’s a lot of people who are in deep trouble.

  8. Sally Strange says

    I have a hard time telling Group 1 apart from Group 2.

    My advice to sympathetic men who aren’t sure how to help women achieve equality has always been that the first step is to stop being in denial that there are actually real woman-haters out there.

    The second step is to pay attention to what the sincere misogynists say, and the third is to work to change your behavior so that you are easily distinguishable from the misogynists.

    This helps a LOT because it means the misogynists have less cover for their bad behavior, and their destructive attitudes are easier to spot.

    We need to spread this meme so we waste less time trying to talk the fence-sitters down from their perch and more time actually working to increase opportunity for minorities.

  9. markbrown says

    There are plenty who profess to be in group 1, but who actively work to derail the discussion, or who launch ad hominem attacks at us.

    I’m not inclined to be sympathetic of their reasons when they act like trolls.

  10. Anonymous Atheist says

    I think this comment was originally written about in-person harrassment (at the Readercon fantasy convention, one of several current parallels to our situation), rather than the harrassing in online discussions about harrassment, but when I saw this post I thought it seemed relevant here too.

    By Hershele Ostropoler:

    “If you step on my foot, you need to get off my foot.

    If you step on my foot without meaning to, you need to get off my foot.

    If you step on my foot without realizing it, you need to get off my foot.

    If everyone in your culture steps on feet, your culture is horrible, and you need to get off my foot.

    If you have foot-stepping disease, and it makes you unaware you’re stepping on feet, you need to get off my foot. If an event has rules designed to keep people from stepping on feet, you need to follow them. If you think that even with the rules, you won’t be able to avoid stepping on people’s feet, absent yourself from the event until you work something out.

    If you’re a serial foot-stepper, and you feel you’re entitled to step on people’s feet because you’re just that awesome and they’re not really people anyway, you’re a bad person and you don’t get to use any of those excuses, limited as they are. And moreover, you need to get off my foot.

    See, that’s why I don’t get the focus on classifying harassers and figuring out their motives. The victims are just as harassed either way.”

  11. Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion says

    @10

    Lovely and true.
    “Intent is not magic” is so incredibly relevant in such a wide range of situations.

  12. F says

    Even if the group one is a real thing in part (which would basically amount to people waiting to be clued-in, maybe a little resistant), the problem is that group 2 has people who dress exactly like group 1 for cover, and who offer no good faith from the outset.

    So if the real group 1 would please stop wandering into the middle of an ongoing conversation and getting offended when someone who asks a question which looks like a question group 1 might ask gets jumped on because they were JAQing off and not engaging or responding. Same goes for those of the “third-party: you are both equally bad” persuasion.

    And then, for those who do reach that clued-in state, yet offer, “Oh yeah, I get it, but the viciousness is not commensurate with the situation,” you have to grok how long this has been going on, how many have argued in bad faith or simply mocked and slurred, and how many times everything has been asked and answered. Not to mention you need to remember who went all ballistic rather than discuss anything in the first place.

    Statistically, you are going to run into someone who is really pissed off on the social justice side of the argument, with whom you cannot reason or communicate at all, at that time. I read the blogs and comments where everyone supposedly does this, but I don’t see it with much frequency, and certainly far less than the amount of trolling which they receive.*

    *(Disclaimer: I could say “we”, I just can’t claim the level of involvement and dedication which so many others devote to the cause.)

  13. ibbica says

    Wouldn’t the existence of Group 1 support the notion of ‘patriarchy’ (or ‘kyriarchy’, if you prefer) that so many of those hyper-skeptics question? Can’t have it both ways…

    If you’re displaying misogynistic behaviours, making statements that denigrate women, flat-out refuse to believe any claims a woman makes simply because they don’t jive with your personal viewpoint of How The World/Movement Works… then yeah, you’re supporting misogyny and are working against feminism. Don’t like being called out on it? Then change your behaviour. Duh!

    “Distinctive” views and ideas of ‘Group 1’? Nope. That would require them to be distinguishable from the views and ideas of ‘Group 2′. And no, adding “but I don’t hate women!” to the end of every claim does not make the espousement of such views and ideas any less harmful.

  14. maureen.brian says

    My own analysis is that this is a distinction without a difference. You know, like all the semi-detatched and aimable people who provide cover (and votes!) for the religious loonies.

    In the interest of hyperbole, though, let’s just simplify.

    Group 1 have feet of clay.

    Group 2 are thugs.

  15. says

    The comments on Jean Kazez’s blog post are educational.
    Probably less so for those of us who have been in the middle of things than for Jean Kazez.

    A lot of dishonesty out there.

  16. says

    What’s this “provocative clothing” even meant to mean? I wished she’d given examples. The first thing that sprang into my mind were people who insist on B*tch and C*unt, but really, don’t mean to demean women. They’re indistiguishable from those who use it to demean women and shut them up. Whatever their intentions are, the effect is the same. If it looks like a misogynist, talks like a misogynist, acts like a misogynist I really don’t care if they call themselves feminists.
    And if they feel their main need to be to tell us what we’re doing wrong and never to spare 20 characters to adress the other side, yes, they’re working for the other side by condining their actions with silence.

    As for the foot stepping: And it still hurts a badly if you do it unintentionally. And don’t blame me for putting my feet there.

  17. says

    And don’t blame me for putting my feet there.

    Don’t forget blaming the entire problem on some technicality about the way you lodged your complaint about the foot-stepping.

  18. Bruce Gorton says

    I sometimes fall into No 1 – there are so many issues involved that it is difficult as a privileged person not to – but I don’t really see how the people who correct me could act all that differently in correcting me.

    While I think there is a distinction between them, I don’t think the two sets really merit a different response.

    I am not entirely sure a non-angry response would have the same impact the angry responses do.

    So what I think this all rounds out to is no real change in how to argue feminism, but more a counsel against despair.

  19. Timon for Tea says

    One thing that could be done about it is for prominent bloggers to insist on the distinction and enforce it on their commentators (a sort of anti-harassment policy in the threads), even if the prominent bloggers feel that this would sometimes mean that they are behaving with more grace and generosity towards certain group 1-ers than those group 1-ers show towards them. I think that would cool things down a lot and would be easy enough to do.

  20. says

    Timon for Tea
    Problem is, being nice got us nowhere in terms of moving forward, but everywhere in being dismissed whenever we’re not nice.
    Yes, I think that generally a “three comments rule” and asking for clarification are good ideas.
    But honestly, it is impossible to tell between an entitled group #1 member who jumps into the middle of a discussion without having read any of it and wants to honestly ask a question that has been answered 5 times before or makes a statement that has been explained to be misogynistic or at least problematic 7 times before* and a group #2 member who does those things to derail the discussion or just spew hatred.

    I have a better idea: If you’re a group #1 member and are suddenly lumped in togther with group #2, ask yourself why people made that mistake and don’t assume that it’s their fault. Don’t insist that it isn’t misogynistic because it’s you (generic you) saying it or becaue you’re an ally (you can’t unilaterally declare yourself an ally anymore than you can declare yourself a friend.)

    *Coming into the middle of a discussion without reading it and expecting everybody to react to you friendlily is extremely entitled and the online equivalent of cutting in front of a line and then expecting the people behind you to tell you which counter is for what.

    Bruce Gorton

    I sometimes fall into No 1 – there are so many issues involved that it is difficult as a privileged person not to – but I don’t really see how the people who correct me could act all that differently in correcting me.

    Exactly. If I said something stupidly racist or homophobic I would hope for people to point it out to me.
    The thing is, it’s time for group #1 to stop pretending they’re not misogynistic, racist, homophobic, transphobic etc. Because we all fucking are because that’s the society we live in. It takes a shitload of work to even be aware of it.

  21. oolon says

    It was interesting for me to talk to ‘them’ on Thunderf00ts blog. A lot of the opposition to FtBs and Skepchick see it as an opposition to their ‘brand’ of feminism. They happily identify as feminists and just see FtBs and Skepchick as whiny weak 3rd wave feminists who focus on victim culture too much. That would be fine if they left it as that and proselytised their view of what the one ‘true’ feminism is. But they see FtBs and Skepchick as an immensely powerful force in sceptic-atheist circles and therefore they are somehow being bullied by the expression of their views… They also have some pretty colourful conspiracy theories about FtB’ers and Skepchicks engaging in the dark arts to push their world view and bully them into thinking in the same way (As if that was even possible!)

    This hate + belief that they have the one true feminism and FtBs/Skepchicks are destroying ‘the movement’ makes them very insensitive to nutty MRAs in their midst. I had some arguments with people who seemed to hold some very extreme views — but that was it, just me and other random or FtB-sympathising people. None of the ‘others’ who identified as feminists criticised these nutters – they were against FtBs and Skepchick so my enemies enemy is my friend.

    This even extended to dogmatically defending Thunderf00t as FtBs are ‘just as bad’. To be fair one did say TF was wrong and criticise him but he couldn’t resist throwing in a lot of examples of how FtBs had been ‘just as bad’ to minimise it.

  22. ibbica says

    Timon for Tea

    One thing that could be done about it is for prominent bloggers to insist on the distinction and enforce it on their commentators (a sort of anti-harassment policy in the threads), even if the prominent bloggers feel that this would sometimes mean that they are behaving with more grace and generosity towards certain group 1-ers than those group 1-ers show towards them. I think that would cool things down a lot and would be easy enough to do.

    “A sort of anti-harassment policy”? Did you really mean that? Did you actually mean to suggest that loudly (and even rudely!) criticizing someone for espousing misogynistic views amounts to ‘harassment’?

    Most (all?) bloggers on FtB *do* have anti-harassment policies for their comments, btw. Even specifically addressing your concern, PZ for example has a ‘three posts’ rule on his blog, where you can’t “jump” a new poster until at least their third post.

    In short: you’re targeting the wrong people.

    The people who are in need of admonition, notice, and additional policies are the people in Group 1. Their behaviour is failing to distinguish them from Group 2. And they are the only people who can change that.

  23. Timon for Tea says

    ” Did you actually mean to suggest that loudly (and even rudely!) criticizing someone for espousing misogynistic views amounts to ‘harassment’?”

    No, I mean that you shouldn’t accuse someone of misogyny (or equivalent evils) who belong to the ‘group 1′ we are talking about. Personally, I would forbid any personal comments and I think that works well (so you can tell someone that you consider her remark misogynistic (and explain why), but not call her a misogynist)but I can’t see that happening. Jean Kazez’s blog is a good example of a place where strong moderation on clear principles along those lines keeps things very civil even when the disagreement is sharp. It can be done.

  24. Beatrice says

    The respectable skeptic may be on board with all substantive feminist goals, but they lean very liberal on sexual issues and libertarian-ish on rules and codes.

    It’s like, they can all agree that rape is a bad horrible thing. But they can’t really agree on what rape is. I mean, we feminists have a terribly broad definition of rape. Too many rules too follow, stifling their freedom. Not to mention how slutty we want to dress and behave without facing any “consequences”. But you know, we totally agree on important issues.

    They may also have distinctive positions on purely empirical matters, like how often harassing incidents occur, and what the impact is of discussing them at blogs.

    In short : “I haven’t seen harassment, therefore harassment doesn’t exist”. Sounds like a conclusion of a good and thorough skeptic.

    Their views on what will advance the status of women may also be distinctive.

    So does the view of an average MRA. That doesn’t tell me if those views are worth anything or pure bullshit.

    It strikes me as inflammatory and distorted to accuse these people of misogyny, or even of being anti-feminists.

    Why? This whole paragraph could have been written about MRAs, for the evidence it gives about these people’s good intentions. All it does is say how they really want the best for, but what that is is slightly different than what we feminists think. Except that once you start talking about important topics, it usually turns out that the differences are much more significant.

    Even if some of these people dress their views in provocative clothing, underneath it all they do not have troubling attitudes toward women.

    The use of “provocative clothing” here strikes me as unbelievably ironic. I’m not sure if it was supposed to be a gotcha or what, but it fails quite hard.

    Granted, they’re easily incited, and their behavior is their own responsibility, but still: the more group 1-ers are maligned, the more group 2-ers respond by going after individual women and men in a hateful fashion.

    Oy, there’s some victim blaming.

  25. ibbica says

    Timon for Tea, you don’t seem to be aware of the comment policy at the Camels with Hammers blog, either. But yes, of course it can be done. There are plenty of places to do it. There is also plenty of room for places that are *not* 101-level, introductory, or educational.

    Personally, I really don’t have any problem with commenters eviscerating misogynistic comments. That seems to be typically what is done, at least on the blogs I read: evisceration of comments, not commenters. Perhaps we’re reading different ‘prominent bloggers’ though.

  26. ibbica says

    Giliell, not to be confused with The Borg

    What’s this “provocative clothing” even meant to mean?

    The first thing that came to my mind was the t-shirt sported by Harriet Hall at TAM 2012.

    And Natalie Reed has a great post up from a while ago elucidating why those ‘ironically misogynistic’ t-shirts are harmful:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed/2012/03/16/hipster-misogyny/

    (Hey, looks like there might be another blogger for Timon, too! From the same post:
    “Trouble is, as I’ve said a squizillion times, there really isn’t any such thing as “sexists”, “transphobes”, “racists”, etc. There are only actions, statements and beliefs that are sexist, transphobic, racist, etc. And we’re all susceptible to them.”)

  27. Timon for Tea says

    “Personally, I really don’t have any problem with commenters eviscerating misogynistic comments. ”

    Me neither (although the eviscerater will sometimes be wrong to eviscerate, of course), and if the evisceration avoids all personal comments and name calling I can’t see any grounds for objecting (although you might disagree with the analysis)and it would solve the group1/group2 problem.

  28. Simon says

    So, I see what Jean is getting at, but I don’t know what if anything can be done about it at this stage.

    I think if Group 1 could noticeably distance itself from Group 2 that would be a promising start.

  29. sambarge says

    I think the response to Gp#1 just needs to be “If you step on my foot…”

    Seriously, if the members of Gp#1 are genuinely supportive of the right of women to be in society unharassed and unmolested because of their gender, then they both have to stop stepping on our feet and stop defending those who do.

  30. Beatrice says

    So group 1 would get off their high horses of unquestionable skepticism if only we were nice enough? Riiiight.

    —-

    I had a long comment, but it got eaten so I’ll try reposting in parts.

    The respectable skeptic may be on board with all substantive feminist goals, but they lean very liberal on sexual issues and libertarian-ish on rules and codes.

    It’s like, they can all agree that rape is a bad horrible thing. But they can’t really agree on what rape is. I mean, we feminists have a terribly broad definition of rape. Too many rules too follow, stifling their freedom. Not to mention how slutty we want to dress and behave without facing any “consequences”. But you know, we totally agree on important issues.

  31. Beatrice says

    *throws hands up in frustration*

    Something is triggering automatic moderation, I have no idea what. Sorry, Ophelia, for the bunch of posts somewhere among your spam/moderation queue.

  32. Timon for Tea says

    Beatrice, I think it would be fairer to say that the Group 1-er Jean K means here is someone who believes in the full equality of women but is sceptical of the value of rules and codes for achieving social goals. That can be perfectly reasonable, codes can make situations worse rather than better, especially if enforcement is not properly thought through.

    I never meet people, even online, who question the usual definitions of rape (I am not saying they don’t exists) but there is some room for debate on this, I have had definitions of rape urged on me that seemed far to stringent (sex without overt stated consent, for example).

  33. ibbica says

    Simon, YES. Again, I believe the admonition needs to be directed at those who find themselves in ‘Group 1′, not those who mistake them – on the basis of their own behaviour! – for ‘Group 2′.

    Frankly, I actually see Group 1 as more of a problem than Group 2, and their behaviour more deserving of derision. They are hindering progress while insisting that they’re not. At least Group 2 is being honest with themselves. Niceties only serve to reinforce Group 1’s opinion that their harmful attitudes and behaviour are ‘not quite so bad as all that…’

    (To be clear: Group 2 as described seems to me to consist of some combination of some people who need real help dealing with severe psychological issues, and other individuals who probably need active banning/ostracizing more than ‘derision’.)

    But what exactly are these “distinctive positions” on “how often harassing incidents occur, and what the impact is of discussing them at blogs”, that have been anything other than harmful?

    What exactly are these “distinctive” “views on what will advance the status of women”, that have been anything other than harmful?

    Who is accusing “these people of misogyny, or even of being anti-feminists”? (More specifically, I mean: “…as opposed to those accusing them of supporting misogyny, of espousing misogynistic attitudes, or of acting in a way that is anti-feminist?”)

    Who is causing the harm here?

    Who has ever been convinced by niceties alone to actively fight for the right of any marginalized group of people to be seen as human? Would anyone pay attention, if the damage being done to someone who is ‘other’ than them wasn’t thrust in their faces?

    Who has ever been convinced by rudeness alone to actively fight against the right of any marginalized group of people to be seen as human? “Oh those feminists are saying I’m acting like a misogynist! All I said was (insert mildly misogynistic comment here)! How could they say such a thing?!?” …and then persist in behaving as though women are less/other than human, instead of asking why their comment elicited the response it did, or of bothering to read any of the (plenty of) introductory material available? (Feminism 101 Blog, anyone?)

    We’re supposed to go out of our way to be nice and polite and non-offensive to people like that? Why? At best, it’s ineffective; at worst, it reinforces the idea that “mildly” misogynistic comments and behaviour aren’t harmful.

  34. Beatrice says

    sceptical of the value of rules and codes for achieving social goals.

    Those people should be called various other things besides misogynist. I’m afraid Fincke (of Camels with Hammers) wouldn’t approve of those terms.

    I never meet people, even online, who question the usual definitions of rape (I am not saying they don’t exists) but there is some room for debate on this, I have had definitions of rape urged on me that seemed far to stringent (sex without overt stated consent, for example).

    Rape definition gets questioned a lot. Why do you think the term “enthusiastic consent” was even invented? People are pretending all kinds of things are consent, so we can’t just expect them to ask for consent before sex. We have to pound it into their thick heads that they need enthusiastic consent, because otherwise things like being asleep or being drunk or being coerced would count as consent. And there are always plenty of atheists and skeptics on threads about sexism or harassment or rape arguing about too strict rules of what constitutes harassment or rape. “But what if she can actually drink me under the table? Or if she had just three tequila shots? What about four?”

    And I’m pretty skeptical (ha!) about your claim about too stringent definitions of rape urged on you. In fact, that makes you sound just like those group 1 members I complained about.

  35. Timon for Tea says

    “We have to pound it into their thick heads that they need enthusiastic consent, because otherwise things like being asleep or being drunk or being coerced would count as consent.”

    Well, I don’t want this to become another discussion about rape, but I cant see how anyone could be said to consent if they are asleep or coerced (unless you have a very loose definition of ‘coerced’, ‘drunk’ is slightly different because we may understand different things by it but I have certainly consented to sex while drunk|(according to my lights) and would not count that as rape.

  36. Beatrice says

    ibbica,

    But, but… all feminists are women and women are supposed to be nice!

    /clueless member of group 1 who should not be admonished because deep down he doesn’t hold any really troubling attitudes toward women

  37. says

    Beatrice, I think it would be fairer to say that the Group 1-er Jean K means here is someone who believes in the full equality of women but is sceptical of the value of rules and codes for achieving social goals. That can be perfectly reasonable, codes can make situations worse rather than better, especially if enforcement is not properly thought through.

    And you know what, people gave them DATA. Real fucking DATA. Pteryxx has probably posted them a trizillion times all over FTB, but most stuff can also be found nowadays on the Pharyngula Wiki Feminist Roundup (pretty much down). No, it’s not reasonable to disagree with rules and codes because they have been proven to work. At best it’s ignorant.

    I never meet people, even online, who question the usual definitions of rape (I am not saying they don’t exists) but there is some room for debate on this, I have had definitions of rape urged on me that seemed far to stringent (sex without overt stated consent, for example).

    You seem to have led a sheltered life. There’s lots of people who disagree that it was rape if she was drunk, if she let him into her apartment, if she agreed at first and then got cold feet. Also, the last thing is another one of those strawmen about feminist positions. Enthusiastic consent means that you have the responsibility only to have sex with people who actually want to have sex with you. Nobody said you need to hear the sentence “I want to have sex with you”. The fact that your partner is responsive and into it and active and doing stuff, too,is usually considered more than enough.

  38. Timon for Tea says

    ibbica, I am not saying that no-one anywhere holds crazy ideas about rape, the internet is the internet after all, but the belief that coerced sex is not rape is av pretty fringy one, I don’t think any group 1-ers would hold it (unless you have a very marginal vale for ‘coerced’).

  39. ibbica says

    Timon, at least some of those “group-1-ers” have publically argued against requiring ‘consent’ on the basis that it must mean ‘legal forms signed in triplicate’, deliberately misrepresenting the request.

    What would you suppose their motivation is for doing that?

  40. says

    Hmmm, did my comment just vanish, too?

    Well, I don’t want this to become another discussion about rape, but I cant see how anyone could be said to consent if they are asleep or coerced (unless you have a very loose definition of ‘coerced’, ‘drunk’ is slightly different because we may understand different things by it but I have certainly consented to sex while drunk|(according to my lights) and would not count that as rape.

    And that’s where the problem starts. Beause alcohol is the #1 rape drug. Forget about the stories about guys putting rohypnol into the drink (although that’s a problem, too), just think about guys handing women a drink.
    I understand the confusion because most people who aren’t tee-totalers or abstinence only-only people have had the combination of sex and alcohol and it was generally good. The problem is that especially with casual sex this becomes a wonderful excuse: She consented! Don’t matter that she was technically unable to do so, but, hey, who cares?
    Think about it like this: if we’d gone out for drinks together, and in the morning you find out that you signed a contract that sold me your house for 5$, do you think I have a valid contract or do you think I tried to fraud you and that your actual signature is void?

  41. Timon for Tea says

    I don’t think that is right ibbica. Some people think that demanding explicit spoken or written consent for sex is undesirable and/or unrealistic which is a defensible position that does not imply a soft attitude towards rape, but I don’t know any group 1-ers who have identified themselves publicly with that view on rape anyhow.

  42. Timon for Tea says

    “She consented! Don’t matter that she was technically unable to do so, but, hey, who cares?”

    But it does matter. It matters in convention and in law. If someone is unable to give consent because they are incapacitated, including by alcohol, the consent is null.

  43. karmakin says

    It’s not a matter of tone. It’s a matter of content. It’s not about being nice. It’s about not being a domineering asshole.

    That’s the perception of it, at least. The view that the Group 1’ers have of feminism…and one should note that this is much wider than the skeptical movement and I’m NOT talking about MRA’s, who are mostly in group 2…have is one of a movement that is trying to by and large replace the patriarchy with a matriarchy. Of a group that’s constantly throwing down eggshells for everybody else to walk on, but doesn’t give a fuck about what they’re doing, etc.

    I don’t think this is universally true, of course, and it’s a broad misconception (and in reality it has nothing to do with feminism in and of itself, and in fact I would say that these attitudes are anti-feminist) but that’s where we are right now.

    So it’s not about being nice. It’s about not being a jerk. And yes, that means that using all sorts of words as cudgels against people is wrong, so don’t do it. Words should be scalpels.

    Too many people forget that “intent isn’t magic” is for our side as well.

    As I said above, the big conflict over EG, I strongly believe started over difference over the definition of the word “that”, and that both sides actually were a lot closer than it seemed. But the fur got riled up by a couple of trolls (on both sides) and it went full tribal.

  44. Beatrice says

    But I am saying that some parts of Group 1 hold those ideas. They are nominally against rape. Great. But then they are one of those who start arguing that the definitions of rape are too strict, that they can’t be expected too follow crazy radical feminist rules, that there is a million and one excuse why something isn’t rape.

    They may not start outright shitting all over women, like members of Group 2 would (and really, these distinctions are pretty much useless because I don’t really see two distinct groups but a spectrum of entitled assholes), but then they nicely and respectfully call us crazy paranoid radicals who want to deny men a right to talk to women without written consent.

  45. ibbica says

    …And Timon, the point of that study I linked above is that the belief that “coerced sex is not rape” is NOT ‘pretty fringy’. As long as you don’t use the ‘rape’ word, a shockingly large minority of men seem to be perfectly OK with it.

  46. Timon for Tea says

    ibbica, I think the article to the study you lined to is interesting but even in that sample, which is not representative but drawn from a particular group of mature college students, only 6% of respondents acted as if coerced sex was not rape. That is pretty fringy even in those terms, but it also lumps together those who actually committed a rape and those who did not (for whatever reason) without breaking down the figure any further, so it may be a very tiny percentage who actually rape. Of course it matters why the others backed off (was it because they were interrupted or because they thought better of it?) but either way, it appears to be a very marginal number.

  47. karmakin says

    There are a whole lot of attitudes on sex that are very rapey that are absurdly mainstream culturally. Like the idea that getting someone drunk for sex is appropriate. But it’s not so much the individuals, as it is the society/culture at large.

  48. Beatrice says

    As I said above, the big conflict over EG, I strongly believe started over difference over the definition of the word “that”, and that both sides actually were a lot closer than it seemed. But the fur got riled up by a couple of trolls (on both sides) and it went full tribal.

    Both sides are not equally guilty. Or even similarly guilty. And I don’t know which definition of “both sides” you are using, but no “both sides” that I can see in this were or are much closer than it seemed.

  49. ibbica says

    Timon

    Some people think that demanding explicit spoken or written consent for sex is undesirable and/or unrealistic which is a defensible position that does not imply a soft attitude towards rape, but I don’t know any group 1-ers who have identified themselves publicly with that view on rape anyhow.

    Yes, it does, actually. Because if you remove explicit consent then you revert to assuming a default of ‘yes’ instead of a default of ‘no’. Oh sorry, not really rape, she was totally asking for it, dontchaknow. Fuck that. If you can’t get ‘enthusiastic consent’, then STOP. If you can’t get one measly ‘yes’, then STOP.

    That’s not ‘undesirable’, that’s not ‘unrealistic’, and that’s not at all impeding anyone’s ability to get laid by a consenting partner.

    I see no reason to believe any group-1-ers hold any views on this specific issue that are different from the general population; i.e. “it’s not rape if I don’t call it rape”.

    As for public support of the ‘explicit consent isn’t necessary’ position: Thunderf00t probably belongs in Group 2, but he garnered much support on the issue of consent (via the shit-but-this-should-be-a-non-issue issue of sexual harassment policies at conventions) from plenty of people who I’d shelve in Group 1. You can search for them, if you’re interested; sorry, but I’ve removed them all from my bookmarks list so I don’t have the links handy.

  50. Timon for Tea says

    “Yes, it does, actually. Because if you remove explicit consent then you revert to assuming a default of ‘yes’ instead of a default of ‘no’. ”

    I don’t think that is the case, I think non-explicit consent can be very clear, I have always found it so. In any event, if explicit spoken or written consent is required for a sex act to be considered not-rape, that would make just about every sex act in a marriage a rape, so you can see how impractical a law or code framed like that would be. This is why codes can be poor tools, they just aren’t fine-grained enough to reflect the subtleties or range of real human behaviours.

    And the idea of ‘enthusiastic consent’ is open to the same sorts of quibbles that it aims to counter: what counts as ‘enthusiastic’?

  51. Beatrice says

    And the idea of ‘enthusiastic consent’ is open to the same sorts of quibbles that it aims to counter: what counts as ‘enthusiastic’?

    This is what I’m talking about. This is what I meant when I first mentioned rape and group 1 in my #34.

    You can’t claim that you’re “on board with all substantive feminist goals” and then turn around and search for loopholes and gotchas and ways to modulate those goals so that they suite you.

  52. Timon for Tea says

    Beatrice, the goal is the same, the argument is only about how best to achieve it. A badly worded code can be worse than useless. Being analytical is not the same as ‘searching for loopholes’ although stress testing your own arguments by looking for possible weaknesses is a valuable exercise.

  53. maureen.brian says

    Fortunately, Timon for Tea, we are not having a thread on the intricacies and wonders of your sex-life and I am calling you on your juvenile attempts to derail the thread we are having and the subject we are discussing.

  54. Godless Heathen says

    “very liberal on sexual issues”

    What does this mean, exactly? Aren’t feminists generally liberal on sexual issues?

    Unless this is code for porn, in which case, people need to drop the euphemisms and say “porn” when they mean “porn” and “sex” when they mean “sex” and define “sexual issues” when they use that.”

    Or maybe it’s about abortion?

    I’m so confused…

  55. Timon for Tea says

    maureen, have you got me mixed up with someone else? I think I have stuck to topic and have avoided sexual reminiscence.

  56. karmakin says

    Both sides are not equally guilty. Or even similarly guilty. And I don’t know which definition of “both sides” you are using, but no “both sides” that I can see in this were or are much closer than it seemed.

    I’m not saying that both sides were equally guilty. I’m saying that there were (and are) trolls on both sides who are more interested in conflict than progress.

    And yes, both sides were closer than it looked like. Watson did not mean to suggest that flirting should be banned from conventions, which is how a lot of people took what she said. There’s a massive difference from an intractable view to something much closer at a point where compromise and agreement might be possible. There’s still a gap between the two sides, but it’s not as large as it was portrayed.

    Of course, then the tribalism kicked in and from that point on all bets were off. Rationality was out the window.

  57. SallyStrange says

    Yeah, Timon, with your niavete about the prevalence of rape-apologia and your quibbling about the definition of rape, you have placed yourself pretty firmly in Group 1. You are now officially providing cover for the outright misogynists and rapists in Group 2.

    Do the right thing–be a decent person–and stop it.

    That, or don’t get upset when people start saying things like, “Your comments are misogynist, Timon.” Because they fucking are.

  58. ibbica says

    “I think the article to the study you lined to is interesting but even in that sample, which is not representative but drawn from a particular group of mature college students, only 6% of respondents acted as if coerced sex was not rape.”

    That “6% of respondents” actually raped or attempted to rape someone, and very often multiple people. We have no indication of how many of the non-rapists would consider such actions ‘rape’. Do you really believe it’s non-zero? Why?

    Tell me: Do you suppose mature college students are more or less likely to have such an attitude than any other sector of the population? Why?

    How about men newly recruited to the US Navy? How about *their* behaviour prior to enlisting? Did you bother to read that far?

    “That is pretty fringy even in those terms, but it also lumps together those who actually committed a rape and those who did not (for whatever reason) without breaking down the figure any further, so it may be a very tiny percentage who actually rape.”

    6% of any population isn’t ‘fringy’. It’s a significant minority. It means more than one in twenty of the men surveyed in that study were rapists or attempted rapists. One in twenty-five of the men surveyed in that study actually committed multiple attempted or completed rapes.

    “Of course it matters why the others backed off (was it because they were interrupted or because they thought better of it?) but either way, it appears to be a very marginal number.”

    No, it really doesn’t matter. I honestly don’t know why you think it should.

    Those who “backed off” only did so after they had already attempted to physically force themselves on someone. They assaulted another person because the other person didn’t want to “cooperate” with their desire for sexual intercourse. How exactly is that recognizing a requirement for consent? If you need to actually try to assault someone to figure out that it’s not acceptable, you’re doing something terribly wrong.

    Well, this trying to be patient while explaining shit that’s already been explained ad nauseum is exhausting, so I’m done. Feel free to explain how my being ‘nice’ has influenced your views, if at all.

  59. Timon for Tea says

    I cant see any justification for saying anything in any of my posts are misogynistic Sally. If you point to something and it won’t bore everyone else rigid, I would be happy t argue it out with you.

    And I have only quibbled over some definitions of rape, not the usual ones. I am sure you would not accept every definition of rape either (you could’t, they are sometime contradictory and some would be plainly misogynistic) so I am no different from you or anyone here as far as that goes. The rest is detail, and that is worth debating.

  60. says

    Oh, look. A second thread Timon has derailed. On the same topic of those poor Nice Commenters who get all abused. With the same tactic of shifting it over to a discussion about rape. One would almost think he doesn’t want us talking about this.

  61. Beatrice says

    Timon for Tea,

    My goal is to put the numbers of rape to the lowest number possible (I’m afraid we can’t eradicate it completely). If you don’t regard as rape the same things I do, then you are not going to fight for certain kinds of rape to be stopped.

    So it’s only nominally the same goal. Practically, it’s very different.

  62. Timon for Tea says

    Unfortunately ibbica, I don’t think there is enough detail in the article you linked to to draw clear conclusions from the data (it is odd that it lumps together rape and threat of rape, for example). It may be missing from the study too, of course.

    I don’t know how your being nice might have influenced me, or how my being nice might have influenced you, but it means I haven’t ignored you (and vice versa) and it has kept some unpleasantness out of the world, both of which things are good and at no cost to either of us.

  63. Timon for Tea says

    It’s true Stephanie, I didn’t bring up rape, but since I complain so often about how discussions come to be dominated by this subject I should perhaps be stricter at steering them away, but it is difficult to do when so many points are being made and addressed to your own comments. I think there should be a sort of Godwin’s Law for rape on comment threads.

  64. maureen.brian says

    “I don’t think that is the case, I think non-explicit consent can be very clear, I have always found it so.”

    Thus spake Timon.

    There are several possible flaws in that including the assumption that what is true of you is true of everyone, the assumption that you are always right – now, is that Group 1 or Group 2 behaviour? – and the very silly notion that what we are discussing is a precise form of words rather than the above-mentioned enthusiastic consent, which might be clearly indicated in a million ways.

    Non-verbal consent can be very explicit indeed, as long as no-one assumes that it’s the default condition. Not hard, really.

    You have greeted every idea put to you and every piece of information with, “But I don’t believe that!” – not good enough for an adult conversation.

  65. Timon for Tea says

    “If you don’t regard as rape the same things I do, then you are not going to fight for certain kinds of rape to be stopped.”

    But I bet we do agree substantially. If there is an area of disagreement (and I doubt there is unless you consider it always rape for there to be sex without spoken or written agreement which I don’t think you do), there will still be enough that we do agree on for action.

  66. ibbica says

    My apologies, Stephanie, for my part in engaging Timon. I thought those links would provide sufficient information for them to reconsider their position and let it drop, but apparently I was wrong, and I kept going too. So: sorry.

  67. Timon for Tea says

    “Non-verbal consent can be very explicit indeed, as long as no-one assumes that it’s the default condition. Not hard, really.”

    That is my position exactly.

  68. says

    Timon
    “non-explicit” and “clear” are pretty much exclusive.
    If you mean “non-verbal”, that’s another thing. Or having a certain “catch-phrase” that isn’t “I want to have sex with you now”.
    Get your false ideas about what enthusiastic consent means out of your head and stop fighting windmills

  69. Timon for Tea says

    Giliell, I don’t think ‘enthusiastic consent’ is a very useful phrase and I disagree that something cannot be clearly implied. But you are right, that maybe we should prefer ‘non verbal’ to explicit’, that may have been casing some confusion.

  70. Beatrice says

    Timon,

    Enthusiastic consent is a useful phrase precisely because the definition of consent has become blurred by those who “support women against rape” but at the same time want to toe the line of consent.

  71. Timon for Tea says

    I suppose I can see some use for it as a standard of behaviour, it is what I would expect and teach my son to look for, but not much use in any sort of regulatory capacity.

  72. Beatrice says

    Or back to the topic: is Timon in group 1? I’m sure he’d claim that he is, but he is seriously drifting towards group 2 with every comment he writes.

    Which mostly brings me back to my conclusion that dividing people into these two groups is nearly impossible. It’s a spectrum and while a divide could possibly be made somewhere, I don’t think it would really be meaningful.

  73. says

    Giliell, I don’t think ‘enthusiastic consent’ is a very useful phrase and I disagree that something cannot be clearly implied. But you are right, that maybe we should prefer ‘non verbal’ to explicit’, that may have been casing some confusion.

    The problem is that you don’t understand the term, not the term. You still tread out that strawman of “spoken or written consent” (which is nonsense, since it can be revoked at any time)

  74. Timon for Tea says

    I don’t think I am in either group Beatrice but since my last comment directed to you was to endorse without comment your position, your idea that I am getting closer to the 2s doesn’t reflect all that well on your views.

  75. ibbica says

    Beatrice: agreed. Absolutely.

    I also don’t think it’s worth even trying to do anything about it. If, as a skeptic or atheist or whatever you self-identify as, you’re willing to throw your lot in with “the real misogynists” just because someone told you that your comment was hateful or misogynistic: good riddance.

  76. Beatrice says

    Timon,

    If it doesn’t reflect well on something, then it’s on my ability to refresh before posting.

    You somewhat agreed in that last post. I’m not sure that you get the message, but at least you are willing to think about it, hopefully.

  77. Timon for Tea says

    Beatrice, I completely agreed, I was surprised that you didn’t realise that that was my position.

  78. says

    ibbica, not your fault. Despite protestations in the other thread that we shouldn’t be talking about rape, and that for some people (i.e., Timon but no one else in the thread apparently) it wasn’t just an academic topic–Timon kept it going and going. Seems to be the M.O.

  79. says

    Beatrice – found them. Sorry, I have no idea what triggered the spam filter either! It just does that sometimes – it used to do it to PZ, on every blog.

  80. rempetis says

    I read about half the comments, many people seem to think that the solution is that the group1 side should change the way that they present themselves so that they can stop being bad to them when they confuse them with group2!

    Now, isn’t that convenient? “It’s their fault” is your answer.

    This indeed is partly group1’s fault, but also it’s your own fault for not caring enough if they’re group1 or group2. If i’m not sure if someone is a “whatever” (group2 in this case) i’m not going to treat him like i’d treat someone that’s like that. Does that sound unreasonable?

  81. Timon for Tea says

    “Despite protestations in the other thread that we shouldn’t be talking about rape, and that for some people (i.e., Timon but no one else in the thread apparently) it wasn’t just an academic topic–Timon kept it going and going.”

    I think it is considered poor form to make accusations across threads so to speak, and worse to do it on the basis of , ahem, untruths. Stephanie, I don’t know why I get your goat so much, but really you shouldn’t make things up in order to denigrate people. I am more than happy to get the thread closer to topic and on the previous thread made many attempts to get off the subject of rape including pointing out that my life had been seriously and badly affected by a rapist and therefore urging a bit of clam which you (for one) ignored.

  82. says

    rempetis – it depends. I explain why in the post. Read it again (or perhaps for the first time – maybe you just read the comments), and try to think about it (that is, try to imagine yourself into the situation).

  83. Beatrice says

    Ophelia,

    Thanks, no problem.
    Sorry for spamming with multiple comments, I was trying to figure out what was triggering the filter.

  84. mythbri says

    @Timon for Tea #80

    I suppose I can see some use for it as a standard of behaviour, it is what I would expect and teach my son to look for, but not much use in any sort of regulatory capacity.

    Timon, even if this were used in a regulatory capacity, like if it were incorporated into law, that doesn’t mean that it is useless.

    “No means no” is important for people to understand, but it is not enough. Too many rapists will assume consent unless given an explicit no, and sometimes that isn’t nearly enough to stop them. They’ve taken “No means no” to mean that anything is permissible up to the point where the other person says “no”.

    Re-framing consent as “Yes means yes” turns the situation around to assuming non-consent, until the point of consent. This consent can be verbal or implicit via reciprocation (which, again, can be withdrawn at any time). It will not impede consensual sexual encounters, and therefore is not “too stringent”. Do you understand that? It’s not onerous for two people having a good naked time together to assure each other of their mutual consent.

    Quibbling about definitions or “gray areas” is a Group 2 activity. If you’re confused about why people are unsure whether you belong to Group 1 or Group 2, then take pains to communicate your thoughts more clearly, or ask for clarification from the people with whom you’re conversing. Stop assuming that if people are consistently misunderstanding that the problem is somehow with them and not the way you present yourself.

  85. Timon for Tea says

    “This consent can be verbal or implicit via reciprocation (which, again, can be withdrawn at any time)… Do you understand that?”

    Not only do I understand it, it has been my position throughout this conversation.

  86. ibbica says

    rempetis, well, yes. If you’re told your behaviour or comment is misogynistic, and your response is to double down in retaliation, then yeah, that’s on you. You cannot blame others for your choice to make a misogynistic comment, or engage in misogynistic behaviour, or to persist in either instead of trying to figure out where you might have gone wrong.

    You always have the choice to ask for clarification as to why your behaviour/comment was perceived as misogynistic, harmful, or wrong. Often, you can seek it out yourself; the reasons are often (rather sadly) easy to find. You have the choice to back off, to take some time for a bit of self-reflection before replying, or to go vent your frustration at those silly, stupid feminists somewhere. Nothing anyone else can say can take those options from you.

    But no, you cannot demand welcoming and patience for misogynistic behaviours and comments from those who do not wish to tolerate them.

  87. A 'Nym Too says

    That’s what “enthusiastic consent” is though, and you’ve been mewling about how haaard and unworkable it is.

    Lack of a “No” is not a “Yes”. Get a “Yes” before sticking your dick in someone. Why is that so hard to grasp?

  88. rempetis says

    @Ophelia> I disagree with you, i think that it’s never too late, and i think that everyone should assume that the other is writting in good faith until it’s proven otherwise.

    My approach would be simmilar to the aproach that i’m taking when i try to convince my newly neonazi voter friend that neonazism isn’t good.

    In my country (Greece) we have the neonazi group “Golden Dawn” who’re on the rise and i have a good friend who’s swayed by their propaganda and voted for them. Being a neonazi is far worse than someone being misogynistic in my opinion, simply because amongst other bad things it actually includes misogyny.

    Anyway, what i’m getting at is that hate only breeds more hate, i can’t tell my friend “Go fuck yourself you fucking neonazi” and expect him to magically stop being a neonazi neither do i think that it’s exactly his fault that he decided to be one and there were no outside factors involved. In the same way you can’t expect all people that might have a little bit of misogyny in them to change their minds when you’re treating them like they’re group2. misogyny, misos=hate and doesn’t go away with hate. That’s what i’m saying, and this is an answer for ibbica too.

    you cannot demand welcoming and patience for misogynistic behaviours and comments from those who do not wish to tolerate them.

    I don’t demand anything, i’m just writting my opinion.

  89. jamessweet says

    So, I see what Jean is getting at, but I don’t know what if anything can be done about it at this stage.

    That’s kinda where I’m at… there are some good people, who just don’t quite “get it” yet, or have valid disagreements, or what-have-you, who are getting just absolutely crucified, which is not only unfair but is also less effective. But what to do? Unfortunately, there is no sharp line between Jean’s two groups, it is rather more of a continuum, and when there is so much spittle-flecked hate coming from “group 2″, it becomes very difficult to ask people to be extra patient with “group 1″ — especially since sometimes it is hard to tell the difference.

    It’s not good that there is some reasoned disagreement that is getting squashed… but I’m not sure what else to do at this point.

  90. Beatrice says

    I disagree with you, i think that it’s never too late, and i think that everyone should assume that the other is writting in good faith until it’s proven otherwise.

    But I’m not assuming based on the position of Venus in relation to the moon, I’m drawing a conclusion from someone’s post. It may sometimes be too early for any conclusive proof after just one or two posts, but there is data and when presented with data I draw impressions about the author.

    There is one big difference between your example and the situation we have.

    That guy is your friend. You know him, you have a history. We don’t have a history with every guy that asks the same old fake-clueless questions or tries to explain how things he’s saying can’t be misogynist because he loves women. We are not starting the conversation from the position where we respect each other, but as unknowns who still have to earn respect or benefit of the doubt.

  91. A 'Nym Too says

    James – it’s been explained exactly what has to be done. Group one have to stop saying the kind of hateful, stupid stuff that Group two says. They have to think critically, understand why Group two are so reviled, and do everything possible to avoid looking or sounding like Group two.

    Ignorance is not a defence, privilege must be examined critically, and people have to get it into their heads that:

    -intent is not magic

    -the marginalised do not have any duty to coddle the privileged

    ,not only is it ok to admit you held wrong-headed ideas, it’s good to admit it, and to learn from it.

  92. says

    rempetis – you disagree with me about what? I didn’t say it’s too late, and yesterday I went to some trouble to say that it’s not useful to say “go fuck yourself” – so you appear to be disagreeing with someone else, not with me.

    Yes, fine, assume people are writing in good faith unless there’s reason to think otherwise. But there is reason to think otherwise. I explained that in the post. That’s why I suggested you read it.

  93. rempetis says

    That guy is your friend. You know him, you have a history.

    For the reasons that i explained i wouldn’t treat him differently even if i didn’t know him especially if i expected anything positive to ever come from my interaction with him.

  94. B-Lar says

    Timon,

    I think you should try to use fewer words. Perhaps write something, and then see if you can get the same message across using smaller sentences.

    If it turns out that you can summarise it down to “bitches aint shit” then that might save everyone a lot of trouble. If not, then at least you might get your message across and perhaps you will avoid repeatedly typing:

    …it has been my position throughout this conversation.

  95. Josh Slocum says

    For the reasons that i explained i wouldn’t treat him differently even if i didn’t know him especially if i expected anything positive to ever come from my interaction with him.

    I don’t think you understand that some of the time, for lots of us, getting “something positive” to come from interacting with people is not our goal. Marginalizing them in the converstation–and thereby limiting their damage to oppressed groups—is.

    Hold on and breathe before you conjure up images of jackboots. This is a normal activity and part of every controversial issue. There is always a group of people who cannot be reasoned with, who will not change their minds. They will, however, waste your time and give cultural support (even if they don’t know they’re doing it)to those who would more aggressively attack the rights of the oppressed.

    They do damage and they need to be quarantined. You already know this happens when you recall:

    1. The civil rights movement worked on many fronts; peaceful, agressive, diplomatic, and with outrage. Part of the successful campaign was culturally isolating bigots and bigot sympathizers (moderates). They were shunned and laughed at until their attitude became such an embarrassment that they were looked on as the lunatic fringe.

    2. The same thing has happened and is happening with the LGBT movement.

    Whether you, personally want to extend infinite charity to an opposing party is irrelevant. You may do so. But your preference does not change reality. It does make us wrong when we make judgments about when to cut our losses and scrape the intransigent “moderates” off to one side and move on to more productive pastures.

    Perhaps you don’t have much direct experience with such movements. If that is so, then please listen to those of us who do. We’re not perfect but we do have insights about this.

  96. rrede says

    I have been thinking about this problem ever since reading some of the earlier posts Ophelia made (in relation to the “Camels with Hammers” policy), and the ongoing discussions about how to treat ‘newcomers’ which so often seem to end up as “if you would have been nicer to me, I might have become an ally.” That rhetoric is so familiar to me from the fandom Racefail discussions of the last few years (will talk more if you like, but basically, science fiction fandom, lots of debate about social justice issues, google racefail 09 if you want more info, but it’s very similar to the current stuff going on in the atheist communities).

    And now the whole Group 1 and Group 2 thing which seems to be based on assumptions that tend to reflect a lot of privilege: that any individual who shows up (online or offline!) should be treated as this unique wonderful individual (‘snowflake’ in fandom terminology) without being judged in any way as representative of anything even if his (it’s not always his, but wow, it is often) questions and comments are completely replicating dozens if not hundreds of similar comments made by others in his group in earlier times/places/threads (sometimes in the very thread he’s posting in).

    However, his special intent and need for education have to be met. This is true not just of men, but of any privileged group appearing in social justice or activist spaces. And they think their intent trumps the impact of their (often repeated) words and assumptions.

    I find this argument problematic (in part because I’m old and grumpy).

    It’s also a question that’s been addressed before: this is a section of King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” that is quoted quite often in the spaces I hang out in: the activist’s problem with the ‘moderate’ (and Group 1, as described in Kaez’s post, and discussed here, seems to sort of fit that category of “moderates”):

    Two paragraphs from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, “Letter from a Birmingham jail”

    Emphasis added!

    I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

    I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.

  97. Deepak Shetty says

    So, I see what Jean is getting at, but I don’t know what if anything can be done about it at this stage.
    Ditto.
    There are some people who I think are group 1 , and who should have been allies, but given all that has transpired – I don’t know.

  98. says

    Yes it is a continuum, but too often in the threads I have been in, even those unequivocally in group 1 – underneath it all they do not have troubling attitudes toward women. are attacked and maligned with the same venom as those in group 2.

    This hands the argument to the other side, since it gives substance to their case that only complete obedience to a single line is acceptable.

  99. A 'Nym Too says

    Amen rrede, amen.

    Wasting time and energy on holding the hands of snowflakes is holding us back.

    There are bloggers on this very network who refuse to admit that they might be wrong, based only on the fact that they are “allies”. Criticism is met with the functional equivalent of “Be nice to me, or ELSE!”.

    As a multiple minority, fucked over by the kyriarchy, my current stance is “You’re with me, or against me”. No middle ground, no trying to win people over. What’s the point? If they aren’t sure that I’m fully human, as a [woman/dyke/disabled/non-Neurotypical/non-binary/poor person], then why should I waste MY time trying to convince them that I am?

    It’s 2012. My status as totally human, deserving of equal rights and respect, should not be up for question.

  100. says

    Beatrice@51

    “But I am saying that some parts of Group 1 hold those ideas. They are nominally against rape. Great. But then they are one of those who start arguing that the definitions of rape are too strict, that they can’t be expected too follow crazy radical feminist rules, that there is a million and one excuse why something isn’t rape.”

    How can anyone be “nominally against rape” and yet “not have troubling attitudes toward women.” This makes no sense unless your default position is that group 1 doesn’t exist and that all men are misogynistic potential rapists.

  101. rempetis says

    @Josh Slocum>I’m affraid that your reply is simply all over the place and largely irrelevant, but maybe that’s because of our difference of perception on the larger issue at hand. The issue at hand being the increasing polarisation in the atheist/sceptical community , or am i wrong? Group1 (and in my opinion group2!) is not like all the people in the world during the civil rights movement etc, and neither are the any of the random people that you may encounter in here.

    You seem to think that things are headed in a good direction, and if i judge by your reply you think that history has shown you that this is the way to “victory” for your side, your goals being achieved or something like that. In my experience (judging from what i have observed over the past year) that’s not even remotely true.

    Also, in my example i never meant to imply that i’ll be trying to have civil conversations with people like this one, but i’d bet anything i own that the people who you encounter here are not at all like him but the supreme majority are like my newly neonazi friend, people with whom you can have a civil conversation with and relatively easily change their minds.

  102. says

    Ian @ 112 – can you give any examples of that? Because my experience has been that membership in group 1 just is not always obvious, and you seem to be treating it as if it is.

    @ 114 – I think you’re confusing the issue there. Whether or not all the people who fit part(s) of the description of group 1 all have no troubling attitudes toward women is much of what’s at issue. That was part of my point in the post. There are people who fit in group 1 but in fact do seem to have troubling attitudes to women, at least once they get angry. In other words I don’t completely agree with the last sentence of Jean’s description of group 1.

  103. A 'Nym Too says

    Ian , have you even read through all of the comments here?

    I can only think that the answer must be “No”, considering that there’s a self-identified member of Group 1 doing exactly what Beatrice outlined.

  104. ibbica says

    This makes no sense unless your default position is that group 1 doesn’t exist and that all men are misogynistic potential rapists.

    Can someone point me to examples of people who you would place firmly in Group 1? i.e. who have demonstrated by their behaviour that they are
    “on board with all substantive feminist goals”,
    AND “do not have troubling attitudes toward women”,
    AND “think it’s OK to proposition women in elevators at 4 in the morning, etc. etc. etc.”,
    AND who are accused of “misogyny, or even of being anti-feminists”?

    Because yes, I for one am skeptical that such a group exists.

    “Why shouldn’t they be a part of an atheist-skeptic movement that’s committed to social justice?”

    Because if they can’t be bothered to examine their own behaviour, if they are offended when someone suggests – however strongly – that it might be necessary, they’re not “committed to social justice.”

  105. Beatrice says

    Ian,

    I see my mistake in writing that they are only nominally against rape, it does imply that they actually knowingly support rape, while all I wanted to say was that with their words they can contribute to the rape culture and make excuses for rapists by using their own very narrow definitions of rape (as was further discussed with Timon).

    —-
    If someone says things that imply troubling attitudes towards women and supports other people who have troubling attitudes toward women then guess what? They apparently do have troubling attitudes toward women, even if those attitudes are not something extreme and very severe. Because the way the author described members of the Group 1, I wasn’t particularly convinced those people are just misunderstood and deep down don’t hold any troubling views on women.

  106. Simon says

    @rempetis:

    I don’t think the “issue at hand” is polarisation-it is misygyny. The polarisation arises as a symptom of the latter-and of course also not good.

    In some ways the Golden Dawn analogy is apt (I know this is just an example of a particular ridiculousness for illustrative purposes)-they too are often misogynists after all. Demographically it’s voters are overwhelmingly younger and male. It’s followers were also happy to glorify violence against women with the Kasidiaris incident – with a special bonus for the victim being a leftie.

    However in order to defeat something you have to know where it comes from and what breeds it. In the case of the misogyny of the American “manosphere” it seems to come from a deep sense of masculine insecurity. The trigger is assertive and vocal women like Rebecca Watson and to a lesser extent men who are seen as “white knights” such as PZ Myers.

    Bringing this all back to Golden Dawn and your new neonazi friend, I’m not sure how easy it is to change his mind. He may be persuaded to vote for a different party, however I suspect that like much of Greece he probably always took a liking to Greek nationalism with all the nutty things that this entails. Everybody’s different of course but this is a common them I’ve seen.

    PS I grew up in Greece and still follow the news there hence my knowledge.

  107. Timon for Tea says

    “If it turns out that you can summarise it down to “bitches aint shit” then that might save everyone a lot of trouble.”

    B-lar, nothing I have written could possibly be summarised in those terms. In fact I cannot imagine ever even thinking in words like that, I am still surprised that some people do. I can only imagine that you must get some kind of kick from typing out that sort of thing, but don’t lay that at my door, look to yourself and seek help.

  108. Ms. Daisy Cutter says

    Kazez has been reliably antifeminist for as long as I can remember, and here she’s tone-trolling on behalf of those who will happily throw their lot in with the MRAs because feminists won’t hold their hands and kiss their asses and edumacate them for the ten thousandth time with Pteryxx’s host of hyperlinks.

    Fuck ‘em and the intellectual parlor games they play with issues that don’t affect their lives, and fuck their whining about how meaaaaannnnnn feminists are to them.

  109. says

    No, really, she’s not. She’s not anti-feminist. We’ve disagreed about a lot of things over the years, but she’s not anti-feminist – and I don’t think this post (hers, I mean) is unfair.

  110. 'Tis Himself says

    Timon for Time,

    On this very thread you have attempted derailing, you’ve tone trolled, and you’ve argued about rape definitions. In other words, you’re a Group 1 person who is definitely edging towards Group 2.

    So your condescension in #122 is both misplaced and insulting.

  111. says

    Timon

    “This consent can be verbal or implicit via reciprocation (which, again, can be withdrawn at any time)… Do you understand that?”

    Not only do I understand it, it has been my position throughout this conversation.

    So, what are you wasting everybody’s time with?

  112. Josh Slocum says

    rempetis, I’m baffled that you’re baffled. How could I be any more clear? YES. I am advocating polarization if the alternative is accepting people who waste my time and claim to be on the side of right and good but spend more time claiming it than demonstrating it. YES. I want a division. I want a split. From those people. YES.

  113. says

    Yes it is a continuum, but too often in the threads I have been in, even those unequivocally in group 1 – underneath it all they do not have troubling attitudes toward women. are attacked and maligned with the same venom as those in group 2.

    Ian, can you tell me how I’m supposed to know what they have “underneath it all”? Seriously, it’s easier to find out what Scotsmen wear under their kilts.
    I can’t see what’s underneath and I really, really, really can’t take chances to err on the side of charity. That’s bad but it’s true.
    Also, again, there are no people who underneath it all do not have troubling attitudes towards women. I have them, you have them, Ophelia has them. The trick is to be aware of them and fight them. The trick is to kick yourself in the ass mentally when you think “bitch” and not to say “well, it isn’t bad because I do not have troublind attitudes towards women”

  114. says

    @rempetis

    Anyway, what i’m getting at is that hate only breeds more hate, i can’t tell my friend “Go fuck yourself you fucking neonazi” and expect him to magically stop being a neonazi

    If he’s actually your friend as well, then you might well make headway with that approach. Certainly I value the opinions of my friends, and if I told a friend of my mine who I was voting for, and the reply was “Go fuck yourself you fucking neonazi,” then I would consider that to be very strong incentive to reexamine both my politics and those of my chosen candidate. Also, if a friend of mine were to join the American Nazi Party, I would tell them exactly that, and would cut off all associations with them if they continued with that membership. Such a person is clearly not genuinely a friend to me, and I want no part of their fascist bullshit. Incidentally, whatever excuses you think your friend has, you’re wrong. It is entirely his choice, his responsibility, and his fault. There is no excuse whatsoever for voting for people like the Golden Dawn.

  115. rempetis says

    @Josh> Ok. You have presented your argument – i have presented mine, that’s all there’s to it. We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

    @Dalillama> It’s not as simple as you make it out to be, and i’m sorry to say it but you’re dead wrong on the American neonazi analogy. The reason is because you probably have absolutely no clue about politics in Greece and probably know very little about modern Greece. I will not explain right now, it is an overcomplicated matter.

    @Simon>

    It’s followers were also happy to glorify violence against women with the Kasidiaris incident – with a special bonus for the victim being a leftie.

    They’re mysogynists there’s no doubt about that, but i don’t think that this was just a simple show of misogyny. I think it was primarily a show against the communist party and Syriza, but also other things: It was to show that they’re deeply offended when they’re called fascists (or neonazis in other ocasions) because as they say “We are none of those things, we’re Greek nationalists”, and a way to slowly legitimize violence in general in the eyes of the people, this helps the way people perceive their behind the scenes “activism” against immigrants (them beating up random immigrants). So, it was a lot of things, and mysogyny.

    When i first saw the incident i thought “at least this will show their true face to the world”, but i was dead wrong. In retrospect, i think that (even though it didn’t seem that way) that it could have been a calculated decision on the part of Kasidiaris.

    Bringing this all back to Golden Dawn and your new neonazi friend, I’m not sure how easy it is to change his mind. He may be persuaded to vote for a different party, however I suspect that like much of Greece he probably always took a liking to Greek nationalism with all the nutty things that this entails. Everybody’s different of course but this is a common them I’ve seen.

    There are a lot of very different people who’re pulled in by Golden Dawn for a lot of different reasons. I’d argue that you don’t even have to be a nationalist to get pulled in, you just have to be convinced by the media that the left parties are ALL bad “anarchist”-lovers and immigrant-lover anti-racists with no real policies on immigration. Also, you have to write-off as corrupt, traitors etc anyone who’s ever had anything to do with a party that was ever in power. That easily leaves you only with *drum roll* Golden Dawn! Anyway, the main problem with my friend is simply that he lives in an area that has been slowly turned into an immigrant ghetto, and the left have been handling the immigration problem extremely poorly (~99% of the time you’ll hear from them anti-racist things and ~1% solutions for the immigration problem, or that the people living in the areas that have turned into immigrant ghettos should have more help by police etc) so they’re not his favorites.

  116. Sally Strange says

    We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

    Yes, let’s all agree that rempetis is wrong and should be disagreed with.

  117. says

    rempetis left a pretty snide comment about “drama” and both sides and *yawn* at Cris’s a couple of days ago. rempetis is trolling just a bit.

    Jacques Cuze left an even snottier one, reeking of the usual “FTB is evil” crap.

    You can’t trust anyone.

  118. says

    Rempetis:
    I know enough about the situation in Greece to know that the Golden Dawn platform offers no workable solutions for anything. Furthermore, if the fact that the leftwing parties are antiracist is a problem for your friend, then he’s an asshole. Incidentally, the claim that “We’re just Greek Nationalists, not fascists” is about the most transparent smokescreen ever. There are no ‘Nationalist’ parties that are not fascists, and AFAICT never have been.

  119. rempetis says

    @Ophelia>I do believe (as i wrote there) that neither side shows willingness to stop the drama, you probably disagree with that but that’s the way i see it. That doesn’t make me a troll though.

    @Dalilama>

    if the fact that the leftwing parties are antiracist is a problem for your friend, then he’s an asshole.

    You just had to find an opportunity call my friend an asshole didn’t you? I hope you understand that there are not two modes that one can be (A)“anti-racist” and the other (B)“in favour of a solution for the immigration problem”. So, i didn’t say that them being anti-racist is a problem for my friend, what i said was:

    the left have been handling the immigration problem extremely poorly (~99% of the time you’ll hear from them anti-racist things and ~1% solutions for the immigration problem, or that the people living in the areas that have turned into immigrant ghettos should have more help by police etc)

    This means that they’re rarely if ever talking about solutions to the immigration problem. He doesn’t mind the anti-racism, but he minds that they don’t seem to care about the problem that’s in his neighbourhood. Also, it must be said that the shortcomings of leftwing parties on immigrantion issues are featured in discussions within the left-party “Syriza” as one of the problems of the party.

    Incidentally, the claim that “We’re just Greek Nationalists, not fascists” is about the most transparent smokescreen ever. There are no ‘Nationalist’ parties that are not fascists, and AFAICT never have been.

    This is insulting. I never said that i support their claims, if you payed ANY attention you’d see that i actually called them neonazi several times in my previous posts. :S

  120. says

    rempetis – dropping in to say nothing more than

    Eh, more drama. *Yawn*

    I’m begining to doubt that any side wants the drama to stop.

    does make you a troll.

  121. says

    Rempetis:
    I did not say that you supported the party, but you did repeat their claim, and appeared to be justifying your friend’s behavior based on it.

  122. says

    You just had to find an opportunity call my friend an asshole didn’t you?

    You stated it yourself right in the beginning: The asshole votes for fascists. You know, it’s the same as with misogynists: I don’t care how many puppies they don’t kick and how nice they are to those who don’t belong to the group they hate.

  123. Timon for Tea says

    “On this very thread you have attempted derailing, you’ve tone trolled, and you’ve argued about rape definitions …So your condescension in #122 is both misplaced and insulting.”

    No, I haven’t done any of those things, so your reading comprehension is terribly lacking and your need to make personal attacks combined with the feeblenesss of your powers in that regard is sad and depressing.

  124. Deepak Shetty says

    It took all of 55 comments for Jean to close the thread and even with good intentions all threads for this topic tend to go the same way.

  125. says

    I do not belong to either of those two groups but disagree with many of the premises of the harassment policy and attempts to discuss it haven’t had much luck ploughing the middle ground.

    I do not agree what occurred in the elevator was harassment. I have no problem in separating that incident with the latter incidences of unashamed harassment and abuse.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2012/06/26/huge-news-from-american-atheists-re-harassment/#comment-68146

    I am also unsure about just what a ‘backlash against feminism’ is. Against which feminism? As Kazez astutely points out, broad feminist issues are not under attack. From my perspective as a skeptic, atheist, egalitarianism and Darwinian feminist, if it’s a backlash at all, it’s against illogic, hyperbole, emotionalism and the thing which seems to be feeding this frenzy – fear.

  126. says

    Paula Wright

    I do not agree what occurred in the elevator was harassment. I have no problem in separating that incident with the latter incidences of unashamed harassment and abuse.

    I don’t think that Rebecca ever called it that, and I would agree. It was an example of men putting their own wants (really, that#s not even a need) first with zero consideration for the woman.
    The harm lay in the fact that we’re all very aware that not all guys take no for an answer and that you can’t know until you say “no”.
    Added the annoyment at having talked a whole day about how you just don’t want those things to happen to you and approximately 5 minutes after you finish talking about it it happens.
    But yeah, on the whole it was a pretty mild incident, that resulted in the pretty mild “guys, don’t do that” and then the world ended.

    The problem with “broad feminist goals” is that they’re defined so broadly that apart from the religious right and the die-hard MRAs everybody agrees on them just like everybody agrees that rape is bad. Only that many people actually don’ agree on the details

  127. says

    I really don’t think that it showed “zero” consideration. The guy may have felt he’d met the woman of his dreams and was labouring under a confirmation bias of the kind we’re all liable to in a, ‘She means assholes – not me!’, kind of way. Its the first rule of rom-com. You publicly rule yourself out of bounds for romance, it’s game on!

    For what it’s worth, when Rebecca made this complaint online it was within the context of a wider complaint about sexism and misogyny – both words were used but were not backed up with evidence – except the story in the lift, which was not a demonstration of either sexism or misogyny.

    I have no idea if she felt that it was. It was certainly an unfortunate context to place it however and, just as Rebecca may have put two and two together to make five in the lift that night, others just as trigger happy did the same with the tacit/careless linking of flirting with harassment.

    If I was a man, an anti-harrassement policy based on such premises – where polite flirting could be construed as harassment – would scare the bejesus out of me. On those grounds alone I would strongly oppose such a policy. There is no need for such a policy when common sense and lines of communication are open. What’s clear here is that neither are in the building.

    This debate has inflamed some of our more rational minds – beginning maybe with Dawkins’ response to Rebecca : if he can get into trouble, then it makes the rest of us vulnerable too. In the spirit of parsimony, I would suggest his cack-handedness was itself a reaction to the clumsiness of Rebecca’s claims. Dawkins, I believe, was making fun of it – swatting it down – because frankly, that ‘s what it deserved as a serious claim, because it came with no evidence in an already incendiary speech. His tone could have been better, but so could Rebecca’s. What came after – the rape threats, the cunt calling – now THAT is misogyny. But that is a different issue and has little to do with the harassment policy, as far as I can gather (I’m not reading every thread as I’m trying to keep to basics)

    What I find alarming is that each side have retreated to their foxholes and have both lost all perspective to the point where egalitarians call feminists ‘feminazi’, and the following (taken from last post) can be written about men without any qualification, “we’re all very aware that not all guys take no for an answer and that you can’t know until you say “no”.”

    In all this, everyone (apart from the minority of real misogynists who know and revel in what they are) think they occupy the moral high ground. Neither of you do! It’s bloody ridiculous.
    The longer this goes on the more unhitched the term ‘skeptic’ comes from ‘rational’.

    Rebecca was wrong. Dawkins’ was wrong. Both sides are wrong to hold on to any legitimacy from such premises. Neither are the enemy. And unlike the first poster, ‘underneath it all’, I don’t think real misogynists are hard to spot. The Rebublican Party are not an underground organisation!

  128. says

    I have no idea if she felt that it was. It was certainly an unfortunate context to place it however and, just as Rebecca may have put two and two together to make five in the lift that night, others just as trigger happy did the same with the tacit/careless linking of flirting with harassment.

    That’s simply not true. The context was Rebecca’s speech there at the convention where she provided ample evidence of the sexism and misogyny she faced within the atheist community.

    This debate has inflamed some of our more rational minds – beginning maybe with Dawkins’ response to Rebecca : if he can get into trouble, then it makes the rest of us vulnerable too.

    I always thought that the fact that Dawkins can get into trouble for saying shit was one of the strongholds of this movement. If I want a Pope I’ll join the RCC

    I really don’t think that it showed “zero” consideration

    So, what consideration for Rebecca, her feelings and situation did he show?

    and the following (taken from last post) can be written about men without any qualification, “we’re all very aware that not all guys take no for an answer and that you can’t know until you say “no”.”

    So, tell me what qualification does that need?
    How’s that wrong?
    It’s an empirical fact that some guys react with violence towards rejection and it’s also true that you cannot know what kind of guy it is unless you say no?
    What’s your problem with that sentence?
    It doesn’t unfairly demonize poor innocent guys, doesn’t demonize EG, it’s simply a fact of life for women.

    What I find alarming is that each side have retreated to their foxholes and have both lost all perspective to the point ….

    Oh fuck that “both sides are equally wrong” shit. They’re not when one group calls the others feminazis and threatens them with rape.

  129. says

    Oh please. A guy inviting a woman to his hotel room at 4 a.m. certainly is evidence of one kind of sexism. It’s not crazy to think so, it’s not an outrage to rational minds to say so. The guy “may” have been from another planet and under the illusion that he was talking to someone from a third planet, but there is zero reason to think so.

    and the following (taken from last post) can be written about men without any qualification, “we’re all very aware that not all guys take no for an answer and that you can’t know until you say “no”.”

    What the hell is that? What last post? I don’t remember saying that. But in any case – what do you mean “written about men without any qualification”? It says “not all guys” – how is that without any qualification? It is itself a qualification. “Not all” is not “all”! Der.

  130. says

    Ophelia

    What the hell is that? What last post? I don’t remember saying that.

    I think she meant my last comment, I wrote that. Still don’t see what’s wrong with that.
    Not long ago a young woman here got beaten so badly she had to be taken to hospital by a guy to whom she had said “no” on the train.
    She was beaten while she tried to protect her infant in a stroller.

  131. Beatrice says

    It’s true that you can’t know how a stranger will react to a “no”. I see nothing controversial with that statement.

  132. says

    Okay, will try to do my best. It’s getting late here.

    The webcast I saw didn’t provide any evidence, only assertions. If I’m wrong on that please do point me in the right direction. I’m trying to understand this as a who is an atheist, egalitarian, skeptic and Darwinian feminist (which means I have also to be AS skeptical [not cynical] of feminism as I am with science), not someone on either side of the fence – my comfort zone if on the fence and it’s a pretty dangerous place to be sometimes.

    You are right – arguments from authority hold no ground for the sake of it. But they do stand for something in people with good records. I could also have said Ophelia Benson, but I didn’t want to inflame the debate any more than it already is (hope you take that as the compliment is is Ophelia:)

    I’m confused by your next question. He made his move in private. Respectfully. He backed off when told to. He didn’t kick up a squabble when Rebecca gave this anecdote. Where doesn’t that spell ‘consideration’?

    Okay, I will. Like this debate needs another incensed ego demanding their place in the sun. You’ve asked some pretty HUGE philosophical questions and I can only give my own inklings in answer. I’m not a philosopher, sorry.

    Why does saying, “not all guys take no for an answer and that you can’t know until you say “no”.” need qualification?

    There was some qualification in the “all” but it was in the negative rather than the positive. Where is the default stance here? That all guys are reasonable and will take no as no? Or the opposite?

    Two very important rhetorical/ideological positions here to do with feminism: Do we live in a rape culture or not?

    I will admit I have problems with the statement in a rhetorical fearmongering way, but it is a very good, quick way to take a ‘feminist’ temperature on the orthodox scale, so to speak.

    It is, “It’s an empirical fact that some guys react with violence towards rejection and it’s also true that you cannot know what kind of guy it is unless you say no? “ The qualifier there is SOME. We are not talking MOST. Unless you mean most. If so, that would be my problem with the sentence and WAS my problem with the original. But lets be clear, I was questioning the former not the latter.

    “It doesn’t unfairly demonize poor innocent guys, doesn’t demonize EG, it’s simply a fact of life for women.”

    1st clause: see above; it could and it does – as it does the other way around. That’s maybe the crux of this whole debate.
    2Nd:: who or what is EG sorry. 3Rd: may things are facts of life for all of us. Life is not fair. Life is a struggle for man, woman, child. Life is a bitch. These are the facts of life. Playing victim one-upmanship when you actually have the power to influence and change the world for the better doesn’t help. The atheist community is central to that.

  133. Beatrice says

    He made his move in private.

    Where doesn’t that spell ‘consideration’?

    Among other things, right here.

  134. says

    But they do stand for something in people with good records.

    Yes, that’s why the reaction of most people who were there when Dawkins wrote his “Dear Muslima” went like “who’s that asshole who writes as Dawkins?” Since he didn’t care to correct anything ever since I guess he’s still fine with them, so I’m going to judge him by them.

    The webcast I saw didn’t provide any evidence, only assertions. If I’m wrong on that please do point me in the right direction.

    Here’s Rebecca’s actual speech in Dublin. That’s what she was talking about as “taking all day” in the podcast. See who’s sitting next to her?

    I’m confused by your next question. He made his move in private. Respectfully. He backed off when told to. He didn’t kick up a squabble when Rebecca gave this anecdote. Where doesn’t that spell ‘consideration’?

    Uhm, everywhere?
    We have Rebecca Watson who made clear time after time again that she really does not want people approach her “romantically” at all. We have her telling everybody that she’s really tired and she wants to go to bed (at least he thought his desire to talk more important than her need to sleep). He made his move when he was alone with her in a very small and enclosed space (actually one you get told about being dangerous in all those nice rape-prevention tricks). He backed off when she said “no”, and yes, that probably tells us that he was just the usual entitled guy and not a violent thug. Only, again, in that short period of time between hearing the proposition and him accepting the rejection with grace, she could not have known if he would just say “hokay, see you” or smash her face.
    None of this spells any consideration for her situation, as she spelled it out in the video: a lone woman in a foreign country alone with a strange guy at 4 am in an enclosed space.

    There was some qualification in the “all” but it was in the negative rather than the positive. Where is the default stance here? That all guys are reasonable and will take no as no? Or the opposite?

    Wait, your issue with my statement is that I used “not all” instead of “some”? That’s hairsplitting.
    The default stance? The default stance is that women have to be fucking carefull and have to put up with a lot of shit from men.
    And you’re creating a false dichotomy. It’s not “all men are good” vs. “all men are bad”. It’s the reasonable and well established fact that some men are violent misogynists and that they unfortunately don’t have it written all over their foreheads. If they had there wouldn’t be so many women who get raped by people they trust.

    2Nd:: who or what is EG sorry

    Elevator Guy. You really seem to make your judgements in this case based on very little information and reading.

    Two very important rhetorical/ideological positions here to do with feminism: Do we live in a rape culture or not?

    Let me see, Atkin going on about legitimate rape, Galloway saying men don’t need to ask if they’re allowed to fuck a woman if she said yes before, rape victims being questioned about every detail of their prior sexual life and relationship with the rapist, women being taught how not to be raped instead of guys being taught not to rape, people wishing on criminals to get raped in prison for just desserts, yes, I’d say we live in rape culture. I suggest you read some posts on this blog, read the comments. Read the comments of women (and some men) how they were raped, molested, assaulted and how people reacted to that.
    I escaped an assault by hair’s width and the only person I ever told in meatspace went on about how stupid I was parking my car there.
    If you just brush that off as “that’s life, get used to it”, you’re a strange kind of feminist. BTW, gendered slurs are not appreciated here. Unless you want to explain how life resembles a female dog.

  135. says

    Paula W, you’re presenting yourself as the (corrective) voice of reason here, so it would be nice if you would slow down, fix your typos, and write much more clearly.

    It is in no sense “considerate” for a man to invite a woman to his hotel room at 4 a.m. unless there is prior flirtation.

    Also, I intensely dislike the way you are second-guessing Rebecca about something that happened to her and not to you. She was there, you were not. Why on earth would you think your guesses about what the guy “may” have had in mind would be better than hers? When (just to remind you) she was there and you weren’t.

    And this crap about being an egalitarian feminist – so am I, and none of this is any kind of out there, extreme, non-egalitarian feminism. It just isn’t. Stop trying to frame it that way, it’s annoying.

  136. hotshoe says

    It is annoying. But you’re a rationalist.

    I guess this isn’t a rational argument.

    Jayzuss. Your hyperskepticism doesn’t do you any good here. You’re not going to win the Vulcan Star for refusing to admit that Ophelia can be annoyed and rational all at the same time.

    You say it’s late where you are. Go sleep on it. Maybe when you wake up you’ll be a better person.

  137. 'Tis Himself says

    I guess this isn’t a rational argument.

    It certainly isn’t on your part.

    You complain that Rebecca’s talk on sexism and misogyny was without evidence. I watched the talk on YouTube and I thought she supported her argument well. But then, unlike you, I don’t claim to be “an atheist, egalitarian, skeptic and Darwinian feminist.”*

    You question the existence of the rape culture. I’m an elderly, cis-hetero, middle class, white male and even I know about the rape culture. Ever hear of Todd Akin? How about Ben Roethlisberger and ESPN? Yeah, I know Christina Hoff Sommers claims rape culture doesn’t exist, but then she has a strong hate for uppity women who don’t know their place.

    *How does a Darwinian feminist differ from an evo-devo feminist?.

  138. says

    Oh, good grief, is that what she meant? I’m not supposed to get annoyed, because reason?

    Pffff.

    Anyway, no I’m not a rationalist. A rationalist is someone who thinks reason can figure out everything – it’s in contrast to an empiricist.

    I’m in favor of reason, but I’m not a rationalist, and I certainly don’t kid myself that I’m always “rational” or reasonable. I also don’t pretend I don’t get annoyed. I also don’t think never getting annoyed is a virtue.

  139. says

    It is annoying. But you’re a rationalist.

    I guess this isn’t a rational argument.

    I think it’s a short form of
    “I’ve run out of arguments and I’m realizing that I’m getting handed my ass by people making arguments, with supporting evidence. I can’t win and I can’t look good and therefore I’m blowing you a raspberry and snide at you being too emotional.”

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