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An asshole posted

I should just title every post that way, right?

An asshole posted on the Atheist Alliance of America National Convention Facebook page:

Remember gentlemen, if a woman looks at you while you are at this convention, and you think she may be interested in you, she isn’t. She’s most likely reminiscing about the chocolate volcano she enjoyed last night at dessert. Do not approach her, or speak to her for any reason other than to inform her that she is on fire if you happen to see flames flickering from her hair or clothing. Keep your hands to yourselves. Politely decline all handshakes or hugs. Do not under any circumstances attempt to discuss any topic at all, or otherwise engage in interaction that is not first approved by an appointed sexual harassment chaperone. When moving from one fixed point in a room to another, keep your eyes on the floor and your arms tucked tightly to your sides. Before moving to another point, ensure that your destination is devoid of women for a 15 foot radius. Don’t even think about drinking alcohol, and do not as another woman if they’d like to share a drink with you. They do not. If a woman engages you in conversation, slowly back away without speaking, and shaking your head to indicate “no”. Do these things, and everyone will be able to enjoy themselves without incident. Thank you.

Yeah. Thanks. We get it. You want atheism to be like a frat party. We don’t.

Comments

  1. rq says

    Well, except for the word ‘gentlemen’ and leaving out the word ‘probably’ before ‘isn’t’, the first sentence wasn’t a bad start… But the rest of it – maybe there’s a contingent of attendees that would do better to behave that way?
    Nice misinterpretation of the actual harassment policy. But I still give an F for reading comprehension.

  2. says

    They consider themselves to be the deepest of the deep thinkers, and they’re really really bad at even the most basic rational thought. It isn’t all or nothing, black/white thinking. It isn’t “I get to ignore all the boundaries” or “I have to respect boundaries that no one is claiming”.

    And the reason I don’t trust those dirtbags a bit is that they are basically claiming to be too stupid/evil to not rape someone without maintaining a self-imposed 15-foot circle between themselves and other people. By their own statements they damn themselves.

  3. says

    Right? I mean, I read that, and then I think about the conferences I’ve actually been to, and I’m just baffled. There’s nonstop approaching and greeting and conversing. That’s what happens there. It’s not all weird and formal and “may I address you?” – it’s normal. Policies are for the rare people who don’t know how to act.

  4. Mark R says

    Ophelia, I think you missed the point, although I find it hard to believe that you could. In the short time that I’ve been reading blogs, comment threads, and twitter feeds, I’ve seen some pretty extreme stuff coming from both sides. I don’t have the tweet and can’t find it to save my life, but it was a few days ago on the Twitter feed of one of the female FTB bloggers (maybe even yours), where one of the tweets (coming from a follower, not the blogger herself) indicated that she tended to believe that all sex was rape. Put yourself in my patriarchal, male privileged, Schroedinger’s rapist, shoes. How does a man interpret that? Even consensual sex is rape? Maybe its best not to even speak to a woman at a conference n order to avoid the possibility of being accused of being a: misogynist, harasser, or a rapist. I’m told that I am guilty of some undefined crime for the simple fact that I am a male, and then it seems like there is a cadre of hypersensitive feminists who want to put every syllable that I write or speak, every nod of the head or smile, in the context of an “all men are evil” agenda. That’s an impression I get from some of the people who are engaging in this debate. This is my impression. If you’re serious about wanting to accomplish something real, you would accept that and try to understand how some of us are reacting. It isn’t misogyny, its utter confusion.

    Perhaps you and the other FTB bloggers who are fighting the good fight could restate the exact position so we can stop arguing about all this noise and really examine the issue? I’m serious about that. There is literally so much out there that I’m not certain what you’re asking for. Is it just the anti-harassment policies? Educate me. What do you want?

  5. says

    Mark – so “a few days ago on the Twitter feed of one of the female FTB bloggers (maybe even yours), where one of the tweets (coming from a follower, not the blogger herself) indicated that she tended to believe that all sex was rape” – and you want me to address that?

    Why? Why on earth? Why should I? It’s one tweet, it’s just your report that it existed at all, you don’t know who said it – why should I tell you what you should think about it? Why should either of us pay any attention to it at all?

  6. says

    And the reason I don’t trust those dirtbags a bit is that they are basically claiming to be too stupid/evil to not rape someone without maintaining a self-imposed 15-foot circle between themselves and other people. By their own statements they damn themselves.

    Yes! Thank you! It’s becoming more and more clear to me that I don’t care if there’s a “movement split” I don’t care if all the dudebros take their bat and balls and go home, or even if the Atheism+/social justice/decent human being section of the movement ends up splitting off. Because ultimately, if those who care end up a) avoiding meetups and conferences where there are no harassment policies & known abusive assholes are accepted and invited, and b) starting their own spaces and conferences to have a safe space, a split will end up happening even without that being the intention.

    What bothers me is that every movement will always have a group on the fringe that are embarrassing and obnoxious to the majority of the group. So I actually don’t have a problem being a part of a group that has a bunch of annoying, crude, childish, ignorant, misogynist, racist douchebags hanging on the fringe, especially when there are policies in place to deal with them when they cross the line from annoying to abusive. But what I can’t deal with, what ultimately might make me leave the atheist community (as much as I love this community and so many of the people I’ve met here) , is if the social justice contingent ends up being the group on the fringe, while the misogynists make up the core.

  7. says

    Someone needs to explain to Mark R that pretty much every feminist in the “circle” we’re talking about have male friends who don’t rape them, and who they don’t accuse of rape. Many of them are straight women(cis or trans*) who are married to men, or are dating men. Lots of men are interacting within this same circle, and are not being accused of raping, harassing, or even being annoying to anyone male or female. There’s a metric shit-ton of friendliness and flirting and even hooking up that is happening, and still the accusations of harassment and assault and rape are specific and limited.

    Assholes like Mark R like to pretend that the standards are too high, so that they can feel justified in ignoring all standards and harassing and assaulting and hating women for not having sex with them whether or not those women have any interest in a shit-weasel like Mark R. The rest of us folks respect boundaries and don’t mind being careful with the feelings of others. Some of us are actually grateful for MORE rules… I was part of a few BDSM communities, and I was happy as hell with the EXTREMELY strict rules in place. I knew where the lines were, and could easily act accordingly.

  8. A. Noyd says

    Here’s the thing. Even if you think someone else’s boundaries are ridiculously restrictive, why wouldn’t you still try not to cross them? Anyone who can’t figure out how to have a good time while still respecting the people around them is an idiot and/or a predator.

  9. says

    What EEB said.

    But what I can’t deal with, what ultimately might make me leave the atheist community (as much as I love this community and so many of the people I’ve met here), is if the social justice contingent ends up being the group on the fringe, while the misogynists make up the core.

    Exactly.

  10. Malachite says

    I think for that particular person, it’s actually really good advice for him to follow. If the anti-anti-harassment crowd all did that, conferences would be a lot safer!!!

  11. says

    I was going to try and respond seriously to Mark R (#4), and then realized there is no possible way that he’s actually asking a real question in good faith. Obviously, he can read, write, get on the internet, navigate social media, etc. So I’m going to assume he can use both google and the FtB search button, and read the reams and reams and reams that have actually been written on the issue (not one random tweet by an unnamed person–notably, not a leader on the issue, I’m going to assume, because I’m personally following most of them).

    So, um, if I’m wrong, Mark, and that was a real question, I’d start there. Because it’s been answered multiple times by multiple bloggers, far more eloquent than I could be. But something tells me you aren’t actually all that concerned with understanding our position.

  12. A. Noyd says

    Mark R (#4)

    I don’t have the tweet and can’t find it to save my life…

    Gee, how convenient. Excuse me if I decline to believe that’s what this mystery follower actually said. Especially since you have a demonstrated inability to understand what women say.

    That’s an impression I get from some of the people who are engaging in this debate.

    I bet when you fart in the elevator on your way to work, you get the impression that your coworkers are an inexplicably grouchy lot.

    It isn’t misogyny, its utter confusion.

    Those aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, your misogyny* seems to be feeding into your inability to understand feminist discourse. And you want someone to sit down and remedially educate you out of your bad faith and willful ignorance. Haha. Fuck that, you entitled wanker.

    ……….
    *As evidenced by such things as your apparent belief that women are irrational harpies who can’t tell the difference between harassment and an innocent conversation with a decent guy.

  13. Jackie Papercuts says

    That was absolutely revolting. It is so hateful, misogynistic and dishonest to pretend that harassment is no big deal and doing anything to stop it happening is taking away men’s basic rights. Gosh, how fascist of us not to want to be harassed and assaulted. Don’t we silly wimminz know that that’s what we’re for? How dare we ruin these poor men’s fun by wanting to be safe or heaven forbid; actually feel welcome.
    Seriously, what disingenuous, disgusting people there are in this community. They are why we need these policies in the first place. That clearly includes Mark R.

    Mark, you’re sexist and a liar. No one owes you anything, you entitled, bigoted, jerk. You know what I want? I want you to scurry back under your rock and take your bs with you.

  14. Jacob Schmidt says

    Do not approach her, or speak to her for any reason other than to inform her that she is on fire if you happen to see flames flickering from her hair or clothing. Keep your hands to yourselves. Politely decline all handshakes or hugs. Etc etc etc.

    By their words they damn themselves, indeed. “Well, If I can’t harass or grope anyone, I’d might as well never interact at all!”

  15. Jacob Schmidt says

    Perhaps you and the other FTB bloggers who are fighting the good fight could restate the exact position so we can stop arguing about all this noise and really examine the issue? I’m serious about that. There is literally so much out there that I’m not certain what you’re asking for. Is it just the anti-harassment policies? Educate me. What do you want?

    So you haven’t been paying attention for 2 years (has it been 2 years?) and we’re supposed to believe all of a sudden you’ll start now? Fuck off.

  16. notsont says


    I don’t have the tweet and can’t find it to save my life, but it was a few days ago on the Twitter feed of one of the female FTB bloggers (maybe even yours), where one of the tweets (coming from a follower, not the blogger herself) indicated that she tended to believe that all sex was rape.

    This is funny, I had an argument with someone a while back, they made a similar claim only he was claiming it was the “leaders of feminism” when pressed on it he eventually after about 40 posts provided a link, It turned out to be a quote from an obscure book written in the 70s and even then it was not saying what they claimed it was saying.

    So no I do not believe you saw a tweet like that at all.

  17. angharad says

    Yes, it’s pretty telling that ‘keep your hands to yourself’ is on the list of way out, extreme, and over the top things you shouldn’t be doing now. Keep your hands to yourself! OMG, how will we manage it!

  18. Jacob Schmidt says

    This is funny, I had an argument with someone a while back, they made a similar claim only he was claiming it was the “leaders of feminism” when pressed on it he eventually after about 40 posts provided a link, It turned out to be a quote from an obscure book written in the 70s and even then it was not saying what they claimed it was saying.

    Yeah, had the same thing happen about some claims of “feminists want to commit genocide against men!”

  19. Mark R says

    Why all the hatred? No, I haven’t been paying attention to this for the past two years, thank you. I just recently discovered that there was any harassment of feminist issue going on in the (so-called) skeptic movement. Before this month I had never visited an atheist blog, reddit, or even had a twitter account. Please excuse me for that omission.

    I will try to find the tweet again. And when I repost it, I’ll expect an apology. But I renew my request for the information. I realize that you’ve been discussing these issues ad nauseum and it is frustrating for people to come in and ask, “what’s going on?” so if you’d like to dismiss me, you go right ahead. But wait, I thought you had legitimate concerns and that you’re looking to fix something that’s broken. Do you think that heaping vitriol on someone who is asking for information is the way to go about that?

    I pointed out that tweet as an example of one voice out of many that I’ve heard since I’ve started reading these horrible blog threads and tweets. It is one voice. I don’t think you are all crazy, radical feminists. I do think that a lot of you are very hostile and probably don’t really know what you’re trying to accomplish. So, with that said, I would like to know in a reasonable and brief manner, what is your beef? What would it take to fix this? What is your list of demands?

  20. says

    Mark R – most of the “hatred” on this thread is about the Facebook post that is the subject, not about you.

    You didn’t answer my questions. Why is a single tweet the thing to discuss? Why did you base most of your longish comment on one tweet?

    A single tweet doesn’t stand for all of feminism. I don’t have time or inclination to respond to it for you. The claim in that tweet that you quote is of no relevance to this post, to Freethought blogs, to anyone posting here – to anything. It’s a red herring and a strawman, both in one. A red straw herring. I don’t subscribe to the claim that all sex is rape, and I think it’s too marginal and pointless to bother discussing.

    Telling me you think we don’t know what we’re trying to accomplish isn’t the best way to get anyone to converse with you. It certainly doesn’t motivate me. It’s basically the same as saying we’re stupid, in which case I can’t see why you’re reading here at all, much less commenting.

  21. says

    “All sex is rape” is often attributed to various feminists, but the most prominent claims are false. The similar phrase “all men are rapists” comes from a novel (meaning fictional), where the character is using the term “rape” in a somewhat more metaphorical sense, and the character isn’t acting as an author avatar.

    So I’d be pretty curious to know the context of the mythical “all sex is rape” tweet, since it matches up so nicely to anti-feminist myths. It’s like someone saying “I can’t find the tweet, but I know I saw one of the prominent atheists say that he really believes in his heart, but just hates God and wants to sin without consequence.”

  22. Jacob Schmidt says

    Why all the hatred?[1] No, I haven’t been paying attention to this for the past two years, thank you.[2] I just recently discovered that there was any harassment of feminist issue going on in the (so-called) skeptic movement.[3] Before this month I had never visited an atheist blog, reddit, or even had a twitter account. Please excuse me for that omission.

    1) For trying to get us to educate you. There’s plenty of material for you to peruse on your own without being spoon fed.

    2) I could tell.

    3) Given that you’re new to all this, on what basis do you accuse us of being confusing?

    I will try to find the tweet again. And when I repost it, I’ll expect an apology.[1] But I renew my request for the information. I realize that you’ve been discussing these issues ad nauseum and it is frustrating for people to come in and ask, “what’s going on?” so if you’d like to dismiss me, you go right ahead. But wait, I thought you had legitimate concerns and that you’re looking to fix something that’s broken.[2] Do you think that heaping vitriol on someone who is asking for information is the way to go about that?[3]

    1) Nope; failing to provide it the first time is on you.

    2) Indeed.

    3) The thing about asking for information is that it isn’t always in good faith. Sometimes, when some person waltzs in speaking in ignorance and talking about some tweet he saw that said some horrible thing and we totally need to clarify for him, he’s not acting in good faith.

    I pointed out that tweet as an example of one voice out of many that I’ve heard since I’ve started reading these horrible blog threads and tweets. It is one voice. I don’t think you are all crazy, radical feminists.[1] I do think that a lot of you are very hostile and probably don’t really know what you’re trying to accomplish.[2] So, with that said, I would like to know in a reasonable and brief manner, what is your beef?[3] What would it take to fix this? What is your list of demands?[4]

    1) So the voice doesn’t represent us, but you want us to comment on it? It has nothing to do with us. You admit we don’t believe in that. Why the hell are you asking about it?

    2) You just got here; on what basis do you think this?

    3) Sexism, mostly.

    4) Stop being sexist; follow the harassment policy; respect the autonomy of others and acquire enthusiastic consent for anything that requires it.

  23. A. Noyd says

    Mark R (#21)

    But I renew my request for the information.

    And I want a sandwich. Go make me one.

    But wait, I thought you had legitimate concerns and that you’re looking to fix something that’s broken.

    Having to cater to petulant man-babies is part of what we’re trying to fix.

    Do you think that heaping vitriol on someone who is asking for information is the way to go about that?

    You might be astonished to learn that heaping vitriol on petulant man-babies is an acceptable way to teach ‘em to do their own damn research.

    I do think that a lot of you are very hostile and probably don’t really know what you’re trying to accomplish.

    I can just see your hands twitching with the desire to pat us on the head as you wrote this. You must be going for your merit badge in indignant condescension. You’re the one who’s completely ignorant of what feminists want, but you still, somehow, feel it’s reasonable to decide we’re the ones who don’t know what our goals are?

    That’s why the “hatred” (actually, mockery and disgust), you stupid, sad, dishonest loser.

  24. karmacat says

    So, my first thought reading this is I would much rather think about a chocolate volcano than “an asshole.” And I really don’t get that excited about a chocolate volcano. If “an asshole” approached me, I would be tempted to use that chocolate volcano against him

  25. A. Noyd says

    One point in particular of not getting it in the op (which I just noticed on rereading) is this: “Politely decline all handshakes or hugs.”

    If you’re declining a handshake or a hug, that means the woman is necessarily initiating. If the woman is initiating, she’s giving consent to shake her hand or hug her. Unless your idea of shaking hands is to grab her tits or your hugs involve dry-humping, it’s safe to return such gestures.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    @karmakat (#30)
    :D

  26. Mark R says

    Well, if you actually read my comment in context of Ophelia’s post it would probably make more sense. A guy is saying facetiously that we should avoid all contact with women because someone is likely to accuse of us harassment or rape. My point, and I think it is pretty clear, is that “I’ve seen some pretty extreme stuff coming from both sides.” I used this as both an example of the extreme things I’ve been reading, and as a reason why a man might be justified at being confused about just what exactly it is we’re supposed to do in this situation. Since there is a lot of noise from the extremes, to get to the actual point by reading two years of blogs is virtually impossible.

    My post was intended to do two things:

    1. To give the perspective of a very nice man who treats women with respect and who feels that all of this vitriol has been generalized to the entire gender. If you ever want to understand that idea, just go back and read the things I’ve been called in this very thread. The perspective I gave was intended to elucidate the motivations of the “asshole” that Ophelia was referring to. I happen to think that his reaction, although probably facetious, is quite justified due to the horrible things some of the feminists say about anyone with a differing view.

    2. By recognizing that the Tweet in question was extreme, I was attempting to show that there is a lot of noise involved in this debate that is obviously not to the point. But for someone in the situation I’m in, who is coming in after two years, the point is impossible to decipher. The clearest I’ve managed to get is from Stepanie Zvan’s blog which indicates anti harassment policies at skeptic conferences is the key point. I’m trying to find out if that is true, and I would appreciate it if you folks would quit psychoanalyzing me and criticizing me for being a misogynist and actually engage in a mature discussion. If you’re prone to making snap decisions and attacking people without trying to engage them in a compassionate and intelligent manner, then you should probably shut up because you’re embarassing yourself.

    Ophelia: thank you for not calling me an asshole (yet), but I didn’t ask you to comment on the tweet. I asked you what you want from all this. What are you fighting for?

    Judging from the responses here, it seems possible that none of you reaally know. It has become so easy for you to demonize and attack, it seems like maybe that’s the point of it all. You just want to hurl insults for their own sake. Please tell me there’s a point to all this. Please tell me this isn’t just a bunch of enraged jr. high school kids calling names.

  27. says

    Gosh, I went to WiS2 — a male lamb in the very den of she-wolves! — and interacted with all sorts of women, including speaking with them, sitting next to them, brushing by in crowded venues, shaking hands, even a friendly hug or two, and also at one point consumed enough alcohol to get pleasantly tipsy.

    And I didn’t get charged with harassment, not even once. Imagine that. Feminazism just ain’t what it used to be, I guess….

  28. F [is for failure to emerge] says

    Marl R.

    Useful hint: You can actually go and read things at this or other blogs/sites that were posted before today. In fact, many of those things reference, directly and via links, the issues, proposed rules of conduct, harassment, various timelines, etc. And then there are search engines. With advanced capabilities to search within specific domains or URLs, among other things.

    I find it hard to believe that you can think someone missed a point while declaring you know nothing of what is going on. I do believe you can get past the “both sides” fallacy, one way or the other.

  29. Mark R says

    Yeah, um, I’ve kind of been doing that, for several weeks. Maybe you haven’t been reading what I’ve written, so its easy to misunderstand. Yes, I can cite a million complaints I’ve heard. What I haven’t heard is a clear expression of what is being asked for. Or is this not a clearly defined thing? Is this just a “let’s complain about men and then get mad when they won’t do as we wish” movement, or is there a goal you’re trying to accomplish? Last time I’m asking. You should all feel a little embarrassed that you’ve been debating this for two years and don’t even know what you’re trying to accomplish.

  30. Jacob Schmidt says

    Where’s that tweet, Mark?

    You should all feel a little embarrassed that you’ve been debating this for two years and don’t even know what you’re trying to accomplish.

    Heh. I gave you the basics already. Here, I’ll quote myself: “Stop being sexist; follow the harassment policy; respect the autonomy of others and acquire enthusiastic consent for anything that requires it.”

    So, stop being sexist, stop harassing, get consent. Got that? If everyone did that, we’d have much less of a problem.

  31. jenBPhillips says

    Mark R.

    Well, among other things, your memory seems very poor. In your most recent comment, you say:

    thank you for not calling me an asshole (yet), but I didn’t ask you to comment on the tweet.

    In your original comment, addressed to Ophelia you said (after describing the phantom tweet):

    Put yourself in my patriarchal, male privileged, Schroedinger’s rapist, shoes. How does a man interpret that?

    So yes, you did ask her, specifically, to comment on the tweet, specifically. If you really didn’t intend to ask that question, perhaps it is your writing skills that are at fault here.

    You close with:

    What are you fighting for?

    Judging from the responses here, it seems possible that none of you reaally know. It has become so easy for you to demonize and attack, it seems like maybe that’s the point of it all. You just want to hurl insults for their own sake. Please tell me there’s a point to all this. Please tell me this isn’t just a bunch of enraged jr. high school kids calling names.

    Aside from the fact that, as I write this, at least two commenters have specifically answered your question, perhaps you should consider the possibility that the condescension dripping from every one of your comments here is not the best way to engender positive, open responses from people. Many of us have been struggling to throw open the curtains on the creeping, insidious sexism that inhabits the atheist movement for quite some time now. That is what we want. To expose it, to address it, and to marginalize it as much as possible so that the movement will appeal to a broad section of the population rather than just cis hetero white men.

    The answer to your question is freely available to anyone genuinely interested in knowing it, owing to the fact that it has been elaborately addressed approximately one hundred billion times. Your choice to come in here flinging your straw feminists about and calling us ‘enraged jr. high school kids’ for responding in a less than friendly manner suggests that you are not asking in good faith; that you are, in fact, perilously close to asshole territory.

  32. Mark R says

    If I were easily offended, I wouldn’t be on the internet. But why would you call me a sexist or imply that I don’t get consent? That’s part of the issue that gets people upset and call you guys nazis.

    You’re actually telling me that you think the debate is that people opposing you don’t think they should get consent before having sex? You’re actually saying they think that its okay to harrass women?

  33. mildlymagnificent says

    Please tell me there’s a point to all this.

    The point was in Ophelia’s post up there at the top of the page. I’ll repeat it here to make it easier to see what I mean.

    Yeah. Thanks. We get it. You want atheism to be like a frat party. We don’t.

    To expand – but only a little. Most organisations now realise that the best and easiest way to make conferences more comfortable for everyone is to have policies that most people are already familiar with from their workplaces. With the fewest possible adaptations to cover the specific environment and making explicit some of the things that many people aren’t aware of the things that bar and security staff are usually expected to deal with.

    It’s not hard. It’s not exceptional. It doesn’t ruin fun. (People who like to bully or harass others as “fun” can take their business elsewhere.)

  34. Mark R says

    Apparently you’re not aware of the concept of a rhetorical question. I’ve only seen one answer which is basically, “stop raping and harassing women”. Duh.

    And I repeat my challenge to you. Please resist the urge to go back and pick apart my post and analyze me so you can justify calling me an asshole or condescending. I already clarified exactly what I meant so I think it is fruitless to continue that part of the discussion.

    I think my conclusions about this group are pretty much on target. You don’t know what you want. You just want to fight.

  35. mildlymagnificent says

    You’re actually saying they think that its okay to harrass women?

    You really haven’t been paying attention, have you.

  36. Mark R says

    I thought I made that clear about ten times. I am new to this discussion. What is so hard about this?

  37. jenBPhillips says

    But why would you call me a sexist or imply that I don’t get consent? That’s part of the issue that gets people upset and call you guys nazis.

    FFS. Show me where anyone has called you a sexist, or implied that you don’t get consent?
    And it only took you 5 comments to Godwin the thread–nice work!

    You’re actually telling me that you think the debate is that people opposing you don’t think they should get consent before having sex? You’re actually saying they think that its okay to harrass women?

    Both of those things are demonstrably true for some members of the anti-FTB/Skepchick contingent, yes.

  38. mildlymagnificent says

    So hard about this?

    You start out by presuming that we have no good reason for discussing something that’s clearly part of a long-standing dispute.

    If you were surprised by the discussion, you could have done a bit of background work yourself on the issue of conferences and harassment. I just tried out – atheist convention harassment – as the search term and got myself a whole lot of handy dandy sites and policies to check out. You could have done the same and got yourself up to speed without upsetting anybody or asking irritating questions.

  39. Jacob Schmidt says

    You’re actually telling me that you think the debate is that people opposing you don’t think they should get consent before having sex? You’re actually saying they think that its okay to harrass women?

    Yes, in various degrees.

    I thought I made that clear about ten times. I am new to this discussion. What is so hard about this?

    The part where you’re simultaneously so new that you can’t be expected to have done your own homework and yet so experienced that you think you understand the dynamics at hand.

    I’ve only seen one answer which is basically, “stop raping and harassing women”. Duh.

    Yeah. Women are raped and harassed often. It happens. It shouldn’t. Does that confuse you?

  40. Mark R says

    Let me quote myself:

    “I’m told that I am guilty of some undefined crime for the simple fact that I am a male, and then it seems like there is a cadre of hypersensitive feminists who want to put every syllable that I write or speak, every nod of the head or smile, in the context of an “all men are evil” agenda. That’s an impression I get from some of the people who are engaging in this debate. This is my impression. If you’re serious about wanting to accomplish something real, you would accept that and try to understand how some of us are reacting. It isn’t misogyny, its utter confusion.

    Perhaps you and the other FTB bloggers who are fighting the good fight could restate the exact position so we can stop arguing about all this noise and really examine the issue? I’m serious about that. There is literally so much out there that I’m not certain what you’re asking for. Is it just the anti-harassment policies? Educate me. What do you want?”

    Interpretation: I read a lot of crap in the blogs and threads. I HAVE READ the blogs and threads. For weeks I have been reading. There are extreme thoughts and accusations expressed. By extreme, I’m using the traditional English definition: “Severe, exceptional. furthest from the center or a given point; outermost.”

    I came here in good faith trying to express how I feel when I read these attacks on people who are trying to engage in earnest discussion. I asked a simple question. I asked for someone to squelch out all the noise from the extremists and tell me what the core issue is. So far I’ve received two very lukewarm answers: “don’t rape or harrass women, ” and “Google it, you moron. It is easy to find out about the anti harassment policies we’re asking for.” I would think you’d be interested in being forthcoming about your goals. Answers are rare and vague, but the insults are abundant and rich in detail.

    Let me rephrase my question. If anti harassment policies are implemented, will this solve the debate to your satisfaction?”

  41. Silentbob says

    @ Mark R

    The hostility you’re getting is because of your attitude. How do you expect people to react when you waltz in and say, “I don’t know anything about this. Educate me! I’m a nice guy. Also, you people are rude and so stupid you don’t know what the hell you want.”?

    There is no “list of demands”. This is not a hostage situation. In a nutshell, a couple of years ago it came to light that many women find atheist events unwelcoming because they get continually “hit on”. Sometimes even touched inappropriately, and so on. To make these events more welcoming to women sexual harassment policies have been advocated and widely adopted. But there has been a great deal of pushback from people leery of feminism who have attempted to caricature these policies, as in the OP.

    If you want to know about the history of concerns with respect to harassment policies in the atheist community, here’s a resource:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2012/06/15/harassment-policies-campaign-timeline-of-major-events/

    Follow the links that seem most relevant. There’s a lot of stuff there. You will have to work your way through it yourself. Very few people are going to be interested in designing a remedial course just for you.

    If your concern is that harassment policies stifle normal social interaction, I recommend this recent post:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/brutereason/2013/08/21/flirting-and-sexual-harassment-not-actually-the-same-thing/

  42. Mark R says

    Thank you for an actual answer. I had suspected that this was all about the anti harassment policies, but nobody seemed to want to provide that fairly basic answer.

    And for the record, I’m not concerned that a rationally designed anti harassment policy will stifle social interaction. I think that making general guidelines as to what type of behavior is considered unacceptable can’t be a bad thing, and it would enable a consistent reporting of issues, as well as a framework as to what types of actions should be taken to offenders. It would also enable the conferences to identify people who were habitually engaging in this type of behavior.

    I appreciate the clear answer, even if its a little condescending.

  43. mildlymagnificent says

    There are extreme thoughts and accusations expressed. By extreme, I’m using the traditional English definition: “Severe, exceptional. furthest from the center or a given point; outermost.”

    I’m not sure what “extreme” thoughts and accusations means in this setting. If you think that women saying that they’re sick to death of situational or frequent or constant harassment is “extreme” – then – welcome to our world.

    Harassment and assault and rape are rightfully described as “extreme” in a moral sense. But in the sense of unusual or a ‘hardly ever’ outlier statistical sense, they’re really part of the scenery of our daily thoughts and many of our days’ activities. Most women have been grabbed, groped or harassed one way or another. One in 4 or 6 has been raped – depends on which surveys and reports you rely on. One in four will be subjected to intimate partner violence at some time in their lives, usually before they’re 30. This is not “furthest from the centre” or “exceptional” any way you try to stretch the word.

    The right word is unacceptable. And it’s long past time it was shouted from the rooftops.

  44. A. Noyd says

    Mark R (#32)

    My point, and I think it is pretty clear, is that “I’ve seen some pretty extreme stuff coming from both sides.”

    King Golden Mean of Fallacyland called. He wants his high horse back.

    [I intended t]o give the perspective of a very nice man who treats women with respect and who feels that all of this vitriol has been generalized to the entire gender. If you ever want to understand that idea, just go back and read the things I’ve been called in this very thread.

    That very nice man will probably be very upset with you when he finds out how badly you’ve mangled his perspective. And get this through your head: You’re. Not. Being. Polite. Here on FtB, we weigh actions approximately 4,723 times more heavily than tone. And your actions are those of an entitled, condescending, whiny child.

    The perspective I gave was intended to elucidate the motivations of the “asshole” that Ophelia was referring to.

    But we’re not actually confused about his motivations. Or your motivations. You’re both as transparent as an invisible jellyfish.

    I happen to think that his reaction, although probably facetious, is quite justified due to the horrible things some of the feminists say about anyone with a differing view.

    Horrible things you can’t cite (as in link to) a single example of. Also, there is no single feminist view. We’re always disagreeing with one another on even relatively fundamental matters. We tolerate honest disagreement quite well, thanks. But you? You don’t even know enough to disagree.

    Judging from the responses here, it seems possible that none of you reaally know. It has become so easy for you to demonize and attack, it seems like maybe that’s the point of it all.

    Here, think of feminists as investors.

    You’re hoping to open a small business. You spot a feminist with a million bucks to invest. You go up and ask her for her money. All of it. As encouragement, you show her your prospectus. All the objective says is “Make papa some moolah! Yeaaah, baby!” Your spreadsheets are in crayon, written on used hamburger wrappers. Half the numerical symbols are ones you made up yourself, and the other half don’t even add up. You haven’t done any research. The only bids you’ve gathered are from your eleven-year-old cousin Jeffy and your pet goldfish who died last week. When you see the feminist raise an eyebrow, you go on and on about how grateful she should be you’re offering her the chance to fund you. When she declines, you detect a sneer in her voice. You ask her how on earth she expects to make any money with that attitude. She says that she plans to invest $100,000 each in ten promising startups where people actually seem to know what the fuck they’re doing, that’s how. You call her rude for using the word “fuck” and proceed to follow her around giving her an hours-long lecture on politeness and how she owes it to you to invest in your business.

    Only, you’re not asking for money, you’re asking for time and energy. No one’s going to spend that on you seriously because you’re a bad investment. A waste of time. Now fuck off and spare us the rest of the lecture.

    (#38)

    If I were easily offended, I wouldn’t be on the internet.

    Psst, people who aren’t easily offended don’t constantly bring up how mean others are being to them.

    But why would you call me a sexist or imply that I don’t get consent?

    I gave you a reason in comment #13. I cited “your apparent belief that women are irrational harpies who can’t tell the difference between harassment and an innocent conversation with a decent guy.” (Which is implied when you say, “Maybe its best not to even speak to a woman at a conference n order to avoid the possibility of being accused of being a: misogynist, harasser, or a rapist.”)

    (#41)

    Please resist the urge to go back and pick apart my post and analyze me so you can justify calling me an asshole or condescending.

    No one has to pick apart your posts to find assholishness or condescension. There’s no much to them besides that and confusion. I’m just doing it because it’s fun.

    (#48)

    I came here in good faith…

    Someone help this man extinguish his pants!

  45. jenBPhillips says

    I had suspected that this was all about the anti harassment policies, but nobody seemed to want to provide that fairly basic answer.

    Well, no. While this particular post on Ophelia’s blog is indeed about anti-harassment policies, there are additional issues within the community. Clear harassment policies and enforcing them is an important part of making Atheist/Skeptic Cons safe, welcoming spaces for all participants, but at the end of the day, Cons are infrequent things for most of us. Sexism and misogyny in our local meetings and in our online interactions are pretty much daily occurrences. That’s the bigger picture.

  46. mildlymagnificent says

    A. Noyd.

    Please stay in for the next 24 hours. Your gold-plated internet will need to be delivered safely.

  47. athyco says

    Mark R, there are 290+ comments about his contribution to the Atheist Alliance of America Facebook page. Meridian Frost (very proud of his huge YouTube presence) is responding multiple times.

    Go, therefore. It is a direct source. If you come back here, bring with you the direct quotes and content that makes Meridian Frost not an asshole. Show how his “facetious” comment addresses the validity of anti-harassment policies (lack thereof vs. adopted) at conferences/conventions.

    I am educating you, by the way, in that students who expect to be spoonfed do not thrive and that students who expect to comprehend the big picture without grasping the details are deluding themselves.

  48. says

    Wow. Just once I’d like to be wrong, and find out that I’ve rudely prejudged someone who is truly a decent person and earnestly wants to understand and help make the world a better place.

    But considering that it’s never happened, perhaps it’s time to give up the dream.

  49. Mark R says

    All I can say is that I think I’ve received all the information I could possibly glean from this pleasant group. I’m glad you have it all figured out. I knew you’d be helpful. Thank you for your kindness and your time. Good night.

  50. says

    He follows me, Ophelia, and Greta on Twitter. Has for about a week. No such tweets in our timelines over that time, not even from the erotica writer. :p

    On the other hand, he also follows Thunderf00t, so maybe it was someone else he saw tweet that.

  51. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @19. angharad :

    Yes, it’s pretty telling that ‘keep your hands to yourself’ is on the list of way out, extreme, and over the top things you shouldn’t be doing now. Keep your hands to yourself! OMG, how will we manage it!

    Wearing a straight jacket would probably achieve that purpose.

    BTW. As an experiement in how to ask questions what sort of response would I get to asking the question initially at #4 Mark R (August 31st, 2013 at 3:33 pm) like this :

    Afraid I’m new to this subject area / issue and haven’t yet heard / read much about it. But the stuff I have read so far has still left me baffled I”m struggling to understand, can anyone help me out here please? What sources, what books, websites, etc .. are there that you’d recommend to best help me understand this whole feminism and especially harrassment policies at atheist conferences topic?

    In particular – what goals do the feminists have, what do they want to achieve an or is this simply a matter of anti-harrassment policies and nothing more than that?

  52. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    PS. Also I did vaguely think I saw one tweet once by an unknown feminist or feminists follower that said something like “she tended to believe that all sex was rape.” Anyone know what onetrtah the dela is with that and whether its true or not that some feminists think that way, unfortunately I don’t have the tweet in question and can’t recall exactly where it was from or so any more details than that but maybe one of you could possibly enlighten me there?

    BTW. Was that Andrea Dworkin maybe or is it just an urban legend confected by those hostile to women’s rights?

  53. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Arrrgh! Typos sorry – take II :

    .. something like “she tended to believe that all sex was rape.” Anyone know what one earth the deal is with that?

    for clarity.

    That’s how I’d ask if I was starting out and asking in good faith anyhow.

    (Also lurk first and do own research as well looking at multiple sources of info offering multiple perspectives on it. Just like with any topic really.)

    Sorry for the string of comments in a row here.

  54. hjhornbeck says

    StevoR @62:

    BTW. Was that Andrea Dworkin maybe or is it just an urban legend confected by those hostile to women’s rights?

    Tom Foss handled that one already @23:

    “All sex is rape” is often attributed to various feminists, but the most prominent claims are false. The similar phrase “all men are rapists” comes from a novel (meaning fictional), where the character is using the term “rape” in a somewhat more metaphorical sense, and the character isn’t acting as an author avatar.

  55. hjhornbeck says

    StevoR @61:

    Afraid I’m new to this subject area / issue and haven’t yet heard / read much about it. But the stuff I have read so far has still left me baffled I”m struggling to understand, can anyone help me out here please? What sources, what books, websites, etc .. are there that you’d recommend to best help me understand this whole feminism and especially harrassment policies at atheist conferences topic?

    Hmmm, depends on my mood. If I’m feeling nice:

    You sound like you have specific questions, as you claim to have done research on the matter, and yet you never present them. Would you mind providing these specifics, so we don’t have to walk you through a year’s worth of blogging or educate you on fifty years of feminism?

    If I’m naughty:

    I know, it can be hard to bring yourself up to speed on topics this vast. Let me share some of the tools I use to cut through it all:

    Wikipedia.
    Google.
    The search thingy at the top of this page.

    We academics know all the cool tools, eh? Give them a whirl, and come back when you have a question that can be answered in less than ten blog posts.

  56. says

    I slept through most of the conversation with Mark, but I’d have one question for him: what are the goals of skepticism and atheism?

    The skeptical movement in its current form has existed since the ’70s. Should be easy to define what it’s trying to achieve. And even if we consider the start of movement atheism to be the publication of The God Delusion (which is a bit ridiculous given O’Hair and whatnot), it has five years under its belt. So if Mark thinks the feminist wing of the skeptical/atheist movements should have their list of demands ready after two years, then it should be no problem to articulate what the end goals of movement skepticism and movement atheism are. How will we know when we’re done?

    Or maybe–and I know this is a nutty idea, but hear me out–maybe these movements exist because of ongoing, systematic problems, which don’t easily boil down to a bulleted list of target accomplishments or demands. Maybe long-term goals like “increasing scientific literacy” or “breaking down religious privilege” or “dismantling patriarchy” are about counteracting long-standing, sometimes inborn, problems that change in the details over time, requiring re-prioritization and refocusing by the movements.

    So, right now, feminists in the atheist and skeptic communities are fighting for better harassment policies at conventions and better enforcement of the ones that exist, and also fighting a toxic culture of misogyny that encourages harassment, rape apology, and protecting predators while driving victims and targets into silence or out of the movement. If we change that, it won’t mean that the job of feminists in movement atheism and skepticism is done, it means that we’ll have fixed one of the more pressing issues facing the community. There’ll still be a lot of work to do. And the same is true of atheists fighting against ten commandments monuments or skeptics trying to increase the FDA’s regulatory power over supplements. Accomplishing one goal doesn’t magically mean that everything is better now, and having a particular goal in mind now doesn’t mean that we know what the priorities will be in the future. That largely depends on the pressing problems and the resources at hand.

  57. khms says

    @Mark R:

    where one of the tweets (coming from a follower, not the blogger herself) indicated that she tended to believe that all sex was rape.

    I can believe that that tweet exists somewhere. I’ve heard that sentiment before – oh, at least two or three times.

    In 53 years.

    There are a lot statements at least as stupid I’ve heard a lot more often.

    @Tom Foss:

    Accomplishing one goal doesn’t magically mean that everything is better now, and having a particular goal in mind now doesn’t mean that we know what the priorities will be in the future. That largely depends on the pressing problems and the resources at hand.

    Just think of the US civil rights movement, and Obama’s recent speech on that topic.

  58. Mark R says

    I searched for the tweet and haven’t been able to find it. I apologize to the group since it was irresponsible for me to bring it into the conversation even tangentially without having the documentation. Although I know there are some extreme feminists that have expressed similar sentiments in the past, I also know that it is so exceedingly rare as to not merit mention.

    And I do realize that Andrea Dworkin never said it, so don’t get all excited to jump on me about that.

    My point in bringing it up was to demonstrate that there are a lot of things that I personally consider extreme that have been said in the discussion. I consider the extremists to be noise that distract from the core of a meaningful discussion. Its fairly easy to recognize most of the extremist views on the other side, rape threats and the like. But on your side of the issue it is increasingly difficult, which was my point.

    I realize that to deal with this issue as a monolithic entity is just another type of strawman, so I wanted to hear straight from the horses’ mouths what their grievances were. I find it a little odd that there was so much resistance to that request. Why would you write 2000 words to tell me that you didn’t have time to give me an answer? I wasn’t entirely sure if this was a situation where a goal was being sought, or if it was just a forum to talk about misogyny in all its myriad forms. I think I have all the answers I need now.

    Thank you for the discussion. And again, please accept my apologies for my irresponsible posting of an unverifiable comment.

  59. A. Noyd says

    Mark R (#68)

    Its fairly easy to recognize most of the extremist views on the other side, rape threats and the like. But on your side of the issue it is increasingly difficult, which was my point.

    Maybe it’s difficult because you’re trying too hard to make out “both sides” as equal when they’re not.

    Why would you write 2000 words to tell me that you didn’t have time to give me an answer?

    I explained this to you. Read my analogy about investors (the large paragraph in #52). That you’re asking this now is one more drop in the bucket of justification for why we shouldn’t spend time taking you seriously. You don’t listen to the tenth part of what’s said to you.

  60. says

    Mark R @ 32 – time has passed and the discussion has moved on, but this annoys me, so I’m addressing it.

    Ophelia: thank you for not calling me an asshole (yet), but I didn’t ask you to comment on the tweet. I asked you what you want from all this. What are you fighting for?

    Oh yes you did. @ 4 -

    I don’t have the tweet and can’t find it to save my life, but it was a few days ago on the Twitter feed of one of the female FTB bloggers (maybe even yours), where one of the tweets (coming from a follower, not the blogger herself) indicated that she tended to believe that all sex was rape. Put yourself in my patriarchal, male privileged, Schroedinger’s rapist, shoes. How does a man interpret that? Even consensual sex is rape?

    If you’re going to take up our time, at least be more accurate than that.

  61. Mark R says

    Sorry A Noyd. It took you just over thirty minutes to make the following claims about me: a misogynist, unable to understand feminist discourse, acting in bad faith, willfully ignorant, an entitled wanker who believes that “women are irrational harpies who can’t tell the difference between harassment and an innocent conversation with a decent guy.”

    Those are irrational and immature statements. I tuned you out after that because I assumed you were one of the extremists I was speaking about earlier issuing noise for noise sake. In light of what was said to me later in the thread, perhaps my assessment that you are an outlier was rather hasty.

    This is my last post on this topic.

  62. says

    Just realized where some confusion might be coming from, Mark.

    This blog is not intended to be an educational tool for clueless guys. We start from the assumption that women are human and work from there. We don’t spend our time going over and over and over and over the same fucking questions for every new person who wanders in. You’ve joined an ongoing community. Like most places on the internet, the polite thing to do is LURK MOAR. Go back through the archives. When you are ready to engage in conversation on our level, then you can feel free to start commenting.

    Obviously, this is too difficult for you. Why don’t you go try out Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog? Guess what! Their top post is on harassment policies!

    You’re acting like a spoiled child in our space. It’s not our job to coddle you, it’s your job to prove to us that you’re someone worth interacting with. Your comments, especially as a newcomer, are your audition–or, as A. Noyd put it perfectly, your prospectus. And buddy, you blew it big time. Major bomb. It’s possible to come back from such a disastrous first impression, I’ve seen it happen, but it takes work. And you have proven over and over that you are too lazy to put in any work; you want everything cooked just to your taste and spoon-fed into your mouth in perfectly sized, perfectly appetizing chunks.

    That’s not how it works. That’s not how it works in the real world, and that sure as hell isn’t how it works most places on the internet. Some of the blogs and forums I used to hang out in when I was younger would have roasted you alive for this behavior.

    The proper response, now, is to say “Thank you for the links”, read up on the information we’ve generously provided you with, lurk until you’re able to comment constructively (here’s some good, general tips for commenting that will serve you well most places), and don’t come back until you’re ready to act like a grownup.

  63. Nick Gotts says

    My point in bringing it up was to demonstrate that there are a lot of things that I personally consider extreme that have been said in the discussion. – Mark R.

    And yet you couldn’t be bothered to find a single example that you could actually give a source for. I think that told most people here all they needed to know about you – along with your smug reference to yourself as “a very nice guy”. Did it not occur to you that even if that happens to be true, your own assurance that it is so provides other people with no information whatever?

  64. sigurd jorsalfar says

    Who sits around worrying that someone who thinks all sex is rape is someone they might end up having sex with? I know I don’t.

  65. Jacob Schmidt says

    …a misogynist[1], unable to understand feminist discourse[2], acting in bad faith[3], willfully ignorantt[4], an entitled wanker who believes that “women are irrational harpies who can’t tell the difference between harassment and an innocent conversation with a decent guy.”[5]

    1) Where?

    2) Unwilling

    3) Certainly

    4) Probably

    5) You’re the one that brought up “all sex is rape” to represent the feminist side. Don’t blame us for taking you at your word.

  66. jenBPhillips says

    Yes, I’ve got your back, Ophelia :)

    Not that it made one damn bit of difference with Mark R, as he failed to acknowledge the error and ignored every other response to his rhetoric, choosing instead to mewl about how mean we all are.

    I think I have all the answers I need now.

    When you come in with baiting, confrontational language, it’s pretty clear you don’t genuinely want ‘answers’–just an opportunity to bolster your confirmation bias. Asshole.

  67. A. Noyd says

    Mark R (#73)

    It took you just over thirty minutes to make the following claims about me:

    What does that even mean? Do you think it’s impossible to make those assessments in such a short time? Am I supposed to crank up my credulity and perpetually refrain from calling things as I see them just in case you, unlike the whole parade of guys just like you that we’ve had in the past several years, are somehow not a misogynistic, willfully ignorant, entitled wanker who doesn’t understand feminist discourse and who acts in bad faith? Despite everything you’ve said that would lead a reasonable person to such a conclusion?

    And I didn’t call you “a misogynist,” I pointed out your misogyny. Which you demonstrate here again in your assumption that women can’t rationally form our own conclusions about men’s behavior. But let’s say I did call you a misogynist. If you weren’t one, you would be less concerned with what you were called and more concerned with what you might have done that would make someone think that way about you. As it is, you’re saying how dare anyone call you that while pushing away our reasoning (ie. how we dare) as irrational without even trying to engage it. You think others should take your lofty opinion of yourself as their own and get upset and confused when they won’t.

    That’s not how the world works, Mark.

    I assumed you were one of the extremists I was speaking about earlier issuing noise for noise sake.

    Yeah, you’re fond of assuming all manner of ridiculous shit. You have this script you’re following that requires someone from either side take the extremist role so you can smugly situate yourself somewhere between them. As I just said, that’s a problem. “Both sides” here are not equal. And you don’t even know enough to know what’s extreme at this point.

    Nor can you measure extremism by the reaction you get when you try to discuss things you’re either ignorant of or misinformed on. You have to seriously consider the possibility that you’re getting a negative reaction because you are a boorish, demanding, dishonest asshole with an ego the size of a gas giant and the self-awareness of a dried sardine. Even if this is Bizarro World and it turns out you’re none of those things, you still have to consider it when trying to understand why you’re getting a negative reaction.

  68. says

    There are some atheist websites where a person can wander into a tangentially-related comment thread and say “I think atheists are just as bad as fundamentalists. I saw a prominent atheist on Twitter say that they think religion should be outlawed. I realize that’s extreme, but what is it that atheists really want? I haven’t read any atheist websites or books, but it seems to me that some atheists are giving off that ‘outlaw all religion’ vibe. Maybe you should drop everything and explain what it is that atheists specifically want so we can talk about that.”

    There are some atheist websites* where the commentariat would treat that person with the kiddiest of gloves, patiently explaining every fallacy, answering every question, and correcting every ignorant assumption.

    There are some atheist websites where the commentariat would sigh, link the person to some relevant websites to correct their misconceptions, and be done with them.

    There are some atheist websites where the commentariat would recognize such ignorance as willful, such questions as entitled, and would tell the person to fuck off.

    The problem with folks like Mark is that he thinks every place should be like the first one, where you can be as ignorant as the day is long and still have everyone drop everything and patiently explain all the things you couldn’t be bothered to look up yourself, as if you were the first person ever to come in with the same questions, the same ignorance, the same condescension and fallacies, etc. Mark thinks that you can proclaim yourself to be a “nice guy,” and that playing the “both sides are equal” game, asking demanding questions, and making definitive pronouncements when you admittedly have little information on the subject, shouldn’t cause anyone to rethink that qualification.

    Mark, there are lots of places you can go to get the relevant information. Jason Thiebeault did a nice post some time ago that links to all the major posts in the harassment policy campaign. It’s the second link when you Google “skeptic harassment policy.” Perhaps, as someone who complained that someone would take 2000 words to tell you they don’t have time to educate you, you can understand why people would get prickly that you would take 300 words to ask questions that you could find answers to with 30 seconds on Google. Questions that, inevitably, are answered on blog after blog on this network. If you can’t be bothered to look for the information yourself, why do you think anyone else should bother to spoon-feed it to you?
    ____
    *In reality, most websites would have people who’d do all three, as this one has.

  69. leni says

    @ Mark R, I can’t speak for others, but for me the problem crystallized when entirely reasonable requests for harassment policies at cons were met with responses like asshole’s above.

    For me, the implicit message in that response is “Even if there is harassment, too fucking bad. Safety is not as important as my right to act like a jackass.” There were some legitimate concerns about what the nature of those policies would be and those were mostly addressed, I think. However they did not come from people like asshole.

    So here’s the thing. I don’t have a list of demands. I just don’t want to be a part of a community that can’t even recognize the simple fact that harassment exists and that we should deal with it like god damned adults.

    That is the very simplest explanation for my concerns that I can give you. Also, the Ada Initiative has a very nice timeline of events in a variety of communities. It’s very informative,

  70. says

    The anti-policy responses have mostly been exercises in the kinds of nonsense that skeptics traditionally rail against, a parade of hyperbole (‘forms filled out in triplicate!’), slippery slopes (‘it’ll ban flirting!’), abstract hypotheticals (‘what if someone abuses the system?’), goalpost-shifting (‘there’s never been a complaint. Well, there’s never been a formal complaint. Well, there’s never been a formal complaint by someone who wasn’t already known as a radical feminist. Well, there’s never been a formal complaint against a big-name speaker. Well…’), and strawmen (‘you just hate sex!’ ‘why do you think atheists have a bigger problem than anyone else?’), none of which really make any argument against having an anti-harassment policy.

    Anti-harassment policies are like fire escape plans. Hopefully you’ll never have to use them, and they actually aren’t likely in and of themselves to prevent the actual incidents. But they give the organizers a plan to fall back on if something goes wrong, and protect them from safety and liability issues. They are a no-brainer, which may explain why the arguments against them are so brainless.

  71. A. Noyd says

    Tom Foss (#82)

    (‘what if someone abuses the system?’)

    That one irks me in particular because harassers are already abusing “the system” in the absence of policies. (Or the system is set up to enable them.) But any system that isn’t printed in conference program isn’t really a system in the eyes of the objectors, it’s just how things are supposed to work. It’s not a system till you change how people have always done things.

    In reality, there’s always a system. And systems where harassment is ignored or enabled suck.

  72. says

    If asshole had actually experienced that kind of atmosphere he would have some empathy for the behavior policing that women suffer through every day. Jeez.

  73. leni says

    Tom Foss:

    Anti-harassment policies are like fire escape plans. Hopefully you’ll never have to use them, and they actually aren’t likely in and of themselves to prevent the actual incidents. But they give the organizers a plan to fall back on if something goes wrong, and protect them from safety and liability issues.

    Yep. Even if you don’t think there ever was a *legitimate* harassment claim, still a good reason to have a policy. If you think there might be some harassment? Another good reason to have a policy. Really not that many good reasons not to have one.

    The gnashing of teeth and rending of clothes about it is just beyond ridiculous.And telling. You’d think we were trying to vaccinate Jenny MacCarthy’s children or something.

  74. medivh says

    Awww… Mark R already on a low score for obvious trolling fails to stick the flounce. 2/10, I’d ask you to see me after class but I think that would be bad for both of us.

  75. smhll says

    I tried a (sort of) good faith reply to MarkR yesterday, but posted it on the Thunderfoot thread accidentally.

    It’s not possible to know who said what about feminism and men, etc from a smoky rumor as vague as his was.

    Also, twitter users don’t own moral responsibility for everything that is tweeted at them or about them FFS.

    Mark R -

    Without a screenshot, it sounds like you are misunderstanding what you saw.

    It’s possible that someone tweeted that all drunken sex is rape, which might surprise you.

    Let’s break it down. I’m pretty sure you know that having sex with someone who is unconscious is a crime (rape) due to the fact that the unconscious person could not consent.

    It’s also true that having sex with a person who is almost, but not quite unconscious is also rape, because they are so impaired they cannot consent.

    You can research the relevant laws on the internet.

  76. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @64. hjhornbeck :

    “Tom Foss handled that one already @23: “All sex is rape” is often attributed to various feminists, but the most prominent claims are false. The similar phrase “all men are rapists” comes from a novel (meaning fictional), where the character is using the term “rape” in a somewhat more metaphorical sense, and the character isn’t acting as an author avatar.

    Yep.

    @65. hjhornbeck :

    If I’m feeling nice:
    You sound like you have specific questions, as you claim to have done research on the matter, and yet you never present them. Would you mind providing these specifics, so we don’t have to walk you through a year’s worth of blogging or educate you on fifty years of feminism?

    Good answer & :

    We academics know all the cool tools, eh? Give them a whirl, and come back when you have a question that can be answered in less than ten blog posts.

    Snarky but understandable answer also.

    Note I was trying here to rephrase #4 Mark R’s original comment in a way that was more likely to get a reasonable response – and more likely to be coming in good faith not bad.

    I agree with #82. Tom Foss :

    Mark, there are lots of places you can go to get the relevant information. Jason Thiebeault did a nice post some time ago that links to all the major posts in the harassment policy campaign. It’s the second link when you Google “skeptic harassment policy.” Perhaps, as someone who complained that someone would take 2000 words to tell you they don’t have time to educate you, you can understand why people would get prickly that you would take 300 words to ask questions that you could find answers to with 30 seconds on Google. Questions that, inevitably, are answered on blog after blog on this network. If you can’t be bothered to look for the information yourself, why do you think anyone else should bother to spoon-feed it to you?
    ____
    *In reality, most websites would have people who’d do all three, as this one has.

    and I’m glad this is one site where comment threads are numbered for clarity and in direct chronological order oldest – youngest.

  77. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @74. EEB :

    Why don’t you go try out Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog? (no hyperlink now – there in the original -ed.) Guess what! Their top post is on harassment policies! .. The proper response, now, is to say “Thank you for the links”, read up on the information we’ve generously provided you with, lurk until you’re able to comment constructively (here’s some good, general tips for commenting that will serve you well most places), and don’t come back until you’re ready to act like a grownup.

    Also a great answer and seconded by me.

    Good answers by # 89 smhll & #83 leni and others here too.

  78. smhll says

    Remember gentlemen, if a woman looks at you while you are at this convention, and you think she may be interested in you, she isn’t.

    Remember, ladies, keep your eyes cast down towards the floor at all times at the convention lest a gentleman think that you may have looked at him. He may accuse you of “leading him on”. (Grrrrr.)

  79. says

    My point, and I think it is pretty clear, is that “I’ve seen some pretty extreme stuff coming from both sides.”

    And the only scrap of evidence that supports your claim is a tweet you can’t find. Oh, and a demand that we reread your entire comment “in context.” Thanks, A.Noyd, “petulant man-babies” is the appropriate phrase here.

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