Another one of those times when a look at the stats turns up an interesting link I wouldn’t have seen otherwise: B. Spencer at Lawyers Guns Money on The Troublemaker.
Often when I post about Rebecca Watson, I am helpfully reminded by someone that she is a lightning rod, a troublemaker, looking to stir shit in the skeptic world. From what I have read of her Skepchick blog, this just doesn’t ring true to me. What I’ve been able to gather from following her for a year or so is that she was just a young woman and a skeptic who was rudely introduced to sexism and misogyny in the skeptic world and responded to that by talking about it–loudly and often–instead of shutting up.
I think it’s the loudly and often part that gives Ms. Watson her bad rap (with idiots). And, indeed, if you do read her blog you’ll notice a pretty sizable chunk of her posts deal with misogyny in the skeptic world. But to me this makes a tremendous amount of sense. I think that after Elevatorgate, it would have been bizarre if skeptic-related feminism had not become a big part of her shtick. I mean, the reaction to her gentle admonition was just freaking insane. I can’t imagine this event and its aftermath not influencing the way she viewed the skeptic world greatly–of course she became more attuned to sexism!
Yes. And of course so did many of us. I had a head start, having become more attuned to sexism before Rebecca was even born, but still there are always lows and peaks. In other words becoming more attuned to sexism wasn’t a new experience for me (but rather a drearily familiar one), but all the same the summer of 2011 caused a huge uptick, and there have been many new peaks since then. The freaking insane shit that has been going on for more than two years is more than enough to explain that. It’s supererogatory in the explanation department.
And I think that it’s at this point we get into a rolling stone gathering moss situation: Rebecca Watson blogs about sexism. She is criticized for that–often in a way that proves the need for her vigilance– and she speaks up again. And because she keeps speaking–for legitimate reasons–she becomes “the troublemaker.” Bullshit.
Many of the comments are interesting too.
I started reading her because of Elevatorgate and was utterly charmed. In addition to the fine work she does for women in the skeptic community, she’s really, really funny. *jealous*
And – in part – that’s also why the reaction to RW has been so over-the-top. Without naming names, it seemed pretty plain (to me, at any rate) that certain people viewed her as an upstart… someone who was taking attention away from more credentialed (and therefore more “serious”) voices.
So yeah, jealousy. Organized skepticism features a lot of academic types; some of whom seemed to resent the popularity of a non-academic (particularly one who wasn’t properly deferential to their authoritah); and used the opportunity provided by “Elevatorgate” to take her down a notch.
Personally, this only made me admire Rebecca even more, for her ability to maintain her “cool” and stay focused under some truly depressing circumstances.
Lemme put it this way: that’s my opinion. But to me, it’s the only “rational” explanation for the unhinged reactions on the part of women like Abbie Smith, who gleefully and openly reveled in Rebecca’s situation. As I recall, she even had a dedicated thread on her blog at Scienceblogs, devoted to abusing Rebecca (and her supporters) – when National Geographic took over Sb management, she was forced to delete it. But at the time, it left me gaping in shock: I couldn’t believe (and still have trouble believing) that an up-and-coming young professional woman would engage in such blatantly unprofessional behavior.
Some of Smith’s bile is copied here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2011/11/simoti/ Her characterization of Rebecca as a “leech” and “loser” demonstrate that her animus is unrelated to Elevatorgate, per se. If someone has an explanation for this level of hate other than jealousy, I’m willing to hear it.
That link will be why I saw this post and the comments. Speaking of Abbie Smith (aka ERV) and Someone is mean on the internet, Stephanie has a report on that front.
Just in case anyone was wondering why I put off mentioning that migraines and treating them wereaffecting my finances, just chalk it up to being one of those little effects of being constantly watched. When I do talk about anything being a problem for me, this is what I get. (Warning: slime pit link.)
Badger3k: In other news, Steffy is begging for money, and Avicenna is saying something against Thunderf00t (not sure what, couldn’t waste the minutes it would take to read his drivel). Ophie finds rape culture where most of us would find a kid connected to a politician gets out of trouble. Not sure about the rest of the article, but going to the “house they used to live in was burned down in mysterious circumstances) to suggest the townspeople burned it down in retaliation for reporting the rapes is a bit much (so far, it could change if I ever think it’s worth looking into).
BarnOwl: Peezus Christ on a crutch … they’re all medically “special,” “unusual,” and “rare.” What are the chances that they all have (sometimes multiple) rare chronic conditions, unique drug reactions, unusual allergies and autoimmune disorders, etc. etc. And their special medical conditions require that they quit their jobs to get healthy again, and that means cyber-begging with their piteous stories. I’ve had a few co-workers who develop special chronic conditions and “disabilities” that require reduced working hours and duties for accommodation, yet somehow magically they’re always healthy enough and have plenty of spoons to travel to Europe or Australia or ski resorts in the US and Canada to attend fun meetings and conferences.
Fuck that shit.
ERV: I noticed with the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome folks– It was incredible how active they were able to be online, despite their ‘inability’ to work. Dozens of Tweets a day, active on Facebook and special-interest forums, and look at Svan, able to organize posts full of meticulously screen-capped, uploaded, and organized Tweets from others, with commentary.
But work, no, work is simply too much for her to handle.
Also, ask my partner about my migraines. Ask. Ask how theyve been the past couple of months. You know what I cut back on instead of work? Blogging.
What a fucking loser.