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Jan 03 2012

Mallorie Nasrallah’s misguided defense of serial harassers and misogyny in the skeptical community

Please note that at Mallorie’s request, as Google indexes are returning potential business contacts to this page when searching for her name, I have retitled the post. The URL can’t change for indexing purposes, but the title itself has been changed from ‘Mallorie Nasrallah says “I like it when #mencallmethings”‘ — playing off a Twitter hashtag that was popular when the post was written.

That’s the only takeaway message I can get from this open letter to the skeptic community, which apparently came as a direct response to her active participation in this discussion at Greta’s.

In the comments on my ill-received but well-intentioned (but as Classical Cipher is fond of saying, intent is not magical) post regarding whether we should differentiate between a person being “a misogynist” and “exhibiting misogynist behaviour” yesterday, Mallorie Nasrallah chimed in. She claimed that the people involved in dissenting from the idea that there is a patriarchy, or that certain actions are misogynistic or enforcing of that patriarchy, might not dissent out of privilege, or out of misogyny in the sense of hating women, but just because they came to different logical conclusions.

She then went on to pen this open letter, which she sent to me via Twitter apparently hoping that I would amplify it. I didn’t. She is apparently friendly with some far bigger movers and shakers in the skeptic community though — Penn Jilette tweeted a link to it a few hours later, lending a very large audience to her letter in a hurry, most probably because he likes the idea she expresses.

Jen McCreight has already torn this letter to shreds for what it is, as has Megan Wells. It is a gigantic strawman argument about what women are actually complaining about with regard to the sexism in the community, and how awful it must be to men who hear that the way they treat women is wrong and needs to change. Sure, it certainly must be awful for a person to find out that those jokes they make about anally raping a fifteen year old girl are unacceptable. It must be so horrible to discover that that time you told Greta Christina to fuck herself with a knife, that it might have been slightly impolitic. But that’s not what this is about.

There is evidently a misapprehension of the problem in Mallorie Nasrallah’s experience. The problem in her estimation is not that there are honest-to-goodness misogynists and misogynist-enablers in the community, who in aggregate make a substrate that new members of the community would find to be unwelcoming. The problem in her estimation is, rather, that pushback against this endemic sexist behaviour is too scattershot and too willing to lump all men together; that too many otherwise good men who just want to joke and cajole with people and embrace the gender roles that say males should be dominant, sex-seeking cavemen, will be caught in the crossfire if an all-out war between feminists and misogynists breaks out.

Of course, I think such a “war” is already happening, and while the feminists are fighting by consciousness-raising, by showing people instances of misogyny and sexism and disturbing epithets hurled as a matter of status quo, the folks on the other side of the fence are complaining primarily about how politically correct we have to be if we’re to avoid ticking off those histrionic wimminz and because of it we risk a slippery-slope toward a dystopian future of fascism and thought police.

I have said that I have a lot of sympathy for people who have had differing experiences and that I believe we should be wholly accurate in defining what people do, damning them for exactly what they are and not what they might be. Others find calling people what they might be to be fully acceptable given their personal experiences of just how much of this nonsense they’ve had to fight. The flaw I exposed in my thinking yesterday was one of expecting that everyone should have the same patience as me, that everyone CAN have the same patience as me, and that reasonable people might not recognize patterns of behaviour quicker than I could. This is, in effect, a failure of empathy. Despite that flaw of over-patience, of giving the individual trolls too much rope, I am extremely comfortable in saying the following.

The hashtag #mencallmethings is effective because women on the internet have been systemically attacked for being women for a very long time, and the offenders are primarily men. Some men have joined the field to say that yes, this is a real phenomenon, and yes, the offenders are primarily male. I am one of them. I have also been called a number of things by many of the same men, who just want to continue shaming women for being women and don’t like that I’d dare agree with these women that they’re out of line. Some women have joined in on the fight as well, for the other side, having decided that they like the gender roles and the crude sex-based humor and the various nasty horrible things that people sometimes say. The stuff that they try to pass off as “just a joke”, that regardless makes a knot in the stomach of most of us who happen upon it while reading casually.

I suspect that the women like Mallorie aren’t this type of woman. I suspect she is the type of woman who just doesn’t see these instances of the more horrible types of sexism and misogyny we point out all the time. And by that, I do not mean that she has not seen them pointed out to her. She sees these instances of egregious trolling and it evidently does not register for her. She apparently read the Reddit thread that I’ve covered in context of Rebecca Watson’s role as whistleblower, where Lunam was told to “bite the pillow, I’m going in dry”, and “blood is nature’s lubricant”, and they evidently did not impress upon her psychology as sexist. They did not impress upon her psychology as rape jokes, but rather as “just a joke”. They did not suggest anything but collegiality with a girl whose post was “about her asshole” (rather than about her Christmas gift), and attempts to tell them otherwise are entirely because the offenders are men.

To wit:

If your jokes or teasing manner offend some people, so the fuck what? Someone will always be offended by jokes, never let them make you believe that you are guilty of something worse simply because of your gender. If you want to make boob jokes thats fine by me, you have after all been making dick jokes since you were old enough to make jokes. Plus they are funny as hell.

To you, Mallorie, maybe being told that you’re a shrivelled old cunt is just fine, probably because it hasn’t happened to you. Maybe being told that you should stop complaining about people calling you names because “it’s just going to antagonize us” leads you to side with the people who are causing the offense. Maybe you’ve got some sort of Stockholm syndrome going on and you think if you just make nice with all the nasty fucks out there who can’t see a woman on the internet without calling her a cunt, maybe you’ll be exempted from that kind of thing. I don’t know what your experience is, but you’re denying that other women have had other experiences, and you’re denying that any of these things that women have been called, primarily by men, are damaging.

And then there’s this gem, which is beautiful in its multifaceted nature, exhibiting both right-headedness and simulaneous strawmannery. It is this gem that the howler monkeys will find particularly useful and heartening and comforting, and this gem which, while ultimately correct, is a significant point of outrage among feminists.

If you want to go free and uncensored among a group of like minded people, if you want to try to acquire sex from a like minded person, awesome, do it, sex and friendship are amazing. You are not a monster for wanting these things. You are not a monster for attempting to acquire them.

It is a point of outrage among feminists because nobody ever said you can’t try to hook up with like-minded individuals. Not even during Elevatorgate, where the whole point of the conflagration was that you should break the ice in some way other than by using shameless predatory tactics on a person (who, incidentally, just got done saying she would not be receptive to them). Get to know them first. Find out if they’re like-minded in matters of hooking up. Realize that your attempt at hooking up has consequences for the person that is your target as well as yourself.

Attempting to hook up with members of a group of like-minded individuals is perfectly fine. It’s good. It’s beyond okay — it’s laudable. If you can only hook up with people by first telling them to fuck themselves with a knife, though, I’d really rather you stay out of the general public and hole yourselves away with like-minded individuals.

If Mallorie Nasrallah is okay with this kind of person, if she would want to hook up with someone who would call her a twat for expressing an opinion that doesn’t match his, or who ignores what she wrote altogether so he can call her ugly instead, she’s welcome to do so. Telling all skeptic men that there is, in fact, no problem with sexism because she, one woman, is okay with the sexism she sees — that’s something else entirely.

276 comments

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  1. 1
    Gendo

    if an all-out war between feminists and misogynists breaks out

    Is this distinction purely binary? If a person says s/he is, “Not a feminist,” does this automatically qualify them as a misogynist?

    Just wondering.

  2. 2
    Jason Thibeault

    No, of course not. Both sides have allied parties, and there are those that can’t be or haven’t yet been swayed to either side. That reductionist construction of this being a binary thing, a “with us or against us,” is kind of ridiculous.

    Of course, it’s well possible to have a person being “against us” trying to act like they’re a dispassionate and disinterested third party. If they’re commenting, they’re very likely not in that third party grouping. It’s only my own naivetee that leads me to try to fight with every troll just in case.

  3. 3
    jmravec

    FWIW, Mallorie Nasrallah’s site appears to be selling erotic art. I’m guessing this is NSFW, I didn’t click on it since I am at work. Below is a screen grab of her home page showing the links.

    Sorry, I didn’t know how to add the image directly here.

    http://mravec.com/images/mnsite.jpg

  4. 4
    Jason Thibeault

    The post I’ve linked to, her open letter, is text-only, though if your work filters blocked the site in toto that wouldn’t be surprising. That’s pretty much how they work.

    Before anyone even thinks about suggesting that erotic art is a problematic or even salient point in this conversation, please don’t.

  5. 5
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Good to see you back in form again, Jason ;)

  6. 6
    jmravec

    I’m certainly not trying to suggest the erotic art is problematic. I can’t know what Mallorie’s motivation for the letter was but it could have been to drum up some business for her art. Or at least to get some traffic to her site. It didn’t take much for me to delete the end of the link and go to her main site.

  7. 7
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Thank you, Jason, for listening and understanding.

  8. 8
    Munkhaus

    Jason, you mention this twice:
    “Greta Christina to fuck herself sideways with a rusty knife”

    I always thought the rusty knife thing was from the Pharyngula Horde? Just curious if you could link? You mentioned it a couple of times so it obviously made an impression.

    “maybe being told that you’re a shrivelled old cunt is just fine, probably because it hasn’t happened to you.” “Maybe you’ve got some sort of Stockholm syndrome going on ”

    Isn’t this “mansplaining” Jason?

    “If you can only hook up with people by first telling them to fuck themselves with a rusty knife, though”

    Isn’t this a “straw man” Jason?

    I don’t know this Mallorie, and didn’t care too much for her letter, but it’s hypocrisy that I can’t stand and there does seem to be so much of it coming from FTB over the whole EG business.

  9. 9
    Stephanie Zvan

    I always thought the rusty knife thing was from the Pharyngula Horde?

    Nope. Except for the “sideways,” that’s from the second link in the post. Time to catch up if you want be an informed participant in any conversation on this topic.

    Isn’t this “mansplaining” Jason?

    Nope. Time to catch up on terminology too.

    Isn’t this a “straw man” Jason?

    Nope. It’s a slight hyperbole constructed by applying arguments made in Elevatorgate to the current situation. If you were versed in the situation you insist on complaining about, you might know that.

    By the way, rhetorical questions work much better when the obvious answer isn’t “Are you shitting me?”

  10. 10
    sinned34

    Before anyone even thinks about suggesting that erotic art is a problematic or even salient point in this conversation, please don’t.

    Curses, foiled again!

  11. 11
    Glynnis

    I am beginning to feel entirely unwelcome at FTB… I happen to agree with Mallorie, and I really don’t understand what the problem is, even after reading all the posts by you and other bloggers here.

    I think it’s great that there are people who point out the incidents of sexism as they happen, and I think it’s great that people are paying attention to them.

    But I hate the fact that, after reading some of them, I feel like I have to feel like a victim. I have never faced any incidents of sexism within the atheist community (and I’m sure I owe people like you thanks for that), though I have elsewhere, and I am perfectly capable of standing up for myself when they occur, without vilifying the entire male gender. Hell, there are times I WANT to be objectified, and I feel like you think I should feel wrong for that. I guess that means I want to hook up with people who call me a twat, or ugly, too, not just people who actually treat me like an equal, not a more delicate creature who can’t have her own opinions of what is or is not sexist.

  12. 12
    Munkhaus

    Steph
    “Time to catch up if you want be an informed participant in any conversation on this topic.”

    That’s why I was asking! Am I expected to be omnipotent before I am allowed to participate? Nice Catch-22. Still, I found it, and as well as not containing sideways, it doesn’t have the “rusty”. That’s what was reminding me of pharyngula, that phrase is used there I believe, Jason perhaps subconsciously used the Pharyngula version. Interesting.

    Re: mansplaining. The “terminology” tends to change; here I used it sardonically.

    “Nope. It’s a slight hyperbole…”
    Aahh, it was hyperbole. Thank heavens for that.

  13. 13
    Stephanie Zvan

    Glynnis, why would you expect to have exactly the same experience as others of your gender or feel unwelcome if you didn’t? Why would the fact that someone else is victimized make you feel as though you also had to be a victim? I don’t understand that at all. I’m very happy you haven’t been a victim of any of this.

    Also, what do you mean when you say you want to be objectified? You want to be treated without any regard for your feelings or desires, which would include any ability to shut that off and make it stop when you wanted to?

    And who has vilified “the entire male gender”? Where did this happen?

  14. 14
    Stephanie Zvan

    Munkhaus, the name is Stephanie. Who at Pharyngula tells people to fuck themselves sideways with a rusty knife? Where did this happen?

  15. 15
    Cipher

    But I hate the fact that, after reading some of them, I feel like I have to feel like a victim.

    I hate the fact that people like you think, after reading about people being actually victimized, that the relevant question is how you feel.

    I guess that means I want to hook up with people who call me a twat, or ugly, too, not just people who actually treat me like an equal, not a more delicate creature who can’t have her own opinions of what is or is not sexist.

    Women who object to being treated in sexist ways are not “delicate creatures.” I have ranted at length about this over on Pharyngula and I’m not up to doing it again. Please stop it.

  16. 16
    julian

    But I hate the fact that, after reading some of them, I feel like I have to feel like a victim.

    I wish you folks would take your own advice and just not read them.

    I guess that means I want to hook up with people who call me a twat, or ugly, too, not just people who actually treat me like an equal, not a more delicate creature who can’t have her own opinions of what is or is not sexist.

    What are you responding to?

  17. 17
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Here’s the story behind the rusty knife, before the usual allegations come up that people at Pharyngula are actually happy with rape.

    Glynnis
    Good that nothing of that sort has happened to you. And I really mean that, I’m not being sarcastic. But your experience is sadly not universally shared.

    and I am perfectly capable of standing up for myself when they occur

    And that’s good, too, but it’s also true that women are being silenced with misogynist attacks, that after a while many are not able to fight back anymore, to deal with the rape-threats (sometimes combined with personal information like what flowers they grow in their front garden), that they are worn out and just shut up. And that this is less likely to happen when they have support and solidarity, when they are not alone.

  18. 18
    Munkhaus

    Yes, the commenter said “metaphorically”, so that’s alright then. Wonderfully adult jokes they have at that Pharyngula place!
    Anyway, my point was that it’s interesting that Jason bolted the “rusty” and “sideways” on to shocking insult hurled at Greta.
    I would agree that the version twitted to Greta was a lot more abusive, having been sent to her. Still, it seems to be a “meme” in the pharyngula community at least, that sort of language.

  19. 19
    Jason Thibeault

    Interesting, Munkhaus, but if it’s so damned distracting I can delete it from the post. I really don’t see how it can be so distracting, though, except insofar as you are trying to find distractions.

  20. 20
    Jeremy

    Hey Glynnis, don’t worry… apparently I’m one of the only responders here who knows how to read. I can see that you only mentioned that you hadn’t experienced sexism first hand in the atheist community as a compliment to the hard work that those here had accomplished. I can see that you did not mean it to sound like sexism doesn’t occur since you hadn’t experienced it here (although I bet you’ll want to change your mind after reading some of those replies). As a guy, I too sometimes enjoy being objectified (like during consensual sex, or hanging out with friends, or blasting each other on the internet), but the fact that I enjoy it in certain situations does not mean that it should become the norm, so again I agree with you on that point…. I agree that the author of this article (whom you were responding to) made it sound that a woman who likes to be objectified must be wrong, and is a danger to the female gender.

    As a guy, I do not pretend to understand the plight that women go through, and as such the only thing I can do is listen and treat you (or anyone else for that matter) as an equal… however, from the tone of the article and some of the comments, it seems to me (although I may be wrong) that there are those who would like me to treat you like a small child with delicate sensibilities. Well, I won’t. You’re a good person for putting your opinion out here, and please don’t let folks like “Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM” who don’t know how to read, persuade you that you’re less of a person for enjoying the differences that make us all human.

  21. 21
    Cipher

    Munkhaus isn’t an honest interlocutor.

  22. 22
    Cipher

    You’re a good person for putting your opinion out here, and please don’t let folks like “Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM” who don’t know how to read, persuade you that you’re less of a person for enjoying the differences that make us all human.

    Citation or stfu.

  23. 23
    Stephanie Zvan

    Jeremy, of the much-vaunted reading abilities, who said Glynnis made it “sound like sexism doesn’t occur since you hadn’t experienced it here”?

  24. 24
    Lou Doench

    @Glynnis,
    “Hell, there are times I WANT to be objectified, and I feel like you think I should feel wrong for that”

    No no no, point missed… If you want to be objectified, that’s your business, more power to you, given the right (completely theoretical) conditions I’d be happy to be the one doing the objectifying. If you feel that you can stand up for yourself when placed in an uncomfortable position by another’s actions then you go girl/woman. The debate we are having here is whether people who DON’T wish to be objectified/abused/threatened or have their friends treated in such a manner will be allowed to define the terms of their offense, or if that power will be put in the hands of disinterested bystanders or worse their very antagonists.

    I’m pleased as punch that you haven’t had to deal with issues of sexism within the atheism community. That’s good news. But the issue at hand is the others who HAVE had to deal with sexism in our community and the fact that their concerns are being dismissed by people who IMHO do not have standing to make such dismissals…

    Wow that was wordy and probably hard to understand… ;) I hope you see whare I’m coming from.

  25. 25
    Munkhaus

    @Classical Cipher Murmurs said:

    “Munkhaus isn’t an honest interlocutor.”

    “Citation or stfu.”

  26. 26
    Glynnis

    Thanks to those of you who are welcoming, I truly appreciate it. I was not trying to say that sexism doesn’t happen (in this community or out of it), or that no one should ever speak up against it. I really think the efforts put forth by all of you are what has kept the atheist/skeptical community from becoming something awful. I understand the need for support…when I was in the Army, support was what allowed me to speak up against some nasty sexual harassment by my doctor, and gave me the strength to get my friend to the hospital after she was raped.

    BUT, sometimes I disagree with specific examples of what is or is not sexist, I didn’t find EG to be an example of sexism, just bad tact, as a specific example, and I get the feeling that when I disagree, I am treated as ‘part of the problem’. As is the case here: I don’t think there was anything particularly wrong with what Mallorie Nasrallah said.

    Sometimes I feel like the whole blogoshpere is so saturated with examples of ‘sexism’, that I must be a victim and just am not smart enough to realize it. Sometimes, reading these things over and over again makes me afraid to leave the internet and actually try and meet REAL people, because they will treat me as less than a person because I am a woman. When I actually got brave enough to go to one event, I was worried the whole time that I would be the only woman there, and the experience would be akin to going to the VA hospital. That was decidedly not the case. The experience was what Mallorie described.

    So, in conclusion, please keep fighting the good fight to make this place as welcoming as it is. But, all the hate for this lady just seems counter productive.

  27. 27
    Jeremy

    @Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM:
    Women who object to being treated in sexist ways are not “delicate creatures.”
    Glynnis, never said nor implied that. I suggest you reread her original comment again.

  28. 28
    julian

    persuade you that you’re less of a person for enjoying the differences that make us all human.

    I don’t think anyone called Glynnis less of a person. What led you to think anyone had said that?

  29. 29
    Stephanie Zvan

    Munkhaus @25: Hmm. How about that time on my blog you turned sock puppet and pretended to be your own wife, then someone else?

  30. 30
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Munkhaus is a denizen of the slimepit, too.

  31. 31
    Jeremy

    @Lou Doench: Very well articulated and an impressive example of seeing right to the heart of the matter. My hats off to you. I believe what Glynnis is eluding to however, are the attacks on Mallorie, but that may just be me projecting.

  32. 32
    Jason Thibeault

    Consensual objectification is far different from what I described in the last two paragraphs of my original post. If you and your partner get off on calling each other names, fine. Do you have to test every newcomer and stranger by calling them names to see whether or not they have the same fetish as you though?

  33. 33
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Glynnis
    The problem with her letter is that she takes her experience and proclaims it to be universal. She doesn’t talk about only herself and her cirlce of friends, and she styles every critique other women might have towards certain behaviours as “demanding to be treated as a delicate flower”.

    Take, for example this paragraph:

    Keep joking with me, keeping being open and awesome and curious and funny, keep trying to fuck me, because I can’t think of any reason why I would rather fuck someone else, we are after all human. I assure you I’ll return the favor.

    I’m pretty sure that she’d be very, very uncomfortable if all the guys in the skeptic community would try to fuck her, but she makes it sound like any woman who might not want to be fucked by even one guy in the sceptik community and who might feel uncomfortable is a prude.

    And this one is telling:

    And I have stayed because you never insisted on seeing me as a girl.

    So, obviously their approval depended on not actually perceiving her as a woman. She uses girl like a an insult, as something bad. As someone who is treated badly and differently and that the sensible thing is not to treat women as equals, but as guys.

  34. 34
    Munkhaus

    Steph said ” How about that time on my blog you turned sock puppet and pretended to be your own wife, then someone else?”

    haha :) Oh, I had to have a laugh at that. COme on, you too Stephanie I bet! I only did it because you were skewing the argument unfairly by omitting data.

    pretending to be my own wife… that’s funny. Had a good chuckle. Let’s build bridges!

  35. 35
    julian

    Glynnis, never said nor implied that.

    Yes she did imply it. Did you miss the part where she whole-heartedly endorses Mallorie Nasrallah’s piece?

  36. 36
    Stephanie Zvan

    Munkhaus, the name is still Stephanie. No. That was not remotely funny. It was also not remotely honest.

  37. 37
    sambarge

    Glynnis @26

    Elevator Gate, in and of itself, was an example of sexism because Elevator Guy ignored RW’s clearly expressed desire to(a) not be hit on and (b) go to her room and sleep. She clearly expressed her wishes and he ignored them to offer her “coffee in her room” because he felt his wishes overrode her wishes.

    Why is that sexist? Because in our culture, men have privilege over women. We live in a culture of rape where victims’ wishes are overridden by the wishes of their rapists. That’s why rape isn’t about sex, it’s about power. And that’s why when a man disregards a woman’s clearly stated wish to not be hit on but hits on her anyway, it’s sexist.

    Ofcourse, the real sexism around Elevator Gate wasn’t the elevator interaction or even RW’s mentioning of it in her video. The real sexism reared its ugly head when the comments came from people who felt that RW had no reason to complain and should have felt complimented and there are bigger problems in the world (Muslima) and so on and so on.

  38. 38
    julian

    Munkhaus, the name is still Stephanie. No. That was not remotely funny. It was also not remotely honest.

    Have you forgotten? Xe has the full approval of a RealWoman (Mallorie Nasrallah) to continue. What’s more, she says that xe’s funny! How dare you discourage Munkhaus?

  39. 39
    sinned34

    That’s it, I’ve had enough. There’s just too much name-calling in the skeptic community. Rape jokes at the expense of a 15 year old girl doesn’t really bother me, but the idea that we might accidentally label a person with a negative label? Fetch me my fainting couch! Why do interpersonal relationships have to be so difficult!?!? BAWW!

    Here’s my reaction (because, hey, it is all about me) to all this drama: read a bunch of it, realized that I need to do a better job of understanding what most women have to go through in life, and be a lot more reflective when somebody calls me sexist/racist/assholish – they might have a point!

    Yeah, maybe some people have really thin skins and get offended easily. More than a few of those people probably have experiences that justify such easy offense. Either way, it doesn’t make my life that much harder to think for a second before I speak. It certainly doesn’t take longer than a minute or two to apologize if somebody actually is offended by something I said, and use that information to realize that maybe I do think some pretty fucked up things. (It happens to me, a lot.)

    It took me a long time to discover that you learn a lot more when you’re listening than when you’re talking. This is mainly because I never shut the fuck up, and I’m always talking about myself. (Other people? I’ve heard of them.)

    Anyways, back to our regularly-scheduled name-calling.

  40. 40
    Jeremy

    @sinned34: +10 internets!!

  41. 41
    Cipher

    Glynnis, never said nor implied that. I suggest you reread her original comment again.

    I suggest you quit being condescending. She contrasted herself with a “delicate creature,” saying she preferred not to be treated as one. That comment isn’t made in a vacuum. No one is asking to be treated as a “delicate creature” – we’re asking to be treated with respect. The “delicate creature”/”shrinking violet”/”fragile butterfly” strawfeminist is a constant feature of anti-feminist remarks by women – like Mallorie, these Tough Girls want men to know they’re “tough enough” to take sexist remarks and objectification. What does that do to those of us who don’t want to put up with it? It trivializes us and implies that our objections are due to weakness.

  42. 42
    Munkhaus

    “Munkhaus, the name is still Stephanie. No. That was not remotely funny. It was also not remotely honest.”

    Wow. 0 sense of humour. You also forget that I have copies including posts you “disappeared” and left in limbo whilst pretending otherwise. It’s all too clear who is dishonest here.

  43. 43
    Cipher

    Wow. 0 sense of humour.

    Oh, Stephanie! Whatever will you do now? Munkhaus thinks you’re a humorless feminist!

  44. 44
    Jason Thibeault

    Surely without Munkhaus’ approval she shall wither and die. What a shame.

  45. 45
    julian

    She never pretended otherwise Munkhaus. You were told you were going into moderation until you stopped derailing and trolling. Stop rewriting history.

  46. 46
    Glynnis

    @41

    “…not a more delicate creature WHO CAN’T HAVE HER OWN OPINION OF WHAT IS OR IS NOT SEXIST”

    Pretty sure it’s when people tell me things like “no, EG really was sexist” that I feel like a delicate creature who can’t make up her own mind. Like I have no right to my own opinion. I have no issues with men or women standing up against sexism, as I have said repeatedly, and know that it takes a lot of strength to do so. Please don’t accuse me of saying something I never said.

  47. 47
    Cipher

    Pretty sure it’s when people tell me things like “no, EG really was sexist” that I feel like a delicate creature who can’t make up her own mind. Like I have no right to my own opinion.

    1.) Sexism isn’t necessarily a matter of opinion.
    2.) Right now, based on what you’ve written, you are complaining that other people are expressing their opinions that things are sexist. To you.

  48. 48
    Glynnis

    @47

    I’m afraid I don’t understand point 2. Please elaborate.

  49. 49
    Stephanie Zvan

    Yeah, Munkhaus, criticism from a dishonest sock puppet carries so much weight.

    Glynnis, no one told you Elevator Guy was sexist and expected you to take it on their authority. Someone made an argument for it. Feel free to make a counterargument.

  50. 50
    Horace

    Dear Jason,

    Possibly, in spite of several repeated postings, I have not explained myself well. I am taking the liberty of posting your letter (below) and my reply on a more active thread.

    I do not think that you are not free thinkers because your opinions are left wing, I am left wing myself on many issues. Nor do I think that you have to share the same opinions as me to be a freethinker.

    The reason that I have a problem with you is the same reason that Rebecca Watson is so polarizing (as you put it on your earlier post). You assume that anyone who is an atheist/freethinker should have the same opinions as you on feminism. You take the responsibility of policing other people’s speech and you believe that any man accused of misogyny has the responsibility to change his ways no matter how stupid, selfish or ridiculous the accusation may be.

    You reject the possibility that anyone can disagree with you and not be stupid or dishonest. You are both remarkably thin skinned with those who criticize you and extremely rude to those who don’t completely agree with you (any insult however coarse is alright as long as it is not “gendered’ when it becomes completely unacceptable).

    You treat your internet postings as a form of war; I commonly read people on Pharyngula describe themselves as “fighting MRAs”. This is an unusually unintelligent attitude. You cannot end injustice by posting things on the internet. What you can do is hear other points of view that may be repellant and foreign to you, but which you would never hear in “real life” (BTW this is particularly beneficial for narrow minded ideologues who have very few friends at all; never mind friends with contrasting opinions).

    The net effect of your posting is not to improve anyone’s life (excluding your own dull, pointless and cruel existences) but only to narrow the range of debate on the sites that you inhabit. At best you amuse others; you usually only bore or intimidate them.

    Hopes this clears things up.

    @211 Why is Rebecca Watson so damned polarizing?

    Horace: you have taken the label of Freethinker, and anyone who disagrees with you on some point or another, if it happens to align with “leftist” or “progressive” thinking, is de facto coming to their conclusions out of a lack of free thought. When I asked you to defend yourself against charges that nobody called YOU the one who wasn’t a freethinker, I was asking that you defend the idea that the only way to be a freethinker is to think about things, like womens’ rights, the way you do. Because that is, in fact, the corollary to what you said way up at @42. I don’t think that you repeating that you believe we’re not freethinkers because we think differently than you specifically accepted what we believe dogmatically just plain disagree is actually defending that proposition.

    Is your full-throated defense of “freethought” in actuality a way of saying you came to different conclusions than us, therefore yours are de facto better because there are so many of us who agree on matters of feminism? Why are you talking about freethought at all when the question is why when Rebecca Watson says something obvious, your cohorts get all pissy?

  51. 51
    Stephanie Zvan

    Horace, I’ve asked you several times now, when can I expect evidence for these assertions you’ve made? You just keep repeating them without backing them up. This is not skepticism. It is not a basis for freethought, because you don’t allow anyone to evaluate your evidence. Put up or shut up.

    If you don’t remember which assertions, I’ll be happy to link you to those comments once again.

  52. 52
    Cipher

    I’m afraid I don’t understand point 2. Please elaborate.

    I’m genuinely puzzled by why you don’t understand and am having a hard time thinking of how to clarify further. I’m not trying to be condescending with the following, just trying to figure out what part you’re missing by showing my work:
    Say we accept, as you appear to think, that whether something is sexist is a matter of opinion. Given that, if someone says, “X was sexist,” then they’re expressing their opinion that X was sexist. You complain that if someone tells you “X was sexist,” that makes you feel like a delicate creature who is not able to have your own opinion. Therefore, you appear to be objecting to someone expressing their opinion that X was sexist.
    That being said, 1 was actually far more relevant. Sexism isn’t subjective.

  53. 53
    Glynnis

    Stephanie,

    I explained in comment 26 that I think the actual incident of EG was bad tact. I totally agree that the shitstorm that ensued was sexist and wrong beyond imagining.

    However, I was not trying to derail this into a discussion of EG, I was only trying to use it as a specific example of one situation where I disagree.

    BTW, thanks for not treating me like a troll.

  54. 54
    julian

    Pretty sure it’s when people tell me things like “no, EG really was sexist” that I feel like a delicate creature who can’t make up her own mind.

    May I ask why that is? It doesn’t seem like shutting down your opinion anymore than “no, EG really was being a jerk” would.

  55. 55
    Glynnis

    @52 and 54

    Thanks for the clarification. I get it now, and you’re right. I just get frustrated sometimes when the conversation gets heated. And I shouldn’t have invoked the ‘delicate creature’ thing in the first place, because it detracted from what I was trying to say and it’s, well, wrong. I’m sorry.

    I do think that there are certain times where sexism is black and white, but as with most things, I don’t think that is the case all the time.

  56. 56
    Cipher

    Thanks, Glynnis. I understand and am relieved it made sense.

  57. 57
    Munkhaus

    “May I ask why that is? It doesn’t seem like shutting down your opinion anymore than “no, EG really was being a jerk” would.”

    I’d say it was the authoritarian way it was done. The bullying and casting out of women who disagreed, the gender-traitoring and so on. Pretty nasty stuff; scary for some.

  58. 58
    Glynnis

    :)

    This is why I love the skeptic community. We can disagree on things (and I’m sure I have won no one over to Mallorie’s side, though I’m still on it), but can still point out things that are blatantly wrong, have them corrected, and have good discussions without resorting to name calling…most of the time.

  59. 59
    Cipher

    I’d say it was the authoritarian way it was done. The bullying and casting out of women who disagreed, the gender-traitoring and so on. Pretty nasty stuff; scary for some.

    Your imagination is a really scary place, Munkhaus.

  60. 60
    Jason Thibeault

    Who called whom a gender traitor, Munkhaus? You can’t scare participants away by raising a spectre of something without providing specific examples.

  61. 61
    Munkhaus

    I’m sure there was more than one example, but I know that the Skeptifem character called ERV one. http://skeptifem.blogspot.com/2011/07/inside-mind-of-gender-traitor.html
    But somehow that won’t be good enough for you.

    Marcotte and others are even saying this right now(the description in the link above) about Mallorie on Jen’s blog.
    *You’ve* said it above Jason in this piece; Mallorie has Stockholm Syndrome.
    Any woman who disagreed during EG was attacked in this way. It wasn’t a discussion, it was “you’re part of the problem TM”11ty!!!!. and you’re only doing it to get mens approval.

    I know you approved of the shaming of Steff McGraw; what about calling her a rape apologist, with Laden leering on?
    Nice. Lovely. Keep telling the women how to think Jason.

  62. 62
    Cipher

    Munkhaus, are you not aware that it is in fact possible for someone to be part of the problem?

  63. 63
    Stephanie Zvan

    Hey, Munkhaus, there you go being dishonest again. You even link to the evidence. Skeptifem received a fair amount of shit for that move and apologized for it. But here you present it as par for the course and likely to happen again.

  64. 64
    Munkhaus

    @#62

    Oh of course. Especially if the problem is people being *actually* skeptical, and thinking for themselves.

  65. 65
    Jason Thibeault

    Before you say it, because I know you will, Munkhaus: she received a fair amount of shit from feminists.

  66. 66
    Jason Thibeault

    Hypothesizing that Mallorie may have a sort of Stockholm Syndrome where she enjoys the company of people who actually call her names without knowing her is pure speculation, of course, Munkhaus. She’s free to continue to do so, but her telling those howler monkeys to keep howling at women because they really really like it deep down inside — that’s a little different, isn’t it? It certainly says that I’m not the one telling women how to think.

  67. 67
    Cipher

    Oh of course. Especially if the problem is people being *actually* skeptical, and thinking for themselves.

    Munkhaus is saying everyone who disagrees with him isn’t a real skeptic! Authoritarian! Bully!
    *dismissive hand gesture*

  68. 68
    Munkhaus

    Well, that’s not dishonest Zvan, it’s ignorance. How do I know she got a telling off from command? And if so, why are you all still perpetuating it against women that disagree?

  69. 69
    Munkhaus

    http://www.butterfliesandwheels.org/2011/getting-and-not-getting/#comment-96537

    You know this stuff is all on the internet right? And people can look at it? Every time you pretend that you’ve never heard of this stuff before and demand examples. *That’s* dishonest Stephanie.

  70. 70
    Stephanie Zvan

    Munkhaus, did you miss the part where I said you’d linked to the evidence. If you read the comment thread instead of just thinking you had something damning and posting a comment….

    Also, the thread on which there’s a big, long discussion of just how much Ophelia has to say about how she didn’t like the use of the term before it counted: http://www.butterfliesandwheels.org/2011/fun-with-names/

    Got anything since July to suggest use of the term is, was, or is likely to be widespread–or even used with general approval?

  71. 71
    Munkhaus

    You’re missing the point, probably deliberately.
    a) We were talking about past events. I made no claim that it is currently being used; indeed, the word was deemed problematic (by Nanny Ophelia you say) and jettisoned, and yes, there’s a bit of weak “I don’t really like the term; creepy’ in the comments.
    Nevertheless it was used, as you knew and pretended not to know. This is obfuscation. I will give you the opportunity to admit that you knew it had been used:……….

    b)The term itself, the word, is unimportant, it’s the meaning behind the term and the way it is used to silence women that disagree with you.

  72. 72
    julian

    You’re missing the point, probably deliberately.

    Munkhaus, you are a never ending source of unintentional amusement. They will sing songs of your lack of self awareness. For the sake of those songs, Munkhaus, never change.

  73. 73
    Munkhaus

    Well argued as always Julian. Thank you for your enlightening contribution.

  74. 74
    rowanvt

    @ Glynnis:

    Having had 3 very close calls with potential sexual assault, and despite being very very strong willed and confident, if a male makes me uncomfortable, I’m going to leave. If they ignore a blatant “no”, or the slightly more subtle versions in the form of “Pardon me, but I must be elsewhere” or “Thanks, but no thanks” or they ignore me ignoring them, I’m not going to argue with them. I’m not going to tell them again. I’m going to leave. And not just them, but any event they are likely to go to so that I won’t encounter them again.

    I am the sort of person being driven away. I am the sort of person being made uncomfortable. I’m no wilting flower, but having been stalked at 17 with an attempted break in, almost physically assaulted by another creepy stalker guy at age 19, and then followed through downtown after walking a crippled friend to the lightrail to keep *her* safe at 24, I’m not willing to put up with any situation that raises my hackles. Too many close calls in too short a time span.

    Is it really too much to ask men to not crowd me? Not talk over me? Pay attention when I make my wishes regarding my person known? Is it special rights to ask that random men not ask me for sex when I don’t even know them? Am I too delicate because I wouldn’t put up with “show us your tits!” from some fellow gamers? Am I too sensitive because I get a little annoyed when 5’6″ me shows up to help heft an 80 pound dog at work and the owners respond “Oh, but s/he’s really heavy. Aren’t there any guys around?”

    I don’t think so. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to have people respect me and my boundries, especially when I’m not terribly subtle about them. Even my body language is far from subtle. If I turn my back on, that is a clear signal I don’t want to talk to you. Yet many a time, men have persisted.

  75. 75
    Stephanie Zvan

    Munkhaus, where did I pretend not to know?

  76. 76
    Munkhaus

    Haha, you’re so predictable Stephanie.

  77. 77
    Mallorie Nasrallah

    I messaged you before Penn because you seemed thoughtful enough to want to have a dialog. I’m sorry to see that I was apparently wrong.

    Its a note that expresses my experiences, it does not comment on the experiences of others, only my preference and experience (though if emails are any indication it echos the sentiments of others).
    I have attempted to reply to everything that has been said to me about this but honestly its a little dull explaining to people that the real straw-man is you telling people what I really meant.
    Even the title of this blog entry is an absurd bastardization of what I wrote.

    I hope people will read the note themselves, understand that I am writing from my personal experience, and that its sad to me that a message of “I love this community” has been reduced to one that only addresses sex.

    If you are interested in real discussion please join me on another FTB poster’s page. One who rather than working backwards from a conclusion had the decency to ask questions:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd/2012/01/03/jumping-on-the-sexism-train-again/#comment-16432

    The above links to my reply to her, being that she made points worth addressing unlike those in this blog, I hope you will read, and take from it what you will.

    Otherwise, enjoy beating up your straw-man, I don’t mind a bit, being that the vitriol is poured upon what amounts to a decoy.

    Oh and PS to the silly fuck who said I was selling erotic art so the fuck what if I was?…I am a photographer, the prints for sale are of chemical reactions and other awesome science stuff. Holy shit that was a dumb thing to accuse me of.
    My main public activity in the community up until yesterday was using my blog to promote understanding the science behind photography, and creating science based imagery, or my approximation of it.
    So yeah, before you go believing shit…maybe be a bit…whats the word skeptical.

  78. 78
    Stephanie Zvan

    As are you, Munkhaus. Now, where did I do what you accuse me of?

  79. 79
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    I’m sorry to see that I was apparently wrong.

    And, this is why i can’t take tap dancers seriously. He writes and entire post very clearly stating his views, and she blatantly lies about his being unwilling to dialogue – ON HIS BLOG – merely and solely because he had the temerity to have an infinitely better argument.

    tappa tappa tappa

  80. 80
    Will

    Can we at least agree that being “sex-seeking cavemen” is something that millions of years of natural selection have guaranteed as a psychological near-inevitability?

    Step back a bit from the anthro-tunnelvision and youd realize that humans are one of the few species that DONT procreate exclusively through rape. And the cases of those of us who do are statistically dropping with time. Humanity is slowly evolving past our violent jungle inheritances.

  81. 81
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Will
    And your point is?
    Seriously, what’s your point?
    That the past was bad and that female cheetas have it worse?
    Thank you very much, Captain Obvious.
    So, what’s the message that we should take away from your post?
    Things have gotten better therefore…?
    Oh, and sex-seeking =/= raping.

  82. 82
    Jason Thibeault

    Mallorie@77: isn’t it customary when telling someone that they’re arguing against a strawman, to point out exactly what it is that they’re mistaking for your argument? You know, like I did when I said “nobody ever said you can’t try to hook up with like-minded individuals”?

  83. 83
    julian

    And your point is?

    Obviously that you should be grateful you aren’t raped as a means to procreate! /snark

  84. 84
    Cipher

    Its a note that expresses my experiences, it does not comment on the experiences of others, only my preference and experience (though if emails are any indication it echos the sentiments of others).

    Mallorie, what you need to understand (and what I suspect you are only pretending not to already understand) is that your post does not exist in a vacuum. It’s being circulated. Do you think everyone reading it is going to go “Oh, I can hit on Mallorie whenever I want now”? Or do you think people might take away a broader message from it? So, when you say you’re willing to have strangers hit on you in creepy places, I’m going to have to respond that that makes me uncomfortable and it makes me fear that I am going to be raped again. Nobody’s going to be able to tell which of us he’s dealing with unless he gets to know us better and gets to know if we’re willing, right? And here’s the thing: people seem to be assuming they’re dealing with you, when in fact they’re dealing with me. Your perspective is not one that is widely overlooked – instead, it’s seen as the default, and the rest of us have interests that are being ignored.

    A second thing you need to understand is that women who object to things you wouldn’t object to are not weaker than you are. STOP with the “I’m not delicate” language. It’s shitty and trivializing.

  85. 85
    julian

    And here’s the thing: people seem to be assuming they’re dealing with you, when in fact they’re dealing with me.

    Plus they seem to generally get angry when they realize the woman they’re dealing with isn’t like Mallorie Nasrallah and start with the ‘you’re just anti-sex/hate men/are a bitch’ thing. Taking the ‘no, leave me alone’ isn’t the norm. Going on the attack is.

  86. 86
    Jadehawk

    Step back a bit from the anthro-tunnelvision and youd realize that humans are one of the few species that DONT procreate exclusively through rape.

    an ad populum by species? well, that’s new. by that logic, we should all have the urge to procreate by cell division, since even more species procreate that way

    meaning, what our cousin species do doesn’t matter (unless they’re VERY close to our ancestor-species or oursellves, and then only with appropriate caveats); for such arguments you’d only be able to use our direct ancestor-species anyway.

    Do you think everyone reading it is going to go “Oh, I can hit on Mallorie whenever I want now”? Or do you think people might take away a broader message from it?

    people can’t not take a broader message from this, unless Mallorie starts running around with a nametag saying “I’m Mallorie, please hit on me”. The arguments from that kind of guys are, after all, always “but until and unless I do hit on her, how do I know she’s one of those who doesn’t mind?”

    Saying “I don’t mind” when you’re not so well-known that anyone would recognize you really just results in “well, she might be one of those who said they don’t mind, how am I supposed to tell in advance?”

    And here’s the thing: people seem to be assuming they’re dealing with you, when in fact they’re dealing with me. Your perspective is not one that is widely overlooked – instead, it’s seen as the default, and the rest of us have interests that are being ignored.

    QFT

  87. 87
    Jadehawk

    and now that I think about it… WHY are all the comments by women who say “I might like sex at a convention” always about “being offered sex”?!

    I have the vague impression that if skeptic dudes were really so enlightened as they believe, they would not be put off by a woman doing the sex-offering. Or is that too feminist and progressive, to suggest that a woman who does want to fuck at a convention go about finding herself someone to fuck instead of hoping the guys will do it for her, and as a result leaving it to the guys to do the “but how will i know whether she wants to fuck unless I ask” and bother women who have no such interest, and might even be triggered by it?

  88. 88
    Earl

    Lousycanuck

    She then went on to pen this open letter, which she sent to me via Twitter apparently hoping that I would amplify it. I didn’t.

    I think here, considering you did have a direct line to mallorie before posting this. You had an opportunity to, rather than repost the same sort of stuff as your other FTB counterparts, you may have though to take advantage of that opportunity, contact mallorie for more information perhaps. You certainly would have had a blog post worth reading over blag hag for example.

    Instead you decided to join the the choir, even going further with some of the assumptions, and making some pretty damn sexist remarks about mallorie in the mean time. she has “stockholm syndrome”? Why because the narrative of the kidnapped woman falling in love with her captives as a metaphor for this is extremely insulting, and not something you could say to a man.

    There is also “Mallorie Nasrallah says “I like it when #mencallmethings”” Which is a pretty damn horrible thing to say about a woman, especially when it appears as a snarky title of the post, rather than a reasoned response to a specific thing she has said.

    I suppose misogyny is fine by you, as long as it is in the name of anti-misogyny. Good work.

  89. 89
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    . Do you think everyone reading it is going to go “Oh, I can hit on Mallorie whenever I want now”?

    I’m having a nasty day: How I’d like it to have her wish granted.
    Only, of course, in well-populated, lighted, open spaces. I’m not that nasty. Two conventions with 5% of the men asking her for a fuck…

  90. 90
    Mallorie Nasrallah

    Jason Thibeault, Sorry custom takes a back seat when you realize that a number of people are discussing this, and there is only one of me.

    We’ll start with your title “Mallorie Nasrallah says I like it when #mencallmethings”
    Which is an absurd representation of my statements, I like it when people are casual, candid and unrestrained enough to have a sense of humor around me.
    Where you have gotten your knowledge of my personal fetishes from is a mystery to me, but I suggest you dismiss that source, being that it is full of shit.

    Moving down we get to the “direct response” bit. Wrong, I never said that, had it been I would have said so. The recent outpouring of rage about gender issues did of course get me thinking about it, and make me want to represent a side I have seen go largely silent. But it is in no way a direct response.

    I have other places to be right now, I am sure you understand. I attempted to write you before I sent this to anyone, before I sent it to my personal friends, because I had hoped for objective discussion, but I guess without Penn and a bunch of pissed off FTB posters It wasn’t worth talking about.
    Its nice to know how your prioritize.
    You had your shot at my full attention, you blew me off.

  91. 91
    julian

    You had your shot at my full attention, you blew me off.

    However sought after your full attention may be, an argument for the points you’ve tried to make is what’s being asked for.

  92. 92
    Jason Thibeault

    Wrong, Mallorie. I guarantee you that I would have written about it yesterday whether you’d sent it to a more sympathetic ear first or not. I had half written it before turning in, and found it had gone viral through Penn the next morning. But you’ll never know that, or believe it. Having a dialog with me was not your concern — you wanted amplification, and if I had disagreed with you immediately, I’m sure things would not have turned out much differently.

    Now perhaps you could explain why you dissented so strongly against the very idea that all these things that all these men were calling all these women were actually sexist? Because that’s why I titled this what I did. You were shown examples of men calling women horrible things, and you wrote a letter saying to keep treating you the way you’ve been treated, even though others would take it as an exhortation to keep treating all women the way they’ve been treated.

    You wrote it in direct response to the conversation you pointed out to me. You wrote it to say that your voice — the voice of the woman who’s okay with how she gets treated — was being lost in the chorus of “please stop treating us like this”. Only you glossed over the “like this” part, calling it boob and fart and vagina jokes. It wasn’t. It was, among other things, RAPE JOKES AT A FIFTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL.

  93. 93
    codelette

    So the point, is that it is indeed possible to both deny Mallorie’s experience while chastising her for denying other women experiences -which she has not done-?
    And the irony to top it all: it is a man who’s decrying “sexism” while tagging her experiences as Stockholm Syndrome. The irony is rich indeed.
    I am a woman. An engineer. An agnostic. A skeptic. I am still trying to figure out where’s the skepticism on all this feminism dogmatic bullshit.
    Spend money on skep-cons to listen to this post-Victorian rants that have nothing to do with hard facts? I’ll save my hard-earned and just send it to RadioLab.

  94. 94
    Mallorie Nasrallah

    I would really love to have something to reply to you with, but really you just keep telling me what I really meant, and what I really wanted.

    Having a dialog with me was not your concern — you wanted amplification, and if I had disagreed with you immediately, I’m sure things would not have turned out much differently.

    So not only do you know what I really really wanted, but you have also decided I am guilty of the crime of dismissing you before any such situation occurred.
    I had hoped errors such as my use of personal pronouns not being enough to make clear that I am talking about me would be pointed out to me. And if someone had alerted me to the fact that “hey it seems like you’re trying to speak for all women” I would have attempted to change that. Had you alerted me to that fact, I assure you, I would have changed it.

    But I am glad you know me well enough to be sure of the outcome of an event that never occurred.

    Now perhaps you could explain why you dissented so strongly against the very idea that all these things that all these men were calling all these women were actually sexist?

    Thats not a position I took, I took a position that required no such assumptions. The position has been explained to someone who asked questions and engaged me in the dialog you are so sure I would never be interested in having.
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd/2012/01/03/jumping-on-the-sexism-train-again/#comment-16602

    You wrote it in direct response to the conversation you pointed out to me.

    I did? Well holy fuck, I would have never known if you hadn’t told me.

    I would like to know by what means do you presume to know my innermost thoughts, motives and fetishes?
    Short of having a way to prove you actually do have psychic powers, I have no idea how you’ll accomplish this.
    And if you pull that stunt off we’ll have to call you Lousy Psychic because I assure you, you’re doing a shit job of discerning my words and motives. Its particularly pathetic.

    If you attempt to tell me, what I think, in your reply, expect nothing in return from me. Its absurd, and I hope anyone who can read will be able to tell that.

    Again for those of you interested in a dialog such discussions are being had here:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd/2012/01/03/jumping-on-the-sexism-train-again

    And here:

    http://www.reddit.com/r/skeptic/comments/o1rd7/penn_jillette_thought_the_article_was_wonderful/?limit=500

    Otherwise enjoy having this silly fuck tell you what his crystal ball says about me.

  95. 95
    julian

    And the irony to top it all: it is a man who’s decrying “sexism”

    Please ignore all the women who’ve complained. Because women like cordelleta don’t you should ignore those bitches.

    The position has been explained to someone who asked questions and engaged me in the dialog you are so sure I would never be interested in having.

    Oh shut it. You and your friends spend so much time telling women who’ve felt hurt violated and offended to not be such hysterical harpies. That they’re making you look bad. Have some fucking integrity.

  96. 96
    Mallorie Nasrallah

    You and your friends spend so much time telling women who’ve felt hurt violated and offended to not be such hysterical harpies

    Please cite this claim, you were addressing an individual, keep that in mind in your search for citations.

  97. 97
    julian

    Please cite this claim, you were addressing an individual, keep that in mind in your search for citations.

    No, I was addressing a group. ‘You and your friends’ is not limited to an individual. But pedantry aside considering all the talk of women being to delicate to handle an argument and that feminizing science will ruin it, I don’t feel particularly compelled to give you the benefit of the doubt.

  98. 98
    john@skeptivus

    Here is a tip for the skeptical community if you really want to be more inviting to women. When a woman like Mallorie expresses an opinion that is not mainstream don’t be such assholes. She is describing her experience and has repeatedly said she is only speaking for herself. It’s as if the very idea that a woman has had good experiences with the community is anathema.

  99. 99
    Jason Thibeault

    Wrong, john @98. It’s not only “mainstream”, it’s the DEFAULT position. It’s what men assume women want. It’s what the gender roles proscribe.

    Mallorie: I am no psychic. I am describing the end result of your actions. Please understand that.

  100. 100
    john@skeptivus

    Jason,

    So Mallorie is a woman assuming what men assume that women want?

  101. 101
    Stephanie Zvan

    Mallorie keeps saying she’s speaking just for herself, but how much fucking entitlement does it take to say–for herself–”do not change for someone else”? ‘Cause, you know, that’s what. she. said.

  102. 102
    Liam

    Wow, reading the reactions have left a bad taste in my mouth. I’ve always considered myself pro-feminist. But looking at the hysterical reactions in these blogs, the attempted character assassination, the extremely disappointing personal attacks in the blog post. And the extremely low level of discourse on a subject that really needs a rational consideration rather than succumbing to the heat of emotion that such subjects as these make it easy to fall into.

    But it does seem that such a touchy and important subject like this in this self proclaimed skeptical community are not immune to these horrible non arguments and character attacks by community spokespeople and rank and file alike.

    If these are the sort of tools we use in womens advocacy, then count me out.

  103. 103
    Sas

    If these are the sort of tools we use in womens advocacy, then count me out.

    If you think womens’ advocacy is important and necessary then you don’t give up on it because you don’t like how some people go about it. That just makes you look like you either don’t really care about equality or that you’re trying to use your support or withdrawal of same as manipulation.

  104. 104
    Munkhaus

    “And the irony to top it all: it is a man who’s decrying “sexism” while tagging her experiences as Stockholm Syndrome. The irony is rich indeed.
    I am a woman. An engineer. An agnostic. A skeptic. I am still trying to figure out where’s the skepticism on all this feminism dogmatic bullshit.”

    The irony is off the scale, as well as the hypocrisy from Julian and Jason “mansplaining” to all the women that don’t count because they happen to have their own thoughts on a subject.
    And they think they’re rational!!

  105. 105
    julian

    Thank you for the strawman, Munkhaus. For your next trick, think you could make a point?

  106. 106
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    . But looking at the hysterical reactions in these blogs

    You must excuse us, it’s our uteruses moving upwards uncontrollably.
    I don’t know what’s wrong with julian and Jason, though.

  107. 107
    Liam

    You must excuse us, it’s our uteruses moving upwards uncontrollably.
    I don’t know what’s wrong with julian and Jason, though.

    Exactly an example of the low level of discourse. unable to find anything sexist about my comment, you instead had to insert it.

    Unless I am mistaken, and if so i apologise. i really have no idea what “uteruses moving upwards” is supposed to mean.

  108. 108
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Unless I am mistaken, and if so i apologise. i really have no idea what “uteruses moving upwards” is supposed to mean.

    It means that women are hysterical.
    Educate yourself a bit, then people might take you serious.
    For your convenience, here’s the short explenation from wiki:

    In the Western world, until the seventeenth century, hysteria referred to a medical condition thought to be particular to women and caused by disturbances of the uterus (from the Greek ὑστέρα “hystera” = uterus)

    You know, you use sexist language without caring that it was, and is, used to declare women as irrational beings incapable of logic and display your utter lack of basic education, but still feel qualified to voice your opinion on the subject and then you wonder why people object to it.

    Exactly an example of the low level of discourse. unable to find anything sexist about my comment, you instead had to insert it.

    I’m wondering who’s looking stupid now.

  109. 109
    Liam

    You caught me there, had this been 300 years ago, you’d have been spot on.

    Here is the first line of the wiki you missed out

    Hysteria, in its colloquial use, describes unmanageable emotional excesses.

    Which would have been inconvenient to add, because you know, finding the anachronistic meaning that happens to have no relation to the context i was using it, (nor could it be considering the listed symptoms), then going further to insult my intelligence for not being aware of the anachronistic meaning is the way we get taken seriously.

    I’m done here, i expressed my views, fair enough if people disagree, but i should have known that someone could not resist to label my post sexist so my intelligence could be insulted and my views dismissed. That does seem to be the trend here.

  110. 110
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Wow, so now you accuse me of quote-mining
    So, tell me, how often are men referred to as “hysterical” and how often are women? Which gender is colloquially described as “emotional and irrational”?
    Also, since we’re talking about accusations, where did I call your post sexist?
    I said you used sexist language and I provided evidence.

  111. 111
    Munkhaus

    “So, tell me, how often are men referred to as “hysterical” and how often are women? ”

    Oh FFS. All the time. Welcome to the 21st Century. Sorry that this isn’t Victorian Britain.

    You’ve got no actual arguments, and so you leap on a entirely appropriate word usage trying to make it sexist. You’re tilting at sexist-windmills and it’s rather pathetic.
    Not to mention hypocritical, when you bandy words like “misogynist” around without the same hyper-literalism applied.
    Oh, but you know the phrase “quote mine” so therefore you’re a “skeptic”. Joke.

  112. 112
    julian

    Munkhaus, stop pretending you can think. We’ve seen you derail and troll enough to know you can’t. Go away. There’s a bridge somewhere waiting for you. Return to it. The universe will be in peace once you do.

  113. 113
    codelette

    Julian, stop projecting yourself. I didn’t call them bitches; which btw, I think is a very efficient word. Both a noun and a adjective. Could be an insult or praise. Also, very neutral…I can say for example: “julian, you are most definitely a bitch to debate with.” ahh, gotta love the evolving nature of language.
    On another note: hysteria is used all the time to describe mass deranged and illogical behavior; like “mass hysteria”. A great example: “Mallorie’s letter was the catalyst to the mass hysteria running rampant on FTB”.

    Toodles, bitches.

  114. 114
    julian

    And toodles to you too, kike.

  115. 115
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Of course, Munckhouse, you’re absolutely right.
    Let’s play a little game:
    We use Google for the phrases She is hysterical and He is is hysterical
    And then we look at the first page for each:
    While She is hysterical yields hits about women, He is hysterical doesn’t even seem to exist in the large google databases and instead it highlights the, obviously thinking I made a spelling mistake. Not one story on the first page about a man being decried as “hysterical”. Instead the definitions come up, all telling us that this is derived from the word “uterus”.

  116. 116
    Jadehawk
    Now perhaps you could explain why you dissented so strongly against the very idea that all these things that all these men were calling all these women were actually sexist?

    Thats not a position I took,

    oh, but it is. you’ve repeatedly, on several blogs now, tried to say that these things are sometimes just jokes, or sometimes just insults, and that unless we know the intent of the person, we can’t know if it’s sexism (among other reasons you think why we can’t say rape-jokes are sexist)

    Also, very neutral…

    totes neutral. both men and women can be compared to female dogs, and that makes it not sexist. See also: comparing both men and women to women

  117. 117
    julian

    sigh

    Ok that’s over the line. There’s no point using anti-semitism against misogyny. Sorry.

  118. 118
    Munkhaus

    Giliell

    Try put quotes around the “he is hysterical” phrase, google genius. Then parse results for women for references to amusement (eg she is a hysterical comedian) and self-reference (ie Cher says she was hysterical) etc.

    ["Please any help- he is hysterical and won't sleep!" says misogynist mum. She's obviously "part of the problem TM". Idiots.]

    Or not. Just keep saying uterus!!!11 and making words and communication your enemy. You *look* for sexism, and find it… in shadows and the dark recesses of your own mind.

    #skepticismatFTB? #No.

  119. 119
    Stephanie Zvan

    Munkhaus, I’m still waiting for you to point out where I pretended not to know.

  120. 120
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Munkhaus, you’re fun
    Yes, if I use quotation marks, I get actual “he is hysterical” stories.
    About toddlers. So, yes, women and children, people of diminished capacity for rational thought.
    Oh, and I get roughly 1/3 more hits for “she is hysterical”
    Oh, and why would I want to parse those where women use it for themselves?

  121. 121
    codelette

    Kike? I am nothing but a cool spic. BTW, I find neither term offensive; but I find your lack of research before identifying my ethnic background disturbing. And you call yourself a skeptic? *tsk tsk*

  122. 122
    julian

    Hey, codellete, guess how many people I know who use kike the one you might use asshole?

    Thank you, though, for being honest and acknowledging you can’t object to racist slurs if you won’t object to gendered ones.

  123. 123
    codelette

    If you intended to use it as another way of saying “asshole”, why were you getting apologetic for the use of -and I quote you- an “anti-semitic” term? Get your story straight, bitch. (and “bitch” here meant “pal” :) )

  124. 124
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Julian, what the hell was that? Why did you even think to go there?

  125. 125
    julian

    Mostly because the word can’t be divorced (or, more accurately, hasn’t been divorced) from the antisemitic sentiments that spawned it.

    You might believe words like cunt and faggot are entirely legitimate ways of calling someone something you don’t like and that they have no affect on bigotry aimed toward those groups but I do not. It was a stupid, racist response so I apologized for it. It was about as appropriate as me responding ‘Ditto, cunt’ even though I have much more experience with people who use cunt to mean ‘dude’ or ‘jerk.’

  126. 126
    julian

    @Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Yeah, it was fucked up. My mind isn’t exactly a bigotry free zone and an all around callous human being. Again, I’m sorry, there’s no excuse for it.

  127. 127
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Yeah, it was fucked up. My mind isn’t exactly a bigotry free zone and an all around callous human being. Again, I’m sorry, there’s no excuse for it.

    That, misogynists, is how decent people react when they’re called out on outrageous behavior.

  128. 128
    codelette

    Is “decent people” just another way of saying “white man’s guilt”? Just asking. :)

  129. 129
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    Fuck off, codelette. You’re a shit, we already know that, no need to waste more of your energy proving it to us.

  130. 130
    codelette

    Are you trying to silence the voice of this WOC?

  131. 131
    skeptifem

    Hey, Munkhaus, there you go being dishonest again. You even link to the evidence. Skeptifem received a fair amount of shit for that move and apologized for it. But here you present it as par for the course and likely to happen again.

    What? When did I apologize for my article? I apologized for the term I decided to use because it wigged out a lot of trans women. That was the only thing I was sorry for. I didn’t apologize for the content, the intention of my post. I never apologized for saying that what I wrote applies to ERV’s behavior. ERV degrades women with gendered slurs all the time- why would I be sorry for pointing out how she gets dude approval for denigrating other women? its the truth. There is nothing to be sorry for in telling the truth.

    I don’t know how many times I have to say this but I used to do that exact same shit. It isn’t like I am trying to out people as irredeemably guilty for collaborating with misogynists, we all have to do it to some degree or another. This is just the most egregious sort of collaboration where women can gain male approval by agreeing with misogynist rhetoric. This happens in every struggle to end oppression; malcolm x’s “house negro” speech comes to mind as a non-feminist example.

    And yes, I would brand the crap in Malorie’s letter as the exact type of behavior that I discussed in my article. She is going to get an inordinate amount of attention and approval from men for her letter. When women complain she will be held up as an example of what the rest of us should be like, etc. She has presented herself as someone who is cool with any comment at all.I am sure one of the countless internet dudes will push too far and says something even she finds cruel, and she will either have to deal with being called a hypocrite for speaking up, or she will have to shut up and pretend its all okay. It is the hardest way of learning that no matter what you do in this life, you are still a woman and will be ultimately treated like one. Its always a very hard fall for the Mallories of the world.

  132. 132
    skeptifem

    And the irony to top it all: it is a man who’s decrying “sexism” while tagging her experiences as Stockholm Syndrome. The irony is rich indeed.
    I am a woman. An engineer. An agnostic. A skeptic. I am still trying to figure out where’s the skepticism on all this feminism dogmatic bullshit.

    Women are the experts on what constitutes sexism (from experiencing it), but it doesn’t mean men can’t notice it when it happens or speak up about it. I welcome any voice against sexism, and really men are more likely to be actually listened to when bringing it up. I think it is their duty to speak up about sexism, especially to other men, as a result of their privilege. Do you think sexism is in the eye of the beholder instead of an actual repeated phenomenon that exists in the context of a male-supremacist society? The former is the popular concept of “sexism”, one that fails to have any real worth. The latter is something that can actually be studied, and is (by sociology & womens studies departments, for instance).

    As for the last bit- am I to think that you are much too educated or accomplished to be mistaken? Why even bring that up if you weren’t trying to establish some kind of credential over everyone else? Do you think being an engineer makes you an expert at seeing any other sort of oppression? It seems to me like the elite classes, the ones that have access to higher education, have historically been the least aware of systems of oppression within society. Not so long ago, many universities had people eager to “prove” the inferiority of the oppressed, to show that people deserved to be treated like shit by their superiors. The evolution of gynecological medicine and things like the tuskegee shyphilis study show how little education means when it comes to noticing the humanity of people who are suffering.

  133. 133
    skeptifem

    Otherwise enjoy having this silly fuck tell you what his crystal ball says about me.

    jeez lighten up, will ya?

  134. 134
    julian

    Are you trying to silence the voice of this WOC?

    Thank you, Mallorie, because what we need is this level of dishonesty and refusal to engage with others when discussing race, gender and trans issues. I certainly hope you are pleased with yourself.

  135. 135
    Munkhaus

    Zvan; It was Jason that went all Reagan defence re gender traitor. Stop making it all about you TM.
    Skeptifem’s gender-traitor is still endorsed, the brand name has just changed.
    The hypocrisy re gender insults is still strong I see: Bensons bizarre Zardos ruling of ” the penis is good, the vagina is bad” still ruling the roost.

  136. 136
    Mallorie Nasrallah

    And yes, I would brand the crap in Malorie’s letter as the exact type of behavior that I discussed in my article. She is going to get an inordinate amount of attention and approval from men for her letter. When women complain she will be held up as an example of what the rest of us should be like, etc. She has presented herself as someone who is cool with any comment at all.I am sure one of the countless internet dudes will push too far and says something even she finds cruel, and she will either have to deal with being called a hypocrite for speaking up, or she will have to shut up and pretend its all okay. It is the hardest way of learning that no matter what you do in this life, you are still a woman and will be ultimately treated like one. Its always a very hard fall for the Mallories of the world.

    First let me say I am responding to you specifically, namely because you seem like you are being somewhat reasonable.

    I find it a bit silly that you are predicting the future, and its worth saying that your prediction is thus far inaccurate.
    The emails I have received from women far outweigh those I have from men. Believe this or not, either way it is the truth.
    Also among the critics, men and women seen equally represented. Lets not ignore this fact.

    Maybe someone will push it too far, hell if I know, but at this time I have received nothing even tending in the direction of my standards of “bad”.
    Further were I to receive something I found over the line, how telling the person to fuck off would be hypocritical I do not know. I stated my standards. My preferences. I did not say “no person, no where can be cruel”.
    The intellectual dishonestly with which most FTB contributers have approached my letter is far more irritating to me personally than some guy being crass or vulgar or cruel.
    I want you to do something for me, and I don’t mean this to be snarky. I am picking it because its somewhat neutral in this context.
    Take a look at my name, go on an google my last name if you want, and tell me if you think my life has been sugarcoated without a trace of bigotry.
    Its not a “hard fall” for me, I have no illusions and I know exactly how shitty some people can be.
    So please don’t assume things about people you do not know.
    If you feel this is off topic thats ok, I find some of your criticisms fair, it is reasonable to say I have presented myself as being fine with just about anything. It is not fair however to assume this because I have not lived with bigotry, etc. Therefor have a long hard fall awaiting me.

    I think it is their duty to speak up about sexism, especially to other men, as a result of their privilege.

    I am addressing several comments I hope thats ok.

    I want to point out the bigotry here. Arguably the sexism. First of all this statement fails to take in to account any other aspects of a man’s person.
    Maybe hes of a minority race, maybe he hasn’t lived a life of privilege. Maybe hes in to things that men typically aren’t, and has had his dreams of being a poet (or whatever) crushed by a society that tells him exactly what he is supposed to be as a man, he sure doesn’t sound privileged to me. Maybe hes gay, that sure doesn’t sound like a privileged existence to me. etc.

    It is unfair to have an expectation for one gender that you do not hold for the other. This is not equality. Saying those born male have a duty that those born female do not is not equal treatment. Nor does it do anything to further the notion that conditions of our birth should not dictate who we are.
    If you are going to say that men have a special obligation you can not claim you are asking for equal treatment.
    I was born a number of things, female, arabic, poor, etc. Demanding that these things matter just as much as, or more than what I have actively chosen to make of myself is horribly bigotry.
    I can not believe that without applying the same to my male, white, wealthy born counterpart.

    I hope this makes sense.

    Otherwise enjoy having this silly fuck tell you what his crystal ball says about me.

    jeez lighten up, will ya?

    I thought it was pretty light. Clear, blunt, accurate even, but light.

    Now:
    julian,

    Thank you, Mallorie, because what we need is this level of dishonesty and refusal to engage with others when discussing race, gender and trans issues. I certainly hope you are pleased with yourself.

    This is someone using humor to address the absurd. Its a fairly common response, and one I enjoy.
    I cant speak for the poster but I do not see this as a refusal to discuss race, gender and trans issues. I see this as a refusal to discuss them wholly on your terms, and with your conclusion as the only conclusion. Basically “if you’re going to frame this conversation in an absurd manner, ok, I can be absurd as well, and I’ll use your own absurd language to do it”.

    I am pleased with myself, but I have a pretty healthy ego, so I don’t pretend thats in anyway as a result of this.

  137. 137
    skeptifem

    I want to point out the bigotry here. Arguably the sexism. First of all this statement fails to take in to account any other aspects of a man’s person.
    Maybe hes of a minority race, maybe he hasn’t lived a life of privilege.

    Privilege isn’t a universal measurement that can be compared that way. A man who is poor or black does not have economic or racial privilege, but they still have male privilege. It can look different depending on the other kinds of privileges a person may have. It is called “intersectionality”. Bell hooks does excellent writing on the subject.

    Maybe hes in to things that men typically aren’t, and has had his dreams of being a poet (or whatever) crushed by a society that tells him exactly what he is supposed to be as a man, he sure doesn’t sound privileged to me. Maybe hes gay, that sure doesn’t sound like a privileged existence to me. etc.

    A gay man does not have straight privilege, but he still has male privilege. A man cannot give away male privilege by doing or saying or dreaming of something. It is something that society collectively grants him. It is a social construction, just like a single person insisting that a 1 dollar bill actually represents 100 dollars of spending power isn’t going to have much luck convincing everyone else. Collectively society has decided that certain pieces of paper represent very concrete amounts of purchasing power. What anyone feels about it is irrelevant. Gender roles are also socially constructed.

    It is unfair to have an expectation for one gender that you do not hold for the other. This is not equality. Saying those born male have a duty that those born female do not is not equal treatment.

    I guess you don’t think people with money should give to charity either then? At what point do you think the privileged have an obligation to the suffering? I believe very strongly that those who can afford to help should. As a white person I use my platform online to talk about racism often because a person of color isn’t going to be taken as seriously. It doesn’t bother me because I actually have a strong committment to ending these problems, and this is one of the few ways my white privilege can be put to good use.

    You seem to be suffering from the delusion that men not speaking up against sexism somehow *doesn’t* cause harm, but it does. It makes the sexist men think their behavior is acceptable. It makes men think that only women care about sexism, and so it is okay to be sexist when women aren’t around. Men are the only ones who have control over that aspect of sexism. It is them doing their part in helping to end the oppression of women.

    You know what else “isn’t equality” under your definition? The fact that women have abortion rights and men do not. Equality does not mean “everyone acts exactly the same”, it means “regarded with the same level of dignity and respect as everyone else”. The reality of pregnancy means that equality, in such a rigid way, is impossible. The fact that women are simply taken less seriously when they speak up is another reality which anti-sexism advocates have to deal with.

    Nor does it do anything to further the notion that conditions of our birth should not dictate who we are.

    Pretending that your sex has nothing to do with your reality doesn’t make that true. Try telling it to rape victims (you know like 1/4 of women), who would almost certainly not have been raped if they weren’t born women. In order to make an equal society work has to be done, not pretending. You can’t fix the problem without understanding the machinery and damages.

    If you are going to say that men have a special obligation you can not claim you are asking for equal treatment.

    First off, feminists aren’t the borg. I clash with a lot of feminists online for my opinions.Don’t make me representative of others because I am not.

    Secondly, when women are put at a disadvantage and told to just behave like everyone else (like men) they do not succeed at the same rate because the historical problems don’t vaporize just because you want them to. The barriers are still there, putting women on unequal footing to start with. What other explanation do you have for the wage gap continuing? What do you suggest is done about problems where women are disadvantaged from the start? We have two choices, either women are supposed to fix the conditions themselves (and we have tried pretty fucking valiantly without success), or men can pitch in and do some fucking work, you know, being the ones who benefit from women’s oppression chiefly. The latter is what you call “special treatment”, even though it is only shouldering a fair amount of the burden of fixing a society wide problem.

    I was born a number of things, female, arabic, poor, etc. Demanding that these things matter just as much as, or more than what I have actively chosen to make of myself is horribly bigotry.

    No, its just reality. I can see why penn jillette liked your letter so much, you suffer from the same illusion as all libertarians; the idea that you float, disconnected from everyone else in a vaccuum of your own making, instead of in a complex society full of socially oriented beings who make a remarkable number of decisions for you. The privilege of being able to have such a delusion is available to a remarkably fraction of people on this earth. Do you think your ideas are unrelated to your upbringing and culture? Ha. That kind of thinking sells a lot of sneakers, but it doesn’t do much good in explaining why patterns exist in society along the lines of race, income, nationality, sex, orientation, etc. Sociology and feminism do a much better job of explaining these things than folks who think that coersion is made up word.

    I can not believe that without applying the same to my male, white, wealthy born counterpart.

    I know right? Its like how white people don’t get as upset when I call them a “nigger”, but all these black people get up in arms about it when you call them it. They said they want to be equal but they can’t even put up with a joke!(sarcasm)

    When I told you to lighten up it was a joke. I thought you might get some empathy about being told to lighten up about something that (rightly) upset you, but I guess not.

  138. 138
    julian

    namely because you seem like you are being somewhat reasonable.

    Try being less condescending in your opening.

    I find it a bit silly that you are predicting the future, and its worth saying that your prediction is thus far inaccurate.

    skeptifem was describing likely and potential fallout. She’s seen similar in the past so it isn’t like she’s playing psychic right now. At least give her the am courtesy you’ve accused everyone of denying you.

    The intellectual dishonestly with which most FTB contributers have approached my letter is far more irritating to me personally than some guy being crass or vulgar or cruel.

    No one’s misrepresented your letter. You’ve made that claim everywhere except at Christina’s post (owing to her liking you and agreeing with most of your points) but you’ve yet to substantiate it.

    You have been quoted in context. At least admit that what we have an issue with is your actual position.

    It is not fair however to assume this because I have not lived with bigotry, etc.

    No one has assumed that. And please don’t drag up your ethnicity at this point. You don’t think such things are ever relevant or should matter in a discussion. You’ve said as much before.

    Maybe hes gay, that sure doesn’t sound like a privileged existence to me.

    You really haven’t listened or read a word of anyone who’s disagreed with you, have you?

    It is unfair to have an expectation for one gender that you do not hold for the other. This is not equality.

    Suppose we’re dealing with, I dunno, let’s go with homophobia. We know there’s a great number of people who will discount what a non straight person would say. (Because of everything from ‘asking for special rights’ to ‘being possessed by the devil’) We also know straights are the majority (or at least, people who perceive themselves as straight are the majority) and control most of the government bodies that have the authority to recognize the rights of lgtb.

    On top of all that, we know there are many lgtb who have no desire to see these rights recognize and/or are unwilling to deal with the amount of harassment they would face for seeking to have these rights recognized. So the community is at a huge disadvantage from the get go in terms of numbers, representation and solidarity within their own ranks.

    But self-identified heterosexuals who recognize those rights exist and that the government shouldn’t deny them based on sexual orientation have no responsibility to try and make their voices heard?

    We’re somehow better off in an Atlas Shrugged world where everyone is left to fend for their own rights and those who can’t cut it obviously don’t deserve them? Those who’re in a position to help minimize the imbalance shouldn’t get involved? Fuck that.

    I have a voice. If my voice can help it is my responsibility to use it. Otherwise there’s no point in having it.

    I was born a number of things, female, arabic, poor

    Indifferent to others

    This is someone using humor to address the absurd. Its a fairly common response, and one I enjoy.

    It was someone mocking what she perceives as our overreaction, speaking for others and usage of *insert minority* to legitimize an argument. It was a strawman as that doesn’t actually describe the way I argue or approach these issues.

    We disagree. We know where we disagree. Would it not be more prudent to present our arguments and see who’s conclusion is the better supported of the two or if both should be abandoned in place of a third?

  139. 139
    julian

    First off, feminists aren’t the borg. I clash with a lot of feminists online for my opinions.

    Do you ever.

  140. 140
    julian

    Try telling it to rape victims (you know like 1/4 of women)

    Not sure how big a quibble this is but if the recent numbers are to be believed, men didn’t fare much better (when we include ‘forced to penetrate another’ in the category of attempted and completed rapes.) I remember the number being like 1 in 17 which is noticeably better than 1 in 4 (although in that CDC piece it was closer to 1 in 5, I think) but still means every room full of men has one sexual assault survivor.

    Of course my memory could just be that bad so I’m trying to find the original material now. I know I downloaded it but I can’t find which folder I left it in.

  141. 141
    julian

    Found it.

    “Approximately 1 in 21 men (4.8%) reported having been made to penetrate someone else in his lifetime.” -National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey:2010 Summary Report.

    I must be blind because I can’t find where it breaks down who the attackers were for that category of sexual violence but I’m tentatively willing to believe it was predominately women.

    More to your point though, 44.6% of women surveyed reported experienced sexual victimization other than rape. (This number shocked me. I thought it’d be closer to a hundred percent.) For Mallorie only 27% would be a valid number, though, as the other categories involved non physical sexual experiences.

  142. 142
    julian

    I know I’m practically spamming at this point but

    Found the section that outlines the sex of the perpetrator.

    For female rape victims, 98.1% reported only male perpetrators. Additionally, 92.5% of female victims of sexual violence other than rape reported only male perpetrators. For male victims, the sex of the perpetrator varied by the type of sexual violence experienced. The majority of male rape victims (93.3%) reported only male perpetrators. For three of the other forms of sexual violence, a majority of male victims reported only female perpetrators: being made to penetrate (79.2%), sexual coercion (83.6%), and unwanted sexual contact (53.1%). -National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report

    Thankfully, despite not recognizing being forced to penetrate another as rape, the survey did ask the question and provide numbers for it.

    It looks like when the victim is a man women shoulder a larger share of the responsibility. But even with with all that men seem to be the most common perpetrators of sexual violence being responsible for almost all forms of sexual violence against women and a large amount of the sexual violence against other men.

  143. 143
    codelette

    Women are the experts on what constitutes sexism (from experiencing it), but it doesn’t mean men can’t notice it when it happens or speak up about it. I welcome any voice against sexism, and really men are more likely to be actually listened to when bringing it up. I think it is their duty to speak up about sexism, especially to other men, as a result of their privilege. Do you think sexism is in the eye of the beholder instead of an actual repeated phenomenon that exists in the context of a male-supremacist society? The former is the popular concept of “sexism”, one that fails to have any real worth. The latter is something that can actually be studied, and is (by sociology & womens studies departments, for instance).

    As for the last bit- am I to think that you are much too educated or accomplished to be mistaken? Why even bring that up if you weren’t trying to establish some kind of credential over everyone else? Do you think being an engineer makes you an expert at seeing any other sort of oppression? It seems to me like the elite classes, the ones that have access to higher education, have historically been the least aware of systems of oppression within society. Not so long ago, many universities had people eager to “prove” the inferiority of the oppressed, to show that people deserved to be treated like shit by their superiors. The evolution of gynecological medicine and things like the tuskegee shyphilis study show how little education means when it comes to noticing the humanity of people who are suffering.

    I am a woman; therefore I am an expert on sexism, right? So, if I identify sexism, you have to take it at face value. According to your same input, this is a male-supremacist society and all men are privileged; so how can you trust a man’s opinion on this topic given how biased it is? It is funny that you wrote -and I quote- “really men are more likely to be actually listened to when bringing it up”; cause obviously you preferred the male voice (Jason) over the female’s voice (Mallorie’s). I guess it is all because Mallorie is a poor, poor victim of Stockholm Syndrome and not an assertive person who doesn’t let the vulva between her legs be used as a handicap.

    On the topic of “privilege”. Who are you to educate me on privilege? Oh yes, you are a feminist. A white young feminist at it. So that means, that you read some Bell Hook’s stuff and now you are the expert on the “struggle of WOC”. If you read some WOC stuff you’ll know, privileged white female, that the feminist canon of “always believing the rapist” meant oppression of a black male at the behest of a white female. So when you say that a black man enjoys privilege over women -in general- think about that man hanging from a fucking tree, because one of your kind decided that her vulva was more valuable than an innocent man’s life. I guess that’s why some women of color decided one day to say “fuck you, privileged white feminists. We stand by our men.” and became Womanists….but I digress….

    In regards to my credentials -or lack of thereof-, I mentioned that I am an engineer (a EE, btw. suck it, male oppression!) to highlight my opinion with the fact that I work in a male-dominated environment and I have yet to experience any “sexism” from the big ol’ bad men. I work in this environment, as opposed to the academic who from her bubble decries sexism on my behalf. But I guess you should know better than me what my experience has been. Perhaps my good fortune isn’t the product of my hard work, and the elite class simply fell asleep at the gates of the higher education olympus, ’cause I swayed my poor, Puerto Rican, half-nigger ass through the gates and it looks like I managed to steal a diploma on my way out.

    BTW, my dear privileged white female, not so long ago when your kind was on the streets demanding the “evolution of gynecological medicine” (aka reproductive rights) some poor illiterate Puerto Rican women were used as guinea pigs —without their knowledge— in order to deliver the goods. Some of those guinea pigs were my grandmothers. I really want to read how you’ll defend that one with your feminist dogma. Link for your reading pleasure: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/pill/peopleevents/e_puertorico.html

    On a final note, all of this conversation is little more than feelings, anecdotal evidence and dogmatic beliefs over reason and logic. What’s skeptic about this? Absolutely nothing. skeptifem, you might be a feminist but you are no skeptic. Feminism is your new religion. You just substituted sin, blasphemy and godlessness with sexism, gender treachery and privilege.

  144. 144
    codelette

    Thank you, Mallorie, because what we need is this level of dishonesty and refusal to engage with others when discussing race, gender and trans issues. I certainly hope you are pleased with yourself.

    Who the fuck are you calling dishonest, you pompous ass?

  145. 145
    Jason Thibeault

    For those of you playing along at home.

  146. 146
    codelette

    I’ll add to that bingo: “It’s just a whole bunch of White people complaining about non-issues”. Funny because of the massive amounts of truthiness.

  147. 147
    julian

    Who the fuck are you calling dishonest, you pompous ass?

    You, you illiterate frat boy twit. (That’s my default insult to engineers who think they know everything.)

    Also, you’re Puerto Rican? I’m Dominican. We have whole new reasons to hate one another.

    It is funny that you wrote -and I quote- “really men are more likely to be actually listened to when bringing it up”

    She’s recognizing a well known phenomenon. Women really have trouble (as a whole, you moronic fuck. I’m not signalling you out in particular) being heard over men in most discussions.

    And what the fuck do you care if Jason Thibeult is being listened to over Mallorie Narallah? Neither of you think women have any particular insight into what constitutes sexism, so piss off with your fake outrage.

    But I guess you should know better than me what my experience has been.

    No one has told you what your experiences are, fuckknuckles.

    I would, however, like to point out some studies suggest those who’ve experienced sexist and racist environments on average tend to become numb to it and dismissive towards those who have experienced ‘lighter’ forms of it. And you, seem to be doing the same here. For all your admonishments of the evil white bitch you have yet to take into account who they are, what they’ve been through or where their beliefs come from. Ironic as that seems to be something you hate.

    On a final note, all of this conversation is little more than feelings, anecdotal evidence and dogmatic beliefs over reason and logic.

    *looks over your rant again*

    Is that really where you wanna go? To discredit all feminist thought and experience is the racism that had been prevalent throughout this country. I might as well bring Tuskegee to discredit medical science and patient tests or eugenics to discredit evolution. It’s an invalid, prejudicial and often inflammatory tactic.

    A skeptic should be above that. But then again you’re just a piss filled fuck who seems to just have a grudge against white people.

  148. 148
    codelette

    PS. Hey, Jason, is your day job Well-Poisoner?

  149. 149
    Munkhaus

    “Why would I want to parse those where women use it for themselves?”

    Or how it is used to mean “highly amusing”. Yeah, why bother with what words are actually used for by, you know, society, when you can stick with meanings from hundreds of years ago?

  150. 150
    julian

    I would also like to point out it just screams ‘wtf?!’ when you say you do not see spic or kike as offensive and then go on to say you have never experienced any kind of sexism in your workplace.

    It’s like someone who doesn’t mind having their ass occasionally fondled on the subway saying they’ve never experienced harassment on their way to work.

  151. 151
    codelette

    Hey, julian. For a so-called feminist, you sure like to white-knight the hell out of a conversation between women.

    I’ve met not one Dominican I don’t like. Every single one I’ve met personally has been a hard-working, honest citizen of my community in the island. But then none of them really waste their time defending women online. They tend to gravitate towards women who can fend for themselves.

    I hold no grudges against white people. I just like to privilege-check the privilege-mongers with their own bullshit. Call it what you will.

  152. 152
    julian

    PS. Hey, Jason, is your day job Well-Poisoner?

    Oh, shut up. You tried to counter skeptifem’s points by bringing up false rape accusations against blacks. However legitimate issue that may be to someone studying the history of feminism, it has nothing to do with anything being discussed now. That was almost a text book example of poisoning the well and the one I just quoted? Yeah, pot calling the kettle black.

  153. 153
    julian

    Ha!

    For someone who doesn’t think gender or sex have any bearing on an argument you sure do bring it up a lot, codelette.

    If you wanna call it white knighting, be my guest. If you want to show me where I’m wrong, you are also welcome to do that. I happen to like learning new things and working on my faults (legion though they may be).

    Which is why I find it strange you deny having any issues with white people. You went from calling skeptifem a white young feminists to extrapolating to what her education and motives must be. In fact you prefaced every ‘evil’ thing done by feminism by directly relating it to white women.

    Also odd considering skeptifem doesn’t deny that feminism was influenced by the racism of the time. I think it’s one reason skeptifem insists on taking our personal privilege into account. So that we don’t fuck over the people we’re privileged over.

    And I’m glad you’ve never met Dominican you didn’t like. That’s very lucky! Sadly I can’t say the same for all Puerto Ricans or Dminicans (or any group) I know. People tend to be people so you’re never going to like everyone.

  154. 154
    liam

    “You, you illiterate frat boy twit.”

    “you moronic fuck.”

    “No one has told you what your experiences are, fuckknuckles.”

    “But then again you’re just a piss filled fuck who seems to just have a grudge against white people.”

    Every ad hominem you insert makes your arguments more convincing.

  155. 155
    Mallorie Nasrallah

    Privilege isn’t a universal measurement that can be compared that way. A man who is poor or black does not have economic or racial privilege, but they still have male privilege. It can look different depending on the other kinds of privileges a person may have. It is called “intersectionality”. Bell hooks does excellent writing on the subject.
    A gay man does not have straight privilege, but he still has male privilege. A man cannot give away male privilege by doing or saying or dreaming of something. It is something that society collectively grants him.

    I was making two separate points, I meant to put a “secondly” in there. Sorry about that.
    I understand that you see them as divorced, but if we are to apply the logic of male privilege = male obligation to other issues of “privilege” we end up in a world where everyone is obligated to everyone else based on the arbitrary conditions of their birth. This is not equality.

    It is a social construction, just like a single person insisting that a 1 dollar bill actually represents 100 dollars of spending power isn’t going to have much luck convincing everyone else. Collectively society has decided that certain pieces of paper represent very concrete amounts of purchasing power. What anyone feels about it is irrelevant. Gender roles are also socially constructed.

    If you really believe this wouldn’t the answer be to collectively remove the mindset of “privilege”, and reject the notion that we are not equal. Rather than demanding one group accept their status as “privileged” and abase themselves for it?
    What anyone feels about it is not irrelevant because it is our very feelings on the subject that either cement or dissolve the status quo.
    I will not further the notion of gender obligations or my own “victim” status by demanding someone of a different gender than I accept moral accountability for actions they have not undertaken, and for a system they did not create.

    I guess you don’t think people with money should give to charity either then? At what point do you think the privileged have an obligation to the suffering? I believe very strongly that those who can afford to help should. As a white person I use my platform online to talk about racism often because a person of color isn’t going to be taken as seriously. It doesn’t bother me because I actually have a strong committment to ending these problems, and this is one of the few ways my white privilege can be put to good use.

    I have no problem with people giving money to charity, I have said nothing of the kind. I don’t think its my job to make them, but it wouldn’t really be charity if I did.

    At what point do I think “the privileged” have an obligation to “the suffering”?
    This is moving in to my personal politics, which you seem to have discerned some what accurately. I don’t see what it has to do with the current conversation but if we agree not to derail far I am happy to answer:
    I do not think there is any moral obligation, I do think there is a moral obligation to refuse to cater to current bigotry. I think if someone attempts to further the notion that one group rightfully has power over another they are a douche bag.

    You seem to be suffering from the delusion that men not speaking up against sexism somehow *doesn’t* cause harm, but it does. It makes the sexist men think their behavior is acceptable. It makes men think that only women care about sexism, and so it is okay to be sexist when women aren’t around. Men are the only ones who have control over that aspect of sexism. It is them doing their part in helping to end the oppression of women.

    You seem to be suffering from the delusion that you have the right to make demands of other people that go beyond “treat me equally”. You have moved in to the realm of imposing obligation on them.

    You know what else “isn’t equality” under your definition? The fact that women have abortion rights and men do not. Equality does not mean “everyone acts exactly the same”, it means “regarded with the same level of dignity and respect as everyone else”. The reality of pregnancy means that equality, in such a rigid way, is impossible. The fact that women are simply taken less seriously when they speak up is another reality which anti-sexism advocates have to deal with.

    Again this is personal politics, and I think men should have as near to equal rights to an abortion as nature allows. So as to avoid derailing further, if you would like to hear these concepts please feel free to FB or Email me.
    That being said the biological fact of pregnancy =/= the cultural bullshit of women not being taken seriously.
    One is absolute, the other is not.
    Again, if this were about demanding equal treatment that would be fine, I think thats great, but its not, you have clearly stated that men have an obligation to women, from birth, because of their gender, that women do not have to men.
    I’m sorry I am not going to accept “some genders are more equal than others” as a solution. That is the problem, and I am not going to take part in furthering it.
    Of course men become outraged when you tell them because of something as out of their control as their gender, they start life in a moral deficit, and must for their lifetimes endeavor to abase themselves, to lift you up.

    Pretending that your sex has nothing to do with your reality doesn’t make that true. Try telling it to rape victims (you know like 1/4 of women), who would almost certainly not have been raped if they weren’t born women. In order to make an equal society work has to be done, not pretending. You can’t fix the problem without understanding the machinery and damages.

    You cited someone you would like me to read, I would like you to consider saul alinsky’s concepts on “the world as it is” vs “the worlds as you want it to be”.
    I understand the world as it is, I also can see movements towards the world as I wish it to be, further I can anticipate reasonably that attempting to move closer to the world as I wish it to be does not involve the very action that has caused the problem in the first place.
    If the societal concept of gender superiority is that which I would like to eradicate, I refuse to do so by demanding men simply because of their gender be bound to a permanent state of apologetics for their gender.
    Two wrongs do not make a right.

    First off, feminists aren’t the borg. I clash with a lot of feminists online for my opinions.Don’t make me representative of others because I am not.

    Ok, fair enough. Which part of my statement did you feel addressed the movement rather than your own sentiments?
    Certainly not the special obligation part. You in your own words said they have a special duty.
    So was it the asking only to be treated equal part? If so then ok, I am glad you do not claim that all you are asking for is equal treatment.

    Secondly, when women are put at a disadvantage and told to just behave like everyone else (like men) they do not succeed at the same rate because the historical problems don’t vaporize just because you want them to. The barriers are still there, putting women on unequal footing to start with. What other explanation do you have for the wage gap continuing? What do you suggest is done about problems where women are disadvantaged from the start? We have two choices, either women are supposed to fix the conditions themselves (and we have tried pretty fucking valiantly without success), or men can pitch in and do some fucking work, you know, being the ones who benefit from women’s oppression chiefly. The latter is what you call “special treatment”, even though it is only shouldering a fair amount of the burden of fixing a society wide problem.

    Ok first of all I take serious issue with we have tried pretty fucking valiantly without success to say without success is completely inaccurate, you might not feel all the problems have been solved, but to say there has been no progress? That there are been no successes? That is absurd. I hope that was just poor word choice on your part.

    Second, What other explanation do you have for the wage gap continuing? I will do you one better and link you to reports:
    http://www.consad.com/content/reports/Gender%20Wage%20Gap%20Final%20Report.pdf

    Things like a woman on average being paid less because on average women work part time is perfectly reasonable. That is not a gender issue, it is a part time worker issue.
    Taking in to consideration pregnancy, is perfectly reasonable.
    With that in mind, the wage disparity is shrinking, which is awesome! come on, don’t act like there is not change in the right direction.

    No, its just reality. I can see why penn jillette liked your letter so much, you suffer from the same illusion as all libertarians; the idea that you float, disconnected from everyone else in a vaccuum of your own making, instead of in a complex society full of socially oriented beings who make a remarkable number of decisions for you. The privilege of being able to have such a delusion is available to a remarkably fraction of people on this earth. Do you think your ideas are unrelated to your upbringing and culture? Ha. That kind of thinking sells a lot of sneakers, but it doesn’t do much good in explaining why patterns exist in society along the lines of race, income, nationality, sex, orientation, etc. Sociology and feminism do a much better job of explaining these things than folks who think that coersion is made up word.

    I don’t know if thats why Penn liked my letter, but yes I will admit it probably has something to do with our friendship. Our politics line up a great deal.
    This doesn’t mean you get to tell me / assume what I think. Of course my economic status effected my early life, of course. And yes my race and gender have affected me. Of course. To be fair in this post 9/11 world my race has been a much bigger deal than my gender.
    But as to nature VS nurture, I am sorry to tell you, the jury is still out. You do not get to declare nurture the winner.
    Everything else you stated just furthers your somewhat inaccurate assumptions about my politics, and your preference for your own explanations. Which is fine, of course you prefer them, thats why you argue them.

    I know right? Its like how white people don’t get as upset when I call them a “nigger”, but all these black people get up in arms about it when you call them it. They said they want to be equal but they can’t even put up with a joke!(sarcasm)

    This is so far off from my point that it makes me sad I thought we were talking, decently, and honestly :(
    “don’t judge based on race” is fair, “you are white therefore you have a special obligation to all non-whites” is not fair. The only obligation anyone has to anyone else is equal treatment as a fellow human being.

    When I told you to lighten up it was a joke. I thought you might get some empathy about being told to lighten up about something that (rightly) upset you, but I guess not.

    Well then, that says something doesn’t it? (teasing)
    The thing is, I haven’t told people to lighten up, your opposition…we aren’t a hive mind either. If I have said “lighten up” or anything like that, show me please.
    I have stated my preferences for how people treat me.
    If our goal is to form a society in which people are treated as they wish to be, which is I agree usually just “decently and with human dignity” We can not do so without first stating how it is we wish to be treated.

    I don’t mind rough sex jokes directed at me, not because I have some strange fetish, but because if I can discern that they are not intended to hurt me I see no cause to be offended (not saying others cant discern, its the response I am saying is different). Also, shit, I like making them back and childish as it may seem I don’t want to lose them.
    If someone wants to tell me I am pretty before they tell me they think I am smart, I do not see this as demeaning, the person meant it in kindness and I have trouble rejecting human kindness. Would I prefer to be seen as smart over pretty? Fuck yes, but I do not find the order in which someone compliments me cause for concern.

    If the above is not true for you, that is totally ok. But if I like something, and I want to keep it in my life, I have every right to say so, and to share it with the people who matter to me.

    I feel we have gone a bit off topic here, if anyone finds this all to be derailing feel free to say so and I will gladly take it elsewhere.

    And lastly:

    julian,

    Try being less condescending in your opening.

    Thus far you have earned nothing but condensation and ridicule, so piss off, you are not engaging in conversation with anyone who disagrees, you are being a silly twit, so shoo.

  156. 156
    Mallorie Nasrallah

    *condescension

    Fucking autocorrect. Clearly I talk more about the weather more than assholism.

  157. 157
    Mallorie Nasrallah

    http://www.mallorienasrallah.com/screenshots/studiesblow.jpg

    I mean really…asking someone to cite their alleged “facts” is bad? Fuck me sideways, maybe I’m not a “skeptic” after all.

  158. 158
    julian

    If you really believe this wouldn’t the answer be to collectively remove the mindset of “privilege”, and reject the notion that we are not equal.

    How do you plan to do that? What methods do you propose to get rid of the cognitive biases we all share and prevent us from truly treated each other fairly? Bearing in mind this is all of humanity we’re taking about and all of humanity that has to collectively undergo whatever it is that will fix everything.

    This is beyond naivete.

    And let’s not forget studies that suggest those of us who are absolutely sure we treat everyone the same tend to have shifting goal posts for different groups. (If you’d like citations, I can provide a few and direct you to writers who’ve written more on the topic.) Even if somehow we were to find the right treatment we’d still have to verify that we were in fact treating everyone fairly and that there were no more barriers.

    Dismissing cognitive biases, pretending we decidedly and definitively are free from all forms of prejudice is not going to create the world free of discrimination and inequality we all seem to want.

    We are much better served recognizing the differences in opportunity, hiring practices, wage distribution and expectations.

  159. 159
    julian

    Mallorie, I’ve seen the same thing said by anti-vax, global warming denialists and creationists on those bingo cards for the same entries. But, meh, one less Randoid.

  160. 160
    Jason Thibeault

    Every one of us has blind spots. Every fucking one of us. Maybe, since so many people have told you Mallorie that you have a blind spot insofar as whether or not your experience with sexism maps onto the public at large, maybe you will believe them that you don’t, in fact, have magical knowledge about all those other people and whether their complaints about sexism are valid or validated by evidence (which they’ve shown multiple times).

    I doubt it though. Not considering that you penned your paean to the Common Man (emphasis on Man) after you got done telling people that those rape jokes aimed at the fifteen year old girl were her own fault for mentioning the word “anus”.

  161. 161
    Mallorie Nasrallah

    julian, thank you for your sincere response.

    I do not know how to solve these problems. Its optimism not naiveté that makes me believe there are better ways to accomplish it than defining new forceful gender obligations.

    I think a good starting point is looking at the institutions that serve as dogmatic facilitators.
    Namely, Religion. Government does its only nasty bigoted dance as well, but thats a whole other story.

    We know where some of the most egregious bigotry takes place, and its in the Churches, Mosques, Temples, etc. And in the Theocratic nations that follow dogmatic teachings of racism, sexism and a class and caste system.

    How many girls will be saved from religiously imposed victimization, sexual and physical abuse, and a life of useless servitude if we focus what we have and take them the fuck down?
    How many unmolested children? How many people taught in formal logic, and science rather than shoved though a system that only serves to enforce hate and xenophobia?

    I don’t know that this will fix the problem, but I do know that telling generation after generation of young men that they are in the hole, they are in debt, and they have to spend their whole lives in this irresolvable condition of moral obligation cant work.
    I firmly believe that things like that also only serve to breed hate. If you make yourself the oppressor, even in the name of good, you will create oppressed masses, and we do know where that goes.

    Disagree with me if you like, but please, respond with the decency you exhibited above. I do want to talk about this.

  162. 162
    Jason Thibeault

    Thus far you have earned nothing but condensation and ridicule, so piss off, you are not engaging in conversation with anyone who disagrees, you are being a silly twit, so shoo.

    You don’t get to decide that. Not the part about “engaging in conversation”, nor “silly twit”, nor whether or not he should “shoo”. And you, yourself, have a voice here at MY pleasure. It’s not like you couldn’t just write another open letter to the community asking people to excoriate me on your own domain, and get your BFF Penn to amplify it. I let you post here because I directly confronted you for your pretended ability to see what’s “real sexism” and what isn’t, and your dismissal of everyone who has said that they have been attacked for being women. I give you a voice on this blog because I confronted you directly and you deserve a chance to respond and consider that maybe, just maybe, you DON’T know the entire battlefield on which you’ve staked your own little fiefdom.

    I am most gratified that you and codelette are insulated from sexism, and saddened that you and codelette are not insulated from racism. Do not pretend that everyone in the human race has your experience, though. That is the entire point of my, and every other FtB blogger’s, and every other dissenters’, dissent with your letter so far.

  163. 163
    Mallorie Nasrallah

    Julian, I emphatically do not agree with much Rand says. I liked “we the living” as a novel. Thats about it. Please don’t approach this as though you’re talking to one of her followers.
    I mean…ewwww. :p

  164. 164
    Jason Thibeault

    Its optimism not naiveté that makes me believe there are better ways to accomplish it than defining new forceful gender obligations.

    Nobody is doing that.

    We know where some of the most egregious bigotry takes place, and its in the Churches, Mosques, Temples, etc. And in the Theocratic nations that follow dogmatic teachings of racism, sexism and a class and caste system.

    How many girls will be saved from religiously imposed victimization, sexual and physical abuse, and a life of useless servitude if we focus what we have and take them the fuck down?
    How many unmolested children? How many people taught in formal logic, and science rather than shoved though a system that only serves to enforce hate and xenophobia?

    Search my blog under the Religion tag. They are spared no quarter. I am an atheist and I refuse to allow any sort of dogma — whether related to gender roles or religion — to be propagated any further. Not one more generation, if I had my way.

  165. 165
    Mallorie Nasrallah

    Jason, Ive said it before and I’ll say it again.
    My experience. Mine. And my preferences. Mine.

    That in no way comments on those of others.

    If you want to block me, by all means, if you want to threaten to delete my comments and block me.

    Do it.

    I mean it, do it. Because I assure you, your threats are not going to make me change my opinion and or behaviour.

    Thats kind of the fucking point.

  166. 166
    Jason Thibeault

    No, Mallorie, that was MY point. I’m not going to block you, but you’re also not going to block other people by fiat, by telling them to shoo. Considering you shortly thereafter told the same person you wanted to talk to them, perhaps you should consider stopping trying to control other people’s contribution to the conversation and try just listening to them and responding in kind.

    The reason so many people are upset with you is that you told all men “don’t change, not for me, not for anyone”. The problem here is with universals. I’m going to write a post about it, but you’ve given us a universal to counter it — that all men are fine, that nobody needs changing. And you’ve declared that a universal that nobody gave — that all men are evil misogynists and need to change — is wrong.

    I agree that the universal that nobody gave is wrong. I agree because it is a strawman argument.

    Your experience, and your letter, are not presented in a vacuum. They are presented in the context of a larger fight. And in that context, you are telling the women who have experienced rampant misogyny (by which I mean explicit woman-hate, people telling them to shut up because they’re ugly and should be quiet and willing sperm-receptacles, that they should fuck themselves with knives) that they are wrong about every man that has affronted them. That they are simply misandrist and hate all men.

    If you take your letter in a vacuum, without all the other nonsense that has occurred, it’s good. It’s laudable. I like the message — that men are good too — and that not every man should be painted by the actions of the assholes.

    But you did not present it in a vacuum.

  167. 167
    Stephanie Zvan

    Still waiting to hear what’s so hard about approaching an individual guy to say, “Try to fuck me,” instead of insisting that it has to be standard practice.

  168. 168
    Liam

    Its optimism not naiveté that makes me believe there are better ways to accomplish it than defining new forceful gender obligations.

    Nobody is doing that.

    Have you been following these comments?

    Follow the conversation between Mallorie and Skeptifem, before speaking on behalf of ‘nobody’.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2012/01/03/mallorie-nasrallah-says-i-like-it-when-mencallmethings/#comment-44178

  169. 169
    Jason Thibeault

    Liam: I do not see any “forceful new gender obligation”, and if you do, I’d appreciate it if you quote it rather than pointing me to the conversation that has filled my email box since I posted the original thread. I am well aware of what skeptifem and Mallorie have discussed, and do not see what you are referring to, only to where Mallorie characterized something in this thread as such.

  170. 170
    Jason Thibeault

    Here are two questions asked in good faith, Mallorie.

    First, as Stephanie posed earlier, and reminded you so very recently: why does the default have to be “try to fuck me”? Why can’t the default be “try to treat me like another human being and figure out whether I’d be receptive to overt courtship attempts before trying to fuck me”?

    Second, are you aware that there are people in the community who are fighting back against the idea that women should have any kind of say in courtship, and are attempting to shout down any woman who says that rampant objectification or sexualization of women is happening with or without their consent?

  171. 171
    Mallorie Nasrallah

    No, Mallorie, that was MY point. I’m not going to block you, but you’re also not going to block other people by fiat, by telling them to shoo. Considering you shortly thereafter told the same person you wanted to talk to them, perhaps you should consider stopping trying to control other people’s contribution to the conversation and try just listening to them and responding in kind.

    In several different threads, in several different blogs he has jumped in a conversation, that was going decently and been a dick. I have every right to shoo, I had no intention of reply to him on his terms. I expressed that.
    Really though, if you felt I was trying to mod your blog, sorry, that was not my goal.
    You did however wave your admin abilities in my face, as a threat. If it was something else please tell me what.

    The reason so many people are upset with you is that you told all men “don’t change, not for me, not for anyone”. The problem here is with universals. I’m going to write a post about it, but you’ve given us a universal to counter it — that all men are fine, that nobody needs changing. And you’ve declared that a universal that nobody gave — that all men are evil misogynists and need to change — is wrong.

    Really there seem to be about 20 people mad at me. So I dispute so many.
    I can deal with you not liking blanket statements. You can believe this or not but I really did not have rapists in mind when I wrote that letter. I had our local SSA and the LVA (Las Vegas Atheists). I did want more people to see it, of course. Did I expect this? Fuck no. I clearly underestimated Penn’s twitter account when he asked to share it, understandable I think. I expected fallout, I did not expect people to think I was doing anything other than sharing my experience.
    Do I regret a word of it? No. Most people have been able to understand that I am not telling rapists to keep on raping.
    However, you are refusing to accept that even under the most twisted reading I have committed only one blanket statement, not too.
    I stated my preference.
    I signed it with my god damn full real name. I used personal pronouns thoughout. I am sincerely sorry people feel like I was attempting to speak for them. I was not. I hope you can understand that this time.

    I agree that the universal that nobody gave is wrong. I agree because it is a strawman argument.

    Right here in your own comments the universal statements you’re claiming no one made…were said…
    Google “Schrödinger’s Rapist” and understand that I have been confronted with that argument.
    Understand that saying things like “male privilege” is universal.

    you might not be saying it, and that is awesome, but that doesn’t mean no one is.

    But again on top of that the “dont change” really really really had more to do with events I find dumb like “girls night out”. Really, it did. I was feeling pandered to because of my gender. Which I find…insulting.

    Please put that in your head, read my letter, and see if it makes more sense.

    Your experience, and your letter, are not presented in a vacuum. They are presented in the context of a larger fight. And in that context, you are telling the women who have experienced rampant misogyny (by which I mean explicit woman-hate, people telling them to shut up because they’re ugly and should be quiet and willing sperm-receptacles, that they should fuck themselves with knives) that they are wrong about every man that has affronted them. That they are simply misandrist and hate all men.

    The only thing I said in my letter that addressed the “larger fight” was the encouragement to hit on me with hope of sex.
    And again, short of using personal pronouns and signing the thing with my real full name I do not know how I could have been more clear that I was speaking for myself.
    And I have a right to, just like women have a right to say “dont hit on me” I have a right to say “hit on me if you want”.

    If you’re mad that I didn’t address the larger community and the other situations, understand I do not have a nationally read blog. I do not typically write to people all over the god damn place. I write to people who know what I am talking about.
    If you really want to hear what I have to say on that subject, do what you think I asked before: Help me pass that message around.
    Otherwise understand, I did not write an essay, intended to address every bit of drama on this subject around, I wrote a letter, that honestly namely dealt with things like “girls night out” which has been suggested on the list of new activities here.
    If you want to better understand this, seriously go look at the conversation Christina and I had at the WWJDT blog.

    If you take your letter in a vacuum, without all the other nonsense that has occurred, it’s good. It’s laudable. I like the message — that men are good too — and that not every man should be painted by the actions of the assholes.

    Then do, and understand that I wrote it to my community, received a positive response and thought “man I should share this”. Sent it to you, to hear honestly what you thought of it, and Penn, who is my friend. Who the letter was to also. Go check my totally open facebook page if you doubt this, I posted it well before the twitter explosion. I would refer you to the groups I posted it in but they are locked.

    (I fucked up the quote process, sorry if I missed anything)

  172. 172
    Mallorie Nasrallah

    First, as Stephanie posed earlier, and reminded you so very recently: why does the default have to be “try to fuck me”? Why can’t the default be “try to treat me like another human being and figure out whether I’d be receptive to overt courtship attempts before trying to fuck me”?

    Isn’t that the exact same thing? If someone is seeing if you are interested in them, is that not step one in trying to sleep with them?

    I’m not being snarky, I am totally serious.

    Different people have different methods, some more drawn out than others, but the end goal is the same.

    Second, are you aware that there are people in the community who are fighting back against the idea that women should have any kind of say in courtship, and are attempting to shout down any woman who says that rampant objectification or sexualization of women is happening with or without their consent?

    Ok, one thing I am good at, arguing politics, and I have learned something over the years. Sometimes two people are using the same word, and it does not mean anything near the same thing to each of them. So if I am tentative, that is why.

    If you are saying what I think you are saying, then No, I am totally unaware that there are actual people (not trolls that may or may not be part of the community on the internet). Who honestly are making a case that states that a woman should have no say in her own wooing (for lack of a better word) and the outcome of it.

    Seriously, I encourage you to direct these people to me if you like and I will invite them to my house where I will kick them in there respective genitals.

    If that is not what you mean, please clarify.

  173. 173
    Remington

    “why does the default have to be “try to fuck me”?”

    Yes, why that? Why not Jason’s method:
    “Please Ma’am, sorry to ask and all, but… would Ma’am mind awfully if, I mean, sorry to ask, but would it be so terrible if one was fucked please Ma’am… if you would? No, of course not. Sorry. Stupid of me. So sorry” – slinks away self-flagellating to his skeptical porn-pit.

  174. 174
    Jason Thibeault

    Remington: I don’t think you really believe that’s the only alternative to cold-propositioning someone, to cold-proposition someone very apologetically. Here’s a tip. Try getting to know them first. Try asking a woman out on a date. Try having a conversation or two, in neutral locations, where they have an escape route, instead of using pick up artist techniques or predatory tactics or the “club” of walking up to complete strangers and saying “wanna fuck?”

    Treat them like human beings with agency, and use our shared ability to communicate in order to find out whether or not the human being you’re talking to is interested in sex with a stranger, rather than making it the default position.

    Of course, I’m probably giving you way more rope than you deserve here. You’d rather make fun of me for what you think I said, than find out how I actually feel about random hookups.

    Which leads me back to Mallorie, and the idea that she and I have been talking past one another this whole time.

    Mallorie: you absolutely have the right to say “hit on me if you want”. However, that is already the default position right now — people are fighting so hard against Watson’s proposition that perhaps men shouldn’t use predatory tactics (e.g. cold-propositioning a stranger for sex in an elevator at 4am while drunk) because they think, incorrectly, that if they can’t do that, then they can’t flirt with women at all, ever.

    Even if the women in the skeptical community are split exactly 50/50 between “strangers can hit on me” and “strangers shouldn’t hit on me”, which I doubt, isn’t there some middle ground that can be had where you try flirting with people to see which side of that divide they land on? Nobody ever said flirting was bad. Flirting is good. Flirting is awesome, even. You just have to know how to do it — which involves figuring out how receptive each person might be to it, and how far you can go before you’ve offended them. And if you’ve offended them, you should be a decent enough human being to own your mistake, rather than blaming the woman for being too uptight.

    So now that we both know exactly what I’m saying with regard to flirting, and agency, and the total lack of a need for “mind-reading ability” to figure out who’s receptive to flirting and who isn’t, why can’t we draw certain lines that protect those women who don’t want to be cold propositioned, to be treated like they’re only there for the express purpose of mating?

    Since there are fewer women in the community at the moment, and the goal is to drive female membership in the community, and the reasons for that also have nothing to do with increasing our respective dating pools, why can we not say “don’t go around treating every woman you see as though she’s there for the express purpose of getting laid, because many of them aren’t”?

    If more people were willing to just have a conversation with a woman — just one conversation — to get to know the person, before attempting to do any flirting, I’m sure this whole problem would evaporate.

  175. 175
    Jason Thibeault

    By the way, Munkhaus is no longer welcome in this conversation, or any other on my blog, after he’s repeatedly acted like a creeper toward Stephanie Zvan. He was put into moderation after refusing to leave her alone when she asked, then changed his name to rejoin the conversation. When Stephanie outed him as also being Munkhaus, he “joked” (in a moderated comment passed around behind the scenes) that he couldn’t tell the difference between her board and mine.

    Well, up until now, the difference was that he wasn’t banned here. Now I’m just making it less likely that he can use this blog to continue to harass Stephanie.

  176. 176
    Jason Thibeault

    Different people have different methods, some more drawn out than others, but the end goal is the same.

    Not always. My personal dance card is full at the moment, so I don’t want women in the community to think I’m trying to fuck them when I strike up conversation with them. In fact, I want them to know that it should be safe to be part of this community and not expect every single member of the opposite sex to try to pick them up.

    The “more drawn out” approaches to trying to have sex with one another involve more attempts at discovering which women are receptive to your advances. This is not a bad thing. Period.

  177. 177
    Jason Thibeault

    Right here in your own comments the universal statements you’re claiming no one made…were said…
    Google “Schrödinger’s Rapist” and understand that I have been confronted with that argument.
    Understand that saying things like “male privilege” is universal.

    you might not be saying it, and that is awesome, but that doesn’t mean no one is.

    Neither of these are universals. Saying that any particular woman does not know whether any particular man is a rapist does not mean that all men are rapists. It means that women have to be on guard more than men. This is one way that men are more privileged than women — since 99% of rapists who have raped women are men, and 90% of rapists who have raped men are men, the likelihood is far higher that a man will rape you than a woman, so men in general do not have to be as much on guard with a strange woman than women in general have to be on guard with a strange man.

    Male privilege is not universal, it’s not something that’s handed to a person, and it’s certainly not something that makes that person bad. What you have when you have male privilege is you have the tiny little shifts in probability that benefit you, even if your particular lot in life is worse. There is racial privilege, too, as you’re no doubt well aware. Neither of these require outright sexism or racism to make your particular sex or race disadvantaged.

  178. 178
    julian

    @Remington

    So much more inferior to your beat them over the head with a club and ride them until climax methd.

    P.S. I’m a nerd who likes porn. It’s a fun way to relieve stress, have a laugh and kill 40 minutes of the day. Don’t need a shitsack like you pretending either is something I should be ashamed of.

    Google “Schrödinger’s Rapist” and understand that I have been confronted with that argument.

    Eh?

    At WWJTD you readily agreed with a poster who commented that men spend 99.9% of our time thinking lecherous thoughts and that it’s impossible for us not to stare, wanna touch or behave in crude and off color ways.

    If all that’s true, wouldn’t Schrodinger’s Rapist (or I suppose molester would be more accurate) be a very legitimate concern?

    Besides, we know the vast majority of sexual violence is committed by men against women (the survey I cited upthread gave something like 97% for rape and 92% for other forms of sexual violence when directed against women). This holds true across class, race and nationality. We also know it’s a common crime even with the high rate of unreported cases.

    Why not worry about?

  179. 179
    julian

    90% of rapists who have raped men are men

    May I ask where you got that number?

  180. 180
    Jason Thibeault

    It was an off-the-top-of-my-head regurgitating of statistics that I remembered from elsewhere. It is very probably wrong, given some other numbers I’ve found. I can cite this — http://thehathorlegacy.com/rape-statistics/ — which says:

    - 1 in 10 rape victims are men. (Rathus, Nevid and Fichner-Rathus, 568)
    - In a survey answered by hundreds of rape and sexual assault support agencies, they estimated that 93.7 percent of male rape perpetrators are male and 6.3 percent were female. (Greenberg, Bruess and Haffner, 575)

    Some more information is available here: http://www.ncvc.org/ncvc/main.aspx?dbName=DocumentViewer&DocumentID=32361

  181. 181
    julian

    Thank you. Will peruse at own leisure.

  182. 182
    Jason Thibeault

    Munkhaus, in the moderation queue:

    Jason; who initiated the exchange between Zvan and i above? Think about it.
    I have screenshots that I would be happy to present to a tribunal/courtroom and which would clearly show slander regarding Zvans threats to out me, and unfounded accusations.
    Communicate to Zvan that she is not to mention me, nor harrass me in comment sections of other peoples blogs.

    Here, she was able to control the amount of engagement with you, because this is not her blog. If she asks you something, I wouldn’t ban you because you answered. I would, however, ban you for making it explicitly clear that you post here AS A WAY TO GET TO HER, which you have. Full stop.

    I will not tell her not to mention you. She has every right to mention the creeper who harassed her even after she asked him to stop. In fact, the only posts from you that will ever get let out of moderation are those that directly answer her charge that you’ve never, ever, backed up any of your assertions with evidence, and where you attempted to do so, you failed utterly.

    Show us evidence for where Stephanie did what you’ve accused her of.

  183. 183
    Mallorie Nasrallah

    Julian

    At WWJTD you readily agreed with a poster who commented that men spend 99.9% of our time thinking lecherous thoughts and that it’s impossible for us not to stare, wanna touch or behave in crude and off color ways.

    If all that’s true, wouldn’t Schrodinger’s Rapist (or I suppose molester would be more accurate) be a very legitimate concern?

    I think you must have misread something, I do not believe men, the vast majority of men, spend most their time thinking lecherous thoughts. Really, I find it absurd, and inaccurate, and I have no idea what you are talking about. I have no idea what anyone is thinking 99.9% of the time.

    And no, its the same as saying because most violence is committed by minorities its ok to treat all minorities as though they are guilty until proven innocent.

  184. 184
    Jason Thibeault

    Actually, Munkhaus, I take that back. This blog is not an internet tribunal, and accusations of slander are also actionable if shown to be false, so I’d recommend you not attempt to contact Stephanie anywhere unless you are doing so through your attorney.

  185. 185
    julian

    The 99.9% was a comment by a poster at WWJTD with whom you agreed. Sorry assuming you agreed with the entire comment.

    And no, its the same as saying because most violence is committed by minorities its ok to treat all minorities as though they are guilty until proven innocent.

    No one is treating anyone as being guilty of rape. They’re being treated as an unknown in a place where there is a known risk of assault, harassment or rape.

    The way I’ve understood it so far is “I know nothing of this individual. I know I am at high risk for being a victim of x. I should proceed with caution.”

    To borrow an example I used earlier at Almost Diamonds (some months back) imagine you are walking down a neighborhood at night. Recently there has been a surge of muggings in this area. Someone stops in front of you clearly blocking your path. They are dressed in such a way as to obscure their face and other distinguishing features (say, a hoodie) They say “Nice shoes.” You know most of the muggings have involved the theft of shoes (it happened to someone you know directly)Would you be at fault for being nervous or proceeding with caution?

  186. 186
    codelette

    Ha!
    For someone who doesn’t think gender or sex have any bearing on an argument you sure do bring it up a lot, codelette.
    If you wanna call it white knighting, be my guest. If you want to show me where I’m wrong, you are also welcome to do that. I happen to like learning new things and working on my faults (legion though they may be).
    Which is why I find it strange you deny having any issues with white people. You went from calling skeptifem a white young feminists to extrapolating to what her education and motives must be. In fact you prefaced every ‘evil’ thing done by feminism by directly relating it to white women.
    Also odd considering skeptifem doesn’t deny that feminism was influenced by the racism of the time. I think it’s one reason skeptifem insists on taking our personal privilege into account. So that we don’t fuck over the people we’re privileged over.
    And I’m glad you’ve never met Dominican you didn’t like. That’s very lucky! Sadly I can’t say the same for all Puerto Ricans or Dminicans (or any group) I know. People tend to be people so you’re never going to like everyone.

    What I believe is that political discussions of gender/sex (i.e. feminism) do not bring anything of value to skeptic discussions. To further prove my point, I loved bringing out oppression-status cards to the table, because you know what I learned? They are excellent —how do you say it?— oh yeah, “silencing tools”. Specially, when skeptifem decided to imply that because I said I am an engineer it’s because I am part of some sort of elite that cannot speak about oppression. And I have read my fair share of feminist dogma to know what “oppressed” means and how I am supposed have all of these handicaps that basically mean that no matter what I did I was not to do anything but what the Patriarchy told me. You can deconstruct sexism and feminism in a Women’s Studies class for all I care; don’t try to tell me that you can treat skeptic topics with feminist dogma ’cause everything degenerates into anecdote, personal experiences, hurt feelings and oppression olympics. Look at Jason; he’s feeling all bad because I am not shielded from racism or something. Which, ironically, I have not experienced (even after moving in the Deep South). And that’s my point (and I believe Mallorie’s) that our experiences are our own. I am a woman, but I am not “us”. I am a Puerto Rican, but I am not “us”. I refuse to be sucked into a broad group from which a small, hysterical minority calling themselves feminists decided to speak on my behalf. No woman (or men, or Puerto Rican, or skeptic, or engineer or white or black) can speak for me and further, none of them are allowed to accuse me of treachery because I don’t live up to their standards. No —fucking— one.

    In regards to me calling skeptifem: “a white young feminist”; I did nothing but use the same descriptors she identifies with and that are also somehow incredibly important to her given that “white privilege” is an issue that strikes her fancy (from her blog it seems that white privilege, gender treachery and overall male repugnance are important topics). Link for your reading pleasure: http://teenskepchick.org/2011/07/14/teen-skepchick-interviews-skeptifem/ (read small bio at the very end) . It is delicious irony to have a so called privileged person educating a living, breathing, feminist-textbook definition of an oppressed individual —in this case, me— on issues that I was supposed to have experienced based on the fact that I am…well…oppressed —not elite—. It’s as if the only way a person with my background could possibly disagree with her (and feminism in general) is if I am utterly unaware of an unquestionable oppression which —by some inexplicably acute power of observation— her privileged ass is privy to. Privileged feminists do this educate-the-poor-ignorant-minorities thing *all the time*, which is why many black women decided to come up with their own movement, as I mentioned before.

    And you know what else I found super funny and über ironic? That she placed the “Tuskegee” trials and “evolution of gynecological medicine” in the same sentence. Because, as I pointed out, that “evolution” was made possible by conducting myriad tests on ignorant women at the behest of First World Women demanding their sexual liberation. It is a curious case of an oppressed group “overcoming” oppression by stomping on another oppressed group (ahh, the rabbit hole that is privilege…). BTW, wasn’t that whole Tuskegee thing performed on black males? I wonder why their male privilege didn’t kick in to save them from such horrible oppression. Pro tip: according to “womanists” having a white female calling a black male for their “male privilege” is racist and one of the reasons why they felt feminism didn’t represent them.

    ” It includes the word “man”, recognizing that Black men are an integral part of Black women’s lives as their children, lovers, and family members. Womanism accounts for the ways in which black women support and empower black men, and serves as a tool for understanding the Black woman’s relationship to men as different from the white woman’s.”
    http://afeministtheorydictionary.wordpress.com/2007/07/17/womanism/

    That also serves as a kind of advice to skeptifem, as chances are that a WOC will choose the “struggle of a black man” over her “struggle as a white woman” and thus that can shift that WOC to dangerous “gender traitor” territory (at least according to skeptifem herself).

    PS. I really don’t know why you brought your Dominican heritage in the first place, but suspect it’s your attempt at branding my mention of my own nationality as a non-sequitur. In the end, you’re just making a bunch of noise. You seem to be really good at that.

  187. 187
    Mallorie Nasrallah

    Jason,

    Neither of these are universals. Saying that any particular woman does not know whether any particular man is a rapist does not mean that all men are rapists. It means that women have to be on guard more than men. This is one way that men are more privileged than women — since 99% of rapists who have raped women are men, and 90% of rapists who have raped men are men, the likelihood is far higher that a man will rape you than a woman, so men in general do not have to be as much on guard with a strange woman than women in general have to be on guard with a strange man.

    First of all the original blog on the term makes very clear universal rules that are totally untrue such as “if shes sitting with her arms crossed she does not want to talk to you.”
    Sometimes a crossed set of arms is just a crossed set of arms.

    But thats not really my main issue with it. It is tantamount to saying that because most violence is committed by minorities, its right to treat them as though at any moment any person of minority descent can and should be treated as guilty until proven innocent.

    It also totally disregards the facts, facts like this:
    http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2010/03/25/predator-theory/
    We know the vast majority of rapes involve not violence, but getting your victim shitfaced.

    Its saying “guys, sorry you might not be a rapist but because you might be, you are going to be treated like one, just for being male”.

    Male privilege is not universal, it’s not something that’s handed to a person, and it’s certainly not something that makes that person bad. What you have when you have male privilege is you have the tiny little shifts in probability that benefit you, even if your particular lot in life is worse. There is racial privilege, too, as you’re no doubt well aware. Neither of these require outright sexism or racism to make your particular sex or race disadvantaged.

    Some here would argue with you.
    So not all men have male privilege? Not all men have some moral obligation that women lack?

    The case for “male privilege” involves the universal that all men have it, and that all men ought feel obligated because of it.

    Its ok if thats not how you feel on the subject, but it is a very prominent version of it.

    Not always. My personal dance card is full at the moment, so I don’t want women in the community to think I’m trying to fuck them when I strike up conversation with them. In fact, I want them to know that it should be safe to be part of this community and not expect every single member of the opposite sex to try to pick them up.

    The “more drawn out” approaches to trying to have sex with one another involve more attempts at discovering which women are receptive to your advances. This is not a bad thing. Period.

    I never said it was a bad thing. Its fine. Some consider it more polite. Personally I prefer to know where I stand with someone early on, but thats personal taste.
    Its great that you don’t want everyone to think you are trying to fuck them, thats cool. I never said anything to the contrary.

    Mallorie: you absolutely have the right to say “hit on me if you want”. However, that is already the default position right now — people are fighting so hard against Watson’s proposition that perhaps men shouldn’t use predatory tactics (e.g. cold-propositioning a stranger for sex in an elevator at 4am while drunk) because they think, incorrectly, that if they can’t do that, then they can’t flirt with women at all, ever.

    I dont agree that it is the default in subcultures like ours, most guys I know are tentative and often outright terrified to hit on girls. I’ve been the big sister that they call and are sad to when someone else makes a move on the girl they like, after 8 months of wanting to say something and remaining silent for fear.
    I know it happens plenty. Yes of course, again this is just my personal experience, but the ineptitude people describe in them does not come from being a social butterfly.

    Even if the women in the skeptical community are split exactly 50/50 between “strangers can hit on me” and “strangers shouldn’t hit on me”, which I doubt, isn’t there some middle ground that can be had where you try flirting with people to see which side of that divide they land on? Nobody ever said flirting was bad. Flirting is good. Flirting is awesome, even. You just have to know how to do it — which involves figuring out how receptive each person might be to it, and how far you can go before you’ve offended them. And if you’ve offended them, you should be a decent enough human being to own your mistake, rather than blaming the woman for being too uptight.

    I honestly think we are just defining things differently, when I say “hit on” this extends to putting out “feelers”.
    That being said there is no “definitive how to on flirting”.
    I dont know how long it has been since you were nervous about girls, if ever, but let me assure you, very few men (that I know at least) do not attempt to see if someone is interested before putting clean sheets on their bed so to speak.
    The problem is, its not easy to tell. Really it isn’t. So no, I don’t think its fair to say “you just have to know how to do it”. No one knows how to do it. Shit, I don’t know how to do it.
    It amounts to walking on eggshells by the end of it.
    But in the end ok fair enough, I get really angry when someone calls a girl prudish and acts like there is something wrong with her for not wanting to sleep with them. But thats really not what I was talking about.

    This is fairly off topic for me, I love social engineering and all but I really feel controlling or reading in to these nuanced situations is just a matter of people using words differently.

    this is what I really wanted to address though

    Since there are fewer women in the community at the moment, and the goal is to drive female membership in the community, and the reasons for that also have nothing to do with increasing our respective dating pools, why can we not say “don’t go around treating every woman you see as though she’s there for the express purpose of getting laid, because many of them aren’t”?

    This has never been my goal. This is my problem. This is in part what caused me to write my letter.

    My goal is to drive membership up, I do not care the gender, race, nationality, etc of the new members.
    Statically far more men (white men) lack belief in a god. Personally I think this is why we have more white male members than anything else.
    If you want to change that stat, I see the root of the problem being in the religiosity of minority communities. Not in the fact that we aren’t welcoming.
    It really sounds to my ears like people saying “where all the bitches at”. And then as a response trying to bribe my gender in to non-belief with treats or something (no one ever says exactly what but I have heard “more women oriented events”).

    This is what is so insulting to me, this is the missed point in my letter that has lead to so many misunderstandings. This is why I very clearly stated what I am in the community for. Again I encourage you to read the letter with this in mind and try to see this point.

    It makes me feel infantilized. It makes me wonder why people think I came in the first place.

    It sounds as though people think inorder to get more women in the community we need to be catered to.

    I could rant about this but I will refrain, I did after all attempt to say it in my letter.
    And lost of people understood it. Last night I was emailed this link by the author: http://freethoughtkampala.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/the-atheist-skeptic-movement-and-minorities/
    He and many others had no problem understanding what I was talking about, and are also terribly insulted by it.

    So anyway, no my goal is not to bring more women in to the community, it is to bring more people in. And having said that its worth saying that baring a few exceptions I have never encountered a more socially liberal, openminded, fair community. I really don’t believe its rampant sexism keeping women out, its just the numbers, and the fact that far more men are atheists than women.

  188. 188
    julian

    What I believe is that political discussions of gender/sex (i.e. feminism) do not bring anything of value to skeptic discussions.

    I am once again reminded why engineers tend to be the most arrogant people in the skeptic ‘community.’ They seem to be under the delusion they can dictate what is and is not a valid discussion for skeptical inquiry.

    And I have read my fair share of feminist dogma to know what “oppressed” means and how I am supposed have all of these handicaps that basically mean that no matter what I did I was not to do anything but what the Patriarchy told me.

    citations, if you please.

    Look at Jason; he’s feeling all bad because I am not shielded from racism or something.

    This comment is kinda ironic coming after your complaints of everyone here trying to tell you how to feel or what your life experiences have been.

    Which, ironically, I have not experienced (even after moving in the Deep South).

    ????

    Non sequitor much?

    No —fucking— one.

    Don’t flatter yourself. Reproductive rights, health coverage, breaking down stereotypes, no one’s doing it for you. They’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do. It makes no sense to allow the sexism in our society to go unchecked. Even if your highness doesn’t experience or see any of it.

    It is delicious irony to have a so called privileged person educating a living, breathing, feminist-textbook definition of an oppressed individual —in this case, me— on issues that I was supposed to have experienced based on the fact that I am…well…oppressed —not elite—.

    You could, and here’s a radical idea, drop the non sequitors, strawmen and attempts at argument from authority and engage the actual positions of the people you disagree with.

    Privileged feminists do this educate-the-poor-ignorant-minorities thing *all the time*

    Really? I was about to say post feminists act like they know everything about the people they derisively call ‘feminists’ *all the time.*

    Seriously, you owe me several new irony meters at this point.

    Womanism accounts for the ways in which black women support and empower black men, and serves as a tool for understanding the Black woman’s relationship to men as different from the white woman’s.

    You really should stop presuming to know more than the rest of the people you’re speaking to.

  189. 189
    julian

    It is tantamount to saying that because most violence is committed by minorities, its right to treat them as though at any moment any person of minority descent can and should be treated as guilty until proven innocent.

    sigh

    I suppose it’s terribly racist of me to be on my guard when walking through an area with a high crime rate.

  190. 190
    codelette

    “You really should stop presuming to know more than the rest of the people you’re speaking to.”

    Yes, cause you really know me better that I do, right? I am arrogant (because arghh engineers and their rational thoughts!) and uppity (because her “highness” decided to communicate her own experiences). Given that somebody else supposedly fight for my reproduction rights…why are you dismissing my tidbit of history regarding the Puerto Rico Contraceptive Trials? Is it or is it not a feminist issue? Naw, it is just a strawman. That whole situation is nothing but fallacy that I pulled out of my ass…yep…sorry abuelas!

    You know what? I am not going to waste my time looking for more links to prove my points. And not because I cannot support them, it is because I am not going to throw more pearls to a pig.

  191. 191
    julian

    I am arrogant (because arghh engineers and their rational thoughts!

    Oh get over yourself. You’ve spent the entire conversation talking down to everyone presuming you know more about these issues than they do dragging up non sequitors (yes, they are non sequitors. They are about as relevant to this discussion as Eugenics are to evolution.) left and right.

    If you want to talk about the clear white bias within the founding of feminism or transphobia within feminist circles or all that stupid Divine Femininity shit you can do so when that’s the topic. Right now, in this discussion, it’s got nothing to do with anything.

  192. 192
    codelette

    So telling checking the privilege evangelist to check their privilege while discussing privilege/oppression is irrelevant? Keep moving that pole…

  193. 193
    Mallorie Nasrallah

    So Julian, do we listen to you or Skeptifem…

    Women are the experts on what constitutes sexism

    Or

    presuming you know more about these issues than they do

    Just sayin’.

  194. 194
    julian

    Actually it’s a great piece of advice generally. One you should always be willing to make in any conversation.

    When it adds to it and isn’t just a way for you to say ‘you hypocritical white woman. how dare you think you know what other women experience!’

    Nothing you brought up was relevant here where the individuals are arguing about the appropriateness of certain sexual advances, ‘rape-y’ language aimed at minors who stated they weren’t comfortable with it and whether it’s ok for someone to unilaterally say ‘everything is perfect. keep it this way’ within a community they both belong to.

  195. 195
    julian

    uhh

    I wasn’t talking about sexism. I was talking about the history of feminism’s failings which codelette seemed to lecturing everyone on.

  196. 196
    Liam

    sigh

    I suppose it’s terribly racist of me to be on my guard when walking through an area with a high crime rate.

    If you were to apply the schroedinger’s rapist motif to race for example, it would be saying that it is alright to presume that every black man is a potential assailant, and that it is the job of the majority of black men who are not interesting in assaulting you to take steps to prove to you he is not going to assault you.

  197. 197
    codelette

    “I was talking about the history of feminism’s failings which codelette seemed to lecturing everyone on”

    If anything, I was discussing the topic directly with skeptifem and later with you (since you injected yourself into the discussion) and Jason. Are you saying that the three of you are “everyone”? Really?

  198. 198
    julian

    I did apply schroedinger’s rapist to a mugging scenario upthread. Notice how race isn’t part of it. Schroedinger’s rapist is about risk assessment from the point of view of a likely target or someone in a compromising situation. That’s all it is. I honestly do not understand what everyone has against it (for what little it’s worth I grew up in high crime area, have seen my home broken into multiple times and been mugged, so maybe that’s blinding me to something).

    Most everyone does risk assessment and I see nothing wrong with taking that into consideration. To me it seems as silly as complaining about someone standing a few steps back when someone else goes up to an atm machine to withdraw money. Or getting irritated that the person withdrawing money is somewhat apprehensive of them when they stand to close.

  199. 199
    julian

    @197

    cool story, bro. Have anything on topic to say?

  200. 200
    codelette

    Yeah, it reminded me of the story of another bro that decided to fight misogyny with anti-semitism (his words!). I believe it was later self-identified as another case of feminism’s failings.

  201. 201
    Liam

    I did apply schroedinger’s rapist to a mugging scenario upthread. Notice how race isn’t part of it. Schroedinger’s rapist is about risk assessment from the point of view of a likely target or someone in a compromising situation. That’s all it is. I honestly do not understand what everyone has against it (for what little it’s worth I grew up in high crime area, have seen my home broken into multiple times and been mugged, so maybe that’s blinding me to something).

    Most everyone does risk assessment and I see nothing wrong with taking that into consideration. To me it seems as silly as complaining about someone standing a few steps back when someone else goes up to an atm machine to withdraw money. Or getting irritated that the person withdrawing money is somewhat apprehensive of them when they stand to close.

    Thats the thing, it is not just a risk assessment, there is nothing wrong with risk assessment, nor is it likely to be mentally avoidable. The problem is when one, as this blogger did, start dispensing advice to the target of the prejudice (in this case men, though it could be applied to blacks in the scenario) on actions they should take to disprove the hypothesis that they are a rapist. It is a guilty until proven innocent scenario, and the burden is placed on that person to change their behaviour.

    I could write a blog post that asks “black men, if it is night time, and you are walking towards me, this raises flags that you may be interested in assaulting me, in this case it is best for you to cross the street”

    “as muggers often have guns hidden under jackets, please do not approach me to ask me for directions, if you are wearing a jacket.”

  202. 202
    Liam

    Sorry, my computer was lagging out and i accidently submitted.

    I was going to say, the actions above could be both completely innocent or hostile, and while some of the advice the woman gave on the blog was perfectly legitimate(the email one for example), a lot of them were based purely on her interpretation of what are often completely innocent actions. It places the obligation on other people to change their behaviour, because it can subjectively be interpreted as threatening/rapist.

  203. 203
    Mallorie Nasrallah

    I think the perfect language to describe *my* issue with it is:

    It demands that the group of people in question, in this case men, prove a negative.

    Anyone fighting religion should understand the fallacy in that.

  204. 204
    Luna_the_cat

    Ok, I’m going to throw this in here as a frighteningly relevant real-world near-time experience.

    About 4 1/2 years ago, as I was walking to the grocery store at the end of the road I live on, a car pulled up next to me and the guy in it shouted me over. I, innocently, thought maybe he was lost, and went to the car window. He asked me if I would get in the car and go have sex with him. In disbelief I shook my head, and walked off. He then followed me, shouting at me if I wanted paid for it. When I continued walking, he continued following in his car, shouting more and more violent and abusive things, culminating with his following me right to the door of the grocery store shouting how I was a stuck-up bitch who should be grateful he’d wanted to fuck me and what was wrong with me, anyway.

    In the early evening of the 2nd of January, this year a 15-year-old girl was dragged into a car at the top of the road I live on, and raped.

    Yesterday they arrested a man and charged him with the abduction and rape, and published his name and picture in the local press.

    I’ll give you three guesses who it was. The first two don’t even have to count.

    In light of this, if I say something like “uh, guys, here’s a hint: if you want to talk with me about something, don’t pull up next to me in your car and shout at me, because I find it, like, creepy”, then you, Mallorie Nasrallah, seem to be saying that I’m being some kind of delicate oversensitive type making undue imposition on men for asking that. Going back the the whole “how to talk to women” thing in the atheist/skeptic community which has rumbled on since Dublin, you seem to be saying to the male community “don’t change your behaviour for what she says, or for what anyone says!” and you further seem to be saying that men in general should be excused from having to alter their behaviour when women (note, there is also a plural there) say “yeah, really, that’s creepy, please find a different way to approach” on the basis that the poor men are (heavens forfend!) being asked to demonstrate a negative, i.e. that they are not creepy attackers, via behaviour.

    I personally think that it is actually sometimes very appropriate to say to people who are members of a historical high-risk group, “this is what creeps and attackers do. We’re not saying that everyone who does it is a creep or an attacker, but if you want people to be sure you are not a creep or an attacker, please don’t do it.” Are you saying that this is illegitimate because part of risk-assessment is based on group membership? Are you saying that it is illegitimate because it is asking a group in general to alter behaviour in order to cause less distress to members of another group? Are you saying that it is illegitimate because people might argue over the degree to which behaviour ought to be altered, rather than there being a clear bright line that every single person can agree on? What?

    I’ll tell you this, though; the way your open letter comes across to many people, and unfortunately the way it will be used, is that “a woman has said that she likes the jokes and getting hit on, therefore it’s totally ok for guys to make ‘offensive’ jokes around women and hit on them whenever”; your preference will be taken as a universal approval, and will be used as part of the ammunition to shout down the women who say “actually, that is not ok for all of us!” I’m perfectly willing to believe that you don’t mean it that way — but seriously, keep watching, that is the way it is already taken in some male quarters, and that is the way it will be used. Consider the possibility that there is a problem with how you have expressed it.

  205. 205
    Jason Thibeault

    Mallorie et al, you might like to look at these statistics regarding who is religious and who isn’t.

    United States: total atheist, 3.6%
    United States: male atheist, 6.0%
    United States: female atheist, 1.2%

    Canada: total atheist, 6.6%
    Canada: male atheist, 8.7%
    Canada: female atheist, 4.6%

    So yes, in theory, there should be roughly double the men in any atheist room in North America, maybe three times as many. But that’s not what we see. We’ve gotten closer to parity with the general population as far as speakers are concerned (and thank goodness for that). But I am under the impression that con attendance is still skewed way out toward men, further than these numbers for the background populace would suggest.

    There’s also the question of how many women are not reporting their irreligiosity, because they don’t want to be shunned? Is underreporting a problem? Would it be gender-skewed, e.g. would males be more likely to be able to declare their atheism without social repercussions?

  206. 206
    julian

    I believe it was later self-identified as another case of feminism’s failings.

    heh

    until about two and a half years ago I was a libertarian atheist who hated feminism and thought it infantilized women. I may not be someone you wanna cite as a shining example of feminist thought as I hesitate to call myself one and have been more influenced by anti-feminist thought than by pro-feminist thought.

    @Liam

    you very well could. I’d throw in a few personal bits of advice (1. if you’re in a group of 4 or more do not stop 11 year old boys on the subway and ask them what they have in their pocket 2.when with a group of friends do not stop to stare at people who walk past you and then whisper to one another secretly) but seriously it really isn’t the same situation.

    If you get mugged it could be by anyone, that white couple who live in that one busted up apartment down the street. The Mexican kids who think they’re all gangsters. That group of black guys who hang around the train station after midnight. Risk assessment for mugging isn’t going to be about guarding yourself against blacks or whites or latinos or asians or southeast asians or what have you. They’ll be guarding against people.

    A woman guarding against rape will be guarding against men. There’s no way around that. While women can rape at most only 2% of rapes are woman on woman. So it isn’t as if it’s a prejudice or discrimination going on.

    As for the advice. Meh. Take it or leave it. It isn’t as if there’s something malicious behind what was said. At most you can criticize it for being somewhat presumptuous but I feel that’s mitigated by how dismissive you can expect most people to be regarding sexual harassment regardless of the feelings of the harassed.

  207. 207
    Jason Thibeault

    Part of my concern with how “flirting” happens in the community is that, when someone is told that a certain situation is generally uncool, or “creepy”, e.g. cold-propositioning someone in an elevator at 4 am, certain factions go absolutely batshit insane saying “how dare you tell us we can’t flirt with any girls ever”. When nobody said that.

    If your definition of flirting involves putting out feelers, there’s nothing wrong with that at all. Putting out feelers involves actually conversing with the person like they’re a human being.

    The entire “problem with sexism” that the community has, is not one of “every man is a sexist”, or “every man is a potential rapist”, or anything remotely so universal. It is that there are certain people who will take the merest suggestion that a man’s privilege to flirt does not override a woman’s right to feel safe as a gross violation of the man’s rights, rather than that man’s privileges.

    As for the racist analogy of a black man approaching you, this does not work statistically. Where something like 22% of women have been sexually assaulted or raped, 99% of them by men, decent human beings who are also men will go out of their way to make women feel safe. I think once the number of people affected by a certain class of violence reaches a certain undefined critical mass, there’s a tipping point where you do have to go out of your way to make women feel safe. And by “go out of your way” I mean do not intentionally do things that are known predatory behaviours, like walking faster to overtake a woman who’s walking away from you in a dark alley, or catching up to them to get on the elevator with them then asking them to your room for “coffee” when they don’t know you from Adam. For instance.

    If black men were anything near that level of criminality, where 22% of people were mugged by 99% black men, there might be a problem. But those statistics don’t pan out, and the analogy is by definition not analogous enough to be useful.

  208. 208
    Mallorie Nasrallah

    Luna, I encourage you to read my replies both here and elsewhere. I was not talking about rape, or even really sex that much.

    I was talking about “female oriented events” and such. Yes I also want guys to know that we all have different boundaries, so yes I included that.

    On my god damn birthday I had a man offer me a ride, my house was about a mile away from where I was, it was a little past noon (which I accepted it was fucking hot out and I did not want to walk home), he tried to…how do I say…purchase me. When I said no he was pretty irritated. The situation resolved itself.
    That was September of 2011, only a few months ago.

    I was legally emancipated when I turned 16, while walking to work an ethnic scary looking fellow also tried to purchase me, I suddenly realized I was pretty alone in this world. It was a little scary, he followed me in his car, much the same story you shared and so on. I grabbed a rock and threw it at him, he left me alone. Fucking sucked.

    I have dozens of these stories (the above one has some funny side notes, like when I tried to scare him off by saying I was 14 years old, he proclaimed with joy “14 dollar?!?!?!?!?!?!”) My awesome story of hitchhiking through Chicago 2 days after my 18th birthday, Male student of mine at a workshop insisting I was “a fucking waste of a woman”.
    At a night club I worked at as a photographer I had a man show me his dick when I refused to acknowledge him. and on and on and on and on.

    However these stories say absolutely nothing about the atheist / skeptic community.
    If that sounds harsh I am sorry, but its true.

    I am sorry you have had to deal with this, I am sorry I have had to deal with it, I am sorry anyone has.

    But “being more welcoming” doesn’t usually mean “not raping” It usually means a room full of atheists, acting like using pink decorations will make women want to come, or offering a monthly “girls night out”. Or maybe if they didn’t talk about video games so much, or swore less. And any number of inane degrading things you can think of.

    It was largely of this that I was speaking.

    If you read my responses here or elsewhere you will see more elaboration on this subject. Or just re-read my letter with this in mind.
    I am not trying to say I never addressed sex, or flirting, I did, but it was with this as the subject, not rape.

    (I was really trying to avoid the “Ive been bothered by men too” thing, but it seemed the only way to address this poster).

  209. 209
    Jason Thibeault

    But “being more welcoming” doesn’t usually mean “not raping” It usually means a room full of atheists, acting like using pink decorations will make women want to come, or offering a monthly “girls night out”. Or maybe if they didn’t talk about video games so much, or swore less. And any number of inane degrading things you can think of.

    I think if anyone tried to “pinkwash” the atheist community, the feminists, myself included, would scream bloody murder.

    I don’t personally think that the atheist or skeptic communities have higher than “general population” levels of sexism or misogyny. I do, however, think that we have higher than average levels of pushback against sexism and misogyny. Our problem is less that there are sooooo many sexists, than it is that we can’t rout out the ones who take their metaphorical dicks out to get attention like that guy in your nightclub without risking all sorts of people coming down on our heads about how we’re being so divisive. Where decent human beings say “holy shit, don’t make rape jokes at a fifteen year old”, and lots of decent human beings downvote that nonsense, others defend it as perfectly acceptable and normal to treat newcomers to the community that way and fight tooth and nail when people like Rebecca Watson point out that it’s going on and people aren’t doing anything about it.

  210. 210
    Luna_the_cat

    @Mallorie

    The problem is, the entire sexism issue blew up over a woman saying “look, don’t do this thing, it’s creepy.” The response to her saying that blew right past creepy into some icky hinterland that we both agree is unacceptable. But what she said in the first instance was a response to being creeped out by experience.

    I brought up the example I did precisely because you have stated you are not ok with rape. (And I would hardly expect you to be.) Therefore, it was plain to me that you would be not-ok with the behaviour of the guy in the example. I wanted you to draw the line with me between what happened to the 15-year-old girl a week ago, and what happened to me with this same man 4 1/2 years ago, and to understand that even though *I* wasn’t raped, it would be perfectly reasonable for me to see what happened there, and say to guys in general “in the future, please don’t do that [behaviour associated with potential rapists].”

    I think you kinda missed the point.

    Hitting on women who have expressed a preference not to be hit on is a creepy/potential attacker behaviour. Treating women like it’s ok to hit on anyone any time anywhere creeps a lot of women out, and that is why men especially are asked to, y’know, talk to people to get to know them before they decide it’s ok to hit on them, and to get over the idea that it is absolutely a male prerogative to proposition for sex without any idea of whether or not it may be welcomed. That’s what the whole original shitstorm was about; the fact that women atheists with strong voices are often being either ignored or shouted down sort of fell out from that, and that was subject to later attempts to address.

    When you reduce it all to statements like “The idea that you have to set time aside to cater to me, because my vagina imbues me with some special needs is becoming increasingly insulting
    or
    If your jokes or teasing manner offend some people, so the fuck what? Someone will always be offended by jokes, never let them make you believe that you are guilty of something worse simply because of your gender. … If you want to go free and uncensored among a group of like minded people, if you want to try to acquire sex from a like minded person, awesome, do it, sex and friendship are amazing. You are not a monster for wanting these things. You are not a monster for attempting to acquire them.” — then you are again not only missing the point of what happened and what was asked, you are still trivialising and dismissing the experience of a lot of other women.

    You also haven’t responded to my questions about why it wouldn’t be legitimate to ask people to change their behaviour if and when their behaviour creeps other people out.

    You haven’t really responded to my point about how your open letter is seen and how it will be used; but I don’t know, maybe there isn’t much you can actually say to that. I would like to know if you are thinking about how it comes across, and whether you have noted at all what I and a number of others have pointed out: your type of response is actively hunted out and used by sexist dickhead types as being the excuse they need to justify hitting on any women, any time anywhere. In fact, you do specifically say:
    With all of my heart I beg you: Do not change. Do not change for me, do not change for someone else. You’re wonderful, just the way you are.” This is the MRA manifesto, I’m afraid; they are perfect, it is only the women who have a problem with their behaviour who have a problem, full stop.

    Not ok.

    ..
    But since you’ve responded to me, I would like to bring up another, somewhat unrelated point, which has been bothering me about your responses here and elsewhere.

    Several times you’ve mentioned that if women don’t show up for the awesome talks and science and stuff, why would they show up for a women-only night or using pink decorations (and who the fuck ever suggested that?). Sure, why would they. You’re right, they wouldn’t. On the other hand, there IS a problem that women can show up for the awesome talks and science and stuff, and then simply not stick around because they are tired of being hit on constantly and belittled when they try to say “stop that.”

    I had almost the opposite problem, actually, with much the same result. There is a local “Skeptics in the Pub” club. I’m even a member, nominally, on facebook. I showed up to a couple meetings, and I was ignored. Totally. Nobody would even talk to me, beyond the bare necessity of polite greeting, and even then only when I spoke first; and, I’m sorry, but it seemed like that was because there were only two other women there, and they were both 18-19-year-old university students, and every male in the room was vying to drool into their laps. (Cue the “see, you were just JEALOUS remarks, were I to mention this in any open forum.) The issue was that they were all a bit, shall we say, occupied with other concerns than the awesome talks and science.

    I’m completely unwilling to pass any judgement on them for whether they enjoyed it or not, but I can say that as a tired-looking middle-aged woman who was there with my husband, no-one was even remotely interested in introducing themselves, much less holding a serious conversation about climate change skepticism. And I gave up. Women were plainly mostly to be considered as sexual objects, and I wasn’t a sexual enough object — and therefore, I didn’t even exist. Piss on that for a timewaster. So yeah, I showed up. I just didn’t stick around.

    Would I go again to a women-only event? Maybe, if there were enough women to have one; maybe I would get some decent conversation that way. I think it’s inexpressibly sad that I even have to consider that.

    You really, honestly, come across as being very dismissive of that kind of experience. I’m sure you don’t mean to be. But that is how it comes across, and that is why people have reacted to you badly.

  211. 211
    Mallorie Nasrallah

    I think if anyone tried to “pinkwash” the atheist community, the feminists, myself included, would scream bloody murder.

    Well, at least we agree on this. :)
    That doesn’t mean people aren’t talking about it. When people I know personally, who are not talking about rape, etc. Start talking about making the movement “more appealing” what do you think the conversation is? I am not trying to be aggressive here. I’m serious.
    Because while you might see such phrases and think they are about “no rape”, in my experience, quite they are about pandering.
    Its fair that I wanted to address this. I would love to see more people address it, and good news for everyone, most of the emails and such that I have gotten have been on this very subject. Good things like “Yes, absolutely, I am here because I love science, not because I was bribed with cupcakes!” etc.
    Sorry, trying to keep it positive.

    I don’t personally think that the atheist or skeptic communities have higher than “general population” levels of sexism or misogyny.

    More good news!

    I do, however, think that we have higher than average levels of pushback against sexism and misogyny.

    Sad news. But ok, lets talk about this. And lets use what we know as skeptics.
    If you hear something three times from the same source it is as good as hearing it once from three independent sources. I am not saying that is at play here but maybe it is worth considering?
    How much do we know about other communities? What is our control? What is our expectation, I mean literally. We need some qualitative way to see where we are, and where we want to be. I doubt there will be a consensus on the latter, but thats ok, at least it gives us something more than anecdotes.
    What do we think the source is (ok some people think ladies like myself are the source). But in a less personal ambiguous way, why would we find higher levels of sexism among this group specifically? Not what is the behaviour, why the behaviour in the first place.
    Additionally, perhaps its also worth considering that with only negative things spotlighted we do have a skewed perception of the actual levels. Or perhaps we are guilty of another well known behaviour, which is being absolutely terrible at noticing patters.
    We know humans do these things, and we know the cure, qualitative data. Objective data.
    Until then, I wont make such bold statements, because I dont know. And I hope you understand that this is fair.

    Our problem is less that there are sooooo many sexists, than it is that we can’t rout out the ones who take their metaphorical dicks out to get attention like that guy in your nightclub without risking all sorts of people coming down on our heads about how we’re being so divisive. Where decent human beings say “holy shit, don’t make rape jokes at a fifteen year old”, and lots of decent human beings downvote that nonsense, others defend it as perfectly acceptable and normal to treat newcomers to the community that way and fight tooth and nail when people like Rebecca Watson point out that it’s going on and people aren’t doing anything about it.

    But you can. And you have. Yes people are going to disagree, but we know enough about human behaviour to understand why. Lets use that. Mindless perpetual condemnation will only go so far.
    I dont think Atheist Reddit is indicative of the skeptical community. And I need to be able to say that, and show my work.
    Namely because once something starts “trending” it shows up on the main page of Reddit.
    Then it is no longer an internal issue. The internet is a horrible way to judge human behaviour, and it absolutely is not “internal”.
    If you want to attempt to bring down the hammer on the internet assholes as a whole, thats fine, but its a different conversation.

    More than that, if 5% of us want to go on the war path against sexism, thats not because 95% want to go and be assholes to women.
    That is not a fair assumption.
    From where I stand it has always seemed its because another 5% are more concerned about what schools are teaching kids, and another 5% are just really excited about astrology, and another 5% are worried about what islam is doing to Europe, and another 5% are worried about bunk medical crap, and another 5% are out to stop female genital mutilation, and another 5% to stop male genital mutilation, and another 5% in debunking the historicity of the bible, and another 5% are worried about the government endorsing religion, and another 5% about external women’s issues like abortion.
    And on and on and on. and somewhere in there you have an unknown percent that additionally feel entitled to some vagina. And those guys are fucktards.
    Some people feel its a waste of time, thats their prerogative, some people dont feel they have much to add to the conversation, some people dont think it exists, Some people are afraid to voice their position for any number of reasons, etc.
    I will admit I am concerned more with other issues, and thats fine, its good that we have different concerns, and different battle fronts. Some people get annoyed at what they see as a distraction from “larger” issues, and thats just personal preference.

    But at least from where I am standing, it is fair to say until you have some qualitative data to show me, I would rather worry about X issue, and this seems like a distraction from that.
    (which may or may not be my stance, obviously recently I have taken a pretty active part in discussion, so dont assume :p)
    Personally my favorite thing to do is share my science art with kids (and adults too), and in my own sneaky little way fan that spark of curiosity. I see this as the best way I can help the future be better.

    I do not believe that you are asking us all to drop what we are doing to call out some internet douche bags, I get that, but you also need to understand that having other concerns is not acquiescence. And trying to force the issue will make people angry. We need to understand that we are all vital to the community. This issue cant take the front seat, its not fair to demand that, and doing so or seeming to do so, or calling names when people dont want to do so, is going to get push back often childish lame push back, but not always.

    Sorry that got really really long and ranting, hope I stayed on topic.

  212. 212
    Liam

    @Liam

    you very well could. I’d throw in a few personal bits of advice (1. if you’re in a group of 4 or more do not stop 11 year old boys on the subway and ask them what they have in their pocket 2.when with a group of friends do not stop to stare at people who walk past you and then whisper to one another secretly) but seriously it really isn’t the same situation.

    The thing i would object to in this analogy is that a “group” can be made up of any type of indivduals, black, white, male, female. No one is born as a “group” being part of a group is an action in and of itself, its not like gender or racial discrimination.

    If you get mugged it could be by anyone, that white couple who live in that one busted up apartment down the street. The Mexican kids who think they’re all gangsters. That group of black guys who hang around the train station after midnight. Risk assessment for mugging isn’t going to be about guarding yourself against blacks or whites or latinos or asians or southeast asians or what have you. They’ll be guarding against people.

    See below, the schroedinger’s rapist idea is just as fallacious as believing every strange black man is a potential assailant.

    A woman guarding against rape will be guarding against men. There’s no way around that. While women can rape at most only 2% of rapes are woman on woman. So it isn’t as if it’s a prejudice or discrimination going on.

    It is somewhat less likely to be a woman, though not the 2% you imagine.. I’d say the biggest problem with her schroedinger’s rapist assessment is that 73% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger, which means she is actually discriminating against those least likely to rape her.

    also, the Bureau of Justice, puts female on female rape, recently as high as 20% http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/ascii/fvv.txt
    Not statistically insignificant. In fact it is equal to the chance of being raped by an intimate partner, and approaching that of the chance of being raped by a stranger.

    As for the racist analogy of a black man approaching you, this does not work statistically. Where something like 22% of women have been sexually assaulted or raped, 99% of them by men, decent human beings who are also men will go out of their way to make women feel safe. I think once the number of people affected by a certain class of violence reaches a certain undefined critical mass, there’s a tipping point where you do have to go out of your way to make women feel safe. And by “go out of your way” I mean do not intentionally do things that are known predatory behaviours, like walking faster to overtake a woman who’s walking away from you in a dark alley, or catching up to them to get on the elevator with them then asking them to your room for “coffee” when they don’t know you from Adam. For instance.

    I won’t again go over the fact that she is far less likely to be sexually assaulted by the people she considers to be in a quantum superposition of rapist/not-rapist. But looking around this 1-2% female female rape statistic seems to be incorrect. As my source above suggests, it was in 2008 as high as 20%, and past studies have put it above 13% http://web.archive.org/web/20060208091351/http://www.csc-scc.gc.ca/text/pblct/sexoffender/female/female-02_e.shtml#P50_7592

    I will however, admit that my black man assault analogy does fall flat when you look beyond perception and at the actual statistics, as does a lot of things suggested in the schroedinger’s rapist scenario. which i will go further into. Not to trivialise geniune fear of rape, but to show that a lot of it is based on flawed reasoning.

    .
    .

    In the second large paragraph of her post, she brings up the male privilege of being able to live safely without fear of assualt. This is clearly false, the chance of being a victim of violent assault in ones lifetime is 89% as a man 73% for a female. Clearly fallacious reasoning on her part, even without statistics, musing on it for a few minutes should be enough to see it is a stupid thing to say.

    Her quote

    Now, you want to become acquainted with a woman you see in public. The first thing you need to understand is that women are dealing with a set of challenges and concerns that are strange to you, a man. To begin with, we would rather not be killed or otherwise violently assaulted.

    “But wait! I don’t want that, either!”

    Well, no. But do you think about it all the time? Is preventing violent assault or murder part of your daily routine, rather than merely something you do when you venture into war zones? Because, for women, it is.

    So, as scared as she may feel, the numbers are completely the opposite, with a statistically significantly higher risk that a man may be a victim of a violent crime in his lifetime. And about a 4x chance she will be non-sexually assaulted at some point. Though on that last note, i can see why someone would be less worried about being non-sexually assaulted than so.

  213. 213
    Mallorie Nasrallah

    Luna,

    The problem is, the entire sexism issue blew up over a woman saying “look, don’t do this thing, it’s creepy.” The response to her saying that blew right past creepy into some icky hinterland that we both agree is unacceptable. But what she said in the first instance was a response to being creeped out by experience.

    Ok not to be snarky, but that is not the first time gender or gender issues have been discussed in the community. Specifically the thing I was largely addressing, the pandering has been around for many years. And it is consistent in all the groups I am part of.

    The problem with her “don’t do that” is that she didn’t say don’t do that to me.
    If I am mincing words here, by all means say you think so. But I do not think that is the case, and her response was not “oh shit, I didn’t mean don’t ever do that to anyone, I meant don’t do it to me”.

    We are pretty independent thinkers and a lot of us do not like being spoken for. I hope you see that this is a fair complaint.

    I brought up the example I did precisely because you have stated you are not ok with rape. (And I would hardly expect you to be.) Therefore, it was plain to me that you would be not-ok with the behaviour of the guy in the example. I wanted you to draw the line with me between what happened to the 15-year-old girl a week ago, and what happened to me with this same man 4 1/2 years ago, and to understand that even though *I* wasn’t raped, it would be perfectly reasonable for me to see what happened there, and say to guys in general “in the future, please don’t do that [behaviour associated with potential rapists].”

    But this isn’t obvious overt sexual behaviour, like what you brought up, and we have no reason to believe there was any threat there.
    I live in Las Vegas, I ride elevators daily and honestly I have never ever ever associated a man entering the elevator and speaking casually or flirting with me to be behaviour associated with rape.
    I understand that other people do, but this still does not mean you can speak for other people.
    If someone did the exact same thing to me as was done to RW my thought process would be “he didn’t want to embarrass me or himself in front of people”. I don’t know many men who have the nerve to ask a woman in the middle of a meet-up to leave said meet-up, go out with them, and possibly have sex with them.
    Your thought process is not the only one, its not a forgone conclusion that flirting in an elevator is rape related behaviour. Or even suspicious.

    I think you kinda missed the point.

    Hitting on women who have expressed a preference not to be hit on is a creepy/potential attacker behaviour. Treating women like it’s ok to hit on anyone any time anywhere creeps a lot of women out, and that is why men especially are asked to, y’know, talk to people to get to know them before they decide it’s ok to hit on them, and to get over the idea that it is absolutely a male prerogative to proposition for sex without any idea of whether or not it may be welcomed. That’s what the whole original shitstorm was about; the fact that women atheists with strong voices are often being either ignored or shouted down sort of fell out from that, and that was subject to later attempts to address.

    The part of the above quote I put in italics, I totally agree with that. Which is why its important for those of us who dont mind being hit on to also say so.
    Candor and honesty is the way to go here.
    I said before , but here it is again.
    I used personal pronouns though out my whole letter, and I signed it with my real name, I think I was pretty clear that I was only speaking for myself, if you feel that was unclear I will make a name badge to wear at every skeptical gathering I attend that says “Mallorie Nasrallah: Maybe DTF, inquire at your own risk”. I am dead serious.

    The part of your comment I put in bold lacks any data, and I have no reason to believe it is correct. As it stands with no proof to back it up it is sexist and abhorrent.

    When you reduce it all to statements like “The idea that you have to set time aside to cater to me, because my vagina imbues me with some special needs is becoming increasingly insulting
    or
    “If your jokes or teasing manner offend some people, so the fuck what? Someone will always be offended by jokes, never let them make you believe that you are guilty of something worse simply because of your gender. … If you want to go free and uncensored among a group of like minded people, if you want to try to acquire sex from a like minded person, awesome, do it, sex and friendship are amazing. You are not a monster for wanting these things. You are not a monster for attempting to acquire them.” — then you are again not only missing the point of what happened and what was asked, you are still trivialising and dismissing the experience of a lot of other women.

    The first statement deals fairly obviously with what I addressed in my previous comment to you. It has absolutely nothing to do with sex, flirting, hitting on, or anything like that. It completely addresses the idea that women need special bribery to join the movement.

    The second one, No I am dealing with issues you fail to mention. I am not commenting on rape and the like, I assumed that went without saying as “really fucking evil”.
    I have received countless messages from people saying they have dealt with the demands to “tone the language down, no wonder girls don’t like us” before. It might not be what you want to talk about, it is is obviously what I was talking about. I am not trivializing, I am addressing a whole other thing.
    “acquire sex” does not mean “get pussy at all costs”. It is a normal healthy human desire to want sex, preferably with people you get along with.
    Do you disagree? Do you think people should stop trying to have sex? Does a sex positive message bother you?
    Believe it or not some guys have been given the impression that wanting an atheist girlfriend or hook up is a monstrous desire.
    Do you agree that it is?
    If not what exactly bothers you about what I said?

    You also haven’t responded to my questions about why it wouldn’t be legitimate to ask people to change their behaviour if and when their behaviour creeps other people out.

    Because you do not get to decide what is creepy. Understand that what may always seem creepy to you, is not creepy to all of us.
    I met a recently deconverted strict mormon, to her talking openly about anatomy was creepy. Really, you know that joke about women who literally cant say “penis”. Its real. Its not just a joke, people like that exist.
    Do you want to use her definition of creepy? Do you want to reinforce it? Do you want to impose it on others?
    I hope not.

    You haven’t really responded to my point about how your open letter is seen and how it will be used; but I don’t know, maybe there isn’t much you can actually say to that. I would like to know if you are thinking about how it comes across, and whether you have noted at all what I and a number of others have pointed out: your type of response is actively hunted out and used by sexist dickhead types as being the excuse they need to justify hitting on any women, any time anywhere. In fact, you do specifically say:
    “With all of my heart I beg you: Do not change. Do not change for me, do not change for someone else. You’re wonderful, just the way you are.” This is the MRA manifesto, I’m afraid; they are perfect, it is only the women who have a problem with their behaviour who have a problem, full stop.

    Not ok.

    People can use my letter however they want, I can not control that. If people really want to see any given message in anything, they will find a way. Shit if I had said “no sex anywhere is ok, I hate all penis” really massive assholes would take that and make it “oh thats just because she hasn’t had some deep dicking”. Or whatever.
    Honestly until blaghag acted as though she thought it was all a personal attack on feminist issues and a promotion of rape I had never thought people would see it as anything other than me begging people not to change the community in an attempt to lure women in…just for the sake of having more women.

    I had almost the opposite problem, actually, with much the same result. There is a local “Skeptics in the Pub” club. I’m even a member, nominally, on facebook. I showed up to a couple meetings, and I was ignored. Totally. Nobody would even talk to me, beyond the bare necessity of polite greeting, and even then only when I spoke first; and, I’m sorry, but it seemed like that was because there were only two other women there, and they were both 18-19-year-old university students, and every male in the room was vying to drool into their laps. (Cue the “see, you were just JEALOUS remarks, were I to mention this in any open forum.) The issue was that they were all a bit, shall we say, occupied with other concerns than the awesome talks and science.

    I’m completely unwilling to pass any judgement on them for whether they enjoyed it or not, but I can say that as a tired-looking middle-aged woman who was there with my husband, no-one was even remotely interested in introducing themselves, much less holding a serious conversation about climate change skepticism. And I gave up. Women were plainly mostly to be considered as sexual objects, and I wasn’t a sexual enough object — and therefore, I didn’t even exist. Piss on that for a timewaster. So yeah, I showed up. I just didn’t stick around.

    .

    I have cut some of your story down to size, I apologize if this bothers you, I just didnt want a massive reply that no one would read.

    Ok, dont take this as condescending

    Lesson one in thinking critically:
    If its an anecdote you do not have all the data, and any conclusions drawn from the anecdote may be drawn incorrectly.

    Maybe they spoke more to them because they knew them, maybe they had really kick ass personalties, maybe they just aren’t wary of Christian trolls.
    Maybe you weren’t saying things they cared to comment on.
    Maybe they felt a communication divide because of the age difference.
    Maybe they were as friendly to you as to any newcomer and you had unrealistic expectations.
    Maybe they had other troubles they didn’t want exposed to outsiders.
    Maybe it was just a bad night.
    Maybe you drank the last pint of the best beer in the house.
    Maybe you weren’t as outgoing as you thought you were.
    Maybe…just maybe they thought you were neo-cons because of your [sic]climate change skepticism.
    Maybe it had nothing to do with your age at all.

    I am not saying any of the above is the case, I am saying, I am sorry I do not know, and can not know.
    I can play the same game with myself, maybe I have had good experiences because the creepers know I will face kick them, maybe it just hasn’t happened yet, maybe people are nicer to me because in some ways I am conventionally attractive. Maybe they are nice because they feel I am going to bat for them. Maybe they want to use me because of my friends. Maybe it really isn’t an awesome welcoming community.

    Either way, I do not feel I can comment on your story because I don’t know and it would be in poor taste and under terrible logic for me to condemn a behaviour I never saw, and do not understand.
    I can say I am sorry it didn’t go well, lets hope they are a happy group doing what they are doing, and you can find a welcoming place.

  214. 214
    julian

    Well, at least we agree on this. :)

    I’m gonna call bullshit. Sorry, but I’ve seen feminist like Rebecca Watson bring up similar issues and get berated for wasting time on such frivolities by people who’ve made the same arguments you have against feminism.

    @liam

    I’d say the biggest problem with her schroedinger’s rapist assessment is that 73% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger, which means she is actually discriminating against those least likely to rape her.

    We’re talking about risk assessment that doesn’t exclude acquaintances or friends. A man acting creepy is still a man acting creepy. Strangers aren’t anymore targeted than the guy who you go to Chem Lab with.

    also, the Bureau of Justice, puts female on female rape, recently as high as 20%

    From my reading those stats are for 2008. Of the 182000 estimated rapes and other forms of sexual assault against women that year it’s estimated about 20% were committed by women. The 2% comes from lifetime estimates of attempted or completed rape where 98.1% (from the CDC’s 2010 estimates) were committed by men. (That same survey puts sexual violence other than rape committed by men against women at about 92%)

    Besides, this does nothing to reduce the legitimate concern a woman has of being raped or sexually assaulted. These numbers are far from comforting even if there has been a steady decline.

    I won’t again go over the fact that she is far less likely to be sexually assaulted by the people she considers to be in a quantum superposition of rapist/not-rapist.

    The threat assessment does not end with complete strangers, as I pointed out. Acquaintances, friends and friends of friends are also factored in (from what I can tell after having it explained to, at least.)

    But looking around this 1-2% female female rape statistic seems to be incorrect.

    Your sources have been for 12 month intervals. They don’t take lifetime statistics into account except to compare last years numbers with this years.

  215. 215
    julian

    The problem with her “don’t do that” is that she didn’t say don’t do that to me.

    Not to cut into your argument but…

    you’ve denied multiple times speaking for the other women in skepticism despite instructing men throughout it to ignore anyone who asks them to change even if they said or did something to hurt someone else. Isn’t it hypocritical to take the position that Rebecca Watson presumed to speak for all women when she said ‘guys don’t do that?’*

    *I have to wonder how many women are ok with having their expressed wishes ignored.

  216. 216
    julian

    Either way, I do not feel I can comment on your story

    You already did. You pointed out why you believed she was a sloppy thinker and her story was bunk.

  217. 217
    Mallorie Nasrallah

    Oh Julian…shame. Shame on you. Seriously…obvious much?

    The problem with her “don’t do that” is that she didn’t say don’t do that to me.

    Not to cut into your argument but…

    you’ve denied multiple times speaking for the other women in skepticism despite instructing men throughout it to ignore anyone who asks them to change even if they said or did something to hurt someone else. Isn’t it hypocritical to take the position that Rebecca Watson presumed to speak for all women when she said ‘guys don’t do that?

    You think people wont see what you did there? Really? you’re going to do this? and you dont think you deserve all the shit you’re getting?

    Tell me this was on honest mistake, tell me you didnt deliberately cut out the next thing I said just to be a cunt. Really please.

    Full quote for anyone watching is:
    The problem with her “don’t do that” is that she didn’t say don’t do that to me.
    If I am mincing words here, by all means say you think so. But I do not think that is the case, and her response was not “oh shit, I didn’t mean don’t ever do that to anyone, I meant don’t do it to me”.

    Julian. seriously that wasn’t even subtle.

  218. 218
    Mallorie Nasrallah

    More over I have said a shit ton of times that I was largely addressing pandering. Holy shit you’re being a little fuckface.

  219. 219
    Liam

    From my reading those stats are for 2008. Of the 182000 estimated rapes and other forms of sexual assault against women that year it’s estimated about 20% were committed by women. The 2% comes from lifetime estimates of attempted or completed rape where 98.1% (from the CDC’s 2010 estimates) were committed by men. (That same survey puts sexual violence other than rape committed by men against women at about 92%)

    Unless 2008 was an extremely fruitful year for female sex offenders, there is little to make sense of a 10 fold jump from 2008 to lifetime. What seems more likely is that your 98.1% statistic is skewed by the inclusion of male-male rape else the numbers do not fit. Moreover, finkelhor and russell in 1984 put the estimate at around 13%.

  220. 220
    julian

    Two things, Mallorie.

    1)Feel free to use any insult you can think of from combination of fuck and random objects to belittling my intelligence. Don’t use slurs like cunt, faggot or whatever else you’ve declared cannot possibly be bigoted if it’s coming out of your mouth.

    2)The bit you bolded, doesn’t change the bit I quoted. I’m accusing you of hypocrisy not pedantry.

    What seems more likely is that your 98.1% statistic is skewed by the inclusion of male-male rape -Liam

    No I just double checked the CDC’s piece. It’s 98.1% for women and 93.3% for men (sadly the CDC excluded cases where you were forced to penetrate another. In 79.2% of those cases women were the attackers.) And a similar number is given by other independent pieces for lifetime rapes (see the sources our blog host provided upthread.)

  221. 221
    Luna_the_cat

    @Mallorie

    I’m going to make this as brief as possible. Unfortunately I don’t think it’s that brief.

    No, it really isn’t clear that you were not discussing rape-threat behaviour, triggering behaviour, sexual imposition, etc. No, it really isn’t. Take this on board. And although you cannot control how other people use what you say, you still have responsibility for what you say and how easy you make it for people to interpret your words in certain ways. If a biologist stood up and said “everything we think we know about evolution is wrong”, do you think the scientific community would be out of line for criticising his or her saying that, given that it is not only inaccurate, it is feeding ammunition to creationists?

    Now, here is what Rebecca Watson actually said:

    “So I walk to the elevator, and a man got on the elevator with me and said, ‘Don’t take this the wrong way, but I find you very interesting, and I would like to talk more. Would you like to come to my hotel room for coffee?’

    Um, just a word to wise here, guys, uh, don’t do that. You know, I don’t really know how else to explain how this makes me incredibly uncomfortable, but I’ll just sort of lay it out that I was a single woman, you know, in a foreign country, at 4:00 am, in a hotel elevator, with you, just you, and–don’t invite me back to your hotel room right after I finish talking about how it creeps me out and makes me uncomfortable when men sexualize me in that manner…”

    Your characterisation of her is dishonest. But let’s look at a deeper issue: when a lot of women chimed in and said, “guys, do NOT make your first interaction with us an attempt to pick us up in a small enclosed space at 4am, that IS creepy — well, apparently, you have a problem with that. That is a RESTRICTION ON MALE BEHAVIOUR OMG IMPOSITION. Um. Why is it more unfair to say to men “control your impulse in this kind of circumstance, not everywhere or for everyone but certainly in small spaces with women you don’t know” than it is to just make it a blanket requirement for women to have to deal with that behaviour? Why is it such a hardship to say to men, why don’t you get to know the women as people first? You seem to be passing by that part entirely without seeing it, or acknowledging it, or understanding it, or whatever.

    Second, speaking of dishonest:
    “Do you disagree? Do you think people should stop trying to have sex? Does a sex positive message bother you?”

    Wow. You just had to right for the insinuations of “you don’t like sex?”, didn’t you.

    No, you dishonest little shit. Maybe my reaction to you and to this wouldn’t be so violently aversive if you hadn’t just landed squarely in the (yes) sexist tactic of “you don’t think it’s ok for men to try to pick up women regardless of detail or context or circumstance? YOU MUST NOT LIKE SEX.” It’s just a variation on the traditional theme of “if you don’t like this, you must be frigid.”

    Shame on you. Shame on you for the dishonest portrayal of what I said. Shame on you for landing squarely on that insinuation. Shame on you for your apparent difficulty in reading and understanding get to know the woman first, dammit despite the fact that you have said elsewhere that you (supposedly) agree with that.

    And speaking of dishonest — I gave you a specific example of how a preoccupation with picking people up at a skeptics gathering can work to freeze people out. I gave you a working example, in order to help you understand. Clearly that was a mistake, because you have no interest in understanding how that works; you’ve gone for the game of well, I can’t comment and commenting at length on how I’m subject to being wrong/deluded/etc. You say, “don’t take this as condescending”, and then proceed to condescend the fuck out of me as you lecture me on critical thinking without even, as you yourself said, being there to know what happened. And you make all kinds of interesting assumptions in the process, too! Like, that *I* am a climate skeptic! (Wow.) But that is totally missing the point again: the point being, that treating a skeptics group as a pick-up bar can and does make some gatherings uncomfortable and pointless for women to attend, and this is one way that it can happen.

    And your biggest, greatest bit of dishonesty.

    You claim:

    I used personal pronouns though out my whole letter, and I signed it with my real name, I think I was pretty clear that I was only speaking for myself, if you feel that was unclear I will make a name badge to wear at every skeptical gathering I attend that says “Mallorie Nasrallah: Maybe DTF, inquire at your own risk”.

    Here’s what you said in your open letter, and this is a copy-paste:

    “With all of my heart I beg you: Do not change. Do not change for me, do not change for someone else. You’re wonderful, just the way you are.”

    You are not speaking just for yourself. You are exhorting all the men in the skeptics movement not to change for anyone. You say that clearly, explicitly, and in so many words: DO NOT ALTER YOUR BEHAVIOUR, YOU ARE PERFECT AS YOU ARE. You are saying to them, ‘if other people are uncomfortable with your behaviour, fuck ‘em, that’s THEIR fault’ — it is in fact an exhortation to ignore other people’s comfort levels, because you have a certain comfort level that YOU think is right. If that isn’t what you meant, you shouldn’t have bloody said it.

    Sorry, I tried extending you the benefit of the doubt, but at this point I’ve completely lost patience with you.

  222. 222
    Luna_the_cat

    Oh, one thing I forgot to mention.

    it is absolutely a male prerogative to proposition for sex without any idea of whether or not it may be welcomed.

    The part of your comment I put in bold lacks any data, and I have no reason to believe it is correct. As it stands with no proof to back it up it is sexist and abhorrent.

    You cannot possibly have missed the thousands of messages left by men after the Elevator Guy incident saying “but there’s nothing WRONG with propositioning someone in an elevator! He WASN’T a rapist, so how could she possibly justify being upset about it! If we can’t approach people how can we ever know if they want to have sex with us or not!” — with the clear message that trying to say that some places and times are just not appropriate for approaching women for sex (unless you happen to know her and know she is comfortable with it), is just a completely unreasonable restriction.

    Gah. I have a lot of things to say to you on this, but it’s going to get nasty fast. I’m just going to leave it.

  223. 223
    Jason Thibeault

    I agree with everything Luna said in @223 and @224 except that Mallorie “cannot possibly” have missed those ridiculous amounts of messages by men saying “there wasn’t anything wrong with cold-propositioning a stranger in a confined space”. She has exhibited a lack of understanding of the greater playing field that only comes from joining that field really late in the game and declaring that everything’s fine, just fine, because she HADN’T seen anything that went on before.

  224. 224
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Jason
    Since I haven’t seen anybody else complain: I have a problem with your site which I haven’t encountered anywhere else on FTB: When I post a comment, which works fine, instead of getting redirected, I get an error message.

    Luna
    I appreciate your patience.
    Really, I couldn’t muster it.
    Yes, seems like Mallorie either lied about what RW said, or she never bothered to listen to her but still thinks she’s qualified to comment on it.

  225. 225
    Jason Thibeault

    Interesting, Giliell. We were having an issue earlier today where my site was showing up as a “ghost” of Butterflies and Wheels, owing to some strangeness with a plugin that our webmaster was working on installing. I wonder if it’s related. If it happens again, can you grab a screenshot and send it along via email? Thanks!

  226. 226
    Mallorie Nasrallah

    Luna, first of all I asked you questions, I did not accuse you of being frigid.

    second of all

    You are not speaking just for yourself. You are exhorting all the men in the skeptics movement not to change for anyone. You say that clearly, explicitly, and in so many words: DO NOT ALTER YOUR BEHAVIOUR, YOU ARE PERFECT AS YOU ARE. You are saying to them, ‘if other people are uncomfortable with your behaviour, fuck ‘em, that’s THEIR fault’ — it is in fact an exhortation to ignore other people’s comfort levels, because you have a certain comfort level that YOU think is right. If that isn’t what you meant, you shouldn’t have bloody said it.

    Yes and I have been very very clear that I am talking about this “more appealing to women” pandering.

    I will try to explain.

    Its not all about what you want it to be about. The letter had very little to do with watson etc and very much to do with the idea that we need special activities and possibly a different format inorder to lure more women.
    So in that light.
    Dont change.
    So dont think I need a girls night out, do not think I am not happy with the format of lectures or events, do not think I need time set aside for me because of my gender.
    If you have issue with that I am happy to discuss, but I am not going to explain to you what I already have over and over both to you personally, all over this blog post, and elsewhere.

    and third.
    Go tell Darwin that he should have kept his mouth shut because in a little while Nazis were going to militate his theory, and make it bad.

    No I am sorry it doesn’t work that way.

  227. 227
    codelette

    “until about two and a half years ago I was a libertarian atheist who hated feminism and thought it infantilized women. I may not be someone you wanna cite as a shining example of feminist thought as I hesitate to call myself one and have been more influenced by anti-feminist thought than by pro-feminist thought.”

    And this is opposed to…I don’t know… that now you are an liberal atheist educating a woman on her personal experiences on being a female, right?

  228. 228
    julian

    Ha!

    codelette, where in this thread have I done that? You may want to rewind a few threads where I outright state that’s not only inappropriate, it’s condescending.

  229. 229
    codelette

    julian said -among other nuggets of wisdom-:

    “I would, however, like to point out some studies suggest those who’ve experienced sexist and racist environments on average tend to become numb to it and dismissive towards those who have experienced ‘lighter’ forms of it. And you, seem to be doing the same here.”

    Exactly…

  230. 230
    julian

    So citing studies done by sociologists and psychologists is me telling individual women what their personal experience with sexism or other forms of discrimination have been?

    Would you say the same if I informed a believer that there are studies out there suggesting the divine revelations they’ve experienced may have been brought about by the expectation of seeing those signs?

  231. 231
    codelette

    PS. BTW, I felt like sharing this with you. Exchange “Muslim” for “Agnostic” and “Native American” for “Biracial Latina” and have a kick at something akin to my political views regarding “feminism”: http://myecdysis.blogspot.com/2007/11/anti-feminist-manifesto-by-aaminah.html

    This, I believe, will curb your need to educate me.

  232. 232
    codelette

    Edit: your apparent need to

  233. 233
    codelette

    No, it is not only you citing a study, it is you directly applying those results to an individual:

    “…And you, seem to be doing the same here.”

    That’s what you wrote.

  234. 234
    julian

    I don’t need my experiences to be supported by the experiences of others or to be validated by academia.

    cool beans

    Hope you don’t mind me objecting to your religion’s subjugation of women, rampant homopobia and totalitarian ideals. Actually, it’s going to happen regardless. I’m not here for you.

    Anyway, back to codelette. Am I correct in assuming you’re a multiculturalist? Sorry, but that’s the only explanation I think of for you signing off on something like that.

    I am capable of thinking and speaking for myself.

    Heh

    Kinda ironic that you’re using this in place of your own words. But again, remember, most are not doing this for you. You are not that important.

  235. 235
    julian

    No, it is not only you citing a study, it is you directly applying those results to an individual

    And I ask again, if I told a believer that there are studies suggesting the visions and revelations they’ve experienced were caused by the expectation of seeing them would you say the same?

  236. 236
    codelette

    I had to look for the definition of your new assumption regarding my persona:

    mul·ti·cul·tur·al·ism   [muhl-tee-kuhl-cher-uh-liz-uhm, muhl-tahy-] Show IPA
    noun
    1.
    the state or condition of being multicultural.
    2.
    the preservation of different cultures or cultural identities within a unified society, as a state or nation.

    I previously said:

    I am a Puerto Rican, but I am not “us”. I refuse to be sucked into a broad group from which a small, hysterical minority calling themselves feminists decided to speak on my behalf. No woman (or men, or Puerto Rican, or skeptic, or engineer or white or black) can speak for me and further, none of them are allowed to accuse me of treachery because I don’t live up to their standards.

    So I guess that takes care of your doubt.

    BTW, the woman on the link said:
    “I do not need other women of color to “save” me any more than I need white women or men to do so. [...] I am capable of thinking and speaking for myself. I do not ask anyone to speak on my behalf or to make my speech more palatable to others.”

    Which is very similar to my views.

  237. 237
    Gentry

    Luna said:

    You cannot possibly have missed the thousands of messages left by men after the Elevator Guy incident saying “but there’s nothing WRONG with propositioning someone in an elevator! He WASN’T a rapist, so how could she possibly justify being upset about it! If we can’t approach people how can we ever know if they want to have sex with us or not!” — with the clear message that trying to say that some places and times are just not appropriate for approaching women for sex (unless you happen to know her and know she is comfortable with it), is just a completely unreasonable restriction.

    This is precisely why I don’t even initiate anything with women, even polite conversation. I wait until spoken to unless I have to seek out someone for something work related. It’s certainly not worth getting fired or socially ostracized for saying the wrong thing. The same goes for social situations (i.e. at restaurants, the mall, etc). I don’t want to offend women by saying or doing anything (related to getting to know them or dating or having sex) that seems innocuous to me, but might offend them.

    I’m going to be honest here – when I read about Rebecca Watson getting cold-propositioned in an elevator at 4am, I didn’t immediately think “that’s fucked up and creepy. I thought, “that’s pretty boneheaded, since this guy thought that much of himself to attempt to randomly pick someone up like that.” If he asked once, she said “no”, and that was the end of the exchange, then I see no harm other than the guy being an oblivious idiot.

    I could be snarky and say there should be some sort of handbook of “acceptable places to cold-proposition people,” but I recognize that some sense should be applied to situations like that.

    The guy lacked that good sense, but honestly, if he was going to rape her, what does her consent matter to him? If he propositioned her and she said “no”, he would have tried to rape her if he was a rapist. I could also understand the outrage if he ran to the elevator, stopped the door from shutting, jumped in, blocked the door and said, “hey, wanna fuck?” That would scare the shit out of me.

    You are not speaking just for yourself. You are exhorting all the men in the skeptics movement not to change for anyone. You say that clearly, explicitly, and in so many words: DO NOT ALTER YOUR BEHAVIOUR, YOU ARE PERFECT AS YOU ARE. You are saying to them, ‘if other people are uncomfortable with your behaviour, fuck ‘em, that’s THEIR fault’ — it is in fact an exhortation to ignore other people’s comfort levels, because you have a certain comfort level that YOU think is right. If that isn’t what you meant, you shouldn’t have bloody said it.

    I hate to build upon what others have said more eloquently than I, but the statement was intended for people who already had/have common decency. To redirect her words based upon the spin you want isn’t entirely honest. If someone is a MRA/rapist/misogynist, the statement isn’t going to cement a viewpoint their struggling with. They’ve already made the choice to be assholes, and I posit that they would continue to think and do what they believe to be right regardless of whether Mallorie made that statement or not. I would also posit that if a “skeptic” has somehow reasoned that women should be treated like objects they don’t belong in the skeptic movement anyway. Likewise, asking to bring in more atheist voices at the expense of treating one gender preferentially to another is equally counterproductive.
    In the end, though, I’m simply glad the topic was discussed.

  238. 238
    Liam

    NO ONE is trying to attract women to skepticism at the exclusion of men…
    http://www.womeninsecularism.org/

    Also notice the ‘pink’ motif :\

  239. 239
    smhlle

    if you want to try to acquire sex from a like minded person, awesome, do it, sex and friendship are amazing. You are not a monster for wanting these things

    Jason, I thought you had a great reply to this quote of Mallorie’s. I want to toss in my two cents, because I agree with M’s general statement, just not with it’s applicability to Elevatorgate and #mencallmethings.

    While men don’t get the exact same “slut shaming” as women from our culture, due to the sexual double standard, men do get whacked with some “lust shaming.” While I totally take the feminist side in Elevatorgate, I have been reading the discourse on this topic since July and occasionally I catch a cogent point from someone from the other point of view.

    If we filter out the troll posts and the derails and make allowances for exaggeration, then I think some of the men who want to hookup (and their allies) have a point. There is some exaggeration here, but I think they believe they are hearing the statement “Don’t ever hit on anyone who does not wish to be hit on by you.” And they are probably thinking “How can I know who is willing to have sex with me unless I ask?” How to be pro-sex and anti-harassment at the same time seems a fruitful topic to me. I know this is the kind of thing Greta may have covered, I just haven’t read a lot of her older blog posts.

    (Disclaimer: I find it easy to start conversations at conferences and do not support cold propositioning someone who is tired and cornered.)

  240. 240
    skeptifem

    That also serves as a kind of advice to skeptifem, as chances are that a WOC will choose the “struggle of a black man” over her “struggle as a white woman” and thus that can shift that WOC to dangerous “gender traitor” territory (at least according to skeptifem herself).

    I am way late, but selling out your own for social approval =/= having a husband and identifying with race struggles more than feminist ones. WOC do not have to ally themselves with the specific causes I feel are the most important, but that doesn’t mean it is okay for anyone to thrown women under the bus. The latter is what I take issue with.

  241. 241
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    NO ONE is trying to attract women to skepticism at the exclusion of men…
    http://www.womeninsecularism.org/

    Also notice the ‘pink’ motif :\

    Oh, wait, I can’t find anything that says “men not allowed”.
    Ye-es, there’s an all-women speaker list.
    Tell me, how many times has there been an all-male line-up?
    But I guess you also think that affirmative action is reversed-racism…

  242. 242
    Liam

    Oh, wait, I can’t find anything that says “men not allowed”.
    Ye-es, there’s an all-women speaker list.
    Tell me, how many times has there been an all-male line-up?
    But I guess you also think that affirmative action is reversed-racism…

    Yes, because i suppose they’d place that on their website, even though the speakers are already booked and they don’t generally advertise for speakers on the websites anyway. Oh, wait, I can’t find anything on the NYPD’s website that says “we target black people”, i guess there is no racial profiling policy in the NYPD.

    Maybe its a coincidence that it is women only to this women’s event.

    I haven’t seen all male lineups, though i don’t doubt they happened in the past, however i would be very skeptical that there was ever a deliberate policy of ‘only men’.

    Affirmative action? Specifically choosing people for roles based on their race? Hmm, can’t see anything racist about that at all…

  243. 243
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Ah, yes, Liam (and I’m guessing), the white heterosexual male, the most prosecuted type of people on the planet…

  244. 244
    julian

    May I ask a question? Who cares if minority X signs up wholeheartedly to fight some form of bigotry? Why is it necessary to have their full approval before trying to undertake somesort of social change for the greater good?

    If I had to get the approval of my very Catholic, very racist, pretty homophobic and very transphobic mother before I did anything I’d be screwed. Ditto if I had to get it from any of her friends (who are probably worse than she is).

    And let’s not even talk about rape. Rape that doesn’t exist/only happens to sluts/girls were just asking for it/should be grateful for/couldn’t have happened because he’s such an awesome guy.

    Fuck that. I’m not a little kid anymore and I don’t need momma’s approval to call something fucked up or wrong.

  245. 245
    Liam

    Ah, yes, Liam (and I’m guessing), the white heterosexual male, the most prosecuted type of people on the planet…

    Nice non-sequitur, the fact that you had to resort to this appears to me to be an admission that you don’t actually have any reasonable counter to what I said, and what I said was sound.

  246. 246
    Liam

    @Julian

    Who is saying they need their permission?

  247. 247
    Stephanie Zvan

    Liam, how many atheists convention speaker rosters have you looked at? What were the gender ratios? When–given that a large part of the focus of this convention is history–were they held?

    In other words, where is your case that this convention is being exclusionary instead of making up for a lack elsewhere? You are basing your complaint on some kind of evidence instead of just telling me that no guy could ever go to something colored pink, right?

  248. 248
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Nice non-sequitur, the fact that you had to resort to this appears to me to be an admission that you don’t actually have any reasonable counter to what I said, and what I said was sound.

    No, Liam, what you said placed you firmly into the “oh I’m so oppressed, look, all those people working hard to get minorities and underprivileged groups into all areas of society, how should I get anything now” camp that you don’t deserve any other response.
    I think everybody except you understood that.
    I don’t argue with people who claim that affirmative action is racist.
    It’s not because they have a point, it’s because they’re so dumb they couldn’t draw a line between them if they had two.

  249. 249
    Liam

    Liam, how many atheists convention speaker rosters have you looked at? What were the gender ratios? When–given that a large part of the focus of this convention is history–were they held?

    In other words, where is your case that this convention is being exclusionary instead of making up for a lack elsewhere? You are basing your complaint on some kind of evidence instead of just telling me that no guy could ever go to something colored pink, right?

    From what i have seen looking through past conventions they tend to be anywhere between 25%-50% female. 25% being a bit lower than a proportional representation of women in the community.

    The exclusionary principle is simple, the convention is using CFI resources (which is for a large part funded by donations) to hold a conference that for the most part will appeal to a minority of members, and which anyone but that minority have been excluded from a participatory role. The ‘pink’ comment was in relation to people suggesting to Mallorie that no ‘pinkification’ was occuring, and that we weren’t trying to pander to women, just be more welcoming to them.

  250. 250
    Liam

    No, Liam, what you said placed you firmly into the “oh I’m so oppressed, look, all those people working hard to get minorities and underprivileged groups into all areas of society, how should I get anything now” camp that you don’t deserve any other response.

    I am all for equal rights and equal treatment for everybody, sadly you are not.

    I don’t argue with people who claim that affirmative action is racist.
    It’s not because they have a point, it’s because they’re so dumb they couldn’t draw a line between them if they had two.

    Lol, you don’t argue with anyone who would suggest that a policy which regards people not based on merit, abilities or anything else but purely based on race could possibly be racist.

    Becuase i would be willing to say that the entire history of racism has relied exactly on that, selecting and excluding people not based on merit of ability but upon race. That is exactly what sexism is in many cases too. If you as a woman are not selected for something(whether it be a job, a college placement, a grant, etc.) based on no other reason but because you are a woman that is a clear case of sexism.

    But it doesn’t count if it’s the other way around.

    The whole thing rests upon the absurd idea that we can undo the evils of racism and sexism, the unequal treatment of people based on arbitrary birth conditions such as race or sex, by treating people unequally based on arbitrary birth conditions such as race or sex. That we can bring about equality by treating people unequally.

    Perhaps in 1865 when slavery abolished, there were some who thought we could even things out by assigning white slaves to black people. But they probably didn’t because it should be obvious that you can not bring about equality through enforcing inequality, that was the exact horrible policy that got us where we were in the first place.

    I don’t believe there is a gap in ability or potential between races or genders, I think the absolute best thing we can do is to treat everyone equally. If a boss hires someone, they should not exclude someone because they are black because that is racist, that works with white people too, if a boss doesn’t hire you because you are white, that was a racist act. The absolute best outcome is the outcome in which the merits of both individuals are weighed and the one who is best is selected.

    Another problem with this affirmative action idea is that it requires reliance on that ruling class, whether it be the dominant position of male, or of white. Those being pandered to through affirmative action have now become a subject of the policy of the very people who were originally dominant over them.

    If we enforce a 50/50 quota on speakers at conferences(except for the all women ones) which some already have then what we are saying is “women, there is no way you could match us through merit, so we will throw you a bone and let you have some extra seats” “we were looking for speakers for this conference, we know there aren’t as many talented women as men, so we made it policy to find exactly 50/50 so we would have to find them” Any self respecting person should reject such patronisation and show themselves to be capable without being handed a bone by those who are dominating you. Break free from the bond of male domination and show yourself to be completely capable yourself. This can and would work if people were treated equally regardless of race or gender. It is also a reasonable possibility, but not as long as we think it is good policy not to, as you and some others think.

  251. 251
    Jason Thibeault

    So Liam, where do you stand on white supremacists advocating that we also have a White History Month?

    Egalitarianism is the end goal, not the path to it.

  252. 252
    Liam

    So Liam, where do you stand on white supremacists advocating that we also have a White History Month?

    Egalitarianism is the end goal, not the path to it.

    Egalitarianism wont be the end goal if the means are exactly the opposite.

    I don’t really think there should be a white history month, to be honest, I’ve not been in the US very long, so i don’t know anything about BHM, or what people do durign the month. Do people only learn about black history in school for a month? If that is the case i would oppose even black history month, because it would come at the cost of education for everyone. Yeah, i really don’t know. If black history month somehow betters the lives of blacks without trampling on the opportunities of others, i don’t oppose it.

    Im going to expand on my last rant though, because it is important.

    The President of our local SSA is a female. Why is she the president? because she is fucking awesome, because she is intelligent, organised and driven, more so than any of her opponents. That is why she is in that position. Considering that, the most insulting thing i can imagine saying to her on that subject would be “you are in that position because you are a woman” “We felt it was necessary for our image to be welcoming to women, that is why you are here” “your talent was only a marginal consideration, and if we didn’t have this policy, and we only went by merit, John Smith would be president instead”

    She is in that position because merit, had it been affirmative action, any pride in that position, and feelings of accomplishment or mandated legitimacy would be invalid.

  253. 253
    Stephanie Zvan

    So the current situation with speakers is not full representation. The historical situation was worse. And you’re all upset that this is exclusionary? Excuse me, but where are all your internet comments that the rest of the conventions out there are unrepresentational and need to be fixed? Are you really trying to tell me that we can fill a 100% female speaker roster–with only the first group of women invited because they all said yes–but can’t manage even parity on the rest of the conventions without insulting patronage? Where do all the talented women speakers go when they’re not at a woman-centered convention? They evaporate?

    Knock off the talking points and pay some attention to what’s actually going on around you. You might notice the contradictions before they embarrass you.

  254. 254
    Jason Thibeault

    While you’re at it, Liam, shouldn’t you also decry the discriminatory practices that these conferences engage in when they refuse to show anything but skeptics and atheists? What about all those UFO believers and priests and rabbis? Why don’t they get a say too in this pure meritocracy where everyone gets to speak based only on their merit?

  255. 255
    earl mcbakersfield

    So the current situation with speakers is not full representation. The historical situation was worse. And you’re all upset that this is exclusionary? Excuse me, but where are all your internet comments that the rest of the conventions out there are unrepresentational and need to be fixed? Are you really trying to tell me that we can fill a 100% female speaker roster–with only the first group of women invited because they all said yes–but can’t manage even parity on the rest of the conventions without insulting patronage? Where do all the talented women speakers go when they’re not at a woman-centered convention? They evaporate?

    Knock off the talking points and pay some attention to what’s actually going on around you. You might notice the contradictions before they embarrass you.

    Im wondering why we need to enforce parity in the first place? Why can’t we accept the best and brightest and not choose or not choose someone based on an arbitrary birth characteristic?

  256. 256
    Liam

    While you’re at it, Liam, shouldn’t you also decry the discriminatory practices that these conferences engage in when they refuse to show anything but skeptics and atheists? What about all those UFO believers and priests and rabbis? Why don’t they get a say too in this pure meritocracy where everyone gets to speak based only on their merit?

    Damn, and here I was expecting a reasoned response to what i wrote. Don’t get your hopes up, they say.

  257. 257
    Liam

    But i mean yeah totally dude, Rabbi’s and ufo believers make good skeptics broheem. It’s totally analogous.

  258. 258
    Jason Thibeault

    And men make good women, “broheem”.

  259. 259
    Forbidden Snowflake

    Im wondering why we need to enforce parity in the first place? Why can’t we accept the best and brightest and not choose or not choose someone based on an arbitrary birth characteristic?

    Because we have biases, and when we pretend to judge everyone on merit and be blind to every other factor, our biases shine through in the results. Like the way you apriori accept that a man-dominated lineup is the result of “accepting the best and the brightest” without bias for arbitrary birth characteristics.

  260. 260
    Liam

    @jason

    Right, so i was correct when i said that the CFI(funded by donation) is hosting an event that deliberately excludes participation by a vast majority of the skeptical community and a majority of donors. :\

  261. 261
    Jason Thibeault

    Right! Who needs those minorities anyway!?

    Why don’t you head on over to Black Skeptics and complain that they’re excluding whites, and that by only including blacks they’re serving as Affirmative Action and that this is somehow “reverse racism”?

    Or you could also just fuck right off.

  262. 262
    Liam

    Because we have biases, and when we pretend to judge everyone on merit and be blind to every other factor, our biases shine through in the results. Like the way you apriori accept that a man-dominated lineup is the result of “accepting the best and the brightest” without bias for arbitrary birth characteristics.

    We have biases. So lets enforce another bias…

    My acceptance that there would be more male speakers if we did it based on merit is the result of the real fact that there are far more men in the community than women, if men and women are both equally competetent(which those advocating for AA apparently do not believe) then we should see a number of outstanding members of the community somewhat proportional to the numbers in the community.

    Just as i expect a predominantly white lineup, because there are less minority races in the community. I do not think we should enforce an equal representation of each race, at the exclusion of other factors.

  263. 263
    Jason Thibeault

    Because hosting a conference themed toward showing people that there are enough capable women speakers to fill a card == enforcing an anti-privileged-person bias.

    The fact that you’re rankling about this shows every inch of your male privilege. If you add up all the conferences CFI has done, and count out all the men and all the women, I bet you’ll come nowhere near the background population of even the skeptic/atheist community, much less the human race itself.

  264. 264
    Liam

    Right! Who needs those minorities anyway!?

    we needz more minoritees so we dont look rasist!

    If people want to join, they will join, why should we go looking for minorities? why are they any more valuable than anyone else who wants to join?

    Why don’t you head on over to Black Skeptics and complain that they’re excluding whites, and that by only including blacks they’re serving as Affirmative Action and that this is somehow “reverse racism”?

    Because that is dumb and completely not what I am talking about.
    Nor is it at all relevant to affirmative action.
    Unless they were demanding that each skeptical conference be made of 50% black people, regardless of their actual represenation in the community.

    Or you could also just fuck right off.

    Come to freethought blogs, but if you disagree with us you can fuck off

  265. 265
    Liam

    Because hosting a conference themed toward showing people that there are enough capable women speakers to fill a card == enforcing an anti-privileged-person bias.

    Is that what it is? showing that there are enough women to fill a conference? Is that what this is about?

    The fact that you’re rankling about this shows every inch of your male privilege. If you add up all the conferences CFI has done, and count out all the men and all the women, I bet you’ll come nowhere near the background population of even the skeptic/atheist community, much less the human race itself.

    Do you think we should hold conferences exclusively filled with minorities for the next X years until its all ‘evened out’?

    Honestly, if there was a policy with the CFI in the past to deliberately exclude women from positions, there would probably be some reasonable argument for penance, especially if women were donating to the CFI while an exclusionary rule was being enforced. The reality is that the skeptical community is predominantly white male, (just as most atheists in the US are white males) and even moreso in years past. And the most prominent characters have been white males. Do you think those running the CFI are a bunch of racist misogynists who had it out for women, and now need to tip the scales opposite?

  266. 266
    Stacy

    Do you think those running the CFI are a bunch of racist misogynists who had it out for women, and now need to tip the scales opposite?

    Lordy, that’s a fecal encumbrance of stupid.

    Ever hear of unconscious bias?

    How about other cognitive biases, like Status quo bias, Stereotyping, Selective perception, and the Bias blindspot?

    While you’re looking those up, you may want to think long and hard about how and why exactly the existence of this conference removes skin from your nose.

  267. 267
    Stephanie Zvan

    Do you think we should hold conferences exclusively filled with minorities for the next X years until its all ‘evened out’?

    Riiiiight. Because one conference is instantly, magically, all conferences forever and ever, amen.

    we needz more minoritees so we dont look rasist!

    If people want to join, they will join, why should we go looking for minorities? why are they any more valuable than anyone else who wants to join?

    I see. They need to be more valuable to be worth not excluding. And their worth is entirely based on how it makes us look to the rest of the world. Fascinating.

  268. 268
    Forbidden Snowflake

    We have biases. So lets enforce another bias…

    Compensating for known biases is not “enforcing another bias”. This “inclusiveness is bigotry” thing you’re doing is practically Orwellian.

    My acceptance that there would be more male speakers if we did it based on merit is the result of the real fact that there are far more men in the community than women, if men and women are both equally competetent(which those advocating for AA apparently do not believe) then we should see a number of outstanding members of the community somewhat proportional to the numbers in the community.

    Why should we accept the supposed (I don’t have time to check) underrepresentation of women in the community as a given, rather than try to achieve parity?
    It’s a vicious cycle: few women in the community -> few women speakers -> lower appeal to women -> few women in the community
    Why settle for that?

    If people want to join, they will join, why should we go looking for minorities? why are they any more valuable than anyone else who wants to join?

    Because they have a different life experience than the majority and can offer a different perspective than the majority on many issues, including a *unique* insight into issues concerning that particular minority. Minorities typically understand the majority better than the majority understands minorities.
    And no, if people see that their demographic, or its issues, are underrepresented in the community, they will not join just to listen to the majority talk. They have enough of that just living in society.

    Do you think we should hold conferences exclusively filled with minorities for the next X years until its all ‘evened out’?

    Why the hell not?

    Yesterday, when I was reading this (Thoughts from a diversity hire), I had a feeling that soon enough, I’ll be linking someone to it. Please read it, Liam.

  269. 269
    Forbidden Snowflake

    Also:

    Right, so i was correct when i said that the CFI(funded by donation) is hosting an event that deliberately excludes participation by a vast majority of the skeptical community and a majority of donors. :\

    It doesn’t exclude men from participating, just from speaking. If you find that you are not as interested in participating in a conference that has all women speakers, well… Now you know what’s been keeping women away, huh?

  270. 270
    Liam

    Lordy, that’s a fecal encumbrance of stupid.

    Ever hear of unconscious bias?

    How about other cognitive biases, like Status quo bias, Stereotyping, Selective perception, and the Bias blindspot?

    Thats fine, we no longer have to worry about any of these hidden biases, because we have one we can openly enforce.

    While you’re looking those up, you may want to think long and hard about how and why exactly the existence of this conference removes skin from your nose.

    Well one being that CFI recieves donations, so it has a responsibility to reasonably represent those donors. I have about as much problem with it as you might if there were a conference called “men in skepticism” where the topics were how we need to celebrate our achievements in founding secular organisations and how its really great that there are so many men in skepticism”

    Riiiiight. Because one conference is instantly, magically, all conferences forever and ever, amen.

    ah, the ol’ quotemine trick. My response was directly to Jason who suggested counting up all the men and women in past CFI conferences. That would only really be relevant if you wanted to balance it out. But you don’t really care do you…

    I see. They need to be more valuable to be worth not excluding. And their worth is entirely based on how it makes us look to the rest of the world. Fascinating.

    Clearly not my position, as it was a satirical jab. But again, you don’t actually care about my position, misrepresenting me and attacking the straw man is easier.

    We have biases. So lets enforce another bias…

    Compensating for known biases is not “enforcing another bias”. This “inclusiveness is bigotry” thing you’re doing is practically Orwellian.

    Exclusiveness is now ‘inclusiveness’, that truly is orwellian.
    I’m not going to rail against them, because what they want to do with their own time and resources is their business, but i find it strange that women are considered under-represented in the community. When we seem to have both inclusive media and female exclusive media. We have freethought blogs, which is both male and female oriented, then we have skepchick which is for females, we have the Atheist experience, again men and women, then we have “atheist bitches” women. We have skepticon for example, then we have women in skepticism. Is there really a shortage of ‘inclusiveness’ for females? there seems to be plenty of representation both in mixed and female oriented secular media. I don’t think people would accept(nor would i be bothered listening to) a male only show. But that is best saved for another time.

    Why should we accept the supposed (I don’t have time to check) underrepresentation of women in the community as a given, rather than try to achieve parity?
    It’s a vicious cycle: few women in the community -> few women speakers -> lower appeal to women -> few women in the community
    Why settle for that?

    There really at this point isn’t much if at all an under representation, as i said above there are plenty of female oriented media, as well as the regular male and female oriented. TAM last year had exactly 50/50 which by the exact exact numbers, id say was by design. There are less women atheists overall these are due to a number of cultural factors that are for the most part out of our control, I believe the number is somewhere between a 40-60 to a 20-80 difference depending on how you measure it. So we are trying to create an artificial parity out of what is a real numerical minority.

    If we were in the game of trying to deconvert people(which some are), i can certainly see targeting minorities and women as a fruitful exercise, but i can’t see women oriented events, rather than actual practiced skepticism and secularism actually deconverting many people.

    Because they have a different life experience than the majority and can offer a different perspective than the majority on many issues, including a *unique* insight into issues concerning that particular minority. Minorities typically understand the majority better than the majority understands minorities.
    And no, if people see that their demographic, or its issues, are underrepresented in the community, they will not join just to listen to the majority talk. They have enough of that just living in society.

    Well right now you are making assumptions on a large group of people based on nothing but their race or gender. Are we trying to be a group that welcomes skeptical minded people? or are we interested in being full of minorities? I’m sure that minorities do know what its like to be a minority better than someone who isnt a minority, but how is that relevant to anything? Honestly i like to listen to people if they are interesting, sometimes that happens to be a man, sometimes that happens to be a woman, sometimes that happens to be a mexican, rarely is it an instance where i listen to them BECAUSE they are a mexican, man or a woman.

    I think when we start treating people as individuals with unique life experiences that can be based on hundreds of factors, rather than grouping large numbers of people and assigning their vale based on the colour of their skin or the size of their gamete. Then that will probably be the most welcoming of communities.

    Why the hell not?

    Because a deliberate policy of exclusion for the sake of inclusion is counter productive.

    Yesterday, when I was reading this (Thoughts from a diversity hire), I had a feeling that soon enough, I’ll be linking someone to it. Please read it, Liam.

    Thanks. I read it. And i understand her point, however you cant walk both sides of the street, either we can accept people purely based on merit which may or may not end up with less diversity, or we can select people due to gender or the colour of their skin. If you want to select people due to gender of racial reasons you can not at the same time deny it if someone says “you are here because you are a X”. You can’t have it both ways. To say that to someone i expect would be extremely insulting and devaluing, no one should have a right to say it, because we shouldn’t be doing that. See my earlier post about the president of our local SSA as an example.

    It doesn’t exclude men from participating, just from speaking. If you find that you are not as interested in participating in a conference that has all women speakers, well… Now you know what’s been keeping women away, huh?

    AAARRGH it was me all along! Just eliminate me and we wont even need affirmative action.

    But yes, you are correct, i am not interested in participating in a conference that is specificially exclusionary, but mostly because i am interested in science and skepticism, and a back slapping party of discussions and celebrations of the many contributions women have made to the secular movement is really not interesting, to me or probably people who go to conferences because they are interested in learning about science and skepticism that isn’t just self referential.

  271. 271
    Liam

    @Forbidden Snowflake

    I feel like saying more about the link you posted. Because it did get me thinking and because you seem like you are interested in a reasoned discussion. (Thank you.)

    I do think that a diversity of viewpoints can be good, but i don’t think they necessarily rest with being a minority. We might find for a speaker a muslim woman who escaped horribly tyranny of islam in her country, and she would certainly have a unique and valuable experience to share, but that unique experience does not come about simply because she is a minority, i may go to that same country as a white male and be locked up by religious police and have an experience worth sharing, even though i am white and male. That is why it is important that we take people as individuals and take those individual experiences by their merit too, and yes quite often being a minority can bring about that experience, but it is not arbitrarily the case.

    Also in her post she talks about the difference between the perception of a neutral blogger, and perhaps a ‘female blogger’, i think a lot of this perception can be linked to how one represents themselves. You can’t go to “skepchick”.com without instantly being given the impression that you are reading female literature, the fact that it was pointed out so apparently probably means that it is going to be a female oriented viewpoint. If natalie reed puts ‘gender and sexuality’ in her little title picture, straight away you get the impression that the viewpoint is going to be themed along those lines, same with ‘black skeptics’. Where as the example used of Richard Carrier blogs, you get no immediate impression of what the theme or viewpoint of the subject matter may be, beyond the fact that he has some nice credentials. These aren’t views that the readers impose themselves, (at least not in all cases) they appear to be in many ways self-imposed.

  272. 272
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    If that is the case i would oppose even black history month, because it would come at the cost of education for everyone.

    Ah, yes, you hear it straight from Liam:
    Learning all about white history (which is what most history classes are about. Non-whites usually only feature as people to be conquered, exploited, enslaved and killed) is education. Learning about black history is a waste of time.

    Oh, also, do you think that you can make a comprehensive list of, say, the top speakers for atheist conventions and give somewhat objective criteria as to why that list is correct?

    Do you also think that for every position to be filled there is only one qualified person (and explain why in case of better positions those happen to be disproportionally often straight white cis men?)?
    Do you think that if 500 people apply for 1 position that 499 are actually not qualified and able to do the job they applied for and only the one who got hired does?

    Lol, you don’t argue with anyone who would suggest that a policy which regards people not based on merit, abilities or anything else but purely based on race could possibly be racist.

    Ah, so you actually think that affirmative action gives jobs to people who are absolutely not qualified, don’t have the necessary education and skills and “merits” (others than being white and having a penis*) instead of saying that if you have 5 positions to fill and 100 qualified people who’d like to fill them that 2 of them should be PoC?
    You are either:
    -very stupid
    -very naive
    or
    -just a plain old biggot.
    My guess is that you’re the latter.

    Oh, and talking about “objective” meassuring, did you know that by simply making women to tick a box that indicates their gender before taking a math exam, you make them score lower because of stereotype threat?
    And that if you give men an incentive to pay attention to other people’s feelings they become as emphatic as women?
    No, you didn’t?
    Well, guess you should simply learn something before you talk out of your ass and ignore science because you’re as ignorant about sociology as a creationist is about evolution.

    *Sorry for the cis-genderism here

  273. 273
    Stephanie Zvan

    Fascinating, Liam. That stupid “we have inclusive media and exclusive media–but only for minorities” argument was made by Earl on my blog. Are you the same person or just backing each other up in stupidity? Or is it dishonesty, because I have a really hard time thinking you can’t see all the media with only men represented. For example, we have one of those all-male podcasts right here on FtB.

    Also, I don’t have to quote mine you to look bad when you tell me that talking about women’s contributions to secularism isn’t talking about science and skepticism. Or maybe I should make this more obvious for you: That’s only true if you assume up front that women don’t contribute to science or skepticism.

  274. 274
    Jason Thibeault

    Looks like cross-blog pingbacks are broken again, so, um, ping.

    Not one of us is a token.

  275. 275
    codelette

    “I am way late, but selling out your own for social approval =/= having a husband and identifying with race struggles more than feminist ones. WOC do not have to ally themselves with the specific causes I feel are the most important, but that doesn’t mean it is okay for anyone to thrown women under the bus. The latter is what I take issue with.”

    Wait. WHAT?
    So a black woman is “selling out her own” if she doesn’t side with other women? Are you meaning that her “own” is not identifying first with black issues? That it is okay to throw a black men (be it friend, son, spouse, etc) “under the bus” at the behest of a woman? Period?

    Check your white privilege, woman.

    Signed,
    A WOC (yeahhh boyyy)

  276. 276
    codelette

    For skeptifem only:
    “No, White radical feminists are not on our side. They are a part of the problem because they can’t see past their own Whiteness long enough to see that their story is not our story. Do I really have to remind them that they were only able to have their consciousness raised, because we were watching their damn kids? Do I really have to point out that ever step they have climbed towards equality with White men has been because they have been standing on our shoulders?”

    http://www.womanist-musings.com/2011/10/once-again-white-radical-feminists-miss_24.html#more

    Enjoy.

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