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Sexism is a problem we should address

Let us dig up a grave and gnaw on some old bones. USA Today has just now gotten around to an article on that elevatorgate tempest. Fortunately, I think it takes the right tack; it takes the perspective that sexism isn’t particularly a problem of the atheist community, but that what’s going on is that the atheist community is taking the problem seriously and is trying to address it.

Yet many, including Watson, say Elevatorgate is less a calamity and more an opportunity to welcome women and other minorities into a community that’s long been dominated by white men.

“The majority of emails I have gotten have been from men who said, ‘I had no idea what women in this community went through, and thank you for opening my eyes,'” Watson said. “There has actually been a net benefit coming out of this that I think has made everything worthwhile.”

No one is suggesting the freethought community is more sexist than other segments of society — after all, the most famous American atheist, the late Madalyn Murray O’Hair, was a woman. [And what about Ellen Johnson, Margaret Downey, Susan Jacoby, and so many other atheist leaders? --pzm]

Nonetheless, the incident has struck a chord, perhaps because atheists and other skeptics pride themselves on reason and logic — intellectual exercises that theoretically compute to equality.

They’ve got a few quotes from me in there, too. I tried to make the point that whenever I’ve brought this subject up with meeting organizers, they’ve been very receptive, recognize the problem, and try to deal with it. What this one incident did was expose a small, fringe group of obsessive sexists who suddenly had the privileges they took for granted questioned…and oh, how they did squeal, and continue to squeal.

The bad news is found in the comments. It’s as if most of the commenters didn’t even bother to read the article. The comments section at USA Today is a grisly sight — I don’t recommend it unless you’re strong of stomach. A few samples:

why is it that a blog post about female genital mutilation on a high traffic blog might generate a few dozen comments, but a privileged western white woman being on the receiving end of a clumsy pass leads to thousands of angry comments?

Say what? I know from past experience that any post about FGM I make will generate a high volume of comments. I’m cautious about posting them because they always turn into such a management headache. Of course, one of the reasons they blow up is the clueless guys who show up to whine about how I’m neglecting the evils of circumcision…

Both Watson and Myers have been actively promoting “blacklists” of undesirables within the community, and have even toyed with the idea of “prohibited author” lists.

We have? I had no idea we had such power, and I don’t recall ever posting a list of people we should not invite to meetings…whereas the other side has been positively shrill in demanding the immediate excommunication of “radical feminists”.

And then, of course, the Christians are out in force. Man, there are a lot of comments from religious people non-ironically damning atheism as a religion, and there sure is a lot of projection going on.

Atheism is actually a fundamentalist religion. While it has no theology, psychologically it meets all other criteria. What do Fundamentalists have in common with Atheists?
(1) Absolute beliefs and no toleration of other beliefs.
(2) They both believe there’s no mystery in life. Everything is known, and they just happen to have all the answers.
(3) Whoever disagrees with them is not tolerated.
(4) Contradiction is inherent; Evangelicals are against every ethic of the New Testament while Atheists, who profess rationalism, are anything but (see their on line comments for proof; usually very crude and bigoted; like fundamentalists).
Put another way, fundamentalists and atheists are the same person with a different belief but the same personality.

Every one of those points is absurd; it’s particularly bizarre to see accusations that disagreement is not tolerated on an article describing how the atheist community is trying to be more tolerant and diverse.

Comments

  1. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The comments under the fold evoked this response:
    *face palm right, face palm left, headdesk*

  2. McCthulhu awaits the return of the 2000 foot Frank Zappa says

    I’m afraid to make a comment about anything anymore since it is likely to open up some can of worms. GAAAAAH, HERE COMES THE CANNED WORM LOBBYISTS!!!

  3. says

    What this one incident did was expose a small, fringe group of obsessive sexists who suddenly had the privileges they took for granted questioned…and oh, how they did squeal, and continue to squeal.

    *cough* …dawkins… *cough*

    I’ll don my hazmat suit and prepare for the ritual poo flinging, but damn. PZ, I love you for this.

  4. Grammar Merchant says

    “The bad news is found in the comments. It’s as if most of the commenters didn’t even bother to read the article.” Welcome to the Internet. Grazers don’t read the actual stories, just the headlines. Then they reflexively blurt. The aforementioned Susan Jacoby has something to say about this in The Age of American Unreason. Sadly, one must read past the title page to reach her discussion, so it’s unlikely any grazers will ever see it.

  5. Mudak says

    Here’s a thought I had about a week ago (so I apologize for not having said this earlier). I do think that a part of the problem that fueled elevatorgate, was a general lack of understanding on the part of the men (including the guy in the elevator).

    I know PZ doesn’t approve of sockpuppetry, and for the most part, I agree. That said, I suspect a good many men would gain a greater understanding of some of the things women online have to deal with, if they created a realistic online female persona for themselves. If they receive an excess or surfeit of unwelcome advances, I bet they’d start to understand it better.

  6. says

    Both Watson and Myers have been actively promoting “blacklists” of undesirables within the community,

    It certainly became quite clear to me during elevatorgate which individuals I have no desire to communicate with any further. But I didn’t need a blacklist to figure that out, they did it all themselves.

  7. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Nerd, it’s possible your grog reserves may be required.

    Not tonight. Early to bed to do some errands early in the morning. I like to be home on Saturday before the traffic gets heavy.

  8. says

    I’ve got to fix the Comic Sans this weekend. When the powers-that-be made my CSS fixes network wide, they removed the Pharyngula specific ones…I have to restore them.

  9. John Morales says

    [OT]

    A quick shout-out here: Rorschach also runs a blog and was one of the very first to engage with Elevatorgate the Rebeccalypse.

    (Got some doozies for commenter there, too!)

    (Rorschach: sorry, mate. Don’t mean to embarrass you)

  10. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Okay, folks, stand by to stand by. The Forces of Evil™, aka the MRAs, will be here in force as soon as they awake from their stupors.

  11. Mr. Fire says

    Not tonight. Early to bed to do some errands early in the morning.

    Well in that case just leave the grog with me. It’s safe in with me.

  12. ichthyic says

    Take a drink
    And you’ll sink
    To a state of pure inebriation
    You’ll be tanked
    Like the whole Irish nation!

    When you drink enough of my beer
    You will find this magic gruel
    Make your every joke a jewel
    You’ll drive drunker than…
    Oksana Baiul!

    Go on, buds
    Drink my suds
    ‘Til you’ve reached that pure inebriation
    Though the beer may be free…
    You’re just renting it from me.

  13. Drachasor says

    I wasn’t paying attention when any of this went down originally, but I did come across it a few days ago. To me it seems like the story is really a bunch of people overreacting on all sides. I honestly don’t understand what the big deal is. Heck, I don’t think there’s really a big deal about what Dawkins said, if one assumes his badly worded point about the original incident in the elevator was “there are real issues out there.”

    There seems to be some sort of connection to the overreaction on one side of the argument to the “Schroedinger’s Rapist” thing. I had to look that up. Honestly, that seems like a crazy way to look at the world (as well as sexist), and a way that I don’t think most women actually view life. I asked my mother about it, who is one of the most sensible people I know (she’s also blind and a lawyer for what it is worth). She also thought it was rather crazy and doesn’t go around overly concerned about her safety (except perhaps concern here and there about traffic). Given that she navigates downtown [insert city I live in] with just her dog, I think that’s something worth considering. She also didn’t see what the big deal was about the elevator thing.

    Overall I think this whole thing has be blown completely out of proportion into some sort of imagined war against sexism based on just posts by handful of people (comparatively). The number of actual sexists seems to be small — though I admit we lack proper statistics here. I’m not saying a problem doesn’t exist with some people (and that in that context it should be a concern), but let’s not exaggerate the magnitude of it.

    Lastly:

    “I thought it was a safe space,” Watson said of the freethought community. “The biggest lesson I have learned over the years is that it is not a safe space and we have a lot of growing to do. The good news is there are a lot of people within the community who are interested in making it better and getting rid of our prejudices.”

    Ok, I don’t understand the first part of this AT ALL. How the heck does this remotely show that the freethought community isn’t safe? Is it the relatively few crazy and inappropriate comments on various forums/threads/blogs about this? I don’t think that’s sufficient to conclude things aren’t safe at all.

    Oh, and don’t think I am taking one side as opposed to another just because one camp has more easily accessible things to quote. Since it has come up again, I am sure there will be some people rather angry at what I wrote above. I’d appreciate it if there could be a civil discussion, though I imagine some flames are likely.

  14. Sally Strange, OM says

    Yes… something must be done about sexism in the atheist community. Just as long as that something doesn’t involve asking any men to change their behavior in any way, they’re all feminists. And if someone challenges them on their apparent refusal to put those feminist values into practice, why then, she’s a FAUX-FEMINIST. It’s a handy recipe for maintaining your sense of moral superiority without ever having to do anything about the problem.

  15. azkyroth says

    Oh, and don’t think I am taking one side as opposed to another just because one camp has more easily accessible things to quote. Since it has come up again, I am sure there will be some people rather angry at what I wrote above. I’d appreciate it if there could be a civil discussion, though I imagine some flames are likely.

    This is an unfortunate side effect of regurgitating, verbatim, arguments that have been dissected to death a few times already.

  16. ckitching says

    The Forces of Evil™, aka the MRAs

    Don’t give them more credit than they’re due. Evil takes effort and intelligence. Stupidity and undeserved privilege, on the other hand…

  17. ichthyic says

    I wasn’t paying attention when any of this went down originally

    then full stop.

    if you want to comment on the original issue instead of something specific you saw a couple days back, you should go back and read the original issue, and the comments.

    flames are likely

    yup, round these parts, ignorance of an issue not preventing someone from spewing noise about it marks them for for the BBQ, to be sure.

    and rightly so, IMO.

  18. says

    Drachasor:

    I asked my mother about it

    Oh well, that settles it! Drachasor’s mom anecdata, that covers everything. :eyeroll:

    ‘Tis:

    Okay, folks, stand by to stand by. The Forces of Evil™, aka the MRAs, will be here in force as soon as they awake from their stupors.

    Looks like the clueless “hey, I don’t know what’s going on” idiots are arriving first.

  19. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    She also didn’t see what the big deal was about the elevator thing.

    The elevator thing wasn’t a big deal per se. Even RW dismissed it with one or two sentences. But the reaction to “don’t hit on me or other women in enclosed spaces”, which was utterly and totally reasonable, was taken way out of proportion by the MRA’s. They can’t be told to be polite, non-threatening, and not pester women inappropriately. That is what your meandering is missing.

  20. Mattir says

    I’m really tired of this subject. I don’t even particularly LIKE Rebecca Watson, but she’s 100% correct that the Elevator Guy incident was creepy. The whole public response, dragging on and on, has made me very grateful for Pharyngula and for the ability to meet people from the Horde at any conferences I go to.

  21. John Morales says

    Nerd, yeah, you’ve summarised Rebeccalypse nicely.

    MRA transformation #1: ‘That made me uncomfortable’ → ‘That was pure evil’

    MRA transformation #2: ‘That made me uncomfortable’ → ‘You are being hysterical’

    Dawkins transformation: ‘That made me uncomfortable’ → ‘Big deal — Muslimas have it bad and yet you complain?’

    Russell Blackford decuction: ‘That made me uncomfortable’ → ‘You ain’t a real feminist, then’

  22. kantalope says

    Ok, I don’t understand the first part of this AT ALL. How the heck does this remotely show that the freethought community isn’t safe?

    Watson kind of explained on the Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast – she gets death and rape threats. That would give anyone pause.

  23. says

    Drachasor #19:

    I wasn’t paying attention when any of this went down originally,

    And you appear to have not attempted to consult any of the articles on the subject, either, so you’re going to mischaracterize everyone as overreacting and demonstrate total ignorance of what happened in the first place.

    -sigh-

    Asking someone you haven’t talked to before if they would like to come to your room (for some purpose) at four in the morning in the elevator.

    How is that not creepy and wrong?

  24. Mattir says

    For the clue-impaired, Shroedinger’s Rapist™ does not suggest that ALL women experience men that way, but it does point out that MANY women do, and that a Nice Guy™ has no way of knowing whether a given woman does or does not. It further points out that viewing men as Shroedinger’s Rapist is not irrational, and many women do it without even realizing it.

    And whether a particular woman you know fits the specifics of the SR essay is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT to whether you can use the ideas to behave with kindness and consideration.

  25. Drachasor says

    if you want to comment on the original issue instead of something specific you saw a couple days back, you should go back and read the original issue, and the comments.

    Ichthyic, I DID do that.

    Oh well, that settles it! Drachasor’s mom anecdata, that covers everything. :eyeroll:

    Caine, I understand that mentioning that might look at a cheap ploy, but the fact is I did do this over lunch today. I was interested in if the issues that some women talked about in regards to Elevatorgate were a factor in her life. Do you think I shouldn’t have bothered mentioning it because of the probability it would be misunderstood by some people?

    I mean, if I really wanted to mine my life experience for stuff to make me look like I had some arbitrary level of understanding, then I could have done that. It seems reasonable to state something both recent and relevant though.

    I didn’t mean to imply it was somehow definitive regarding the views of women.

    The elevator thing wasn’t a big deal per se. Even RW dismissed it with one or two sentences. But the reaction to “don’t hit on me or other women in enclosed spaces”, which was utterly and totally reasonable, was taken way out of proportion by the MRA’s. They can’t be told to be polite, non-threatening, and not pester women inappropriately. That is what your meandering is missing.

    MRAs? What does that stand for?

    I understand her particular concern there. My only point would be that the guy only had a slight error in judgment, imho, which some people are acting like it was a massive error in judgment. From what Watson said, the guy in fact WAS polite and did nothing actually threatening unless you count talking to her on an elevator in a polite manner as threatening.

    Did he handle the situation perfectly? No. Is it reasonable to expect perfection from people? No. Is it reasonable to expect social interactions to never result in discomfort? No, people in general will continue to make other people uncomfortable when they did not intend it. We can’t necessarily know another person’s history and be aware of it. It is quite possible elevator guy just knew about Watson from the hotel conversation, and hence he would be unaware of her exact issues.

    Here’s a totally hypothetical example that in no way potentially happened to me last Monday. Let’s say a guy goes on a date with a girl. Everything seems to go fine, both say they enjoyed it and should do it again. He takes her home and walks her to her door, since that’s the traditional etiquette as he understands it. She seems a bit nervous, but she said early on in the date she was a little bit prone to that. She tells him that he should make she he texts her in the future. He thinks perhaps there will also be the traditional goodnight kiss, though he is ok if there isn’t. His hand touches her back near her shoulder for but a moment. This seems to make her uncomfortable, and afterwards she gives him a hug and goes inside. He intends on talking to her about that the next time he can. Over the next three days he sends her three texts, and they are not responded to.

    Now, there are many possible explanations for the above behavior. Maybe she just didn’t like the date and lied about it. Let’s assume she was made uncomfortable though. Is it reasonable for a man to assume that will happen if he walks a girl to her door? After all, that creates a fairly enclosed space for her. I do not think so. On the other hand, if a man knew that would make her uncomfortable, then he should not do it.

    I view the elevator thing as roughly on that level. I definitely wouldn’t hit on Watson in an elevator. I wouldn’t hit on anyone I noticed being really uncomfortable with me in an elevator. We’ll ignore the fact I basically never hit on women anyhow. That said, if someone doesn’t happen to notice the discomfort or misattributes unease for nervousness (the two are very, very similar), should we judge him harshly for that? I tend not to think so.

    I am not convinced that such an act as what that guy did would make most women uncomfortable. I certainly know it would make some uncomfortable. I don’t think it is very sensible or even possible to avoid doing anything that might make someone uncomfortable.

  26. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Well, as a blind lawyer and someone’s mom. . .

    Are you fucking kidding me? Really? Really? I’m never going to let go of this one. You are gonna be so mocked, for so long.

  27. says

    I’m off to go and work for 10 hours. It seems preferable to following this thread to its inevitable destination. And besides, I have complete elevatorgate fatigue…

  28. illdoittomorrow says

    Okay, folks, stand by to stand by. The Forces of Evil™, aka the MRAs, will be here in force…

    Yup.

    as soon as they awake from their stupors.

    This I doubt…

  29. Sally Strange, OM says

    Oh shut up Drachasor. Fuck Elevator Dude. He’s not the issue. The MRAs defending him are. What, you don’t know what MRAs are? You have more reading to do. STFU until you finish your reading.

  30. chigau (...---...) says

    Drachasor
    If you went and read the original posts and comments, why are you presenting the identical arguments again?
    If you went and read the original posts and comments, how can you not know what MRA stands for?

  31. Drachasor says

    Watson kind of explained on the Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast – she gets death and rape threats. That would give anyone pause.

    Kantalope, I understand that. Yet, we as rational beings have to also understand that such comments, as horrible and offensive as they are, almost never amount to anything. I don’t think they actually indicate she’s any less safe than she was before. I think it is fair to safe the freethought community is about as safe as any other (which is generally pretty safe).

    I am sure Myers has gotten death threats for instance, but I doubt he spends much, if any time worrying over them. Such things happen if you are in the public eye, especially if some controversy you are involved in comes up.

    Asking someone you haven’t talked to before if they would like to come to your room (for some purpose) at four in the morning in the elevator.

    How is that not creepy and wrong?

    Setár, just to be clear, I have read up on this. To me it looks like it first exploded completely out of proportion in her original blog where she posted that video. It snowballed from there, fed by all sides.

    I can see how some people would find it creepy. There’s a lot of creepiness one can project onto situations like that. I do not think it is inherently creepy to say you’d like to talk to someone more while acknowledging your question might be taken the wrong way. It is not inherently creepy to then accept a polite refusal and to not bother the person anymore. I understand it was creepy for Ms. Watson, but I don’t think there’s really enough to go on to be able to say that it is considered creepy by women in general.

  32. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I am not convinced that such an act as what that guy did would make most women uncomfortable.

    Go fuck yourself. Seriously. Get the fuck out of here, read some of the past threads, educate yourself (while fucking yourself) and don’t come back here until you’ve done your homework.

    Zero tolerance for assholes that show up without having done the most cursory reading of what actually took place, but who believe they’re bringing us a fresh and enlightened perspective.

    You’re the problem, buddy. Yeah. You. Don’t come back until you’ve done some reading.

    No, really. Shut up. Stop it. Don’t sputter, don’t plead, don’t make excuses. Shut up and leave to do your reading.

  33. kristinc says

    Oh, I see we’ve already attracted one four-screens-of-blithering-stupidity grade Mansplainer.

    Joy.

  34. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I’m not putting up with it, Kristin. The real-life analogy with this dude would be immediate bouncing from the bar, no questions asked, out on his ass on the sidewalk to walk home drunk and ponder why he got kicked out. No re-admittance next Friday until he figures out his stupidity.

  35. Drachasor says

    Well, as a blind lawyer and someone’s mom. . .

    Are you fucking kidding me? Really? Really? I’m never going to let go of this one. You are gonna be so mocked, for so long.

    Well, it has the virtue of being true, for what it is worth. I mentioned that she was blind for the reason I thought that if anything, being blind would make her more concerned about such safety issues. I mentioned her being a lawyer to indicate that she got out and about a lot. Maybe I should have not been so explicit.

    For the clue-impaired, Shroedinger’s Rapist™ does not suggest that ALL women experience men that way, but it does point out that MANY women do, and that a Nice Guy™ has no way of knowing whether a given woman does or does not. It further points out that viewing men as Shroedinger’s Rapist is not irrational, and many women do it without even realizing it.

    And for that purpose it is completely and utterly useless in terms of adjusting initial approach behavior. Because if you act by assuming any particular women is easily traumatized by interacting with men, then that pretty much shuts down any possible behavior. I don’t think it is reasonable to adjust one’s behavior to account for a tiny minority of possible concerns that are, in fact, irrational (rape statistics do not work the way Schroedinger’s Rapist pretends they do). As some have noted, it would be like telling black men they really need to adjust their behavior to make white people comfortable, you know, because of gangs and violent crime statistics.

    I am not saying one shouldn’t adjust one’s behavior appropriate towards individuals and their concerns, mind you. One should also be aware as one can be about how someone is reacting to your presence (though this is imperfect). Acting like all women are afraid of men and that such a fear is sensible? That’s just not reasonable.

  36. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Shut up and do your reading before you comment again. No one here is going to take you seriously the way you’re acting now. There’s a reason why you’re getting a lot of shit.

  37. ichthyic says

    I mentioned that she was blind for the reason I thought that if anything, being blind would make her more concerned about such safety issues.

    strangely though, you seemed not to learn from the very example of your mother, and instead failed to be concerned at all about how blind you were regarding the issues you chose to expound your opinion on.

    fascinating.

  38. RowanVT says

    @Drach

    I don’t find anything “polite” about a strange man asking me back to his room for coffee in an elevator at 4 am.

    And to counter your mom, yes, I live by Schroedinger’s Rapist. I did even *before* I was stalked. I extra do it now. My mom taught me to be cautious. Most of my female friends are the same level of cautious, and it manifests as “common sense”, such as “don’t walk down that dark alley alone at night” or “don’t invite men you just met to your house” or “park somewhere well lit.”

    Last Friday, 3 men tried to break into my workplace even while some of the employees were still there. We are mostly women. We now only leave in pairs.

    As for your example, the fact that our hypothetical woman stated at the beginning of the date that she tends to be nervous would be a warning sign. It’s like the dog that is flashing its teeth, but not growling or lunging: stay back, I’m easily scared. Then, upon going to her door (which means he knows where she lives now), he touches her in a place that potentially vulnerable. Not a hand, but the back, which he could use to shove her into the door, or if she’s unlocked the door, shove her into the house where they won’t be seen.

    I tell new male acquaintances “I don’t like being alone with men I don’t know well because I’ve had several bad experience, please don’t be offended.” But I’m blunt. If I was the woman on that date after expressing my nervousness (whether rational or not), and having the guy then get to the point of making me uncomfortable, I’d not contact him again either.

  39. kristinc says

    Josh — I’m just going to work on my crochet then, and watch you bounce this self-involved simp around like Draco Malfoy as a white ferret. *smirk*

  40. Drachasor says

    Go fuck yourself. Seriously. Get the fuck out of here, read some of the past threads, educate yourself (while fucking yourself) and don’t come back here until you’ve done your homework.

    Josh, are there statistics somewhere that show a significant percentage of women are afraid of men in this manner? The fact that I am not convinced it is the case does not mean I cannot be convinced. If I have missed research regarding this, please share it.

    If you went and read the original posts and comments, how can you not know what MRA stands for?

    Chigau, well, most of it seemed rather repetitive and quickly descending into a bunch of people spewing profanity at each other. Looks kind of familiar now. I thought it might be possible to avoid that and have a calm discussion about it. Evidently that’s not entirely the case. Granted, I only spent maybe 5 or so hours going over things, so there is bound to be some stuff I missed.

    The general gist I got was:
    Watson posted her video. People freaked out on both sides, and went on and on about maybe 10 seconds of a 10 minute video.

    Some more stuff happened, I think Watson posted on the topic again.

    Dawkins commented in Myer’s blog about it after this. He chose his words poorly and possibly didn’t look into what was going on much.

    Another female freethinker posted on her blog that she didn’t think the whole thing was that big of a deal.

    Watson spoke at a convention and called out the other female freethinker and insulted her.

  41. ichthyic says

    I have read up on this.

    here’s me, not believing you at all, and basing that on what you came in here with. In fact, I prefer to think you actually ARE lying about that, because, if I am wrong, then you really ARE blinder than your mom, and I doubt anyone here can help you with that.

    ta.

  42. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Go do your reading. It’s been laid out in spades, including links, all across this place and the blogosphere for the past two months. Stop asking people to serve it up for you special in a dainty dish.

    Go.

  43. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    kristin — I think you have the right idea. I’m tending to my bread (loaf of white sourdough with toasted sesame seeds is cooling on a wrought iron rack), and I should probably get my knitting out so I can smirk-n-click too.

  44. Just_A_Lurker says

    women is easily traumatized by interacting with men, then that pretty much shuts down any possible behavior

    Fucking dumbass. This sentence alone about your idiotic “understanding” of Shroedinger’s Rapist™ just shows so much about you.

    Firstly, you over dramatized and bring in the old trope of the poor feeble women overreacting by simply have a nice guy smile at them! GRRR so wrong >.<

    Secondly, stops ANY possible behavior?!? Nice MRA tactic there, we've all seen before. Clearly, its going to end our species since no one will be able to meet each other's eyes let alone reproduce!

    And you know what else? Fuck continuing since there's no point. I know there isn't. I'm just so frustrated at the same thing being repeated by morons who CLEARLY didn't bother to fucking read the posts and all the comments on Scienceblogs by Pz or the other articles involving them.

    I am so tired of going through the same crap. Honestly, I tried before and I do not have the will to do this again. Fuck this shit.

  45. chigau (...---...) says

    Drachasor
    I number of the commentors here did not spend “5 or so hours going over things”.
    They participated fully for several days and several thousand comments.
    They will be addressing you soon.
    Bless your heart.

  46. Drachasor says

    As for your example, the fact that our hypothetical woman stated at the beginning of the date that she tends to be nervous would be a warning sign. It’s like the dog that is flashing its teeth, but not growling or lunging: stay back, I’m easily scared. Then, upon going to her door (which means he knows where she lives now), he touches her in a place that potentially vulnerable. Not a hand, but the back, which he could use to shove her into the door, or if she’s unlocked the door, shove her into the house where they won’t be seen.

    To be clear, she said it was the good kind of nervous. Well, to risk going into detail about her too much, she also had some family drama with one of her sisters going on in the background who got kicked out by an abusive boyfriend. Overall, not easy to tell what bits of nervousness were coming from what. I think I inadvertently created an example of how easy it is to misunderstand people, even if one is careful. I also picked her up AT her door, so I already knew where she lived.

    Now she did say she didn’t like pushy guys, but I think there’s a world of difference between being pushy and walking her to her door with a moment of physical contact. Given the above. (Of course, there’s always the possibility she didn’t like me and lied about it, granted, but I did feel an oddity in how she reacted to things at the end).

    If she had told me she was concerned about being touched or had issues in that regard, then I would not have touched her. I liked her rather well from that one day and if she had needed five, ten, fifty, or whatever number of dates to feel comfortable with even the mildest of physical contact, I would have been alright with that. I have dealt with such things before.

    Likewise, I did propose initially that we could meet at a neutral location and picking her up wasn’t necessary if she wasn’t comfortable with it. She wanted me to pick her up.

    I want to be clear that anyone should respect the bounderies another person sets. Men and women should try to pick up on those boundaries when they are not explicitly stated. That said, I don’t think it is right to expect this to be perfect when they aren’t stated (and people are likely to make the occasional error even when they are). I just don’t think one should necessarily assume random women have huge boundaries up and running by default. I don’t think it is generally rational for this to be the case for them, though obviously in your case it is quite understandable given your experiences. A man that didn’t respect your boundaries knowing about them would be a jerk. A guy that didn’t through ignorance? Possibly not (depends on what he did, of course).

  47. RowanVT says

    <blockquote cite="Fucking dumbass. This sentence alone about your idiotic “understanding” of Shroedinger’s Rapist™ just shows so much about you. "

    Exactly. I have been stalked. I've had several experiences with really creepy classmates try to "steal" me from my boyfriend because I tend to be really friendly and outgoing.

    I just won't be alone in a house or car with a man I have not known for some time.

    I'm certainly not terrified of a fierceevilrapeheartedmale talking to me in everyday normal situations. An elevator at 4 am in a hotel in a strange city with only myself and the guy in it is not an "everyday normal" situation to me. During the day, fine. With other people in the elevator, fine. But not alone with some stranger at 4am. That is suspect.

  48. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Blah blah blah talk-about-my-own-perceptions-of-things-while-ignoring-the-context-and-backstory-people-are-begging-me-to-read-I’m-mansplainin’-blah.

  49. Ibis3, féministe avec un titre française de fantaisie says

    Go get ‘im, Josh. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Bounce the douchehat out on his ear.

  50. ckitching says

    Kantalope, I understand that. Yet, we as rational beings have to also understand that such comments, as horrible and offensive as they are, almost never amount to anything.
    Did you just downplay a death threat because most aren’t carried out? Seriously, what are you thinking? The fact of the matter is that some ARE carried out. Even if none of them were, it is indicative of a problem that needs fixing.

  51. Just_A_Lurker says

    Granted, I only spent maybe 5 or so hours going over things, so there is bound to be some stuff I missed.

    Dude, it takes way more than 5 hours reading all of it. Want to know how much time we had to spend reading it? You lied before, you didn’t read it all. Fuck off.

    Also, this was post’s time stamp is 8:22pm, your first comment is at 9:27. I’ve seen you around before but not on this issue. I highly doubt you spent 5 hours reading but since I can’t prove it I will just let it stand that even if you did take 5 hours that’s not enough time.

    The general gist I got was:
    Watson posted her video. People freaked out on both sides, and went on and on about maybe 10 seconds of a 10 minute video.

    Some more stuff happened, I think Watson posted on the topic again.

    Dawkins commented in Myer’s blog about it after this. He chose his words poorly and possibly didn’t look into what was going on much.

    Another female freethinker posted on her blog that she didn’t think the whole thing was that big of a deal.

    Watson spoke at a convention and called out the other female freethinker and insulted her.

    Your dismissal of the issue is noted. Your concern about our cussing and tone are noted. Now run along you clearly don’t understand what happened and have nothing of value to contribute. I’m guessing you won’t ever.

    If you ever (I doubt it) read all the material you can come back and re-do your work here. Until then your a fucking idiot that we’ve seen and dispatched thousands of times before. Go away.

  52. Sally Strange, OM says

    I for one am baking apple crisp. The reading is there for you to do, Drach. If you refuse then don’t be surprised when nobody gives you the time of day.

    We’re not here to Monday-morning-quarterback your date that didn’t work out. That’s just pathetic, really.

  53. Drachasor says

    Firstly, you over dramatized and bring in the old trope of the poor feeble women overreacting by simply have a nice guy smile at them! GRRR so wrong >.<

    I didn’t say that. But does SR indicate this is a possible reaction to them merely walking up and starting a conversation? Yes. Does it indicate that judging someone based on how they look is perfectly appropriate and odd-looking guys should feel self-conscious about it? Yes. Does it say it is proper for a whole gender to be judged by the actions of a tiny minority? Yes. Does it back any of this up with appropriate statistics? No (well, the last one I guess it does, if you accept that judging a gender like that is ok). In fact, the vast majority of rapes are done by people the victim knows, so if anything SR should indicate women should be extra cautious with people they DO know, rather than strangers (and become more cautious the more they know someone).

    I will say what I find most interesting about it is the idea of actually doing the research to see what attitudes among women are, rather than having to be stuck with anecdotes. I’ll grant I might be wrong in my understanding of the issue. Certainly in terms of hard data none of us have a leg to stand on regarding the attitudes of actual women. I will say I find endorsing the idea of taking SR seriously for women in general (rather than some in particular), is that it does seem rather bigoted. Replace gender with race and no one would find acceptable. If someone can explain how it is ok here, please do.

  54. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Oooh, Sally, I can haz some apple crisp? You can haz some sesame bread:)

    Also, wanna go see Contagion with me and a friend Sunday at 7:30?

    Drachasor —keep fucking off.

  55. Sally Strange, OM says

    Nope sorry dude, this has all been explained previously. Check out http://www.manboobz.com if you need more reading material. You’re too stupid and selfish to bother with. Not going to do your homework for you; apples to chop and all that.

  56. Sally Strange, OM says

    Apple crisp/sesame bread exchange sounds eminently rational.

    Contagion? Scarrrrry movies? It’s possible, very possible.

  57. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I will say I find endorsing the idea of taking SR seriously for women in general (rather than some in particular), is that it does seem rather bigoted

    You stupid fucker. It’s ‘bigoted’, is it, for women to assess whether the men they’re alone with might rape them and to take precautions to lessen their chances of being trapped? That’s just the same as unjustified racism and fear of racial minorities?

    You are privilege walking, and you are a disgusting spectacle. Fuck you.

  58. Sally Strange, OM says

    Yeah; the correct racial comparison would be asking if it’s rational for a black man or woman walking around in a white neighborhood to be fearful of racially-motivated violence. Whether a black man being pulled over by a white police officer would be rational to be worried about being arrested, hauled into jail, and possibly beaten up despite having done nothing wrong.

    There’s a reason John Lennon said that “Woman (NOT MAN) is the n***** of the world.”

    If you want to set up racial analogies then keep the power dynamics straight.

  59. John Morales says

    [meta]

    RowanVT,

    But I’m blunt.

    You’re also overcoming a lifetime of social conditioning (overt, covert and subliminal) in so doing. Kudos.

    (The rarity of such suggests that’s not an easy thing for most)

  60. cyberCMDR says

    To me the issue seems to be one of power; who has it and whether they are conscious of the ramifications. One of the lessons I learned as I went up through the ranks in the military was that I had to be more careful about what I said. It’s easy to joke about something when you have a low rank, but as you reach higher levels people take what you say seriously. You can do harm without intending it. Of course some officers embrace that power, and love to use it on lesser ranks. They feel that it is their due.

    This I think parallels some of this discussion. Some men are aware that they can be perceived as being a threat, and act responsibly. Some guys think that having greater physical strength and some inherent status in our society (at least from their viewpoint) gives them permission to do things. Having testosterone fueled urges doesn’t help, either. The intermittent rewards they get (sometimes scoring) effectively trains them to keep doing that behavior.

    As a longtime married man, I find this kind of behavior rather foolish. I also remember however how stupid I used to be, back when hormones ran hotter and “getting some” was very exciting. Getting some is still exciting, but is not the be all and end all it used to be. As Heinlein once said, “It is amazing how much mature wisdom resembles being too tired.”

  61. Drachasor says

    Did you just downplay a death threat because most aren’t carried out? Seriously, what are you thinking? The fact of the matter is that some ARE carried out. Even if none of them were, it is indicative of a problem that needs fixing.

    Ckitching, I can understand the confusion. Naturally, one should go through the proper authorities if you ever get a death threat. However, that’s not because the average death threat actually implies danger, but because it is better to be safe than sorry.

    Hmm, as a comparison in (hypothetical) statistics only, let’s say walking on a somewhat slick surface without the proper footwear (which you have), has a 1% of resulting in falling. Does that mean you should wear the proper footwear? I’d say not.

    I am also not saying there aren’t problems that need fixing here. Certainly it revealed that there are people with rampant sexism against women in the community (how many people is unclear). There were certainly many absolutely hideous comments directed at Ms. Watson. This is most certainly a problem. I guess I view the death threats more in that vein.

    That said, yes, you have a good point. I can certainly understand how they might make someone feel less safe, even if I disagree with her interpretation of them.

  62. Ibis3, féministe avec un titre française de fantaisie says

    @66

    Not to mention that the distinction was also explained in the reading that douchehat refuses to do.

    My plan is to bake bagels from scratch this weekend. Contagion sounds great, but I have no one to go with here. Unless maybe my sister is up for it…hmmm.

  63. Just_A_Lurker says

    Men and women should try to pick up on those boundaries when they are not explicitly stated. That said, I don’t think it is right to expect this to be perfect when they aren’t stated (and people are likely to make the occasional error even when they are).

    The whole point of that essay was to help point how to act and understand when the boundaries are not explicitly stated. Do you not understand that for many different reasons such as personality, upbringing, religion and society a female might not be comfortable about saying such things bluntly or at all? That maybe they just deal with it and don’t bother with you again because they can’t, don’t want to or don’t know how to talk about it? Society has all been about women shutting up and taking it and women are still fighting in so many areas. Christ on a stick, we are just damned if we do, damned if we don’t.

    And who the fuck talked about perfect? Going back to read would help you greatly understand our side: Rebecca made a small comment to help men understand the unexplained rules. The men flipped the fuck out. No one said anything anywhere about perfect. It was simply a pro-tip: Its creepy to follow a woman to the elevator at 4 am to ask her to your room for sex. Let her have an option to escape, so she feels comfortable. Preferably, talk to her before hand. Don’t stalk her from a public area to a enclosed private area when you have never talked to her before. Again, general rules here and I’m sure there are exceptions. If you are not clear if its an exception ask the woman or just don’t do it. Its not going to ruin your life to miss out on one possible opportunity.

    How is this so hard?

    Oh, and just because you use a nice tone or your nicely dressed, doesn’t automatically make whatever you say or do nonthreatening.

    I’m going to pray harder that one day the hole in your skull closes so you may fill it with brain cells instead of air.

  64. RowanVT says

    Are you stupid, clueless, or purposefully obtuse Drach?

    “Does it indicate that judging someone based on how they look is perfectly appropriate and odd-looking guys should feel self-conscious about it? Yes. ”

    WTF? No. Not it does NOT indicate it is perfectly acceptable. It states that this is something that DOES happen and that certain stereotypes get ingrained in the mind and that while there might not be an active bias, there could be a passive one. It’s why many people might find it amusing to see a big buff tattoo covered ‘biker dude’…. walking his miniature poodle down the street.

    “Does it say it is proper for a whole gender to be judged by the actions of a tiny minority? Yes. ”

    And yet at even greater level of WTF are you ON? And whatever it is, don’t share it. It’s clearly something detrimental.

    Once again, it is nothing about “proper”. It’s about what happens, regardless of whether is right for it to happen.

    Are you saying that I, having been stalked, having been followed back to the dorms by a strange man at 2AM while returning from a finals-snack-run, having had Creepy McCreeperson be intent to make his girlfriend because I asked him for help with a chemistry problem, have absolutely no reasonable reason to view you with some uncertainty?

    Well color me azure, I guess I must be a mean ol’ bitchy femnazi misandrist then. How *dare* I look at a man and wonder how ‘safe’ he is! How *dare* I look at the way he’s dressed, the way he holds himself and “judge” him for it! How *dare* I look at my surroundings to see if I have easy access to safety! OH THE HORROR!

  65. Drachasor says

    You stupid fucker. It’s ‘bigoted’, is it, for women to assess whether the men they’re alone with might rape them and to take precautions to lessen their chances of being trapped? That’s just the same as unjustified racism and fear of racial minorities?

    Josh, it’s bigoted to assume every man is a rapist until he proves otherwise. Just like it is bigoted to assume every black person is a thief/thug/whatever until he proves otherwise. That’s a VERY different thing from being concerned about an individual based on what is going on with that individual and the current situation.

    Yeah; the correct racial comparison would be asking if it’s rational for a black man or woman walking around in a white neighborhood to be fearful of racially-motivated violence. Whether a black man being pulled over by a white police officer would be rational to be worried about being arrested, hauled into jail, and possibly beaten up despite having done nothing wrong.

    There’s a reason John Lennon said that “Woman (NOT MAN) is the n***** of the world.”

    If you want to set up racial analogies then keep the power dynamics straight.

    Hmm, but a white person in a black neighborhood isn’t someone with power, I’d argue.

    Further, I am not sure the power dynamic is necessarily important. If the majority of a particular violent act is done by such and such a group, then how does the reasoning regarding it become invalid if the group is or isn’t in power? They are still doing the act just as much either way. At best the power dynamic might result in no conviction for the person in power, but that doesn’t matter when you are worried about the act actually HAPPENING.

    That said, do you think it is appropriate and reasonable for a black person to assume all cops are bigots and out to get him until they prove otherwise? Or to assume all whites are racists and all to keep him down until they prove otherwise? If you were a white boss, would you find it reasonable for a black person you didn’t hire, to think you didn’t hire them because of their race, unless you prove otherwise?

  66. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    even if I disagree with her interpretation of them.

    And that matters why? You have precisely what experience of what it’s like to be a woman assessing these risks? You’re qualified to agree or disagree because? You’ve actually had to make the calculus about personal safety and potential rape/violence as a woman how many times?

    Come on. Tell us.

  67. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Christ you’re an asshole. It’s astonishing that you don’t know the difference between unjustified assumptions about “racial violence” and the terrible, self-defending calculations women have to perform every day.

    You get more loathsome with every post.

  68. Drachasor says

    To me the issue seems to be one of power; who has it and whether they are conscious of the ramifications. One of the lessons I learned as I went up through the ranks in the military was that I had to be more careful about what I said. It’s easy to joke about something when you have a low rank, but as you reach higher levels people take what you say seriously. You can do harm without intending it. Of course some officers embrace that power, and love to use it on lesser ranks. They feel that it is their due.

    This I think parallels some of this discussion. Some men are aware that they can be perceived as being a threat, and act responsibly. Some guys think that having greater physical strength and some inherent status in our society (at least from their viewpoint) gives them permission to do things. Having testosterone fueled urges doesn’t help, either. The intermittent rewards they get (sometimes scoring) effectively trains them to keep doing that behavior.

    As a longtime married man, I find this kind of behavior rather foolish. I also remember however how stupid I used to be, back when hormones ran hotter and “getting some” was very exciting. Getting some is still exciting, but is not the be all and end all it used to be. As Heinlein once said, “It is amazing how much mature wisdom resembles being too tired.”

    Agreed and well said, CyberCMDR.

    WTF? No. Not it does NOT indicate it is perfectly acceptable. It states that this is something that DOES happen and that certain stereotypes get ingrained in the mind and that while there might not be an active bias, there could be a passive one. It’s why many people might find it amusing to see a big buff tattoo covered ‘biker dude’…. walking his miniature poodle down the street.

    RowanVT, It in fact DOES say that. I just read it the other day. For instance, the author in particular talks about how people with tatoos better be extra careful and probably should just stick to online dating sites rather than actually approaching women in the real world.

    The whole point of that essay was to help point how to act and understand when the boundaries are not explicitly stated. Do you not understand that for many different reasons such as personality, upbringing, religion and society a female might not be comfortable about saying such things bluntly or at all? That maybe they just deal with it and don’t bother with you again because they can’t, don’t want to or don’t know how to talk about it? Society has all been about women shutting up and taking it and women are still fighting in so many areas. Christ on a stick, we are just damned if we do, damned if we don’t.

    Just_A_Lurker, the SR essay does not do this very well or very sensibly though. I don’t object to the idea in principle at all, but that essay itself was horrible.

  69. says

    I think the genital mutilation thing has more to do with the topic itself… Less people comment on topics that are up for less legal/moral/ethical debate than those that are less cut and dried.

    Certainly, if you read websites out here in California, every genital mutilation post will have scads of screeds about ‘mutilated white males’.

  70. Just_A_Lurker says

    Hmm, but a white person in a black neighborhood isn’t someone with power, I’d argue.

    As a white person who has lived in minority areas, yes they still are. You know why? Society gives them power. Its screwed in their favor. They aren’t going to be stopped for standing at the corner but the minority is. Even if that said white person lives in that same neighborhood, wears the same kind of clothes and everything. They also will be treated with more respected from the police, especially if its a white male. White female (which I am) do get some better treatment in certain areas, but in other circumstances they are just as low as the minority.

    At best the power dynamic might result in no conviction for the person in power, but that doesn’t matter when you are worried about the act actually HAPPENING.

    BUT when that person or group knows that the victim is black or female, they will be treated better by the police because of who the victim is. It certainly does matter to the victim whether or not the police will believe them or not, or get the treatment and services they need. And WHO the FUCK are you to say that the perps getting off scott-fucking-free isn’t a big deal? IT IS. MY rapist is free. It scares me and it certainly makes me more cautious knowing that any man could rape me and get away with it. That effects how I interact with men. Do I quiver in fear and hide in my house? No but some women do. Do I think all men are rapists? No but I’m not going to take the chance and go through that again. Its just risk management dude plain and simple.

    Now, where was this all explained before…OH thats right!

  71. says

    I hate to feed the troll (PZ), but the fact is Watson and (more so) those who spread her video and story are the ones who made this all a big deal. Anyone who says otherwise is either a moron or liar. Take your pick.

    By the way, you don’t get to damn Christians for projecting, PZ, when you did the exact same thing in this very post when you went out of your way to use “shrill”.

  72. Mr. Fire says

    Oh God, Drachasor…

    Go fuck yourself. Seriously. Get the fuck out of here, read some of the past threads, educate yourself (while fucking yourself) and don’t come back here until you’ve done your homework.

    Zero tolerance for assholes that show up without having done the most cursory reading of what actually took place, but who believe they’re bringing us a fresh and enlightened perspective.

    Josh: haven’t told you lately that I love you, have I?

    Well, I love you.

  73. Drachasor says

    Christ you’re an asshole. It’s astonishing that you don’t know the difference between unjustified assumptions about “racial violence” and the terrible, self-defending calculations women have to perform every day.

    We’ve already established that not all women perform these calculations. We can’t even say how common it is. We can certainly presume *some* victims of abuse or attacks in one form or another do this. I do dispute the idea that most women do these calculations regularly (e.g. every day), but we can’t know for sure without some proper research on it.

    I don’t particularly see how this is different from someone living near black people and who worries about every black person they see, assuming the worst until the individual person proves otherwise.

  74. Drachasor says

    Certainly, if you read websites out here in California, every genital mutilation post will have scads of screeds about ‘mutilated white males’.

    Is that about circumcision? That’s a bit bizarre. While the two are similar in some ways, I wouldn’t say they are remotely the same in degree and differ in a number of significant qualitative ways as well.

  75. Aquaria says

    There seems to be some sort of connection to the overreaction on one side of the argument to the “Schroedinger’s Rapist” thing. I had to look that up. Honestly, that seems like a crazy way to look at the world (as well as sexist)

    Rape is crazy, you sexist piece of shit. Until you’ve been held down by a man who at first seemed so nice and respectable (he was polite to my mother, for crying out loud!), then just how the fuck would you know what it’s like to have to wonder–IS THIS PIECE OF SHIT GOING TO DO IT TO ME, TOO?

    You see, some of us have actually paid the price of trusting a supposedly nice guy.

    And, hey, scumbag: Just what the fuck gives YOU the right to MY trust? You’re not fucking entitled to it. Just who the fuck are you to think that you are? You’re nobody to me. Nothing. I owe you absolutely FUCK ALL. Got that?

    And another thing, fuckface: Nice guys aren’t always nice! Just because you think you’re nice doesn’t mean that you are. Just because you think you come across that way doesn’t mean that you do.

    To give you some perspective, stupid, Ted Bundy came across not only as nice, but also as either “helpless” (he’d toddle around on crutches) or as “helpful” (he’d dress up as a cop). How did assuming he was a nice guy help Kimberly Leach, or the dozens of other women he raped, tortured and murdered?

    I won’t trust you if you come up to me at an elevator at 4 a.m. and ask me to your hotel room, especially if I have a reputation for telling scumbags like you that I don’t appreciate being hit on, because it makes me uncomfortable and fires up the risk assessment engine unnecessarily.

    That tells me everything about a man I need to know: That he doesn’t respect what I say, where I come from, or my boundaries.

    So tell me just how, after he shows such utter disrespect for all that, am I to expect a piece of shit like that to respect the word “NO”? I mean, such a person clearly doesn’t respect me, my concerns about my safety, or my autonomy. Just how much more do you have to disrespect a person before it turns out that, yes, indeed, you are a piece of shit who might not rate my trust?

    Worse if I do things your way and think, “Oh, well he seems like a nice guy, he CAN’T possibly rape me,” and he does anyway (a goddamned fact of life that you can’t possibly be unaware of), patronizing shit stains like you will blame me for being out at 4. a.m. or getting in an elevator alone with a man.

    Thanks for patting us on the head and telling us we have nothing to worry our pretty heads about when it comes to men. And then for ignoring the very real reality that 1) women are raped and 2) douchebags blame us for it, no matter what.

    We’ve never had such condescension from douchebag men before.

    Really.

  76. says

    When someone says something makes them uncomfortable, believe them.

    For instance, I think curtailing the word ‘lame’ is, well, lame. But if someone asks me not to use it in front of them, I won’t use it in front of them, or in anything I expect them to read. Because I empathize with the need to not be discomfited.

    There are limits, of course. But asking a stranger to go to a private place while locked in an elevator? I think I can accept her position. Besides, how often does this happen? Does it really curtail my expression to avoid asking people alone with me in a locked room to private dates?

  77. Sally Strange, OM says

    Here’s the thing about the power dynamic, dipshit.

    If you’re a white guy in a black neighborhood and you get beat up, you bet your sweet bippy that the cops will respond when you call them, that the criminal justice system will take your complaint seriously, etc.

    If you’re a black guy walking in a white neighborhood, you don’t have that certainty. What if you complain to the police, and it turns out the kids who beat you up are all related to police officers, and the cops believe their bullshit story about you trying to steal their stuff? Will the police and the criminal justice system take your complaint seriously? Things have gotten better now, but it wasn’t even 40 years ago that there were plenty of places in America where citizens of color could not be confident in the protection of the police and the law. The absence of that protection makes the risk assessment even more dire. Not only are you at risk of being beaten up, you’re at risk of being blamed for it, and accused of a crime you didn’t commit, having your life ruined, thrown in jail, etc.

    Similarly, with rape, the fact that only 6% of rapes end up with a rapist getting some sort of sentence means that you’re not just risking physical assault when you go out at night, or meet with a man in a strange place. You’re also risking being accused of wanting it, being humiliated by medical professionals and further violated, being harassed and questioned about your sexual history by the cops, having your name smeared in public by the media, and never seeing your rapist brought to justice.

    But who cares, eh? You never knew any of this before, because you never thought about it, so it’s really not important, right? What’s important is if women are being BIGOTS towards men just because 98% of rapes are committed by men. Women. So irrational!

  78. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Oh, I love you too, MrFire. Now, let’s Wonder-Twin-Powers Activate! Form of. . .Douche-smasher™!

  79. Drachasor says

    BUT when that person or group knows that the victim is black or female, they will be treated better by the police because of who the victim is. It certainly does matter to the victim whether or not the police will believe them or not, or get the treatment and services they need. And WHO the FUCK are you to say that the perps getting off scott-fucking-free isn’t a big deal? IT IS. MY rapist is free. It scares me and it certainly makes me more cautious knowing that any man could rape me and get away with it. That effects how I interact with men. Do I quiver in fear and hide in my house? No but some women do. Do I think all men are rapists? No but I’m not going to take the chance and go through that again. Its just risk management dude plain and simple.

    I didn’t say getting off scott-free wasn’t a big deal. It most certainly is. I said it doesn’t help someone avoid getting attacked, which I think would be the more immediate concern if you thought you might get attacked. Or are you saying that knowing during or just before a potential attack that “at least they won’t get off scott-free” should be a significant source of comfort to the victim? I don’t see it.

    And I am not saying anything of this to diminish the significant of the psychological pain and trauma victims go through. There’s a difference between saying that a given behavior isn’t reasonable in general and that it is unreasonable for anyone to ever engage in it. It is of course to be expected and understood that the victim of an attack of some sort could well have a lot of issues and concerns that may stay with them for the rest of their life, especially with more severe attacks. One should naturally be understanding and accommodating of this (regardless of the person’s gender for what it is worth).

  80. Mr. Fire says

    Josh, it’s bigoted to assume every man is a rapist until he proves otherwise.

    FFS.

    Schrodinger’s Rapist does not assume every man is a rapist. It does not assume anything negative about men at all.

    It says that a woman cannot know what type of man you are, and should not be pressured by convention into giving you the benefit of the doubt.

    You refuse to see the difference.

  81. Brother Yam says

    Drachasor, this is really pretty simple.

    You don’t get to tell people how they should feel.

    If women feel uncomfortable, then listen to them.

    Now, listen to Josh and continue fucking off.

  82. Sally Strange, OM says

    And I am not saying anything of this to diminish the significant of the psychological pain and trauma victims go through. There’s a difference between saying that a given behavior isn’t reasonable in general and that it is unreasonable for anyone to ever engage in it. It is of course to be expected and understood that the victim of an attack of some sort could well have a lot of issues and concerns that may stay with them for the rest of their life, especially with more severe attacks. One should naturally be understanding and accommodating of this (regardless of the person’s gender for what it is worth).

    How many women are victims of some sort of sexual attack, over the course of their lifetime? In USA, or specify country from which you are drawing statistics.

    It’s you who asked whether it’s justified or rational to assume that women are making these sorts of calculations.

    Do you have even that basic piece of information? Or are you talking out of your ass?

  83. ichthyic says

    By the way, you don’t get to damn Christians for projecting, PZ, when you did the exact same thing in this very post when you went out of your way to use “shrill”.

    that’s a joke, right?

  84. Just_A_Lurker says

    I didn’t say that. But does SR indicate this is a possible reaction to them merely walking up and starting a conversation? Yes.

    Yes, God forbid some woman doesn’t want to talk to you for whatever reason. And no, its not a woman overreacting. Its simply showing that when, how and where you approach a woman will be taken into consideration by that women whether or not you are a threat. She has every right to do that and get off your fucking high horse. Just because you know you are not a threat doesn’t mean that she knows that too. She isn’t going to take your word for it if you have her trapped in an elevator at 4 am.

    Just_A_Lurker, the SR essay does not do this very well or very sensibly though. I don’t object to the idea in principle at all, but that essay itself was horrible.

    Oh bullfucking shit. All of your posts up until now have been complaining about the content of the essay, and how wrong it is to discriminate against nice guys like you because some men rape, and how the women are overreacting and how terrible it is for a minority of women to live in fear of a man saying hi to them. Fuck you keep lying. Stop digging. Go read.

  85. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    You’re a horse’s ass, Drach. And you’re going to continue to get the shit ripped out of you until you cut the crap and admit you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. You found Pharyngula and decided you didn’t like the “strident feminist talk” here, and decided you’d add your calm, measured, dudely-dude-doo perspective. All without doing any reading of what took place over the past two months.

    So keep flapping your dumb fuck gums. You won’t get away with it here. Commenters here are expected to familiarize themselves with the background of a conversation, especially a heated one. You think your notions are so fresh? They aren’t. They’re stale, they’re stupid, and they reek of dumb penis meditation.

  86. Drachasor says

    Well, it is pretty obvious that people here thinking insults are an appropriate way to talk about things. That’s rather disappointing. It’s also pretty clear that some of you are choosing some of what I say to respond to while ignoring a lot of other things in order to pretend I am some sort of example of a sexist that you can feel free attack. Clearly if someone doesn’t agree with you 100% over an issue like this, they must be a sexist, right? Yeah, whatever.

    I’m not particularly interested in continuing a discussion where almost everyone feels it is appropriate to spew profanity at me. Pardon me for assuming that you guys were capable of having a rational discussion (which would inherently involve people disagreeing on some matters).

    Good day.

  87. Mr. Fire says

    Now, let’s Wonder-Twin-Powers Activate! Form of. . .Douche-smasher™!

    :)

    More like I’ll be in the ringside corner while you do your thing, handing you towels and gatorade, giving you neck massages…

  88. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Well, it is pretty obvious that people here thinking insults are an appropriate way to talk about things.

    Yes, we do. Especially when “things” are “you being a total douche.”

    That’s rather disappointing

    I know, right? The story of our (mercifully short) life having to read your crap.

  89. Mr. Fire says

    By the way, Drachasor:

    Talking about women and minorities in the oblivious way you have has set off my hair-sensitive Hyperon trigger.

    You’d better not be him.

  90. Sally Strange, OM says

    Your bullshit selfish sexist idiocy is way more insulting than a truckload of “motherfucker”s. The point is to get asshats like you to realize that they’re not fit for civilized society. The point is that you don’t belong. Go hang out with some dudely sexist dudes and complain about how unfair it is that a woman gets uncomfortable just because you touched her on the shoulder. How much it oppresses you that women sometimes wonder whether you’re one of those undetected rapists who keep getting away with their crime. Whether you’re part of the 12% of men who will admit in anonymous surveys to raping or attempting to rape another person. Poor, poor you. We are terribly horribly mean, by accurately identifying you as a self-centered asshole. Now run away and cry, there’s a good boy.

  91. eigenperson says

    #96 Drachasor:

    Your problem is that you DIDN’T DO YOUR FUCKING READING. Every single one of your uneducated arguments has been thoroughly addressed IN THE PREVIOUS THREADS. You could have FUCKING READ THEM.

    Instead you chose to come here to spew your ignorance, lie about having done your reading when you clearly hadn’t, and then complain about tone.

    And you think OTHER people are being rude?

  92. Bill Door says

    Dude, it takes way more than 5 hours reading all of it. Want to know how much time we had to spend reading it? You lied before, you didn’t read it all.

    Hell, there is no ‘all’ of it – it’s still being written! Anyone who enters now is way behind and not going to catch up soon.

    #81 Hawkins
    -> shows contempt for PZ
    -> borrows his chart for blog post

    LOLs were had all around.

  93. ichthyic says

    dudely-dude-doo

    *mental image of Ned Flanders saying that…*

    Well, it is pretty obvious that people here thinking insults are an appropriate way to talk about things. That’s rather disappointing.

    My wonder powers sense an imminent flounce.

    I’m not particularly interested in continuing a discussion where almost everyone feels it is appropriate to spew profanity at me.

    says the man whose very first post ended with:

    I imagine some flames are likely.

    ROFLMAO

    so much trolling, such stinky cheese bait.

    Flounce away, cupcake.

  94. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    handing you towels and gatorade, giving you neck massages…

    Ummm. .rowr. Naughty. :)

  95. Aquaria says

    And I am not saying anything of this to diminish the significant of the psychological pain and trauma victims go through.

    Then why are you saying it, shit-for-brains?

    There’s a difference between saying that a given behavior isn’t reasonable in general and that it is unreasonable for anyone to ever engage in it.

    Get this through your head, skippy: YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO MY TRUST.

    Christ, you’re like my mother, who was in Japan and thought she didn’t have to know anything about their culture, not even the very basics of their language, and they were supposed to kow-tow to her, and speak English to her and grovel at her feet because she was an American.

    And then, when the Japanese treated her coolly and even with suspicion, she thought THEY were rude.

    You haven’t bothered to understand anything about where we come from. You don’t care to understand it, that’s clear.

    You think you’re entitled to respectful treatment, and that you don’t have to be bothered with it in return.

    Like the Japanese, we’re not the ones being rude: You are.

    You barge in here after bothering to do FUCK ALL to learn about the issue from our side and then have the utter gall to try dictating how we should see things. You STILL can’t be bothered to see things from our side.

    And you will leave here, like my mother left Japan, never realizing that YOU were the problem. You’re such a privileged sack of shit that you won’t ever see it.

    It is of course to be expected and understood that the victim of an attack of some sort could well have a lot of issues and concerns that may stay with them for the rest of their life, especially with more severe attacks.

    Hey, asshole, newsflash: WOMEN WHO ARE RAPED HAVE FRIENDS AND FAMILY AND CO-WORKERS WHO LEARN FROM THE BAD THINGS THAT HAPPEN TO THEIR FRIENDS AND FAMILY AND CO-WORKERS!

    We learn not only from our own experiences, but from those around us, too, shit-for-brains. You seem to think that each woman exists on her own island, when she doesn’t. Very few people do, since you don’t seem to have noticed.

    And, so, when bad things happen, those around us, those with fucking hearts (sorry you were born without one) learn to be careful. They tell the people in their lives: Be careful. Ted Bundy seemed nice, too. Their friends spread the word to other people they know: Be careful. Remember what happened to Ms. X.

    One should naturally be understanding and accommodating of this (regardless of the person’s gender for what it is worth).

    Oh how very fucking kind of you to tell us we should try to understand something that happens 98% of the time to women. It hadn’t fucking occurred to us.

    Fuck you, you bag of vomit.

  96. Just_A_Lurker says

    I said it doesn’t help someone avoid getting attacked, which I think would be the more immediate concern if you thought you might get attacked. Or are you saying that knowing during or just before a potential attack that “at least they won’t get off scott-free” should be a significant source of comfort to the victim? I don’t see it.

    Well, for instance if you know that more often than not rapist go scott-free than maybe you will be more vigilante about risk management like it says in SR. Because maybe if we lived in a society where women were equal and rapists were actually punished and despised, instead of their victims, that maybe rape wouldn’t be such a problem. Or at the very least the victim could take solace after the fact that society supports them and doesn’t blame them. Knowing that I will never get justice, and that the majority of women don’t and that I will be blamed and shamed as the victim does make me hyper aware, especially when it concerns my daughter and will raise her accordingly. Women have to do risk management and be on guard all the time because its not like society is going to help or give a flying fuck and will in fact most likely blame her saying “Why were you in an elevator at 4 am with a strange man? Thats just stupid.”

    And yes, as a victim myself, my pain still aches knowing that society doesn’t give a fuck and usually backs the rapist and all that fucking hurts. I would heal more it weren’t like that. It wouldn’t negate the attack or the effects of it, obviously I never said that, but it would help.

  97. ichthyic says

    LOLs were had all around.

    Hawkins is still confused about the love-hate relationship this blog has developed with him after the Christopher Maloney Baloney thing.

  98. ichthyic says

    while simultaneously irrationally disliking other things he says or does.

    so, I guess your first post in this thread wasn’t a joke?

    and here I was giving you a reasonable “out”.

    oh well.

  99. Mr. Fire says

    Pardon me for assuming that you guys were capable of having a rational discussion (which would inherently involve people disagreeing on some matters).

    We are capable of having a rational discussion, but see here’s the thing, that gets difficult when the interlocutor (i.e. you) doesn’t want to meet us even halfway.

    You seem solipsistic enough to not realize that people here have spent months arguing about this particular issue – indeed, in many instances, they have spent their whole lives dealing with the underlying causes of it.

    Your spiel is exactly the same set of tired tropes that has been wheeled out by countless others before you.

  100. Rawnaeris says

    I had to leave my place of work well after dark a little over a week ago. I was the last person out of one of the few buildings that doesn’t have a graveyard shift. Guess what I did? I called my dad who lived nearby to drive over so he could walk me to my car.

    Further, I travel. A lot. I’ve been told by my company to be in my hotel room before dark, and to not leave before it gets light. I also got scolded for not looking scared enough as the Men giving that Class on Safety detailed those and other rules to follow as a female. There were no such “rules” for the male new hires. On one hand I like that my company recognizes the problem, on the other, the males they had teach the class came across as patronizing. (for the record it was a general travel safety that that men and women were attending. There was a section devoted to traveling alone as a female.)

    I live by Schrodingers Rapist because for my job and lifestyle, I have to. I don’t like it. I don’t enjoy it. But I want to minimize my chances of ending up in the ER or, worse, dead because I wasn’t fucking suspicious enough of some jackass.

  101. Just_A_Lurker says

    We’ve already established that not all women perform these calculations. We can’t even say how common it is. We can certainly presume *some* victims of abuse or attacks in one form or another do this. I do dispute the idea that most women do these calculations regularly (e.g. every day), but we can’t know for sure without some proper research on it.

    I don’t particularly see how this is different from someone living near black people and who worries about every black person they see, assuming the worst until the individual person proves otherwise.

    Here’s the thing cupcake, if you had read the previous thread you would have run into LOTS of links for statics about rape. It happens a lot, very often in fact. Also, as someone else stated we also learn about things through the people we know, you don’t have to be a victim to do these calculations, knowing someone who has been victimized will get others doing it to. Want to prove you read the prerequisite material? Show me the links we posted before.

    Also, its different between whites worrying about blacks attacking them because the stats are in their favor. Black on white crime, not as big an issue as our racist society perpetrates. Guess what? This bullshit was brought up in the other threads too! Go find our links on black on white crime.

    The rate of men on women rape? Extremely in favor of the fact that the perp will be a man and the victim a woman. And yes, rapes occur often from within the victims social circle, but you know what? Stranger rapes, date rapes, party rapes, still happen often and the common denominator is a man will rape a women. So before a woman can be attacked by strange man be careful around men until they have earn your trust or they get away from them. SR was dealing with stranger rape, as far as familiar rape there are precautions you can take but that’s more complicated as far as rules goes. I’m still cautious and do risk management around men I know and trust. Like drinking around men, my rules for that don’t change no matter who the man is.

  102. Bill Door says

    #109
    If I thought PZ was a ‘moron or a liar’ and a ‘troll’ (see #81 again) , I wouldn’t favorably link to his work.
    But that’s just me.

  103. says

    Pardon me for assuming that you guys were capable of having a rational discussion…

    Why is it that every douchecake thinks they have a rational argument? They’re like fuckin’ fundamentalists saying, “But if you only accepted The Lord as your Personal Savior, you’d understand how perfectly reasonable Christianity is.”

    The instant I hear someone utter (or read someone’s word-vomit) like the quote above, I realize their entire argument is non-rational, and relies on some hidden assumption like, “I’m a man, and should be able to be a shitsprinkle without anyone challenging me. Harrumph!”

    But then, I’ve never partaken of a rational discussion in my life. What would I know?

  104. Lyn M: droit de seignorita says

    Drachasor seems to feel that if he posts without using any “bad words” and if he says he did something (which he did very badly if he didn’t pick up what MRA meant), then everyone should be really nice to him and agree that the woman he made uncomfortable was so totally wrong and over-reacting.

    After all, that’s what we’re here for, right?

  105. Mr. Fire says

    Christ, you’re like my mother, who was in Japan and thought she didn’t have to know anything about their culture, not even the very basics of their language, and they were supposed to kow-tow to her, and speak English to her and grovel at her feet because she was an American.

    Wow. I really like this analogy.

  106. RowanVT says

    Having just stared over at my protective 45lb dog, I realised one thing that Mr. Mansplainer did not take into account with the bravery of his blind mother.

    She had a seeing eye dog. Seeing eye dogs are large; they have to be tall enough for the handle to be easily reached, and they need to be strong. That’s why you see labs, german shepherds, or “goldendoodles” as seeing-eye dogs. You’ll note you don’t encounter many seeing-eye chihuahuas or yorkies.

    And people tend to respect medium-large dogs. A standard poodle may seem froo-froo-y, but if it wanted to it could take some serious chunks out of someone. And people know this. The only thing that stopped my would-be-raper-stalker was my childhood dog. No one wants to go face to face with 55 pounds of angry dog that is jumping up high enough to look over your head.

    I would definitely be willing to take more ‘risks’ with strange men if I could have my dog with me at every point of interaction. It’s a little hard, after all, to rape someone if a dog is biting your ass.

  107. Just_A_Lurker says

    I hate to feed the troll (PZ), but the fact is Watson and (more so) those who spread her video and story are the ones who made this all a big deal. Anyone who says otherwise is either a moron or liar. Take your pick.

    By the way, you don’t get to damn Christians for projecting, PZ, when you did the exact same thing in this very post when you went out of your way to use “shrill”.

    Yeah its not like the MRA and the like don’t post or comment about this at all! All the comments that we’ve been arguing with are totally our sockpuppets so we could blow this out of proportion! Its not like PZ’s first post was in fact in response to the MRA and the like. Its not a big deal, Rebecca is totally faking the rape and death threats from people. Its not like other atheists hate on her at all! Its just one big vast conspiracy by our side to drum up publicity and comments since PZ and co. needs so much help with that! And if you don’t a agree with me despite that facts show I’m making all this up, you’re totally a moron or a liar.

  108. says

    Josh:

    You’ve actually had to make the calculus about personal safety and potential rape/violence as a woman how many times?

    Since my rape when I 16 and the attempted abduction, rape and murder when I was 17 and now being 52, I couldn’t begin to count all the calculations I have made in my life.

    For the cupcake du jour, from an earlier thread on this subject, (which Douchebisquit obviously did not read) I wrote:

    you fail to see how it could raise thinking in people, and further the cause of equality. You’re also seriously failing to address the fact that we are nowhere near equality now. What we have found out recently is that there are a great many people in the atheist/skeptic circles who are scarily sexist. This is not a welcoming atmosphere for many people.

    Most of here have been discussing this issue damn near non-stop. Many of the women here, myself included, have admitted that we are less inclined to go to meetings now. You would help further a move to equality if you showed you were willing to at least think about these matters and consider them a bit more carefully than you seem willing to do at this point. Many of us deal with sexism on a daily basis, we deal with creepy behaviour way too often and many of us have had the experience of being raped. All of these things factor into how comfortable we are in any given situation. With the rampant display of toxic sexism and misogyny we have dealt with lately, there is no simple solution for us. It would be helpful if you grokked that.

    Then, a little later:

    Now you’re being an asshole. I don’t feel oppressed by men. I happen to married to one, for 32 years. I have a host of male friends.

    I also know way too many men who are assholes and sexist. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve listened to assholes telling me that risk assessment and caution on my part makes me a hysterical bitch who is just lookin’ to walk all over the poor, poor men. You see, as well as being a hysterical bitch, I somehow have all this incredibly magic power over men. Doesn’t make sense, does it?

    When I was 16, I was leaving a social engagement and was walking to my car, at night. I was hit in the back of the head. When I regained consciousness, I was tied up and being raped. I was then beaten. Then I was raped again. Then I was beaten some more and repeatedly strangled. I was raped a few more times. I was cut several times by the knife my rapist was utilizing.

    I was lucky. I was one of three survivors of this person.

    Risk assessment and caution are a part of my life. To be told, repeatedly that for me to expect men to at least think about what women must do every day makes me hysterical, over-emotional, a castrating bitch, a pointless whiner, a cunt who wants to oppress men, etc., I don’t take it too well.

    Now, I don’t run around claiming all men are rapists. They aren’t. I know they aren’t. I have explained this to one asshole after another until I’m blue in the fingers. However, I do not think it’s asking too much for men to think of women as full human beings and act accordingly.

    Every day, I deal with men who think it’s perfectly okay to touch me, to tell me misogynistic jokes, to talk down to me, or refuse to talk to me altogether. (There’s one man in particular, an acquaintance, who will only talk to my husband, and if I try to say anything, talks very loudly over me, and directs his conversation only to my husband.)

    I get to deal with gallery owners who think it’s okay to tell me I should reduce my prices, but won’t tell that to a male artist.

    I have to expend more time and energy into ensuring my safety to the best of my ability, get equal pay for equal work, get some people to even see me, let alone listen to me and on top of that, I don’t dare stop fighting for womens bodily autonomy, given the many measures taken (lots of them most successful) to outlaw abortion while it’s legal and the many measures to restrict contraception.

    Perhaps you don’t know the extent of the autonomy issues. Here in ND, I do. I help with a network of other people who do what we can for women who are trapped in small towns, where there is no access to a clinic and no access to contraception, and certainly no Plan B. Women here are in an extremely bad position.

    I’ve had creepy men and women spit on me when I’ve escorted, but only the men have threatened to rape me.

    You seriously don’t get it. At all. And I am fucking tired of you. Here’s an idea: you shut up and go read for a while.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/07/always_name_names.php

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/07/the_decent_human_beings_guide.php

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/07/oh_no_not_againonce_more_unto.php

    If after all that, you keep up with being a nattering sexist asshole, run over to The Playhouse of Misogyny*. You can be one of the guys and reassure them you don’t feel oppressed by men and you’re a team player, baby!

  109. Lyra says

    One of the things that frustrates me about this discussion is the “how dare you treat all men as rapists?!” response to the “women can’t tell which men are rapists” comments.

    I know that there has been a lot of discussion about the black/white race dynamic, but I’d like to try another analogy.

    Let’s say that I’m a pedestrian getting ready to cross the. There is a car coming down across the street I want to cross. That car has a stop sign. There is a crosswalk. I have the right of way. Do I

    A) Start crossing without hesitation based on the assumption that the person is paying attention, sees me, and will stop in time if I start to cross.

    B) Stop and wait until the driver makes it clear that s/he seems me and isn’t going to run me over.

    Now, I advocate for option B. However, if a hypothetical discussion about the merits of stopping at an intersection followed the path of this rape discussion, we would have mountains of people flipping out about how I am treating all people in cars as criminals.

  110. kristinc says

    More like I’ll be in the ringside corner while you do your thing, handing you towels and gatorade, giving you neck massages…

    Well, hell, and here I am not doing anything more helpful than my crochet. Let me get the gatorade, Josh.

    Lyra @122: great analogy and don’t forget that you ALSO are treating all baristas as criminals trying to assault you if you take your first sip of coffee carefully so as not to avoidably burn yourself. WHY MUST YOU OPPRESS THE BARISTAS WITH YOUR BIGOTRY?

  111. drewl, Mental Toss Flycoon says

    Drasch… I, also missed the initial blow-up, and I also went back to old threads a few weeks ago. It took me a good week to get through the various posts and threads and links. And I had a lot of spare time on my hands then. You scanning something over lunch isn’t reading or research.

    Go read the comment threads thoroughly. Every argument you raise has been debated up, down and sideways. It’s quite educational (or at least it was for me).

    So, to paraphrase Josh,

    Fuck off, do some reading.

  112. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Wow. Clueless fuckers who can’t be bothered to read for comprehension and still try to mansplain all over everybody about what a piece of writing says. You don’t see that every day.
    Oh wait, we do.
    Yawn.

  113. Rey Fox says

    So, has Donny shut the fuck up yet?

    Lyra: I’m a bike rider, and I live in fear of Schrodinger’s Motorist every day.

  114. ichthyic says

    It’s quite educational (or at least it was for me).

    it was for me as well.

    Many excellent arguments were made in those threads, and through examining my own beliefs, I noted the then relatively great ignorance I had about how extensive MRA thinking is, and how most men take male privilege for granted, usually without even realizing they are doing so. Such is how long and established male privilege has been in most societies, I concluded.

    I came away a bit less ignorant than I was previously, not just about others, but myself as well! That made it well worth the time spent, IMO.

    others are a bit more defensive about their own ignorance, I suppose.

  115. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    You know, here’s one of the things about rapists getting off scot-free. Rape is a trauma. One of those traumas that often destroys your trust in other people, destroys your sense of safety, destroys your sense of self. With me so far?
    Your rapist suffering absolutely no sanction for his behavior is another trauma, not separate from the first but compounding the horror of it. It comes in a lot of forms: When a victim comes forward and is shamed, blamed, hounded, humiliated, and ultimately ignored by the people around her, she learns that the people around her… really don’t care about her all that much. It’s a profound betrayal. Society has deemed her unworthy of protection. When a victim feels she mustn’t come forward, because she can reasonably expect this response or because she has been taught to blame herself or because she doesn’t want to hurt her rapist or for any other agonizing horrible reason, she finds herself both powerless and isolated. She already knows society doesn’t care to protect her, she may even agree with them that she’s unworthy of protection, and this horror is embedded more and more painfully every time she sees her rapist walking free. To the point where, walking around, she feels constantly in danger, because she has little basis to believe that even having people around will prevent her being hurt. Even if a completed rape is unlikely (though not impossible, as we’d hope) in a well-lighted area with a bunch of people around, we are well aware that, for instance, someone could sexually assault us on a train – in an elevator – in public – and if we raised a fuss, the people around us would often not do much of anything except perhaps get pissed off at us for being crazy bitches yelling about something.
    As a rape survivor, I fear being raped again more than almost anything. But I fear being raped and then abandoned by the people around me still more, because that would be an additional trauma, a further horror, a further reason for me to feel unsafe. Not only are there bad people around who want to hurt you, but the people around you cannot be trusted to protect you or to want to.

  116. says

    Oh, wow.

    The thought of a thread like this without killfile gives me the shivers…

    Anyway.

    About not feeling safe with men (in the hope that the next cupcake might actually read it – yes, I know, quit rolling your eyes, people):

    The last guy I had an almost-relationship with was told by me – on several occasions – that I have issues with physical contact and invasion of personal space unless it’s someone I have got to know really well. (It’s an ASD thing).

    So, during our first meeting he twice backed me into physical contact that I absolutely did not want but had no escape from. The second meeting, despite me reiterating the issues again, he did the same, and then followed me around, finding excuses to touch me.

    Now, I’m not interested in the ‘oh, he probably just liked you’ or ‘oh, he didn’t mean any harm’ excuses. I had categorically told him about my issues, and he ignored them. Why? Because I am a woman, and what I want, when stacked against what he wants, is of much lesser importance, or can be dismissed out of hand.

    She doesn’t want X, but I want X, therefore X is going to happen.

    And because men consistently ignore my stated wishes, I don’t feel safe with them. If they can’t refrain from touching me when they’ve been asked not to, what other objections of mine will they ignore?

    This happens again and again to women – and this was what happened to Rebecca Watson. Until the majority of men are able to accord a woman’s wishes the same importance that they give their own, we need to keep having this conversation.

  117. awesome says

    This conversation reminded me of a thread I saw a while back where someone asked why rape was morally wrong if he used a condom and the girl didn’t suffer permanent disability as a result. He didn’t do it to instigate, he really just couldn’t understand why he shouldn’t be allowed to go around raping whoever he wanted, and neither could ~90% of the people responding to that post. Attempts to explain why rape is a bad thing were completely unsuccessful.

    I’m guessing there’s some overlap between that group of idiots and the MRAs I see everywhere. They certainly seem to be just as obtuse.

    Writing this post reminded me of my 22-year-old former roommate who was convinced that it should be okay for him to have sex with his 13-year-old girlfriend because “they (13-year-old girls) look hot.”.

    Now I have a headache.

  118. kristinc says

    Pteryxx @131: Best comment from the original After You Say No/Boundaries post:

    Someone should get on inventing Internet Pepper Spray, the block button isn’t painful enough.

    QFFT.

    Great link, thanks.

  119. kristinc says

    And, of course, that’s just When You Say No on the internet.

    (TRIGGER WARNING)

    In real life, as I learned personally, sometimes when you say no you just get hit until you stop saying no.

  120. Muzz says

    Before this gets too far along it’s worth mentioning that even Schrodinger’s Rapist is even a couple of steps along the explanatory path from this issue, if you ask me. It explains the potential discomfort to someone who never thought this would be a big deal.

    What this all seems to turn on, however, is the view that Watson should not have said anything about the incident in the first place. However casual or pointing out the irony she somehow is committing an intractable faux pas bringing it up at all (using the word ‘sexualised’, perhaps too lightly for me it must be said, also drives the anti-feminists into an insane frenzy).

    An entire branch of the blog war seems to stem from Watson’s use of Steph McGraw’s post on the subject in a talk and disagreements over that. But that post too was about how Watson shouldn’t have even mentioned it.

    The question is, fundamentally, why not? And why on earth does it bother people so damn much?
    The internet is full of dating advice of all kinds. This particular ‘guys, don’t do that’ is the end of the goddam world for some reason. And the issue is quickly turned so that it’s Watson making a big deal about it, just by saying anything.
    It’s absurd.

  121. azkyroth says

    One of the things that frustrates me about this discussion is the “how dare you treat all men as rapists?!” response to the “women can’t tell which men are rapists” comments.

    The “Schroedinger’s Rapist” thing is not treating all men as rapists. It’s analogous to not leaving your wallet out on the dining room table when you’re living in shared housing – not to calling the cops on your roommate because you think he might be thinking about stealing it.

  122. amphigorey says

    I think our most recent punching bag has left, but I would like to point out that he sneakily tried to get away with that tired rhetorical trick: Both Sides Are Just As Bad.

    No. Both sides were not just as bad, not by a long shot. Watson made a mild comment, and guys everywhere flipped the fuck out. Now, pay attention here: Things didn’t blow up until well after the flipping out. If douchebags had responded to her “Guys, don’t do that” with “Oh, okay, good to know,” or even with nothing, then nobody would have paid any more attention to the whole thing. To claim that both sides were behaving equally badly is to deliberately insert a narrative that simply isn’t there.

    But no, apparently if you are an MRA, then “Guys, don’t do that” is tantamount to saying that no man can look or talk at a woman under any circumstances, ever. That’s how they reacted, and that’s just not sane.

  123. Midnight Rambler says

    The main thing I’ve learned from Elevatorgate is the extraordinary statistical and sociological circumstances that lead every thread on this kind of subject to have exactly one ignorant but prolific asshole (rarely two; we did have one comment from Michael Hawkins here). Inevitably this is also someone who has never or very rarely posted here before, and departs with almost exactly this statement:

    I’m not particularly interested in continuing a discussion where almost everyone feels it is appropriate to spew profanity at me. Pardon me for assuming that you guys were capable of having a rational discussion (which would inherently involve people disagreeing on some matters).

  124. UpAgainstTheRopes says

    Why would USA Today pick up on an internal dispute within a minority movement?
    Why does this internal dispute merit national attention?

    Oh yes… cause, and all my evidence is empirical, we are the zestiest not to be confused with the shitty “movie” of the same name.

    For all this grad-speak about others privilege and “mansplain” whatever that is, there’s been a lack of talk about the celebrity that ms. Watson has garnished within this community, that at last count outnumbered the Jewish population in America, and with that comes attention and there will be unwarranted advances by a certain element which should be expected with such a large population and maybe the question is how to provide proper security?

  125. says

    amphigorey:

    guys everywhere flipped the fuck out.

    It wasn’t just men, it’s important to point that out, I think. In my post @ 121, I quoted some of what I wrote in a previous thread about these issues. The person I was addressing wasn’t a man, it was a young woman, who was proudly parroting sexism and patting herself on the back for doing so.

    The issue is complex, to say the least. That young woman was far from alone. Plenty of women were on the side of “eh, what’s the big deal?” and much worse.

  126. says

    @114 Bill Door,

    I also think virtually every major figure I admire from history had serious flaws, including but not limited to, sexism, racism, greed, and selfishness. Some of these figures are Jefferson, Newton, Darwin, Aristotle, Napoleon, and Malcolm X.

    But I don’t see why this is still going on. I said you’re right, we should all dismiss everything anyone says if we don’t like one thing they say. Polemics for the win.

  127. ichthyic says

    Why does this internal dispute merit national attention?

    since it’s the media, I’d have to say:

    Drama.

    but there’s a better question:

    why SHOULDN’T the underlying issues raised be a topic for national discussion?

    frankly, it’s WAY past time that it was.

  128. ichthyic says

    I also think virtually every major figure I admire from history had serious flaws, including but not limited to, sexism, racism, greed, and selfishness. Some of these figures are Jefferson, Newton, Darwin, Aristotle, Napoleon, and Malcolm X.

    I have black friends!

    you really don’t understand the logical fallacy you are using here?

  129. says

    UpAgainstTheRopes:

    and with that comes attention and there will be unwarranted advances by a certain element which should be expected with such a large population and maybe the question is how to provide proper security?

    You seem to have a talent for grasping the wrong end of the stick. What, exactly, makes you think that celebrity or publicity is required for unwarranted advances to take place?

    Women have to deal with unwarranted advances, attention and behaviour every fucking day of their lives, and somehow or another, you’ve never heard of them. Imagine that!

    You might do well to spend some time sitting on your hands and reading. (Please don’t bother to write in detail about how you did read every post and every comment, yada, yada, yada. You didn’t. If you had, you’d know what mansplain meant, and you wouldn’t have written such a moronic post.)

    See every link provided in every comment in this thread. Click. Read. Shut up. Listen.

  130. Menyambal says

    Lyra makes a comparison to cars up there. I like it, and want to add my version.

    Back when I was young and doing a lot of bicycling, I used to assume that the people driving cars saw me and would avoid me. With more experience, I switched to assuming that they didn’t see me and wouldn’t alter course to avoid me. After a while longer, I changed to the idea that they did see me and were possibly going to try to kill me.

    That last may sound awfully paranoid, but it saved my life one night when a driver did not see me, but did see a deer and swerved to avoid it. I was keeping an eye out, had my escape already planned and went into the ditch safely and instantly.

    That driver, at least wasn’t really trying to kill me. There were several incidents where people saw me and felt it their right and their duty to harass, abuse and endanger me. All in good fun, of course–at least on their part.

    And I kept bicycling on roads for years after that, with what would have seemed an irrational level of paranoia to my young self, but what was simply a survival skill, managed and accepted. (I speak in the past tense about road cycling, as the roads have gotten rougher, cars quieter and bike paths more common, but I still ride.)

    But there were good folks out there, too–most people are good people. Detecting who is who is a skill, as is an ability to talk one’s way out of bad situations.

    To assume that every man is a potential rapist isn’t a blanket condemnation, nor does it require Macing every man who walks past. It’s a manageable level of survival skill, and a sad necessity.

    Just like there are jerks who will harass a man on a bicycle for being different and vulnerable, there are jerks who will harass a woman for being a woman. There’s no good way to tell when and how a situation will escalate into violence, but there are clues that women keep an eye out for.

    Harassing and haranguing women for having different opinions and experiences is a warning sign. A woman isn’t going to trust you more for disrespecting her.

    If you don’t like what women are saying about sexism, you are, most probably, sexist.

    I said “most probably” to avoid a blanket condemnation, but damn, guys, until you have been different, defenseless and vulnerable in this world, you don’t know what the hell it feels like. I’ve been dissed and endangered for my differences, and I am a fair-sized man. What women have to put up with goes ‘way far beyond that, and they are trying to tell you about it.

    Shut the fuck up, dude. Listen and think. Think about it until you are ready to reform and apologize. Then resolve to do better and let us all get on with enjoying life.

  131. says

    @145 ichthyic

    I don’t think you have the slightest clue what my point was if you think there is a logical fallacy there – especially if you think there is a fallacy having anything to do with saying I have X type of friends. Let me spell it all out for you: Bill Door has suggested that I can’t like anything from PZ because I think PZ trolls when it comes to feminism (and is a liar on this particular topic). I then named a number of historical figures I admire despite the fact that they all had major flaws – worse flaws than PZ’s trolling. Implicit in all this is that of course I’m going to still admire those figures. Bill Door, you, and everyone else is going to keep admiring majorly flawed people like that too. It is irrelevant, contra Bill Door, that someone holds a flaw if that flaw is isolated and unrepresentative of his broader characteristics. PZ does not usually troll, nor does he ever otherwise lie (as far as I know). So, yes, I will keep reading Pharyngula and linking back to posts I enjoy.

    grow the fuck up.

    Since we’ve got the polemic thing going (even though you wouldn’t realize that since you had no idea what was even being discussed), I guess I will reply with: Grow the fuck down. Or maybe shrink the fuck up? or shrink the fuck down? I don’t know. Let’s wait for someone more well-versed in these matters of black-and-white polarization. Bill?

  132. Just_A_Lurker says

    Let me spell it all out for you: Bill Door has suggested that I can’t like anything from PZ because I think PZ trolls when it comes to feminism (and is a liar on this particular topic).

    Prove he’s trolling and lying about this topic or shut the fuck up about it.

    Which, since he’s neither trolling or lying, just shut the fuck up already.

    You have nothing worth contributing and are blatantly wrong. So wrong, I seriously question any other opinion you hold.

    Fuck off.

  133. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Drashor the mansplainer:

    Josh, it’s bigoted to assume every man is a rapist until he proves otherwise.

    It’s not racist or bigoted, merely prudent. The fact that you don’t see that means you don’t want to see that. You’re a mansplainer, a fuckwitted idjit, not a thinker. For example:

    We’ve already established that not all women perform these calculations.

    No, you’ve tried to establish this, showing you lie and bullshit. That was obvious from your first inane and arrogant post. We understand women make these calculations, sometimes subconsciously. Still mansplaining, not thinking. Your pretend intellect is failing you. For example:

    That’s rather disappointing. It’s also pretty clear that some of you are choosing some of what I say to respond to while ignoring a lot of other things in order to pretend I am some sort of example of a sexist that you can feel free attack.

    You are a sexist, trying to tell women what they should feel instead of shutting the fuck up and listening. It’s not hard to listen, but you can’t talk or respond while listening. How polite you respond is irrelevant, and your pseudointellectual technique is obnoxious, ludicrous, and attempts to cover up your lack of listening. You deserve to be brought up short with appropriate language to emphasize that, and told exactly how much of a fuckwit you are.

  134. Bruce Gorton says

    I am not convinced that such an act as what that guy did would make most women uncomfortable.

    I am pretty convinced that the best people to judge whether they would find the situation uncomfortable are women.

    And given that we haven’t done a full scientific survey on this, we can’t really tell if it would be most women or not.

    So why not pay attention to what they have to say on it?

  135. says

    I am not convinced that such an act as what that guy did would make most women uncomfortable.

    I am pretty convinced that the best people to judge whether they would find the situation uncomfortable are women.

    And given that we haven’t done a full scientific survey on this, we can’t really tell if it would be most women or not.

    So why not pay attention to what they have to say on it?

    You know, I don’t even think that stats are necessary for this one.

    The idea that all- or even most- women have to make SR-type calculations for it to be valid is simply false.

    The fact is that some women find it necessary. And that the reasons why they/we do so have been given. Those reasons are valid whether 1% or 99% of women actually use them- they exist independently of any particular individual. Even if that individual is your mum, who walks around everywhere with a large dog. Asking for stats, in this instance, is wilfully missing the point.

    In fact, most of the MRAs and mansplainers appear to have a pretty good idea themselves of what it’s like to make SR-type calculations. You only need to see how upset they are at the very idea that some women, somewhere, without saying anything to them, might have Schrodinger’s Rapist in their head when they meet new people. The idea that someone might be wary of them- and that they have no control of who is wary- upsets them so. Wouldn’t you think that they might possibly be able to extrapolate this feeling just a little, to the idea of actually being assaulted?

    …of course, that would involve thinking of women as people, and having an ounce of empathy for us.

  136. Sheesh says

    As some have noted, it would be like telling black men they really need to adjust their behavior to make white people comfortable, you know, because of gangs and violent crime statistics.

    Hey dummy,

    White people do tell black people how to act ALL THE FUCKING TIME. “Don’t be angry!” Decades later a black man still has to be Jackie Robinson if he wants to associate with whites in the halls of power.

    And that’s not to mention that “Don’t be uppity!” is still in effect too, for all places at all times. /facepalm

    Now I’ll catch up the thread. Apologies if this has been addressed, it’s just too infuriating to leave alone.

  137. sweet old et cetera says

    De-lurking to say this:

    When the Vice President launches a national campaign to stop violence against women, I think we can safely assume that it is a fucking problem and that women are not bigots for being cautious about strangers.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/1is2many/

  138. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Michael Hawkins,

    I think PZ trolls when it comes to feminism (and is a liar on this particular topic).

    Please give an example of PZ lying. If you can’t, please be polite enough to apologize for calling PZ a liar.

    Later I can explain to you what you can do with a decaying porcupine.

  139. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Sheesh #155

    Apologies if this has been addressed, it’s just too infuriating to leave alone.

    No need to apologize. This thread is just another reiteration of arguments which were ALL made weeks ago but the douchenozzles, fuckwads and cupcakes are still too wrapped up with themselves to SHUT UP AND LISTEN. Drachasor and Michael Hawkins are just the latest MRAs making the same tired, weak arguments about how there is no such thing as privilege and all women need to do is man-up by accepting their position in life.

    Oh yeah, make me a sandwich and get me a beer while you’re at it.

  140. Swann says

    I had a very tough dilemma regarding this subject last night. It was about midnight and I was almost at the end of my daily run when I decided to really test my limits by spurting up a steep hill that was nearby. This was late at night and there were no street lights along the rather narrow path that led to the top, so it was extremely dark. About half way through I noticed a womanly shaped character ahead of me slowly climbing up the slope. She could’ve easily identified me as man due to my heavy breathing that was penetrating the silence as effectively as my pounding footsteps.

    As I was approaching her, all kinds of Elevatorgate variations kept filling my head. I just couldn’t help thinking how uncomfortable she must feel. I mean, being in a presence of a strange man alone is enough to give any woman the creeps, but to be practically chased like that in the middle of the night and on an ominously dark road… But what was there to do? I realized it had to be frightening for her, but would suddenly turning back really have served well for her comfort? What does the newly revised code of intersexual discourse say here? What’s the ethical thing to do?

    In the end though, she must’ve thought I was a little crazy because of the short burst of muffed laughter that slipped out as I passed her. The pettiness of all these doom scenarios just overwhelmed me.

  141. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    What does the newly revised code of intersexual discourse say here? What’s the ethical thing to do?

    The ethical thing to do is to treat women like human beings. That includes not pretending that there’s a “newly revised code of intersexual discourse.”

  142. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Apologies to those who have briefly addressed misconceptions about SR, but I just have to chime in:

    If you think that Schroedinger’s Rapist is about treating all men as rapists, you”re really betraying basic scientific illiteracy. It would be like saying physicists treat all cats as dead because in the particular situation of a quantum-triggered-poison-in-a-box those darn physicists admit that they can’t know whether the cat is alive or dead.

    The level of moronic self-righteous obliviousness would be unbelievable if we didn’t have such extraordinary evidence….

  143. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    It’s a pleasant morning, the Sun is shining, the birds are coughing in the trees, and, most importantly, the wind is blowing. So instead of fighting with assholes who think that treating women as human beings is somehow castration, I’m going to enjoy the day. I’m going sailing.

  144. Swann says

    The ethical thing to do is to treat women like human beings. That includes not pretending that there’s a “newly revised code of intersexual discourse.”

    How delightfully vague and condescending of you. Surely there has been some revision if women really do get very uncomfortable just by being in a closed space with a man – especially a previously unknown one. I’ve actually been more inclined to think that purposefully avoiding such encounters would be found insulting by a woman, but I’ll be sure to correct for this misapprehension in the future.

  145. says

    I think PZ trolls when it comes to feminism (and is a liar on this particular topic).

    Madness. Stark raving madness.

    No, I write about this occasionally because I fucking care: I care greatly about the future of secularism in this country, and don’t think it can succeed if we treat half the population as chattel, and are no better than the patriarchal religions. I care because I have sisters, a wife, a daughter, nieces and friends who are women, and I want them to prosper and be happy. I care because the majority of my students are women, and I’m not in this business of education because I don’t mind if 60%+ of my graduates are discriminated against, excluded from the best employment opportunities, or have to struggle against traditional irrelevancies just to make it. I care because equality matters, and I don’t want to live in a civilization that thinks it doesn’t.

  146. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Yeah – it’s petty to worry about rape when a strange man is apparently chasing you in the middle of the night.
    Get a clue, asshole – and do it far away from here.

  147. J. M. says

    # 145

    I also think virtually every major figure I admire from history had serious flaws, including but not limited to, sexism, racism, greed, and selfishness. Some of these figures are Jefferson, Newton, Darwin, Aristotle, Napoleon, and Malcolm X.

    I have black friends!

    you really don’t understand the logical fallacy you are using here?

    He isn’t alone. I don’t understand it either, perhaps because I don’t know which one it is.

    This logical fallacy he employs – which one, exactly?

  148. RahXephon, un féminist nucléaire says

    Christ on sale, I’ve re-written comments about this about ten times now from different angles and none of it works for me, because it’s all been said. Drach, and any other MRA trolls, take Josh’s advice and go read the literally thousands of comments generated on Pharyngula alone by your fellow douchetarts-in-arms. Your arguments really are not new.

    You also should come clean. What this is really about, the reason MRAs formed at all is that feminism tells you that your unearned privilege isn’t acceptable anymore. The Elevatorgate incident challenges your belief that you get to have unrestricted access to women at all times and in all places.

  149. RowanVT says

    “How delightfully vague and condescending of you. Surely there has been some revision if women really do get very uncomfortable just by being in a closed space with a man – especially a previously unknown one. I’ve actually been more inclined to think that purposefully avoiding such encounters would be found insulting by a woman, but I’ll be sure to correct for this misapprehension in the future.”

    How delightfully obtuse and condescending of you! There has been no revision; women are just more willing to speak up about it.

    I would find nothing insulting about NOT being crowded into a small space by a man I don’t know. How about this, I’ll engage in a fun bit of pretend and employ a strawman just a little bit.

    Now, I’m not physically as strong or large as a man. At a ‘mere’ 5’6″, I’m not terribly intimidating. So let’s fix this. Pretend I’m in a small elevator with you, there’s no one around, and I’ve got a dagger out pointed at your abdomen while asking if you’d like to come up to my room for a while. Would you be comfortable with that? I’m not actively threatening you, mind. The dagger just happens to be there, and just happens to be about an inch from your guts. You’ve been told from the time you were a young man that sometimes women will assault men and rape them. You have male friends who HAVE been assaulted by one of us billions of knife-wielding women, and you have seen how it has destroyed them. Now here you are, with me, small confined space, no way to escape, no one to call out to for help… and I’m asking you to come to my room.

    And you’re saying that this “fear” is a new thing? That is “IF women really very uncomfortable”? Hopefully you didn’t intend how bloody stupid and condescending that “if” there sounds.

  150. RahXephon, un féminist nucléaire says

    Surely there has been some revision if women really do get very uncomfortable just by being in a closed space with a man – especially a previously unknown one.

    You assume that the feeling itself is new, while I would argue that the freedom to say one feels that way is what’s new. It’s part of that whole “feminism” deal. I hope you see the distinction.

  151. dcg1 says

    Does anyone know who Schroedinger’s Rapist was?

    I knew that he had a cat; but I was completely unaware that he’d been sexually assaulted.

    Has anyone dialed 911?

  152. says

    Those who think RW is making a big deal out of nothing

    Plug these numbers into your paradigm.

    One in 4 women are sexually assaulted
    The average man who commits sexual assault attacks about 7 women.

    (a different set of numbers with slightly different critera puts it at 1 in 6 women are sexually assaulted and the average assaulted attacks about 5 women. You may use those numbers if you prefer).

    Now, do the math. You are standing in a group of 30 men. Please tell me the odds of one of them being someone that has committed or will commit sexual assault. You may use a calculator.

    Done?

    Now, go back and read the Schrodeinger’s Rapist article, keeping the above numbers in your mind.

    A man approaches you in an elevator. He has already displayed a willingness to ignore your boundaries and social cues to approach you in the first place, since you are not inviting approach at this time. He has also done so in a way that renders you isolated and trapped. How should you respond?

    Now I want you to think about this aspect: Had she been raped in this situation, how many folks would have placed blame for the attack on her for being in the elevator with a strange man in the first place?

    Do you get it yet?

  153. Swann says

    Yeah – it’s petty to worry about rape when a strange man is apparently chasing you in the middle of the night.
    Get a clue, asshole – and do it far away from here.

    It was sarcasm – and so ovbious it hurts to have to point it out. I really doubt anyone’s first assumption in that kind of situation is that they’re being chased; joggers aren’t that uncommon, are they? So, how about you get a clue? The aformentioned pettiness is in thinking that every man is a potential rapist. I don’t assume this whenever I see a man, whom I know to be gay, and who’s much larger than I.

  154. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    It was sarcasm – and so ovbious it hurts to have to point it out… The aformentioned pettiness is in thinking that every man is a potential rapist.

    So it was sarcasm, but you totally think it’s true. Cool. Also, your profound inability to fucking read the fucking thread is noted.

    I really doubt anyone’s first assumption in that kind of situation is that they’re being chased

    Mine is. Here’s my procedure: I look behind me, repeatedly, and think of what I would do if the person chasing me tries to grab me. I brace myself for it. I make it very obvious that I am aware of the person’s presence, and I start to slow down so that I can get the person in front of me more quickly. If I don’t seem to have any viable options (here meaning guaranteed escape routes or weapons in a place where I can readily access them), I become afraid, and I hold my breath until the person passes me.

  155. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    If I do have viable escape routes, I use them – if I can turn off into a well-lit place or a store, I do that. If crossing to the other side of the street seems like it would get the person further away from me without putting me in a situation more difficult to escape, I do that. I wish I could have a large dog, to be honest, as it would save me a lot of these calculations and horrible, stomach-dropping moments of fear, but I can’t.

  156. Swann says

    You assume that the feeling itself is new, while I would argue that the freedom to say one feels that way is what’s new. It’s part of that whole “feminism” deal. I hope you see the distinction.

    No, I dontn’t think the feeling is new – for those who share it in the first place – but it being part of general discussion is. It wouldn’t be this big of a deal if everyone had always thought it to be trivial or self-evident.

  157. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    It was sarcasm – and so ovbious it hurts to have to point it out.

    Seriously? Go back and read the mega3d4k MRAssplosion from a couple tow-t’ree months ago. And then you might understand why sarcasm may be missed when it refers to this subject.

    I really doubt anyone’s first assumption in that kind of situation is that they’re being chased; joggers aren’t that uncommon, are they? So, how about you get a clue?

    No, joggers are not uncommon. The sounds of a running man, on a dark night, in an unlit area, may trigger a fear reaction in some people.

    Dead animals along side the road are common; the smell of burning brakes is common. For me (a large male, so I admit freely that I am coming at this from a male perspective and am thus missing a big and important chunk of the fear), these smells, in combination, set off a panic attack and a weeks worth of nightmares. My point is that what may be normal, acceptable and unremarkeable to you, may, in others, produce fear or panic, even if no direct threat has been offered.

    The aformentioned pettiness is in thinking that every man is a potential rapist.

    And from your point of view, as a male, as someone who is not being constantly bombarded by the subtle (and not so subtle) messages in ordinary language, you are perfectly entitled to view it as pettiness. Your perspective on the world, however, is not the only one which is valid. Women, whether they have been raped, sexually assaulted, sexually harrassed, or demeaned because of their sex, have a different point of view — a point of view which, for many, perhaps most, includes a fear of the unknown. Do you see this?

    I don’t assume this whenever I see a man, whom I know to be gay, and who’s much larger than I.

    Bully for you. How many male friends of yours have been raped, sexually assaulted, sexually harrassed, or demeaned by gay men because they are men? If that number were a large percentage of your male friends, do you accept the possibility that you might react differently based on conscious and subconscious stimuli?

  158. Rinus says

    Those who think RW is making a big deal out of nothing

    How do you explain the letter writing campaign, then? I’m still baffled as to how this went from RW mistakenly seeing a threat where none was present to somehow women writing to Dawkins about their actual rape experiences, as though his comment was in any way dismissing actual physical violence to women.

  159. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    RW mistakenly seeing a threat where none was present

    In thousands (literally) of comments, there have been some who have made the claim that since Rebecca Watson was not raped, no threat existed. Not one (to my knowledge — a comment may have escaped my meatspace-obsessed life) has come up with any way for Rebecca Watson, or any other person, to know if a threat exists before the danger manifests. Please clue in the clueless (that would be me): how was Rebecca Watson to know, at the beginning or middle of the encouter, that no threat was present?

  160. Pteryxx says

    So, how about you get a clue? The aformentioned pettiness is in thinking that every man is a potential rapist.

    When you cross a busy street, do you look both ways, or do you just close your eyes and go, lest you offend any drivers by not trusting them?

    (And that’s guarding against unintentional threat, while harassers and rapists do so on purpose.)

  161. Rob says

    One in 4 women are sexually assaulted
    The average man who commits sexual assault attacks about 7 women.

    (a different set of numbers with slightly different critera puts it at 1 in 6 women are sexually assaulted and the average assaulted attacks about 5 women. You may use those numbers if you prefer).

    I am not denying your numbers, but I always see such statistics tossed around and often made up on the spot, so I would love to have an authoritative source on the subject that I could refer to. Do you think you could tell me which peer-reviewed source you found those numbers in?

  162. Swann says

    So it was sarcasm, but you totally think it’s true. Cool.

    The chasing part was sarcasm, that’s what you were addressing – or at least seemed to be.

  163. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    this went from RW mistakenly seeing a threat where none was present

    You have no idea, and obviously don’t care to inform yourself. This did not go from RW “mistakenly seeing a threat”, you idiot, it went from a bloke doing something stupid and crass, a woman pointing out in the mildest of terms that this was stupid behaviour, and an avalanche of MRA morons getting up-in-arms about the fact that a woman had had the audacity to point out that stupid behaviour is stupid.

  164. Sheesh says

    I can’t recall now, when Dawkins posted his “what’s the fuss, Muslimas have it worse” post, was that before anyone in that particular thread had described the circumstances of their own rape?

    Man, I bet that would look pretty shitty to come into a thread where women were talking about being harassed, abused, and raped and then saying, “You think you have it bad? Some people have it worse than you!”

  165. Swann says

    When you cross a busy street, do you look both ways, or do you just close your eyes and go, lest you offend any drivers by not trusting them?

    (And that’s guarding against unintentional threat, while harassers and rapists do so on purpose.)

    Exactly. I guard against an unintentional threat and trust that no-one will try to run me over on purpose. It would actually be quite hard to cross the street otherwise.

  166. Rinus says

    In thousands (literally) of comments, there have been some who have made the claim that since Rebecca Watson was not raped, no threat existed. Not one (to my knowledge — a comment may have escaped my meatspace-obsessed life) has come up with any way for Rebecca Watson, or any other person, to know if a threat exists before the danger manifests. Please clue in the clueless (that would be me): how was Rebecca Watson to know, at the beginning or middle of the encouter, that no threat was present?

    Well, obviously there’s a difference between a perceived threat and an actual threat.

    I’m not saying she was wrong to ‘feel’ threatened at first. I’m a 6″7 guy, so obviously I live in a rather different world. I can somewhat imagine that other people might feel threatened in such a situation. You can’t be wrong to -feel- threatened. You either do or you don’t. You can, however, be genuinely mistaken about someone’s intentions and as such, perceive a threat where none exist.

    In retrospect, this is what happened with RW and EG. It’s clear this guy was just clueless about his creepiness or just didn’t care, but didn’t intend any physical violence, and that’s what the whole letter writing campaign was about. Women writing to Dawkins about their rape experiences as if he in any way dismissed those experiences. The letter writing campaign was deliberately set up and executed to give off that impression.

    And for that, I certainly do think RW deserves her fair share of scolding as well.

  167. Swann says

    Bully for you. How many male friends of yours have been raped, sexually assaulted, sexually harrassed, or demeaned by gay men because they are men? If that number were a large percentage of your male friends, do you accept the possibility that you might react differently based on conscious and subconscious stimuli?

    If it were commonplace, yes, I might. This is of cource highly contextual. There are places where women really should be constantly vigilant – as should men, but for muggins and beatings rather than rape.

    As for your first question, none of my male friends have been raped, but niether have any of my female friends. Nor have they been harrassed or demeaned for their gender – that I know of at least.

  168. Rey Fox says

    And for that, I certainly do think RW deserves her fair share of scolding as well.

    For people educating Dawkins on his privilege and cluelessness Watson deserves to be scorned? What planet do you live on?

  169. Ibis3, féministe avec un titre française de fantaisie says

    @PZ

    I care because equality matters, and I don’t want to live in a civilization that thinks it doesn’t.

    Thank you.

    #170

    You assume that the feeling itself is new, while I would argue that the freedom to say one feels that way is what’s new. It’s part of that whole “feminism” deal. I hope you see the distinction.

    There is in fact something entirely new going on. In the past, (“decent”) women didn’t go anywhere unaccompanied. Society as a whole recognised the SR paradigm and the answer was to curtail women’s independent activity. If she didn’t follow the rules, she was to blame for anything that happened to her (or to her reputation). So now women are free to go where they want, alone. But the idea that such women are inviting attention and are to blame for what happens to them is still in effect. We got the freedom, now we’re trying to change the underlying assumption that lone women are prey. Until that happens, women have no choice but to take precautions by treating men as potential hunters. Instead of blaming women for being wary, men should be on our side,* attacking the notion that women are prey.

    *Thank you again, to all of you who are.

  170. Swann says

    Let’s all cut Swann a little slack here. He just had a traumatic near-empathy experience.

    Thanks, your near-sympathies are appreciated.

  171. Ibis3, féministe avec un titre française de fantaisie says

    As for your first question, none of my male friends have been raped, but niether have any of my female friends. Nor have they been harrassed or demeaned for their gender

    I don’t believe you. There is not a single woman I have ever known in my life that has never been harassed or demeaned because of their sex, and few that have never been assaulted.

    – that I know of at least.

    Ah. Well, maybe you never asked. Or listened. Or maybe none of them would share such a thing with you because you’re such an asshole.

  172. Muzz says

    In retrospect, this is what happened with RW and EG. It’s clear this guy was just clueless about his creepiness or just didn’t care, but didn’t intend any physical violence, and that’s what the whole letter writing campaign was about. Women writing to Dawkins about their rape experiences as if he in any way dismissed those experiences. The letter writing campaign was deliberately set up and executed to give off that impression.

    It wasn’t just in retrospect. It was clear at the time to anyone with a working brain. Much of the debate at that point and Dawkins’ comments centred on whether there was any justification/explanation for Watson feeling the way she did in that elevator (which is stupid in itself, but anyway…).
    It would be mistaken to accuse Dawkins of dismissing those sexual assault experiences. He did however appear to dismiss any connection between the discomfort of some women in certain situations and actual sexual assault, assessing it in merely post hoc legalistic terms (like legions of others).
    That’s what it’s about.

  173. Pteryxx says

    I am not denying your numbers, but…

    lawl

    …I always see such statistics tossed around and often made up on the spot,[o rly.] so I would love to have an authoritative source on the subject that I could refer to. Do you think you could tell me which peer-reviewed source you found those numbers in?

    so while you “always” see such statistics, you never bothered UNTIL THIS VERY MOMENT to look for references and sources yourself, did you? “Bring me a sammich source and it better be good.”

    But I feel in a mood for stuffing some jackhole’s arrogance back up ‘ir left nostril, so here you go.

    http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/meet-the-predators/

    Cites and discusses:

    I have taken a look at two large-sample surverys of undetected rapists. One is Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists by David Lesak and Paul M. Miller, published in Violence and Victims, Vol 17, No. 1, 2002 (Lisak & Miller 2002). The other is Reports of Rape Reperpetration by Newly Enlisted Male Navy Personnel by Stephanie K. McWhorter, et al., published in Violence and Victims, Vol, 24, No. 2, 2009 (McWhorter 2009).

    6% of men in one study and 17% in the other SELF-REPORT rape attempts.

    Quoting myself from Skepchick in July:

    According to “Meet the Predators” which references men self-reporting their rape attempts, a sample of about 1900 male college students contained 120 who announced 438 attempted or completed rapes. Let’s say those rapes happened to the comparably sized female student population, and for the sake of argument, that any given woman was ‘only’ assaulted once. What would 438 rapes and sexual assaults among 2000 or so women work out to?

    22% of women.

    Men. Self-reporting. 22%.

    See also:

  174. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    I don’t believe you. There is not a single woman I have ever known in my life that has never been harassed or demeaned because of their sex, and few that have never been assaulted.

    How old are you?
    No, seriously.
    Are you in high school?

  175. Pteryxx says

    goofed on my “see also”. more from the peer-reviewed rape stats hoard:

    http://www.aaets.org/arts/art13.htm

    http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2009/09/17/on-the-hofstra-raperecant-case-the-campus-rape-epidemic/#comment-854

    “Our findings indicate that about 20 million out of 112 million women (18.0%) in the U.S. have ever been raped during their lifetime. This includes an estimated 18 million women who have been forcibly raped, nearly 3 million women who have experienced drug-facilitated rape, and 3 million women who have experienced incapacitated rape.”

    http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/219181.pdf

  176. Ibis3, féministe avec un titre française de fantaisie says

    @Classical Cipher

    Assuming you were intending to quote Swann at 188, or misread my reply to him. I’m saying every woman I’ve ever met has been harassed or demeaned and most have been assaulted.

  177. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Oh goodness Ibis3! Yeah, that was a big ol’ copy-paste fail on my part.
    Sorry. Precaffeinated.

  178. Emrysmyrddin says

    I live in the UK, and this country is a little better than the US seems to be for random men approaching you ‘with intent’. Despite the (generalised) improved experience, I have still had to put up with intense sexual harassment, from the paedophile approaching me at age eight, to the gangs of guys hanging out of van windows when I was in school uniform at fourteen, to being crowded into corners in pubs by guys at seventeen, to being approached by guys in the street nowadays and being followed when I either ignored them or said ‘no, go away’. It’s baffling to me that a large percentage of men see this behaviour as ‘just being a guy’, and don’t realise how demeaning and often frightening it can be. I haven’t been raped, but I have to add the qualifier ‘yet’, because it’s a bad world out there and lots of men don’t take ‘no’ as a ‘no’, but more of a ‘persuade me more’.

  179. kristinc says

    Yeah, Dawkins implying that only “Muslimas” have gender-based violence to fear these days doesn’t AT ALL minimize or deny the experiences of women all over the United States and the rest of the world.

    And pointing out to Dawkins exactly how gender based violence affects so many of us, personally, is not AT ALL an appropriate response to that kind of minimizing and denial.

    Not at all.

  180. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    Well, obviously there’s a difference between a perceived threat and an actual threat.

    And how does anyone, you, me, Rebecca Watson, anyone, know which is which?

    You can, however, be genuinely mistaken about someone’s intentions and as such, perceive a threat where none exist.

    Again, how does one know which is which? And is an inability to know which is which negate fear and panic?

    In retrospect, this is what happened with RW and EG. It’s clear this guy was just clueless about his creepiness or just didn’t care, but didn’t intend any physical violence, and that’s what the whole letter writing campaign was about. Women writing to Dawkins about their rape experiences as if he in any way dismissed those experiences. The letter writing campaign was deliberately set up and executed to give off that impression.

    And for that, I certainly do think RW deserves her fair share of scolding as well.

    Bollocks. The letters to Richard Dawkins regarding his comment on the Olde Pharyngula were not, in any way, related to the initial incident in the elevator, the mild comment by Rebecca Watson stating that this was exactly the behaviour she had been lamenting the night before, or even the shitstorm of mysogyny (if you think that to be too strong a word, how else do explain commenters at other sites hanging the sobriquet “Twatson” on her?) and threats that followed. To imply that Rebecca Watson brought this on herself by objecting to Dawkins’ comment by writing letters and encouraging others to write letters is wrong. The shitblizzard aimed at Rebecca Watson was in response to her actually having the temerity to point out that unacceptable behaviour is unacceptable behaviour.

    ==========

    Swann:

    I’m glad that you understand that your viewpoint is not the only one which is valid. However, I must take issue with

    If it were commonplace, yes, I might.

    as it seems to imply that women being raped, assaulted, harrassed, or demeaned is not common. Here’s an exercise for you which, should you choose to do it (I am not demanded that you do, this is your choice), might open your mind a might bit.

    Think of all the women and girls that you know — family, friends, work, school, whatever. People you meet in meatspace and are more than just acquaintances.

    Got that in your mind? Okay, now count them. Somewhere between 1 in 4 and 1 in 7 have been raped or sexually assaulted (very approximate, I have never even pretended to understand statistics). An equal or greater number, possible far greater, have been sexually harrassed. Even if they have not told you, even if you cannot pick out, based on behaviour, who it is, even if they have never told their closest friend, it has happened.

    You brought up the possibility of being in an elevator with a gay man. That is why I asked if it would be different if some of your male friends had been assaulted. All I was trying to point out is that for women, this is ‘normal’ (for a really sick definition of normal, anyway). To imply that rape, assault, harrassment and demeaning are not common is to deny the experience of about half of humanity, declaring it to be invalid because it does not mesh with your personal experiences.

    Does that make sense?

  181. Swann says

    I don’t believe you. There is not a single woman I have ever known in my life that has never been harassed or demeaned because of their sex, and few that have never been assaulted.

    I really don’t know what to say. People don’t all get treated the same way, and they also don’t experience things the same way.

    Ah. Well, maybe you never asked. Or listened. Or maybe none of them would share such a thing with you because you’re such an asshole.

    Two of them I have asked, and they didn’t mention anything they considered worriesome. I don’t think I would’ve missed something like this either; and if they thought I was too much of an asshole, they propably wouldn’t be friends with me in the first place.

  182. sudoma bin usri says

    Last night I was contemplating trying to post a “kinder gentler”response to Drachosour, but I went to bed instead. Today it’s clear that it would have been a complete waste of time; Ds’ claim to want rational discussion was just so much bs.

    Oh well. At least he was able to stick the flounce.

  183. devogene says

    “Sexism is a problem we should address” I fully agree! and by sexism I am assuming that Prof.Myers – like Ashely Paramore – means all forms of it. So when the next atheist talk about sexism, not just towards women, but also towards transexuals, transgenders and men is up on youtube, let me know – I really wanna see it.

  184. Muzz says

    Damn right. Getting men to be properly represented at skeptic and atheist events has always been such a problem.

  185. says

    In retrospect, this is what happened with RW and EG. It’s clear this guy was just clueless about his creepiness or just didn’t care, but didn’t intend any physical violence, and that’s what the whole letter writing campaign was about. Women writing to Dawkins about their rape experiences as if he in any way dismissed those experiences. The letter writing campaign was deliberately set up and executed to give off that impression.

    And for that, I certainly do think RW deserves her fair share of scolding as well.

    Rebecca deserves to be scolded because I wrote a letter and other people, none of whom were Rebecca, signed on? Fascinating.

    Even more telling, however, is that for all the furor over that letter, for all the people telling other what I meant by it and why I did it, not one person has ever asked me a single thing about it.

  186. Just_A_Lurker says

    Two of them I have asked, and they didn’t mention anything they considered worriesome. I don’t think I would’ve missed something like this either; and if they thought I was too much of an asshole, they propably wouldn’t be friends with me in the first place.

    I can count the number of people I’ve told about my experiences on one hand. Its quite possible they just don’t want to talk about it or are scared of not being believed. For all you know you could have dated someone who has been raped and not know it. And them not telling you might have nothing to do with you being an asshole. However, you are clearly a sexist asshole so I wouldn’t tell you my experiences anyways, because you most likely would just spout BS at me.

  187. Anri says

    Swann:

    It was sarcasm – and so ovbious it hurts to have to point it out. I really doubt anyone’s first assumption in that kind of situation is that they’re being chased; joggers aren’t that uncommon, are they? So, how about you get a clue? The aformentioned pettiness is in thinking that every man is a potential rapist. I don’t assume this whenever I see a man, whom I know to be gay, and who’s much larger than I.

    (Emphasis added)

    Awesome. Tell us, right now, for ever and anon, exactly how we can tell, at twenty paces, which men are rapists. Otherwise, if it’s ok with you (I seek your permission on behalf of all women), women may make their own judgments about people coming up behind them in the dark.
    Without your shaming, that is.

    Oh, and it’s more honest if you use the word ‘hysterical’ when you refer to the fears of women that you personally find silly. It makes it easier for everyone around you to know what side you’re fighting for. As in:
    “Oh, you silly women, you’re just being hysterical. Not all of you get raped, after all! And the ones that do, well, they just did something wrong. I’m not saying it’s partially their fault, just that it’s partially their fault. There are plenty of men out there that wouldn’t rape you! And after an evening out, when they haven’t raped you, you’ll know just who those men are! Heck, you’re probably fat and ugly and geeky and smelly and should really be grateful for the attention anyway. Men are just being nice when they invade your personal space! Men can’t control themselves, they’re not adults, and you can’t change biology, you know!”

    Practice in front of a mirror to keep the horror out of your eyes while saying these things and you’ll be much more effective.
    Good luck!

  188. David Marjanović, OM says

    *pant* *pant* Must… catch… up… before this thread reaches 800 comments and the page is full…

    Comment 134 is scary.

    That said, I suspect a good many men would gain a greater understanding of some of the things women online have to deal with, if they created a realistic online female persona for themselves.

    I bet they can’t create a realistic one, precisely because they lack that understanding.

    I wasn’t paying attention when any of this went down originally, but I did come across it a few days ago. To me it seems like the story is really a bunch of people overreacting on all sides. I honestly don’t understand what the big deal is. Heck, I don’t think there’s really a big deal about what Dawkins said

    Go back and read again. Will take much longer than just a lunch break.

    It is quite possible elevator guy just knew about Watson from the hotel conversation, and hence he would be unaware of her exact issues.

    See? That’s in fact completely impossible. Go back and read.

    I hate to feed the troll (PZ), but the fact is Watson and (more so) those who spread her video and story are the ones who made this all a big deal. Anyone who says otherwise is either a moron or liar. Take your pick.

    Wow. You actually blame the messengers, including the victim.

    TSIB.

    Well, it is pretty obvious that people here thinking insults are an appropriate way to talk about things. That’s rather disappointing.

    *blink* What? Why are you changing the topic? Do insults change anything about who’s wrong?

    Clearly if someone doesn’t agree with you 100% over an issue like this, they must be a sexist, right?

    Pardon me for assuming that you guys were capable of having a rational discussion

    What made you confuse rational with polite???

    Oh, now I get it. You’re having a culture shock, because you haven’t seen scientists disagree. :-) I have. At one point I thought two of them were going to get violent within the next 10 seconds.

    By the way, Drachasor:

    Talking about women and minorities in the oblivious way you have has set off my hair-sensitive Hyperon trigger.

    You’d better not be him.

    Hyperon would never talk to his mom. He hates her so much he extrapolates his hate to all women. *barf*

    The “Schroedinger’s Rapist” thing is not treating all men as rapists. It’s analogous to not leaving your wallet out on the dining room table when you’re living in shared housing – not to calling the cops on your roommate because you think he might be thinking about stealing it.

    QFT!

    Drashor the mansplainer:

    Drachasor.

    Christ on sale

    :-D

    No, joggers are not uncommon. The sounds of a running man, on a dark night, in an unlit area, may trigger a fear reaction in some people.

    Running man?

    Four thousand throats can be cut in one night by a running man.
    – Klingon proverb

    Let’s all cut Swann a little slack here. He just had a traumatic near-empathy experience.

    *snortle*

    There is in fact something entirely new going on. In the past, (“decent”) women didn’t go anywhere unaccompanied. Society as a whole recognised the SR paradigm and the answer was to curtail women’s independent activity. If she didn’t follow the rules, she was to blame for anything that happened to her (or to her reputation). So now women are free to go where they want, alone. But the idea that such women are inviting attention and are to blame for what happens to them is still in effect.

    You hit the nail right on the head.

  189. Anri says

    “Sexism is a problem we should address” I fully agree! and by sexism I am assuming that Prof.Myers – like Ashely Paramore – means all forms of it. So when the next atheist talk about sexism, not just towards women, but also towards transexuals, transgenders and men is up on youtube, let me know – I really wanna see it.

    Hang around for a bit here and see what happens when someone tries to insult a certain right-wing pundit by suggesting she looks transgendered. The person saying things like that will drown in the ensuing – well-deserved! – shitstorm.

    We have several regular posters here who are transgendered, and we’ve all had our consciousness raised (I hope) in hearing them call folks to task.
    Might not make it onto Youtube,though.

  190. Sally Strange, OM says

    So when the next atheist talk about sexism, not just towards women, but also towards transexuals, transgenders and men is up on youtube, let me know – I really wanna see it.

    Lumping men in with intersexed people and transgender men and women, as a category opposed to women? I call shenanigans. Men are unlikely to be assaulted just for being a man. Trans men and women, and intersexed people, are at even higher lifetime risk of sexual assault than women are.

    Your trolling is too transparent. Get back under your bridge.

  191. says

    I got as far as this:

    Josh, it’s bigoted to assume every man is a rapist until he proves otherwise.

    No, it fucking isn’t bigoted to assume that a stranger who is stronger than you and whose motivations are unknown is capable of doing you harm. It’s common bloody sense.

    Even when trust has been established, there are still some arseholes who betray that trust.

    Bounce that idiot, Josh, he’s wasting diskspace and our time with his arrogant Stupid.

  192. kristinc says

    I can count the number of people I’ve told about my experiences on one hand.

    I’ve had many discussions about rape and feminism with many people in my meatspace life. I have never told most of them that I was raped or that I was stalked and harassed on two separate occasions. My mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law and sister-in-law don’t know. My sister, niece and nephew, and their respective partners don’t know. My spouse’s friends don’t know. My friendly male acquaintances don’t know. My coworkers certainly don’t know. My neighbors don’t know. Pretty much only my spouse and my closest friends know.

    There’s a long, long list of people who would probably count me among the women they know who have “never” experienced sexual violence. And they would be wrong. I refuse to discuss the issue in meatspace with anyone I am not absolutely sure would be supportive and understanding (and that group of people is heartbreakingly small). I don’t care how nice someone is or whether they’re fun to hang out with, in meatspace I don’t talk about being raped or stalked unless I trust them 100% in a very visceral way.

  193. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    Running man?

    Four thousand throats can be cut in one night by a running man.
    – Klingon proverb

    Sorry. I assure you, most uninentional.

  194. Just_A_Lurker says

    Oh boy lets take this bit by bit.

    It’s clear this guy was just clueless about his creepiness or just didn’t care, but didn’t intend any physical violence

    Firstly, the whole point of this was that at that time, she has no idea that he was harmless. Full stop. And by the clues he was giving her at that time, it wasn’t clear he wasn’t going to do anything. Since he has followed her from the bar to the elevator, he might have followed her to her room and pushed his way in. We know now that wasn’t his plan but that doesn’t mean she was wrong or didn’t have the right to feel uncomfortable and feel it was highly inappropriate what he did.
    Rebecca was giving talks on sexism at conferences and then this dude goes from the conference to the bar to the elevator and doesn’t speak to her, and blatantly doesn’t care about all the clues she’d been giving out about not wanting to be hit on. Like saying in her talk, she didn’t want to be hit on.
    Now, all she said about this incident was “Guys, this can make women feel women uncomfortable. This will make them not want to come to conferences. Don’t do this.” And now its all her fault and its soooo horrible that she pointed this out.

    and that’s what the whole letter writing campaign was about. Women writing to Dawkins about their rape experiences as if he in any way dismissed those experiences. The letter writing campaign was deliberately set up and executed to give off that impression.

    You do not get to decide what my letter meant. Dawkins came in this issue after several thread where I and others have been talking about our experiences. He did in fact belittle our experiences because we weren’t Muslim women getting parts cut off so we should just shut up about it all. Fuck that. I was offended. He was wrong. Sexism is both the big and the small incidences. What you going to say that theres only mico-sexism but no macro? Or its just the macro and no micro?* Get a clue.
    Of course the letter writing campaign was deliberately set up and executed to give that impression, because he did in fact belittle our experiences and we are enlightening him. There was no lying or misconstruction about the letters.

    *Whoever used the micro & macro thing did better than me but I love the use of it so much. I can’t remember who said it though sorry.

  195. Rinus says

    Rebecca deserves to be scolded because I wrote a letter and other people, none of whom were Rebecca, signed on? Fascinating.

    Yes. She’s the one who published them and encouraged them.

    For that same reason, she lost all rights to complain about ‘Twatson’ when she published a letter starting with ‘Dear Dick..’ and lost all rights to ever bring up privilege when she wrote the ‘wealthy old, heterosexual white male..’ bit.

    Even more telling, however, is that for all the furor over that letter, for all the people telling other what I meant by it and why I did it, not one person has ever asked me a single thing about it.

    Instead of a passive-aggressive response, you could actually save me the trouble of asking and just explain what you meant by writing that letter.

    I’ll just go ahead anyway: Why did you write the letter?

  196. julian says

    @Stephanie Zvan

    As one of the people who at first saw ‘Dear Dick,’ rolled his eyes and dismissed it without even reading it, I don’t see how anyone who read that letter or the stories by all those victims of rape and sexual assault could possibly say half the bullshit we saw about it. It was a fantastic letter that didn’t demonize anyone or deserve to be laughed at like it was at ERV.

  197. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    For that same reason, she lost all rights to complain about ‘Twatson’ when she published a letter starting with ‘Dear Dick..’

    Er, ‘Dick’ is an accepted diminutive of Richard in the reality most of us inhabit. In what reality is ‘Twatson’ an accepted diminutive of Watson?

    Additionally, the shitblizzard was hitting Rebecca Watson at Beaufort 12 long before Dawkins’ ill-advised attempted squelch*. To blame the letters, and her publication of the letters, for the shitblizzard would require a functional time machine.

    * Yes, Dawkins did attempt to squelch discussion of sexism within the atheist community by tossing in the, “You think you’ve got it bad? Well what about ______ ?” That can be used to silence almost anyone. Show me a man with no shoes, I’ll show you a man with no feet. Show me a man with no feet, I’ll show you a man with no legs. Show me a man with no legs? I’ll show you a man with no legs and no bowel control. Show me a man with no legs and now bowel control? I’ll show you a man with no legs, no bowel control, and a pet budgie who just died. It can go on for as long as you want, but the effect is to squelch the current problem, sans discussion, by pointing out that, well, yeah, Western women do get his with sexism and mysogyny, but shut up, bitches, at least you’re not a Muslim woman who has had her genitals mutilated.

    And yes, I did call Dawkins on this at the time he made the comment. I, rather forcefully, told him he was wrong. Oddly, no one is coming after me (or the others who called him to task in that 3d4k maelstrom) for publicly and forcefully telling him he is, in this case, full of shit. I wonder why?

  198. Just_A_Lurker says

    and lost all rights to ever bring up privilege when she wrote the ‘wealthy old, heterosexual white male..’ bit.

    Wow you must be so enlightened. Why do you take us to the magical world of Equalia where you live and everyone is equal. Or we could work towards equality here and you can stop tripping balls.

    What the fuck is wrong with you?

  199. kristinc says

    Oh, Just_A_Lurker. Don’t you know that it’s really us complainers who make equality impossible? If only we would shut the fuck up, everything would be peachy. STOP STANDING IN THE WAY OF EQUALITY.

  200. kristinc says

    Also, I see Rhinus is of the belief that the underclass only gets uppity when a troublemaker incites them. We can’t possibly have motivations and reactions of our own, you see. We never would have thought anything was wrong with what Dawkins said if not for that rabble-rouser Watson. No, it took someone with an agenda pulling our strings for us to perceive he was being an ass and to tell him so; if the bad element were punished and removed, we would subside into the correct tranquillity with our lot.

  201. devogene says

    What is quite strange about the comments of sudoma bin usri , Sally Strange, OM is an untended form of reductionism. First of all nobody is over-looking or denying or saying “as appose to” sexism against women. I am sure I am not the only student of Biology on Pharyngula, but as my understanding of sexes and genders go. Genders and sexes don’t have to exist in a particular pattern, and therefore we have to recognize the existence – as I am sure most rationalists do – of transgenders and transexuals. Secondly, if a person likes to have a specific category for sexism towards women – i.e. misogyny – that is perfectly fine. But I wouldn’t do that. Let me give a parallel example: the people who rightly are concerned about human rights: are called Human Rights Activists, and the people who are concerned about non-human animals rights are called Animal Rights activists. I see why they have these names, but I call both ANIMAL RIGHTS Activists – because humans are animals. So in the case of sexism: discrimination on the bases of sex – this would INCLUDE females, males and transexuals. On the topic of the sexism towards women, as an atheist ex-muslim – I despise it with a passion, but also another horrible aspect of religion is also to paint a picture of men as humans who care only about sex – no such thing as love or mutual friendship. I didn’t mean my last comment as a pun, I was quite serious. All forms of sexism should be addressed, wherever they happen.

  202. sudoma bin usri says

    I’ll just go ahead anyway: Why did you write the letter?

    Why don’t you go read the letter yourself. It’s pretty self-explanitory.

  203. says

    First off, Rinus, Rebecca did not publish the letters. Mindy did. All us womenfolk are different people with different agendas and different priorities. Just a hint.

    Also, since when is “Twatson” the diminutive form of “Watson”?

    As for why I wrote the letter: He asked. I actually explain that in the letter. Now, why was that difficult for you to get from the letter?

  204. Rinus says

    Oh boy lets take this bit by bit.

    Good idea.

    Firstly, the whole point of this was that at that time, she has no idea that he was harmless. Full stop.

    Full stop indeed.

    How does one give off the impression that one is harmless? It’s not entirely dependant on one person’s behaviour. It’s also dependant on the other person’s interpretation of that behaviour. There’s a whole scala of personal experiences, prejudices and whatnot that comes into play.

    I think we can all agree that it’s possible to be entirely mistaken about judging someone’s intentions.

    A woman can experience the exact same threat when a man simply enters the elevator, but I assume nobody would fault him for that, right?*

    *Eh, unless everyone here is of the ‘men should always cross the street to avoid potentially upsetting those fragile little butterflies that are the females of the species.**

    **And if you are, I’ll just take the thousands of ‘FUCK YOU”s that are about to come my way and take my leave :)

    And by the clues he was giving her at that time, it wasn’t clear he wasn’t going to do anything. Since he has followed her from the bar to the elevator, he might have followed her to her room and pushed his way in.

    How exactly do you give of the clue that you’re not going to do anything?

    Presumably, rapists tend not to give off strong clues prior to the act of rape, allowing a woman to avoid the situations.

    He might have also taken a different elevator and meet her in the hallway. That could have been interpreted as him deliberately following her the hallway with the intend of… etc.

    Again, by this line of reasoning, it’s impossible for any man to signal his intentions of ‘not wanting to rape’, because those signals could also be interpreted as giving off that impression.

    We know now that wasn’t his plan but that doesn’t mean she was wrong or didn’t have the right to feel uncomfortable and feel it was highly inappropriate what he did.

    Like I said, she felt what she felt. That certainly isn’t under her control, and is such you can’t say she was ‘wrong’ to feel that way.

    Rebecca was giving talks on sexism at conferences and then this dude goes from the conference to the bar to the elevator and doesn’t speak to her, and blatantly doesn’t care about all the clues she’d been giving out about not wanting to be hit on. Like saying in her talk, she didn’t want to be hit on.
    Now, all she said about this incident was “Guys, this can make women feel women uncomfortable. This will make them not want to come to conferences. Don’t do this.” And now its all her fault and its soooo horrible that she pointed this out.

    No. I watched her initial video and other than ‘Smooth moves, asshole’, I wasn’t bothered in the least with her mentioning it. It was a video about her personal experiences during the trip, and as such, I don’t see how this one was any different.

    A lot of people are brining that up, acting as if any and all criticism of RW during ‘elevatorgate’ is solely because of her initial video is just wrong, deliberately or not.
    While there were plenty of that, some criticized her behaviour in the aftermath, her actions towards McGraw, Dawkins, for example. Those have little, if anything, to do with the initial video. Pretending that it does is just silly.

    You do not get to decide what my letter meant. Dawkins came in this issue after several thread where I and others have been talking about our experiences. He did in fact belittle our experiences because we weren’t Muslim women getting parts cut off so we should just shut up about it all. Fuck that. I was offended. He was wrong. Sexism is both the big and the small incidences. What you going to say that theres only mico-sexism but no macro? Or its just the macro and no micro?* Get a clue.
    Of course the letter writing campaign was deliberately set up and executed to give that impression, because he did in fact belittle our experiences and we are enlightening him. There was no lying or misconstruction about the letters.

    “Think of the suffering your poor American sisters have to put up with.

    Only this week I heard of one, she calls herself Skep”chick”, and do you know what happened to her? A man in a hotel elevator invited her back to his room for coffee. I am not exaggerating. He really did. He invited her back to his room for coffee. Of course she said no, and of course he didn’t lay a finger on her, but even so . . .”

    I still wonder how anyone interpreted that as dismissing rape or sexual violence.

    As for micro/macro sexism; I’m not even sure I’d qualify EG’s behaviour as sexist per se, and not innate human dickishness, lack of tact or just being dense.

    But even if you do consider his behaviour rooted in sexism, I still think there’s a huge difference between sexist behaviour and rape. One may be born out of, and perhaps related to, the other, by actually committing an act of rape you’ve gone way beyond the boundaries of sexism and gone to physical and sexual violence.

  205. Just_A_Lurker says

    I despise it with a passion, but also another horrible aspect of religion is also to paint a picture of men as humans who care only about sex – no such thing as love or mutual friendship. I didn’t mean my last comment as a pun, I was quite serious. All forms of sexism should be addressed, wherever they happen.

    Yes, Patriarchy hurts men too. That doesn’t mean we need to include everyone in every discussion, that would be kind of hard to discuss right? So we take little topics at a time, which even that can get out of hand as you can see. We do have posts directed at just the men issues, and just the transgender and transexual. People here don’t let others get away with discrimination.

    However, when men come whining about their issues in a post about women, as it always happens is wrong. WHAT ABOUT THE MENZ? Is a fucking trope that needs to stop. Respect the boundaries dude and talk about whats on topic. The Men get plenty of attention about what they face, so why don’t we just give the women’s issues the space it needs and doesn’t get?

  206. sudoma bin usri says

    devogene,

    …to paint a picture of men as humans who care only about sex…

    I see this argument used most often as an excuse for sexist male behavior. If you have another example of sexism against men, I’d gladly consider it.

  207. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    But even if you do consider his behaviour rooted in sexism, I still think there’s a huge difference between sexist behaviour and rape.

    And no one is, to my knowledge and (apparently) severely limited reading ability, arguing otherwise. Please point out a comment on this thread in which a commenter conflates rape and sexist behaviour. Because apparently I don’t read well enough to grok it. Either point it out, or take your strawman and go home.

  208. nmmng says

    The comments section at USA Today is a grisly sight — I don’t recommend it unless you’re strong of stomach. A few samples:

    why is it that a blog post about female genital mutilation on a high traffic blog might generate a few dozen comments, but a privileged western white woman being on the receiving end of a clumsy pass leads to thousands of angry comments?

    Obviously, PZ has a pretty weak stomach if he can’t handle a fair question.

  209. julian says

    I still wonder how anyone interpreted that as dismissing rape or sexual violence.

    Didn’t he also scoff at the idea that an elevator might add to how intimidating an encounter could be? I remember him laughing off someone’s complaint saying (and this is a paraphrase) ‘She could just off push the stop button.’

  210. RahXephon, un féminist nucléaire says

    How does one give off the impression that one is harmless?

    A good start would be not following a woman you’ve never spoken to before onto an elevator at 4 AM to ask her to your room for “coffee”. Interacting with women in a non-threatening manner is not wizardry, it’s a bit of common sense and empathy, and I’m annoyed that MRAs keep acting as if it’s really so goddamned difficult.

    *Eh, unless everyone here is of the ‘men should always cross the street to avoid potentially upsetting those fragile little butterflies that are the females of the species.

    Yeah, because asking men to be considerate of women as fellow human beings means we want to coddle women. Reductionism is so 2010.

    And if you are, I’ll just take the thousands of ‘FUCK YOU”s that are about to come my way and take my leave

    Poisoning the well is great and all, but if you realize you’re advocating a position that is despicable and that will only provoke more negative responses, why post it? Are you just that lonely?

    Again, by this line of reasoning, it’s impossible for any man to signal his intentions of ‘not wanting to rape’, because those signals could also be interpreted as giving off that impression.

    Not approaching a strange woman at 4 AM in an elevator to ask her to come to your room for “coffee” is, as I said, a very good signal. Your feigned cluelessness is not endearing.

  211. Rinus says

    @ Ogvorbis

    Er, ‘Dick’ is an accepted diminutive of Richard in the reality most of us inhabit. In what reality is ‘Twatson’ an accepted diminutive of Watson?

    Yes. I’m sure I could come up with a clever abbreviation that just happens to spell C.U.N.T. Just by accident, ya’know. Come now, let’s not pretend we don’t all know what was meant by that opening line.

    I don’t actually care, mind you. I’m not the least bit offended by gendered insults, or words in general. Point is, if you do object to their usage, don’t use them yourself and don’t feature their usage on your blog.

    @ Lurker

    Wow you must be so enlightened. Why do you take us to the magical world of Equalia where you live and everyone is equal. Or we could work towards equality here and you can stop tripping balls.

    What the fuck is wrong with you?

    Same as with the ‘Dear Dick..’. If you don’t want people dismissing you for being female, don’t link their failings to their gender, age or skin colour.

    Once again, I don’t personally care. I won’t claim I was hurt or offended by any of this shit. When I am discriminated against based on my being white, male and heterosexual, which is usually right after I see a flying unicorn fart a rainbow, I am more amused than insulted. I’m slightly weirded out when, the other day, I saw a feminist argue that we should stop using the word ‘dickhead’ as well, because it’s offensive to men. I understood why she said it, but it’s still rather weird to here someone say I should be offended when I’m quite sure I';m not.

    However, if you attack others over sexist language, don’t use it yourself. Even though you can’t compare sexism towards men and sexism towards women that easily, at least be consistent. Don’t be a fucking hypocrite.

  212. Rinus says

    Know how men can signal not wanting to rape? Accept “no” for an answer and go away. Sheesh.

    Like EG did…?

  213. kristinc says

    I’ll just take the thousands of ‘FUCK YOU”s that are about to come my way and take my leave

    Bye.

  214. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    I don’t actually care, mind you. I’m not the least bit offended by gendered insults, or words in general. Point is, if you do object to their usage, don’t use them yourself and don’t feature their usage on your blog.

    First, please point out an instance, on this blog, in which I have used a gendered insult. Second, this is not my blog. Third, good for you that your don’t care when gendered insults are used. Wonderful. That, and $1.05, will get you a cup of coffee at Sheetz.

  215. Rinus says

    @ Ogvorbis

    And no one is, to my knowledge and (apparently) severely limited reading ability, arguing otherwise. Please point out a comment on this thread in which a commenter conflates rape and sexist behaviour. Because apparently I don’t read well enough to grok it. Either point it out, or take your strawman and go home.

    I didn’t say people were doing so in this thread. I was refering to the letter campaign, which certainly did seem to set out to create that impression.

    @ Julian

    Didn’t he also scoff at the idea that an elevator might add to how intimidating an encounter could be? I remember him laughing off someone’s complaint saying (and this is a paraphrase) ‘She could just off push the stop button.’

    Yeah, that was a really nice example of how to dig one’s own hole.

  216. julian says

    Pretending that it does is just silly.

    A case might be made that much of the later criticism was just a smokescreen for the earlier stuff. Several posters online shifted their arguments from calling Rebecca Watson as strident feminist bitch over EG to the same thing over Ms Mcgraw and the Letter to Dawkins campaign. Ms Smith at ERV for example was still going on about how Ms Watson was wrong for humiliating EG the way she did late into Elevatorgate.

  217. RahXephon, un féminist nucléaire says

    Know how men can signal not wanting to rape? Accept “no” for an answer and go away. Sheesh.

    Like EG did…?

    Right, which is why Rebecca Watson NEVER SAID THE GUY WAS TRYING TO RAPE HER. Rape was brought up as a reason women might be uncomfortable with strange men in enclosed spaces, not that RW thought she was gonna be raped, that she cried rape, that she called the man a rapist. She never did any of that, nor did anyone defending her.

  218. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    I didn’t say people were doing so in this thread. I was refering to the letter campaign, which certainly did seem to set out to create that impression.

    Care to supply a quote with that?

  219. tomh says

    Idiots. This is America we’re talking about, where every two minutes someone is sexually assaulted, over 90% of them women. Any woman who isn’t constantly vigilant is just foolish. As for these manly men, how hard is it to wait for the next elevator, or cross the street if you’re walking behind a woman, especially at night. I’ve done it for years and no one had to lecture me about how women might feel fear in a situation like that. A modicum of common sense would suggest that might be the case. Idiots.

  220. says

    Seriously, Rinus? I can’t help it if the diminutive form of the name of a person acting like a whiny child also happens to be a nickname for a penis. But feel free to figure out how often I actually use gendered insults and make a case that this is what I was doing–not just what you read because you wanted to make “Twatson” A-OK.

  221. Just_A_Lurker says

    However, if you attack others over sexist language, don’t use it yourself. Even though you can’t compare sexism towards men and sexism towards women that easily, at least be consistent. Don’t be a fucking hypocrite.

    Um, tripping balls refers to acid. Is that the gendered insult? I don’t see it as such but I’m willing to understand if it is. Its not a derogatory like “Man up” or anything, so I assumed it was fine. I don’t use gendered insults, or at least try not to. Because you see its all a matter of being less sexist, not a matter of “Im not sexist. I’m never sexist.” We all grew up with a sexist society, its all about fighting back and becoming better. Someone saying “Im not sexist” is usually a good clue.

  222. julian says

    Like EG did…?

    EG isn’t the issue as has been pointed out a number of times. The response to Ms Watson’s mild rebuke is what set a lot of feminists off.

    And, Rinus, strangers isolating you and then propositioning you for sex is something many people would describe as inappropriate behavior.

    Same as with the ‘Dear Dick..’. If you don’t want people dismissing you for being female, don’t link their failings to their gender, age or skin colour.

    But that isn’t what ‘Dear Dick’ did. Have you read it, at all?

  223. kristinc says

    Like EG did…?

    Right

    Wrong, actually. Since Watson had issued a global “no” earlier by giving a talk about how she dislikes being hit on at atheist events.

    EG ignored that “no” when he reasoned, hey, she couldn’t have been talking about being hit on by HIM.

    EG also ignored the implied, but perfectly socially understandable, global “no” that is a woman announcing she is TIRED and going back to her hotel room to SLEEP.

  224. Sheesh says

    I bet with all the White Knighting that Rinus has done in this thread that Richard Dawkins will finally meet him in his hotel room for coffee!

    Honor demands, amirite?

    Remember ladies, even though you may have been raped in the awesome old Anglosphere, Muslimas have it way worse so just shut up already!

    (If you don’t Rinus will call you a hypocrite!)

  225. Rey Fox says

    Yeah, that was a really nice example of how to dig one’s own hole.

    And how to dismiss rape or sexual violence.

  226. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    I find it interesting that people are criticizing RW for making an assumption about the risk posed by an unknown man who cornered her in an elevator. Since risk assessment and mitigation are part of my day job, I thought I’d weight in.

    First, the one thing you try to avoid is an unknown risk. An unknown risk cannot be bounded–that is, it is not limited. The way you bound the risk is by looking at similar past situations. However it is critical that these past situations be in some way representative of the current situation being assessed. So even if we grant that some men pose no risk wrt rape, it is impossible to assess whether EG falls into that category or not. As such, we muct consider the broader category of “all men”, some of whom do pose a threat. Further, I would note that there is no cost to RW or any other woman in telling A COMPLETE STRANGER to take a hike. Fuck “fair”, what RW was doing was proper risk assessment.

  227. Just_A_Lurker says

    Oh and even if she did you use dickhead, that was doesn’t mean its ok for them to call her Twatson. And wasn’t twatson around before she wrote “Dear Dick”? Yeah well we are human, after all that shit going on I’m surprised she just said dick. And I’ve only seen “Dear Dick” used once. Seriously. There are thousands of comments and people calling her twatson since this started. People call Ricard “Dick” and its not the same thing. Not even close. And how do you know it was meant to be taken like that anyways?

  228. Rinus says

    A good start would be not following a woman you’ve never spoken to before onto an elevator at 4 AM to ask her to your room for “coffee”. Interacting with women in a non-threatening manner is not wizardry, it’s a bit of common sense and empathy, and I’m annoyed that MRAs keep acting as if it’s really so goddamned difficult.

    Calling everyone that differs in opinion ‘MRA’ is really becoming a recurring theme on this blog. A rather annoying one at that.

    Back on point, however…

    Different women have different.. threat bubbles? Comfort zones? However it’s referred to in English. What is threatening to one may not be so to others. So the mere fact that a man made a woman feel uncomfortable alone can never be an argument to suggest he was ‘wrong’ to behave in such a manner. Which does seem to be happening quite a lot in this discussion.

    Yeah, because asking men to be considerate of women as fellow human beings means we want to coddle women. Reductionism is so 2010.

    Being considerate or being patronizing? I should think one can turn into the other at some point.

    Poisoning the well is great and all, but if you realize you’re advocating a position that is despicable and that will only provoke more negative responses, why post it? Are you just that lonely?

    That bit with the asterixes was intended as tongue-in-cheek. I thought that was rather obvious. Perhaps not.*

    *to everyone.**

    **see what I did there?

    Not approaching a strange woman at 4 AM in an elevator to ask her to come to your room for “coffee” is, as I said, a very good signal. Your feigned cluelessness is not endearing.

    Well, perhaps. Perhaps not. I’ve met women under not such different circumstances and had results that were rather the opposite than being labeled for all eternity as ‘creepy elevator guy’.
    I met an ex-girlfriend on the street, at 5 am., on my way home form the pub. I thought she was cute, made some small-talk and we exchanged phone-numbers. Granted, it’s not an invitation for coffee at my hotel-room, but well, different circumstances. No hotel-room for one.

    Point is, it’s not so easy to label these types of situations as ‘always’ wrong and creepy and sexist and whatnot. Perhaps in this case it was. Given RW’s reaction, he certainly didn’t have the best judgement. However, that’s not to say it’s always wrong for guys to chat up a woman on an elevator. Much less sexist.

  229. kristinc says

    Any woman who isn’t constantly vigilant is just foolish.

    I get that you’re intending to be an ally — but as an ally, you may want to watch out for statements like this. A huge number of women are raped in their own homes, and a majority of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim. I’m sure you can see how, under these circumstances, expecting women to be “constantly vigilant” is somewhat unrealistic.

  230. says

    Like EG did…?

    not quite; EG took her 3rd “no”, but not the previous two. I’m willing to accept that he might not have been present for the first one, but if he wasn’t around for the second one, he had no business inviting her anywhere to begin with. Aside from that though, RW said he made her feel awkward, not threatened; the awkwardness stems from the situation, which is right out of the PUA handbook: maximize potential success by ignoring negative signals and isolating the target.

  231. Rey Fox says

    What is threatening to one may not be so to others.

    So clearly the prudent course of action is to be threatening to everyone. Clearly.

    Granted, it’s not an invitation for coffee at my hotel-room, but well, different circumstances. No hotel-room for one.

    Woah, you better stop there, you’re coming dangerously close to learning something.

  232. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    So the mere fact that a man made a woman feel uncomfortable alone can never be an argument to suggest he was ‘wrong’ to behave in such a manner.

    Do you even read what others write?

    It has been noted above that

    Since Watson had issued a global “no” earlier by giving a talk about how she dislikes being hit on at atheist events.

    EG ignored that “no” when he reasoned, hey, she couldn’t have been talking about being hit on by HIM.

    EG also ignored the implied, but perfectly socially understandable, global “no” that is a woman announcing she is TIRED and going back to her hotel room to SLEEP.

    So, regardless of Rebecca Watson’s reaction, whether it sparked a fear or panic response or not, whether she politely, and without naming him* by name, it was still wrong for exactly the reason krisinc elucidated.

  233. says

    regarding Schroedinger’s Rapist and the strager rape vs. acquaintance rape statistics, this generally works out like this:

    girl meets boy. girl ignores slight twinge of discomfort, because as we all know, Schroedinger’s Rapist is sexist. Girl goes out with boy several more times, and suppresses twinge of discomfort, because otherwise, the guy is really nice and all her friends like him, too. After 6 weeks of dating, he rapes her.

    That is an acquaintance rape, not a stranger rape.

    Mind you, it’s not likely that women acting on Schroedinger’s Rapist will prevent many rapes. It’s not really an ought, like the rape-prevention bullshit targeted at women would have us believe; it is an is, a common mindset of women as a result of stranger rapes as well as a result of the fact that all friends, dates, boyfriends, and husbands start out as strangers, too. It is a coping strategy, not a solution, and getting pissed at it is futile and entitled.

  234. Rinus says

    Stephanie

    Seriously, Rinus? I can’t help it if the diminutive form of the name of a person acting like a whiny child also happens to be a nickname for a penis. But feel free to figure out how often I actually use gendered insults and make a case that this is what I was doing–not just what you read because you wanted to make “Twatson” A-OK.

    Even if you didn’t intend it that way, you probably should have know better. Certainly in a discussion relating to sexism, deliberately using ‘Dick’ rather than ‘Richard, for whatever reason is bound to give off the wrong impression.

    Besides, I didn’t say ‘Twatson’ was A-OK. Again, people that liked ‘Twatson’ shouldn’t be complaining about the ‘Dear Dick..’ letter. It does both ways.
    I did chuck a bit though, since it was somewhat clever and I knew it would get the opposition up, which at that point seemed to be the extent of the entire debate anyway. (Yeah, I can be somewhat of a dick) It quickly got boring though and it’s only clever once, not a hundred times. It didn’t help that the guy who coined it seems to be rather obsessed with exposing the demon that is RW, either.

  235. Lyra says

    Oi at all of this “she was never in any danger” talk.

    I’m going to describe a situation to you. A young woman has just gotten off work at the mall. She lives in a town/area of about, oh, 70,000 people. It’s a pretty safe area, a place that people describe as “a good place to raise kids.” It’s the middle of the day; broad daylight. The young woman starts walking through the mall parking lot to her car. As she walks, she talks with her boyfriend on her cellphone. The parking lot is relatively busy with other people.

    How much danger would we say this woman is in? Almost no danger? A very little danger? A little danger? Moderate danger? Severe danger? Extreme danger? Life-threatening danger?

    Now, most people (including me) would place this woman’s danger level on the low end of the scale. If this woman went home without incident, it would be easy to scoff at anyone who said that maybe she was in some kind of danger. “Nothing happened! She was fine! Stop being paranoid!” people might be inclined to say.

    But we would be wrong. The story I just told is that of Dru Sjodin, a woman who was kidnapped, raped, and murdered. I was living in the same town as she was when the whole thing went down.

    So I wish that people wouldn’t say that a woman shouldn’t have been nervous in a given situation because nothing ended up happening; such a statement depends on information that isn’t available at the time (we can’t know during the situation that nothing will happen; we only know after the situation is over).

    Now, I’m not saying that women should cower in fear. I refuse to live my life like that, often in ways that people chide me for (“You’re walking by yourself? At night?! *gasp!*”). But we feel what we feel. Sometimes those feelings accurately reflect the level of danger we’re in. Sometimes they don’t (as Dru’s murder testifies). But regardless of how much they actually reflect reality, they are our feelings, and insisting that we shouldn’t feel that way isn’t helpful.

  236. tomh says

    expecting women to be “constantly vigilant” is somewhat unrealistic.

    You don’t think women should be vigilant with people they know? This isn’t the way things should be, it’s the way things are in America.

  237. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    I’m sure you can see how, under these circumstances, expecting women to be “constantly vigilant” is somewhat unrealistic.

    And, if I may add this, it is also a way to shift blame to the victim. “She was raped? What was she wearing? Where was she? Had she been drinking? Was she alone? Was she wearing high heals? Did she have a gun or a knife? Did she scream? Did she fight back? Was she constantly vigilant?” And I’m most likely missing some, but all of these questions, when asked of a rape victim, imply that the rape was, at least in part, her fault — forget that the rapist made the decision to commit the rape, his culpability is ameliorated by the victims actions. So yeah, threat assessment is important, but it does not, in any way, transfer any of the culpability for the rape away from the rapist.

  238. Pteryxx says

    Calling everyone that differs in opinion ‘MRA’ is really becoming a recurring theme on this blog. A rather annoying one at that.

    Back on point, however…

    Different women have different.. threat bubbles? Comfort zones? However it’s referred to in English. What is threatening to one may not be so to others. So the mere fact that a man made a woman feel uncomfortable alone can never be an argument to suggest he was ‘wrong’ to behave in such a manner.

    You just argued that men’s right to hit on women (even though some men are rapists) trumps women’s right to protect themselves (even though some women have been raped). Know what that makes you?

    An MRA.

  239. David Marjanović, OM says

    Also, I see Rhinus is of the belief that the underclass only gets uppity when a troublemaker incites them. We can’t possibly have motivations and reactions of our own, you see.

    *lightbulb moment*

    “as appose to”

    As opposed to. Ob-pos-ed. Put against, in Latin.

    and do you know what happened to her? A man in a hotel elevator invited her back to his room for coffee. I am not exaggerating. He really did. He invited her back to his room for coffee.

    A man listened to her giving a talk on how she does not enjoy being hit on by strangers, especially not in enclosed spaces. Then he listened to her talking about the same thing at a bar. Then she said she was tired and wanted to go to bed. Then he got up, followed her all the way into the elevator, waited until the door had closed, and then he asked her to his hotel room at four in the morning. At a conference, where people already don’t get enough sleep.

    Translation: “Hi, I don’t care what you said or how you feel, come be alone with me. And you have no escape unless I let you.”

    Even if all he wanted was to drink coffee with her*, he was an asshole.

    * Oh, two more things: 1) caffeine at 4 am – need I go on; 2) the abovementioned bar served coffee, certainly much better coffee than you can get in a hotel room.

  240. says

    Rinus, shove a pop tart in it.

    @ Ogvorbis

    Er, ‘Dick’ is an accepted diminutive of Richard in the reality most of us inhabit. In what reality is ‘Twatson’ an accepted diminutive of Watson?

    Yes. I’m sure I could come up with a clever abbreviation that just happens to spell C.U.N.T. Just by accident, ya’know. Come now, let’s not pretend we don’t all know what was meant by that opening line.

    Oh, I see. So people get to call PZ “Paul” (be sure to look that one up on Urban Dictionary!) when they are upset at him and people get to refer to a nameless Muslim woman as “Muslima” in dismissing atheist women, but don’t you DARE call Richard “Dick”!

    I don’t actually care, mind you. I’m not the least bit offended by gendered insults, or words in general. Point is, if you do object to their usage, don’t use them yourself and don’t feature their usage on your blog.

    Hey Beavis, do you find it funny every time you bump into someone named Dick?

    @ Lurker

    Wow you must be so enlightened. Why do you take us to the magical world of Equalia where you live and everyone is equal. Or we could work towards equality here and you can stop tripping balls.

    What the fuck is wrong with you?

    Same as with the ‘Dear Dick..’. If you don’t want people dismissing you for being female, don’t link their failings to their gender, age or skin colour.

    You are in extreme denial about the name “Dick” and the richness of the English word “dick” and about who said what.

    I’m slightly weirded out when, the other day, I saw a feminist argue that we should stop using the word ‘dickhead’ as well, because it’s offensive to men. I understood why she said it, but it’s still rather weird to here someone say I should be offended when I’m quite sure I’;m not.

    Holy Spam! I wonder why that is? Could it be that “dick” is not that offensive of a word? And wait, why are you going on and on about a word you could not care less about?

    However, if you attack others over sexist language, don’t use it yourself.

    Attack? Attack?! So now women who protest being called “cunts” and “twats” are attacking those so disparaging them?

    Even though you can’t compare sexism towards men and sexism towards women that easily, at least be consistent. Don’t be a fucking hypocrite.

    Next thing you know, you’ll be lecturing us on reverse racism.

  241. RahXephon, un féminist nucléaire says

    @kristinc

    Like EG did…?

    Right

    Wrong, actually.

    That right was sarcastic. My point was that RW never accused him of rape, and nobody here is saying she did either…except for the trolls.

    @Rinus

    Calling everyone that differs in opinion ‘MRA’ is really becoming a recurring theme on this blog. A rather annoying one at that.

    If the shoe fits, wear it. If you don’t wanna be confused or identified as an MRA, don’t make arguments that they make.

    Different women have different.. threat bubbles? Comfort zones? However it’s referred to in English. What is threatening to one may not be so to others. So the mere fact that a man made a woman feel uncomfortable alone can never be an argument to suggest he was ‘wrong’ to behave in such a manner. Which does seem to be happening quite a lot in this discussion.

    This argument is made by MRAs, for instance, that since Women Are Not A Monolith, and gauging their “safe zones” requires actual work, that thus men should get to approach women wherever they want, whenever they want, however they want, and if the women don’t like it they should just suck it up because “there are women who are cool with it”. Wrong. You don’t set the standard at women that are least concerned with rape, you set it at the people who are most concerned. You know why? Because if you act according to what the least concerned women will accept, then you’re going to hurt and scare a lot of women below that level. If you set a lower boundary instead, you risk bothering vastly fewer women. Are you interested in helping women or not?

    Being considerate or being patronizing? I should think one can turn into the other at some point.

    How would a man crossing the street to avoid threatening a woman at night come across as patronizing? I didn’t realize that was an emotion you could project at distance, or that it was night-visible. As I said, you’re being deliberately clueless at this point. What’s really patronizing is telling women when they are or are not allowed to exercise caution and in what way.

    I met an ex-girlfriend on the street, at 5 am., on my way home form the pub. I thought she was cute, made some small-talk and we exchanged phone-numbers. Granted, it’s not an invitation for coffee at my hotel-room, but well, different circumstances. No hotel-room for one.

    Shorter version: here’s a situation I was in that was nothing like Elevatorgate. So then why did you bring it up? You ran into her in a natural setting, one in which she had many choices of exit. She also had not, at least as far as your story goes, expressed a distinct desire not to be hit on in streets, even going so far as to give a speech about not getting hit on in streets. Do you see why your story’s not really applicable? At all?

  242. kristinc says

    You don’t think women should be vigilant with people they know?

    I’m saying it’s impossible for a woman to be “constantly vigilant” with people she knows well, while having any sort of normal life.

    Look. I was raped in my own bed. I was raped by the man I had shared that bed with for over two years. “Constant vigilance” would have meant never having an intimate relationship with a man, ever. And in the case of many rape victims, “constant vigilance” would have meant never having a father or a brother.

    You’re sliding rapidly away from “ally” here.

  243. Sally Strange, OM says

    Mind you, it’s not likely that women acting on Schroedinger’s Rapist will prevent many rapes. It’s not really an ought, like the rape-prevention bullshit targeted at women would have us believe; it is an is, a common mindset of women as a result of stranger rapes as well as a result of the fact that all friends, dates, boyfriends, and husbands start out as strangers, too. It is a coping strategy, not a solution, and getting pissed at it is futile and entitled.

    That last part–that this is not a question of how things ought to be, but a question of how things really are–deserves to be emphasized. If rape were not so common, and if the successful prosecution of rapists were not so very UNcommon, Schroedinger’s Rapist would not be a thing at all.

    Women acting on Schroedinger’s Rapist will not deter many rapes.

    However, I do believe that if a critical mass of men start heeding the lessons of Schroedinger’s Rapist, it will make it more difficult for actual rapists to “hide in plain sight,” as it were, by disguising their techniques as common dating techniques. The fewer non-rapist men use coercive tactics to try to get a non-rapey date, the more actual rapists’ coercive tactics will stick out. The fewer non-rapist men accept that it’s okay to have sex with a woman when she’s drunk and nearly passed out, the easier it will be to convict an actual rapist who uses drugs and alcohol as a rape tactic.

    As the “Meet the Predators” articles detail, the rapists who are repeat rapists and responsible for the lion’s share of assaults committed in this country usually disdain to use actual physical force as a rape tactic. They use tactics that don’t fit with our narrative of what a “rape-rape” (Whoopi Goldberg is never going to live that one down) looks like, and this minimizes the chances that they will be reported, brought to trial, and convicted.

    What we seem to be hearing from trolls and MRAs is that it should be perfectly socially acceptable to disregard a woman’s “NO” signals, so long as you don’t cross the line into actually fucking her without her consent. What we’re trying to say is that if that is socially acceptable, then you’re making the tactics most popular with undetected rapists socially acceptable. It’s precisely because these tactics are socially acceptable that undetected rapists favor them. Perhaps if disregarding a woman’s clear “NO” signal (however it comes, in the form of body language, or “I’m tired and I’m going to sleep now”) is seen as a really serious faux pas that a woman SHOULD view as a complete deal-breaker when it comes to getting dates, undetected rapists would have fewer options and fewer opportunities to rape and get away with it.

  244. julian says

    Different women have different.. threat bubbles? Comfort zones?

    So what?

    Some women don’t mind having their tops pulled down in public. How exactly does that translate to men who make a habit of pulling women’s tops down not behaving inappropriately?

    Inviting someone for sex is still considered an intimate invitation, one you would not expect a complete stranger to present you with in most situations. It also falls under the same umbrella as catcalls and inappropriate email pictures when it comes to harassment. Really it isn’t unfair to anyone to say if you are in a public or professional place, or don’t have reason to suspect the environment you are in is for hooking up, your first words to someone shouldn’t be ‘Let’s make babies.’

  245. Rinus says

    @Lyra

    I could tell a story of a woman at work, in her office. Suddenly, a plane hits the building she’s working in. Should all office-workers be in constant fear of this?

    It’s obvious that the experience of fear has little to with statistics. I have no problem driving across Europe, walking the street late at night by myself, etc. but don’t like swimming in deep waters where I can’t see the bottom. Clearly these are hardly rational, giving some thought to the actual likelihood of what -might- happen.

    Are you saying that fear of rape is somewhat similar in that it is something all (most?) women experience beyond what is ‘reasonable’, as in, in some way relating to the actual threat of rape? Is the fear of rape so different from fear of car-accidents, murder, muggings and all the other things that ‘could happen at every moment’?

  246. julian says

    Besides, I didn’t say ‘Twatson’ was A-OK. Again, people that liked ‘Twatson’ shouldn’t be complaining about the ‘Dear Dick..’ letter. It does both ways.

    This is what you came away with after reading that letter? All those stories and what got to you was a title that doesn’t even try to evoke ‘dick’ as an insult?

  247. =8)-DX says

    “Because if you act by assuming any particular women is easily traumatized by interacting with men, then that pretty much shuts down any possible behavior.”

    No, men should (and most well-brought up men do) treat women respectfully in situations, where the woman would otherwise feel pressured. We walk them home if they’re friends. We don’t get in the taxi if we’ve met first time in the bar. We hit on them when they’re safely among friends, we politely walk home (instead of drooling over them) when we’re totally drunk or stoned.

    It’s called basic decency, and although we often fall short (and women often rub us up the wrong way as well!), I consider this basic humanity and reciprocal socialising.

    I don’t act as if they will be traumatised, I try to act so that they (and I) will be pleased and comfortable.

  248. Sally Strange, OM says

    Are you saying that fear of rape is somewhat similar in that it is something all (most?) women experience beyond what is ‘reasonable’, as in, in some way relating to the actual threat of rape?

    Statistically, in the US, between 1 in 4 and 1 in 7 women will experience an attempted or completed sexual assault. Statistically, in the US, approximately 1 in 8 men self-report sexually assaulting or attempting to sexually assault someone. Statistically, in the US, if you get raped, you have a 1 in 16 chance of actually seeing your rapist brought to justice. Statistically, if you are a rape victim, there is a 9 in 10 chance that you are a woman. Statistically, if you are a rapist, there is a better than 9 in 10 chance that you are a man.

    How does that compare to the statistics involved in your plane-crashing scenario?

    Is the fear of rape so different from fear of car-accidents, murder, muggings and all the other things that ‘could happen at every moment’?

    Yes. Car accidents are not intentional. Muggings are motivated by greed. Murder is motivated by many things. Rape is motivated by hatred of women (and/or hatred of women combined with lust–shut UP already about the sex/power thing! I see you typing, stop it right now). Fear of rape is the price women have been made to pay for daring to insist on voting, owning property, not being treated as chattel, and having the right to exist in the public sphere. It’s a way of restricting women’s freedom without actually passing laws to keep them off the streets. It’s a way of punishing women, lesbians, gay men, transgender people, and anyone who violates the patriarchal gender binary system.

    Any more questions that reveal far too much of your sexist mindset, Rinus?

  249. Sally Strange, OM says

    Rinus,

    Stop telling people how they should feel.

    What are you, Therrin, some kind of gyno-fascist? Of course Rinus needs to tell women how they should feel! How else will they know the sweet, cold embrace of rationality?

  250. Rinus says

    This seems to sum up most of the arguments. The ones that made sense, anyway.

    Some women don’t mind having their tops pulled down in public. How exactly does that translate to men who make a habit of pulling women’s tops down not behaving inappropriately?

    Well, you use you best judgement, I suppose. Point is, mistakes are going to be made in human interaction. Just as a woman might mistakenly take certain behaviour as ‘creepy’ or ‘rape’ish’ (is that a word?), a guy might mistakenly believe a woman could be interested. Polite conversation is usually way to go about this.

    Some people are obviously going to be quite bad at this. EG would be a good example. He could have easily expected Watson not to be very open to his offer, considering she had pretty much said so in advance. Again, I’d sooner think him just plain dense where it concerns general human interaction rather than motivated by sexism.

    Inviting someone for sex is still considered an intimate invitation, one you would not expect a complete stranger to present you with in most situations. It also falls under the same umbrella as catcalls and inappropriate email pictures when it comes to harassment. Really it isn’t unfair to anyone to say if you are in a public or professional place, or don’t have reason to suspect the environment you are in is for hooking up, your first words to someone shouldn’t be ‘Let’s make babies.’

    No argument there, really. Even a ‘MRA’ like me is annoyed with, say, people in restaurants flirt incessantly with cute waitress who clearly isn’t interested but just being polite because she doesn’t want to loose her fucking job.

    But just to be annoying; it’s not really the same situation as with EG :p

  251. julian says

    Is the fear of rape so different from fear of car-accidents, murder, muggings and all the other things that ‘could happen at every moment’?

    Yes.

    Rape targeting women is very common, carries a huge amount of social stigma and is something the victim has to live with for the rest of their life. It is not unreasonable to be worried about it (especially if it has happened to you or someone you know.)

    And everything you list is something people do watch out for. We buckle-up, look both ways, don’t drink and drive ectectect to help avoid car accidents. We don’t take home complete strangers or walk down dangerous neighborhoods because of muggings or murders.

    We all try to minimize the dangers around us. It isn’t irrational or racist as some have been claiming to be watchful or alert.

  252. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    Is the fear of rape so different from fear of car-accidents, murder, muggings and all the other things that ‘could happen at every moment’?

    Yes, yes it is. A car accident will not leave the victim carrying the rapist’s fetus, weighing the dicision between abortion and birth. A murder does not surround the victim with questions about what kind of underwear and shoes,the deceased was wearing. A mugging does not create a whole passel of friends and relatives who now secretly wonder if it was rape, or is she a lying slut. To pretend that you do not have any clue about the history of rape, to feign ignorance of the stigma rape carries, shows what you really are.

  253. Lyra says

    Rinus said

    I could tell a story of a woman at work, in her office. Suddenly, a plane hits the building she’s working in. Should all office-workers be in constant fear of this?

    Lyra said in the post you were addressing

    Now, I’m not saying that women should cower in fear. I refuse to live my life like that, often in ways that people chide me for (“You’re walking by yourself? At night?! *gasp!*”).

    Rinus said

    Are you saying that fear of rape is somewhat similar in that it is something all (most?) women experience beyond what is ‘reasonable’, as in, in some way relating to the actual threat of rape? Is the fear of rape so different from fear of car-accidents, murder, muggings and all the other things that ‘could happen at every moment’?

    I don’t know what you mean by “reasonable.” I’m not sure there is a way to objectively describe how afraid people should be of something that has a decent chance of happening, but a decent chance of not happening. I do think that people are afraid of things that don’t match up to how dangerous they; to use an example, people are more afraid of flying than o driving, despite the fact that you are exponentially more likely to die in a car accident than a plane crash. But I’m not really sure what difference that makes. My mother is claustrophobic for no good reason at all (she can’t even point at some small chance of rape as her reason; she has no reason). Telling her that elevators aren’t actually dangerous so she shouldn’t be afraid to get into one is stupid. She’s afraid. I respect that.

  254. says

    However, I do believe that if a critical mass of men start heeding the lessons of Schroedinger’s Rapist, it will make it more difficult for actual rapists to “hide in plain sight,” as it were, by disguising their techniques as common dating techniques.

    QFT. if boundary-pushing behavior wasn’t socially constructed as a normal part of flirting; if putting male desires over female desires weren’t considered the status quo; if men abandoned the “as long as a single woman somewhere isn’t put off by this, I’m allowed to do this” rule of approaching women; if the transactional/competition model of sex weren’t mainstream; if slut/stud dichotomy weren’t denying women the ability to make approaches themselves; if all those those things weren’t true, non-rapists would be very easily distinguishable from rapists. As it is, non-rapist men perform rapey social scripts all the time, and fuck if I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt for it. After all, the worst case scenario for them is that they won’t have sex with me; the worst case scenario for me is that I will be raped; thus, it is I who deserves a “benefit of the doubt”, not them.

  255. Sally Strange, OM says

    Some people are obviously going to be quite bad at this. EG would be a good example. He could have easily expected Watson not to be very open to his offer, considering she had pretty much said so in advance. Again, I’d sooner think him just plain dense where it concerns general human interaction rather than motivated by sexism.

    I disagree. Elevator Dude displayed a high degree of social awareness in choosing his venue and tactics. I doubt he was consciously motivated by sexism. But I do believe that his motivation included avoiding embarrassment and maximizing his chance at “success,” where, I suppose, success is defined as a conversation with RW, possibly leading to conversation and sex in his hotel room. He chose to maximize his chance of success, to the detriment of RW’s comfort and against her expressed wishes. Subconsciously, he had already judged that RW’s clearly expressed views about propositions like his, and her degree of tiredness and interest in further conversation, were completely subordinate to his desire to score.

    It’s possible that his assessment of priorities and the relative value of his desires as subordinating her preferences had absolutely nothing to do with the sexist culture he grew up in. But it’s unlikely.

    People who are genuinely bad at socializing would not try to ask a stranger for a huge favor in an elevator. It’s way too awkward and uncomfortable for both people involved.

    So, let’s please lay to rest the myth that ED was just “socially awkward.” No. He was being socially aggressive.

  256. says

    Fear of rape is the price women have been made to pay for daring to insist on voting, owning property, not being treated as chattel, and having the right to exist in the public sphere. It’s a way of restricting women’s freedom without actually passing laws to keep them off the streets.

    another QFT. Somewhere in my collection of papers on feminism, there’s an older one that tries to make sense of the correlation of rapes and successes of feminist activism. The only explanation that seems to reasonably fit the data is that large successes of feminist activism are followed by an increase in rapes at first, as a form of backlash, and only later fall below the original level.

  257. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, purveyor of candy and lies says

    tomh:

    As for these manly men, how hard is it to wait for the next elevator, or cross the street if you’re walking behind a woman, especially at night.

    Well, as we have learned, a man’s hurt feelings by far outweigh a woman’s need for safety.

  258. says

    Even if you didn’t intend it that way, you probably should have know better.

    I knew quite well that some people were going to focus obsessively on the fact that the British diminutive of Richard is also slang for a penis. I’m hardly naive. You don’t seem to have moved beyond that in your considerations, however.

    (1) I find it useful to have those people flag themselves so I don’t have to.

    (2) It wasn’t addressed to them.

    (3) Not a single one of those people was ever going to interact with the contents of the letter anyway.

  259. Rinus says

    I disagree. Elevator Dude displayed a high degree of social awareness in choosing his venue and tactics. I doubt he was consciously motivated by sexism. But I do believe that his motivation included avoiding embarrassment and maximizing his chance at “success,” where, I suppose, success is defined as a conversation with RW, possibly leading to conversation and sex in his hotel room. He chose to maximize his chance of success, to the detriment of RW’s comfort and against her expressed wishes. Subconsciously, he had already judged that RW’s clearly expressed views about propositions like his, and her degree of tiredness and interest in further conversation, were completely subordinate to his desire to score.

    Well, the ‘desire to score’ is there, whether or not the object of your desire likes it or not. The point is, as a way of getting in her pants, surely this was about the worst way to go about it, bound to result in rejection? I mean, she almost specifically said as much. Ignoring obvious clues doesn’t suggest ‘tactics’ of any kind to me.

  260. kristinc says

    if boundary-pushing behavior wasn’t socially constructed as a normal part of flirting; if putting male desires over female desires weren’t considered the status quo

    Appendix A: every romcom movie ever in which the “persistent” guy ends up with the girl, because he’s so sweet, and knew all along they were really meant to be together! D’awwwww.

  261. says

    , I’d sooner think him just plain dense where it concerns general human interaction rather than motivated by sexism.

    in addition to what Sally said, that’s a false dichotomy. when a social script you perform because you don’t know better is sexist, you’re being both “dense where it concerns general human interaction” and “motivated by sexism”; it just wouldn’t necessarily be consciously chosen sexism.

  262. vivace says

    so while you “always” see such statistics, you never bothered UNTIL THIS VERY MOMENT to look for references and sources yourself, did you? “Bring me a sammich source and it better be good.”

    Pteryxx, no matter how passionately you feel about a subject, try to be civil and try to be intellectually honest in your argument. You, as the person who is making a claim, has the burden of proof and you have to back it up using evidence. You cannot expect bystanders to have looked up the data that you are using for your argument – that is something you will have to provide references for. That is the standard that science holds you to, that is the argument you and I use against the religious, and that is what you have to do to be intellectually honest. Listspamming a variety of various sources, reviewed and non-review, that touch on the topic but that have no reference to the numbers that were questioned is not a good debating technique.

  263. Rinus says

    Well, as we have learned, a man’s hurt feelings by far outweigh a woman’s need for safety.

    It’s not about hurt feelings. It’s about taking reasonable steps not to make people feel uncomfortable and going to ridiculous lengths.
    Not using an elevator because there happens to be a lone woman on it is definitely the latter. Not looming over her and breathing down her neck would be the first.

  264. says

    Ignoring obvious clues doesn’t suggest ‘tactics’ of any kind to me.

    PUA books are full of such tactics; they’re really good at sniffing out easily manipulatable women.

  265. Sally Strange, OM says

    Well, the ‘desire to score’ is there, whether or not the object of your desire likes it or not. The point is, as a way of getting in her pants, surely this was about the worst way to go about it, bound to result in rejection? I mean, she almost specifically said as much. Ignoring obvious clues doesn’t suggest ‘tactics’ of any kind to me.

    The tactic is not, in a misogynist narrative, “bound to fail.” In a misogynist narrative, all of RW’s previous signals didn’t apply to Elevator Dude and his penis, because ED and his penis are just that special. Certainly more special than the preferences of a silly woman, who probably doesn’t know her own mind anyway.

    Have you heard of PUAs? “Pick-Up Artists”? One of their commonly accepted tactics is basically to badger a woman, wear her down until she stops saying “no.” Apparently it works often enough that they keep that tactic in their arsenal.

    Misogyny is inherently irrational. Why would you think that acting on sexist assumptions would predispose a man towards acting rationally?

    Rinus and reality: they’ve heard of each other.

  266. Sally Strange, OM says

    It’s about taking reasonable steps not to make people feel uncomfortable and going to ridiculous lengths.

    So what do you say to the guys who are completely convinced that acting in accordance with RW’s suggestion that guys restrict themselves to hitting on women who are giving off clear signals of WANTING to be hit on falls under the category of “ridiculous lengths”?

    What’s your concrete suggestion, Rinus, since you seem to have such prolific opinions about this?

  267. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    Not using an elevator because there happens to be a lone woman on it is definitely the latter. Not looming over her and breathing down her neck would be the first.

    What the fuck is wrong with you? Are you determined to annoy/scare/put off as many women as possible in your 70-odd years on earth? This is something I started to do (the first one (other than Wife, I haven’t ever tried the latter)) when I was, like, 14 years old and realized that I was now big enough to make grown women uneasy. I’m an Aspie, and even I figured that one out.

  268. Pteryxx says

    vivace says:

    Listspamming a variety of various sources, reviewed and non-review, that touch on the topic but that have no reference to the numbers that were questioned is not a good debating technique.

    except that the references I provided in #194 and #197 directly supported the rape statistics that Rob #181 was questioning, thanks.

  269. Rinus says

    in addition to what Sally said, that’s a false dichotomy. when a social script you perform because you don’t know better is sexist, you’re being both “dense where it concerns general human interaction” and “motivated by sexism”; it just wouldn’t necessarily be consciously chosen sexism.

    Well, there is somewhat of a problem with the ‘subconscious sexism’ line of argument. It’s a bit of a vague term and it seems to be rather open to being abused as a trump card in every discussion about the interaction between men and women. Not entirely unlike privilege at times being used as an argument against whatever a white person/man/heterosexual/attractive person, etc. is saying.

    You can insert it into almost every situation, no?*

    *Pre-MRA-OMG! disclaimer: That’s not to say it never plays a role; it obviously does, considering we live in a society that was custom-built for, well, people like me and regardless of what improvements have been made, that still shows.

  270. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, purveyor of candy and lies says

    It’s about taking reasonable steps not to make people feel uncomfortable and going to ridiculous lengths.
    Not using an elevator because there happens to be a lone woman on it is definitely the latter.

    So, it’s a “ridiculous length” to wait for the next elevator to come along? You are a fucking asshole.

    It really is all about your hurt widdle feewings. Just stamp your feet a little more and act like having an iota of awareness for another’s safety is “ridiculous”, it’s totes adorable. You don’t want to learn or change your behavior ‘cos that would mean that you have been wrong gall along and you’re obviously not adult enough to admit that.

  271. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, purveyor of candy and lies says

    Please ignore my typos, everyone. Doing multiple things at once here.

  272. Sally Strange, OM says

    It’s not about hurt feelings. It’s about taking reasonable steps not to make people feel uncomfortable and going to ridiculous lengths.

    And really, what is the functional distinction between “having hurt feelings” and “refusing to go to ridiculous lengths [as Rinus, not the women involved in such interactions, defines 'ridiculous], because, well, it’s just ridiculous!”

    You feel as if it’s ridiculous to avoid getting on an elevator with a woman who’s alone. Well, fine, so do I, but what does it really cost me to at least consider doing it? What does it cost me to actually just take another elevator? Nothing.

    It just comes down to how you feel that such a request is ridiculous.

    What’s your definition of “ridiculous,” and why are you categorically opposed to occasionally acting in ways that you personally find ridiculous?

  273. Sally Strange, OM says

    Well, there is somewhat of a problem with the ‘subconscious sexism’ line of argument. It’s a bit of a vague term and it seems to be rather open to being abused as a trump card in every discussion about the interaction between men and women. Not entirely unlike privilege at times being used as an argument against whatever a white person/man/heterosexual/attractive person, etc. is saying.

    Really. Well, as a white person I have no problem admitting that I have a variety of racist narratives kicking around in my subconscious. I have no problem with people of color sometimes telling me to shut my mouth and listen, because I lack data about what it’s like being black or brown in this country.

    What’s YOUR problem, Rinus? Are there ZERO sexist narratives kicking around in your skull? That’s a rhetorical question.

  274. says

    Well, there is somewhat of a problem with the ‘subconscious sexism’ line of argument. It’s a bit of a vague term and it seems to be rather open to being abused as a trump card in every discussion about the interaction between men and women. Not entirely unlike privilege at times being used as an argument against whatever a white person/man/heterosexual/attractive person, etc. is saying.

    in other words, you think I shouldn’t be referring to sociologically pretty well established phenomena because you’re ignorant of them and think they might, maybe, possible, sometime, be abused, for all you know(which is not much)

    Watch me roll my eyes at you.

  275. Rinus says

    @ Sally

    The tactic is not, in a misogynist narrative, “bound to fail.” In a misogynist narrative, all of RW’s previous signals didn’t apply to Elevator Dude and his penis, because ED and his penis are just that special. Certainly more special than the preferences of a silly woman, who probably doesn’t know her own mind anyway.

    Have you heard of PUAs? “Pick-Up Artists”? One of their commonly accepted tactics is basically to badger a woman, wear her down until she stops saying “no.” Apparently it works often enough that they keep that tactic in their arsenal.

    Misogyny is inherently irrational. Why would you think that acting on sexist assumptions would predispose a man towards acting rationally?

    Rinus and reality: they’ve heard of each other.

    No, I never heard of PUAs (or a Dutch equivalent). Honestly, it sounds like a completely retarded ‘tactic’.

    Perhaps I’m mistaken here, but I don’t actually know any guy that actually thinks that’s a good ‘tactic’ to meet women, much less seduce them.

    So yeah, if that’s what EG was thinking, he’s an idiot. I’d still throw my lot with ‘just fucking dense’, though.

    What’s your concrete suggestion, Rinus, since you seem to have such prolific opinions about this?

    Using my superior understanding of the human psyche, I’ll take that to mean you’re not actually expecting a serious answer.

  276. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Calling everyone that differs in opinion ‘MRA’ is really becoming a recurring theme on this blog. A rather annoying one at that.

    The prove you are no on by shutting the fuck up and listening. After all, MRA’s can’t do that? Can you?

    . I have no problem driving across Europe, walking the street late at night by myself,

    You’re a man right? Not a woman? Then a category error, typical of MRAs.

    Again, I’d sooner think him just plain dense where it concerns general human interaction rather than motivated by sexism.

    Again showing us MRA unthinking. They don’t think, except with their penis’. Sounds like you.

    But just to be annoying; it’s not really the same situation as with EG

    How do you know? Citation, or shut the fuck up.

    whether or not the object of your desire likes it or not. The point is, as a way of getting in her pants, surely this was about the worst way to go about it, bound to result in rejection?

    MRA’s say every chance you get, just like you.

    Ignoring obvious clues doesn’t suggest ‘tactics’ of any kind to me.

    It is MRA tactics. The women are irrelevant compared to my needs…

    Not using an elevator because there happens to be a lone woman on it is definitely the latter.

    Spoken like a true MRA, who doesn’t shut the fuck and listen…

  277. says

    it sounds like a completely retarded ‘tactic’.

    I’d highly suggest you do not use slurs like “retarded” on here.

    Using my superior understanding of the human psyche, I’ll take that to mean you’re not actually expecting a serious answer.

    like that’s stopped you so far.

    Perhaps I’m mistaken here, but I don’t actually know any guy that actually thinks that’s a good ‘tactic’ to meet women, much less seduce them.

    I know plenty of guys who think (or at least, say) they don’t think that’s a good tactic, but observing their flirting style indicates that they’re using it anyway; hence, subconscious sexism.

  278. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Honestly, it sounds like a completely retarded ‘tactic’.

    It is, but MRA’s and men wanting to score use them. And fuckwits like you defend them, by not shutting the fuck up and listening.

    I’d still throw my lot with ‘just fucking dense’, though.

    Then why are you are still apologizing for him? Stop doing that, and stop sounding like you don’t understand male privilege. Makes you sound utterly and totally idiotic.

    Using my superior [stoopid] understanding of the human psyche,

    Fixed that for you. Try again, by saying “I’m sorry, I’m wrong, good-bye”.

  279. Sally Strange, OM says

    @ Rinus:

    I must reiterate: given that misogyny is irrational, what makes you think that acting in a really stupid way is somehow mutually exclusive with acting in a really sexist way?

  280. Rinus says

    @Nerd of Redhead

    Yes. That’s what I meant with annoying. Yours is quite good at it, too.

    @Sally

    Really. Well, as a white person I have no problem admitting that I have a variety of racist narratives kicking around in my subconscious. I have no problem with people of color sometimes telling me to shut my mouth and listen, because I lack data about what it’s like being black or brown in this country.

    Obviously. You conveniently ignore I already agreed this was the case. But to state it more clearly; as a white, straight man, I’m naturally… dense? when it comes to such sensitivities since shit like that doesn’t happen to me.

    However, after you have ‘shut up and listened’, you can’t differ in opinion? Non-white people are automatically right when it comes to the topic of racism? And one black person speaks for all black people? Women are always right in discussions on sexism? And one speaks for all?

    What if I shut up and listen to say, ERV? She’s a woman, does that count? Clearly, there’s something missing from your tedious ‘shut up and listen’ cliché. Might it be ‘.. and don’t stray from the party line’?

  281. Sally Strange, OM says

    Indeed, it was pointed out over and over again to the men defending Elevator Dude’s actions that any rational observer could tell that he had ZERO chance of actually sexing Rebecca Watson, or having coffee with her, whatever your interpretation of “coffee” is.

    We asked, over and over again: WHY do you insist on the right to use a tactic that is guaranteed to fail?

    We never received a coherent answer.

    The real answer: it’s sexism. To a true misogynist, actually getting to have sex with a woman is fun and desirable, but belittling her and “putting her in her place” are just as fun and desirable, if not more so.

    There were MANY men here and on other blogs, passionately defending their right to use tactics that really don’t work, unless your goal is to make women unhappy and uncomfortable.

    Do you think there might be some sexism at work there, Rinus? Conscious or unconscious?

    Why the fuck can’t you answer any of my direct questions?

  282. Sally Strange, OM says

    Yes, Rinus. You’ve found us out. We’re just interested in FORCING poor innocent well-meaning menz like you to “toe the party line.” The party line is: “Women are people.”

    Stray from it all you want, just don’t be surprised when people put labels like “sexist” and “misogynist” on you.

  283. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    The biggest injustice in threads like this is the amount of high-quality education from high-quality commenters that assholes like Rinus get, and which they’ve demonstrated they don’t deserve.

  284. Rinus says

    @Sally

    I must reiterate: given that misogyny is irrational, what makes you think that acting in a really stupid way is somehow mutually exclusive with acting in a really sexist way?

    It’s not. Perhaps EG was literally thinking that Watson’s opinion didn’t matter, since she’s a woman and all.

    Perhaps he’s dense in all human contact, oblivious to the other person’s wishes. That would suggest it wasn’t so much sexism, conscious or subconscious that was driving his actions, I think.

    Anyway, I could think of a million* reasons why he acted the way he did. Assuming it is any of those, or something entirely different is a bit pointless, I think, and I doubt he’s very likely to come forward and settle the matter.

    *For the more literal-minded here: I’m exaggerating. Don’t ask me to provide them and then criticize me for not being able to do so.

  285. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yes. That’s what I meant with annoying. Yours is quite good at it, too.

    As you are annoying for being a clueless fuckwit.

    But to state it more clearly; as a white, straight man, I’m naturally… dense?

    No, just utterly clueless, which stops when you shut the fuck up and listen…And you can’t listen while posting…

    She’s a woman, does that count?

    No, not just one woman, but all those who posted here on previous threads with their experiences. To listen requires you shut the fuck up for a while. That is only the first step. The second to acknowledge you can be/are wrong…then act on it…

  286. says

    I’m naturally… dense?

    naturally ignorant, with no means to remedy such; it could help if you spend a while living in very convincing blackface/drag/whatnot, but even so, you wouldn’t be able to mimic how things that would happen to you in such a disguise would be perceived and interpreted by a brain shaped by a lifelong endurance of such things.

    Might it be ‘.. and don’t stray from the party line’?

    you wish. actually, it’s “… and do spend some time on google scholar reading the relevant literature, so you can put divergent perspectives in the proper context”

  287. Rinus says

    @Sally

    Yes, Rinus. You’ve found us out. We’re just interested in FORCING poor innocent well-meaning menz like you to “toe the party line.” The party line is: “Women are people.”

    Stray from it all you want, just don’t be surprised when people put labels like “sexist” and “misogynist” on you.

    Don’t be a child.

    You literally said ‘shut up and listen to the women’. And you’re hardly the only one.

    What if I listen to women like ERV, who disagree with a lot of what you’re all saying? Would that mean I’m listening to the wrong women? Is there a list of approved women for me to listen to? The guy who earlier quoted a response he got from his mother also listened to the wrong woman, it appears.
    Or does that mean you lot should knock it off with the ridiculous ‘shut up and listen to the women’ line because it doesn’t make nay sense?

    As for:

    Why the fuck can’t you answer any of my direct questions?

    I’m getting stuck in the spam filter, I think -.- not to mention the fact I seem to be having a separate conversation with various people here.

  288. Gregory Greenwood says

    Rinus @ 292;

    It’s about taking reasonable steps not to make people feel uncomfortable and going to ridiculous lengths.
    Not using an elevator because there happens to be a lone woman on it is definitely the latter. Not looming over her and breathing down her neck would be the first.

    Obviously, looming over a woman as you describe is inappropriate and intimidating behaviour, but that which you describe as ‘ridiculous lengths’ – waiting for the next elevator rather than travelling in an elevator occupied solely be a single woman – is actually far from ridiculous, and is in fact a considerate act. It all comes down to the concept of Schrodinger’s Rapist. Imagine, for a moment, that you were the lone woman in that elevator. It is a confined space with no ready means of egress when between floors. You are alone, with no help to hand and no witnesses. The elevator stops, and a man who you do not know enters. You have no way of knowing who this man is or what his intentions may be. He is probably just looking to travel to another floor, but is possible that this is not the case.

    What, exactly, does a rapist look like? They are an inconsisderate bunch, and don’t grow horns or burst into flame when exposed to sunlight. They don’t even all wear a uniform of top hats, cloaks and twirlable villain moustaches. A rapist looks just like any other bloke, and there is no way to tell until the situation reaches a crisis point.

    So, as the woman in this scenario, you find yourself in a confined space with no way out and no witnesses with a strange man whose agenda is unknown. Can you see how this could be a cause for legitimate concern? All the more so if the woman in question has already been subject to a sexual assault in the past?

    @ 298;

    Well, there is somewhat of a problem with the ‘subconscious sexism’ line of argument. It’s a bit of a vague term and it seems to be rather open to being abused as a trump card in every discussion about the interaction between men and women. Not entirely unlike privilege at times being used as an argument against whatever a white person/man/heterosexual/attractive person, etc. is saying.

    Sexism is not usually something someone sets out to do. It is often an unintentional behaviour, at least in its less extreme manifestations. Assumptions about women that are made by men who do not think of themselves as sexist are commonplace – and I do not exclude myself from sometimes being guilty of falling into this trap:- the idea of the ‘fair’ (read ‘weaker’) sex, and thus that women must be protected from traumatic or gruesome realities, an idea that infantalises the entire gender. Equally, there is the idea that women are less capable in the fields of science or mathematics as a function of supposed (yet seemingly unevidenced) differences in brain function between the genders.

    You can insert it into almost every situation, no?

    Is it not equally true that your argument that the ideas of ‘subconscious sexism’ and male privilege amount to no more than vague catch-alls could also be employed to dismiss any instance of discrimination that is not glaringly obvious? Saying that a woman is incapable because of her gender can be seen as sexist without recourse to a concept of subconscious sexism, but acting as if a woman is incapable in order to ‘protect her delicate sensibilities’ would be a far less unambiguous case without a concept of subconscious sexism, and it is exactly this kind of rationale that has been used to restrict the rights and potential of women for centuries. Your approach would deal with the overt declarations of misogyny while failing to address the pervasive attitudes and social structures that are the means by which women are primarily disempowered (and, once upon a time, disenfranchised) in our society.

  289. says

    Perhaps he’s dense in all human contact, oblivious to the other person’s wishes. That would suggest it wasn’t so much sexism, conscious or subconscious that was driving his actions, I think.

    no it wouldn’t. he didn’t get the idea to do this in a vacuum, ffs.

  290. Sally Strange, OM says

    Don’t be a child.

    Good point. I’m done talking with you. It’s childish and naive to expect someone so invested in his own privilege to argue in good faith.

  291. Swann says

    Anri:

    Awesome. Tell us, right now, for ever and anon, exactly how we can tell, at twenty paces, which men are rapists. Otherwise, if it’s ok with you (I seek your permission on behalf of all women), women may make their own judgments about people coming up behind them in the dark.
    Without your shaming, that is.

    Oh, and it’s more honest if you use the word ‘hysterical’ when you refer to the fears of women that you personally find silly. It makes it easier for everyone around you to know what side you’re fighting for. As in:
    “Oh, you silly women, you’re just being hysterical. Not all of you get raped, after all! And the ones that do, well, they just did something wrong. I’m not saying it’s partially their fault, just that it’s partially their fault.[...]

    Wow! That has to be the skinniest straw man I’ve ever seen. But fine, I concede: If women incist on being afraid whenever in the presence of a man, I really can’t order them not to be. I’m also not going to take another elevator or turn back on dimly lit footpath for the mere reason that I’m a male. If that’s the sole cause of the fear, there’s nothing I can do to ease it. Any attempt to come off as non-threatening would probably just make it worse. Tip-toeing around every woman I meet, because they might be afraid, is also out of the question. Demanding that would actually be sexist and I really hope that’s not where this is going. Not having to apologize for gender goes both ways.

    Personally I find being perpetually on the edge for potential rapists quite gratuitous, at least in the so called civilized western countries. Everyone still can, of course, consider that for themselves and come to whatever conclusion they like. No one should have to be afraid, but no neither should anyone have to sneered at for involuntarily inducing that fear by just being there.

  292. Sally Strange, OM says

    No one should have to be afraid, but no neither should anyone have to sneered at for involuntarily inducing that fear by just being there.

    One of these things is not like the other… One of these things does not belong.

  293. says

    Or does that mean you lot should knock it off with the ridiculous ‘shut up and listen to the women’ line because it doesn’t make nay sense?

    jesus fuck, this is really not that difficult: different women will have different perspectives and experiences; all of these experiences are “true” in the sense that an experience is the way a brain interprets, processes, etc. an event. Some of these experiences form trends. These trends make predictable patterns, described exhaustively in psychology, sociology, and anthropology journals. Learning about the patterns makes it easy to put the divergent perspectives into context. However, if you’re unwilling or unable to do that level of research, you pretty much have to accept contradictory experiences as both “true” and decide whether you prefer to be cautious or be entitled in which narrative you use to form your social scripts from.

  294. RahXephon, un féminist nucléaire says

    @Rinus

    Rinus, if you knew how to do anything besides parrot MRA arguments, you’d know that ERV has been heavily discussed already.

    Let me present you with two scenarios.

    You are a member of oppressed class X. You have two courses of action available to you (technically 3, but I’m not counting “doing nothing at all” as a course of action)

    1. Protest it. Analyze the systems of oppression involved and try to fight them. Vote (assuming you’re allowed to vote) and campaign for people that will fight for you in government.

    2. Internalize the ways of your oppressors and emulate them.

    A good analogy for that latter choice is the tom-boy phenomenon. Whenever there is a tom-boy in school, she is (at least sometimes) embraced by the boys as “not like those girls”, i.e. she resembles the behavior patterns of the boys, which the boys find acceptable.

    ERV’s done the exact same thing. She’s embraced sexism and misogyny. She claims she’s “not like those whiny feminist bitchez” and joins her MRA commentariat in the abuse. She does it so she can belong, be accepted into the boys’ club. What she doesn’t realize is that she’s only a provisional member. Those guys don’t care about her, she’s just, as they say, a useful idiot.

    Now, why does this matter? Because you assert that if we say “listen to women”, we mean “listen to ERV, and ERV says all you feminist bitchez are wrong”. Nooooope. That’s not what we’re saying. As I said earlier, Women Are Not A Monolith. ERV is one woman; what you have here is many, many women (and men) corroborating shared experiences. You have to do a little critical thinking here.

  295. Swann says

    One of these things is not like the other… One of these things does not belong.

    Sorry, I should’ve checked for typos. It’s supposed to read: No one should have to be afraid, but neither should anyone have to be sneered at for involuntarily inducing that fear by just being there.

  296. says

    Demanding that would actually be sexist

    sexism = power + prejudice

    while you may, at a stretch, argue for some form of prejudice, there is no power here. As such, it’s nonsensical to talk of sexism in making a request of the sort you’re whining about.

  297. Rinus says

    @Gregory

    Well, perhaps I should clarify on the elevator example.

    I live in an apartment building with an underground parking garage. A poorly lit underground parking garage. Which is separated from the boiler room by just a thin, little wall. E.g. it’s a dark, creepy place with constant weird noises. If a film would open with a scene of a woman walking there the audience would immediately know she was about to get killed, raped, mugged or knocked unconscious to find herself chained to some weird contraption. (Saw 32, perhaps)

    To get to my apartment, I have to use the elevator.

    Can you see where this is going?

    There’s a lot of young people living here, with new residents coming and going all the time. I’ve noticed the look as described in the artivle Jadehawk linked to several times. It’s happened as I got on the elevator. It’s happened as I entered the garage, both from the elevator and as I got out of my car.

    Now then. Given that in either location the Schroedinger’s Rapist comes into play, how do I act when the elevator is taken? If I wait, I might give off the impression to a woman in the garage that I’m waiting for her. If I get on, well.. you know. If I rush to the stairs, well.. what if those are in use as well?

    This is obviously not a situation that is likely to happen very often, but I do think it shows that the sheer number of things you have to consider when thinking in this way.

    That was what I meant when I mentioned going to ‘ridiculous’ length.

  298. Gregory Greenwood says

    Rinus @ 317;

    Don’t be a child.

    You may disloke the form in which the argument is presented, but I fail to see anything childish in the proposition that woman are human beings who are deserving of respect, and that respect extends to not being propositioned when the woman in question has just stated that she finds such advances annoying.

    You literally said ‘shut up and listen to the women’. And you’re hardly the only one.

    What if I listen to women like ERV, who disagree with a lot of what you’re all saying? Would that mean I’m listening to the wrong women? Is there a list of approved women for me to listen to? The guy who earlier quoted a response he got from his mother also listened to the wrong woman, it appears.
    Or does that mean you lot should knock it off with the ridiculous ‘shut up and listen to the women’ line because it doesn’t make nay sense?

    While you are right that women are not a unitary group, and one does not speak for all, this leads to an important point – women are not immune to misogynist tropes in society. There is such a thing as internalised discrimination – some women replicate the very social attitudes that disempower their own gender because they have been taught (literally from birth) that these ideas are good and proper and important to society. The women you should be listening to are the ones who have actually experienced the sharp end of oblivious male privilege. They have an understanding of what it is like to be belittled and dehumanised for their gender that men, such as you and I, will likely never possess. For this reason, it is important that we listen to their experiences so that we do not wind up replicating the exact same set of attitudes and circumstances that have bedeviled women since time immemorial.

    I am not a woman. I can never understand what it means to be a woman in our culture, but this does not stop me from empathising with women and trying to do my bit, in whatever small capacity, to make things better.

  299. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Given that in either location the Schroedinger’s Rapist comes into play, how do I act when the elevator is taken?

    Like you know the person in the elevator suspects you are a rapist. DUH…fuckwit MRA.

    That was what I meant when I mentioned going to ‘ridiculous’ length.

    No, you are trying to justify bad behavior. DUH….

  300. Swann says

    while you may, at a stretch, argue for some form of prejudice, there is no power here. As such, it’s nonsensical to talk of sexism in making a request of the sort you’re whining about.

    And what kind of a power is it wanting? Political? Attitudinal? Moral?

  301. kristinc says

    Anyway, I could think of a million* reasons why he acted the way he did.

    Indeed. For example, maybe he was convinced that if he clicked his heels together three times after saying the magic word “coffee” to Rebecca Watson, she would reveal her true identity as Queen of the Sparkleponies, give him an ice cream cone and fly him to Rainbowland.

    Or, you know, maybe he was just convinced that what Watson had said about not being hit on was less important than his desire to hit on her and he didn’t particularly care that doing it would put her in an unpleasantly awkward situation.

    Hmmm, which is more likely, which is more likely. It’s a tricky question isn’t it.

  302. says

    This is obviously not a situation that is likely to happen very often,

    then why the fuck are you worrying about it then?

    besides: have you no problem solving skills? have you really never found yourself in a situation of conflicting demands, requiring either a compromise or a “least harm done” solution?

    most likely, that’s not the case. most likely, you’ve solved such problems many times, sometimes even without noticing, as a lot of this happens automatically; but doing this for a situation in which you’re asked to put your privilege aside for a moment, you’ve suddenly lost this basic problem-solving skill? yeah, no. you’re just being intellectually lazy about it.

  303. says

    And what kind of a power is it wanting? Political? Attitudinal? Moral?

    *sigh*
    are you really thad dense, or are you just playing stupid in order to avoid having to argue in good faith?

    power that allows enforcement of a request, or punishment of non-compliance (especially beyond the power to enforce/punish the opposite)

  304. Rinus says

    Hmm.. I’m a bit torn on that one, still.

    I tend to view the opposing viewpoints of ‘the women’ in this discussion more as both being equally valid, somehow. Or at least not with one side clearly right and the other merely deluded.

    Though when I see black people favouring clearly bigoted political parties I tend consider them in exactly the way you lot are describing the ‘tom boys’.

    Either it’s liberal bias or sexist bias. Or something different again.

    Still, before I start to sound reasonable; I think my point still stands. Saying ‘shut up and listen to the women’ isn’t very helpful.

  305. Gregory Greenwood says

    Rinus @ 327;

    I live in an apartment building with an underground parking garage. A poorly lit underground parking garage. Which is separated from the boiler room by just a thin, little wall. E.g. it’s a dark, creepy place with constant weird noises. If a film would open with a scene of a woman walking there the audience would immediately know she was about to get killed, raped, mugged or knocked unconscious to find herself chained to some weird contraption. (Saw 32, perhaps)

    It is interesting that you should mention pop culture in this context. You know how you were asking about subconscious sexism earlier? This is one example of it. Pop culture defines places like these as places where sensible, ‘good’ girls shouldn’t go, and thus any woman attacked in such a locale must have been ‘asking for it’. She ‘invited’ such an attack by placing herself in such a vulnerable position. She must be suspect, because a ‘good girl’ would never be in such a place… and so the rationale of victim-blaming is replicated.

    Now then. Given that in either location the Schroedinger’s Rapist comes into play, how do I act when the elevator is taken? If I wait, I might give off the impression to a woman in the garage that I’m waiting for her. If I get on, well.. you know. If I rush to the stairs, well.. what if those are in use as well?

    In such a scenario where the elavator is in use by a lone woman, why not at least check the stairs? They may be empty, or in use by a group of people. If the stairs are also occupied by a lone woman, then perhaps you should wait. A man in a carpark standing waiting for an elavator may be threatening, but not as threatening as a man entering the confined space of an elevator with a woman. It is all about minimising the sense of threat that you project to women around you – don’t do anything that could be interpreted as cornering or pursuing if you can avoid it.

    This is obviously not a situation that is likely to happen very often, but I do think it shows that the sheer number of things you have to consider when thinking in this way.

    Yes, there are a lot of things to think about, and it is easy to forget yourself from time to time, but this is an insignificant price to pay when set against women feeling safe in society. All we blokes have to do is stop and think about our actions – hardly the burden of Atlas, now is it?

  306. David Marjanović, OM says

    I could tell a story of a woman at work, in her office. Suddenly, a plane hits the building she’s working in. Should all office-workers be in constant fear of this?

    No, because planes hit buildings almost never, while rape, sexual assault and sexual harrassment happen all the time.

    It’s obvious that the experience of fear has little to with statistics. I have no problem driving across Europe

    Europe.

    The level of rapey behavior that is considered normal in Europe is considerably lower than in the USA.

    I mean, they have creationists over there! What did you expect!

    the British diminutive of Richard

    Nothing particularly British about it. I know an American professor who crossed out his name on his nametag at a conference and wrote “DICK” on it as late as 2008.

    But to state it more clearly; as a white, straight man, I’m naturally… dense? when it comes to such sensitivities since shit like that doesn’t happen to me.

    That’s part of what’s called male privilege. Congratulations! You have rediscovered it all on your own!

    I’m getting stuck in the spam filter, I think -.-

    No, the software here just has cache problems. Try Shift+F5 or Ctrl+F5 or use one of the links to this thread.

  307. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I tend to view the opposing viewpoints of ‘the women’ in this discussion more as both being equally valid, somehow.

    Then you are an MRA, because you can’t believe men will lie, bullshit, and denigrate women to keep their privilege. What a loser if you think all opinions are equal. They never have been.

    Or something different again.

    In this case, men with privilege trying to keep the women down. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that, merely someone who shuts the fuck up and actually listens. Which appears to be beyond your meager brain to acknowledge…

    I think my point still stands. Saying ‘shut up and listen to the women’ isn’t very helpful.

    Your point is that your are an ignorant fool. You can’t shut the fuck up and listen…showing your opinion is in need of more information, which is gathered by shutting the fuck up and listening…DUH…

  308. Rinus says

    @Jadehawk

    then why the fuck are you worrying about it then?

    besides: have you no problem solving skills? have you really never found yourself in a situation of conflicting demands, requiring either a compromise or a “least harm done” solution?

    most likely, that’s not the case. most likely, you’ve solved such problems many times, sometimes even without noticing, as a lot of this happens automatically; but doing this for a situation in which you’re asked to put your privilege aside for a moment, you’ve suddenly lost this basic problem-solving skill? yeah, no. you’re just being intellectually lazy about it.

    Al right. I’ll try and be more precise.

    Let’s take that list of yours. And let’s divide into two categories;

    a) direct interaction
    b) indirect interaction

    With direct interaction being;

    – stopping to offer a lift
    – closing the door
    – sexist joke

    And indirect interaction;

    – getting on an elevator
    – walking on a street

    Category B is essentially just me going about my business. I’m going from A to B and she just happens to cross my path somewhere along that route. Given that half the population is male, no woman can reasonably expect this never to occur. Now, should I do as I described in an earlier post, that is, loom over her, breath down her neck or, in the street scenario, deliberately walk towards or at her, these would shift from category B to A and, as such, I would agree it’s ‘crossing that line’.

    I still feel I’m not in any way obligated to avoid the category A’s whenever I can. Not because it ‘hurts my feelings’ as people like to pretend. More because I don’t think this is a reasonable expectation.

    Perhaps you can even draw a parallel here every single on of you, being Americans, is probably familiar with. Is it offensive to a religious person when you mention you’re an atheist? Is it reasonable of them to expect you to minimize yourself in order not to give offence?

    In both cases, the offence taken and the threat experienced is very real. But is the other person at fault here and as such, should he/she take steps to avoid it?

    p.s. it’s late and I just posted this off the top of my head, so I might be missing some glaring inconsistencies here -.-

  309. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Saying ‘shut up and listen to the women’ isn’t very helpful.

    Because you responded so goddamned well to any meeker approach? Do you even hear yourself?

  310. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    it’s late and I just posted this off the top of my head, so I might be missing some glaring inconsistencies here -.-

    Yep, the most glaring problem is that you a newbie, a MRA apologist fuckwit, and a non-listener to those who are not as privileged as you. Beyond that you might have a point if you could just shut the fuck up and listen to those who have lesser privilege, hence more problems…

    By the way, I am a AARP card carrying degreed male. But, unlike you, I know how to listen…

  311. PaulG says

    Rinus 327 and GG 335: I think this is where the people known here as “MRAs” and the people known here as “regulars” both fail: the taking of extreme positions, and positing of extreme scenarios/solutions.

    In his dark, twisted and perhaps personally psychologically revealing narrative, Rinus sets us up to think about the most extreme, nerve-shredding scenario we could think of encountering on a day-to-day basis. As Rinus and GG note, this is classic Hollywood schtick. So, Rinus asks us to solve a conundrum loaded with unrealistic levels of fear and trepidation.

    Then GG responds, and (IMO) swings way too far in the opposite direction:

    It is all about minimising the sense of threat that you project to women around you – don’t do anything that could be interpreted as cornering or pursuing if you can avoid it.

    With respect, it feels like GG would want the most physically-powerful of any two people who are in the absence of other people to strip to their underwear (“Look! I have no ax, nor mask, nor gun!”) and prostrate themselves, avoiding eye contact, until the other has left the area.

    I am sometimes aware of the threat other people may feel from my presence. I’m not a big guy. But then there are a lot of people smaller, less able-bodied, less able-minded, older, or with more X-chromosomes than me. All of those people could rightfully feel threatened by my presence in certain circumstances.

    When I am aware of those feelings – night time in the city, in a remote area of the park, etc – I do go out of my way to remove myself away from the other person. However, one can easily find themselves twisted into mental knots in doing this: in fact, I often think I look much weirder and more threatening when attempting to conduct an elaborate dance away from someone than if I’d just carried on about my business. Especially when the other person is also trying to nonchalantly waltz away, too: it ends up with me inadvertantly mirroring their escape moves, with the result that I come across as Charles Manson’s more crazy brother.

    TL;DR: Rinus presents the worst case scenario and asks how to deal with it. GG suggests we resolve it with an unrealistically overt show of pacifism and doggy-roll-over submission. I don’t see either side winning with these opinions.

  312. says

    #339 = total non sequitur in regard to the quoted text. also, includes unwarranted assumption of nationality, as well as yet another reversal of power gradients in the atheist-christian analogy; the appropriate analogy is one of asking christians to stop behaving as if everyone was christian as well, and become a bit more thoughtful in their actions instead.

    conclusion: your entire comment is wrong.

  313. Gregory Greenwood says

    Rinus @ 339;

    Perhaps you can even draw a parallel here every single on of you, being Americans, is probably familiar with. Is it offensive to a religious person when you mention you’re an atheist? Is it reasonable of them to expect you to minimize yourself in order not to give offence?

    In both cases, the offence taken and the threat experienced is very real. But is the other person at fault here and as such, should he/she take steps to avoid it?

    I think you will be hard pressed to demonstrate that a theist’s fear of being confronted with the reality that there are those who do not share their belief in an invisible sky fairy is comparable to a woman’s fear of potentially violent sexual assault or rape. The offense taken by the theist may indeed be ‘real’, but for women it is not so much a question of taking offense – it is a question of protecting themselves from possible attack.

    Further, Christian theists in America (which seems to be your example here) are the empowered majority, around whose political and social predilictions and religious convictions governmennt and society are structured even in a country whose constitution notionally guarantees no establishment of religion. Conversely, women are not a politically dominant group in Western civilisation, but rather a group that has been consistently oppressed, disenfranchised and objectivised throughout history. Thus yours is a false equivilancy. The woman is fearful that she may be assaulted, and that this assault, while terrible in its own right, will also carry a social stigma attaching to her own person, and that she may encounter disbelief or even hostility from the authrorities. Conversely, the angry theist in your example is simply a bigot who does not recognise the rights of atheists to freedom of conscience, and would seek to put all atheists ‘back in the closet’, and to this end gets the vapours when the ‘evil baby-eating apostates’, such as my humble self, dare to show their (doubtless demonic) visgaes in public.

  314. Swann says

    *sigh*
    are you really thad dense, or are you just playing stupid in order to avoid having to argue in good faith?

    power that allows enforcement of a request, or punishment of non-compliance (especially beyond the power to enforce/punish the opposite)

    Oh, I kind of suspected you were completely clueless. I usually give the benefit of the doubt anyway, but once again it proved fruitless.

    Sexism doesn’t include any influence or power component in its definition. You can be sexist without any intention to act on your principles. Just like racism or what-ever-else-ism, sexism is a prejudice, and as such doesn’t depend on its societal influence to manifest. It needs power to spread and flourish, but a person or a group can be sexist no matter how insignificant they are.

  315. Pteryxx says

    it’s interesting that the parallel you (Rinus) draw compares being polite in close quarters with a social oppression-based threat to one’s identity. Hint: Giving women space does not threaten your identity. (Unless it’s important to your self-image to refuse to be considerate of women, of course.)

  316. Rinus says

    @ Jade and Gregory

    Like I said:

    p.s. it’s late and I just posted this off the top of my head, so I might be missing some glaring inconsistencies here -.-

    Point taken. Not an equivalent situation.

  317. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Rinus #292

    It’s not about hurt feelings. It’s about taking reasonable steps not to make people feel uncomfortable and going to ridiculous lengths.

    Yes it is about hurt feelings. Most MRAs feel entitled to ask a woman to fuck whenever they feel like it. If the woman says “no” and especially if the woman says she feels uncomfortable around the MRA, then the MRA’s feelings are hurt. The MRAs just hate that. And so they whine about woman hurting their feelings.

    Just as women aren’t a monolithic structure, MRAs aren’t either. You, for instance, are probably not the type of MRA described above. Instead, you’re the clueless “but men are just being men so women should accept us being men and stop complaining when we act out our male privilege” type.

    Not using an elevator because there happens to be a lone woman on it is definitely the latter.

    I will admit I’ve got on an elevator when the only other passenger was a woman. I’ve also never asked that woman to fuck me, no matter how horny I felt.* But that’s just me. Elevator Guy decided asking Watson to fuck him was more important than not acting like a privileged asshole. You apparently feel that EG was within his rights to ask Watson to fuck him, even though she’d previously made it obvious she didn’t like complete strangers asking her to fuck.

    *Actually for the past almost 40 years, the only woman I’ve ever asked to fuck has been my wife. And if she says no then we don’t fuck. Likewise if she asks me to fuck and I say no, then we don’t fuck. Yeah, there are times when I’ve had the opportunity to get laid and passed it up.

  318. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Rinus:

    Perhaps you can even draw a parallel here every single on of you, being Americans, is probably familiar with.

    That you make such an unwarranted (and incorrect) inference in this small matter is indicative.

    That you consider this a parallel situation, even more so.

  319. nobonobo says

    I learned something about this from a man I never met. Long ago my mother told me of her walk home from shopping. She heard someone approaching from behind and, a man’s voice some distance behind her “Excuse me ma’am, I’m just going past.”
    If it was you, some 25 years ago, thank you. It’s made me think before I’ve acted more than once.

  320. Ibis3, féministe avec un titre française de fantaisie says

    Rinus: Are you really interested in learning or are you convinced that you’re right and are just wasting everyone’s time?

    This has all been explained time and again. So if you really want to learn, just go read the other threads. There was even a long discussion about what to do in a parking garage, on a dark street, in an elevator etc. in different situations (that was one of the threads on Greg Laden’s blog).

    Rinus & Swann: If you don’t give a shit, and are just arguing to stroke your penis ego, just go away. You won’t convince us that male privilege isn’t real or that cornering a woman alone in an elevator and propositioning her despite what you heard her say about such behaviour earlier is a swell idea. You won’t override years of experience and knowledge of the experiences of other women that the women you claim to have polled are representative of the majority rather than outliers. You won’t persuade us that the fact that women are forced to be wary around men is a form of bigotry rather than self-preservation, a fact for which misogyny is itself to blame. So if this is all that you have to say, shut up or mend our company and get the fuck out.

  321. Gregory Greenwood says

    PaulG @ 342;

    With respect, it feels like GG would want the most physically-powerful of any two people who are in the absence of other people to strip to their underwear (“Look! I have no ax, nor mask, nor gun!”) and prostrate themselves, avoiding eye contact, until the other has left the area.

    Well, I suppose that could be fun… ;-)

    In all seriousness though, simply avoiding taking action that could be construed as threatening where possible does not require any such… interesting extremes of behaviour:- Don’t corner women. Don’t follow women into dark and deserted alleys. These actions do not strike me as extreme, unreasonable or unworkable in day to day life.

    GG suggests we resolve it with an unrealistically overt show of pacifism and doggy-roll-over submission.

    I think I have to call for a citation here. I do not remember stating that any form of ‘submission’ to women was required, merely that men should be aware of any action that could be construed as threatening and avoid it. I fail to see why such self-awareness should be considered so onerous. Further, I did not call for an ‘overt show’ of anything. Not undertaking certain actions, simply walking away or doing something else to avoid a situation that may be uncomfortable for someone else, is not what I would describe as an ‘overt show’. It is more an act of ommission – not doing something that may freak out another – than an act of commission. I am not asking anyone to bow down in worship to the holy vagina just yet…

    Unless they want to, of course. Vaginas are far more worship-worthy than the febrile imaginings of Bronze Age goat herds, afterall…

  322. says

    Sexism doesn’t include any influence or power component in its definition.

    darling, my definition is straight out of the “Intro to Sociology” textbook, so kindly fuck off with your precious opinions. incidentally, racism is also power + prejudice, so your attempt at an argument fails entirely.

  323. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Point taken. Not an equivalent situation.

    You can’t see the forest for the trees. Typical MRA bullshit. So, it you don’t want to be considered an MRA, just shut the fuck up. It doesn’t matter whether you listen or not, just shut the fuck up as an abject loser would in the presence of its betters…

  324. Pteryxx says

    “This is obviously not a situation that is likely to happen very often,”

    then why the fuck are you worrying about it then?

    because then Rinus (or whoever) can blame us for not explaining The Rules well enough. Thus, being rude will never be their fault.

  325. PaulG says

    Gregory Greenwood 352:

    GG suggests we resolve it with an unrealistically overt show of pacifism and doggy-roll-over submission.

    I think I have to call for a citation here.

    Citation hereby provided, from your #335:

    In such a scenario where the elavator is in use by a lone woman, why not at least check the stairs? They may be empty, or in use by a group of people. If the stairs are also occupied by a lone woman, then perhaps you should wait.

    But Gregory, what if you check the stairwell and a woman is walking DOWN the stairs, towards your level? How creeped out is she going to be by seeing a man open the exit door, stick his head in, look at her and then disappear? Can you see how ludicrous (and self-defeating) this approach to life can become?

  326. says

    Can you see how ludicrous (and self-defeating) this approach to life can become?

    no. what I see is that it might make the life of the privileged look a wee bit more like the life of the disprivileged; they already have to be aware of such things at all times, and do these situational assessments all the time, often consciously but always subconsciously as well.

  327. Gregory Greenwood says

    PaulG @ 356;

    But Gregory, what if you check the stairwell and a woman is walking DOWN the stairs, towards your level? How creeped out is she going to be by seeing a man open the exit door, stick his head in, look at her and then disappear? Can you see how ludicrous (and self-defeating) this approach to life can become?

    This is where judgement comes into play. Do you remember my caveats @ 335?

    It is all about minimising the sense of threat that you project to women around you – don’t do anything that could be interpreted as cornering or pursuing if you can avoid it.

    So, in this further hypothetical, getting into the lift – which as observed before is a confined space – would likley be more intimidating for the woman than passing someone on the stairs going in the opposite direction, which cannot really be construed as following someone. As I said, it is about minimising any actions that could be seen as threatening – I acknowledge that it might not always be practical to avoid situations where you find yourself alone with a woman you do not know.

    You could refine your hypothetical all night but my basic point remains unaltered. There is no single set of exhaustive hard and fast rules for every possible situation that a person may encounter – you have to be able to display some level of personal judgement when assessing a situation. If you try to keep in mind how your actions may be perceived by others then you have a better chance of avoiding a situation that may cause discomfort for someone else. That’s it. Secret emasculation agenda not included.

  328. Gregory Greenwood says

    Jadehawk @ 357;

    no. what I see is that it might make the life of the privileged look a wee bit more like the life of the disprivileged; they already have to be aware of such things at all times, and do these situational assessments all the time, often consciously but always subconsciously as well.

    Damnit, Jadehawk, why is it that you can say what I want to say so much better than I can say it?

  329. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Why is it so hard for some people to realize that (a) men have a privileged position in society and (b) women should be treated as human beings? I have to admit sometimes I slip up and act privileged* but usually I catch myself before I go too far. I generally apologize when I do use my privilege.

    Treating women as human beings includes don’t treat women like they are NOT human. Don’t treat women like the stereotypes of women, don’t talk down to them, don’t patronize them, don’t charm them, because these things are offensive. Especially don’t put women in a position where they feel threatened, intimidated, or otherwise endangered. Nobody likes to feel frightened, so don’t frighten people. Since women are people that means don’t frighten them. There has already been a massive amount of discussion about what behaviors are and aren’t frightening and under what circumstances these behaviors can and can’t be frightening. Save frightening people for halloween and horror movies. Don’t frighten people in real life.

    Is that too hard for some of you menz to understand?

    *I’m a straight, cis-sexual, white, adult, financially comfortable, male, Harvard graduate who routinely sails a yacht. How more privileged could I be?

  330. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    This question is for either Swann or Rinus:

    Since you both seem think (at least, from you writings I infer this) that, for a woman to percieve threat in is a situation in which a threat has not yet manifested itself, can one of you, please, tell me, and the other readers here, just how a woman is supposed to tell that there is no actual threat, just a (hysterical?) percieved threat?

  331. PaulG says

    GG, 358:

    I’m not going to get into an argument with someone whom I basically agree with, so this is my last comment. I have to make it, as I cannot allow you to make me out to be twisting your words, when you advised me that:

    This is where judgement comes into play.

    Sorry, but there was no suggestion of judgement in your original words. Here is what you said:

    In such a scenario where the elavator is in use by a lone woman, why not at least check the stairs? They may be empty, or in use by a group of people. If the stairs are also occupied by a lone woman, then perhaps you should wait.

    There is no “judgement” here. I feel I said it best in my previous comment:

    But Gregory, what if you check the stairwell and a woman is walking DOWN the stairs, towards your level? How creeped out is she going to be by seeing a man open the exit door, stick his head in, look at her and then disappear? Can you see how ludicrous (and self-defeating) this approach to life can become?

    Perhaps you’d like to think about the scenario I’ve suggested there, and how your black/white thinking (with no thought given to unintended consequences) can be counterproductive.

  332. says

    ‘Tis:

    *I’m a straight, cis-sexual, white, adult, financially comfortable, male, Harvard graduate who routinely sails a yacht. How more privileged could I be?

    You neglected to mention your Trophy Wife™.

  333. David Marjanović, OM says

    Point taken. Not an equivalent situation.

    You can’t see the forest for the trees. Typical MRA bullshit. So, it you don’t want to be considered an MRA, just shut the fuck up. It doesn’t matter whether you listen or not, just shut the fuck up as an abject loser would in the presence of its betters…

    Dude…

    Rinus changes his mind, says so, and almost apologizes – and you automatically take your standard bucket and pour your standard ten-keywords-in-a-row response over him!?! With the bonus of calling yourself his better, as if you were some 19th-century Upper-Class Twit Of The Year!?!

    Fuck you. Sometimes I really wonder how you got your Molly.

    I’ve called truth machine counterproductive. You are often more counterproductive than he ever was. Sometimes your reading comprehension drops to the level of Shiloh’s.

  334. David Marjanović, OM says

    Damnit, Jadehawk, why is it that you can say what I want to say so much better than I can say it?

    Welcome to the club :-) :-) :-)

  335. PaulG says

    DM, OM, 365: Oh good christ on a tricycle, how wonderful! At last, a respected commentor calls out Nerd. Particularly loved this: “you automatically take your standard bucket and pour your standard ten-keywords-in-a-row response over him”

    Bravo!

  336. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    PaulG,

    About once a week someone tells Nerd to shut up when he goes overboard. This week it was DMFM’s turn as the Duty Nerd Shutter-up.

  337. PaulG says

    ‘Tis Himself: Oh, okay. I’ve noticed he gets a little above himself *sometimes*. Can become tiresome, and his mistakes just give ammo to those ranged against us. There are other commentors who are similar of course, but Nerd’s high vocality (think I just made that word up) gets him noticed.

  338. Lyra says

    Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says:

    Since you both seem think (at least, from you writings I infer this) that, for a woman to percieve threat in is a situation in which a threat has not yet manifested itself, can one of you, please, tell me, and the other readers here, just how a woman is supposed to tell that there is no actual threat, just a (hysterical?) percieved threat?

    ^This.

  339. Gregory Greenwood says

    PaulG @ 362;

    Sorry, but there was no suggestion of judgement in your original words.

    I suggested one approach in relation to a hypothetical using my own judgement to chart a possible course of action in the scenario given. It was not my intent to provide a single, iron clad ‘to do list’ that offers a GregCorp(TM) patented freethought-free solution to all your elevator and stairwell encounter needs. I simply suggested one means of going about things in response to Rinus’ scenario @ 327;

    …how do I act when the elevator is taken? If I wait, I might give off the impression to a woman in the garage that I’m waiting for her. If I get on, well.. you know. If I rush to the stairs, well.. what if those are in use as well?

    In your post @ 362 you suggest that;

    Perhaps you’d like to think about the scenario I’ve suggested there

    I have thought about it and given my response. I simply find your scenario, and the argument that you deploy it in support of, unpersuasive.

    how your black/white thinking (with no thought given to unintended consequences) can be counterproductive.

    I fail to see how an appeal to personal judgement and an awareness of the perspectives and feelings of others can be described as ‘black/white thinking’, still less with no thought given to unintended consequence. I am one of those who are suggesting that maybe it is not the best of ideas to go through life without concerning oneself with how your actions impact others.

    I’m not going to get into an argument with someone whom I basically agree with, so this is my last comment.

    Fair enough.

  340. says

    Yeah the atheist community is taking it so fucking seriously that they all still support richard dawkins and christopher hitchens. What a fucking joke. When has not doing anything about leaders making sexist statements counted as “taking it seriously”?

  341. says

    “I don’t know any women who have been assaulted or harassed”–someone asked how old he was and suggested high school. It has to be public school. I was 13 the first time I was groped by a complete stranger about 3 or 4 times my age in a temporarily isolated setting. What he means is that they don’t talk to _him_ about it–much more plausible.

  342. John Morales says

    Skeptifem:

    Yeah the atheist community is taking it so fucking seriously that they all still support richard dawkins and christopher hitchens.

    You indulge in a fallacy of relevance when you conflate their atheist status with their feminist status, O zealot.

  343. says

    The Open Letter to Richard Dawkins was inspired by Dawkins’ statement that Watson had nothing to worry about because she hadn’t been raped. Bu risk is about possibilities–and sensible people take risks into account. The open letter was from women who had been raped or assaulted — despite precautions — to point out that the risk is real. Some were from women who had been raped in elevators.

    Another thread about the topic included a comment from a man who had been raped in an elevator by a larger man.

    Dawkins was extremely dismissive and sarcastic because Watson was worrying over nothing. He was wrong.

  344. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    When has not doing anything about leaders making sexist statements counted as “taking it seriously”?

    You do realize that, in addition to the point that John Morales has made (atheist and feminist movements intersect, they are not fully overlapping) that there is no recall system, no possibility of impeachment, no way to actually ‘remove’ either one? This isn’t like the TeaParty, where failing to adhere completely and totally to one ideology results in banishment. Rather, leadership in the atheist commmunity, as well as the feminist community, depends on a rather effective meritocracy. The public statemetns and wrtings of leaders can be judged by each individual and, if the individual finds the arguments and stances worth supporting, they do. Conversely, if an indivdual disagrees with the statements or writings, the leader’s relevence, their ability to sway the community, the who-give-a-fuck factor may be affected negatively.

    Your concern is noted. Your attempt to toss a verbal hand grenade into an already contentious discussion is also noted.

  345. says

    Nothing particularly British about it. I know an American professor who crossed out his name on his nametag at a conference and wrote “DICK” on it as late as 2008.

    Sometimes I’m so American. Yes, it isn’t that Dick is limited to Britain. It’s that I know many Ricks and Richs in the U.S. but none in the UK.

    Markita, a couple of men signed that letter too.

  346. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Markita, a couple of men signed that letter too.

    If I had known about it at the time, I would have signed.

  347. Philip Legge says

    One of the truly stupid maneuvers on these sorts of threads seems to be the “what if I change parameter X, Y, or Z about the situation, how does that change the way the guy should behave?”

    And people have been good enough to give honest answers on case X, case Y, case Z, ad nauseam. Gregory also explained above that it’s not a one case fits all rule that can be applied without some reflection and thought.

    There are basic underlying concepts though, which feed into how one should act in these varying circumstances. The concept that “women are people” is so fundamental it shouldn’t have to be stated, but at least a couple of posters on this thread have displayed their ignorance that there are well-organised PUAs who use techniques that deny women the basic properties of self-determination and independent agency: they will not treat a woman’s “No” as a “No”. (If you want to see discussion of these vile tactic out in the Manosphere, google the previous three-letter acronym in combination with LMR. But maybe you shouldn’t want to go googling that.)

    There are some other helpful basic concepts that are useful to observe if you don’t want to be regarded as either an inept douche or a mal-intentioned creep. For example, the so-called Golden Rule is normally formulated that you should treat other people the way you would want to be treated, which is a basic principle of human decency in most ethical systems (and shamelessly claimed as a religious invention by various holy men). However the Platinum Rule goes slightly better again, that you should treat other people the way that they want to be treated.

    Since it’s difficult – people not having psychic powers of reading other people’s minds – to know how a complete stranger wants to be treated, then you often you’ll find it hard to apply the Platinum Rule. So what’s so hard about using a little empathy or imagination to think about your behaviour from the other person’s point of view? It is a common social expectation that adults should be able to think ahead about the consequences of their actions. Most of the apologetics defending Elevator Guy (EG) seem to be defending the rights of assholes to behave like assholes. Well, if you want to be in that company, go right ahead.

    I will just touch on the point (Jadehawk mentioned it above) that EG was following the PUA playbook by posing the “Don’t take this the wrong way…” proposition in the way he did: Rebecca had already clearly articulated “No” in her lecture, and via her clear intent prior to leaving the bar. But as I’ve just pointed out, it is commonplace for some types of men to not treat “No” as meaning “No”. That’s a real problem.

    Since some people are still trotting out the “Maybe he was just socially awkward” defense, might I just point to this thread on Skepchick?

    To quote Rebecca Watson directly (it’s halfway down the comments thread):

    Allow me to help clear something up: there was nothing — not a single thing — that led me to believe that the man in the elevator was “awkward.” He was bold, direct, and confident.I assume a lot of people will say I’m lying about that, as they’ve said I’ve lied about everything else, but there you have it.

    So let’s please drop that idea.

  348. chigau (...---...) says

    I am not part of an “atheist community” and Hitchens and Dawkins are not “leading” me anywhere.

  349. John Morales says

    [OT + meta]

    Himself, I’m glad you’re amused (and that you grok me).

    Thanks. :)

    (I sometimes get into trouble for responding to rhetorical questions with inappropriate snark or levity)

    And yeah, privilege (in the social sense) is a serious and important topic — but I figure a little leavening never goes astray.

  350. John Morales says

    Philip @380, you expound on an aspect I’ve been meaning to mention, to wit: the conceit that oa rule-based system for situational-based behavioural determinations is the go; much better (IMO) to have good will, intelligence and a decent knowledge-base from which to make determinations on an ad-hoc basis.

    (Look-up tables are useless when you can’t look something up)

  351. ckitching says

    When has not doing anything about leaders making sexist statements counted as “taking it seriously”?

    What should we do, oh great one? Ostracize and attempt to get him fired? Tar and feather? Boil in excrement?

    We already had several prominent atheist bloggers post extensively about their objections to what Richard Dawkins said, or some of the comments Christopher Hitchens has said over the years. I suppose this is not enough to count as “taking it seriously”, so what do you want?

    They’re human, and prone to errors in judgment, and blindspots. I certainly am under no obligation to take their words as gospel truth. Nor do most of the others here. So, what would count as “taking it seriously”? Or are you just poisoning the well?

  352. Sally Strange, OM says

    Let’s take that list of yours. And let’s divide into two categories;

    a) direct interaction
    b) indirect interaction

    With direct interaction being;

    – stopping to offer a lift
    – closing the door
    – sexist joke

    And indirect interaction;

    – getting on an elevator
    – walking on a street

    Category B is essentially just me going about my business. I’m going from A to B and she just happens to cross my path somewhere along that route. Given that half the population is male, no woman can reasonably expect this never to occur. Now, should I do as I described in an earlier post, that is, loom over her, breath down her neck or, in the street scenario, deliberately walk towards or at her, these would shift from category B to A and, as such, I would agree it’s ‘crossing that line’.

    At this point, it seems like this thing has gotten way too complicated for you. Obviously interacting with the opposite sex is far too fraught with confusion and difficulties for you to handle it on a regular basis. Avoid talking to women and being alone with them until you’ve consulted a mental health professional. There are no rules beyond “Don’t be an asshole”; if that basic instruction is too much for you to handle, then the advice of the commentariat here is not going to be enough to really help you.

  353. John Morales says

    [OT]

    Oh, and I note Philip mentions the Golden and Platinum rules.

    I append the Silver rule: “don’t do unto others as you would not have done unto you”.

    (My personal favourite, that one)

  354. says

    I am not part of an “atheist community” and Hitchens and Dawkins are not “leading” me anywhere.

    QFT. I feel exactly the same way.

    Atheism is not a religion, or a philosophy, or a party, or a movement. It does not have “leaders”. It’s just an absence of belief in gods; nothing more, nothing less.

    The fact that I happen to agree with Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris about the non-existence of gods does not imply that I necessarily agree with them on any other issues. And it certainly doesn’t imply that they are my “leaders” or that they can speak for me.

  355. Philip Legge says

    Thanks John for bringing that point up.

    Indeed, since we can’t predict everything about the future, life being inherently uncertain means you will often find yourself in situations where you don’t have your own previous experience, or a stock response, to fall back upon. So it also should not be in the least offensive for someone who has had an unsavoury experience to point out, “a word to the wise: guys, don’t do that” and for people to reflect a little, “Despite not having experienced that sort of thing myself, I can (by employing a little bit of empathy) see how that behaviour may appear to be creepy, so I will make efforts to avoid doing the same thing.” So it can be treated as a learning moment, no drama, right?

    On the other hand, looking over at the PUA world, you will find a whole lot of heavily-detailed situational scripts intended to manipulate women, right down to the level of “if she says such-and-such, then you should respond with this line of argument”, because “just since she answered ‘No’ once doesn’t mean you can’t badger her enough that she will eventually answer ‘Yes’.” (I’m obviously paraphrasing the general sort of language used there.) I find that sort of stuff repugnant.

  356. ckitching says

    Since some people are still trotting out the “Maybe he was just socially awkward” defense, might I just point to this thread on Skepchick?

    I’ll admit that I had missed that. I suppose that means he was either a “Pick-up Artist” or emulating one. It’s pathetic, but the tactic mentioned is something that is practiced by both groups. The socially awkward use it to avoid possible public humiliation (which usually, but not always [don't read the comments if you value sanity], tends to be more imagined than real). The PUAs use it to corner their prey to increase their chances.

    One of the things that made me take feminists and the idea of toxic masculinity a whole lot more seriously was watching (and being horrified by) a few episodes of a TV show showcasing and glorifying pick-up artists. I was naive and had no idea.

  357. John Morales says

    [OT + association]

    Overall, I find much more merit in LaVey Satanic Rules than in those of most religions.

    (The Biblical Ten Commandments fall in the way-dust by comparison, such little merit they have)

  358. Sally Strange, OM says

    Ooh, John Morales, those are some awesome Satanic Rules! Particularly these:

    3. When in another’s lair, show him respect or else do not go there.

    4. If a guest in your lair annoys you, treat him cruelly and without mercy.

    They seem very applicable to Pharyngula.

  359. John Morales says

    Sally Strange, indeed. :)

    And rather applicable to this discussion:

    5. Do not make sexual advances unless you are given the mating signal.

  360. IndyM says

    @Rinus, Swann: Here is a good explanation of privilege. I suggest reading it. (One of Pharyngula’s brilliant commenters posted it in the Elevatorgate threads here, but I forget who–sorry!)

    I’m still fairly new here, but, Horde–I love you. I just went through this whole thread, and, as always, learned more.

    Shouldn’t Josh have a Molly by now…? Josh, your troll smackdowns are epic.

    Gregory Greenwood, I have a blogcrush on you.

    And PZ, thank you for continuing to write about these issues and for providing a forum for their discussion.

  361. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    If a guest in your lair annoys you, treat him cruelly and without mercy.

    I knew there was a reason for the cache of porcupines in the freezer.

  362. Ibis3, féministe avec un titre française de fantaisie says

    @skeptifem

    Sometimes, when persuasion and reason doesn’t work right away to raise someone’s consciousness, we bide our time and try again. And again. We generally give our friends and allies more slack, more time to get on board, because we feel more trust that their basic intentions are good. They are with us in principle, if not in particulars. There may come a time for firmer pressure: ostracism or boycotts etc., if the victory on the particular is deemed a deal breaker. Or we can just keep trying out of respect for our friends’ contributions. If rational discourse doesn’t get the job done, attrition eventually will.

  363. IndyM says

    @Josh

    I should’ve known–duh! You’re awesome. And that bread you made sounds incredible…sigh. Is there anything you can’t do? :)

  364. Philip Legge says

    ckitching,

    it was easily missed in the free-for-all of a comments thread. Some people have made some really brilliant observations, only for these diamonds to be completely buried amidst hundreds of repetitive comments and trolls containing a high level of noise.

    I’d like to paraphrase one comment by Pharyngula’s own Steve Vowles, which he made back in July over on Greta’s blog (you can now find Steve’s original post here on FTB).

    Let’s assume that both Elevator Guy and Rebecca Watson are in the elevator, and EG has just made his proposition (which was roughly stated as “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I find you really interesting, would you like to come back to my hotel room to talk some more over coffee?”). Without pre-empting Rebecca’s answer, what might their two point-of-views be at that moment, to her response and what might happen as a result?

    EG’s preferred option: she agrees and comes back to my room for “coffee”. (Inferred: And maybe then we can haz sexytiemz?!)
    EG’s non-preferred option: She turns me down and I go to my room unharmed.

    RW’s preferred option: I turn him down and I go to my room unharmed.
    RW’s non-preferred option: if I turn him down and he doesn’t take no for an answer, then I possibly have to fend off further harassment, or maybe even a sexual assault.

    Here’s Steve’s insight: notice that EG’s non-preferred option is the same as RW’s preferred option, and that both sets of assessments are reasonable.

    The asymmetry between the two sets of perceived outcomes is the privilege that seems to escape so many.

  365. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Is there anything you can’t do? :)

    LOL! Yes, as a matter of fact. I can’t have nice glassware. I’m a horrible klutz and I break every glass in my kitchen eventually. Especially wine glasses. Usually when I’m sober, too. I estimate I go through a 12-pack of wine glasses every two years, which is why I only buy really cheap ones from thrift stores. Well, also because I’m cheap.

  366. Ibis3, féministe avec un titre française de fantaisie says

    Oh, and apologies to anyone who was confused by my double negative. I was indeed responding to douchehat who said that none of the women friends he has been harassed or demeaned because of their sex or raped either. I was explaining why I didn’t believe him.

  367. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I was explaining why I didn’t believe him.

    Oh, I got it. He’d never know if any of his women friends had had such experiences, of course, because they’d never tell him. Because he’s a fucker. He likely has no idea what most women in his life actually think of him.

  368. chigau (...---...) says

    This one is my favorite:
    8. Do not complain about anything to which you need not subject yourself.
    (even though a nice whinge can be fun)

  369. Forbidden Snowflake says

    Brother Ogvorvis:

    Rather, leadership in the atheist commmunity, as well as the feminist community, depends on a rather effective meritocracy. The public statemetns and wrtings of leaders can be judged by each individual and, if the individual finds the arguments and stances worth supporting, they do.

    That, I think, was her entire point. That in a community that is supposedly battling sexism, people don’t lose all that many Schrute bucks for sexist behavior.

  370. IndyM says

    @Josh

    LOL! Well, if it’s any consolation, your grace with words cancels out your klutziness with glassware. :)

  371. Philip Legge says

    [OT, Satanic commandments]

    9. Do not harm little children.

    Again, a really useful commandment to observe when compared to the odious ten which the Christians rave on about. Thanks again John!

  372. chigau (...---...) says

    Josh
    My wine glass is a stainless steel one, meant for camping.
    It bounces when it hits the patio.
    (No good at all for admiring the colour of the wine or its legs.)

  373. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Fuck. I’m on the Blogtv chat w/PZ and the rest of them. What do we get in the chat room? Date rape jokes. Rape jokes.

    Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

  374. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Grace with words? You’re too kind! I can, actually, be eloquent. When every other word out of my mouth isn’t “fuck.” :)

  375. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    And, we also have a user calling Matt Dillahunty a fag for his drag appearance on the Atheist Experience.

  376. says

    *reads thread*

    Oh. Another depressing thread full of idiots who think it’s normal and ok to make sexual passes at women in elevators in the middle of the night, and who think Rebecca Watson was “overreacting” when she said mildly and politely “Er… guys, please don’t do that” in a subsequent YouTube video.*

    (*Somehow, in the frenzied imaginations of the Poor Oppressed Menz brigade, this moderate response has been interpreted as an intemperate extremist anti-male diatribe. Very few of Watson’s critics seem to have bothered to address themselves to what she actually said.)

    How many times are we going to end up having the same discussion, with different idiots saying the same things, over and over? It’s like a goddamn carousel. But less entertaining.

  377. IndyM says

    Josh, “fuck” is a powerful word, and you wield your power with it wisely. Many of the most brilliant commenters here salt their eloquence with some tasty profanity (you, Aquaria, et al. [too many to list!]). When idiots speak and the only thing out of their mouths is “fuck,” that’s dull and coarse. But here, it’s a wonderful thing.

    Btw, I’m a class act: my drinking vessels are PLASTIC, although I will take out wine glasses when there’s wine.

    Re the rape jokes on BlogTV: it’s SO disheartening. I’ll never understand how someone could possibly think such a crime is funny. When I read about Caine’s horrifying experience, I felt nauseous–and here she is, valiantly explaining her viewpoints and experience, and the MRA assholes STILL won’t listen. I really despair sometimes…

  378. Lyn M: droit de seignorita says

    The down side of living in a totally different time zone is that by the time you read the thread, you see it has all been said. And often more clearly and incisively than one could do one’s self. Damn it.

    I am fortunate in that I have not been raped. I have been stalked though, by men who wanted me to abandon a case as I was making life too difficult for them. Sometimes they tried to convince me I was wrong about them stalking me. They just happened to appear where I often went for lunch while at the courthouse. OK, maybe, but also where I parked the car when they had no car with them that day? And outside my office? etc. Their comments sure sounded like the MRA comments. I was silly to be nervous, this from a guy it took 4 cop cars to bring down while he had a knife at the throat of my soon to be client. I was over-reacting. How could they know that standing in my line of sight in unexpected locations for no legitimate reason would upset me? I was lucky because the police at the courthouse saw me as one of them. They would walk me to my car if some real jerk had been sounding off about getting the bitch who was bothering them.

    The “explanations” all assumed that it was MY problem if I was nervous or objected to their being around me at strange times and places they had never been at before. They all said they were just going about their business, etc and I over-reacted. They had the right to use the restaurant/ parking lot/ sidewalk.

    Now these guys were simply lying. It sure makes me suspicious of similar sounding “explanations” about the perceptions of a woman concerning the actions of the man. By the way, I never was hit, but the whole purpose was to change my actions using intimidation. They sent that message. I received it. It seems to me that a lot of these “socially dense” guys have a nice cover for themselves, and I wish they were called on it more.

  379. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Re the rape jokes on BlogTV: it’s SO disheartening.

    I know. After many years of living in liberal New England and not experiencing (directly) sexism, rape culture, and homophobia, I’ve been woken up to how prevalent it is recently, thanks to several of my favorite bloggers. And “thanks” to the sub-human scum that infest these threads and so many others in places (i.e. -atheist, secular, “liberal”) I stupidly assumed were safe.

    Why, it’s almost like being back in high school in the 1980s and fearing for my safety because fag bashing was considered unremarkable. And when the standard advice from school administrators was (this is a direct quote), “Stop being so different. . you’re bringing it on yourself.”

    Oh, wait – it is just exactly that. And women get to experience it every day. Still.

  380. Lyn M: droit de seignorita says

    @ Josh

    Oh, totes. I should have used bigger scare quotes. I think if more of those guys were called on such behaviour and were not given any slack, it could improve things.

    But they aren’t most of the time, and if they are, well the woman gets to wear delightful names and be accused of attention seeking at the kindest.

    I still find it a refreshing shock to read that the behaviour is wrong and should be stamped out. That’s why it’s fun to come here.

  381. IndyM says

    @Josh

    I was also in high school in the 1980s. Gays didn’t “exist”; that is, homosexuality wasn’t even discussed or thought about because it was so extreme and distasteful an anomaly. (Not the way I think, obvs–just painting a picture of the atmosphere. It was really repressed.) I’m so sorry for what you had to go through.

    It’s funny, but I never thought about the ways I was harassed and abused as a woman in the past because it was just the bloody NORM. It was part of life. I’ve always considered myself a feminist; however, I was a very uneducated one. And so I’ve been catching up on blogs like this one–and I’ve had revelation upon revelation. Another interesting thing (or rather, a sad thing) is that when I talk about feminist issues with friends at work or in social situations, I get the side-eye. I’m making too much of a fuss, reading too much into things, being too politically correct… And I live in Manhattan, of all places! Pharyngula (and the other political/feminist blogs I follow) are where I learn and where I feel a sense of community. I just wish I had discovered Pharyngula earlier.

    And sincerely: thank you to you and all the other men here who are allies. I don’t think I know any truly feminist men in meatspace (that is, in my circle of friends and acquaintances).

  382. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Lyn and IndyM-

    I know, I know. Pharyngula has been a revelation to me, too, in some pleasant and extremely unpleasant ways. The community here (just sit there and don’t say anything, John Morales, OK?) is singular and important. Watching the idiocy/bigotry/casual indifference and being involved in the genuinely passionate anti-bigotry conversations here has been very important for me.

    Those of us who travel in modern “liberal” circles are experiencing something akin to the anti-vaxxers. Young adults today have no experience of polio, diphtheria, scarlet fever, German measles, etc. Because public health efforts have eradicated or tamed these diseases, we get complacent. It’s only this luxurythat allows anti-vax bullshit to proliferate.

    Same thing with sexism/homophobia. So much effort and strife went into trying to tame it over the past 50 years that cosmopolitan people in major cities are actually clueless enough to even conceive of giving someone the side-eye for mentioning that kind of oppression. Victims of our forebears’ success, and thus doomed to fight the same battles. Over. And over. And over.

    It’s the very definition of perverse.

  383. Lyn M: droit de seignorita says

    Josh, yep. Years ago, my daughter told me that she was not a feminist because feminists were over the top. She was about 14. So I told her I thought feminism had been enough of a success that she didn’t face a big fight if she wanted a job and not a ton of babies. Didn’t sink in for her at the time. A year or so later when she was starting to look at going to university, we heard someone on the radio go on about how she didn’t see that it was hard to be a woman with a career and women who said otherwise were whiners. She and her friends were fine. I commented that this woman was ignoring all the work so many did years ago so she would be in a position to feel that way. After a moment, my daughter said that she could see the point now. She did think it was necessary to speak up. I have no idea what things had been said to her in high school when she talked about a career, etc. But she got it, and she is a strong feminist now, who speaks up and won’t let stuff slide. Sometimes she takes on things I don’t feel up to. I’m really proud of her and so glad we see eye to eye on feminist issues now.

  384. ckitching says

    Josh, I think it’s even worse than that. Many liberal-orientated groups have adopted the perverse idea that it’s somehow wrong to criticize people’s opinions, or to offend someone. So dedicated to civility, they’re willing to sell out every important idea they have just to maintain it.

    So we have the anti-vaxxers, tea party, gay conversion, and all these other groups who have ideas so corrosive we should be fighting them with every ounce of our strength, but instead have to fight against those who insist we should be quiet because talk like this might offend someone.

    I generally find this place refreshing because anyone can be called out on their bad idea without the pleasantry bullshit. It really sucks if that “anyone” happens to be you, but that’s the price we pay.

  385. says

    My wife today picked up a book at a local flea market. I’m not sure how old it is, but it’s not too recent. It’s a guidebook for newly wedded wives. It suggests without irony that women should do everything their husband says, should not spend much time around other women, and if their husband cheats, it’s probably the wive’s fault.

    Sure, the book is probably a hundred years old. But that’s a lot to change in a hundred years.

  386. Anri says

    Swann:

    Wow! That has to be the skinniest straw man I’ve ever seen. But fine, I concede: If women incist on being afraid whenever in the presence of a man,

    …irony meter just broke at emphasis… but do go on…

    I really can’t order them not to be.

    No, you’re not ordering, you’re belittling. You’re shaming.

    I’m also not going to take another elevator or turn back on dimly lit footpath for the mere reason that I’m a male.

    Ok, just so we’re straight: your inconvinience is, in your opinion, more important that a woman’s fear of rape.
    Gotcha, thanks for making that clear, let’s move on.

    If that’s the sole cause of the fear, there’s nothing I can do to ease it.

    Except the remedies you suggested above, but won’t – not can’t – do.

    Any attempt to come off as non-threatening would probably just make it worse. Tip-toeing around every woman I meet, because they might be afraid, is also out of the question. Demanding that would actually be sexist and I really hope that’s not where this is going. Not having to apologize for gender goes both ways.

    Quick question: does rape go both ways? With any realistic frequency? If not, please don’t pretend the situation is symmetrical.

    Personally I find being perpetually on the edge for potential rapists quite gratuitous, at least in the so called civilized western countries.

    As I said, the term for women believing things you find silly is ‘hysteria’. Use it, please, like this example:
    “Women are being hysterical to be in fear of rape. Rape’s not really that big a problem – I’ve never been afraid of rape even once! And since I’m far more sensible than any woman, when what they’re thinking and I’m thinking differ, obviously I’m right. Due to having a penis and all.”
    Again, makes it easier.

    Everyone still can, of course, consider that for themselves and come to whatever conclusion they like. No one should have to be afraid, but no neither should anyone have to sneered at for involuntarily inducing that fear by just being there.

    You don’t believe that women have to be afraid?
    Ok, then, please clarify for me: how common would rape have to be, in your opinion, for women being afraid of it to be sensible? A round number will do. Twice as common as currently? Three times? What’s your ‘wait a sec – women aren’t being dumb about this’ rape occurrence threshold?

    And, really, if you’re willing to equate fear of rape and fear of being ‘sneered at’, you need to have something adjusted in your brain.

  387. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    ckitching:

    Many liberal-orientated groups have adopted the perverse idea that it’s somehow wrong to criticize people’s opinions, or to offend someone. So dedicated to civility, they’re willing to sell out every important idea they have just to maintain it.

    Don’t I know it. There’s nothing civil about denigrating the very humanity of other people and calling into question their right to fair taxation or, you know, to not die because they’re poor.

    That’s precisely why the US “left” is in such trouble; so-called “liberals” are too busy tone-trolling each other and rolling over (Obama) to most extreme and outrageous right-wing actions that it doesn’t even occur to them to fight for their own survival. I hate (pardon the expression, but I can think of none better) flaccid liberals. They’re a bigger enemy than the enemies themselves, because they think they’re not.

  388. John Morales says

    [OT]

    Anri,

    As I said, the term for women believing things you find silly is ‘hysteria’.

    Heh. Whenever I see that term, I can’t help being aware of its hysterical historical/etymological connotations: ‘uterus-affected’.

  389. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Nigel:

    It suggests without irony that women should do everything their husband says, should not spend much time around other women, and if their husband cheats, it’s probably the wive’s fault.

    Sure, the book is probably a hundred years old.

    Oh, this shit’s not even a hundred years old. Don’t get too excited.

    I have here before me “The Casserole Cookbook,” a four-color cookbook on glossy paper first printed in 1954 (and that shit was expensive in that era). On the inside cover, in beautiful “feminine” handwriting in blue fountain pen, some woman inscribed it to her friend, “Happy cooking in your new home – Madeline.”

    The introductory page (I wish you could see it) features a typical 1950s line-drawing-type illustration. . .primary colors and near-caricatures of men and women. On the left a housewife in an A-line dress with crinolines (think I Love Lucy) with an apron tied over-top is literally stepping out of the pages of an over-sized copy of The Casserole Cookbook.

    To her immediate right is a dining room table covered in cloth and set. Little Suzie and Little Jimmie are playing underneath their chairs while Rex, the dog, is chewing a bone. Mr. is seated, in suit and bow-tie, tossing dishes above his head like a mad juggler while he awaits service. Mrs. steps in carrying a steaming chicken pie, tottering on heels so steep she’s almost canted forward.

    The text reads:

    Every homemaker dreams—of creating memorable main dishes, even from leftovers; of cooking vegetables skillfully to produce subtly blended flavors; of serving distinctive desserts that take a minimum of time and effort. These dreams come true when she’s cooking in a casserole.

    These “people” are our parents/grandparents’ generation. A quick glance at contemporary commercials featuring slovenly, bored men being dusted-around by implausibly hot wives in a Stepford Showcase suggests we haven’t made much progress.

  390. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Oh, lovely. Now I’ve got another Plavix/aspirin-induced nosebleed to go along with my “it’s not domestic abuse I swear” blood-thinner-bruised arms and legs.

    Sigh. Crankopotamus.

  391. kristinc says

    Josh: your cookbook reminds me of one my mom received when she married in, I think, 1969. It has “time saving tips” such as this one: when you’re too busy or tired to cook a full breakfast for your family, why, all you have to do is decant the breakfast cereals into pretty pitchers and set them on the table with the bowls, spoons, milk, napkins and fruit, and surely they won’t mind “serving themselves” this once because it will all be so novel.

    Do you have any Peg Bracken books? I love the I Hate To Housekeep Book, mostly because it sticks out a facetious tongue at the idea that women are all just swooning with joy over housewifely tasks.

  392. awesome says

    @426

    In my opinion, the left is in trouble because we suck at marketing to low-information voters (read: most voters). Single payer? Who wants that? That’s socialism, and you’re not a socialist, are you? And keep your government hands off my Medicare.

    The right has even turned the word “government” into a pejorative. “Innocent 12-year-old girls are being forced to get a government injection…” as if the evil doctors are injecting Government into their vaginas. That sounds absurd to us, but it drew applause at the last Republican debate.

    Now they’re out there trying to brand the economy as the “Obama economy”, as if things were just peachy at the start of his term. What’re we doing about it? Obama’s trying to market his jobs bill, but the Democrats in congress are too busy stabbing themselves in the back to present a unified message. Really, it’s like watching a heavyweight boxing match where one participant doesn’t know how to throw a punch. Or block. Or even move their limbs in an organized fashion.

  393. John Morales says

    [OT]

    awesome, despair ain’t admirable.

    (I’m not trying to be accusative, but that’s how I read your sentiment)

    Really, it’s like watching a heavyweight boxing match where one participant doesn’t know how to throw a punch. Or block. Or even move their limbs in an organized fashion.

    … but who actually won the last round.

    (Who’s the POTUS, again?)

  394. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    kristinc:

    why, all you have to do is decant the breakfast cereals into pretty pitchers and set them on the table with the bowls, spoons, milk, napkins and fruit, and surely they won’t mind “serving themselves” this once because it will all be so novel.

    Holy fuck. I don’t mind saying I just snorfled and LOL’d, except. .damn. Everyone took that shit seriously and without irony just a short while ago when we were kids.

    As a skilled domestic person who honestly enjoys cooking from scratch to make quality meals (and especially to please guests), and who’d gladly cook for a man if I could find one to settle for down with, I resent all these retrograde assholes spoiling my fun.:)

  395. IndyM says

    @Josh #426

    WORD. What you and ckitching said. So true.

    I think that Americans have always had this dislike of blunt, direct speech. In my own experience, if I state an opinion too passionately and/or too bluntly, I always get, “God, you’re SO OPINIONATED.” When I have discussions with my French or Scandinavian friends, we sometimes disagree wildly and have arguments–but the disagreements aren’t taken personally, and the arguments are not acrimonious.

    As an aside, I posted this review on FB with the comment “This is why I have no desire to see The Help.” (So many people were talking about how they wanted to see it, and I just couldn’t understand their enthusiasm for such Hollywood crap.) Not one person remarked on the review’s content, which I thought was compelling. Was I being too political? Was I making people uncomfortable? Was it simply that no one was at all interested? I just don’t understand this desire to bury one’s head in the sand about issues, whitewash real problems, and tone-troll every convo. (And THAT’S why I love your epic smackdowns, Josh.)

    I’m off to sleep–see you in other threads, and good night!

  396. Lyn M: droit de seignorita says

    These discussions take me back to grade 8 when I failed a subject, the only time I ever did that. It was spelling. The teacher stood beside my desk and said, “How can you ever be a secretary if you can’t spell? You have to try harder.” And I looked up at her and said, “I’m going to have a secretary, and she will spell.” The teacher, a woman, stared at me a time, then walked off shaking her head. It was as if I had said, “I won’t need to spell. I’ll be a hooker.” My reply was not only deranged in her view, but an offense against the norms of the day.

    I still can’t spell.

  397. awesome says

    John,

    It’s more frustration than despair. I just wish these people would start being at least a little bit effective in arguing their positions to the public.

    And, as I recall, the Republicans won the last round of elections by something of a landslide, and from what I’ve been hearing from the people around me, Obama is going to have an awful lot of voter apathy to overcome (“Yeah, well I voted for him last time, and things haven’t really changed, so why bother.”). I suppose he could get a boost if the Republicans pick someone who is sufficiently out of their damned minds to run for president, but I’d rather our democracy not come to that. Again, that is.

  398. John Morales says

    [totally OT]

    awesome, fair enough.

    I note that there was some recent discussion over on TET (thanks to an aside from Walton) regarding the merits of compulsory voting.

    Now, I’m Australian and therefore not au fait with USAnian politics (and also perhaps biased towards our own “compulsory” system), but it seems to me it’s easy for demagogues over your way to incite the sheeple to vote, and that this plays into the Republican side moreso than to the Dems.

  399. AnotherPerson says

    I just want to say that after reading the article and around half of the comments, thank you. It’s made me realise that I take far too much for granted in life, and all the jazz. Thanks again (most) everyone, especially for making me feel normal for actually thinking women are people and not overgrown items.

  400. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    Same thing with sexism/homophobia. So much effort and strife went into trying to tame it over the past 50 years that cosmopolitan people in major cities are actually clueless enough to even conceive of giving someone the side-eye for mentioning that kind of oppression. Victims of our forebears’ success, and thus doomed to fight the same battles. Over. And over. And over.

    QF fucking T

    Josh and Lyn M, you nailed it. (also, hi IndyM. Your response to finding Pharyngula sounds a lot like my feelings about it, Like finding a drink of water in the desert.)

  401. Swann says

    …irony meter just broke at emphasis… but do go on…

    So you’re not saying that women get afraid by the sheer presence of a man? Good.

    No, you’re not ordering, you’re belittling. You’re shaming.

    By no means am I shaming or belitteling. I don’t even by the premise. I’ve been in the elevator with a woman for countless times and I really don’t think that has caused any anguish to them. If it has, they really did hide it well – an what’s more bizarre, a lot of women in my building are taking this risk all the time. So far I haven’t met anyone, who would steer clear of the elevators. Like I said before, if the doors opened and I would abrubtly turn away after seeing a woman standing there, she wouldn’t be relieved, but rather perplexed, possibly even insulted.

    Ok, just so we’re straight: your inconvinience is, in your opinion, more important that a woman’s fear of rape.
    Gotcha, thanks for making that clear, let’s move on.

    First of all, I really don’t believe women generally are that afraid of men – why the hell would they keep constantly risking it otherwise. Not a common behavior for someone who’s afraid.

    Also, over time, this could be quite a bit more than just an inconwenience. Where even are the limits here? What if there are two women in the elevator? Can I now enter or are they still too terryfied? How about three, they could be afraid that I have a knife or a gun. And walking away at night every time there’s a woman, or two, or three, within 100 feet from me. Seriously? If these situations are really that horrible for you, then you go ahead and avoid them. Demanding me to do so is frankly quite silly.

    Quick question: does rape go both ways? With any realistic frequency? If not, please don’t pretend the situation is symmetrical.

    Does it have to be rape? Can I count murders and other possible assaults too? All together men are far more likely to become victims of a violent crime than women are, so they should be petrified too, right? What’s the sufficient frequency here? How common would that have to be?

    You can certainly be constantly on the edge if you think you have to, but you really can’t claim the right to have the elevators, streets, and whatever else you can think of, all to yourself whenever it would make you more confortable.

  402. John Morales says

    Swann:

    I’ve been in the elevator with a woman for countless times and I really don’t think that has caused any anguish to them.

    Um, you’ve ever followed an unaccompanied woman from overseas into an elevator in a hotel at 4am during a conference where she was one of the speakers, and whose speech addressed problems faced by women in the atheist movement, and who clearly stated she did not want to be hit on during conferences, and who after her talk spent several hours mingling with guests in the hotel bar (where coffee was served) after which she stated she was tired and going to bed and whenceupon having never spoken to her before (you being a stranger to her) you told her you found her interesting and would she come with you to your hotel room for coffee?

    (Context, what the fuck does it mean?)

    BTW, did Rebecca use the word “anguish”? Did anyone here?

    (Rhetorical — the answer is ‘no’)

    Where even are the limits here? What if there are two women in the elevator? Can I now enter or are they still too terryfied? How about three, they could be afraid that I have a knife or a gun.

    Oddly enough, Philip Legge has already answered this very question @380.

    (I guess he must be prescient)

    First of all, I really don’t believe women generally are that afraid of men – why the hell would they keep constantly risking it otherwise. Not a common behavior for someone who’s afraid.

    Well, you’ve set that straw-dummy well and truly on fire.

    (I understand — those link above to “Schroedinger’s Rapist” are too difficult to follow, for such as you)

    Shame about the actual arguments made, eh?

    Anyway, I’d respond a bit more, but it’s polite to leave some meat for others. ;)

  403. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    Swann, either you genuinely don’t grasp the concepts of context and empathy – in which case you are amazingly obtuse – or you are deliberately “missing the point” for your amusement, in which case you are starting to smell a lot like a troll.

  404. says

    @157 tis himself,

    PZ has repeatedly claimed that his side has been calm, that others have made this a big deal. That’s a blatant lie. This would never have become a story if people who follow Watson didn’t repost this all over the place.

  405. Swann says

    Um, you’ve ever followed an unaccompanied woman from overseas into an elevator in a hotel at 4am during a conference where she was one of the speakers, and whose speech addressed problems faced by women in the atheist movement, and who clearly stated she did not want to be hit on during conferences, and who after her talk spent several hours mingling with guests in the hotel bar (where coffee was served) after which she stated she was tired and going to bed and whenceupon having never spoken to her before (you being a stranger to her) you told her you found her interesting and would she come with you to your hotel room for coffee?

    (Context, what the fuck does it mean?)

    Context, exatly. I was responding to a claim that women are afraid of just being in an elevator with a man, not the RW situation. No abrubt and highly suspect propositions or anything else of the kind, just being there.

    And obviously I didn’t mean that it literally causes anguish. Context, again.

  406. John Morales says

    Michael Hawkins:

    PZ has repeatedly claimed that his side has been calm, that others have made this a big deal.

    If your contention is true, you can surely cite and/or quote repeated instances of this.

    (Go to it, or let it stand that you’re a bold-faced liar)

  407. John Morales says

    Swann:

    I was responding to a claim that women are afraid of just being in an elevator with a man, not the RW situation.

    Really. Then you can presumably adduce the specific quote to which you respond, no?

    (Because I reckon the claim is that women have reason to be wary, not that they are afraid)

    And obviously I didn’t mean that it literally causes anguish. Context, again.

    I do not think that word means what you think it means.

  408. Swann says

    Swann, either you genuinely don’t grasp the concepts of context and empathy – in which case you are amazingly obtuse – or you are deliberately “missing the point” for your amusement, in which case you are starting to smell a lot like a troll.

    Well, judge me how you will, but I don’t think men should be obligated to refrain from entering into an elevator or walking on the streets late at night in case there’s a lone woman in the vicinity.

  409. Minnie The Finn, avec de cèpes de Bordeaux says

    Hi all,

    since a lot of men seem to be worried that true equality would render it impossible to have any discourse between sexes, I’d like to put in my two cents. I’m late to the thread (as always, curse these international time zones), and I’m sure this has been said many times before, but here goes anyway.

    Take this from an OLD woman who has been around a LOT and who has a relatively, um, European approach to sex (meaning that I’m no shrinking violet; I like sex, even casual sex when I’ve been single, and do not have societal hangups about it (much)).

    It’s quite simple: do NOT try to pick up women if they don’t know you from scratch. Talk to them first in a non-threatening manner, make sure that it’s a safe space for them (that there are people around, and a way out for her, both verbally and physically). Learn to read her signs properly*. If in doubt, back off. Let her get to know you, and proceed with care. Even better, let her bring up sex first, if she feels like it.

    If you’re looking for a quickie, there are places that are more appropriate than others. Bars, night clubs and such. Again, make your move when it’s safe for her to say no, without fear of confrontation or violence. If she’s smart, she can do this in a way that leaves you with your pride intact. If she’s not, well, maybe you were best off without that particular experience. Women can be tactless, too, but remember the balance: the worst she can do is insult you, whereas she has to live with the possibility of physical violence – thus, she has much more to lose if her assessment of the risk is off base.

    If you’re looking for something a bit more enduring: hitting on her straight away is pretty much making sure that it’s not going to happen. Take time to know her, and let her get to know you. Bring up physical attraction only when you’re sure she is comfortable enough to state her own interest or the lack of it safely. Prepare for the possibility that she may say no, no matter how nice and charming and attractive you consider yourself. It’s her right, and she doesn’t have to explain why – although, if she’s comfortable with it, she may tell you why she’s not interested in you, and you might pick up a few pointers, if you’re willing to listen to her rather than argue that she’s wrong in turning you down (take this from someone who’s been on both sides of that particular situation several times).

    Consider her right not to be harassed at least equal to (or even more important than) your right to score a bit of pussy. You do not have a universal right to sex. If you can’t get it, then tough titty, kitty. Use your hand, get a sex toy, or better yet, try and figure out why you’re being turned down all the time (hint: not the women’s fault).

    As to women being fragile butterflies: that’s only because the patriarchy gives no other options for the great majority of us. The threat of sexual assault (ranging from a ‘friendly’ ass grope to violent rape) is real. We have no option but to err on the side of caution. If something happens, it’s pretty much a given that there will be no retribution, but only more insult and violence towards us. Slut shaming. Victim blaming. And if we take public offence to the unwarranted attention, we get to be called an uppity feminazi bitches for not having a sense of humor, and not understanding that grabbing our ass or tits was a fucking compliment: “you’re not that good looking anyway, you should be grateful, you cow!”.

    That, and worse, have happened to me hundreds of times over the years; I lost count decades ago. And this in a society that is magnitudes more equal than the US. And I’m not even that striking physically; my more attractive friends have it ten times worse.

    Please try, even for a few minutes, to imagine having to live in a society like this. It really is a ‘devil if you do, devil if you don’t’ situation for us. It makes us sometimes angry; often it makes us just weary. I hate having to be a fragile butterfly. Thankfully, I have managed to surround myself (most of the times) with people with whom we can all just be ourselves.

    Thanks for the use of your bytes, and sorry for re-hashing what’s been said so many times before. Peace out.

    *Being socially clueless is no excuse. If you cannot learn the grammar of basic human interactions, it’s not the women’s fault any more than yours.

  410. John Morales says

    Swann:

    Well, judge me how you will, but I don’t think men should be obligated to refrain from entering into an elevator or walking on the streets late at night in case there’s a lone woman in the vicinity.

    As you wish; I judge you as a intellectually dishonest pissant who makes shit up rather than addressing actual claims.

    (You did ask for it)

  411. Swann says

    Really. Then you can presumably adduce the specific quote to which you respond, no?

    (Because I reckon the claim is that women have reason to be wary, not that they are afraid)

    Most recent claim from Anri was that men shouldn’t even get into an elevator if a woman is already in it – because she’ll get scared. This is the quote I was responding to: “Ok, just so we’re straight: your inconvinience is, in your opinion, more important that a woman’s fear of rape.
    Gotcha, thanks for making that clear, let’s move on.”

    My inconvenience here being to have to take the stairs or another elevator.

  412. Swann says

    As you wish; I judge you as a intellectually dishonest pissant who makes shit up rather than addressing actual claims.

    Fine, but I didn’t make that claim up. It was actually asserted above.

  413. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    I don’t think men should be obligated to refrain from entering into an elevator or walking on the streets late at night in case there’s a lone woman in the vicinity.

    … and did I mention deliberately missing the point? Which you are doing – again. Since no-one has ever actually seriously suggested this. Getting greyer and increasingly silicon-based by the minute there, pal.
    .
    .

    (PS to horde – off to do stuff in town just now; see you all later)

  414. says

    Swann:

    Well, judge me how you will, but I don’t think men should be obligated to refrain from entering into an elevator or walking on the streets late at night in case there’s a lone woman in the vicinity.

    Okay, I’ll judge you. Based on what you’ve written, you’re a whiny, selfish, privilege-filled, entitlement-minded asswipe.

    You obviously aren’t obligated to do anything, including treating women as full human beings, have empathy or have the intelligence to comprehend privilege and how it affects people.

    I’m a woman who won’t get in an elevator with a man I don’t know. This is due to past experiences in my life and I’m well aware that it is my issue. I don’t expect men to “refrain” from getting into an elevator, I’m the one who will wait and take the next one. How exactly does that put you out, Cupcake?

    I’m fortunate in that the men I know are aware of how a woman can be uncomfortable alone in an elevator with a stranger and are generally happy to take the next elevator. It’s the sort of thing that intelligent, empathic humans do.

    Now, walking on the street late at night. That’s a situation in which most women are wary at the very least. Me, I’m on high alert. If there is a strange man walking up behind me, I’ll cross the street, or better yet, duck into any open, well lit business until the man is past and gone well beyond. How exactly does that put you out, Cupcake?

    I’m fortunate in that the men I know are aware of just how risky it is for a woman on the street late at night, and will cross the street to remove fear from the situation. They not only understand how a woman might feel in that situation, they’ve also known what it’s like to be a wary of or afraid of a stranger[s] on the street late at night. Because of that, they have little trouble empathizing.

    What a pity you’re just another asswipe that has no problem whatsoever in making life that extra bit of difficult for every woman you encounter.

  415. John Morales says

    Swann:

    I was responding to a claim that women are afraid of just being in an elevator with a man, not the RW situation.

    Really. Then you can presumably adduce the specific quote to which you respond, no?

    This is the quote I was responding to: “Ok, just so we’re straight: your inconvinience is, in your opinion, more important that a woman’s fear of rape.
    Gotcha, thanks for making that clear, let’s move on.”

    Hm. That quote refers to the relative merits of a man’s inconvenience as compared to a woman’s fear (and was itself a response to your own claim that you weren’t going “to take another elevator [...] for the mere reason that [you're] a male.”)

    It does not state “that women are afraid of just being in an elevator with a man”, does it?

    Nonetheless, I give you credit for engaging, and accordingly amend my judgement and retract my claim you’re being intellectually dishonest.

    (Well done)

  416. McCthulhu awaits the return of the 2000 foot Frank Zappa says

    I usually don’t like getting too immersed in the issues that end up in 1000+post epics on Pharyngula, I don’t have the time and I’m a chronic conflict avoider. I am curious about a couple things though…

    Has Dawkins apologized for his comment or tried to suggest he misunderstood what was going on initially? I have to say I am more than a little disappointed in the guy and I am still holding out hope it was just a misunderstanding of what was going on or he just had some sort of massive brain fart that day.

    I’m also really weirded out by the idea that there is still that ‘hit on the conference lecturer in the lift’ mentality. I’m trying to be an optimist and think that it’s a case of society being made up of awkward social cretins regardless of their personal philosophy and not something endemic of a big segment of the male atheist population. I’m becoming a bit of a neo-luddite about new pop culture and don’t really pay attention to what’s being fed into people’s heads on TV, video games and comics, so maybe there’s still a whole bunch of assholes filling young men’s minds with the wrong ideas. My impression of a big chunk of American society also is that there’s a lot of people that have a huge hole in the area of their brain that is supposed to ‘imagine yourself as the other.’ I’m just glad to know my personal ethics and whatever societal/cultural flotsam has been input would never put me in a situation where I didn’t try to thank someone like Watson for giving the speech and wish her a decent day instead of inviting her to my room. The situation she found herself in gives me the creeps.

  417. John Morales says

    [postscript]

    Ah, I just noticed Caine’s post.

    Serendipitously salient (my emphasis):

    a woman can be uncomfortable alone in an elevator with a stranger

  418. Swann says

    … and did I mention deliberately missing the point? Which you are doing – again. Since no-one has ever actually seriously suggested this. Getting greyer and increasingly silicon-based by the minute there, pal.

    In my increasingly and silicon-based opinion, Saying that a man is putting his inconvenience ahead of women’s fear of being raped if he does otherwise is suggesting just that.

  419. John Morales says

    [meta]

    McCthulhu,

    Has Dawkins apologized for his comment or tried to suggest he misunderstood what was going on initially?

    No. But he’s a smart cookie; he stopped digging.

  420. McCthulhu awaits the return of the 2000 foot Frank Zappa says

    Sorry for the meta, my fault for coming late to the party.

  421. says

    @446 John Morales,

    I think you’re lost. It’s hard to imagine that anyone is going to deny that PZ has claimed his side to be calm whilst the other side is going nuts – he did it in this very post. He spent a good deal of this post (http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/07/two_awful_no-good_terribad_mis.php) doing it, too. (In fact, that post has been updated a couple of times to further reflect that it somehow hasn’t been PZ and co that has been fueling what should be a nothing-topic.) There was also one other post where he spent some time discussing how calm he and his side have been, though I can’t find it at the moment (not that I need to find it since I have already given two examples, one of which is in this very post.

    But I think you’re lost. The argument you’re looking for is the one where you either say PZ honestly believes his side has been calm or he is actually correct and his side really hasn’t been freaking out, making a mountain from a mole hill.

    But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s all those “obsessive sexists” who first saw Watson’s video and started reblogging it over and over and over on all their pro-feminist sites.

  422. John Morales says

    Swann:

    Saying that a man is putting his inconvenience ahead of women’s fear of being raped if he does otherwise is suggesting just that. [“be[ing] obligated to refrain from entering into an elevator or walking on the streets late at night in case there’s a lone woman in the vicinity”]

    Oh, FFS.

    (If you’re not intellectually dishonest, then you’re thick as a brick)

  423. Swann says

    Hm. That quote refers to the relative merits of a man’s inconvenience as compared to a woman’s fear (and was itself a response to your own claim that you weren’t going “to take another elevator [...] for the mere reason that [you're] a male.”)

    It does not state “that women are afraid of just being in an elevator with a man”, does it?

    It suggests that a man shouldn’t get into an elevator with a woman, because she is afraid of that, not because she can be. The latter would’ve meant that I’m putting my inconvenience ahead of the possibility that the woman is afraid.

  424. Therrin says

    This would never have become a story if people who follow Watson didn’t repost this all over the place.

    Amazing. You must have a TARDIS, because my personal time-line occurred quite differently.

  425. John Morales says

    Michael Hawkins, you’re worse than wrong, you’re a liar who is wrong.

    Again:

    PZ has repeatedly claimed that his side has been calm, that others have made this a big deal.

    I remember that thread, and I’ve just reviewed it.
    Far as I can tell, this is as close as PZ comes to meeting your claim:
    As has been amply demonstrated in this thread and many others, she is exactly right: when she most mildly brings up a small sexist problem in the movement, it blows up into a shitstorm of entitled men whining in defiance. I think moving towards more feminism is a reasonable response.

    Compare it to the crazy stuff I quoted in the article. Be ashamed. You’re pathetic.

    (Not even within coo-ee, that. It’s stating that Rebecca made a mild comment and it blew up into a shitstorm.)

    But hey, I’ll grant you that as a freebie for amusement’s sake.

    Where’s the next supposed instance (repeatedly, remember?)

    PS

    The argument you’re looking for is the one where you either say PZ honestly believes his side has been calm or he is actually correct and his side really hasn’t been freaking out, making a mountain from a mole hill.

    Heh. I’m pretty sure not just I, but PZ and most regulars here consider the feminist side has been passionate and angry at the anti-feminists. Kinda the opposite to calm, no? :)

  426. John Morales says

    Swann:

    It suggests that a man shouldn’t get into an elevator with a woman, because she is afraid of that, not because she can be. The latter would’ve meant that I’m putting my inconvenience ahead of the possibility that the woman is afraid.

    Hey, not too bad. You’re asymptotically approaching comprehension.

    (Don’t forget the unstated assumption of that little enthymeme is that “putting my inconvenience ahead of the possibility that the woman is afraid” is a bad thing)

  427. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    PZ has repeatedly claimed that his side has been calm, that others have made this a big deal. That’s a blatant lie

    Look what a lying fuckwitted liar just said. This is an MRA manufactured problem. Not from our side. Personally, I was very surprised that MRA fuckwits would object at all to the mild rebuff Watson offered, which is just telling them to use good manners. Now you are showing you have no manners, cogency or intelligence.

  428. KG says

    Swann@451 gives a wonderful example of deliberate obtuseness. The answer to all his rhetorical questions about what he should or should not do is simple, but he prefers not to see it.

    Swann, all you need to do is to make an effort to see situations from others’ points of view, and then act as if their feelings matter to you. The fact is, a lot of women are afraid of rape, or of lesser but still annoying and sometimes disgusting and humiliating sexual assault or harrassment from men. It is simply ordinary human decency to take account of this, to keep it in mind, and even to put up with some inconvenience to avoid provoking such fears. If you do this thoughtfully and sincerely, it’s unlikely you will either frighten or offend anyone, or find it an intolerable burden. But of course you’ll only want to try this if you are a decent human being.

  429. says

    Swann:

    First of all, I really don’t believe women generally are that afraid of men – why the hell would they keep constantly risking it otherwise. Not a common behavior for someone who’s afraid.

    Aaaaand what you believe is all there is, right Cupcake? Why should you care about what actual woman say? Oy.

    One more time: When I was 16, I was leaving a social engagement and was walking to my car, at night. I was hit in the back of the head. When I regained consciousness, I was tied up and being raped. I was then beaten. Then I was raped again. Then I was beaten some more and repeatedly strangled. I was raped a few more times. I was cut several times by the knife my rapist was utilizing.

    I was lucky. I was one of three survivors of this person.

    I’m now 52 years old. My experience changed my life. Risk assessment and caution are a part of my life. I have often experienced fear around men, strangers in particular. There’s also certain body language that men I don’t know exhibit which triggers a high alert and fear. I could go on and on about all the very small things which can set off my internal alarm system.

    Now, I don’t go around cringing, crying or screaming. Unless someone knows me very well, you wouldn’t know I was on alert, wary or afraid. This applies to most women, so how in the fuck would you know how women in general feel in most situations?

    Why keep constantly risking it? Are you fucking serious? What is it that you expect women to do, hide in a closet all their lives? Go back to being chattel, owned by a man and never allowed any independence, any sort of life?

    Here’s a thought – how about if more people, such as yourself, really put an effort into getting a clue? How about you stop whining and stop being so terribly afraid of experiencing empathy? How about you think of women as fellow humans? How about calling out men who behave badly, not for women’s sake, but because it’s the right thing to do? Those are things which raise consciousness, bring about change and make the world and people better.

    The only contribution you’re making right now is to add to the chorus of whingers who simply can’t be bothered to think of anything except themselves.

  430. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    But maybe I’m wrong.

    Fixed that for you Hawkins. You prove your are wrong with every inane posturing post. How can you be right? Saying “I’m wrong, sorry, good-bye”.

  431. julian says

    Kinda the opposite to calm, no? :)

    It’s a shallow and transparent attempt at seeming ‘reasonable.’ Calm is commonly associated with nuance and thoughtfulness. Passion and anger are associated with being irrational. If Mr. Hawking can brand those who defended Ms Watson as angry then he’s ‘shown’ we were being irrational and we should be dismissed.

    I hate that kind of bullshit. Anger is a perfectly justifiable response to being having your name and reputation dragged through the mud. Passion is perfectly normal for people who are directly affected by whatever policy or topic is being discussed. Why should anyone be villainized for being passionate or angry about something?

  432. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    No, Hawkins, PZ didn’t lie and your feeble attempt to bolster your bullshit claim actually shows the opposite.

    Now do you have something of relevance to the discussion or will you take a big, tall glass of SHUT THE FUCK UP and relax while putting a decaying porcupine up your rectum?

  433. Philip Legge says

    Therrin:

    Amazing. You must have a TARDIS, because my personal time-line occurred quite differently.

    Time can be rewritten…

    Mind you, my recollection is of seeing nuclear-grade stupidity from MRAs from the word go, when upon re-reading the thread the build up to full-on shrieking pants-wetting stupidity seems to take maybe a couple of hundred posts, with fundip leading the way, and first to the Dungeon also.

    I can see lots of examples of the usual righteous anger of the hoard with the sexist stupidity of the MRA trolls, and some of the ERV crew turn up later in the piece. (And then there’s Dawkins’ inane comment and the surprise that caused.) The irritation of the Pharyngula regulars is much the same then as now: there is only so much stupidity that one can take.

    Hawkins, to coin a phrase, you’re not helping.

  434. Rinus says

    Morning!

    After a good night’s sleep I’m sort of left wondering what point I was trying to argue last night.

    Back to the old, beaten to death, ‘woman on an elevator’ example;

    I actually don’t much mind waiting for the next one if it avoids making someone feel uncomfortable. Same goes for dark parking lots, etc. I tend to do stuff like this anyway, though I usually don’t tend to pay much attention to my surroundings. Being a very tall guy tends to leave one a bit short on situational awareness since ‘threats’ don’t really exist.

    I was probably being overly defensive, thinking more about situations I generally experience personally, rather than such situations in general. The only elevators I usually find myself in are at work and at home, where the only women I generally share them with are colleagues, during office hours in a crowded office building and neighbours living on the same floor, who know me and I socialize with (weekly meals, parties, etc.) and as such, I would expect don’t consider me much of a threat.

  435. Sheesh says

    I’m relieved you showed up to make such a calm and thoughtful post! I’m also a little bit disappointed because I wanted to mock your words below. But now it seems like you might understand why it’s such a foolish thing to say :-\

    This is obviously not a situation that is likely to happen very often, but I do think it shows that the sheer number of things you have to consider when thinking in this way.

    That was what I meant when I mentioned going to ‘ridiculous’ length.

    There are just so many things you have to consider when thinking! or shorter: considering other people’s feelings is hard work!

    Unfair?

  436. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    After a good night’s sleep I’m sort of left wondering what point I was trying to argue last night.

    Don’t feel alone. Many of the rest of us have been wondering what point you were trying to make all of yesterday.

    I was probably being overly defensive, thinking more about situations I generally experience personally, rather than such situations in general.

    This is called lack of empathy. The first step in overcoming this malady is realizing the universe does not revolve around you. Just because you personally do not find a situation threatening or even uncomfortable doesn’t mean anybody else has the same reaction. Caine, supra, has explained that she’s wary of elevators, dark alleys, and other suchlike places and why she’s wary. Other women have made similar statements. It’s part of male privilege that you and I do not feel as wary, if at all, under the conditions that Caine and other women do.

    The problem is not how you react in a particular situation but how others react. If you can make their reaction less unpleasant, then this is considered “a good thing” and you will deserve a pat on the head. It requires some effort on your part to recognize what other peoples’ reactions might be, but with practice it can be done (I speak from personal knowledge).

  437. chigau(°_°) says

    Swann

    Not a common behavior for someone who’s afraid.

    Seriously?
    You never do anything that makes you fearful?
    Never?
    Really?

  438. David Marjanović, OM says

    Yeah the atheist community is taking it so fucking seriously that they all still support richard dawkins and christopher hitchens. What a fucking joke. When has not doing anything about leaders making sexist statements counted as “taking it seriously”?

    Define “community” and “leader”.

    I can only speak for myself. I replied to Dawkins’ baffling cluelessness on the thread where he dumped it.

    Markita, a couple of men signed that letter too.

    If I had known about it at the time, I would have signed.

    IIRC, the idea was to have only rape victims sign; I didn’t sign because I’m not one.

    Has Dawkins apologized for his comment or tried to suggest he misunderstood what was going on initially?

    Not that I know of. He asked for clarification, but didn’t do anything when he got flooded with it.

    I’m also really weirded out by the idea that there is still that ‘hit on the conference lecturer in the lift’ mentality. I’m trying to be an optimist and think that it’s a case of society being made up of awkward social cretins regardless of their personal philosophy and not something endemic of a big segment of the male atheist population.

    They’re not awkward social cretins, they’re patriarchal cretins. First rule of patriarchy: women aren’t people, they exist for men’s enjoyment.

    But I think you’re lost. The argument you’re looking for is the one where you either say PZ honestly believes his side has been calm or he is actually correct and his side really hasn’t been freaking out, making a mountain from a mole hill.

    PZ is correct twice over. It isn’t a mole hill, and the other side said things like “if men aren’t allowed to talk to women anymore, the species will die out” all the time. I do not exaggerate. Go look it up; it’s all over the first few Pharyngula threads on this topic.

    Oh, and, you’re tone-trolling.

  439. Sheesh says

    Me:”considering other people’s feelings is hard work!”

    ‘Tis:

    It requires some effort on your part to recognize what other peoples’ reactions might be, but with practice it can be done (I speak from personal knowledge).

    I want to add this sentiment to my own, although it should be obvious: practice makes perfect, as the saying goes.

  440. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    Swann:

    Since you continue to insist that women, in almost all cases, have no reason to be afraid and, for that matter, aren’t afraid, could you please tell me (and any others reading my shit) exactly how a woman is supposed to know, at any point in a one-on-one encounter, that no threat is present?

    Well, judge me how you will, but I don’t think men should be obligated to refrain from entering into an elevator or walking on the streets late at night in case there’s a lone woman in the vicinity.

    This just may be the most perfect description of male-priviledge it has been my dishonour to read. You are so priviledged as a man that making other people uncomfortable, afraid, wary, concerned, panicked, is of no concern to you because, in order to ameliorate that feeling, you would have to think just a little bit and maybe, occasionally, change your behaviour.

    I actually don’t much mind waiting for the next one if it avoids making someone feel uncomfortable. Same goes for dark parking lots, etc. I tend to do stuff like this anyway, though I usually don’t tend to pay much attention to my surroundings. Being a very tall guy tends to leave one a bit short on situational awareness since ‘threats’ don’t really exist.

    Conga rats! (no, that is not sarcastic, that is a real conga rats! to you.) I am tall and large (6’1″ and about 20 stone), plus I have mild Asperger’s (or whatever we call it now). I figured out the ‘making smaller people uncomfortable in a closed area (like and elevator)’ pretty early, but, even at 45, I am still a bit slow on situational awareness regarding threats. I sympathize with you, and congratulate you on publicly recognizing, and workig to deal with, your priviledged position (no, that is not an insult — the way to deal with priviledge is for the ones with priviledge (men like me) to be aware that it exists and try to reduce the imposition on others).

  441. julian says

    He asked for clarification, but didn’t do anything when he got flooded with it.

    I remember he specifically said he wanted someone to do it without using ‘fuck’ (which made me think, ‘Wow, really?’) and that this request was one of the main things that prompted Rebeca Watson’s letter writing campaign.

  442. Rinus says

    There are just so many things you have to consider when thinking! or shorter: considering other people’s feelings is hard work!

    What also helped is that I had a few beers with my neighbour last night before bed.

    Some two weeks after I moved into this apartment, the girl below me was raped and stabbed to death (with her own kitchen-knife, 34 times) by the dude living next to me.

    The girl next doors pent 4 weeks sleeping at a friend’s house because she felt too uncomfortable, in her own home. In contrast, I still slept with my balcony doors opened because I like the fresh air.

    She’s phoned me twice since then, in the middle of the night, because there were noises outside her apartment. I go out, saw one of the guys living on one of the other floors/buildings stumbling about the building drunk. I report back to her and go back to sleep.

    Not once did I feel the need to explain to her that there was no reason to assume she was any more or less safe than before, and that her fears were based on irrational feelings.

    While it’s a rather different situation, I guess the reasoning behind it isn’t all that different from what I was arguing against, in a fashion, yesterday -.- I haven’t a clue what it’s like to be afraid in my own home but well, she does and that’s enough to do her a favour if she asks for one.

  443. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    I remember he specifically said he wanted someone to do it without using ‘fuck’

    Wasn’t there also something to do with not chewing gum in elevators?

  444. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    Rinus:

    Thanks for being a good neighbor. The world needs more of those.

  445. Ibis3, féministe avec un titre française de fantaisie says

    I haven’t a clue what it’s like to be afraid in my own home but well, she does and that’s enough to do her a favour if she asks for one.

    Great. Now just take this train of thought one stop farther: Try to be aware of how the women around you might feel and do them “favours” even when they’re not asking you. That’s it. That’s what this whole thing has been about. It’s not that onerous or difficult is it? At least it shouldn’t be for decent human beings.

  446. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    ‘Tis:

    Emjoy. And don’t get teabagged.

  447. RahXephon, un féminist nucléaire says

    The girl next doors pent 4 weeks sleeping at a friend’s house because she felt too uncomfortable, in her own home. In contrast, I still slept with my balcony doors opened because I like the fresh air.

    Never in my life have I seen a better or more concise explanation of male privilege than that. Hopefully you understand that, and you see how powerful it truly is.

  448. chigau (...---...) says

    ‘Tis Himself, OM
    Most wedding/party stores can provide customized gum.
    You can design your own labels.
    Elevator Gum, anyone?

  449. julian says

    Wasn’t there also something to do with not chewing gum in elevators?

    Yeah he sorta went out of his way to be as dismissive as possible. And then half the atheist-o-sphere leapt to his defense when his behavior got called out.

    Anyway, have fun sailing. Definitely more enjoyable than beating your head against a wall.

  450. Becca says

    I’ve never been raped. I was once propositioned (at a job interview) so subtly that I didn’t realize til the next day what the interviewer was driving at (I didn’t get the job.)

    I am currently taking two night classes, that get out after 9:00 at night. Since this college tends to cater to older students who are looking at improving job skills or changing careers, there are quite a number of other people about. The parking lot is well-lit.

    but I’m still afraid when I leave class. I lock my car door as soon as I get in. I hate it when I arrive late and the parking lot is so full that I have to park far away from the school buildings. There are shadows, you see, and I don’t know who might be in them.

    yes, I get nervous when I’m the only person on an elevator and a strange man gets in – in spite of the fact that I met my husband on an elevator at a WorldCon.

    I’m not incapacitated by my fear, and I still attend classes, but I do a lot of constant risk assessment, and am mentally preparing for what I would do if someone makes a wrong move.

    fear is real. the risk is real. It seems only courteous for a man to do whatever he can to alleviate that fear.

  451. Gregory Greenwood says

    IndyM @ 395;

    Gregory Greenwood, I have a blogcrush on you.

    That has brightened my day. Consider the sentiment reciprocated.

  452. Anri says

    Swann:

    By no means am I shaming or belitteling. I don’t even by the premise. I’ve been in the elevator with a woman for countless times and I really don’t think that has caused any anguish to them. If it has, they really did hide it well – an what’s more bizarre, a lot of women in my building are taking this risk all the time. So far I haven’t met anyone, who would steer clear of the elevators. Like I said before, if the doors opened and I would abrubtly turn away after seeing a woman standing there, she wouldn’t be relieved, but rather perplexed, possibly even insulted.

    Ok, see that second bolded bit there?
    That’s belittling the fears of women who might be afraid in such a situation. That’s what it looks like. You keep doing it, usually right after you say you aren’t.
    And I know it’s fun, terribly, terribly fun, to pretend we’re talking about all elevators in all situations here, but we’re not. That’s not what the initial situation was about, and I haven’t seen anyone suggest that it is except those who are attempting to make the situations that cause fear seem smaller, or make women feel bed for feeling fear.
    You know, belittling and shaming.

    First of all, I really don’t believe women generally are that afraid of men – why the hell would they keep constantly risking it otherwise. Not a common behavior for someone who’s afraid.

    Tell you what – work a week without encountering men. Try it. See if it’s possible.

    And, once again, you’re stating,without evidence, or personal experience, that women being afraid of men must be silly. It’s hysteria – silly women being silly.
    Right?

    Also, over time, this could be quite a bit more than just an inconwenience. Where even are the limits here? What if there are two women in the elevator? Can I now enter or are they still too terryfied? How about three, they could be afraid that I have a knife or a gun. And walking away at night every time there’s a woman, or two, or three, within 100 feet from me. Seriously? If these situations are really that horrible for you, then you go ahead and avoid them. Demanding me to do so is frankly quite silly.

    You know, over time, being pinned down and sexually violated could be a bit more than just an inconvenience…
    Ah, heck – they’re just women. They’ll get over it. Nothing to see here.

    Does it have to be rape? Can I count murders and other possible assaults too? All together men are far more likely to become victims of a violent crime than women are, so they should be petrified too, right? What’s the sufficient frequency here? How common would that have to be?

    (I’m apparently not following the conversation well enough to find the bit I bolded – who said that again? Or is someone saying that just something you made up?)

    In any case, people should be concerned about violent crime. If someone is acting in a manner that makes performing violence upon you much easier and more likely, you have the right to feel fear.
    Um… you were planning on answering my question, right? Since I’ve answered yours?

    You can certainly be constantly on the edge if you think you have to, but you really can’t claim the right to have the elevators, streets, and whatever else you can think of, all to yourself whenever it would make you more confortable.

    (Ok, see that bolded bit? That’s belittling again, just to get you used to seeing it when you type it.)

    In any case, as soon as anyone suggests this, I’ll join you in condemning this suggestion.

    Where was this suggested again?

  453. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    I can’t add much more than a perspective of a woman who has never been raped, but is aware of little compromises and behavioral adjustments women make every day – very often subconsciously.

    I can’t say I’m afraid when a man enters an elevator after me, I’m just aware of it in more than a casual way. That’s not fear or even a major inconvenience, it’s a quick assessment of circumstances, of his behavior, where he’s standing, is he looking at me strangely or acting suspicious in any way. It may only take a couple of seconds to do that risk assessment, it may not even be consciously done, but it’s almost always there. I’m not shaking in my boots in fear, but why should I have to asses every situation like that? Why should I have to think about my behavior in that damn elevator and where I’m looking and that I don’t accidentally make eye contact with someone who may have done something to trigger my risk radar? Why should I make those adjustments, while men claim obliviousness and their right to behave any way they want?

    I walk alone at night quite often. I don’t drive, so going out with my friends very often means going home on foot, alone, at night, for at least half an hour (at my brisk walk, that actually means quite a distance). There were a couple of scary situations, but I’m still doing it. I refuse to be scared into staying at home. I refuse to live my life in fear. It doesn’t mean I’m not aware of the dangers, or a couple of situations that could have turned really bad. But you know what most of the threatening situations were? False alarms. To me, the sheer number of incidents indicates a problem. To some people, false alarms show that there is really nothing to worry about. After all, nothing really happened.

    So, hitting on a woman standing alone on the bus station at 1am is ok because you’re a nice guy who just wants to get laid. Driving in your car slowly after a woman walking alone and calling her to join you and your friends for some fun is ok because you are a bunch of rowdy 20something guys who just want to have fun – all nice guys, of course. Stopping your car, getting out and running after a woman and calling after her (at night again, on an empty street) is ok because you’re not really going to do anything to her and you hope she might be that one woman to accept your invitation. Staring at a woman the whole evening and then approaching her when she steps out of the bar for a moment to get some fresh air, then causally mentioning you are parked just behind the bar is ok – you’re just offering and you’re a nice guy. All those were false alarms, but just because I wasn’t dragged into someone’s car forcefully doesn’t mean I have nothing to complain about. It doesn’t mean that as long as you don’t actually intend to do harm, you should behave in any way you want – because you are just a nice guy looking for a willing woman. And it doesn’t erase the fact that those situations are scary. I might have been scared only for a moment, or I ran home barely holding my tears (that one man stepping out of the car seemed pretty intent on getting what he wanted) or I only realized the danger I was in the next day when a friend berated me for walking alone at night… none if it mitigates the fact that people have casually put their own desires above my comfort without a second thought. And those couple of situations have obviously had some impact on my behavior. I’m much more alert when walking alone at night, sometimes crossing the street if there is someone behind me or clutching my keys pretending they are an effective weapon. Did they have some impact on the other side? I very much doubt it. After all, they are bound to eventually run into a woman who will welcome to their advances. Right? So just keep looking guys, don’t mind the whingers you bother on the way. After all, we’re just hysterical women complaining about everything.

    Rereading this, it sounds like I live in fear, but the truth is that I don’t think about it often. I just know that things are the way they are. Men are going to hit on whoever they want, however they want. What might be harassment to me might be just harmless flirting to someone else. And people who stay oblivious to the sexism that is ingrained in most of us are just perpetuating that. But hey, it’s all in good fun, it’s our own fault if we’re not finding it funny and charming.

    This turned into a monster comment. Sorry.

  454. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    just because I wasn’t dragged into someone’s car forcefully doesn’t mean I have nothing to complain about.

    QFT

    And it doesn’t erase the fact that those situations are scary.

    QFFT

    ===

    I have learned so much in the past three months about male priviledge and the effect it has on women. Not that I was an MRAsshole before, but y’all have opened my eyes. Thank you.

  455. Swann says

    In any case, as soon as anyone suggests this, I’ll join you in condemning this suggestion.

    Where was this suggested again?

    If your intention was not to suggest that, I offer my apologies, I must’ve misunderstood you.

    As for the question you wanted me to answer, I couldn’t give a number that had some objectively valid grounding; just as there isn’t one for violent crimes in general. My point was to negate the claim that all women should be afraid, not to state a positive claim to the contrary. But if that was not the picture you intended to paint, there was actually nothing to negate in the first place.

  456. says

    Swann…

    You are standing in a group of 6 people. A gunman comes in and says he is going to shoot one of you.

    Do you have a reason to be afraid?

    Because what you aren’t getting is that those are the same odds women face. It’s even worse if we happen to be college age.

    So please, explain why we shouldn’t be afraid?

  457. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    My point was to negate the claim that all women should be afraid,

    Which you failed to do. I don’t even know why your tried such a gambit that had already failed if you had actually read the women’s posts for content. As a result, you give them the reason they should be afraid of you. You don’t listen or understand why they are afraid.

  458. Lyn M: droit de seignorita says

    Beatrice @ 496 that was such a great comment. As you described those incidents, I thought, but she wasn’t doing anything risky, walking to see a friend. And remembered that actually you were, you were walking alone while being female.
    Further, when there is a headline like this in the news, “Nude body dumped in local park” does anyone EVER think, poor guy, wonder what happened to him?
    The problem is so ingrained in our society that we don’t even notice such things. And thus, some men feel free to say we shouldn’t worry or we are over-reacting.
    By the way, I am not in favour of there being more murders of men so the headlines are more evenly covering men and women. I am taking the position that we should work on reducing violence toward anyone, but that at the moment, violence towards women is disproportionate.