Pamela Gay’s TAM talk


That talk by Pamela Gay that was so well received is now available as a transcript. It’s very good, and it’s also good to see that someone at least was praising skepchicks at TAM, instead of dismissing them.

Although it is offset by the fact that I now know of one woman who was so harassed she had to leave the meeting early. Let’s hope some of the organizers were actually listening to Gay, and that they’ll do better next year.

Comments

  1. says

    Superb speech.

    Might as well go ahead and give details on the harassment situation, because if you don’t, you know how it’ll set the MRAs off.

  2. 'Tis Himself says

    Was DJ Grothe in attendance for this talk and, more importantly, was he paying attention?

  3. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Might as well go ahead and give details on the harassment situation, because if you don’t, you know how it’ll set the MRAs off.

    Merely mentioning the speech is enough to set them off. They don’t need details to go off about harassment.

  4. eigenperson says

    #1 Martin Wagner, if he does give details then he’s abusing his bully pulpit to attack some poor person who can’t fight back against the accusations, and if he doesn’t give details then either he’s making it up or else all harassment is His Fault for not naming and shaming.

    Given that, I think it’s best for PZ to not waste any consideration on the opinions of the MRAs when deciding how much detail to reveal.

  5. opie says

    I’ve been a lurker here for over 3 years. I am the father of 2 middle school girls. My partner and I constantly struggle with raising our daughters amongst the misogyny around us. I would be overjoyed if my daughters became women with the strength and intelligence displayed by Pamela Gay’s talk.

  6. Beatrice says

    That was one hell of a speech.

    Part especially relevant to those who accuse women of lying about harassment if they don’t want to name names:

    Some of you have to have power to stop discrimination and harassment. It pisses me off to know that as strong as I am, I know I’m not powerful enough to name names and be confident that I’ll still have a career.

  7. opie says

    @Beatrice #7

    Yes! That part really stuck out to me as well. It is a concise and direct way to explain the conflict many women face simply for wanting something as basic as control over who touches them where and when.

  8. fredsalvador says

    Fantastic as it is to read, I’d love to have been there while she delivered it. Nothing more satisfying than watching people squirm as their bullshit is called out in an eloquent and very public fashion.

  9. anotheratheist says

    PZ, I did not remember the Pamela Gay episode at the time you proposed that purity test for the reason rally. But now thinking about it your double standard strikes me as kinda obvious. Are you softer on her because she is a she?

  10. 'Tis Himself says

    But now thinking about it your double standard strikes me as kinda obvious. Are you softer on her because she is a she?

    You’re obviously one of these “black or white” thinkers. You think that if someone is wrong in one respect then she’ll be wrong in all respects. Or at least you ascribe this thinking to PZ.

    The world doesn’t work that way. Maybe you’ll discover the reality of the world, perhaps in time to do you some good.

  11. Beatrice says

    anotheratheist,

    I have no idea what PZ’s history with Pamela Gay is, but can you consider for a moment that in this particular case he is applauding her for this speech because she is right, because on this topic they agree?

    People love accusing PZ of wanting everyone to agree with him on every single thing, but when he positively acknowledges someone with whom he had previous disagreements, he gets attacked for that too.

  12. tccc says

    Dr. Gay has been on my shit list since she allowed the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast to include an episode from a creationist who presented the “it is all so amazing and complex, it had to be a god who created the cosmos” argument. And the podcast was produced in a rather dishonest way of course, starting out to seem like it was a genuine science based exploration of the topic only to end with the creationism crap. She defended the decision with some accommodationist gibberish about being happy people could experience the cosmos as they saw fit, missing the point that it wasn’t appropriate in a science podcast and they had plenty of other outlets for their religious superstitions.

  13. Ogvorbis: Dogmaticus sycophantus says

    PZ, I did not remember the Pamela Gay episode at the time you proposed that purity test for the reason rally.

    What is this purity test of which you write?

  14. says

    I wonder if the standing ovation thing is going to make people reassess their claims about where the majority of the movement supposedly stands?

  15. Ogvorbis: Dogmaticus sycophantus says

    I wonder if the standing ovation thing is going to make people reassess their claims about where the majority of the movement supposedly stands?

    Oh, no. Those were all Pharynguloid plants to brought in to make the majority look bad. Really.

  16. Blueaussi says

    @#21

    “Oh, no. Those were all Pharynguloid plants to brought in to make the majority look bad. Really.”

    And the Pharynguloids totally bullied the people sitting next to ‘em into standing up and applauding even though the non-Pharynguloids didn’t wanna!

  17. Patricia, OM says

    Beatrice @7 – Yep, that part really stopped me in my tracks. If she won’t name names then some of this crappy behaviour must be coming from very high profile people. That’s just sad.

  18. Erista (aka Eris) says

    Although it is offset by the fact that I now know of one woman who was so harassed she had to leave the meeting early.

    Oh no! That makes me so sad.

  19. says

    For anyone who is curious, I was at TAM, and this talk had the longest and loudest standing ovation of any talk that I attended. The crowd was overwhelmingly supportive of her talk, and many of us were in tears.

    At the moment, I couldn’t give less of a fuck that she’s a theist. The bravery it took to do what she did is immeasurable, and I know that she did it for people like me: young women just starting to be involved in skepticism who don’t necessarily have connections or support within the movement. She willingly made powerful enemies in order to make the future be a little bit better. She spoke out for truth and justice and equality and inclusion. And right now, I would rather have her in my corner than a hundred Richard Dawkinses.

  20. Erista (aka Eris) says

    @anotheratheist

    Of course, because if we ever disagree with someone on anything, we must never, ever, ever praise anything that they say. Never ever. No matter what it is that they’re saying. After all, that’s how science works! One wrong move, and off with her head, right? Chop chop! Because if we don’t act this way, we’re bullies, yes?

  21. Midnight Rambler says

    Erista: No no, you’ve got it all wrong. We act that way because we’re #FTBullies. If we acted like reasonable people, that would mean we have a double standard!

  22. says

    Eskeptrical Engineer:

    At the moment, I couldn’t give less of a fuck that she’s a theist.

    Damn right. She’s worth a thousand slimepitters. This debate is more important than atheism versus liberal Christianity.

  23. says

    I should add that slimepit feeling is against her. It’s a predictable mixture of hyperskepticism, and sneering at her academic credentials.

  24. ivycannon says

    Whom shall we blame for these new vague accusations of “harassment”? DJ Grothe? Randi? Paula Kirby? ThunderfOOt? The slimepit? Surely you can consult with Laden and find somebody you can threaten and blame for this outrage. Demand that they resign! Refuse to accept all apologies. Tell them to shove a porcupine up their ass! Assure yourself that you are on the right side of history with your bizarre brand of feminism. Tell everyone who disagrees that they are misogynists– then ban them!

    As I recall, many pharyngulites (including PZ) didn’t like the accommodationism JREF was practicing towards people like Gay because it involved toning down the atheism at TAM and favoring religious superstitions over other superstitions.

    Do you not see what you have become? YOU are the harassers.

  25. says

    If you scroll up just a little, ivycannon, in #26, you’ll find the one time I talked about Gay. My position was that she should NOT be excluded from the skeptic community for her religious views.

    I know. I’m bullying you horribly now by presenting the facts.

  26. Sili (I have no penis and I must jizz) says

    I should add that slimepit feeling is against her. It’s a predictable mixture of hyperskepticism, and sneering at her academic credentialshaving a vagina.

    FTFY

  27. Beatrice says

    ivycannon,

    Did you have a point there or was that just typing practice?

    These are not vague accusations of harassment. More and more women are standing up and saying what they have all been whispering among themselves for a long time.

  28. says

    ivycannon:

    Do you not see what you have become? YOU are the harassers.

    Do you not see what you have become? You are a rockhopper penguin.

  29. says

    Beatrice:

    More and more women are standing up and saying what they have all been whispering among themselves for a long time.

    But such tittle-tattle is merely a “bizarre brand of feminism” on the wrong side of history. The great and illustrious ivycannon has spoken.

  30. Erista (aka Eris) says

    Whom shall we blame for these new vague accusations of “harassment”? DJ Grothe? Randi? Paula Kirby? ThunderfOOt? The slimepit? Surely you can consult with Laden and find somebody you can threaten and blame for this outrage. Demand that they resign! Refuse to accept all apologies. Tell them to shove a porcupine up their ass! Assure yourself that you are on the right side of history with your bizarre brand of feminism. Tell everyone who disagrees that they are misogynists– then ban them!

    Do you not see what you have become? YOU are the harassers.

    It shocks and amazes me that the same group which FLIPS OUT at the idea that we need anti-harassment policies because women sometimes get groped at conferences is also the same group that says that deciding on the content of your own blog/website is harassment. Shocks and amazes.

  31. nyarlathotep says

    Do you not see what you have become? YOU are the harassers.

    No John, you are the demons!

  32. says

    Vague accusations are clearly made up. Specific accusations are also made up, and libelous. In no case are accusations to be taken seriously, unless they are made against Muslim men in countries too far away to do anything about except making anti-immigrant videos.

  33. Erista (aka Eris) says

    @Improbable Joe/40

    *nods slowly with understanding*

    Indeed, it is so.

  34. Suido says

    Impressive speech. So impressive that the only criticism so far seems to be a completely incorrect assumption about PZed’s opinion about Dr Gay. Irrelevant much?

  35. says

    Huh. Good to know. Thanks. I was worried about malicious hackers.

    It’s still down in two different browsers for me, while queereka and the other related sites are fine. However it’s up in my 3rd browser. Clearly my problem.

  36. ivycannon says

    So this double hearsay harassment– was it reported so that other women can avoid the perpetrator– or are you just going to blame DJ for it next year though he never knew about it?

    And what kind of harassment was it– the kind an anti-harassment policy addresses? Was it Greg Laden type harassment (where he threatened Justin Griffith) or more like asking-for-coffee-in-an-elevator harassment? Was it on par with Laci Green’s recent threat– or more like Ophelia’s vague “threat”? Was it harassment of a privileged person whose biggest threat in life is potential vague harassment at skeptic conferences?

    Did the unnamed woman feel harassed because someone wore a t-shirt that supported DJ Grothe or said something that indicated the disgust many people have for the harassment that the FTB bullies dish out on a regular basis to anyone who they think is not on their side? Was it on par with the freethought bullies calling Sara Mayhew a “fuckface” for defending herself over a lie told by freethought bullies?

    What is the very worst things that have happened to women at skeptic conferences and how do harassment policies (like those written by Laden)help keep anyone free from this “harassment”?

    There are many feminists who do not agree with FTB bullies “methods”.

  37. says

    I left out a bit in my earlier comment. The strategy is as follows:

    1) Call women liars when there’s not a specific harassment allegation.

    2) Call women liars and guilty of libel/slander when they do make a specific allegation.

    3) Make 100% sure that women understand that they will in no instance be taken seriously if they make an allegation.

    4) Call people “bully” when they point out that it is ridiculous to put women in a no-win situation when it comes to harassment allegations.

    5) Convince women that it isn’t worth making allegations that will not be taken seriously and cause them to be accused of lying and set them up for harassment. Make sure not to actually record the accusations that are made in an official way.

    6) Point to the lack of allegations as proof that there’s no harassment problem. Call anyone who disagrees a bully and a Nazi, to show that you’re capable of making rational arguments.

    Did I miss anything?

  38. Sili (I have no penis and I must jizz) says

    So this double hearsay harassment– was it reported so that other women can avoid the perpetrator– or are you just going to blame DJ for it next year though he never knew about it?

    Are there channels in place through which to report alleged harassment?

    And what kind of harassment was it– the kind an anti-harassment policy addresses?

    Is there a harassment policy listing what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour at TAM?

    Did the unnamed woman feel harassed because someone wore a t-shirt that supported DJ Grothe or said something that indicated the disgust many people have for the harassment that the FTB bullies dish out on a regular basis to anyone who they think is not on their side? Was it on par with the freethought bullies calling Sara Mayhew a “fuckface” for defending herself over a lie told by freethought bullies?

    Who is Sara Mayhew and who called her “a fuckface”? Does TAM have a policy against T-shirts and fuckfacecalling?

    What is the very worst things that have happened to women at skeptic conferences and how do harassment policies (like those written by Laden)help keep anyone free from this “harassment”?

    I have no idea. I’m not a woman. Well, as had been said again and again and again, knowing that harassment isn’t condoned keeps some harassers in check, since they know that they’re less likely to get away with they harassment. Secondly having the policy in place helps to assure women that should they be harassed their concerns will not be ignored and swept aside.

    There are many feminists who do not agree with FTB bullies “methods”.

    That’s an incredibly vague statement. The scarequotes around “methods” make it all but incomprehensible. Yes, some feminists disagree about harassmentpolicies, we get that. Some feminists are also privileged racist. And some feminists are transphobic arseholes. The label of “feminist” is no more a get out of jail free card than is “atheist”. People suck in a multitude of ways. Sucking less in one, does not mean they should be free from criticism. Withholding criticism would in fact be an instance of the muchdreaded “tribalism”.

  39. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    Who is Sara Mayhew

    Someone who defended Grothe on (I think) the first Grothe thread. Didn’t last very long when she couldn’t back up her assertations in any way. I’m not going back to see who said what though.

    Some people might have forgot the three-comments-rule, otherwise there was no foul IIRC.

  40. ChasCPeterson says

    A. Smith @ sl*mepit sez:

    Pamala Gay put her speech up, and I am going to take issue with the portion I was afraid I was going to have to take issue with:

    As an astronomer, at professional conferences, I’ve randomly had my tits and ass grabbed and slapped by men in positions of power and by creeps who drank too much. This is part of what it means to be a woman in science.

    No, its not. It is part of Gays experience as a woman in science. It is not part of what it means to be a woman in science. I am a woman in science and have experienced nothing even vaguely resembling anything Gay wrote about.

    I have no idea why these people cannot separate their personal experiences from everyones experience or what someone else should expect to experience.

    Where else would this make sense?

    I adopted a pit bull, therefore, adopting a pit bull is part of what it means to drive a Chevy.

    I had a stalker, therefore, dealing with a real life stalker is a part of what it means to live in Oklahoma.

    What the fuck?

    How’s that for some cogent logic and relevant examples?

    I’m particularly fond of this amazing juxtaposition:

    It is not part of what it means to be a woman in science. I am a woman in science and have experienced nothing even vaguely resembling anything Gay wrote about.
    I have no idea why these people cannot separate their personal experiences from everyones experience

  41. says

    It is not part of what it means to be a woman in science. I am a woman in science and have experienced nothing even vaguely resembling anything Gay wrote about.
    I have no idea why these people cannot separate their personal experiences from everyones experience

    It’s almost beyond parody.

  42. Wowbagger, Deputy Vice-President (Silencing) says

    Chas, I posted (some of) that over the equivalent thread on B&W – though I (fortunately) didn’t have to wade through the ooze to get it; someone else had done that already.

    Yeah, Abby’s a real piece of work, isn’t she? “I got mine; fuck everyone else”. No wonder she’s a magnet for libertarians.

  43. says

    It is not part of what it means to be a woman in science. I am a woman in science and have experienced nothing even vaguely resembling anything Gay wrote about.
    I have no idea why these people cannot separate their personal experiences from everyones experience

    I suspect A. Smith wanted to say:

    “I am a woman in science and have experienced nothing even vaguely resembling anything Gay wrote about. I have no idea why these people cannot understand that their experiences are not universal.”

    That would have made more sense as a statement, though it doesn’t begin to address the problems of those women who *do* get groped. But that’s not what she said.

  44. says

    I don’t know why people keep talking about smoking and cancer. I smoked, my wife still smokes, we’ve never had cancer. Those anti-smoking people are just bullies!

  45. hypatiasdaughter says

    #55 That is THE main problem of organizations not having anti-discrimination policies in place.
    If a woman, immigrant, PoC, LGBT, etc, works with or for people who are non-bigots, they will be judged on their abilities and treated fairly.
    If they work with or for a bunch of bigots, they will be treated like shit, and have no recourse but to take it or leave the situation.
    Abbie’s and Pamela’s experiences reflect the communities they are involved in. Abbie got lucky, Pamela didn’t.
    Policies ensure that everyone gets a fair deal, as much as possible.

  46. says

    @17 – what don’t you get? SHE did something HE didn’t like. Now who the fuck cares if she gets harassed and/or raped? Don’t you know how stuff works? We can only care about the bad things that are done to women if they are absolutely 1000% perfect in our eyes. Or else the bitches deserve it.

    I don’t understand how hard it is to just adapt to MRA culture.

    /angry snark

  47. jacklewis says

    @58
    How about a chill pill?
    This thread is about Pamelay Gay. So she gave a great talk. Kudos.
    Someone thinks she did poorly in inviting creationists to a science podcast…(strange that an atheist would say that… not) and is no longer her biggest fan…
    So fucking what?

  48. trewesterre says

    I’m curious what astronomy conferences she’s been to where this kind of shit has happened. I’d like to avoid those conferences if at all possible.

    My experience at astronomy conferences has always been fine. I’ve been hit on a little at bars after, but nothing horribly out of line or that made me feel uncomfortable. The only time someone has grabbed my ass is when my other half came with me to a conference (he did it at a bar after the banquet which had unlimited table wine). One of my friends was hit on in while waiting in front of her poster and she was kinda annoyed at that (rightfully so, imo), but the guy gave up as soon as she was like “yeah, not interested”.

  49. brainfromarous says

    “Although it is offset by the fact that I now know of one woman who was so harassed she had to leave the meeting early.” (PZM)

    Invective and emotion aside, does this or does this not refer to Amy Roth’s reaction to the t-shirt worn during the event by Harriett Hall?

  50. says

    Invective and emotion aside, does this or does this not refer to Amy Roth’s reaction to the t-shirt worn during the event by Harriett Hall?

    It refers to the harassment of Surly Amy.

    The t-shirt helped create an unwelcoming environment, which together with the harassment, made Surly Amy leave early.

    Liars like you want to make it sound like it was all about a t-shirt, when any fool could understand, after the barest investigation, that it was not.

  51. says

    No.

    I was in communication with Amy at that time, and Hall’s disrespectful tshirt was the least of the incidents of continuous harassment.

    Why are you bringing this up 2 weeks after the last comment? Are you just another clueless shit-stirrer?

  52. brainfromarous says

    “I was in communication with Amy at that time, and Hall’s disrespectful tshirt was the least of the incidents of continuous harassment. (PZM)”

    Fair enough. That’s all I was asking.

    As for:

    “Why are you bringing this up 2 weeks after the last comment? Are you just another clueless shit-stirrer?”

    I had not read this post until recently and checking the comments, I did not see any clarification of what was being referred to.

    People are ‘late arrivals’ to comments and ‘blog posts all the time, PZ. There’s nothing suspicious about it.

    Still, thanks for making certain things clear. You too, Kristjan.