Damn, there are such good comments on PZ’s post on Dawkins on American women complaining about being groped at work that I have to share a few extracts.
How can we make the Deep Rifts wide enough so we don’t have to constantly hear his whining drone note about how muzzled he is, carried in every major media source? He’s like a bagpipe made of living cats at this point – the last thing you want to do is squeeze him or poke him, because then he’ll start playing his only tune, the MRA anthem “Restrainin’ Men”, to the tune of “It’s Rainin’ Men”.
I don’t understand why feminism has to be this major fault line. Atheists can disagree about other things without causing these “deep rifts”. But Dawkins (and Boghossian, and others) won’t let it go. He wants to be as alienating as possible. He wants to alienate us because he doesn’t want us in his movement. But it ain’t his movement.
I can’t stand that whole “but in comparison to the Middle-East…” bullshit that he’s constantly pulling. And for him to outright say that women complaining about being molested… excuse me, “inappropriately touched”, is trivial? That’s just beyond the pale even for Dawkins. I can already hear his response, too. “Oh, I didn’t say it was trivial, i said it was trivial in comparison. Surely you agree mutilation and stoning are worse than inappropriate touching right? I can say ‘X is worse than Y’ without saying Y isn’t bad. I’m not saying Y isn’t bad.” If Y is bad, and isn’t trivial, then why the fuck are you bringing X into it and lamenting that people complain about Y?
So Dawkins, is asked to be interviewed… for an article he knows is going to be published. And in the interview he complains that he’s “muzzled”?
Well, it’s because after this he will never be able to give an interview without heavy security again. Because of the nature of this, he will have to go into hiding like Salman Rushdi, flee the country and not be able to return again like Taslima Nasreen. if he is ever caught he will not get away with a few thousand lashes like Raif Badawi, no, he will either be lynched likeHenry Smith (TW for that) or be the victim of a witch hunt(TW, too), because his opponents are just a version of Nazis like the people who killed Sophie Scholl
Maureen Brian @ 35 [posted at the same time as Giliell’s]
On the question of muzzling, does Richard Dawkins have it worse than Taslima Nasreen? No.
Belonging in a country where equal pay has been law since the early 1970s and there’s still a measurable pay gap does he have it worse than British women disrespected in the workplace? No.
Does he have it worse than women in the UK where 20% of REPORTED rapes don’t even make it into the record – http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/nov/18/police-dismiss-one-in-four-sex-crimes-watchdog? No.
Same problem most places. Trying to divide it by country or culture is an attempt to avoid the issue. End of story.
Also, Dawkins KNOWS what he did with that coffee comment. He knows what Rebecca Watson has gone through. He knows that when he brings it up he inflames the MRAssholes. And he did it anyway, because scoring his own point in a single interview is worth more to him than what he just did to her threat count for the next month.
What Richard Dawkins realizes (or is at least taking advantage of) is that sexism is much more acceptable than other forms of bias, such as racism. It’s not that you can’t get “in trouble” for angering feminists (see Summers, Larry) it’s that when feminists are mad at you, everybody has your back. Let’s remember that while Larry Summers did lose his job after implying that women aren’t as good at math as men, he was supported by pretty much everybody in the mainstream media as a victim of “political correctness” at the hands of feminists who “can’t handle reality”. Then he went on to run Goldman-Sachs and become Secretary of the Treasury. So yeah, his life was ruined. In 2 years, when Matt Taylor is still getting death threats over his shirt and major figures in astronomy are refusing to attend any conferences he’s a part of, I’ll consider the plight of the poor oppressed men who run afoul of feminists. Until then, I’ll consider feminism an easy target you can pretend to be brave by standing up to.
I concentrate my attention on that menace and I confess I occasionally get a little impatient with American women who complain of being inappropriately touched by the water cooler or invited for coffee or something which I think is, by comparison, relatively trivial
How fucking stupid! So now that Malala Yousafzai is safe in the confines of Dicky Dawk’s benevolent Western world I can catcall at her? Accost her in an elevator at 4 fucking AM and invite her to my room for some coffee and a lil’ chit-chat? Pinch her ass by the coffee mess? Tweet out pics of her head photo-shopped onto porn stars? And she just has to shut the fuck up about it now that she has graduated from level one to level two of Dawk’s imaginary fucking scale of oppression?
“I must confess Malala, that I am getting a little impatient with your whining now that you aren’t as oppressed as you used to be…”
That’s only a small sample. A lot of great comments there.
Update to add a few:
@We Are Plethora #156
It’s very interesting how Dawkins chose to use a euphemism (“inappropriately touched”) rather than the term we all know he really meant which was “non-consensual groping.”
I believe the term you’re searching for is “sexual assault”. He’s talking about women who, instead of being able to go about their jobs in peace, are targeted and sexually assaulted by their colleagues and bosses. The “at the water cooler” phrase also implies that this is an everyday, mundane, commonplace, to-be-expected occurrence for any woman in the workplace–as ordinary and therefore as trivial as office gossip and small talk about last night’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
Ibis3 #163, you make an excellent point regarding the trivialising and gaslighting bundled up in Dawkins’ carefully condescending phrase, which reminds me of when DJ Grothe characterised backchannel warnings against the harassing/assaulting tendencies of certain male skeptics as “distasteful locker room banter” and bragging about “sexual exploits”, because yeah that’s exactly what telling another woman which men to be extra-wary of is all about.
For anyone who wasn’t around for Grothe’s above effort in 2012, Justin Thibeault’s post on the quoted from which I’ve pulled the above phrases is a good primer.
I work in an industry where many women remember not that long ago when men would chase them through the offices to grope them and kiss them. Where the female partner in a firm had to sit on a male partner’s lap to be allowed in the Partner’s Lounge. Where you could walk in on the boss giggling while watching porn, and he wouldn’t even turn it off. There is no such thing as harmless ‘inappropriate touching’ at a water cooler. That is sexual assault, and a hostile work environment to boot. There were plenty of things he could have chosen as an example of ‘frivolous’ complaining, and yet he chose this, something that is illegal, wrong & keeping women out of certain industries. Makes me wonder what his motive was in choosing those specific words.