Over It.

February 15, 2013

I've read some of Eve Ensler's work, I've attended performances of her acclaimed play The Vagina Monologues, and I wrote about her in my 2003 book Media Mythmakers: How Journalists, Activists, and Advertisers Mislead Us; she came up in my research of activists who use misleading statistics to support their social agendas.

Ensler reappeared on my radar again a decade later with a new movement she created called One Billion Rising. She planned to spark a "revolution" in which one billion women (actually, several thousand) danced on Valentine's Day around the world to speak out against rape and violence against women. (The "one billion" is a reference to a statistic she cites claiming that "one in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime" and that "One billion women violated is an atrocity. One billion women dancing is a revolution").

Why dance-instead of, say, volunteer at a local domestic violence shelter or meet with lawmakers to increase penalties for physical and sexual assault? As Ensler explained to Amy Goodman on her Sept. 24, 2012, appearance on Democracy Now! "One Billion Rising is basically saying that the time has come for women across the planet and the men who love them to do an outrageous, disruptive dance action that makes it so clear how many women have been raped... and that if we rise together we will understand that it concerns us all."

I had mixed feelings about the idea; on one hand as a strong supporter of women's rights I support her goals of reducing rape and other forms of violence against women. On the other hand as a skeptic, as someone who values truth over ideology, and as someone who has researched some of Ensler's claims and found them to be factually wrong, I had serious reservations. I have always had little patience for slacktivist petitions, feel-good, do-nothing social stunts and movements, and their ilk. I have criticized many such "efforts" publicly over the years, including anti-bullying campaignsanti-child abuse campaigns, and even pro-democracy fighters in Iran.

I don't criticize these campaigns because I am against them (or somehow pro-bullying, pro-child abuse, or pro-oppressive dictatorship); in fact it's exactly the opposite. I criticize them because they have little or no chance of success, since the protests are based partly on myths, misinformation, and often a grotesquely exaggerated belief in their influence. I don't like seeing people pretend to address and solve social problems; I like seeing people actually address and solve them. And the same goes for violence against women. Will women doing a dance in different parts of the world really improve anyone's life or reduce physical and sexual assault? Ensler seems to think so, while I am...skeptical.

Ensler wrote a poem about the movement called "Over It," which has appeared in many places including the OneBillionRising website, the Huffington Post, and elsewhere. You might want to look at it. I decided to write my own poem about my own personal feelings on the topic.

 

 

Over It (for Eve Ensler)

Benjamin Radford


I am over rape.

I join mothers, sisters, fathers, brothers, and lovers in condemning rape and all manner of violence against women.

I am over the hundreds of thousands of women in Congo and elsewhere around the world still waiting for the rapes to end and the rapists to be held accountable.

I am over the 100 innocent women attacked, disfigured, and killed by their husbands and boyfriends in Pakistan each year in acid attacks.

I am over brave teenage girls being targeted for assassination by fundamentalist Muslims in Pakistan for demanding the right of girls to get an education.

I am over teenage girls being denied access to contraception by fundamentalist Christians in America.

I am over the fact that many women (and men) think that only men rape, and only women are raped.

I am over the hypocrisy of a prominent feminist anti-rape activist like Eve Ensler writing a play describing "a good rape." There is no such thing as "a good rape." All rape is bad. It is never deserved, nor asked for, nor good; it is always bad and wrong. Always.

I am over exaggerated and alarmist statistics being used to scare the public about any social agenda-whether I agree with that agenda or not. The real numbers are alarming enough without exaggerating them. One rape is just as much of an injustice as a billion rapes; one rape is too many. (1)

I am over the fact that up until January 2012 the federal government's rape statistics did not include male victims of rape-and that Department of Justice studies estimate that one in ten men have been raped in prison, with no resulting outrage.

I am over "don't drop the soap" comments, and people who think that anyone raped in prison deserves it as part of their punishment.

I am over the fact that Native American women face far higher rates of sexual abuse than White women, yet receive little concern or attention-including from rape advocacy groups.

I am over the forces that deny women who have been raped the right to have an abortion.

I am over women being silent about rape, because they are made to believe it's their fault or they did something to make it happen.

I am over the myth of "the passivity of good men," suggesting that many or most men are complicit in rape culture when in fact most men are not rapists, and condemn those who are.

I am over the male bashing often inherent in feminist writings and slogans; "All men are rapists" is neither true nor fair nor helpful.

I am over the wanton slinging of labels like "misogynist" and "sexist" and "sister hater" and "gender traitor" and "rape apologist" to people who dare criticize feminists. Plenty of feminists disagree with each other.

I am over social activists, including those whose causes I support, who value emotion and anecdote over truth, facts, and critical thinking.

I am over thin-skinned "feminists" who blithely and intentionally confuse legitimate questions and criticism of their facts or claims with misogyny and sexism; it is insulting to real victims of misogyny and sexism.

I am over blaming TV, movies, magazines, and video games for real-life violence-including violence against women. Just as sexy clothes do not cause rape, violent and sexual images do not cause rape; rapists cause rape.

I am over the simplistic idea that women are raped by heteronormative, hegemonic patriarchies instead of by criminals.

I am over the myth that society as a whole "accepts violence against women and girls," as Ensler claims. The reality is that physical and sexual abuse of women has been dropping dramatically for decades and continues to do so. (2) There is much more work to be done, but there is no shame in putting the facts in perspective.

I am over people mistaking dancing for social justice or activism; real change comes from funding social services for victims of rape and domestic violence, family services, and so on.

I am over the idea that women doing a four-minute dance is going to stop a young mother from being beaten by her alcoholic boyfriend, or increase the number of social workers on the streets of Detroit or Delhi, or help parents overcome meth addiction. A four-minute dance is not going to "shake the world into sense." Women deserve better; they deserve real answers and real help-not faux activism, ineffective e-petitions, or dancing flash mobs. 

If people want to do the dance, that's great, but I hope it won't be seen as a substitute for actually doing something real and tangible for the men, women, and children in communities around the world.

 

As for me: I'm over it.

 

***

 

Notes 

(1) The correct statistic is not that one billion women will be raped in her lifetime (as Ensler said in an interview on Democracy Now!), nor that one in three women "will be raped or beaten" in her lifetime (as Ensler states on the One Billion Rising web site), but instead that one-third of women "has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused" in her lifetime (as referenced in the study linked to on the web site). "Otherwise abused" includes "homicide, intimate partner abuse, psychological abuse, dating violence, same-sex violence, elder abuse, sexual assault, date rape, acquaintance rape, marital rape, stranger rape and economic abuse." All these are serious, legitimate problems, but not all of them are physical beatings or rape (nor even involve men). This is important because mischaracterizing the statistic as reflecting women either being "raped or beaten" harms victimized women instead of empowering them by not reflecting the true diversity of forms of abuse.

 

 

(2) For example "From 1990 to 2005, sexual abuse substantiations went down 51%" and "From 1992 through 2005, physical abuse substantiations declined 46%" (p. 122-147) in Childhood Victimization: Violence, Crime, and Abuse in the Lives of Young People, by David Finkelhor, 2008, Oxford University Press. As two-time Pulitzer prize nominee Steven Pinker notes, the best data "shows that in thirty-five years the rape rate has fallen by an astonishing 80 percent, from 250 per 100,000 people over the age of twelve in 1973 to 50 per 100,000 in 2008.... [Yet] rather than celebrating their success, anti-rape organizations convey an impression that women are more in danger than ever" (p. 403 in The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, 2011, Viking Books; see also pp. 394-415 in the same book for a detailed, fully-referenced analysis of the significant drop in domestic violence, and other forms of physical and sexual abuse). For more on the misuse of sexual and physical assault statistics by social activists, see Damned Lies and Statistics, by Joel Best, 2001, University of California Press; Once Upon a Number, by John Allen Paulos, 1998, Basic Books; and my book Media Mythmakers.

 

Comments:

#151 M. Lee (Guest) on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 6:02pm

Misogyny misogyny rape culture rape culture rapist enablers etc.

Guess what, the more you guys/gals/folk use it in entirely the wrong context, the less validity or emphasis it has. Much like calling cops fascists and Obama a communist. Just to provide a frame of reference. And in much the same way I’m happy to be a tea party commie, I’ll embrace being a FTB misogynist. *fist bump* fight the female power, who’s with me?

#152 Pitchguest (Guest) on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 6:06pm

#143: In other words, you refuse to provide evidence you say you have in your possession even though it would prove me wrong?

Why is it, EllenBeth, that whenever you are asked politely to support your assertions, you immediately back away? It doesn’t make sense. Anyway, it was just a suggestion to get ahold of those screencaps. Mind putting them up on an image site, then, if email is too constraining?

Those pictures of Sarah Palin, they’re juvenile, but it’s not misogyny. Besides, you don’t have the full context, you’re just cherry picking. And you call a purple figure in the shape of a phallic object to be a “photoshopped penis”? O-kay. As for Gumby, one person saying she’s a “cunt” and suddenly the entire site is “misogynist”? Get over yourself. Now I really want to see those screencaps.

#153 Pitchguest (Guest) on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 6:09pm

#151:

*terrorist fist bump*

#154 CommanderTuvok (Guest) on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 6:12pm

Can I just say how silly it is for Ellen Beth Wachs to complain about the term “baboon”, when she is fully supportive of people who use terms such as “gender traitor”, “sister punisher”, and “chill girl”, people (at Pharyngula) who describe themselves as “racist”, people (at FTB) who describe themselves as “potential rapists”, people who frequently tell others to rape themselves with porcupines and various sharp objects, etc.

But no, Ellen Beth moans about the term “baboon” just so she don’t have to substanciate her weak claims.

PS - Calling someone a “baboon” is not comparable to wrongly calling someone a misogyist. The term “baboon” is an amusing descriptor of the “follow the leader” cult behaviour of people who post at Pharyngula, while misogynist is an accusation that somebody hates or dislikes women. Not one person at the Slyme Pit fits the definition of the term. Many people at FTB do fit the term of “baboon”. Simple as.

#155 Justin Vacula (Guest) on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 6:50pm

“Melody can deal with the public.”

This is why she blocks so many people simply for associating with others on Twitter?

This is why she runs false-flag campaigns against Youtube videos?

This is why simply looking at comments here is ‘triggering?’

This is why she claims she has a “stress disorder caused by the online misogyny and harassment [she] deal[s] with on a daily basis?” (see her Tumblr - Dec 22)

She continues to complain about how bad she has it on the internet, and how she allegedly can’t handle it, but continues to engage. There’s something really fishy here. Is she dishonest? Irrational? Something else?

What is this cybermobbing you’re talking about? Melody posts, continues to post, and people voice disagreement. How is this mobbing? Melody isn’t forced to post here or anywhere. She can disengage at any time and not put herself in a position which is so ‘triggering,’ but she doesn’t do that. She engages and cries fowl when she is challenged - hardly the action of a professional acting in a capacity as an Executive Director.

#156 Jeff (Guest) on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 7:22pm

Congratulations, everyone. You have been taking part in an elaborate experiment conducted by Ben Radford. You’ve all played your parts to the letter.

You’re all a disgrace.

#157 atheist (Guest) on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 7:26pm

@99 Feanor (Guest) on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 11:50am

I am open to the criticism you made in your most recent post. I too find Radford’s article rather odd, pedantic and unnecessary and its placing on the CFI’s website peculiar. These are all fair points for discussion and raising them is reasonable.

I am glad you share this assessment of the blog post. I agree that it seems pedantic and overblown. What you may not immediately see is that the version of “feminism” that he criticizes is a straw-feminism, a feminism that is not real-world feminism. For merely one example of the unreality of the feminism he criticizes, consider:

I am over the male bashing often inherent in feminist writings and slogans; “All men are rapists” is neither true nor fair nor helpful.

I have never encountered a feminist who actually believes “all men are rapists”. What I have instead encountered are feminist social researchers who have done in-depth studies of actual rapists and the morphology of this particular crime, and who have as a result concluded that actually about 5-6% of men are rapists. Since rape, if done within certain parameters, is a very easy crime to commit, and since the majority of rapes go unpunished, most rapists are serial rapists. This explains the way that such a small percentage of men can be rapists, but so many women are raped. It is true that the particular study in question does not examine rape of men, in prison or in other contexts.

So ultimately that is what angers me about Mr. Radford’s pettifogging exercise the most: the way that he misconstrues feminism in order to make it more easy to dismiss. If he read actual feminist studies and analysis, and actually grappled with the statements of feminists, he would not write a blog post like this one.

#158 atheist-1973 on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 7:33pm

@99 Feanor (Guest) on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 11:50am

And here is the link to the study I was talking about, at “Yes Means Yes” blog: http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/meet-the-predators/
“Meet The Predators”, at “Yes Means Yes Blog”, by Thomas, Nov. 12 2009.

#159 Astrokid on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 7:57pm

@157 atheist:

What I have instead encountered are feminist social researchers who have done in-depth studies of actual rapists and the morphology of this particular crime, and who have as a result concluded that actually about 5-6% of men are rapists

Since you are getting into obnoxious territory, lets start talking about the epidemic of golddiggers. How many women are like that? 10%? I would guess 30%. We need more studies.

#160 Adam (Guest) on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 8:30pm

Chill girls and sister punishers?


How pathetic can you get?  Just because a female disagrees with your behaviour you use a term to imply they are fraternizing with an invented enemy.

Good to see that females are just as capable at bullying as males are.

#161 Henry Plankett (Guest) on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 8:39pm

Melody Hensley at #112:

“I am no longer going to addressing harassers or be looking at this thread at all for that matter. It’s all very triggering for me.”

Then why are you constantly engaging in these discussions, making the same arguments against the same people over and over again? On every conceivable social media and countless blogs?

What exactly is this triggering for you?

Your bitchiness? Your constant craving for attention? Your desperate need to hear yourself speak?

Considering you tend to use arguments like that (that it’s triggering you) it’s really quite mindboggling that you keep engaging.

If it really is that triggering for you, like all the time (which seems to be case with you), maybe it’s time to step away from the computer and do something completely different.

#162 John Brown (Guest) on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 8:53pm

What other organization would allow one of their Executive Directors to get on a comment thread and say the things Hensley has said in the manner she’s said them? 

Would any other organization get away with one of their employees admitting to sexist behavior against other women and then calling anyone who replies to her “harassers?” 

No, seriously. Hensley solicits comments and then calls the people who respond to her “harassers.” 

What kind of organization are you running, CFI?

#163 Steersman on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 9:18pm

Atheist (Guest) said (#157):

So ultimately that is what angers me about Mr. Radford’s pettifogging exercise the most: the way that he misconstrues feminism in order to make it more easy to dismiss. If he read actual feminist studies and analysis, and actually grappled with the statements of feminists, he would not write a blog post like this one.

Maybe Mr. Radford was attempting to chart a course between the canons of the left and the canons of the right; between the Charybdis of “virulent feminism” – notwithstanding the charge of some that linking the words is, ipso facto, misogyny – and the Scylla of a categorical rejection of feminism. But since you seem to be speaking to the latter – largely a strawman, I might add – and apparently think some are “misconstruing feminism”, maybe you might want to take a look at this review – on a feminist site, it should be noted – of the book, Professing Feminism: Education and Indoctrination in Women’s Studies, which has these cogent observations:

The book is a critique on Women Studies departments in the United States. The authors interviewed dozens of women, from staff to professors to students, all quite supportive of feminism, but all still sharing the same criticism of infighting, indoctrination, political correctness and a near total lack of objective discussion.
....
The authors, however, demonstrate that these problems have existed since their ideology’s inception, and were particularly common within Women Studies programs. The authors wrote of the isolationist attitude that dominates many of the programs, along with a virulent anti-science, anti-intellectual sentiment driving many of the professors, staff and students.

Maybe if more people in the feminist camp addressed some of the more problematic aspects of that ideology then they might find less push-back in the peddling of the more dogmatic, “anti-intellectual”, and “anti-science” aspects of it.

#164 Steersman on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 9:21pm

Re #163: oops, sorry; missed the link to the book review by Feminist Critics ….

#165 atheist-1973 on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 9:21pm

@159 Astrokid on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 7:57pm

@157 atheist:

  What I have instead encountered are feminist social researchers who have done in-depth studies of actual rapists and the morphology of this particular crime, and who have as a result concluded that actually about 5-6% of men are rapists

Since you are getting into obnoxious territory, lets start talking about the epidemic of golddiggers. How many women are like that? 10%? I would guess 30%. We need more studies.

What in blazes are you talking about? If you care about decreasing rape, then obviously you need to get actual statistics on exactly what kind of person rapes, who they are and how they operate. The research in question does exactly that. I don’t understand why this is considered “obnoxious territory”, unless perhaps you are the sort of person who considers a look an an ugly problem to be obnoxious, and would prefer to never think about real world issues?

On one hand, I’m talking about an actual problem which everyone agrees is a problem, and linking to social researchers. On the other hand, you’re making vague insults about women, and linking to a hack comedian. The fact that you think this is somehow an answer makes you look shallow and mean. Is that how you intend to come off?

#166 atheist-1973 on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 9:43pm

@163 Steersman on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 9:18pm

Maybe if more people in the feminist camp addressed some of the more problematic aspects of that ideology then they might find less push-back in the peddling of the more dogmatic, “anti-intellectual”, and “anti-science” aspects of it.

Feminists address problems within their movement all the time. This will never satisfy individuals like the authors of the book you’ve linked to because they don’t really want to address problematic aspects of the feminist movement, they actually just want to attack feminists.

If you feel that feminism is an inherently negative movement and you wish to distance yourself from it that is of course your right. What I find ironic, though, is that Mr. Radford has written an extended statement where he basically says that he supports all the same things feminists do, but then attacks feminists for believing some things that they don’t actually believe. I feel that Mr. Radford should instead talk about how feminists are wrong and we need to preserve male social superiority over women, or he should admit that he has no argument against feminists and actually engage their arguments. But apparently he finds it more politically useful to both accept the popular values of feminism, and simultaneously pretend to be opposed to feminism. I dislike this pretense.

#167 Astrokid on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 9:45pm

@165 atheist:

On one hand, I’m talking about an actual problem which everyone agrees is a problem, and linking to social researchers.

To hell with your research which thinks that 6% of men are rapists. If that kind of allegation is not obnoxious and counter-intuitive to the men and women in this group, then good luck skeptics. That research can be shoved where the sun dont shine.
Your feminist stats are inflated shit, like the many listed above. I dont know if the skeptic community is aware of how debunked and discredited feminist academia is. for e.g
Barbara Kay: The face of Identity Studies on campus

This is regrettably not the case with Identity Studies — Womens/Gender/Men’s Studies (identical triplets), Queer, Black, Disability, Chicano — which are pseudo-disciplines. That is, they did not spring from a rational, disinterested spirit of inquiry into objective phenomena, but from revolutionary beliefs and theories about society. Identity Studies are to evidence-based scholarship as astrology is to astronomy. With astrology you buy the whole irrational, unsubstantiated package or leave it. So even if they wanted to moderate their perspective, with no authentic scholarly tradition to resume, they must, like sharks, keep swimming ahead vigorously or die.

[url=“http://www.mindingthecampus.com/originals/2010/11/defend_the_humanitiesa_slogan.html”]
‘Defend the Humanities’—A Dishonest Slogan[/url]

A virulent strain of Marxist radicalism took refuge in college humanities programs just as it was being abandoned in the real world because of catastrophic results world-wide. This created a mismatch of temperaments: humanistic scholars are naturally animated by a profound respect for the legacy of our past, but all the instincts of political radicals go in the opposite direction. Their natural instinct is to denigrate the past in order to make the case for the sweeping social change that they want. That’s why they don’t look at the past and see accumulated knowledge and wisdom, but instead only a story of bigotry, inequality and racial and sexual prejudice that needs to be swept aside. Political radicals are interested in the utopian future and in their present- day attempts to achieve it, not the cultural past which must be overcome to get to where they want to be</a>

I hope the skeptic-readers understand that the “moderate” feminists aren’t far from the radical feminists. And I am done with this shit.
Radical Feminism Enters the 21st Century
<blockquote>As Sheila Jeffreys has put it, and I think we all agree, it has to start with this: there is something wrong with men. It is a pathology with both physical and psychological features. I personally think it is as old as our evolution as hominids. I think it’s a biological adaptation which is now rotten, dangerous, and vestigial. I think we have to force the scientific establishment to take a clear look at this colossal sick old mammoth taking up all the space in the living room, and make it stop distracting itself with sexy cosmologies and particle accelerators. I don’t quite have a name for this pathology. Let’s give it a real name together.

#168 Stargazer on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 9:49pm

This reminds me of when Ashton kutcher exaggerated sex slavery to justify his bizarre ad campaign. Focus on things that work rather than line your own pockets FTB ya fuckers

#169 Astrokid on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 9:49pm

REPOST with format fix
@165 atheist:

On one hand, I’m talking about an actual problem which everyone agrees is a problem, and linking to social researchers.

To hell with your research which thinks that 6% of men are rapists. If that kind of allegation is not obnoxious and counter-intuitive to the men and women in this group, then good luck skeptics. That research can be shoved where the sun dont shine.
Your feminist stats are inflated shit, like the many listed above. I dont know if the skeptic community is aware of how debunked and discredited feminist academia is. for e.g
Barbara Kay: The face of Identity Studies on campus

This is regrettably not the case with Identity Studies — Womens/Gender/Men’s Studies (identical triplets), Queer, Black, Disability, Chicano — which are pseudo-disciplines. That is, they did not spring from a rational, disinterested spirit of inquiry into objective phenomena, but from revolutionary beliefs and theories about society. Identity Studies are to evidence-based scholarship as astrology is to astronomy. With astrology you buy the whole irrational, unsubstantiated package or leave it. So even if they wanted to moderate their perspective, with no authentic scholarly tradition to resume, they must, like sharks, keep swimming ahead vigorously or die.

[url=“http://www.mindingthecampus.com/originals/2010/11/defend_the_humanitiesa_slogan.html”]
‘Defend the Humanities’—A Dishonest Slogan[/url]

A virulent strain of Marxist radicalism took refuge in college humanities programs just as it was being abandoned in the real world because of catastrophic results world-wide. This created a mismatch of temperaments: humanistic scholars are naturally animated by a profound respect for the legacy of our past, but all the instincts of political radicals go in the opposite direction. Their natural instinct is to denigrate the past in order to make the case for the sweeping social change that they want. That’s why they don’t look at the past and see accumulated knowledge and wisdom, but instead only a story of bigotry, inequality and racial and sexual prejudice that needs to be swept aside. Political radicals are interested in the utopian future and in their present- day attempts to achieve it, not the cultural past which must be overcome to get to where they want to be

I hope the skeptic-readers understand that the “moderate” feminists aren’t far from the radical feminists. And I am done with this shit.

Radical Feminism Enters the 21st Century

As Sheila Jeffreys has put it, and I think we all agree, it has to start with this: there is something wrong with men. It is a pathology with both physical and psychological features. I personally think it is as old as our evolution as hominids. I think it’s a biological adaptation which is now rotten, dangerous, and vestigial. I think we have to force the scientific establishment to take a clear look at this colossal sick old mammoth taking up all the space in the living room, and make it stop distracting itself with sexy cosmologies and particle accelerators. I don’t quite have a name for this pathology. Let’s give it a real name together.

#170 atheist-1973 on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 9:57pm

@169 Astrokid on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 9:49pm

@165 atheist:

  On one hand, I’m talking about an actual problem which everyone agrees is a problem, and linking to social researchers.

To hell with your research which thinks that 6% of men are rapists. If that kind of allegation is not obnoxious and counter-intuitive to the men and women in this group, then good luck skeptics. That research can be shoved where the sun dont shine.

I have given you well-constructed, well-documented social research on the problem of rape. You apparently find the truths that this social research uncovered to be emotionally painful. I would ask that you read the research because as a skeptic, you should be willing to read such material even if it makes you emotionally uncomfortable. If you feel that your emotional comfort is more important than apprehending the truth then that is your choice, but it makes your claim to skepticism dubious.

#171 Astrokid on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 10:09pm

@170 Atheist:
Right..I need to read your umpteenth research, after reading through so much bunkum earlier.. but you feminists will never answer any of the questions and counter-arguments put forth. Its always one-directional.

And FTR, I dont identify as a skeptic, nor have I claimed it elsewhere. I have too much respect for James Randi and the work he did over the decades, to call myself one right now, esp. given all the hacks that identify as skeptics nowadays.. even Amanda Marcotte, PZMyers are skeptics. what a joke!

#172 Nobody (Guest) on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 10:24pm

“The mob mentality to gang up on and attack the designated target and try to take her down is pathetic.”

What a champion of rhetoric you must be, to categorize all your opponents as attackers, as gangs, and to designate your allies as victims. It’s something you lot do rather frequently.

It’s losing its edge. The girl who cried wolf, etc.

#173 Michael Kingsford Gray (Guest) on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 10:29pm

#166 atheist-1973

…they actually just want to attack feminists.

With such acute mind-reading skills, you MUST apply for the JREF $1million prize!
What is stopping you? (Rhetorical)

#174 Steersman on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 11:00pm

atheist-1973 said (#166):

Feminists address problems within their movement all the time. This will never satisfy individuals like the authors of the book you’ve linked to because they don’t really want to address problematic aspects of the feminist movement, they actually just want to attack feminists.

Maybe they do, but it seems to me, based on Ben’s post and more than a few subsequent comments, that there are very few if any self-styled feminists within the maybe smallish FTB-Skepchick-CFI portion of that movement who are prepared to even acknowledge, much less to address the problematic behaviours that Ben alluded to. In addition, one can’t really fix those behaviours unless one first identifies them – which that book apparently did rather well, not that many have taken those criticisms to heart.

If you feel that feminism is an inherently negative movement and you wish to distance yourself from it that is of course your right.

I don’t know where or how you would have managed to get that impression because I most emphatically do not think it is “an inherently negative movement”. I think that it has generally provided a great many benefits to society and I entirely agree with the Canadian suffragette, Nellie McClung, who argue that “no nation rises higher than its women”. And I have strenuously argued for and defended that position at some length to the point of being banned on A Voice for Men for my efforts. But that doesn’t blind me to the fact that some rather poisonous elements of that movement are giving the entirety a rather bad name. “Accentuating the positive; eliminating the negative” should, I think, be the order of the day.

I feel that Mr. Radford should instead talk about how feminists are wrong and we need to preserve male social superiority over women, or he should admit that he has no argument against feminists and actually engage their arguments.

And that seems to me to be a complete misreading of Ben’s post, and that it manifests the rather problematic philosophy of “you’re with us or you’re against us”. Acknowledging, and dealing with, the problematic behaviours and positions of some feminists is hardly abandoning the field or repudiating all of the behaviours, positions, and philosophies of that movement.

But apparently he finds it more politically useful to both accept the popular values of feminism, and simultaneously pretend to be opposed to feminism. I dislike this pretense.

Rather disingenuous, at best, to suggest that he is “opposed to feminism” when some 60%-80% of his poem was in support of the bulk of feminist arguments if not cant. But that he criticizes the other 40%-20% is sufficient for you to reach that conclusion? Methinks you need to re-read the post and realize that “feminism” is not all sweetness and light even if a portion might so qualify.

#175 Timid Atheist (Guest) on Monday February 18, 2013 at 6:09am

“When people tell men “you don’t have to worry about rape”, what message does that send to the men who were raped?”

When people say that they’re wrong. I’ve never said that nor would I.  I’m not sure why you’re saying this in response to what I wrote considering I never once said men don’t get raped.

“When you say “Nor have you ever been told that if you’d just screamed louder or not been so drunk that your rape would be a legitimate rape.” What do you think that says to the male victims told “if you didn’t kick their ass, you must have secretly wanted it.”

I said you as in the author of this post, not the general you nor even you men. Your assumptions are wrong.

“Your entire reply tells every guy who has been molested, sexually assaulted, or raped one direct truth: “you don’t count, what happened to you isn’t as bad” I don’t actually care if that was your intent, or if you didn’t mean that. That is what your post said.”

My reply doesn’t tell every man that. That is your reading of it.  If that is what everyone reading it is coming away with then I didn’t word it well enough and I apologize. I’ll be clearer in the future to avoid misunderstandings. 

I don’t think that’s the problem though. You don’t seem to be looking to have a discussion about rape, you seem to be looking to derail the conversation by picking out pieces of what I wrote and making assumptions based on that.


“Rape is not a “woman’s” problem, it is a *human* problem. And until it is really treated as such, it won’t get better.”

You’re right. I agree. I just don’t think that berating women for what happens to them is going to accomplish anything.  NOT focusing on rape against women is not an answer.  Widening the focus to everyone I can get behind.

Also, just an fyi, men can get pregnant, they’re called Trans men.  Other people can get pregnant who identify as genderqueer, agender and so on.  If we’re going to be inclusive, then let’s be completely inclusive.

#176 EllenBeth Wachs (Guest) on Monday February 18, 2013 at 6:47am

The University of Hannover -Institute for Information Systems Research

Harassment is defined as the repetitive sending of offensive, rude or insulting comments. Other types of cyber-mobbing are flaming, denigration, outing or trickery, all with the aim to cast a slur on the recipient in public with insulting comments or publications, meaning that cyber-mobbing does not only take place in written form, but also with the help of videos and photos.

Social communities, especially, are used to humiliate people by sending threatening messages, writing misguided comments on ...board[s] and uploading embarrassing pictures. Instead of uploading and publishing videos for entertaining and artistic purposes, embarrassing and humiliating videos will be demanded, with the result that video portals are entirely alienated from its intrinsic function.

Additionally, “hate-groups” against a specific person, behavior or appearance can be created on social communities to advance a low opinion.

The following have posted here and are known members of the slymepit:

Justin Vacula
Astrokid
Pitchguest
CommanderTuvok
John Brown
Steersman
Michael Kingsford Gray
Karla Porter
Badger3K
Renee Hendriks
Skepteaser
Edward Gemmer
Achron
John Welch
ChasStewart

and then of course we have “hero” who run that harassing twitter account and juvenile blog and storifies everyone twitter conversations.

#177 Adam (Guest) on Monday February 18, 2013 at 6:59am

Harassment is defined as the repetitive sending of offensive, rude or insulting comments. Other types of cyber-mobbing are flaming, denigration, outing or trickery, all with the aim to cast a slur on the recipient in public with insulting comments or publications, meaning that cyber-mobbing does not only take place in written form, but also with the help of videos and photos.


Sounds exactly what Sara Mayhew is having to put up with.

And wtf is a slymepit member?

#178 DriveBy (Guest) on Monday February 18, 2013 at 7:18am

The Slymepit are the brave defenders of FREEZE PEACH!  Heirs of the true Skeptic Legacy!
The Internet’s best source for information on all the best photos of leading atheist women!
When you think “atheism” think “slymepit!”

#179 atheist-1973 on Monday February 18, 2013 at 7:39am

@174 Steersman on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 11:00pm

And that seems to me to be a complete misreading of Ben’s post, and that it manifests the rather problematic philosophy of “you’re with us or you’re against us”. Acknowledging, and dealing with, the problematic behaviours and positions of some feminists is hardly abandoning the field or repudiating all of the behaviours, positions, and philosophies of that movement.

...

Rather disingenuous, at best, to suggest that he is “opposed to feminism” when some 60%-80% of his poem was in support of the bulk of feminist arguments if not cant. But that he criticizes the other 40%-20% is sufficient for you to reach that conclusion? Methinks you need to re-read the post and realize that “feminism” is not all sweetness and light even if a portion might so qualify.

If Mr. Radford considers it politically useful to both embrace feminist arguments, and simultaneously distance himself from feminism, then that is his prerogative. I find it interesting that this hedging exercise requires Mr. Radford to lie about feminist positions, claiming, for instance, that feminists believe “all men are rapists” when in fact feminists believe, on the basis of well designed studies, that about 5-6% of men are rapists.

I generally find political hedging exercises to be annoying because I prefer people to just pick a position and advocate for it rather than dance with a point of view for the entertainment of onlookers. If you find this tango to be beneficial that’s fine. You might consider that Mr. Radford has lied about feminist positions here, and consider what feminists actually believe.

#180 rocko2466 (Guest) on Monday February 18, 2013 at 7:40am

This comment thread stands as a useful guide to what ails the atheist / skeptic / secular community. It is people like Melody Hensley and Ellen Beth Wachs who are reactionary and unreasoning and so consumed by their pet sociopolitical theory that they cannot process any facts outside of this prism.

When everything becomes “misogyny”, then nothing may as well be misogyny. Like with overuse of the word “rape” or misrepresentation of rape statistics, the overuse of allegations like misogyny completely undermines the use of the word in legitimate cases. 

I can only hope that their outrageous reactionary nonsense serves as a spur (as it has to me) for other skeptics / atheists / secularists to take more of a part in the community and stand up for the importance of reason in society. The nonsense has stealthily climbed its way up into genuine leadership positions in our community and needs to be stamped out.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it is like we have had homeopaths infiltrate our organisations and noone noticed until suddenly all the skeptical blogs were focussing on the magic power of super awesome mega diluted potions. We don’t put up with nonsense and we should stand up for ourselves here.

If the woo-peddlers make it to the top of the pile, we speak out loudly, proudly and rationally to bring our organisations back away from the woo.

(And I’ve got to say Melody Hensley has acted wholly unprofessionally in this blog. I sympathise with her stated health concerns on Twitter, but suggest she may wish to step back from things if she’s internalised criticism of her publicly expressed opinions or her stance in her leadership role of a skeptical organisation. A leader of CFI should expect criticism in any event, particularly but not only when she or he is a peddler of woo, and the level to which she appears to have taken this criticism personally suggests that she at the very least needs to take some time away from her role.)

#181 CommanderTuvok (Guest) on Monday February 18, 2013 at 7:58am

EllenBeth Wachs,

You and several others who have commented on this thread are known to be “members” of Pharyngula, Butterflies and Wheels, Almost Diamonds, Skepchick, etc. So don’t play that game.

Anyway, those “screen shots”. Thanks in advance.

PS - Informative cut and paste about harassment, but what does it have to do with your next point about people from the Slyme Pit? That is a non-sequitur.

#182 DriveBackBy (Guest) on Monday February 18, 2013 at 8:09am

That’s right!
Melody Hensley is to be driven from CFI!  That is exactly what should happen because True Skeptics have let peddlers of so-called “feminist” woo climb to the highest levels of Mount Truth. Only with brave men like Radford to lead the way with their bold writing and clear understanding of issues facing women can we truly see how silly things like accusations of “misogyny” and “rape culture” really are.

#183 fodigg (Guest) on Monday February 18, 2013 at 9:48am

This piece has some very positive elements and some alarming elements. Good condemnation of rape in all its forms, but an odd reactionary tone that made it seem more about poo-pooing feminism than offering an alternative for combating rape OR explaining why poor statistics in the name of a good cause wind up hurting the cause. Or about how symbolic action is meaningless as opposed to direct action, another surprise thesis. A more accurate title would have been “Boo Eve Ensler”.

I don’t think mirroring the very material you objected to was the way to go. Other than one unelaborated line about what feminism is “really” about, it seems like it’s a rather typical if less foaming screed against feminism.

I guess merely dismissive is better than paranoid and delusional. But the tone seemed very similar to the “feminism isn’t perfect and is therefore entirely bankrupt” rants that flood the internet.

Next time you have a problem with an individual who identifies as part of a movement, it may be a better strategy to direct your criticism at that individual (and their supporters I suppose) rather than apply them to the movement as a whole. It will have the effect of at least seeming less broadly dismissive.

#184 J.D. (Guest) on Monday February 18, 2013 at 7:47pm

EllenBeth Wachs,“Additionally, “hate-groups” against a specific person, behavior or appearance can be created on social communities to advance a low opinion.”

Yes, see FfTB and skepchicks and their instigation of many witch-hunts against those who don’t support their ideology for the clearest evidence of that.

“The following have posted here and are known members of the slymepit:”

Oh my such drama, dun, dun .... dunnnn

#185 John Brown (Guest) on Monday February 18, 2013 at 8:19pm

“The following have posted here and are known members of the slymepit:”

-Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Slymepit?-

Have you no sense of decency, EllenBeth? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

#186 Bobby Jo (Guest) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 at 2:44am

Feminism has no business in a group called “Center For Inquiry”. Why are we even discussing this? Kick the goddamned feminists out and regain your credibility and respectability.

#187 BobbyJo (Guest) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 at 2:52am

Seriously, what are you afraid of, CFI? Are you afraid you’ll be criticized for it? Here’s another way to think of it. What if a group of Nazis infiltrated your movement claiming to be skeptics, but they were really just spreading their hateful ideology and tearing the movement apart from the inside? Would you tolerate them because you were afraid of how it might look if you booted their asses out?

Kick the feminists out! They are NOT skeptics! They are NOT free-thinkers, and they are ANTI-science!

#188 EllenBeth Wachs (Guest) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 at 4:59am

@181 No, your comment is a non sequiter and utterly ridiculous to boot. I have commented on the blogs Pharyngula, Butterflies and Wheels, Almost Diamonds and Skepchik on occasion. I have also commented on Justin Vacula’s blog, Russell Blackford’s, Sara Mayhew’s and Bridget Gaudette’s before she banned me. Being a commenter is quite a bit different than being a member of a forum and if you can’t see that, I can’t help you.

Funny about that banning by Bridget. Bridget didn’t like being challenged about her saying someone should get raped in prison.  You know who came to defend that statement of hers? Slymepitters.

I have given examples of sexism and misogyny from the pit. They aren’t good enough for you. It is apparent that nothing I come up with will be. I get it.  You are just seriously misunderstood folks out for a joke./sarcasm Btw, is there anyone from #TeamSocialJustice you haven’t labeled delusional?

Rocko? your “Dramatic Readings” aren’t outrageous reactionary nonsense, are they?

#189 Paul the Morning Heretic on Tuesday February 19, 2013 at 7:23am

Hi, everybody. I’m closing down comments now on this post and its follow-up post, due to the primarily personal nature of the disputes being aired here. If folks would like to continue to debate this post or anything else, I invite you to, as it were, take it outside.

Commenting is not available in this weblog entry.