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Rebecca Watson - Skepticism and Feminism
Posted: 20 July 2011 02:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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domokato - 19 July 2011 06:59 PM

Is it possible that my interest in her is not as a sexual object, but as a human being of the opposite sex and all that entails? Why do you assume my interest in her is as a sexual object only?

It has nothing to do with viewing her as a sex object. A man, typing on the computer and frowning in concentration is seen as doing something important. A woman doing the exact same thing is NOT.

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Posted: 20 July 2011 02:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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Contradiction - 19 July 2011 11:25 PM

“Women have the right to hit on men, equality would be men having the right to hit on women…”
No, they really don’t.  Women don’t have the “right” to make sexual advances when they feel like it, or to make men uncomfortable for our own convenience.  One has to get off one’s ass and consider the feelings of other people.

I don’t really get why there’s such a large (or at least, a really vocal) group of people taking the position that it’s totally acceptable to make someone else uncomfortable if there’s a chance it might get you laid.

`
As someone who’s read (what feels like) countless threads on this kerfuffle, I can’t tell you how often I’ve encountered the attitude/position you describe above (often coupled with a kind resentful attitude, as though taking a few moments to consider how the other person might be feeling is some kind of ‘hardship’/imposition)

That, and a disappointingly common appearance of the ‘her fear wasn’t warranted, she shouldn’t have felt that way’ kind of attitude.  On one board, someone actually suggested that because rape is so ‘rare’ (statistically), that being concerned about it is irrational.

I’ve honestly lost count of the number of facepalms discussions on this have inspired.

I can only hope that this thread doesn’t descend into a swirling miasma of vitriol, from which nothing escapes!

`

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Posted: 20 July 2011 06:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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Contradiction - 20 July 2011 02:02 AM

Anyone can make sexual advances anytime they want to. If it works it works, if it doesn’t it doesn’t. You live with whatever consequences there are.

I’m not sure if you totally understand.  There are also consequences to the person that you’re hitting on.

Usually with conventional pickup lines, you’re just talking to a person who isn’t really doing anything else; you’re not staring fixedly at someone or switching off their monitor or swerving in front of their truck and parking or whatever “small inconvenience” is necessary to get their attention.

I had some more stuff, but picking up MOTAS is not really relevant to my point. :>

I know what you mean, and that’s life.

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Posted: 20 July 2011 06:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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All this blather over some awkward flirtation? You’ve got to be kidding! Rebecca and all the other 20-something “Womyn’s Studies” majors really need to get out more. If you think elevator guy’s advances were bad, check out gay male culture. Or Italy.

I agree with many posters here: if Neanderthals had elevators, this would have happened. If the Eloi in the year 802,000 have elevators, this will happen. The cruel reality of the mating game is that if a man doesn’t instigate a sexual relationship by making the first move, it’s highly likely that he’ll die alone, a virgin.

Is getting hit on annoying? Sure, sometimes, sometimes not. But it is NOT sexism and it is certainly NOT misogyny, no matter what you were taught in your “Patriarchal Oppression 101” course at Bryn Mawr.

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Posted: 20 July 2011 06:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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Difference in opinion of the elevator incident seem to be a matter of “taste” and as the proverb says “there is no accounting for taste”.  So why are you trying to account for it?  I would think the guest could have related a more egregious example of being hit on.  Why choose such a marginal case?  Is this controversy for the sake of controversy? 

lff

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Posted: 20 July 2011 07:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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I think people are missing the point here. 

1. She did not make “a case” out of it, there was a strong reaction to her casual comment by many including Richard Dawkins.  I think she is now taking the oportunity to clarify her comment and to bring up women in skepticism due to circumstances of the topic getting attention.  I’m sure that there have been better examples in her life, but this one took a life of its own and she is making use of this particular circumstances

2. She has never stated that she was wronged in anyway, and taken in a vacuum the guy did nothing “wrong.”  But in the context of that day, and that she talked about the very issue of women in skepticism and how she did not like being approached in that manner… the guy was being a douche.  Thats all she was pointing out in her brief comment about the issue.  Yes, there is no crime in being a douche, but there is also nothing wrong with her pointing that out.  I’m sure in more welcoming circumstances in a different setting with a different person she has “coffee” now and again. 

I think people are judging the situation too quickly without context and that is where some of the reactions are coming from.  That and people with serious issues.

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Posted: 20 July 2011 08:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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asanta - 20 July 2011 02:11 AM

Oh, boy! And the ranting continues. As someone who has been threatened by a male… in an elevator… during the day…and had to be rescued by a man who was able to stop the elevator since the man on the elevator wouldn’t allow me access to the control panel, I totally agree with Rebecca on this. The man came across as creepy. I would have felt threatened. Hello! The FIRST thing he ever said to her was to invite her to his room???

So because you had an experience in an elevator that genuinely was threatening but completely unlike the one Watson had, you are taking her side in the argument? That is not rational.

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Posted: 20 July 2011 08:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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Sarcen - 20 July 2011 08:12 AM

So because you had an experience in an elevator that genuinely was threatening but completely unlike the one Watson had, you are taking her side in the argument? That is not rational.

Human beings aren’t rational.  Which is why skeptics so amuse me.  For all the pretensions and grandstanding to the contrary, we’re no different than the theists and woo peddlers we so love to bash on.

Carry on everyone.  I find this all greatly entertaining.

0511-0904-0419-5876_Teenage_Boy_Eating_Popcorn_While_Watching_a_3D_Film_clipart_image.jpg

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Posted: 20 July 2011 09:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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asanta - 20 July 2011 02:15 AM
domokato - 19 July 2011 06:59 PM

Is it possible that my interest in her is not as a sexual object, but as a human being of the opposite sex and all that entails? Why do you assume my interest in her is as a sexual object only?

It has nothing to do with viewing her as a sex object.

The scenario Sethra outlined assumed the man was viewing the woman only as a sexual object, hence my use of the term.

A man, typing on the computer and frowning in concentration is seen as doing something important. A woman doing the exact same thing is NOT.

Like I tried to explain in the post you’re responding to…you don’t know that. I could be thinking that both the man and the woman might be doing something important, yet I would still interrupt only the woman if I thought our interaction might be more important (to both of us) than what she is currently doing! I may not interrupt the man because if we are both straight, our interaction may not be as important as what he is currently doing.

It may have nothing to do with thinking that women are less important than men or that women are only sexual objects, and you’re being sexist for assuming all men think that way!

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Posted: 20 July 2011 09:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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omniomi - 19 July 2011 01:26 PM

Rebecca is seriously confused as to what feminism is all about. She seems to believe the feminist movement is all about stopping flirtation. Her bit was all about women being hit on and not liking it… Heaven forbid!

Misogyny is a hatred or dislike of women… Such an assumption shows no hatred or dislike… A sexist comment; maybe, misogynistic? No. If a man got a promotion and a woman said “he only got the promotion because he’s a man” no one would accuse that woman of misandry in fact most feminists would probably support such an assumption.

As a sceptic, I am sceptical of the feminist use of the word “equality” because they seem far more focused on replacing a male dominated society with a female dominated society or at the very least on giving rights and protections to women that do not exist for men. Perfect example: Spain’s recent requirement that 40% of boardroom members be female… A 100% female board is perfectly acceptable because there is is no equal requirement that 40% be male.

Rebecca has an undeniably valid point regarding the elevator incident.  As a somewhat creepy looking old geezer, I often see fear in the eyes of women who happen to be alone in an elevator when I get on.  Sometimes I try to say something re-assuring, most of the time I just avoid looking at her.  No matter how attracted I am to her physically, I would never consider propositioning someone under those circumstances.  In fact, now that I think of it, a more ethical approach might be to just wait for the next elevator.  It is not a matter of wanting a female dominated society, it is a matter of realistic fears on the part of women who have either been raped or know friends who have been.  It is a matter of unequal physical power.  Perhaps it should become socially unacceptable for a man to “come on” to a women with overt suggestions like that but instead leave it to her to indicate a clear interest in any kind of relationship.

That said, I think Rebecca went a bit overboard in her blog in reacting to Dawkins’ rather insensitive response to her comments on the elevator incident.  Despite his insensitivity in this matter, Dawkins is helping to stem the drive to theocracy in the developed world and to undermine existing theocracies in the pestilential hell-holes where women have absolutely no rights. 

I’m glad Rebecca didn’t re-iterate her reactions to Dawkins in this week’s podcast but instead focused on the very real immediate problem of the American Taliban’s ongoing slick and effective campaign to eliminate reproductive rights for all women in North America.  She’s right in saying that the American Taliban is a minority and that there needs to be an all out effort to mobilize opposition to their agenda.

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Posted: 20 July 2011 09:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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As an atheist and skeptic, whenever I am dealing with a religious people face to face I make a point not to generalize their attitudes, belief, or motivations.  I don’t tell them what they are, until they have told me what they are.  I do not assume they are abortion clinics terrorist, just because they have strong faith; unless they make a comment that they agree with the terrorist.  This is a fairly agreed upon position by many debaters within the skeptic/atheist community, because it is a rational position to take when discussing topics.  If you listen to any call-in shows, then you will hear how often a skeptical host will do their best to tap-dance around their own assumptions when talking to individual callers. 

Furthermore, as an atheist and secularist, I find “in god we trust” on money or “under god” in the pledge is wrong in my country; however, I understand that it is not a big issue.  I think there are more important issues that need to be address and taking up these two issues as a cause will detract and hinder our reputation.  Not all secularist agree with me on this point, they sue the government and achieve nothing.  When a religious person makes the assumption that I am trying to “remove” those things, I will correct them, just like prayer in school, that they are wrong about me. 

I am not a follower Rebecca Watson.  When I watched her video, as a guy, I was offended; because she grouped me and all men with this dumb man.  We atheist are very aware that there are several different types of religious beliefs and behavior, we consider it very immature when a fellow atheist generalize Christians/Jews/Muslims and the like.  I was surprised when a skeptical woman, who should understand the fallacy generalization; generalized all men.  After all, she has not comment on the other hundred men who she interacted with that day who actually respected her space.  If Rebecca had said “guys, if you are thinking about doing this, then just don’t” then I would not be offended; because I don’t think of doing it, she is not judging me.

If you are a Christian and do not like what your fellow Christians are all doing, you can leave Christianity.  I cannot stop being male, even if I don’t like what most guys do.  However, as a guy, I do condemn this man.  If a friend acted like this, I would ridicule his thoughts and behavior; because he was wrong. 

Furthermore, I would love for all women to never feel harassed or awkward around men.  Matter of fact, I would love that nobody ever felt those things ever.  However, I am not going to donate money, energy, or time to those causes when there are more important issues that I can change.  I find myself in an awkward position around Rebecca and the comments surrounding this issue.  I support their larger political interests but find outrage about this issue, alienating.  Just like those atheist who want to get “in God we Trust” off the dollar bill.  I want to sympathize with Rebecca, as a person; yet I feel alarmed by her and her followings hostility towards everyone who is male.  Is that what she really wants?

I will support woman rights to their body, but I do not want to be considered or hang out with “feminist.”

Pete

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Posted: 20 July 2011 11:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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Phlophouse - 20 July 2011 09:57 AM

Furthermore, I would love for all women to never feel harassed or awkward around men.  Matter of fact, I would love that nobody ever felt those things ever.  However, I am not going to donate money, energy, or time to those causes when there are more important issues that I can change.  I find myself in an awkward position around Rebecca and the comments surrounding this issue.  I support their larger political interests but find outrage about this issue, alienating.  Just like those atheist who want to get “in God we Trust” off the dollar bill.  I want to sympathize with Rebecca, as a person; yet I feel alarmed by her and her followings hostility towards everyone who is male.  Is that what she really wants?

I will support woman rights to their body, but I do not want to be considered or hang out with “feminist.”

Pete

Now who’s being over-sensitive?  Rebecca never said anything indicating hostility to “all men”.  Quite the opposite.  She merely pointed out that men should consider the likely emotional reactions of any women they think about approaching, taking into full account the context of the encounter. 

IMHO, feminists are just people who think a bit more deeply about the existing issues of female empowerment and what equality would really look like.  If you look around the world, you will find that a nation’s prosperity and general level of human (male as well as female) health and happiness is directly proportional to the degree to which women are free to make decisions about their bodies and their lives and are free to participate as equal citizens in the political life of the country.  The US is in danger of taking a giant step backward on this scale if the American Taliban is allowed to continue their current campaigns unchecked.  The references to god they have managed to shoehorn into a secular constitution is a wedge with the ultimate goal of converting the US (and ultimately the world) into a pestilential hell-hole like Afghanistan and Pakistan are today.

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Posted: 20 July 2011 11:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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Sethra Lavode - 19 July 2011 05:54 PM

If you see an attractive woman reading a book and you want to talk to her, ask yourself if you’d interrupt a man who was reading the same text. If you wouldn’t interrupt the man based on it being rude but you would interrupt the woman, then your interest in the woman as a sexual object outweighs her status as a human being deserving of equal consideration.

I was once interrupted when reading a book by a woman who wanted to know what I thought of it.
She knew of the author and was curious to know if it was worth the reading or not. We had a pleasant chat and then each moved on about our business. At no point in time was I ever tempted to think she was being sexist or did I feel like writing a whole blog about it.
When I want absolute privacy I usually stay out of public places and instead stay at a location I like to call “my apartment” where I dictate the rules of conduct for all occupants.

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Posted: 20 July 2011 11:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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Watson thinks the man in the elevator objectified her because he knew that she wanted to sleep but propositioned her anyway, therefore he did not care about her wants and desires, only her body. This is a leap. I can think of at least four other possibilities:

1. He thought she might enjoy some company or a one night stand before sleeping.
2. He saw indicators of sexual interest where there were none - an honest mistake, and a documented cognitive bias in men: http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/comm/haselton/webdocs/handbookevpsych.pdf
3. He thought she wasn’t really tired and didn’t really want to go to bed, and that maybe she just wanted to get away from the crowd - people do fib sometimes.
4. He misheard or wasn’t listening when she said she was tired.

None of these cases involve sexual objectification. Just because the man did something that was socially awkward or creepy doesn’t mean he sexually objectifies women. He might be awkward and creepy around men too - does that mean he sexually objectifies men?

Edit: In other words, I don’t think it is reasonable for her to think the man sexually objectified her, given what little she knows about him.

[ Edited: 20 July 2011 11:59 AM by domokato ]
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Posted: 20 July 2011 12:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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ullrich - 20 July 2011 11:16 AM

Now who’s being over-sensitive?  Rebecca never said anything indicating hostility to “all men”.  Quite the opposite.  She merely pointed out that men should consider the likely emotional reactions of any women they think about approaching, taking into full account the context of the encounter. 

IMHO, feminists are just people who think a bit more deeply about the existing issues of female empowerment and what equality would really look like.  If you look around the world, you will find that a nation’s prosperity and general level of human (male as well as female) health and happiness is directly proportional to the degree to which women are free to make decisions about their bodies and their lives and are free to participate as equal citizens in the political life of the country.  The US is in danger of taking a giant step backward on this scale if the American Taliban is allowed to continue their current campaigns unchecked.  The references to god they have managed to shoehorn into a secular constitution is a wedge with the ultimate goal of converting the US (and ultimately the world) into a pestilential hell-hole like Afghanistan and Pakistan are today.

Rebecca said “guys, just don’t do this.” So, I assume that since I am a guy; that she is talking to me.  It might be a simple miswording, but she has not clarified it all. From all the comments on her blog, many are even adding additional assumptions to “all men” or “you men.”  Additionally, you are now speaking for her using the same generalized term “men should.” 

I am not being over-sensitive, because I didn’t over-react.  I was offended by her comments on a one from 1-5.  I think it is inappropriate to generalize and frown on people who do it.  I have not started a movement, made a video, disavow people who do not agree with me publicly, or blogged about-I even joined her site, but realized that it was pointless to even make a comment there.  There was too much hostility and confusion over the issues.  However, this is the second podcast I have listen to, that has brought her and issue up; so, within this respected Forum, I have expressed my views.  If that is your definition of over-reacting or being over-sensitive; then I am being an over-sensitive man.

Yes, I agree and for the political issues of woman’s rights, yet that has nothing to do with someone categorizing me with someone they had a creepy moment with.  If you read the comments on Rebecca’s blog, they all get quiet hostile and escalate on both sides on the name-calling.  Why should I support a movement, who vilify me as a rapist, because I am not as out raged as they are on an issue?  That is how bad it is over this subject at her blog post.

Pete

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