4 of 10
4
Rebecca Watson - Skepticism and Feminism
Posted: 20 July 2011 12:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  3
Joined  2011-07-15
ccbowers - 20 July 2011 07:43 AM

I think people are missing the point here. 

1. She did not make “a case” out of it,...

She is a professional blogger.  Anything she comments about on her blog she makes a case of.

lff

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 July 2011 12:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  8
Joined  2011-07-07

Imagine the elevator scenario with a slightly different twist.  Imagine that, instead of Ms. Watson, we had a heterosexual male and, instead of the presumably heterosexual male proposer, we had a homosexual male proposer. Let’s also assume that the homosexual proposer is, say, 50 lbs heavier and 5 inches taller than the other man.  My guess is that, if the same events had taken place and the proposee had responded with the same offended posture (creeped out and sexualized), many who are now posting in favor of Ms. Watson would, perhaps, be taking the other side and blasting the man as a homophobe.

Can we just admit that social interaction is complicated?  Can we also admit that this conversation, though important, is way off-topic? I don’t think anyone disagrees that, had the discussion gone one inch past, “No, thank you” it would have entered the domain of harassment but imagine that Ms. Watson had replied, “No, but if you give me your card/number/e-mail address, perhaps we can continue the discussion tomorrow, at noon, in a public coffee shop?”  Yes, of course, he might have had one thing on his mind but, if he didn’t, maybe two skeptics missed an opportunity to develop a professional relationship?  Perhaps they could have co-authored a book on the evils of Oprah? Unless, of course, Ms. Watson “just knew” he wasn’t worth her time.

She has skillfully parlayed this non-event into a promotional bonanza and we are now all victims. Look at the ads on skepchick.  Among other companies trying to lure you to their pages with objectified portraits of women, the Bad Idea t-shirt homepage actually features a shirt that reads “Future Trophy Wife!” Go ahead and browse the shirts and then tell me how much Ms. Watson is doing to counter the objectification and sexualization of women.

...but more hits = more cash, right?  Sheesh.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 July 2011 01:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  10
Joined  2011-07-19
shawnpat - 20 July 2011 12:49 PM

Imagine the elevator scenario with a slightly different twist.  Imagine that, instead of Ms. Watson, we had a heterosexual male and, instead of the presumably heterosexual male proposer, we had a homosexual male proposer. Let’s also assume that the homosexual proposer is, say, 50 lbs heavier and 5 inches taller than the other man.  My guess is that, if the same events had taken place and the proposee had responded with the same offended posture (creeped out and sexualized), many who are now posting in favor of Ms. Watson would, perhaps, be taking the other side and blasting the man as a homophobe.

Let’s take this further…

If a homosexual male had propositioned another homosexual male in an elevator would a fuss have been made?
If a homosexual female had propositioned another homosexual female in an elevator would a fuss have been made?
If a homosexual female had propositioned a heterosexual female in an elevator would a fuss have been made?
If a heterosexual female had propositioned a heterosexual male in an elevator would a fuss have been made?
Probably not…

The issue here is that it was a heterosexual male propositioning a female…
Equality my ass.

[ Edited: 20 July 2011 02:03 PM by omniomi ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 July 2011 02:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  7684
Joined  2008-04-11
omniomi - 20 July 2011 01:57 PM
shawnpat - 20 July 2011 12:49 PM

Imagine the elevator scenario with a slightly different twist.  Imagine that, instead of Ms. Watson, we had a heterosexual male and, instead of the presumably heterosexual male proposer, we had a homosexual male proposer. Let’s also assume that the homosexual proposer is, say, 50 lbs heavier and 5 inches taller than the other man.  My guess is that, if the same events had taken place and the proposee had responded with the same offended posture (creeped out and sexualized), many who are now posting in favor of Ms. Watson would, perhaps, be taking the other side and blasting the man as a homophobe.

Let’s take this further…

If a homosexual male had propositioned another homosexual male in an elevator would a fuss have been made?
If a homosexual female had propositioned another homosexual female in an elevator would a fuss have been made?
If a homosexual female had propositioned a heterosexual female in an elevator would a fuss have been made?
If a heterosexual female had propositioned a heterosexual male in an elevator would a fuss have been made?
Probably not…

The issue here is that it was a heterosexual male propositioning a female…
Equality my ass.

Please post statistics on any of these groups being attacked in elevators. I can post PLENTY about women attacked by a man in an elevator. A woman in a elevator, alone, with a strange man inappropriately propositioning her, has to parse her words carefully, because she cannot be sure he will not attack her if rejected, no matter how gently. I have been in such a situation, and was lucky someone was able to get on the elevator and get me out safely.

 Signature 

Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 July 2011 02:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  7684
Joined  2008-04-11

In each of the cases above, you are more than likely talking about two people of the same general size. Most men outweigh me by about 30-50lbs and are much stronger.

 Signature 

Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 July 2011 02:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  8
Joined  2011-07-07
asanta - 20 July 2011 02:32 PM

In each of the cases above, you are more than likely talking about two people of the same general size. Most men outweigh me by about 30-50lbs and are much stronger.

Not likely.  I specified a 50 lb difference.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 July 2011 03:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  10
Joined  2011-07-19
asanta - 20 July 2011 02:32 PM

In each of the cases above, you are more than likely talking about two people of the same general size. Most men outweigh me by about 30-50lbs and are much stronger.

Would it be acceptable then for a petite male gymnast to proposition a female kick boxer in an elevator?

Equality by definition means all people regardless of size or strength, regardless of appearance, regardless of gender must be treated the same…. If it’s not cool for a man who is bigger then a woman to proposition her in a confined space but such an issue would not exist if the woman was obviously in the position of power that is NOT equality… If you have no issue with men who you could obviously over power and are only at issue with larger men, your issue isn’t with gender equality. That has been my point this whole time. The general definition of equality used by the majority of feminists is seriously skewed.

[ Edited: 20 July 2011 03:08 PM by omniomi ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 July 2011 03:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  10
Joined  2011-07-19

I am going to add one last bit on feminism in general here to try and sum up my overall issue.

I do not like the definition of feminism being a fight for equality, because that’s bullshit. Call it what it is: a fight for empowerment and let’s move on.

If you look at the gay rights movement, we want exactly what heterosexual have - that’s equality.
If you look at any race rights movement, they want exactly what all other persons have regardless of colour - that’s equality.
If you look at any movement for the rights of people with disabilities, same thing - equality.

If you look at the female rights movement:
- The right to abort pregnancy for women, not for men.
- Family law and divorce law are heavily in women’s favour.
- Guilt is presumed in rape cases where a male is the accused aggressor. (Bullshit assumed when a man accuses a woman).
- Lots of fights to end spousal abuse by men, under reporting of spousal abuse by women.
- Lots of requirements that women MUST be included in this or that, no opposite requirement to have a certain number of men.
- A fight for wage parity, without women stepping up to say the practice of men paying for dates is wrong.

and the list goes on… And guess what, I am fine with all of… I don’t think we need male abortion, I fully support mothers, I fully support rape victims, and I am fine with requiring women be included in whatever… But let’s drop the whole ruse of “equality” this has nothing to do with equality.

Don’t get me wrong, some issues were about equality:
- The right to vote
- The right to own property
- The right to gainful employment
- The right to freedoms and liberties

But you already have those, that fight is over.

I fully support empowerment of women. Go women! But let’s call it what it is, a fight for power - not a fight for equality (any more). If we can do that, I’d proudly wear a “I’m a man, and I’m a feminist” T-Shirt and jump on board.

[ Edited: 20 July 2011 03:34 PM by omniomi ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 July 2011 03:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  10
Joined  2011-07-19

- accidentally quoted myself - deleted -

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 July 2011 03:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6042
Joined  2009-02-26

It is also a matter of environment. An elevator is a small closed area and I can see a natural defensive attitude by any person who is smaller than the person making the propososition. Did anyone cite what was actually said?
I live in a small town and in the grocery store I may talk to a stranger about a recipe or a sale on the next isle. In context this would be considered totally innocent.
But I have also lived in the big city and talked to strangers in elevators. IMO it is body language that speaks loudly in such cases. A respectful and non-aggressive attitude usually is sufficient to place the other person at ease.
How else could we hold on to the myth of “love at first sight”.. downer

[ Edited: 20 July 2011 03:54 PM by Write4U ]
 Signature 

Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
W4U

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 July 2011 04:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1201
Joined  2009-05-10

I’m fine with women being sexist against men (to an extent). What I’m not fine with is women falsely claiming not to be sexist against men and at the same time expecting men not to be sexist against women. That’s hypocrisy and a double standard. Sexism, prejudice, and stereotyping, while unfair to those on the receiving end, can be accurate and therefore useful to the one applying them*. I would not expect a woman not to be uncomfortable when stuck in an elevator with a man who just made a seemingly inappropriate proposition. I think it is rational for her to apply stereotypes to this man in order to form a reasonable expectation of his motivations and potential actions. That’s fine. Just don’t fault us men for doing the same.

* src: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stereotyping#Effects.2C_accuracy.2C_terminology . While stereotyping is unfair to those it is being applied to, we cannot expect the stereotyper to completely give up his/her rational self-interest. Should we expect shop owners to be just as weary of well-dressed white people as he/she is of black gangbangers? I think not. So I think the best we can do is strike a balance between stereotyping and not, which is essentially a balance between self and society.

 Signature 

“What people do is they confuse cynicism with skepticism. Cynicism is ‘you can’t change anything, everything sucks, there’s no point to anything.’ Skepticism is, ‘well, I’m not so sure.’” -Bill Nye

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 July 2011 06:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  12
Joined  2011-07-19

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.

No, you have it exactly backwards!

Watson said what she said, just that one paragraph and a bit of context.  There were widespread objections to it all over the net from, I guess, the “Myn’s Studies” majors.  So then it’s like, “Well, let’s talk about that.  Why can’t you say something innocuous like that without getting an enormous backlash from the net?”

Just scroll up in this thread and you’ll see a bunch of people spontaneously condemning her.  That’s what happened.  On a larger scale.

That is the big problem that everyone is making a racket about, not the fact that she got hit on.  That all it takes is to say the word “sexism,” or even give the impression that you might be thinking about sexism, for an enormous flamewar.

Well, with an exception.  Again, in this thread, you can see like 6 people happily calling Watson and other posters sexist (against men).  Even though “sexist” is supposedly an incredibly serious insult!  No, it’s called an accusation.  An accusation of sexism, like a murder of crows.

Rebecca said “guys, just don’t do this.” So, I assume that since I am a guy; that she is talking to me.

I understand the objection, but is there a difference in meaning between that and the way that you rewrote it?  It’s difficult to tell someone not to do something without, uh, a bit weaker than an implication, I think it’s called an implicature, and I’ve ruined this paragraph, haven’t I.

A lot of people think that what he did was maybe a bit awkward, but fairly normal.  Did you already know that you shouldn’t hit on someone in a small, confined space that they can’t leave?  If not, there’s no reason to be bothered when Watson recommends against it, right?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 July 2011 06:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  98
Joined  2011-04-11

asanta - 20 July 2011 02:32 PM

In each of the cases above, you are more than likely talking about two people of the same general size. Most men outweigh me by about 30-50lbs and are much stronger.

Right.  That’s the main point of Rebecca’s concern with that elevator incident, I suspect.  I still think Mr. Sensitive back there is completely wrong to conflate “men should” with “all men are rapists”.  Given the vast under-reporting and the extreme difficulty of prosecuting he-said/she-said rapes, women have every reason to fear the worst when propositioned in a situation where there is a blatant inequality of physical power.  It seems to me that it is just common courtesy for men to take that into account and make a point of approaching women in a non-threatening manner.  Most men are not rapists, the problem is that a physically isolated woman can’t know a priori whether the man in the elevator is one or not.  Women’s alleged psychic powers just aren’t that accurate. smile

On the other foot, in the scheme of things, the particular incident was, as Rebecca herself said, “not the worst thing that ever happened” to her or to women in general.  Her over-reaction to Dawkins’ somewhat snippy post essentially to that effect seems to have calmed down a bit.  I hope she hasn’t burned her copy of “Unweaving the Rainbow” in the meantime.  smile

It is always valuable to raise these issues.  This kind of discussion around the status of “lesser breeds without the law”—as non-whites were so charmingly characterized by Rudyard Kipling—ultimately led to the end of slavery and then to the successes of the civil rights movement.  Similar discussions helped bring about the gradual improvement in the civil rights of women, so that now they not only have the vote, but can earn as much as 70% of what a slightly less qualified man would get in the same job.  smile

Let’s not forget that all these improvements in the human condition were fought by the religious right of each era.  Those countries which failed to shake off the yoke of their religious authorities still suffer from the effects of the ongoing injustices inflicted on women and infidels.  The tighter the grip of the mullahs and priests on the public consciousness, the worse off the country is by any standard of human progress.  Everyone who is helping to undermine that grip is doing a valuable service and therefore can be forgiven the occasional insensitive remark.

 Signature 

Homeopaths don’t have brains, just skull water with the memory of brains - Robin Ince of The Infinite Monkey Cage podcast
The phrase “False Prophet” is redundant.  Cleanliness is next to… nothing.
I don’t have a God-shaped hole in my soul.  You have a Reason-shaped hole in your head!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 July 2011 06:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  98
Joined  2011-04-11

omniomi - 20 July 2011 03:02 PM
asanta - 20 July 2011 02:32 PM

In each of the cases above, you are more than likely talking about two people of the same general size. Most men outweigh me by about 30-50lbs and are much stronger.

Would it be acceptable then for a petite male gymnast to proposition a female kick boxer in an elevator?.


IMHO, yes and it might not be ok for the female kickboxer to do the propositioning.  Rebecca’s concern would probably have not surfaced had she been sure that a polite refusal would not lead to an attack.

[ Edited: 20 July 2011 06:54 PM by ullrich ]
 Signature 

Homeopaths don’t have brains, just skull water with the memory of brains - Robin Ince of The Infinite Monkey Cage podcast
The phrase “False Prophet” is redundant.  Cleanliness is next to… nothing.
I don’t have a God-shaped hole in my soul.  You have a Reason-shaped hole in your head!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 July 2011 12:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6107
Joined  2006-12-20
domokato - 20 July 2011 04:02 PM

* src: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stereotyping#Effects.2C_accuracy.2C_terminology . While stereotyping is unfair to those it is being applied to, we cannot expect the stereotyper to completely give up his/her rational self-interest. Should we expect shop owners to be just as weary of well-dressed white people as he/she is of black gangbangers? I think not. So I think the best we can do is strike a balance between stereotyping and not, which is essentially a balance between self and society.

Yep

Stephen

Profile
 
 
   
4 of 10
4