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Rebecca Watson - Skepticism and Feminism
Posted: 23 July 2011 05:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 91 ]
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deidzoeb - 23 July 2011 11:39 AM
Contradiction - 22 July 2011 03:19 PM

Just to clearly say what I’m getting at, she’s talking about the comments section on her video, which does not include the one guy (unless he actually went to the video and posted something misogynist afterward).

Without intending to insult anyone in any way, I think you have been reading too much into what she said; I think there are a large number of people who did the same; and I think it is difficult to be a feminist in public without having a dislike and contempt for men read into your words, regardless of what you actually say.  This is an unfortunate state of affairs which does no one any good.

You may be right. It was difficult to tell from the video which of events she was criticizing as sexist or misogynist.

For what it’s worth, I agree with most of the points Watson raised before and apart from the Elevator incident. The atheist/skeptic community seems likely to be about as sexist as the larger society its drawn from. I’ve been disgusted by most of the knee-jerk sexist and anti-feminist comments and replies. I don’t find it hard to believe that she gets mistreated, disrespected or hit on at conferences. I didn’t think the elevator incident was an egregious example of that though.

So are you calling Rebecca a liar?.. hmmm

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Posted: 23 July 2011 05:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 92 ]
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Listen. carefully. to. her. video. Rebecca. DOES. say. the. man. had. NEVER. spoken. to her…

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Posted: 23 July 2011 06:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 93 ]
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n8r0n - 23 July 2011 05:03 PM

The other outrageous hypocrisy in Watson’s behaviour, that I haven’t yet seen discussed, is how incredibly insensitive of her it was to even use this personal example at all.

There is no reason she couldn’t have made up an equivalent hypothetical scenario to illustrate her point about not hitting on women.  She drew from a personal experience, though.

Did she use the guy’s name?  No.  Chances are, though, some other people who were out late with them probably figured out who she was talking about.  Not to mention, that it’s almost guaranteed that the guy who asked her to coffee himself, has probably heard about this whole incident (Watson making an example of him).

As I said before, getting turned down sucks.  It totally knocks the wind out of you.  Add to that, for this guy, that thousands upon thousands of people are now critiquing his “game”.  Whether they all know it’s him is irrelevant.  He knows!

My (non-existent) god!  This guy might never be able to ask anyone out again!  If there’s any possible way to turn someone gay, this has got to be it smile

Just another example of how ludicrous it is for Watson to lecture men about how they just need to be a little more sensitive to what the opposite sex is feeling.

The incident doesn’t have anything to do with being turned down by women. Your being immature.

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Posted: 23 July 2011 10:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 94 ]
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Rebecca has a new-ish video on her website (skepchick.org) giving free dating advice based on the elevator guy incident.  It is hilarious.  FWIW, I think she’s entirely right to make a bit of a fuss about not so much the incident which was relatively innocuous, but about the reaction from all the trolls out there who went way over the top in criticizing her response to it.  One of the wonderful things about the internet is that it draws out all the uncensored hurtful comments from all the creeps out there who would never dream of saying anything at all to a woman if confronted with one face to face.  I suspect if no one had commented on her initial video, she would have left it at that.

The point is that no matter how drunk you are, you can expect to get more than a little resentment back if you “corner a woman alone in an elevator at 4am” and proposition her.  Seems reasonable, unless the woman in question is the proverbial kickboxer mentioned above.

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Posted: 24 July 2011 04:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 95 ]
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Contradiction - 23 July 2011 04:34 PM
deidzoeb - 23 July 2011 11:39 AM

I don’t find it hard to believe that she gets mistreated, disrespected or hit on at conferences. I didn’t think the elevator incident was an egregious example of that though.

Yeah.  Well, I guess she had the impression that there might be some danger.  But, I think it was more like, the one memorable thing that happened that day.

Although, it’s sort of hard to quantify why one does or doesn’t feel threatened.  It’s not 100% one way or the other (contra omniomi).  It’s like, by default, a university-educated guy has about 4% chance of being a multiple rapist*, and then you could use a Bayesian approach to decide on your risk in a particular situation.

*: This comes from a 2002 Harvard study, “Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending among Undetected Rapists.” (n=1882, male university students)
http://www.innovations.harvard.edu/cache/documents/1348/134851.pdf
Sorry to inject this somewhat depressing note.

If we’re talking about the danger of riding alone in elevators with boys, then I don’t see how getting men to be enlightened and proposition women under different circumstances would solve or help the problem at all. If safety is the issue here instead of men respecting women, then the solution is having armed air marshalls or guards stationed in elevators. Asking men to proposition differently won’t convince potential attackers to attack differently. It would make more sense to make sure everyone is safe everywhere, to the best of our ability, and then it shouldn’t be a factor in whether one person is being considerate to some other person who feels threatened.

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Posted: 24 July 2011 04:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 96 ]
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asanta - 23 July 2011 05:45 PM
deidzoeb - 23 July 2011 11:39 AM

For what it’s worth, I agree with most of the points Watson raised before and apart from the Elevator incident. The atheist/skeptic community seems likely to be about as sexist as the larger society its drawn from. I’ve been disgusted by most of the knee-jerk sexist and anti-feminist comments and replies. I don’t find it hard to believe that she gets mistreated, disrespected or hit on at conferences. I didn’t think the elevator incident was an egregious example of that though.

So are you calling Rebecca a liar?.. hmmm

Disagreeing with her opinion of the situation is not the same as calling her a “liar.” She’s entitled to her feelings, I’m not saying she should never feel threatened or creeped out. Maybe she should reconsider hanging out in bars until 4 AM if she feels threatened or creeped out by people hitting on her. I would feel creeped out walking down a dark alley late at night, maybe even walking through my neighborhood late at night—so I avoid that situation. Silly me.

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Posted: 24 July 2011 04:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 97 ]
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asanta - 23 July 2011 05:46 PM

Listen. carefully. to. her. video. Rebecca. DOES. say. the. man. had. NEVER. spoken. to her…

Hi asanta. I am listening carefully to the original video again from 4 minutes on, listening to it twice. I don’t hear what you claim she said. Could you specify at what point in the video, how many minutes into it, you hear Watson saying that the man had never spoken to her before? Was it in some other video than the one she titled “About Mythbusters, Robot Eyes, Feminism, and Jokes”?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKHwduG1Frk

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Posted: 24 July 2011 04:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 98 ]
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ullrich - 23 July 2011 10:38 PM

Rebecca has a new-ish video on her website (skepchick.org) giving free dating advice based on the elevator guy incident.  It is hilarious.  FWIW, I think she’s entirely right to make a bit of a fuss about not so much the incident which was relatively innocuous, but about the reaction from all the trolls out there who went way over the top in criticizing her response to it.  One of the wonderful things about the internet is that it draws out all the uncensored hurtful comments from all the creeps out there who would never dream of saying anything at all to a woman if confronted with one face to face.  I suspect if no one had commented on her initial video, she would have left it at that.

The point is that no matter how drunk you are, you can expect to get more than a little resentment back if you “corner a woman alone in an elevator at 4am” and proposition her.  Seems reasonable, unless the woman in question is the proverbial kickboxer mentioned above.

You put that part in quotation marks as if those are the important bits of context to the situation. I would have described it as “corner a woman alone in an elevator, after you and she just came out of a bar at 4 AM”. And since the guy was inviting her to his hotel room, we can presume he was staying at the same hotel, maybe off the ground floor, so is it accurate to say he “cornered” her in the elevator, possibly on the way up to his own room?

I think resentment is misplaced when you get hit on coming out of a bar at 4 in the morning, unless this was maybe a person who has never been in a bar before and doesn’t really understand western culture.

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Posted: 24 July 2011 07:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 99 ]
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n8r0n - 23 July 2011 04:19 PM

I’d also like to draw another comparison to this situation.  At the risk of offending gay people, since the left-leaning skeptic community seems to be drunk on PC kool-aid, I think there are some real similarities between this situation, and gay pair bonding.  (NOTE: I didn’t say that they are the same, just that there are similarities)...

Long story short, if you’re an atheist male, you’ve got a harder time finding a mate than the religious hetero masses.  So, you’re going to have to be a bit more willing to take risks and be proactive, to find your soul-mate (like Mr. Elevator did)

... The majority of men (non-believers especially, statistics show) are not rapists, and are revolted by the thought of sexual violence against women.  We don’t deserve to be treated like we’re all sex offenders.

Thank you for making a damned good point and being the first to perform the remarkable feat of showing me why this incident is, in any way, relevant to the podcast series. Your point demonstrates that she is even more misguided than I first thought and you’ve given me one more reason to be disappointed with Chris Mooney for giving her this forum.  I friggin’ live for this podcast and I almost wanted to cry when I realized I’d have to wait another week for some real content. I’m not invalidating the discussion, but this conversation is probably happening at about a million places on the web right now and the results are probably similar.

Don’t distract me with anecdotes. If this is really important to her, Watson should step away from her webcam and design an experiment to support her notion that men/women/skeptics are more likely than anyone else to “not get” whatever.  You have the right to claim that men are pigs, provided you operationally define the term and generate some replicable data. We are, by definition, a community that expects people to put something behind their claims. Mooney failed to hold Watson to this standard. The past two female guests didn’t discuss the role of women in the skeptical community and may have been stunned if their respective hosts had asked them.  Why? Probably because they were both established scholars with a history of research to discuss.  This week we got a blogger who, as Smileys pointed out, is willing to throw Richard Dawkins’ work into the fire over a smug comment. (Then again, Richard Dawkins noticed her, didn’t he?) Here’s to the day when Dawkins and the rest of us can fuss over her scholarly contributions to the skeptical community.

48 hours until a new podcast…

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Posted: 24 July 2011 11:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 100 ]
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deidzoeb - 24 July 2011 04:25 AM

If we’re talking about the danger of riding alone in elevators with boys, then I don’t see how getting men to be enlightened and proposition women under different circumstances would solve or help the problem at all. If safety is the issue here instead of men respecting women, then the solution is having armed air marshalls or guards stationed in elevators. Asking men to proposition differently won’t convince potential attackers to attack differently. It would make more sense to make sure everyone is safe everywhere, to the best of our ability, and then it shouldn’t be a factor in whether one person is being considerate to some other person who feels threatened.

What?  No no, let me reiterate what the problem is.  I’m sure I’ve said this in another message too, but I believe in being a first-rate host.

Watson mentioned the fact that she was hit on and it made her uncomfortable in public. As a consequence of that, she got a lot of flak.  The problem is that one does get flak for it.

However, I definitely appreciate many aspects of the idea of having air marshals stationed everywhere, constantly, and I will look into it should I ever become an insane, tyrannical monarch.

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Posted: 25 July 2011 03:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 101 ]
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n8r0n - 23 July 2011 04:48 PM

I think it would be epically generous to suggest that women are using Bayesian statistics…

The word “suggest” is taking a lot of strain in this conversation.  But sure, let’s talk about whether women are using Bayesian statistics.  It’s not like doing a binary Bayesian update is incredibly hard.

To pick a completely random example, let’s talk about the case that everyone is obsessively discussing in this thread!

You start with the estimated 4% chance of a randomly chosen guy being a multiple rapist.*  Then, and this is admittedly a somewhat tricky bit, ask yourself: how much more likely is a rapist to behave in this way than a non-rapist?

What we know about “that one guy” is:

- “I find your ideas interesting.  Do you want to come back to my room for coffee” or whatever, it’s just an example
- Not talking to them at all in the bar
- Following them out (probably), and hitting on them while there was no one else around

Let’s say rapists do this about two times as often as non-rapists.

So, you multiply 4% by two, and get an 8% chance that the guy is a rapist.

If my emotions were motivating me, I would usually guess that the person in question isn’t a rapist.  And the safe guess would be that they are.  For anything in between those two extremes, the use of reason or something would be necessary.

*: An odds ratio of 0.04/0.96 ≈ 0.04.
More precisely, you multiply the odds ratio of 0.04 by 2, and get the updated odds ratio 0.08.

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Posted: 25 July 2011 04:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 102 ]
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n8r0n - 23 July 2011 03:25 PM

Should I ever have an erection, and then think of you at the same time, you will surely cause it to crawl back up into my body cavity.

`
Uh, to crawl ‘back’ up into your body cavity?  are you suggesting that that’s its usual home?  ;)

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Posted: 25 July 2011 05:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 103 ]
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Axegrrl - 25 July 2011 04:51 AM

Uh, to crawl ‘back’ up into your body cavity?  are you suggesting that that’s its usual home?  ;)

My favourite part about that is that his main objections about Watson are that she was not polite and considerate enough.

But I don’t really have anything to say about those posts.

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Posted: 25 July 2011 06:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 104 ]
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I just hope that Rebecca can find the strength to get past this horrendous incident.

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Posted: 25 July 2011 07:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 105 ]
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Here is how I read this whole mess:

1) Man on the elevator makes a pretty awkward and ill-timed offer, which is probably as innocent as it could be considering the circumstances.
2) Rebecca later mentions that this made her uncomfortable, which I don’t doubt it did.
3) Finally, her admonishment “don’t do that, guys”.

This seems to me to be reasonable.

The flap starts when people start adding straw man arguments onto both sides.

1) Some questioning that elevator man was anything more than socially inept.
2) Others taking Rebecca’s very sensible request, and grafting way more meaning onto it than she intended.

The reason has just flown right out the window.

For a bunch of reasonable people, this has gotten very much unreasonable…..

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