Believe it or not there is such a thing as an honest mistake. Do I know for sure that's what it was? Of course not. But it is absolutely a possibility.
It's more like "look, can you try to see this from my point of view and not do this, so that I will feel like I can participate in this community on an equal basis?"
How else are people supposed to get laid at conferences?
That's a pretty awesome getting laid strategy you've got going for you!
It's also possible not to treat a conference as a meat market, not aggressively seek it, and treat it as a fringe benefit if it arises out of some mutually respectful interaction.
That was exactly what she was complaining about.
Well, aren't you a superhero.
On the other hand, I have seen uncountable situations in my almost 50 years where women are offended by advances from (in a purely physical sense) less attractive men but flattered by and responsive to advances from more attractive men.
pulling out very impactful words to decry a behavior
I understand why this assumption happens (because everyone know men never speak to a woman unless they think it will lead to sex, right?), but 'I think you are interesting, would you like to have coffee with me?' shouldn't be assumed to mean anything more than that.
There is a very real possibility that this is simply a case of someone having no clue as to the inappropriateness of the approach. Clueless does not equate to bad intent.
palomar: And pla and hincandenza are doing a fine job of making sure women are accused of being irrational and bigoted, so don't worry, there's plenty of equal representation going on.
koeselitz: However, we should have this sensitivity. Why? Because men are still privileged over women. Men still enjoy better treatment, less threatening situations, etc, than women do.
There is a very real possibility that this is simply a case of someone having no clue as to the inappropriateness of the approach. Clueless does not equate to bad intent.
Without trivialising the very real fears that women face on a regular basis, some poor guy has been paraded as a potential rapist all over the Internet because of his lack of social skills while more socially accomplished males snigger at his ineptitudeand brag to one another how they would have been able to smooth-talk their way into bed
On the plus side, Danila that's over 100 people who have considerately identified themselves as not necessarily the best people to share an elevator with at a meetup.
As I read it, ortho's comment didn't say that women only have boundaries for unattractive men. It said that a man's attractiveness will affect where the boundary gets drawn.
Would this woman have been equally off-put had the proposition come from her Handsome Hollywood Actor Of Choice? Really?
yes, those horrid women.
you'll show them.
one day you'll show them all.
Conley’s Major Conclusions:
I’ll just quote at some length here:
First, male sexual proposers (who approached women) are uniformly seen as less desirable than female sexual proposers (who approached men). Therefore, gender differences in the original Clark and Hatfield study are due more to the gender of the proposer than to the gender of the study participants. Moreover, the idea that these gender differences reflect broad, evolved differences in women’s and men’s mating strategies was not supported. Across studies involving both actual and hypothetical sexual encounters, the only consistently significant predictor of acceptance of the sexual proposal, both for women and for men, was the perception that the proposer is sexually capable (i.e., would be “good in bed”). The perceptions of sexual capabilities also mediated the relationship between gender and acceptance of casual sex offers. Finally, indirect evidence suggests that perceptions of risk may play a role in gender differences in casual sex attitudes.
It's a tough thing to hear, that behavior that to you seems totally innoxuous can be read as threatening or just an endless bother to somebody else. We've all probably had that experience, and we've all probably reacted defensively.
cortex: To the extent that me and Jess have now taken turns camping in that thread for basically the entire rest of the day, we were able to promptly remove some other crappy inter-user stuff from the thread before it became A Thing. What that DOUBLE STANDARD! narrative has to say about that, who knows, I'm frankly too tired of wrangling all this shit on my holiday to want to spend much more energy appealing to uncharitable readings of the work we do
the only consistently significant predictor of acceptance of the sexual proposal, both for women and for men, was the perception that the proposer is sexually capable
Fuck it. I'd like to open a PayPal account so that people can buy a fucking clue.
The response [to her panel] at the conference itself was wonderful. There were a ton of great feminists there - male and female - and also, just open-minded people who had maybe never considered the way that women are treated in this community, but were interested in learning more. So, thank you to everyone who was at that conference who engaged in those discussions outside of that panel. You were all fantastic, I loved talking to you guys. All of you except for the one man who didn't really grasp, I think, what I was saying on the panel…
Study 2a Results: Here’s the headline — differences between men and women in likelihood of taking the proposer up on the offer was a whole lot closer. For the proposition by the attractive person, women were at 4.09 (2.16) to 4.16 (2.56) for men — just about a tie. For the unattractive celebrity, men were at 1.43 (.84) to women’s 1.71 (1.61) — women were higher. For the unknown person, though, no such effect. Women were at 1.86 (1.38), men were still at 3.52 (2.06). Women were only marginally more interested in the offer from a stranger than from a man generally thought ugly. Men were almost as interested in the random stranger as Angelina Jolie. The short fling results basically track this, with the fact of celebrity seriously closing the gap between men’s and women’s interest, and the gap for a stranger remaining wide. The appeal of the offer follows the same pattern: little difference in men’s and women’s response to the unattractive celebrity, little difference in their reaction to the attractive celebrity, lots of difference in their response to the stranger.
You are fortunate enough to be able to spend your entire winter vacation in Los Angeles. One day, about a week into your stay, you decide to visit a trendy cafe´ in Malibu that overlooks the ocean. As you are sipping your drink, you look over and notice that actor Johnny Depp is just a few tables away. You can hardly believe your eyes! Still more amazing, he catches your eye and then approaches you. He says, “I have been noticing you and I find you to be very attractive. Would you go to bed with me tonight?”
That's interesting, but it's not germane to this conversation. This is not a conversation about "feminism". This is a conversation about "both men and women seem unable to accept that women's expressly-stated wishes about personal boundaries are being routinely ignored, and it beats the fuck out of me why that would be the case."
poet-lariat, I'd be delighted to learn in more detail why you are quite so offended by the point that a transgendered woman's experience is not typical of 'women's' experience more generally
Anyone who thinks I am articulating a purely patriarchal perspective needs to search google scholar for "transgender feminism." There is apparently a fairly large element within academic and political feminism, led by women, to limit the claims of transgender women to representation within feminist politics....
This is nonsense. It's PC thought/language policing like I remember from being in grad school in the 90s, back when I first realized that "gender theory" was code for "ideology trumps science" and lost interest in staying current with academic feminist thought.
>...there do seem to be a few are confused about how to talk to women. If I could I would befriend you and try my best to help you see women as just people, not "The Other." It can't be fun going through life so desperate yet so afraid.
>It's more that in the context bringing that up as an "it's hard out there for the guys, too" thing feels a bit out of nowhere. It's pressing an uncontroversial point—yes, everybody hurts, and that sucks—in a context where the conversation isn't so much "does everybody hurt?" as it is "this specific system shit women have to deal with really sucks".
>Trying to make the "we're really both in the same boat" argument is as nonsensical 800 comments into this thread as it was in the beginning.
It's not about men's feelings and how they have to be taken into consideration as well. It's about men sexualizing women in inappropriate places and it's about the fact that 90% of rapes are committed upon women thus making us understandably wary.
>You think what has happened historically has no bearing on the current situation?
What will "repair the relationship between the groups" is not just for one group to stop caring about how outrageously it has been and continues to be violated by members of the other group, and just get over it because it should stop mattering so much. It's for the group members doing the outrageous violating to stop doing so.
>Dude, they're related. The current situation has centuries of history behind it. It doesn't, no it can't just go away, when two people, let alone 20 start talking to each other.
...I'm amazed people are still doing the back and forth over this, 850 comments later.
> ...going from there to "and therfore, women, you should not let bad experiences with men prevent you from engaging without fear with me, because that would be unjust and the equivalent of racism", I think falls down on two levels.
That's a completely logical thought and thus has no place in this discussion.
If it's inappropriate for a man to come on to a woman in an elevator because it's a confined space and she is justifiably assuming him to be a rapist until he proves otherwise, then it's inappropriate for a man to get into the elevator alone with a woman at all. He's not some genderless nonentity until he opens his mouth, at which point he suddenly transforms into Schroedinger's Rapist. To the extent that there is reasonable anxiety about being in an elevator with a man because he might attack you, that danger - and thus, anxiety about the danger - is present as soon as the doors close.
Thank you, thank you very much for that intro. Can everybody hear me in the back OK? Yeah it's never really been a problem for me, but everyone else has been asking that so I figured I would as well.
I was a little unsure about what I would be speaking about because, the topic of communicating atheism is such a large one, and I really wasn't exactly sure what I should narrow it to. And then I saw the really interesting panel earlier today, on women, women atheist activists. And I was going to ask a question, at the Q&A, and I didn't have a question, so much as an hour-long lecture. So, I'd like to get that now. No, specifically I took issue with something said by Paula Kirby, whose work I really enjoy. But she made a comment that she felt that there was no problem with sexism in the atheist community, because she's never experienced any sexism in the atheist community. In the skeptical movement we refer to this as an argument from ignorance, and in the feminist community we refer to it as an argument from privilege. And I'm really genuinely happy that she hasn't experienced any, any sexism. But I don't think that's a proper basis to make a judgement on whether or not there is a problem with sexism and atheism. And she also later said that she didn't think that there was some great conspiracy to keep women out of the atheist community. Well I don't think anyone thinks that -- I think that's a bit of a straw-person, if you will --, I think, unless you want to consider the patriarchy, in general, as a conspiracy. Which I don't -- I don't think that there's any club getting together: "How can we get less women involved?", no I don't think that's happening. But there is an issue with sexism, and I thought that, because the topic of this panel is "communicating atheism", I thought maybe I could offer my perspective, as someone who communicates atheism while being a women, because it differs from Paula Kirby's experience, and I think it's important you know that her experience isn't my experience.
So, a few weeks ago, I have a podcast called the Skeptic's Guide To The Universe, and um... No you were right not to applaud, it's fine. That was the right decision you all made. No, and, if you're not familiar with the, it's mostly skeptical topics, science topics, but we occasionally discuss secularism and things like that. I talked very briefly on these talks I've been giving recently at atheist conferences in which I describe the religious right in the US, and their war on women they've been raging very recently. Just to give you a quick idea, in the first 3 months of this year, state legislatures in the US passed 916, er, not passed, sorry, introduced, 916 bills that restricted reproductive rights.
Um, amongst those that passed, were some really horrific things, like abstinence-only education must be taught in one of the states, I think in North Carolina, unless the school petitions the government to teach something called "Abstinence Plus", which is a way for religious conservatives to get abstinence-only education into the schools, while throwing in something about condoms at the end. Um, also some very serious restrictions on abortion, and also on general access to contraception, they're allowing pharmacists for instance, to not give contraceptives to women who ask them for it. And you know, they're protecting the pharmacists jobs, saying they're allowed to take a religious exemption. Which to me is like saying "a vegetarian priest can refuse to give the flesh and blood of Jesus.... [laughter] and still keep his job. If you can't do the job, don't do the job. So I spoke briefly about that, on the podcast, and I encouraged people in the audience who were concerned about the separation of church and state when it comes to things like prayer in schools, and creationism, I encouraged them to learn more about what's happening to women, and to get involved and help fight the religious right.
And then the emails started coming in. The first email was addressed to "The Female On The Podcast" [laughter]... My name is on the top of the show, everyone calls me by that name. It's Rebecca. It's on the website. But it was address to the female, and he was wondering why I was encouraging people to kill babies. He's an atheist. Another email I got was addressed not to me, but to the men of the podcast. It was basically, Dear Guys, won't you do something about that Rebecca? This isn't the first that.. I get those emails all the time. They're not addressed to me, they're addressed to the men, to shut up that girl. And it most-often happens when I talk about feminist issues, women’s-rights issues, things like that. And I'll also note briefly that that email was terribly misspelled, grammatically incorrect, and ended up "you should all just grow up" and then, "with great power comes great responsibility." [laughter]
And so my response was simply, um, thanks for your e-mail, it takes a lot of courage for a semi-literate adult male to quote spider-man... [laughter] and then tell us to grow up. [applause]
So I wish I could say that those e-mails were rare, but they're not. I get a couple of them a month, usually. More if I'm talking about women's issues. They're extraordinarily... there's some... they range in sexism. From extraordinarily sexist, to "this is probably kinda sexist." and it's quite disheartening to get these emails from people who actually agree with me on 98% of everything else that's important. But not on this. Then there are there e-mails from people who seem to agree with me 100% of the time, there are, I get fan mail, and a certain percentage of the fan-mail is graphically sexual. [laughter] And it's, you're laughing, I hope, out of a little bit of discomfort. [laughter] And if you're not uncomfortable, I'm gonna make you uncomfortable. [laughter] Because some of these emails do describe in graphic detail what these men would like to do me sexually. These are from the people agree with me and they think they're complimenting me by sending these e-mails, these tweets, youtube messages, things like that. So these are from atheists. And they don't necessarily understand that they're being horribly misogynistic, but they are. Because misogyny isn't something that's just relegated to religion. Religion can certainly bring it out, and strenghten it, but it's a cultural problem, and even atheists, even rational people, haven't necessarily rationally looked at their own ideas of gender, and equality and sex.
So, that's one of the things I like to do on SkepChick, that's one of the things that SkepChick as a website stands for is, it's a place where we combine skepticism and atheism and secularism and humanism and feminism. And through that we hope to sort of let know about what their privileges are and how they can help be more welcoming to women, how they can get rid of the biases they hold that they might not even realize they hold. So, what it's like to deal with other atheists as an outspoken atheist woman. And of course there's also, I should mention, the contact from people who disagree even on the atheism. The contact I get from religious people. I'm sure we've all heard of Richard reading his amazing hate mail. Which is hilarious. [chuckles] Which I should mention, is actually my cell-phone ring. [laughter]
I probably should have brought it up here. But yeah, I'm like walking to the grocery store, and suddenly my purse goes "YOU SUCK!", "I HOPE YOU GET BY A BUS!"
[Dawkins leans over laughing, starts to say something]
"...BY A CHURCH VAN.",
... that's right. So, the hate mail I get, obviously we all get some pretty terrible hate mail. I'll just mention briefly, that as a women, a lot of the hate mail I get isn't just violent, I do get the death-threats, and you know, the standard sort of hate mail like that, but I also get a tremendous amount of threats from religious people that involve rape. Um, a huge amount, probably more than the death threats, are the threats of rape. Whether they're threatening to rape me, or they're just saying somebody should, because you'll probably be better off. They come in all the time. And it's incredibly damaging.
So, I'd just like to add my voice to the...the earlier panel I thought was really great, and I thought it was a great message to tell women, yeah, you do need to speak out, you do need to stand up, but you also have to knowledge what you're going to be facing when you stand up. You're going to be facing... you may be facing, obviously not every woman has these problems, it depends on probably what media you're using. Don't go on YouTube. Don't do it. And I'm hoping Aron can maybe speak more to that later.
But, we do need to acknowledge the fact that women in our community do take a risk by standing up ask speaking out. And when we acknowledge that we can help build a better support basis for them, so that when they start getting these terrible e-mails, when I was getting them, I was alone, and I would cry a lot about it. Until the other guys from the podcast started speaking up about it "you know these emails are terrible! Do you know how terrible these emails are?" and I'm like "Yes! Thank you!", And I just want to encourage you all to support one-another, and to supper the women in your lives, and to know that it is a problem, and to me to even watch your own language, and your own behavior to try to root out any biases that may be lurking within you.
And so, that's all I've got.
And then I would make a comment about how there could really be more women in the community, and the responses from my fellow skeptics and atheists ranged from “No, they’re not logical like us,” to “Yes, so we can fuck them!” That seemed weird.
So I started speaking more about women. About how they’re not idiots. About how they can think logically but maybe there are other social pressures keeping them away from our message, like how we tell women they should be quiet and polite and not question what is told to them. I spoke about how people need role models, and there were so few women on stage at these events.
And I got messages from women who told me about how they had trouble attending pub gatherings and other events because they felt uncomfortable in a room full of men. They told me about how they were hit on constantly and it drove them away. I didn’t fully get it at the time, because I didn’t mind getting hit on. But I acknowledged their right to feel that way and I started suggesting to the men that maybe they relax a little and not try to get in the pants of every woman who walks through the door. Maybe they could wait for her to make the first move, just in case.
And then, for the past few years as the audience for Skepchick and SGU grew, I’ve had more and more messages from men who tell me what they’d like to do to me, sexually. More and more men touching me without permission at conferences.