Atheism and Feminism (or, Watson v. Dawkins)

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Re: Atheism and Feminism (or, Watson v. Dawkins)

#81  Postby Paul G » Jul 06, 2011 1:53 pm

I still don't get what this has to do with feminism.
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Re: Atheism and Feminism (or, Watson v. Dawkins)

#82  Postby Erin » Jul 06, 2011 2:10 pm

Before I post anything, I would just like to clarify that I am assuming a 4 a.m. offer to go back to this guy's hotel room meant he was asking her to have sex with him. It may well have been an innocent offer for talk and coffee, but it didn't sound like one to me, and it seems like most people here are assuming the same.

MattHunX wrote:
What I am telling her, is that she should realize that there are lots of guys and gals out there with such personalities and obvious lack of inhibitions, and perhaps lack of social-skills (even though it should be proportional, really), who will act this way, and that she will not be able to help but react in the same fashion as she did in this particular situation, because that's how she is. I cannot change that.


How is, "Uh, guys? Don't do that" an overreaction?

And I show empathy for those who deserve it. She deserves a minimal amount. If the man had been forceful in any way, she'd have more, and her argument would be valid, for me.


Why does the man have to be foreceful in any way for her to have an issue with his behavior? Let's review:

- She had been at a hotel bar after previously speaking at a conference in which she mentioned getting a lot of advances from men at atheist conventions. She also spoke about how she didn't like this.
- The man presumably heard her speak at the conference. Even if he didn't, he was in the bar listening to her conversations with colleagues. He obviously didn't speak to her the entire time at the bar, otherwise she wouldn't have referred to him as a stranger. He could have approached her at any time in this public setting.
- He waited until she said she was exhausted and going to bed, followed her into an elevator, and propositioned her there. His opening line was, "Don't take this the wrong way," indicating he knew what he was about to say was inappropriate. Kind of like when someone opens a sentence with "No offense, but..." and proceeds to be a dick.
- She's alone at 4 a.m., followed into a confined space by a man she doesn't know, and asked to come back to his room for sex when he already knew she wouldn't be receptive to his advances.

Quite frankly, that is is creepy.

This isn't a public place where she can just walk away or ignore him and go talk to her friends. Matt, I really can't describe how intidimating it can be to be in a confined space with a man who can overpower you. Add in the fact that he asks for sex, and this will set off alarm bells in a woman's head. She can press the button and get off at the next floor, but has no guarantee he won't follow her. If she gets off at her own floor, she has no guarantee he won't follow her to her room. The very nature of an elevator means she doesn't have multiple exits; she can't get out when she wants without him knowing about it, and when she does get off, she has to outrun him because there's only one way to go. Bottom line: she has no idea if his intentions are good or bad. But if they ARE bad, she is in the most vulnerable position possible.

She didn't whine or cry about it. She didn't call him a rapist. She didn't ask anyone to feel sorry for her. She simply said it made her uncomfortable (and justifiably so) and asked men not to act that way (a reasonable request), in a vlog that wasn't even about that story in the first place. She threw it in as a humorous aside about how clueless that guy was. Then everybody flew off the handle.

Now, let's look at muslim-women, starving children...etc., they have my empathy, a lot of it. This skepchick person, deserves little.


She never compared her plight to that of Muslim women or starving children. That was Dawkins, in his ridiculous, over-the-top response. She certainly wasn't asking for that kind of consideration.

She should get a reality a check and perhaps propose a realistic solution to the Jerk Problem.


I think "don't follow a strange woman alone into an elevator at 4 a.m. and proposition her for sex" is pretty clear enough.
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Re: Atheism and Feminism (or, Watson v. Dawkins)

#83  Postby MattHunX » Jul 06, 2011 2:14 pm

Fallible wrote::what: I said that in response to you asking what the woman suggests should be done. Thinking before acting would be a good thing to do, and I find it a bit silly to say that people are 'not ready' to do that yet. Everyone is capable of thinking before acting. 'It's in their nature'? You can say that about anything. Not only is that not backed up by anything, it's also not a get out of jail free card for behaviour.

I do think it's backed, evidenced in the very situation we're arguing about. But yes, it's definitely NOT a get out of jail free card for behavior, not an excuse for it, in any way.

Fallible wrote:That's exactly the point! You don't know how that person feels, so you don't go on to do the thing. A PERSON alone in a lift in the early hours might already be feeling uneasy, whatever you do or don't do, because of the circumstances. The PERSON cannot read your mind, know whether you are interested in their presence or not, know what you are going to do or not do. Why then compound that? It's a sad state of affairs but nevertheless, a PERSON is justified in feeling uneasy being somewhere they don't know, alone, in the early hours of the morning, in a confined space, with a strange man. Considerate people will acknowledge that fact and do what they can to avoid discomfort. Which in this case would be to just get where they are going without asking the person whether they want to come back to his place for coffee.

Considerate people. This guy wasn't too considerate. However, he wasn't forceful either. He could have kept pestering her, or even make some sort of, however light, physical content, to which the woman's negative response would have been more justifiable. But, he was just talking. Nothing more. She declined. That was it. He wasn't being considerate, in the sense, that he shouldn't have approached her in such a manner, allegedly, as the woman perceived it, following her into the elevator, at 4:00am, alone. But, he did. Because he was just that kind of guy, (over-)confident, apparently.

So he didn't think the situation through, in the sense, that he didn't consider that he might make the unknown woman uncomfortable (or did he hear her speech, knew she had issues with exactly that kind of behavior, or seen her prior to meeting her in the elevator?) . Had she the same (over-)confident nature as the guy, with different experience with men than what she has taken issue with,...who knows?

Your statement 'she was clearly overreacting' suggests that this is clear ('clearly'). This is not clear. What you mean is that you think she was overreacting. Others disagree.

Well, yeah. Obviously. It's just my opinion. And then there's your opinion, and their opinion. I saw one commenter here, whose opinion is similar to mine, just FYI. The others are different. We perceive the same situation differently. I'm not here to just simply agree with everyone on everything. You know that Sagan quote, "If a human disagrees with you let him live...*scratch*...except if they're theists, perpetuating ignorance...etc. then fuck 'em and fight 'em.
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Re: Atheism and Feminism (or, Watson v. Dawkins)

#84  Postby MattHunX » Jul 06, 2011 2:35 pm

Erin wrote:
- She had been at a hotel bar after previously speaking at a conference in which she mentioned getting a lot of advances from men at atheist conventions. She also spoke about how she didn't like this.
- The man presumably heard her speak at the conference. Even if he didn't, he was in the bar listening to her conversations with colleagues. He obviously didn't speak to her the entire time at the bar, otherwise she wouldn't have referred to him as a stranger. He could have approached her at any time in this public setting.
- He waited until she said she was exhausted and going to bed, followed her into an elevator, and propositioned her there. His opening line was, "Don't take this the wrong way," indicating he knew what he was about to say was inappropriate. Kind of like when someone opens a sentence with "No offense, but..." and proceeds to be a dick.
- She's alone at 4 a.m., followed into a confined space by a man she doesn't know, and asked to come back to his room for sex when he already knew she wouldn't be receptive to his advances.


But, did he? Did he already knew? How can we be sure that he even listened to her speech or even "followed" her to the elevator? If that was the case, if he had heard her speech and knew about her opinion, I do think that the guy would have had the common sense not to approach her in such a manner, unless he was deliberately trying to make her sweat a little thinking it would be a good mind-game to molest the woman from the meeting of rational like-minded people who just gave a speech criticizing such behavior? Going by what he have said, according the woman, it's actually cannot be said for certain whether he was the former or the latter type. Jerks comes from all creeds and colors.

Erin wrote:This isn't a public place where she can just walk away or ignore him and go talk to her friends.
Matt, I really can't describe how intidimating it can be to be in a confined space with a man who can overpower you. Add in the fact that he asks for sex, and this will set off alarm bells in a woman's head. She can press the button and get off at the next floor, but has no guarantee he won't follow her. If she gets off at her own floor, she has no guarantee he won't follow her to her room. The very nature of an elevator means she doesn't have multiple exits; she can't get out when she wants without him knowing about it, and when she does get off, she has to outrun him because there's only one way to go. Bottom line: she has no idea if his intentions are good or bad. But if they ARE bad, she is in the most vulnerable position possible.

I understand that, and I'm speculating on the guy's intentions. But, apparently all she needed was words to escape the situation. If the guy had been really any dangerous it could very well have happened differently, he could have resulted to use force, by either pestering her further verbally, or making physical contact. Just pure speculation. But, I'm just going by the fact that she did walk away with words alone.

I think "don't follow a strange woman alone into an elevator at 4 a.m. and proposition her for sex" is pretty clear enough.

Well, let's suppose the guy did hear her speech, which is questionable, but still. It either wasn't clear enough for him, or he was intoxicated and couldn't reason very well, or simply wanted to pull a bad joke on her by behaving in the manner he did. Telling guys, however plainly, to stop this kind of behavior, when it's simply how they roll (no excuse), isn't realistic. It's naive. It's a societal issue. It, the behavior itself, has become mundane. But, it's still an issue. And I do mean issue. It makes certain things in social life lose their value.
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Re: Atheism and Feminism (or, Watson v. Dawkins)

#85  Postby mmmcheezy » Jul 06, 2011 3:20 pm

how far does it have to go before a woman is "overreacting" by simply asking a man to STOP IT? because i've been propositioned MUCH MORE EXPLICITLY [in words that i won't say here or fear of breaking the fua] not just in bars, but also in malls. and once on campus in the middle of the afternoon. when i expressed my disgust with these guys, they reacted pretty similarly. "oh you're overreacting!" "it's a ccompliment!" "i wish strangers complimented me like that!"
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Re: Atheism and Feminism (or, Watson v. Dawkins)

#86  Postby MattHunX » Jul 06, 2011 3:36 pm

mmmcheezy wrote:how far does it have to go before a woman is "overreacting" by simply asking a man to STOP IT? because i've been propositioned MUCH MORE EXPLICITLY [in words that i won't say here or fear of breaking the fua] not just in bars, but also in malls. and once on campus in the middle of the afternoon. when i expressed my disgust with these guys, they reacted pretty similarly. "oh you're overreacting!" "it's a ccompliment!" "i wish strangers complimented me like that!"

You mean the guys, who pestered you, reacted that way. :think:

Now, that is considerably more rude, actually. Especially, if as you say, their words were much more explicit. But, you told them in the face that you were disgusted and their reaction was that you're overreacting? Because in this case, I don't think you were, considering what was probably said (according to you much more implicit). However, I cannot decide if the place, being public, is more or less inappropriate to utter such explicit things in, than an elevator. I mean, it is inappropriate in both places, but being in an elevator, alone with the person, and hearing such explicit "suggestions" is much more disconcerting than hearing them in public, or being invited to "coffee", though. The latter is still rude, but considering the man, in the original case, wasn't forceful, it is less rude than saying much more explicit things in public or in an elevator, where it is the most disconcerting. No one there to smack them. Except if you have a brick in your purse. Such a response, a verbal snap or a slap would be appropriate and perfectly justified if the content of their comments was as explicit as you say it was in your case. Last resort, brick. Repeatedly.
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Re: Atheism and Feminism (or, Watson v. Dawkins)

#87  Postby Fallible » Jul 06, 2011 3:51 pm

MattHunX wrote:I do think it's backed, evidenced in the very situation we're arguing about. But yes, it's definitely NOT a get out of jail free card for behavior, not an excuse for it, in any way.


You said it's in certain people's nature to be this way, this seems to just be an excuse without anything to back it up. He could have been acting completely out of character, which would suggest it's not in his nature at all. Maybe that's why he did it without an audience. Maybe he wasn't used to approaching women and preferred to do it in private. We can speculate all day long about the minutiae of this in ways which support our own views, it doesn't mean anything. In any event if you agree 'it's in their nature' is not an excuse, there's no reason why people can't just think before they act.

Considerate people. This guy wasn't too considerate. However, he wasn't forceful either. He could have kept pestering her, or even make some sort of, however light, physical content, to which the woman's negative response would have been more justifiable. But, he was just talking. Nothing more. She declined. That was it.


No one is suggesting he was being forceful. The view here seems to be that because he was not, she has no reason to feel uncomfortable. She does have reasons to feel uncomfortable, and I have tried to explain why ANYONE might feel uncomfortable in the same situation, even outgoing people.

He wasn't being considerate, in the sense, that he shouldn't have approached her in such a manner, allegedly, as the woman perceived it, following her into the elevator, at 4:00am, alone. But, he did. Because he was just that kind of guy, (over-)confident, apparently.

So he didn't think the situation through, in the sense, that he didn't consider that he might make the unknown woman uncomfortable (or did he hear her speech, knew she had issues with exactly that kind of behavior, or seen her prior to meeting her in the elevator?) . Had she the same (over-)confident nature as the guy, with different experience with men than what she has taken issue with,...who knows?


Exactly, who knows? not you, not me, not anyone. There is nothing to say she would not be over-confident in a different situation. An 'over-confident' person could feel just as vulnerable in this situation, for the reasons I and others have given. The best thing to do is think before acting. Be considerate.

Well, yeah. Obviously. It's just my opinion. And then there's your opinion, and their opinion. I saw one commenter here, whose opinion is similar to mine, just FYI. The others are different. We perceive the same situation differently. I'm not here to just simply agree with everyone on everything.


I'm certainly not expecting people to agree on everything. Nowhere have I suggested this. You made a comment that she was 'clearly overreacting' as thought his was a done deal, and I'm pointing out that it isn't at all as clear-cut as that.

You know that Sagan quote, "If a human disagrees with you let him live...*scratch*...except if they're theists, perpetuating ignorance...etc. then fuck 'em and fight 'em.


But it's just their nature.
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Re: Atheism and Feminism (or, Watson v. Dawkins)

#88  Postby rJD » Jul 06, 2011 3:58 pm

And still, regardless of the motivations or excuses we can speculate about 'Elevator Guy', or whether Watson was justified in feeling uneasy, none of this changes the fact that Dawkins' response was out of proportion to Watson's measured complaint and reasonable request; it was mocking, nasty and totally unnecessary.
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Re: Atheism and Feminism (or, Watson v. Dawkins)

#89  Postby Fallible » Jul 06, 2011 4:00 pm

Exactly.
Sorry that you think you had it rough in the first world.
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Re: Atheism and Feminism (or, Watson v. Dawkins)

#90  Postby MattHunX » Jul 06, 2011 4:03 pm

Fallible wrote:
You know that Sagan quote, "If a human disagrees with you let him live...*scratch*...except if they're theists, perpetuating ignorance...etc. then fuck 'em and fight 'em.


But it's just their nature.


Fallie... :smug: :naughty:


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Re: Atheism and Feminism (or, Watson v. Dawkins)

#91  Postby MattHunX » Jul 06, 2011 4:05 pm

rJD wrote:And still, regardless of the motivations or excuses we can speculate about 'Elevator Guy', or whether Watson was justified in feeling uneasy, none of this changes the fact that Dawkins' response was out of proportion to Watson's measured complaint and reasonable request; it was mocking, nasty and totally unnecessary.

Maybe he's starting to, you know...crack a bit. Snap here and there. Pressure. :dunno: No excuse for rudeness. Still...
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Re: Atheism and Feminism (or, Watson v. Dawkins)

#92  Postby mmmcheezy » Jul 06, 2011 4:05 pm

MattHunX wrote:
You mean the guys, who pestered you, reacted that way. :think:

Now, that is considerably more rude, actually. Especially, if as you say, their words were much more explicit. But, you told them in the face that you were disgusted and their reaction was that you're overreacting? Because in this case, I don't think you were, considering what was probably said (according to you much more implicit). However, I cannot decide if the place, being public, is more or less inappropriate to utter such explicit things in, than an elevator. I mean, it is inappropriate in both places, but being in an elevator, alone with the person, and hearing such explicit "suggestions" is much more disconcerting than hearing them in public, or being invited to "coffee", though. The latter is still rude, but considering the man, in the original case, wasn't forceful, it is less rude than saying much more explicit things in public or in an elevator, where it is the most disconcerting. No one there to smack them. Except if you have a brick in your purse. Such a response, a verbal snap or a slap would be appropriate and perfectly justified if the content of their comments was as explicit as you say it was in your case. Last resort, brick. Repeatedly.

i guess my main question here was, where do we draw that line? at what point does it become acceptably inappropriate to you? when would my reaction of being made uncomfortable not be an overreaction? being asked to a strange man's hotel room while we were alone in an elevator at 4 AM evidently is an overreaction, but a strange man offering oral sex in broad daylight is suitably squicky. where is the line drawn?
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Re: Atheism and Feminism (or, Watson v. Dawkins)

#93  Postby Lizard_King » Jul 06, 2011 4:07 pm

I wont get into that discussion here and now, because I would definitely stray off topic, and I don't have the time for that right now, but I do have one question: Why the hell did Dawkins feel the need to respond to that woman in the first place? Did I miss something here or did he just randomly criticize someone for stating their opinion even though it had nothing to do with him and doesn't even remotely touch his field of work or interest? If that is so, then this behavior seems a little like trolling to me...
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Re: Atheism and Feminism (or, Watson v. Dawkins)

#94  Postby mmmcheezy » Jul 06, 2011 4:09 pm

Lizard_King wrote:I wont get into that discussion here and now, because I would definitely stray off topic, and I don't have the time for that right now, but I do have one question: Why the hell did Dawkins feel the need to respond to that woman in the first place? Did I miss something here or did he just randomly criticize someone for stating their opinion even though it had nothing to do with him and doesn't even remotely touch his field of work or interest? If that is so, then this behavior seems a little like trolling to me...

seems to be getting a little senile and crazy to me.
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Re: Atheism and Feminism (or, Watson v. Dawkins)

#95  Postby Animavore » Jul 06, 2011 4:12 pm

He shared a platform with her in Dublin a couple of weeks ago at an atheist convention.

Maybe he took a disliking to her?

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Re: Atheism and Feminism (or, Watson v. Dawkins)

#96  Postby MattHunX » Jul 06, 2011 4:22 pm

mmmcheezy wrote:
MattHunX wrote:
You mean the guys, who pestered you, reacted that way. :think:

Now, that is considerably more rude, actually. Especially, if as you say, their words were much more explicit. But, you told them in the face that you were disgusted and their reaction was that you're overreacting? Because in this case, I don't think you were, considering what was probably said (according to you much more implicit). However, I cannot decide if the place, being public, is more or less inappropriate to utter such explicit things in, than an elevator. I mean, it is inappropriate in both places, but being in an elevator, alone with the person, and hearing such explicit "suggestions" is much more disconcerting than hearing them in public, or being invited to "coffee", though. The latter is still rude, but considering the man, in the original case, wasn't forceful, it is less rude than saying much more explicit things in public or in an elevator, where it is the most disconcerting. No one there to smack them. Except if you have a brick in your purse. Such a response, a verbal snap or a slap would be appropriate and perfectly justified if the content of their comments was as explicit as you say it was in your case. Last resort, brick. Repeatedly.

i guess my main question here was, where do we draw that line? at what point does it become acceptably inappropriate to you? when would my reaction of being made uncomfortable not be an overreaction? being asked to a strange man's hotel room while we were alone in an elevator at 4 AM evidently is an overreaction, but a strange man offering oral sex in broad daylight is suitably squicky. where is the line drawn?

Well, I think the latter is considerably more rude and an immediate cause for worry and would surely make anyone uncomfortable (more angry than uncomfortable, perhaps), on the street, but especially in an elevator. That wouldn't be an overreaction, even you slapped the guy across the face. But, as it was, the guy implicitly proposing to the woman to come to her room, without any further action, I think can be considered less rude, still a cause for concern, depending on the person, but certainly does not warrant as much concern as it would if the proposition would have been made much more implicitly.

If the guy had said anything as implicit, as the kind of things that were said to you, then this woman would have definitely had cause for worry. But, as it was, as the guy was, not that much. After all, she could turn him down easily enough, and if there had been indication that the guy posed any real threat, then I think she would have mentioned it, and I'm not sure she did.
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Re: Atheism and Feminism (or, Watson v. Dawkins)

#97  Postby Fallible » Jul 06, 2011 4:23 pm

MattHunX wrote:
Fallible wrote:
You know that Sagan quote, "If a human disagrees with you let him live...*scratch*...except if they're theists, perpetuating ignorance...etc. then fuck 'em and fight 'em.


But it's just their nature.


Fallie... :smug: :naughty:


:grin:


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Re: Atheism and Feminism (or, Watson v. Dawkins)

#98  Postby Erin » Jul 06, 2011 4:27 pm

MattHunX wrote:
But, did he? Did he already knew? How can we be sure that he even listened to her speech or even "followed" her to the elevator? If that was the case, if he had heard her speech and knew about her opinion, I do think that the guy would have had the common sense not to approach her in such a manner, unless he was deliberately trying to make her sweat a little thinking it would be a good mind-game to molest the woman from the meeting of rational like-minded people who just gave a speech criticizing such behavior? Going by what he have said, according the woman, it's actually cannot be said for certain whether he was the former or the latter type. Jerks comes from all creeds and colors.


Given what she relayed as his opening line (and I'm citing from memory, because I can't watch the video at work. If I get this wrong, I apologize and will correct it) -- "Don't take this the wrong way, but I find you really fascinating" -- implied that he did. And face it, if he had no idea who she was and didn't attend her speech and wasn't privy to her conversation at the bar, that's a very strange way to start a conversation.


I understand that, and I'm speculating on the guy's intentions. But, apparently all she needed was words to escape the situation. If the guy had been really any dangerous it could very well have happened differently, he could have resulted to use force, by either pestering her further verbally, or making physical contact. Just pure speculation. But, I'm just going by the fact that she did walk away with words alone.


While I understand what you're saying, what I'm trying to point out is that she didn't know his intentions at the time, and thus was uncomfortable and justified in feeling that way. I feel as if you're saying that since everything turned out fine, she didn't have a valid complaint. It's an awkard-at-best and threatening-at-worst way to approach a woman socially, and she had every right to point it out as an example of what not to do. And I obviously agree with her.


Telling guys, however plainly, to stop this kind of behavior, when it's simply how they roll (no excuse), isn't realistic.


Why not? How can we ever expect to change anyone's behavior without calling attention to it?

It's naive. It's a societal issue. It, the behavior itself, has become mundane. But, it's still an issue. And I do mean issue. It makes certain things in social life lose their value.


How would you suggest we deal with it, then?

rJD wrote:And still, regardless of the motivations or excuses we can speculate about 'Elevator Guy', or whether Watson was justified in feeling uneasy, none of this changes the fact that Dawkins' response was out of proportion to Watson's measured complaint and reasonable request; it was mocking, nasty and totally unnecessary.


:this:
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Re: Atheism and Feminism (or, Watson v. Dawkins)

#99  Postby MattHunX » Jul 06, 2011 4:30 pm

To mmmcheezy,

Forgot to say that any person who can make such explicit comments in public, cannot be trusted to behave in an elevator. If they lack the common-sense and manners to withhold such thoughts even in public, and they can make them in an elevator when you're alone with them, you should definitely reach for a pepper-spray or brick, or a switchblade.
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Re: Atheism and Feminism (or, Watson v. Dawkins)

#100  Postby nunnington » Jul 06, 2011 4:49 pm

Just reading the PZMyers site, (and he is very sensible about it), and a 1000 posts on it! It hasn't just touched a raw nerve, but several raw nerves, and it's rather puzzling why it has blown up over something quite mild (I mean the elevator incident).

One raw nerve seems to be women saying that we are entitled to object to being hit on at scary times and places, such as 4am elevator, or even, we are entitled to object to being hit on, period. I think this has blown up in France to an extent over Strauss-Kahn.

Another raw nerve - some men kind of saying, oh come on, you're over-reacting, this is just how men are, nothing bad happened, and so on.

Then maybe some really angry women, who see it as symptomatic of something in men; and some really angry men, who are pissed off with being criticized.

It's hard to separate out all the strands, but there seems to be some kind of debate going on about sexuality, sexual harassment, where the boundaries are, and so on.

No idea where Dawkins is coming from, quite strange reaction, why all the sarcasm?
je suis Marxiste, tendance Groucho.
nunnington
 
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