"the existence of greater crimes does not excuse lesser crimes"
July 4, 2011 9:40 AM Subscribe
"You know, I don't really know how else to explain how this makes me incredibly uncomfortable, but I'll just sort of lay it out that I was a single woman, you know, in a foreign country, at 4 AM, in a hotel elevator, with you, just you, and - don't invite me back to your hotel room right after I finish talking about how it creeps me out and makes me uncomfortable when men sexualize me in that manner..." Rebecca Watson
posted by flex (1266 comments total)
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, founder of Skepchick
, spoke in Dublin at the World Atheist Convention a month ago (video)
. Afterwards, in a video post (relevant part starts at about 2:30)
, she discussed an incident that occurred there. She received some dismissive responses. PZ Myers
. Richard Dawkins
. Dawkins is called out
. PZ Myers weighs in again
. Dawkins still doesn't get it
: "The guy in the elevator was not accused of being a rapist; I got the impression from Rebecca that she wasn't even really worried about serious threat to her safety, but was annoyed that she was being pestered by an insensitive cad. It was "slightly bad," as you put it, and she responded at an appropriate level to the problem. She basically said to the atheist community, 'hey, guys, don't be an insensitive cad,' a suggestion I find remarkably uncontroversial — it's a slightly good suggestion in response to a slightly bad problem. It's darned good advice, even.
Here's exactly what she said... That really should be sufficient to explain to everyone exactly what was 'slightly bad' about this situation.
The response has been to belittle her reasonable suggestion, belittle her, accuse her of hysteria, defend the rudeness of the fellow with the proposition, and mostly act as if utterly obtuse to both the unpleasantness of the elevator faux pas and to disrespect the rational concerns of women. Women aren't so much afraid that unruly mobs of atheist men will rape them at meetings, but that they'll be dolts who trivialize legitimate and common concerns of women…and this incident has definitely shown that to be the case. We aren't just going to see Rebecca Watson diminished as an asset to atheism, but all the other women who seek common cause with atheism will watch how we treat our own and find this community significantly less attractive.
This isn't slightly bad. It's very bad. Atheist men are alienating the people we want to work with us on the very same problems, the oppression of women under religious regimes, that you cited in your comment."