Rebecca Watson v. Richard Dawkins

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leo
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Re: Rebecca Watson v. Richard Dawkins

Post by leo » Thu Jul 07, 2011 10:56 pm

aiseiri47 wrote: To me, gloating on Twitter in that way sounds more like a defense mechanism, like she's trying to shrug it off and act like she's not fazed by what's happening, like it's all fun and games.
So why is she going out of her way to claim to be phazed by what's happening?
aiseiri47 wrote: For the Richard Dawkins part, maybe it's because she disagrees with him, which she has a right to;
No one said she didn't have a right to disagree. If anything she is trying to remove Dawkins's right to disagree. She is the one piling political pressure on him to apologise. Dawkins said his peace and moved on. Rebecca said her peace and then started a campaign to force Dawkins into accepting her point of view.
aiseiri47 wrote: she has very little chance of denting the influence of good old Dawkins, though, so I doubt he's bothered; I'm sure he, too, is confident of his own influence, or he wouldn't have made his original comment, which he had to have known was going to draw attention before he posted it.
Do you think Dawkins has no emenies who would join this cause in a second just to get at him? Seriously?
Last edited by leo on Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rebecca Watson v. Richard Dawkins

Post by bipedalhumanoid » Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:03 pm

funkyderek wrote:
bipedalhumanoid wrote: "You don't get it" is a weasel phrase used by ultra-liberal Americans when they fail to convince their audience with their reason. It's a cop out. It's as good as saying "you're obviously too stupid to understand my argument" or "you're an idiot". It's a form of appeal to popularity mixed with appeal to ridicule... you know... the logical fallacies PZ Meyers went to great lengths to point out in his now famous (thanks to Richard Dawkins) courtier's reply.
See http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011 ... nt-4309418 where Richard Dawkins says:"No, I obviously don't get it. I will gladly apologise if somebody will calmly and politely, without using the word fuck in every sentence, explain to me what it is that I am not getting."
Google "Sarcasm".
"The fact of your own existence is the most astonishing fact you will ever have to face. Don’t you ever get used to it." - Richard Dawkins... being shrill and offensive again I suppose.
leo
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Re: Rebecca Watson v. Richard Dawkins

Post by leo » Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:25 pm

Pheobe Prince was on the wrong side of Rebecca Watson types. This isn't a Feminist issue. This is a Bullying issue. And yes, rich, white, male, heterosexuals can be bullied.
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Re: Rebecca Watson v. Richard Dawkins

Post by Ygern » Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:40 pm

aiseiri47 wrote:she has very little chance of denting the influence of good old Dawkins, though, so I doubt he's bothered; I'm sure he, too, is confident of his own influence, or he wouldn't have made his original comment, which he had to have known was going to draw attention before he posted it.
See, that's the psychic analysis thing I was talking about earlier.

It's open to debate what he intended, let alone how this shame-him-into-publicly-apologising campaign affects him; however, it is just as valid to see his comment in the context of his own experience of sexual abuse (see link I posted above) and subsequent perspective.

Comment by ERV
Re-read what he said on Pharyngula.

You then realize that Dawkins ‘mistake’ was having the same expectations of others he has of himself: Perspective.
Dawkins in 2006: I was molested, but other kids have it worse.
Dawkins 2011: Really? An elevator request for coffee? Other women have it worse.
I cant see this as anything but complete vindication for Dawkins.
But he doesnt ‘get it’ because he hasnt been sexually assaulted by a man. Wait…
I cant get comfy on a high-horse, though. I didnt know about this post (2006) until 15 minutes ago. Even I feel like an asshole right now.
You don't have to agree with this woman's take on Dawkins, but it is as equally valid as yours: you are both interpreting what he said.

aiseiri47 wrote:but I think Rebecca Watson was fairly sound in saying "guys, don't do that".
Yes, she was. That is not actually why this erupted into what it has.
This is the second thing that gets me about this drama. A lot of people don't know half the story (perhaps not their fault - but click on the links I provided above, read all about it) and think that all this is in reaction to a mild critical comment on Youtube. It isn't. Actually, there was relatively little negative reaction to that first video.

There are in fact TWO conferences in this story. The 1st, including the elevator incident was in Dublin.
Then there was a second. At the second one, RW chose to name and shame a female blogger who had chosen to write a dissenting post on the issue, during the time given to her to make a speech.
That is not okay behaviour for two reasons: one, she was invited to talk about something else, not her arguments on the internet; two, labelling someone who disagreed with you in a blog as anti-woman and misogynistic in public.
Some people thought that this was an underhanded move.
That was when the story became Interwebz Drama of the Month.
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Re: Rebecca Watson v. Richard Dawkins

Post by Beebub » Fri Jul 08, 2011 12:43 am

funkyderek wrote: I don't see where she did that. While some of the letter-writers have said they'll never buy anything from Dawkins again, I'm pretty sure neither Rebecca nor anyone else at Skepchick has called for a boycott (which, I agree, would be over the top). Incidentally the call for letters to Dawkins came from another contributor at Skepchick, not Rebecca.
It's late, so I'll probably comment further on this tomorrow. However, in response to the above, see here:

http://skepchick.org/2011/07/the-privilege-delusion/

She says the following in the blog:
So many of you voiced what I had already been thinking: that this person who I always admired for his intelligence and compassion does not care about my experiences as an atheist woman and therefore will no longer be rewarded with my money, my praise, or my attention. I will no longer recommend his books to others, buy them as presents, or buy them for my own library. I will not attend his lectures or recommend that others do the same. There are so many great scientists and thinkers out there that I don’t think my reading list will suffer.
Over the top?
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Re: Rebecca Watson v. Richard Dawkins

Post by Beebub » Fri Jul 08, 2011 10:11 am

funkyderek wrote: Byron, would you mind explaining why you feel this is ridiculous?
I think we need to be careful about the language that we use on this issue and I do think it goes too far to call this letter 'ridiculous', particularly given who it was written by.

However, just because it's from victims of sexual assault does not indemnify them against criticism, because it's not a great letter for a number of reasons. Firstly 'Dear Dick' is not a good start.

Secondly, they say:
The first is that she had spent much of her evening telling the people around her, "Please don't hit on me,"
I've been following this story and I'm not so sure that this is entirely accurate. She spoke, very eloquently about the abuse she gets during her panel discussion. She mentioned getting threats of rape, being told to shut up when raising feminist issues and getting explicit and graphic come ons by e-mail from guys who think she might like it. As far as I can remember, and I'm open to correction, she didn't talk about simply 'being hit on' at conferences or anywhere else. The above line makes it sound like she was discussing how she doesn't like being hit on at conferences at the bar minutes before this guy hit on her.

Next they say
The second important thing to know is that her response was to say publicly, one more time, "Please don't do that. It makes me uncomfortable." That's it. That was her entire response to Elevator Guy beyond telling him she wouldn't go to his room.

Well, that’s simply not true. She clearly said that he did this right after she had said what she did in her talk which I outlined above and she mentioned the fact that he didn’t get it. So she was equating what he did with the nasty stuff she mentioned in her talk.

Finally they say
Instead, you said that Rebecca, who was voicing our concerns, was thereby telling other women with other concerns that they were whining. Or perhaps that the rest of us who supported Rebecca when she was criticized for expressing her preferences were accusing these women of whining.

This is a bit of semantics, but I don’t think this a very fair either. I’ll freely admit that he chose his words very badly, but I don’t think he was suggesting that Rebecca was accusing Muslim women of whining, even though he used the word in his ‘letter’. He wasn’t suggesting that he was quoting her, however I can see how this could be taken from his words, so I’ll concede this to them, given that I think he phrased it very badly.
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Re: Rebecca Watson v. Richard Dawkins

Post by Beebub » Fri Jul 08, 2011 10:30 am

aiseiri47 wrote: There are a lot of problems with what happened - the main one is that prior to The Incident, Rebecca Watson had been discussing how she doesn't like being objectified by men in that way at conferences.
I’ve said this before and I’m open to correction on it, but I don’t remember her talking about this in particular. Threats of rape, being told to shut up and graphic sexual advances yes, but talking about being hit on in general is not something I remember.
aiseiri47 wrote: If the guy had merely though she was sexy and propositioned her in a bar, far enough - but it's almost as if he was purposely being a troll by doing exactly what she'd made a point of saying she was uncomfortable with. What a way to prove you see a woman as nothing more than a sex object than by showing you weren't taking in anything she was saying all evening. Considering what she had been discussing, I don't see how that situation could be worse.
I agree completely that it was inappropriate, but in fairness we don’t know his motivations. Is it not possible that he didn’t want to do it in front of other people for fear of embarrassment? It’s easier to get knocked back if there’s no one else around. Don’t get me wrong, it was entirely inappropriate to do it in a lift. I just think it’s possible he was being clueless rather than being a ‘troll’.
aiseiri47 wrote: But, as I said, it makes me feel uncomfortable. And I like to be able to say an awkward "thanks but no" and sidle off somewhere. You can't do that in an elevator. I had a middle-aged man hit on me on a bus when I was about 15 and even that was too much for me; sure it was a public place, but I still couldn't just hop up and get off the bus right then and there. In that situation, the man was inappropriate and frightening and I wanted to leave so I could feel safe.
On this, I couldn’t agree with you more. He shouldn’t have done it and he should have realised that he might make her uncomfortable by hitting on her in a confined place.
aiseiri47 wrote: So, I think the guy was out of line. Maybe he didn't realise how creepy he was being, but I think Rebecca Watson was fairly sound in saying "guys, don't do that". Which is what she did.
Again, that’s not all she did. She said that he did it right after she had discussed the nasty issues I mentioned above and that he clearly didn’t get it, so she was equating what he did with the other issues raised. I don’t think this was fair of her and more importantly I think I should have the right to question her on it. Granted Dawkins did it an a very stupid way, but he should be able to question.
aiseiri47 wrote: The backlash of people saying she was overreacting is unfair. The people defending the guy are far worse than the guy himself. He might have been tired and slightly drunk and had impaired judgment and didn't realize what a creeper he was being. But everyone else has the clarity of hindsight and the knowledge of how the woman in the situation made feel, and STILL can't cop on and say "Yeah, maybe he shouldn't have done that, and maybe I'll try not to do anything similar in the future".
I’m not so sure there are that many people saying the chap did absolutely nothing wrong. I suspect most people can see that hitting on her in a lift wasn’t the best decision of his day.
aiseiri47 wrote: What the guy did in the lift wasn't appropriate. And the response to Watson's very casual criticism of it has been overwhelming and shown that there is a problem with sexism in the skeptic community. And I don't think it's fair for people to claim that Christianity and Islam or outdated patriarchal systems when, even in the absence of religion, men don't respect a women's right to be creeped out by a guy propositioning her in an elevator.
Again, I agree. Except to say that, this has been building for many days now and even if I accept that Watson’s initial response was casual criticism, the overall response to her has not just been about her casual criticism, but now more so about her reaction and behavior in response to criticism.
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Re: Rebecca Watson v. Richard Dawkins

Post by Beebub » Fri Jul 08, 2011 3:35 pm

Ok. So I have no re-watched Rebecca's speech at the Dublin conference. You'll find it here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... 014KhaRtik

I have to say, I feel vindicated. As I have previously said, she mentions e-mails from men telling her and the men on her podcast to 'shut that girl up'.

She mentions e-mails from atheists who 'describe in graphic detail what they'd like to do to me (sexually)'.

And she mentions religious hate mail where she gets more threats of rape or people saying she should be raped than she does death threats (which she also gets).

At no point does she mention any of the stuff she's been saying since the encounter with 'elevetor guy'. There's no discussion of how she has been treated at atheist conferences or meetings. No mention of the fact that she doesn't like to be hit on at atheist conferences or elsewhere. No mention of the fact that women have told her that they don't like to go to these meetings in pubs or conferences because they'll be hit on.

I know I'm repeating myself at this stage, but by saying that 'elevetor guy' didn't get what she was talking about in her speech, because he hit on her is eqauting what he did with the three examples she gave in her speech, and as I've said before, I don't think that was fair of her.

It was wrong. It was inappropriate to do it in a lift. But does it equate the the pretty nasty stuff she descibes? In my mind, no.
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Re: Rebecca Watson v. Richard Dawkins

Post by Byron » Fri Jul 08, 2011 4:35 pm

Beebub wrote:
funkyderek wrote: Byron, would you mind explaining why you feel this is ridiculous?
I think we need to be careful about the language that we use on this issue and I do think it goes too far to call this letter 'ridiculous', particularly given who it was written by.

However, just because it's from victims of sexual assault does not indemnify them against criticism, because it's not a great letter for a number of reasons. Firstly 'Dear Dick' is not a good start.

It's ridiculous because it has nothing to do with the issue at hand as such. Instead certain people are whipping up hysteria and now as a result, we have people conflating feeling uncomfortable by being asked in an elevator late at night if a woman would like to go back to some guy's room for coffee with full on physical and sexual assault. It's bullshit and should be called out for what it is. There isn't an ounce of logic to it.

Watson is playing her part in it too.

Image
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Re: Rebecca Watson v. Richard Dawkins

Post by Feardorcha » Fri Jul 08, 2011 7:27 pm

Elevator-man is innocent and I can prove it.
He's been sitting in a bar for up to eight hours, listening to mind-numbing, ego-tripping shite (I've seen most of her video and read a fair bit of her blog).
If he was interested in sex with her, he would have got the suggestion in much earlier - something subtle or traditional such as "I suppose a ride is out of the question", then if he got shot down in flames with (continuing the traditional theme) "why don't you go and fuck yourself?" he would still be able to get in a shout at the bar.
No. This wus was sitting there lapping it up for hours and hours. He probably threw in the occasional "so true Rebecca" and "you're so right, absolutely Rebecca" - the kind of stuff she demands of her thousands of followers.
And then when the stream of self-importance begins to dry, she heads for the elevator with your man at her heels like the puppy-dog he is.
When he said "would you like to have a coffee and continue your fascinating lecture" or whatever, then that is what the nerd meant.
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