When Women Confuse Being Asked Out With Being Raped At Knifepoint In An Elevator
It's amazing how an atheist can so easily make being a feminist sound like a religion.
There's been some brouhaha between a blogger who leads (and is known as) Skepchick (real name: Rebecca Watson) and Richard Dawkins that professor friends who follow me on Facebook have been asking me to comment on.
Who is Rebecca Watson? From her bio on her site:
Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org and appears regularly on the Curiosity Aroused podcast, the weekly Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast, and the Little Atoms radio show. She currently lives in London but travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter: @rebeccawatson.
I vaguely know who she is. (I think I follow her -- and about 500 other people -- on Twitter.)
I had a long and rather fruitful writing day, so I didn't check into the brouhaha until I got home. Gawker lays out what happened here.
Basically, at 4 a.m., some guy at a conference committed the heinous crime of asking her out while riding the elevator with her.
I couldn't believe it. That was why people were going after Richard Dawkins, because he made light of what a big deal she made of it?
After Watson flew home from the conference, she posted a long and dull video about it on her blog (I'm reminded of why I haven't started podcasting yet -- I'm terrified of boring people).
Here's the part about her elevator experience:
Just a word to the wise here, guys. Don't do that. I don't know how else to explain how this makes me very uncomfortable, but I'll just sort of lay it out: I was a single women in foreign country in a hotel elevator with you, just you, and I--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.
Wait, once again?
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.
Men "sexualize" women. Ladies, they want to have sex with you, your sister, your sister's friend, your sister's friend's friend, the cashier, the waitress, the lady with the big luscious ass who's crossing the street, and her sister and her sister's friend. If men weren't like this, the planet would be filled with plants and cockroaches instead of human beings.
If it is troubling to you to be sexualized, stay home, or only leave the house in a big black burka.
But enough from me. Here's Dawkins' response to Watson's mewlings:
Dear Muslima Stop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you had your genitals mutilated with a razor blade, and ... yawn ... don't tell me yet again, I know you aren't allowed to drive a car, and you can't leave the house without a male relative, and your husband is allowed to beat you, and you'll be stoned to death if you commit adultery. But stop whining, will you. Think of the suffering your poor American sisters have to put up with.
Only this week I heard of one, she calls herself Skep"chick", and do you know what happened to her? A man in a hotel elevator invited her back to his room for coffee. I am not exaggerating. He really did. He invited her back to his room for coffee. Of course she said no, and of course he didn't lay a finger on her, but even so ...
And you, Muslima, think you have misogyny to complain about! For goodness sake grow up, or at least grow a thicker skin.
Watson's response (before calling for a ban on Dawkins' books) -- and go read it...not to be missed:
[To] have my concerns--and more so the concerns of other women who have survived rape and sexual assault--dismissed thanks to a rich white man comparing them to the plight of women who are mutilated, is insulting to all of us. Feminists in the west have been staunch allies of the women being brutalized elsewhere, and they've done a hell of a lot more than Richard Dawkins when it comes to making a difference in their lives.
Be sure to read the comments on her site. I think the words "male privilege" are some kind of secret code you have to use to be one of the tribe.
And my thoughts, which I posted on a grad student's Facebook page while watching Watson's video. My first impression:
First of all, her video is boring. Also, some guy asks you on in an elevator. Good for him, putting himself out there, going for what he wants. Verbally. Not at gunpoint. Boohoo, does the 4 am coffee suggestion not work for you? Say, "No, thanks."
Regarding her bit about the drink invitation making her "incredibly uncomfortable":
It makes me "incredibly uncomfortable" when people wear flipflops in public. I tough it out. You don't have a right to not be offended. The notion that women should not be offended is infantilizing. I'm listening to the video now. If I hear the word "misogyny" one more time, I'm going to be over my lifetime ration.
On Watson complaining about the need to explain where the jokes were:
It's probably hard to know when she's joking ("straw man/straw person") because if that woman has a sense of humor, they probably have to give her a colonoscopy to find it.
Dawkins has never come off as the most likable person, but I find him more likable than ever now. My dad told me to worry when men stop asking you out, when construction workers stop whistling. You want to "have the power"? When somebody whistles at you, smile and wave and be on your way. Don't be (and act) all offended down to your ugly feminist-approved shoes.
On my little diatribe:
Yeah, I know...I'll work on doing better in the political correctness department. Uh...eventually. Uh..on the day Rebecca Watson blows Dawkins in an elevator.
Four words: Grow. The. Fuck. Up.
Here's how this plays out for a woman whose entire existence doesn't revolve around being a victim, women as victims, and seeing men as victimizers of women every time they open their mouths or so much as salt their food:
A guy asks you out. You're not interested. Say, "Thanks, think I'm going to turn in." Forget it happened.
UPDATE: PZ Myers' tepid huffings and puffings on my odiousness here.