The Whole Watson/McGraw/Elevator Guy/Richard Dawkins Mess …

Okay, so there’s a big fuss going on on the usual atheist blogs — Pharyngula, Daylight Atheism, Butterflies and Wheels, Skepchick, and some others — over a, well, spat seems to be the right word between Rebecca Watson, Stef McGraw, Richard Dawkins, P.Z. Myers and a host of others.  The issues are all clustered around an example where Rebecca Watson was hit on in an elevator late at night at the atheist conference in Dublin and worked it into one of her videos, which I didn’t watch because, well, I don’t usually watch videos.  Sue me.

(And yes, I did have to strongly restrain myself from naming this post “Love in an Elevator …”.  I hope that this show of sensitivity carries on through the rest of the post [grin]).

Anyway, there are two big issues here:

1) Watson’s comments on the incident and what it means.

2) Her responding to McGraw’s reply to that in a speech at a recent conference.

Let’s deal with the first one first:

The only easy transcript I have for it is from McGraw’s site, and so I’ll add on what McGraw left out.  Essentially, Watson was detailing her experience where after being on a panel talking about I guess treatment of women on a discussion panel, things kept going at the bar until about 4 am, at which point Watson decided that she was exhausted and was going back to her room to sleep.  And then:

http://www.unifreethought.com/2011/06/fursdays-wif-stef-32.html

“…so I walk to the elevator, and a man got on the elevator with me and said, ‘Don’t take this the wrong way, but I find you very interesting, and I would like to talk more. Would you like to come to my hotel room for coffee?’ Um, just a word to wise here, guys, uh, don’t do that. 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 4:00 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…”

Again, the quote’s from McGraw.

So, let’s start with the incident itself.  Yeah, I can understand why she’d be creeped out.  It was a really awkardly timed come on and was in a situation that she could find scary.  Her being uncomfortable is quite reasonable.  But as it turns out she didn’t have reason to be scared; she declined politely, he accepted it politely (one must presume) and it was nothing more than a simple awkward approach.

So, then, is there anything worth commenting on in her statement?  I think there may be, specifically, this part:  “… right after I finish talking about how it creeps me out and makes me uncomfortable when men sexualize me in that manner…”

First, what does “sexualize” mean?  From meriam-webster.com:  ” : to make sexual : endow with a sexual character or cast “.

Now, this is a bit vague.  Any attempt to express attraction for someone or make any sexual proposition could be seen as endowing with a sexual character.  I presume that even if it is the case that any proposition makes Watson uncomfortable — which I highly doubt — she wouldn’t take any approach as being problematic enough to comment on, or link to a panel discussion that — to my best knowledge — was about generalized misogynism at atheist conventions.  So that’s probably not what she means.

So what did she mean?  Well, likely, she was trying to make a link to treating her as only a sexual object, as opposed to a complete human being.  Now, to start with, I’m going to say something that might well offend some people, but here goes:  there are going to be times when I’m going to treat a woman as nothing more than a sexual object.  There are going to be — and have been — times when I’m going to treat a woman as only an intellectual object, such as when we’re working on a project for a class or any sort of academic project.   And, heck, there are times when I’m going to treat a woman as a food-fetching object, like when she’s the waitress at a restaurant.

However, note this:  none of the times when I, personally, will treat a woman like nothing more than a sexual object are going to be when I ask her for coffee, whether to my hotel room or not, at 4 am or not.  If I had been the poor guy in the elevator — and I wasn’t — I wouldn’t have been expecting anything like sex to happen, and would have been quite bemused if it did.  Ultimately, if I’d said something like “Hey, babe, let’s f***”, okay, yeah.  But inviting for coffee, to me, means “I find you interesting in more ways than just your body, and I want to see if we can make a Love Connection.  So we’ll just bring out Chuck Woolery and see what happens.”  To get up the nerve to approach, at least for me, implies that I find something about you more interesting than just your looks, and so at that point I’m clearly not just looking at you as a sexual object.

And that gets us to the real point:  She has no idea if he “sexualized” her in that way.  She’s assuming it from what he said.  But that’s simply reading his intentions from his actions from her perspective, and is basically not attempting to understand him.  If in any way she’s upset by his “sexualizing” her, she’s painting him unfairly based only on her own impressions of, one must presume, men in general, and that’s wrong.  He asked you for coffee; he didn’t turn you into purely a sexual object.  Or, at least, you don’t know he did.

And that’s the problem here.  Watson is turning this incident into some kind of general comment about general society, without even bothering to make sure that this impression of hers is accurate.  She may be right.  She may be wrong.  But she doesn’t have the evidence.  And we have the strongest counter-evidence possible:  by what seems to be her own admission, he took her rejection presumably with disappointment but also politely and without exerting undue pressure.  That means that he does respect her as a person, and isn’t just treating her as a sexual object.  Congratulations for implying that someone who sees you as a person doesn’t.

See, this is actually part of the problem here.  You see my list above of treating a woman as only an X object?  It’s not quite true.  Many of the women that I treat as only sexual objects are, in fact, only attractive to me because of things I think about their personality.  I note the personality traits of women I work with on projects.  I treat the waitress as a person and am always polite, and occasionally even chat with them.  It’s really hard — at least for me — to not treat people as people as opposed to just X, and that includes sexually.  So if, for at least some of us, thinking of a woman sexually includes thinking of her as more than a sex object, whence comes sexualization in the sense of only treating her as a sexual object?

I think that this is one of the reasons McGraw was annoyed by it:

“Watson is upset that this man is sexualizing her just after she gave a talk relating to feminism, but my question is this: Since when are respecting women as equals and showing sexual interest mutually exclusive? Is it not possible to view to take interest in a woman AND see her as an intelligent person?”

So Watson needs to clarify that specific point, which leads us to the second point:

Watson quoted McGraw in her keynote speech:

EDIT:  http://skepchick.org/2011/06/on-naming-names-at-the-cfi-student-leadership-conference/

This is the paragraph I ended up quoting:

My concern is that she takes issue with a man showing interest in her. What’s wrong with that? How on earth does that justify him as creepy? Are we not sexual beings? Let’s review, it’s not as if he touched her or made an unsolicited sexual comment; he merely asked if she’d like to come back to his room. She easily could have said (and I’m assuming did say), “No thanks, I’m tired and would like to go to my room to sleep.”

She goes on to criticize it:

“But those are unimportant details in comparison to the first quoted sentence, which demonstrates an ignorance of Feminism 101 – in this case, the difference between sexual attraction and sexual objectification. The former is great – be attracted to people! Flirt, have fun, make friends, have sex, meet the love of your life, whatever floats your boat. But the latter involves dismissing a person’s feelings, desires, and identity, with a complete disinterest in how one’s actions will affect the “object” in question. That’s what we shouldn’t be doing. No, we feminists are not outlawing sexuality.

I hear a lot of misogyny from skeptics and atheists, but when ancient anti-woman rhetoric like the above is repeated verbatim by a young woman online, it validates that misogyny in a way that goes above and beyond the validation those men get from one another. It also negatively affects the women who are nervous about being in similar situations. Some of them have been raped or otherwise sexually assaulted, and some just don’t want to be put in that position. And they read these posts and watch these videos and they think, “If something were to happen to me and these women won’t stand up for me, who will?” “

So, she read the post, had problems with it, and instead of replying on the comments of the blog or in her own blog, decided to slip the criticism into the KEYNOTE SPEECH at the conference which was about the Religious Right’s War on Women, thus associating McGraw with that sort of sexism and misogyny, in a location where McGraw might — and it seems, did — feel uncomfortable defending herself since she didn’t want to take up the microphone to challenge Watson.

Yes, that’s out of line.  First, she seems to be exaggerating the charges McGraw made.  Second, she seems to be ignoring that there’s a difference of opinion on what this incident counts as.  Third, she called out — by name — McGraw when Watson had the power and McGraw had none, as opposed to on blogs where everyone’s roughly equal.  And, finally, she did it in a context that would associate McGraw with exceptionally strong misogyny when there’s no reason to think that McGraw is anti-feminist or misogynist at all.

Summary:  Watson screwed up.  She should apologize for saying what she said when she said it.  They can hash out what each other mean on the blogosphere where hopefully they’ll both learn something.  And people defending her on the basis of “You should always name names” are missing the point very, very badly.

Watson ends with this:

“For me, this is a question of respect: I have enough respect for the person I am criticizing to not make them guess that I am talking about them or guess at what they said that needs to be defended, and I have enough respect for my audience to allow them the opportunity to double check my work. If I hide the person and the exact words that I am criticizing, how does anyone know whether or not I’m creating a strawman? How can the person in question respond?”

If you really respected her, you’d have been more careful in your insinuations and in the context your presented that criticism to ensure you avoiding making implications you didn’t want to, and you would have apologized once that became clear.  That, however, is not what you’re going.

And, finally, Richard Dawkins weighed in and ticked a lot of people off:

(I’ll skip the first one where he just makes a comparison to more serious forms of sexism across the world, you can find links to both here:  http://www.daylightatheism.org/2011/07/atheists-dont-be-that-guy.html )

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/07/always_name_names.php#comment-4295668

” “Did you just make the argument that, since worse things are happening somewhere else, we have no right to try to fix things closer to home?”

No I wasn’t making that argument. Here’s the argument I was making. The man in the elevator didn’t physically touch her, didn’t attempt to bar her way out of the elevator, didn’t even use foul language at her. He spoke some words to her. Just words. She no doubt replied with words. That was that. Words. Only words, and apparently quite polite words at that.

If she felt his behaviour was creepy, that was her privilege, just as it was the Catholics’ privilege to feel offended and hurt when PZ nailed the cracker. PZ didn’t physically strike any Catholics. All he did was nail a wafer, and he was absolutely right to do so because the heightened value of the wafer was a fantasy in the minds of the offended Catholics. Similarly, Rebecca’s feeling that the man’s proposition was ‘creepy’ was her own interpretation of his behaviour, presumably not his. She was probably offended to about the same extent as I am offended if a man gets into an elevator with me chewing gum. But he does me no physical damage and I simply grin and bear it until either I or he gets out of the elevator. It would be different if he physically attacked me.

Muslim women suffer physically from misogyny, their lives are substantially damaged by religiously inspired misogyny. Not just words, real deeds, painful, physical deeds, physical privations, legally sanctioned demeanings. The equivalent would be if PZ had nailed not a cracker but a Catholic. Then they’d have had good reason to complain.”

So, I can actually defend and condemn Dawkins in the same post!  How cool is that?

First, I think he has a point, the same point I’ve been making:  this wasn’t actually a problem or even an example of sexism.  The man asked, was politely rebuffed, accepted it politely, and that should have been the end of it.  I agree with that line.

But where it gets a bit dicey is where he starts comparing it to Crackergate, mostly because he’s associating it in a way that implies that the discomfort Watson was feeling was just in her head, just like he thinks is the case for the Catholics.  But it’s reasonable for her to feel discomfort there, because it was in some sense a bit of a threatening situation.  His later defensive comment saying that you aren’t trapped on an elevator misses it as well since because of the hour getting off on a floor isn’t all that likely to help.  The fact is that she was reasonable to feel uncomfortable, but that taking that beyond a “I was uncomfortable” isn’t warranted.

The one difference between the two is that, at best, the guy on the elevator wasn’t trying to make her uncomfortable.  P.Z. was trying to offend Catholics.  Thus, what P.Z. did was in fact unacceptably rude and what this guy did was, at worst, clueless.

20 Responses to “The Whole Watson/McGraw/Elevator Guy/Richard Dawkins Mess …”

  1. Nikita Says:

    I don’t think Watson should apologize for anything she said. It can make some women uncomfortable to be hit on in a closed space with no one else around. I would have been uncomfortable, too.

    This is what you have to understand. Most woman I know have been sexually harassed and assaulted by a male at least once in their life. Myself included. Sorry, but it’s [edit] true. From middle school through college I’ve had men touch me inappropriately in public (even in school), say crude sexual remarks toward me, grab me even, and so have many, many other women I know. Fortunately, most men are good people who don’t invade women’s personal spaces like that. But there are a lot of men out there that do. I know that pisses people off when you tell it like it is. Men esp. get defensive. Well, you know what, [edit] the victim blaming-get mad at the men who do this [edit], instead.

    The man who was hitting on her in the elevator most likely wouldn’t hurt a fly, and was just genuinely interested in going out with her . But how was she supposed to know that? Rapists don’t have a certain “look”, they can be anyone.

    She said their interaction in the elevator made her feel uncomfortable. It made her feel uncomfortable, because she didn’t feel safe.

    I’m pretty disappointed in Richard Dawkins response to all of this, but it doesn’t surprise me. It requires putting yourself in another persons shoes and that’s hard for a lot of people to do.

    • verbosestoic Says:

      Okay, a few things to say here:

      First, I don’t allow swearing on my site (that includes me), so I edited out the swear words in your comment. I’ll start rejecting comments if swearing continues (I’ll give everyone at least one warning). You may well think that I’m being unreasonable with that, but my site, my rules, so …

      Second, you seem to have missed what I said Watson should have apologized for. I said that strictly about her interaction with McGraw, and I stand by that. It had nothing to do with the elevator incident herself, but about how she addressed McGraw’s criticism.

      Third, I flat-out said that it was perfectly reasonable for Watson to feel uncomfortable in that situation. What I criticized was the link she made to sexualization in that incident, which I think is unwarranted.

    • verbosestoic Says:

      Note as well that not recognizing that the discomfort was reasonable was what I criticized Dawkins for.

    • fran Says:

      Well spoken Nikita.

  2. MAK Says:

    I think it also needs to be noted that one of Watsons defenses of calling McGraw out as a key note speaker was “If she wanted to defend herself, she (McGraw) could have responded during the Q&A session.”
    However, in her Dublin panel speech, Watson calls out another woman who had spoken on a panel earlier in the day and says that she disagrees with her.
    She then goes on to say,
    “I didn’t want to use the Q&A to address her because I didn’t really have a question, I wanted to lecture her for an hour, and that is what I am going to do now (ha ha)” As she addresses the situation from her panel position.
    That to me says that she was very aware of her position of power as key note speaker when she called out McGraw.
    The Q&A was not acceptable for HER (Watson) to voice dissent at what another speaker had said, but for McGraw, the mere audience member/student it was more than acceptable.
    Talk about hypocrisy.
    Also, she did not name the man who was in the elevator.
    She did not name the names of the other commenters/bloggers she was addressing who she had issues with.
    She DID name Stef McGraw and only her, by full name, place and organization.
    So, the whole “Name names always” bit is ridiculous since the ONLY name she named was the one student present who could not respond.
    No one even knows who elevator guy is.

  3. Anthony McCarthy The Thought Criminal Says:

    I’d think from reading this the real message is that an elevator is a really bad place for a man to use to make what might be interpreted as a come on to a woman who might rightly feel trapped. Though that’s not the only thing that might be learned.

    It’s pretty odd, though, with all the recent promotion in organized atheism to present young women on the basis of their being attractive, with some of those women going along with that presentation of themselves, that they seem to not realize that it’s a reinforcement of traditional habits of supremacy. You can’t choose to both allow yourself to be presented emphasizing physical appearance and then not have people assume that’s how you want them to think of you.

    I guess that’s what happens when you mix messages. My ending up here following up links from PZ’s presentation of Christina Rad has certainly given me stuff to write about in that line. I think organized atheism had better make up its mind which they’re going to do, not to mention people who allow themselves to be promoted on the basis of their appearance, with their consent and participation. That’s bound to confuse the confusable. And there are a lot of them about.

  4. verbosestoic Says:

    Anthony,

    From what I recall, that promotion of attractiveness was quite controversial. It’s certainly not something that most of the atheists actually ever agreed on, and it was quite public that they weren’t (since I noticed it).

  5. Kevin Crawford Says:

    Like Rebecca Watson once believing she was living “in a time and culture that had transcended the need for feminism”, an attendee at an atheist conference may believe causal sex can be fun for both parties equally and asking politely for a coffee nightcap is a harmless means to find a like-minded participant. It seems reasonable for a rational atheist to think a kindred spirit may share his belief a foundationless sexual advance could be made without causing hurt feelings. And if we’re living in a time that safe casual sex is possible (with a condom) then it is also possible to proposition someone at odd hours in an elevator; he’s being consistent. As to the irony that this happened right after her talk explaining that being sexualized makes her feel creeped out and uncomfortable, the pursuer could believe by letting Rebecca know that he had heard her panel discussion his behavior was different because he didn’t just see her as a sex object but as a leader of an intellectual movement. I believe the reason why Rebecca got Dawkins’ hackles up is because Richard enjoys a good romp and if you can’t celebrate throwing off religious indoctrination by proposition someone at an atheist conference, then where can you?

  6. Sans Deity Says:

    I wanted to be sure that everyone intrigued by this whole situation saw the real Rebecca Watson. The Rebecca Watson who opines about being sexualized but then provides the following pictures on MySpace.

    [VS: WARNING. These pictures are risque in a PGish kinda way, so don’t click on them if might find that disconcerting. I didn’t have a policy on these sorts of things and still don’t, so I’m winging it here. I don’t want to appeal to the purient interest, so don’t abuse my uncertainty. I’m certain I hate that [grin] ]

    http://www.myspace.com/skepchick/photos/2182813#{%22ImageId%22%3A2182813}

    Ruining My Calendar Photo

    And then sprinkles her speeches with sexual lingo. Watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkXcbySuSvI&feature=player_detailpage#t=73s and her sexually charged intro regarding PZ Meyers.

    Then check out Rebecca’s blog post: http://skepchick.org/2006/04/a-very-heretical-easter/

    Some juicy quotes:

    “…watching two hot college girls on a panel fight over the use of humor and controversy to spread the atheistic word. I kept hoping the [MALE] moderator would suggest we all head upstairs to a hotel room and settle this with a tickle fight.”

    And: “If you want to hear more about what I thought of the weekend (and not just the random sexual fantasies I entertained), you’ll have to wait to read the article I’m going to write about it for Skeptic.”

    Rebecca Watson, if you want to stop being “sexualized” then stop “sexualizing” your writings and your speeches and stop posting sexually suggestive pictures all over the web for people to see.

    The guy on the elevator prefaced his proposition with “Don’t take this the wrong way…” and that is precisely what you did. It’s fine if you felt it was creepy but don’t project your perceptions onto him because to this day you have no idea just how genuine he may have been.

    I think you owe elevator guy, Richard Dawkins, Stef McGraw, and really the entire atheist community for acting like a damn fool. Reason is supposed to permeate all areas of our lives. Not just the area concerning deities.

    • verbosestoic Says:

      I’ve heard of that before, actually. I don’t want to say too much about this sort of thing because it’s actually complicated. One thing I will note is that this does reflect a tension in feminism that’s been there from the start:

      A woman talking about sex is liberating, but a man talking to her about sex is objectifying.

      Women can treat men as sexual objects but men can’t treat women as sexual objects.

      There’s a lot of justifications of this based on history and the like, but I’m not convinced myself.

      • Daniel I Says:

        “A woman talking about sex is liberating, but a man talking to her about sex is objectifying.

        Women can treat men as sexual objects but men can’t treat women as sexual objects.”

        I think both points are largely accurate, and judging from the RW quotes above, she is as guilty as any.

  7. Chris Willett Says:

    Why I stand with Dr. Richard Dawkins:

    The skeptic community is embroiled in an acrimonious debate concerning whether “Elevator Guy” was obtuse and harmless or sexist and harassing in his overture to Ms. Watson in an elevator in Dublin. When I arrived to this debate, quite late, “Elevator Guy” had been repeatedly insulted and his motives thoroughly debated (in commentary long on assumptions and emotional intensity and short on facts). Some “feminists” derided his actions as sexist and emphasized the potential for sexual assault, citing statistics and research on rape. Others, siding with Dr. Dawkins, argued that this perspective constitutes “hysteria” (admittedly a sexist term) and serves not to elevate women, but to demean men by presupposing that they are all potential rapists. Some “feminists” shot back by accusing their opponents of ignorance on issues of sexism and male privilege.

    While I certainly do not doubt or have any desire to minimize the experiences of Ms. Watson and other women who repeatedly receive unwanted sexual advances (and threats), I believe that the entire issue is overblown.

    First, I disagree with the notion that this event was unquestionably an act of sexism:

    Sexism is the belief (and more importantly, the differential treatment that results from such belief) that one sex is superior to the other. In the American historical context, men have long been (incorrectly, obviously) regarded as superior to women. (Undoubtedly, Christian doctrine played a large part in promoting this view.) It is clearly apparent that “Elevator Guy” dismissed Ms. Watson’s statements concerning her discomfort with unwanted male pursuit and her intent to retire for the evening. He is thus rightly chided for being obtuse, selfish, and disrespectful. Concluding that his actions were sexist, however, requires demonstrating that he disregarded Ms. Watson’s stated intentions because of her sex. While there is certainly a long history of men ignoring women’s preferences concerning sexual advances, I am not convinced that the fact of this history alone is sufficient grounds to state with certainty that “Elevator Guy” is sexist or misogynist.

    I also resent the assertion that my position is patently callous or sexist. I recognize that I not only enjoy male privilege, but that I also experience what could be termed “double male privilege” due to my sexual orientation. As a gay man, I do not relate intimately with women and thus am unaware of the personal concerns that they may express only in the privacy of their romantic relationships. Nor must I heed such concerns when pursuing romance, since I pursue men. Nevertheless, I remain unconvinced that merely believing that this issue is overblown makes me (or Dr. Dawkins) ignorant or insensitive concerning issues of sex inequality.

    Certainly men must recognize the legitimacy of female discomfort in enclosed spaces. But when some “feminists” suggest that “polite” and “considerate” men decline opportunities to enter an elevator in which a woman stands alone, I do not see an argument promoting respect and equality for women. Instead, I see a rather insulting assertion that women are frightened, helpless, victims-in-waiting unable to defend themselves. This perspective also limits men – presumably even gay ones like me – by implying that a woman’s right to not feel any level of discomfort, whether justified or not, transcends a man’s right to ride in the elevator. This is not equality; this is a reversal of who has privilege.

    Second, and much more importantly, I believe that Dr. Dawkins has been unfairly pilloried:

    Dr. Dawkins entered the debate shortly after it began, sarcastically comparing the incident to the appalling oppression of women in fundamentalist Islamic societies. I believe he intended to express that the incident hardly merits the attention it has received. After his comment was widely panned, Dr. Dawkins clarified his position, requested additional information, and acknowledged that he could be mistaken. Whatever your opinion of his tone, a close reading of his three comments does not reveal him to be the domineering misogynist he has been made out to be.

    But I am no longer chiefly concerned with my ability to convince others of my perspective on whether or not the elevator proposition was sexist. A much more pressing matter is the extreme, divisive reactions that Ms. Watson and some of her supporters have recently posted on Skepchick. In “The Privilege Delusion,” Ms. Watson refers derisively to Dr. Dawkins as a “stinking rich” “wealthy old heterosexual white man,” states that she will boycott his work, and thanks her supporters for “bravely battling [Dawkins] and the hoards of clueless privileged people who didn’t get it.” The open letters to Dr. Dawkins are more severe: “I look forward to watching your legacy crash and burn,” wrote Mindy, who concluded with “you don’t get a second chance.” Another letter opened with “Dear Dick” and accused Dr. Dawkins of making the skeptic community “blatantly unsafe” for women.

    Language such as this, dripping with negative emotional reactivity, eclipses the legitimate perspective the writers wish to express, reveals as hypocrites those who have targeted Dr. Dawkins for his tone, and threatens to split apart a movement that already has more than enough challenges. (Dr. Dawkins now faces retribution in the actual press.) Further, the ferociousness of the accusations of sexism and misogyny directed at Dr. Dawkins and others only serves, rightly or wrongly, to provide ammunition to the real “men’s rights activists” out there who believe that feminism is about revenge rather than equality.

    We can do better than this. The first responsibility of any skeptic is to be skeptical of his own perspective. That ability, along with a healthy dose of modesty and humility, has been abandoned in recent days. It is long past time to let this issue go.

  8. Objects in space (and time and elevators) … « The Verbose Stoic Says:

    [...] me enough to comment on it, which exploded into a massive controversy over a contention that I’ve made before, over treating people as objects: So what did she mean? Well, likely, she was trying to make a [...]

  9. Controversial Controversies? « The Verbose Stoic Says:

    [...] First, some empirical numbers. The post that has the most views on my entire site all time is my post on Rebecca Watson and Elevatorgate, which has over twice as many views as any other post on my site. Next is my post on Jerry [...]

  10. You Can’t Look, and You Can’t Touch … « The Verbose Stoic Says:

    [...] to be friends with, and women I might want to talk to or hear what they have to say. I also argued in my big reply to the whole Elevatorgate thing that we always treat people as objects, and the key is to treat people appropriately for the [...]

  11. Privilege … « The Verbose Stoic Says:

    [...] than another. Even in the same circumstances, the different perspectives clash. To take an example that I’ve talked about in the past, we can run into issues where on the one hand approaching someone for any kind of romantic or [...]

  12. Bruno Says:

    Wow, kudos to you. I’ve reading about elevatorgate all evening and your post is the best I’ve read so far — and I’ve seen some good ones. The question of who is sexualizing who here is something I’ve tried to argue myself, but you managed to put so much better than I did. Good stuff.

  13. Leaving Out Stef McGraw … and Other “Elisions”. « The Verbose Stoic Says:

    [...] coming out again leads to a number of extra hits on the post that is my number one most read post, my comments on the whole mess, which has received almost 2500 reads over the year and a quarter since it was published. This also [...]

  14. Atheism+HiveMind | West Coast Atheist Says:

    [...] with something a woman has to say about a guy accepting a “no” in an elevator, you are an example of misogyny 101, as Stef McGraw learned when she was the first outcast and shut down. There’s no way [...]

  15. Does the Atheist Movement Have a Sexism Problem? | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] a speech at Women in Secularism 2 that has polarized commentary among atheists yet again. I can say that I was here and vigorously straddling the fence from the start, mostly because as someone is not… However, the people involved in this happen to be most of the sites that I most love to dislike, […]

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