A Different Female Atheist Opinion on the Skepchick/Dawkins Debacle

Here’s the way I see this Dawkins incident… If you want to call him out for basically saying women have it easy in America when it comes to misogyny, that’s fine. This isn’t the Middle East, and torturing and enslaving women isn’t a culturally accepted norm. (No, that is in no way a means to discount the suffering of women in the Middle East, either!)

While womens’ rights certainly have a way to go in America, I feel confident that I won’t have to deal with any of the experiences of Middle Eastern women in Dawkins’ analogy. And I don’t perceive every man’s interest in me as sexual interest or get panicky when someone asks me for coffee – even in the briefly confined space of an elevator, alone.

But the truth is, that’s not what we’re talking about. Rebecca Watson has partially divided the online atheist community by demanding support against Dawkins for implying her incident on the elevator isn’t quite the ordeal she thinks it is. And then she speaks of people siding with her as “bravely battling both him and the hoards of clueless people who don’t get it” and says, “you made me realize that Dawkins is not the present. He is the past.”

Wow. I sure as fuck hope not. I sincerely do not want to be part of a future where a man has to be afraid to ask me for a cup of coffee and that after I turn him down, I will go make a youtube video partially about how creeped out that made me. If anyone is a sexist here, it is Rebecca. She has no clue of this man’s intentions, but assumes because he is a man, those intentions are sexual. She wants him to remember her talking about threatening emails from people who disagree with her and mention rape and realize that that means someone who is agreeable and would like to talk more is also a creep. And she bases this on the fact that he is a man!

Yet, the man not only listened to her speech, he talked with her and others following up after the speech in a bar. He clearly knew what her point of view was and at least somewhat or partially agreed and probably wasn’t thinking of how much like someone sending her death threats with a casual rape mention he was, by basically asking (with the preface, “don’t take this the wrong way”) if she’d like to continue the conversation. I would guess both the coffee and room invite were based on the fact that it was 4am, not his sinister intention to get her alone in a hotel room that isn’t locked from the inside after a busy conference that was probably full enough that someone would hear her screams. And even if his intentions were to impress her into sleeping with him – why would it be evident to him, that that attitude was unacceptable? Do feminists never sleep with people they just met recently? Was it implied somewhere in Rebecca’s speech that she wished no one would ask her out or show interest in her, ever?

No. This poor man has probably since been witness to this trash online, and his attitude toward women may be forever changed, thanks to Rebecca and her supportive followers.

I am absolutely appalled at the amount of support this has gotten Rebecca – and troubled by what it means. I can’t help to think that Dawkins took it over the line by making a blog post, but at the same time, I’d never expect such an irrational response in return, and I’m not willing to think of him as some misogynist fossil who no longer is allowed to speak for atheists.

Rebecca continues: “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.”

Well, I am an atheist woman, and I feel you have blown this “experience” way out of proportion and am disturbed that you seem to have a supportive following on the subject. Not to mention that frankly, none of this is even related to atheism.

“Despite the fact that I’ve seen hundreds of comments from those of you who plan to do the same, I’m sure Dawkins will continue to be stinking rich until the end of his days.”

Bitter, much? Frankly, what does this have to do with anything?

“But those of us who are humanists and feminists”

I am not allowed to be those things because I disagree with you?

“will find new, better voices to promote and inspire, and Dawkins will be left alone to fight the terrible injustice of standing in elevators with gum-chewers.”

Oh, Jaysus. Get over yourself.


About mindymayhem

Atheist gal with a pit bull.
This entry was posted in antitheism, atheism, Dawkins, feminism, humanism, Rebecca Watson, Richard Dawkins, Skepchick. Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to A Different Female Atheist Opinion on the Skepchick/Dawkins Debacle

  1. mindymayhem says:

    May I just add that the kind of hypersexualization Skepchick seems to be implying is similar to what some people believe leads to the exploitation of women like those in the Middle East? This notion that men cannot even be around women without wanting to rape them and that they are totally incapable of controlling themselves?

    • Ostish says:

      There’s plenty of feminist literature and feminists out there that openly talks of taming and shaming masculinity and domesticating men so they can finally become ‘fully human’, because they’re such naturally unruly, aggressive, and rapacious subhumans infected with toxic testosterone. It sounds like some kind of strawman stereotype or an ‘old rejected ideology’, but look how much support people like Rebecca gets when those views start seeping in to the discussion, awakening like a dormant beast. People like Dawkins saying for her to get a fucking grip is misogynistic and anti-progressive because he’s not respecting all women’s natural (and righteous) fear of all men. It seems people would rather side with Dworkin than Dawkins.

      It does remind me quite a bit in principle of Middle East where men tie down women because they’re so naturally promiscuous or whatnot, and must be controlled and domesticated and imprisoned in clothes. Members of one gender/group proudly declaring themselves the only ones fit to define the other, both in meaning and in behavior, because they can’t be trusted to control their own selves…it can never end well.

      I can’t help but feel bad for the guy though. He probably spent all night trying to work up the courage.

      • mindymayhem says:

        Great comment! I totally agree… And what worries me is that now that this guy has seen this whole mess online, his views toward women – which, as someone who attended the lecture, talked afterward, and seemed genuinely interested in Watson’s opinion – has forever been tarnished. I hope that’s not the case, but, sadly, I’ve seen it happen, before.

  2. I don’t support the “over-the-top” reaction of Rebecca Watson. However, the entire incident has reminded me of oh-so-many instances where misogyny has come into play in my life. It is something that should be addressed. In Ms. Watson’s case, it was very unwarranted.

  3. mindymayhem says:

    Renee, are you talking about Dawkins’ reaction? I’m a bit baffled by his mentioning her at all or bringing it up in relation to anything else – and yes, I believe he was (intentional or not) trivializing what women go through in America – after all, it’s not a contest. And yes, I find it somewhat childish behavior from Dawkins, no matter how silly he thought Rebecca’s words were. So I guess I should clarify that I don’t 100% agree with how Dawkins acted. However, I do think waging an all-out war and boycott against him over it is a tad much… And again, it really has no relation to atheism. But hey, maybe Rebecca doesn’t contribute to or listen to anything Hitchens has to say, either, I really don’t know. All I can tell you is that if I boycotted everyone who didn’t agree with me on every aspect of living, I’d be a very lonely person!

  4. Mandy Paris says:

    Thanks for taking the time to write this, and I absolutely agree.

  5. Beefaice says:


  6. Grim says:

    A-bloody-men, he said, ironically.

  7. So, Rebecca Watson made a video. Then Stef McGraw posted a comment offering a different interepretation of the man’s actions, and Watson called her out publicly at a conference and according to McGraw “She went on to explain how I didn’t understand what objectification meant and was espousing anti-woman sentiment.”

    McGraw complained at the way Watson singled her out and Watson and her allies said “suck it up…this is what we do in the atheist/skeptic community — don’t expect to post things and not get singled out.”

    Then Dawkins posted his over-the-top screed which I thought was poorly reasoned and fallacious, and the response was that, in fact, we apparently don’t debate things but rather we exclude and boycott. Moreover, we are no longer interested in whether anyone in this debate is using better arguments than the other, but rather we’re going to focus on skin color, class and gender to decide the matter. Apparently before making arguments in the future, we need to not only be concered about factual accuracy and logical consistency, but we also need to run them through the Skepchick privilege detector.

    So today we appear to be at a juncture where if you disagree with Watson on this, you are a de facto misogynist to a significant number of skeptics/atheists in this debate.

    • mindymayhem says:

      How ridiculous, all of this. I’ve come across a fundamentalist christian with the exact same, “if you don’t agree with me, you’re a misogynist” attitude. Well, the truth is that plenty of people do get it – despite Watson’s claim to the contrary – and if anyone was victimized here, it was the man who asked her to have coffee with him. With all the support Rebecca’s been getting, I can see why he hasn’t even bothered to try to make his identity and intentions known! I’m sure he won’t be attending any other lectures or conferences she’s participating in.

      This brand of hyperfeminism is particularly emasculating, and I don’t care for it a bit. It is the reason I don’t even bother to call myself a feminist – because that word scares the crap out of some people, thanks to silly crap like this.

      Although, in general, I think we can all afford to lighten up.

  8. Nick Andrew says:

    Dawkins made a mistake when he wrote his comment to “Muslima”. He raised a false dichotomy, that nobody should care about American womens’ problems while the plight of women in the Middle East is so much worse. That’s obviously wrong; there’s no reason we can’t fight both wrongs simultaneously. That’s not the problem.

    The big problem came when Dawkins, having started to dig himself into a hole, kept digging with his declaration that the problem that happened to Rebecca was not only not “a little bit bad”, but “zero bad”. In other words, Dawkins, when presented with the facts of the situation, denies that there is any problem at all. That’s what is making a lot of people angry. Many people agree with Dawkins or worse, are saying cruel things about Rebecca, which inflames the angry people even more.

    A lot of the descriptions of the matter I read from people of the “what problem?” opinion are missing one or more key elements of the situation as I understand it. Rebecca had just given a talk about not objectifying women. She went to the bar, socialized until 4am, then declared she was tired and going to bed. Elevator Guy, who had been at the bar but not spoken directly to Rebecca, joined her in the elevator and asked if she would come to his room for coffee.

    Taken singly, none of those elements raise any eyebrows. But when they are all combined, it is inappropriate behaviour. I don’t know if it was stated that Elevator Guy was at Rebecca’s talk, but he can be assumed to be familiar with the title, at least. He ignored how Rebecca said she was tired and going to bed. If it’s 4AM and you’re tired and you want to go to bed, Coffee is not what you want. He hadn’t spoken directly to Rebecca that night. He chose to wait with his proposal until Rebecca was alone. In the elevator. That sounds like objectifying women to me; specifically Rebecca. That’s not zero badness. Some people get that, and some people don’t.

    • mindymayhem says:

      I was aware of the entire situation. I just don’t see it the way you or Rebecca does – and I agree with Dawkins, in that sense. But no, I do not agree that women in America should be ignored because other women in the world are suffering, more. I think we can handle many cases of injustice, at once. And yes, American women do suffer – Dawkins was silly, albeit perhaps fresh from the public catfight Watson was trying to turn this into with McGraw and on an atheist forum, to mention it as if to imply American womens’ biggest problem was men in elevators.

      However, sorry, no, I don’t see the situation Rebecca’s way. And although I really don’t take issue with her feeling weirded out (that’s how she felt – I can’t do anything about that), I think mentioning it in a video and trying to tie it to the speech about inappropriate comments basically made it sound like the guy was an attempted rapist – and at the very least, a creep.

      Yet, by the events that happened, he knew Watson’s stance and was supportive of her beliefs. You don’t know if he even heard her say among a group of people that she was tired and going to bed – and even if he did, that may be a reason he suggested coffee. He prefaced what he said with, “don’t take this the wrong way” – and she did just that. But more importantly, she felt some need to make this non-event publicly known, and sound like a victim at the same time. Dawkins was correct, to roll his eyes. But getting caught up in the drama just made him say stupid things. And while I think those things should be addressed, I don’t think a boycott or calling him “the past” of the atheist movement is appropriate.

      • Rystefn says:

        Dawkins didn’t say that women in America should be ignored. He said that Rebecca was complaining about nothing. He was completely right. “Oh no… some stranger in an elevator asked me back to his room, and didn’t press the issue when I declined!” We should all have such problems.

      • mindymayhem says:

        Good point. I think some people believe the analogy was meant to sound like, “oh, poor YOU” to women with lesser problems in general. I suppose it’s partially because how odd it seems, for Dawkins to come onto a blog and make such a comment. But I don’t know the full extent of the public spectacle with McGraw, and I’m sure it partially contributed to Dawkins’ annoyance.

    • Darwinian Ape says:

      “Dawkins made a mistake when he wrote his comment to “Muslima”. He raised a false dichotomy, that nobody should care about American womens’ problems while the plight of women in the Middle East is so much worse. ”
      No, dawkins did not implied that. He simply said there was no real problem here. It’s not an attempt to diminish the misogyny she faced, because there wasn’t any. Nor there was anything offensive about that incident. It was just a polite invitation which should have been answered by a “yes” or “no”. Thats it, end of the story. Nobody would have been talking about it, if a girl had asked a guy for coffee or even asked to have sex with him directly. No, she would even be hailed by feminist community, and the guy would be ridiculed had he complained about it. Feminism in western society is just a form of sexism nowadays. Men are pig rapists just for being man. And how dare they ask to have sex with a mighty woman! How dare he even speak to her in an elevator, when she was alone, what a rapist he is! Women like Rebecca are the worst enemies of gender equality. And way she behave and try to divide atheist community over such idle and idiotic dispute is, and im being extremely polite here, moronic.
      And @Mindymayhem, it was a great response btw, I agree complately. Kudos for being so rational.

      • Darwinian Ape says:

        Btw, I dont know why did i replied to this post but i just heard of this stupid incident and it really pissed me off. So i had to get it out of my chest even if probably no one going to read it.. anyway, peace…

  9. Kristen McHugh says:

    Dawkins’ comments speak to male privilege. There is a difference between alleging someone did something intentionally creepy and saying, “I felt ___ in this situation, not necessarily because of this person, but because this is a situation that feels inherently risky to me,” which is the substance of Rebecca Watson’s statement. That those feelings are immediately dismissed as being unimportant relative to the misogyny in any other culture is not only a signpost of how thoroughly entrenched rape culture is in the west, but is also fairly racist in and of itself.
    Here’s the thing I take issue with, not just with Dawkins’ statements, but with this post: Who are you to determine whether someone’s fear is reasonable? Have you been raped? Have you ever been mugged? Have you ever been threatened with violence by an anonymous individual? If not, and actually, even if you have – you don’t get to judge whether someone’s instincts are rational or irrational. To be presented with ANY proposition while you’re effectively trapped with someone who has the CAPACITY to cause you harm, is not a simple situation. Any situation where one person is unable to simply LEAVE, if another person says or does something that sets off alarm bells for them, is one with an inherent power imbalance. This has nothing to do with atheism or faith, or the articles thereof. This situation is about an experience that many women have had, with exactly the same reaction, and the ability of ANY person of authority, especially a man who has never had to live with the ingrained fear that women do, to dismiss that fear as irrational and meaningless by comparison.

    Poverty is relative. You can be poor in the United States or Europe and still not be poor by the standards of the rest of the world where a billion people don’t have access to clean water or enough food so that they don’t die of starvation. Levels of visible misogyny and rape culture are relative, too. In the US, I can drive a car, work at any job I’m qualified for, be an authority on any number of subjects and speak about those subjects without the fear that I will be arrested for speaking. I can wear what I want, but. . .
    In the US I could also be arrested for having a miscarriage. I can be called a slut because I was raped after having a drink that was drugged. I can be called a whore because I don’t think I have to be married to have sex. I can be declared incompetent for being pregnant and having the temerity to want a second opinion on a course of treatment. Women in the US have made a lot of superficial progress, but as long as the state thinks it’s entitled to infringe upon our self-determination, as long as men feel entitled to use of our bodies, and as long as other women think they are entitled to judge us on not meeting their criteria of reasonable, or attractive, or successful, or slutty, or. . . anything, then we still have a problem. The fact that being afraid is something we’re supposed to be in order to do all the right things to avoid being raped, while we’re still judged when we are, and as evidenced here: we’re judged when we display the fear we’re told to have, means there is a problem.

    Perhaps we all ought to walk a mile in Rebecca Watson’s shoes before we judge her.

    NB: I am a rape survivor, and Rebecca Watson’s experience rings pretty true to me. Intent is meaningless when one person feels in fear of their safety.

    • Ostish says:

      And you could also be seen as a misogynistic rapist for asking someone out to coffee. Oh wait, that’s just a ‘male privledge’…

      “Intent is meaningless when one person feels in fear of their safety.”
      Intent is the only thing that matters. It’s called Mens Rea, look it up.

      “especially a man who has never had to live with the ingrained fear that women do”
      You don’t know what that man has gone through.

      • Kristen McHugh says:

        You’ll note I wasn’t speaking about legalities in the situation, I was speaking about Ms. Watson’s perception of the situation. I do not ascribe ill intent to the gentleman in question, and I don’t think that Ms. Watson believed he meant to frighten her. As far as, what that man has gone through, I don’t think it’s fair that he be vilified either. Richard Dawkins, however, made a statement (which is what I was referring to, btw.,) that clearly demonstrates his profound lack of empathy and the sort of casual misogyny and privilege that exists when you haven’t been trained from a very young age to always be on guard against sexual assault. I see you chose not to read or address the substance of my comment. Mens rea, btw., isn’t the only factor in culpability. There are any number of statutes both civil and criminal, that don’t require intent, merely negligence. My points stand: Ms. Watson perceived the situation as a threatening. It was not unreasonable of her to do so. Was the situation threatening? No. That is a judgment that could only be made in hindsight. Ignoring a perceived threat is something that can get you killed. As far as privilege, there are a lot of aspects to male privilege. Having it doesn’t make someone a bad person, no, all men are not potential rapists, etc. I have white privilege, and there are things I don’t have to think about because I’m white. There are situations I may never experience, because I’m white. I benefit from being white, even though it’s something I have no control over. Men benefit from being male. Being white, male, and having money = the top of the food chain in the western world.
        There are statistics, regarding why women are justified in being afraid: http://name-redacted.tumblr.com/post/7420685456 It’s a nice, easy to read set of numbers.

      • mindymayhem says:

        And I still find myself wondering if Rebecca has also boycotted Hitchens or Bill Maher…

        Misogyny is rife in the world, even among some of the more enlightened. But surely you can see how situations like this only feed it. Overreaction in your own mind? Fine. Making a fucking video about it? Over the line. Publicly attacking someone for offering a differing perception of the incident? Kinda crazy. Maybe Dawkins was silly to try and shut up the insanity with an analogy that attempted to point out how easy Watson has it, and I suspect the heat of the moment made his comments more rash. I don’t think Dawkins is a sexist… I could be wrong. If I am wrong, then, like Hitchens and Maher, I am not willing to further discount and ignore everything else he has to say, let alone try to turn others against him.

        Dawkins has rare privilege among atheists. For me, he was the voice of reason, asking why I was ashamed to admit what I have been, my entire life and the first time I started openly calling myself an atheist was after I listened to the audiobook of The God Delusion – at age 28. For me and many others yet, he is NOT the past of this movement, and will not be discounted, so easily.

      • mindymayhem says:

        Yes, I have been raped and yes, I have been threatened by an anonymous stranger. (Never mugged.)

        I have never denied Rebecca’s rights to her feelings. If she felt weirded out, that is certainly her right. Have you even read the comments, here? Because I feel like we’ve gone over these issues. The PROBLEM is telling the scenario on youtube and the way she worded it, to make the guy sound like some potential rapist. Well actually, that’s just part of the problem. Part of the problem is scaring the living shit out of men in general over nothing. You feel weird… Okay. That doesn’t mean that there was inappropriate behavior, here. And I for one don’t want men feeling they can’t ask the same of me – even in an elevator, which by the way probably has a security camera and is only sealed for a manner of seconds. And the larger part of this debate is not even about if Watson’s actions about this incident were appropriate: It’s about whether trying to form her own little anti-Dawkins boycotting militia is an appropriate response.

      • mindymayhem says:

        I think we know at least some of what this man has gone through, now!

        He’s probably partially terrified of women now (and no, not in a “female empowerment” kind of way), and I sincerely doubt he’ll be attending any atheist lectures any time soon, either.

  10. Glenn says:

    Kristen, the black vs white analogy works on your reasoning. If I look at the statistics of say, black incarceration or assault rates, then am I justified in saying that the black man who joins me in the elevator ought not talk to me out of respect for my ‘justifiable’ fear of black men? On your argument, I am.

    Look, I appreciate you’ve been through a lot, but prejudice – while probably perfectly natural – is not perfectly logical. Just like black people, men do not deserve to be stereotyped or pre-judged.

  11. Justicar says:

    I’m a bit toxic right now, so I’ll be brief. Scented put me on to your blog, and I appreciate this post in particular. Thanks for writing it; unfortunately, you are the “right” kind of woman because, you know, you don’t agree with the “leaders” like Rebecca Watson. Alas, it’s sad.


  12. Glenn S says:

    I am not a blogger and, for the first time, commenting on other people’s blogs didn’t quite do it for me. I talk about it briefly here: http://unsolicitedcomment.wordpress.com/ (if you want another random viewpoint on it).

    This controversy has disappointed me.

  13. Glenn S says:

    Cheers, mindy 🙂

  14. pornonymous says:

    Rebbecca, PZ Meyers, et al are exactly why we have no viable two party system anymore. And this fauminism is why the prison system has grown to its proportions. These people have abandoned actual social justice in favor of online popularity contests.
    It’s refreshing to hear a woman who doesn’t step into lockboot with thefeminist rhetorical destruction of common sense as well.
    “And I don’t perceive every man’s interest in me as sexual interest or get panicky when someone asks me for coffee – even in the briefly confined space of an elevator, alone”

    You have to acknowlege one important thing in it all: the feminist rhetoric has attemped to take ‘physical attractiveness’ out of the debate precisely because it is the one thing that has–and will always have– a fact based and easy to distinguish ‘lookist’ premise that all human animals follow–except them. And Rebbeca just ain’t that good looking–so she compensates for it by twisting an issue, gaining attention, and overcoming her inherent animal trait of ‘not as good looking,’ but more capable of getting attention by lying/manipulating the data/ presenting one side of a story.

    Animals in action. And with all due respect, white female privilege needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

    • mindymayhem says:

      The problem with that blog is that it ignores that there is any sexual inequality for white women.

      While I would agree with many of the points made, I’d like to point out that ERA never passed in this country. Women (white included) are still often not paid as much as men for the same job. There are planty of dangers facing them that men simply don’t have to deal with. While I’d agree a guy asking a question in an elevator and then immediately dropping the subject when turned down is not one of those situations, I can assure you that many women have been in a situation where they feared for their safety or lives because of men. And let’s not even go into the ridiculous treatment of women in the military! Not to mention, it’s acceptable for women to just give up their independent lives when they have children (and – don’t get me wrong – I DO acknowledge that plenty of women WANT to be homemakers), and a lot of the time, men just walk away from that responsibility.

      And I don’t think attacking Watson’s appearance is appropriate. (Although I agree that if the man was extremely attractive to her, she may have acted differently.) I actually don’t find her unnatractive, but the way she tells the story, I find it hard to believe she is hit on very often – and a lot of that may have to do with her clear bitterness toward men in general.

  15. ds says:

    Wow, it gets worse the more I read about it. I didn’t know about the boycott part, which is really stupid. I’ve read something on a comment on some blog supporting Watson, but I thought it was just some sort of “these feminazis will soon” joke. I don’t quite remember the sequence that I became aware of things, I think it started with Greg Ladens ironic post saying that “Dawkins knows how ladies can be safe from rape” and pointing that rape does occur in elevators. I indeed thought this “elevators have stop buttons” argument very weak, as well as the other one. I think that it’s totallt understandable that a woman would or could feel creepy about the situation that Watson described, and I think it’s also in her right to make that video and give that advice, “don’t do that”. I didn’t see exactly sexism there. I was on the whole agreeing with “her side”. But even though I didn’t quite like Dawkins’ responses — whose context I’m not totally aware, if the “dear muslima” came sort of out of the blue, as a direct response to the video, it’s totally weird and even sort of rude, albeit there’s a lot of truth in it. To me it seems just like someone arguing that someone “shouldn’t” feel uncomfortable or even at risk at a given situation, which is simply nonsensical, at least in this particular degree. If the starting point was some sort of “rapephobia”, then, perhaps there would be some point to it. It would also be more justifiable if the “About Mythbusters, Robot Eyes, Feminism, and Jokes‏ ” video was followed by a somewhat rapeophobic/whinny reaction that consisted actually in complaining that men “sexualize” women and invite them to their bedrooms and such things as if it was a monstrous thing to do. I think that, even though perhaps men, and perhaps even more men in the atheist community, are at odds with some aspects of social behavior when interacting with the opposite sex, in no way it surmounts to misogyny, it’s not really a problem that earns the category of “the suffering of women”, and it’s not reason to boycotts or anything like that.

    It has past the time to someone just say, “everybody, shut up. The problem here are only that some men are in need of some advice on how to interact with women, and that some women are oversensitive and turn this into a drama of catastrophic proportions, a war of the sexes thing. To the latter, no, it isn’t. Men overall don’t hate women and they don’t think women worth less than men, even though it might happen sometimes, and men hitting on women in an elevator is not just another example of this. More likely the opposite, in that particular situation. And men, I don’t know, read some books, ask women friends… and women, use the comment section to give some advice on how they should proceed instead of just saying what they shouldn’t do. If a man finds you interesting, for merely intellectual reasons, how he should ask you to have a conversation? And if he sees you as a potential sexual interest, how does he should proceed to manifest that without scaring or insulting you somehow? And remember, `being handsome´ is not a choice, think of something that applies just to anyone”.

  16. ds says:

    I can be called a slut because I was raped after having a drink that was drugged.

    A [woman] forensic scientist on the whole drink spiking thing, which she thinks to be mostly just a myth:

    […] As a woman, I am sometimes expected to champion the cause of women’s rights and the problems of female oppression. Unfortunately, on the date-rape drug debate I cannot fight the corner and don’t feel that I should be expected to do so. Rape is a very real problem and everything possible should be done to deal with the problem and prevent it, where possible. However, excess alcohol consumption has indeed sky-rocketed in recent years, particularly amongst women. This to me represents the far greater risk – alcohol can affect the same person in different ways on different occasions; excessive alcohol consumption will lead to varying degrees of incapacitation, even in someone who considers that they can take their drink. […]

    To my mind, the closing line of the article says it all: “whatever the risks of the drink spiker coming after you – the chances are that alcohol will get to you first”..


    • mindymayhem says:

      Good for her. I disagree. For one, I have been given a date rape drug by someone who previously tried to take advantage of me while I was intoxicated. (He owned my local bar at the time.) I was damned lucky my boyfriend called me, thought I was acting weird, and demanded I leave and walk home and stay on the phone with him the whole time.

      But, for another, I don’t buy the myth of just sleeping with a stranger because you get too drunk, either. I have been totally wasted to the point of just wanting to say yes to someone just to shut them up, and yet, I NEVER slept with someone I didn’t want to, even in those days when my ex drove me insane and I got drunk 2 or more times a week. I was always at least somewhat consciously aware of what I was doing, even if I was so drunk I could barely see without closing one eye.

      But, again, people are different, I suppose. To assume a girl deserves what she gets because she is drinking seems just as wrong as assuming she deserves what she gets for wearing certain clothes, if you ask me. We are once again at that Middle Eastern notion that men should not be counted on when it comes to self-control and that women should therefore be segregated and smothered.

      The TRUTH is, every time I go out to drink alone, I have to be on guard in a way no man ever will. But I certainly do have the right to drink. After all, I’m an antisocial social drinker – I don’t like drinking home alone, but I don’t necessarily like chit-chatting with strangers or being around big crowds, either. I like to be in a public place, but keep to myself. And I love to drink. But I do admit that there’s quite a few nights where I stay until after the bar is closed because I fear for my own safety, walking home, thanks to the men around me. All I can do is offer thanks to my awesome bartenders, who are more than happy to have me stay while they close the place!

      • Anon says:

        Trust me ‘just sleeping with a stranger because you get too drunk’ isn’t a myth for some people, perhaps I was a light weight (I can handle my drink better now) but there has been quite a few times, in the past, where I have gotten so drunk (and quite unintentionally, believe it or not) that I can’t remember a damn thing and sometimes behaved in ways that even surprized/shocked myself. Including snogging my best friend (whos also female) but yes, i’ve also made drunken passes at guys too (guys I would have never thought of in that way and never did sober) and some accepted my advances (or so i’m told) and in the morning I couldn’t remember a damn thing, if they hadn’t told me i’d have been none the wiser (even if I did wake up with them). So it’s not a ‘myth’ – some people can obviously handle alcohol better than others, but not me, it’s still very easy for me to get like that (tough not as much and my behaviour is usually better) but when these things have happened, I have had to take full responsibility for my actions, as I know 98% of the time if something like that happens when i’m in that state it is me who has probably instigated it and the other 2% I doubt I would have said no. Not being able to remember is not always a result of being drugged or date raped – as you can hear some women/girls can be ‘irresponsible’ and the man can’t really be blamed in situations like those . . .

        Not that i’m saying some women aren’t drugged or ‘date raped’, ofcourse thats terrible, but if a girl is that drunk she can’t remember a thing, it would be extremely presumptious for her to claim she was raped . . . .

    • Anon says:

      I’m sorry to say the forensic scientest here makes a valid point, alcohol can effect people in different ways and the same person in different ways at different times, sometimes you or some women may want to fight, other times they may just be cheery and other times they may (and this has happend to me the most – especially after a point where i’m very drunk to the point of it only getting worse before it gets better) start to feel very HORNY. And excessive drinking in a short space of time will wipe your memory, it is so true. So what I feel the forensic scientest was trying to say is that, while rape, including date rape and girls getting their drinks spiked is terrible, many (not all, but many) complaints of so-called ‘date rape’ or girls having their drinks spiked are just cases of wishful thinking – when a girl/woman has had far too much to drink and woken up either somewhere she didn’t expect to be, with someone she didn’t expect to be with, partially clothed with no memory of how she ended up in that situation, and while it is a possibility that the person she was with took advandage of her or even forced her, it is also just as likely, in that situation, that she was more than willing or even made the first move. I know this won’t go down well, but situations like this do happen alot – and this forensic scientest women is right to warn people about the pit falls of excessive drinking. I’m sure I heard a story on the news not so long ago, that doctors had claimed that many women that ended up in A&E & claimed (or had people claim for them) that they’d had their drink ‘spiked’, after doing tests, showed no sign of any such drug in their system, but usually ALOT of alcohol & I have to say – I wasn’t in the least bit surprized . . .

  17. ds says:

    Er.. um… in no way rape is OK if it was just alcohol, nor calling a victim of rape a “slut” is OK. Just to make it very clear.

  18. OOPS…could you delete my email there? I filled out the wrong box!

  19. pornonymous says:

    Thank you for tending to that e-mail issue! I just wrote about one more spin-off angle to the whole “all men are rapists” part of the discussion, and one of RW friends.


  20. Louise says:

    What a stupid, shallow, self absorbed slag, thinks every guy wants to get in her knickers, stupid cow, she should be grateful that guy was prepared to give her the time of day. She sounds like an attention seeker to me – I wouldn’t attend her lectures . . . .

  21. Max says:

    “The TRUTH is, every time I go out to drink alone, I have to be on guard in a way no man ever will.”
    I would have to disagree with you on this point. I’m straight, and In my personal experience I’ve been accosted by drunk gay men who were much bigger than me (and grabby at times).
    So it would be safe to say that gay men have encountered the same situation as well, and sometimes with unfortunate results.

    Great article 🙂

  22. The “Muslima” portion of Dawkins’s comment probably came from the keynote address of the conference where the event occurred. The Iranian feminist keynote speaker was a big hit, and everyone was beaming about her. Everyone…but Rebecca. In her video rant about how she is uniquely targeted, with the elevator event as proof, she makes no mention of the feminist keynote that knocked it out of the park. The fact that Rebecca did not mention the muslim woman’s feminist keynote speech at that same world atheist conference as either: important for atheists identifying feminist issues, or a just a wonderful feminist message, might have been calculated. She would not want to draw attention away from either her personal message or her importance with atheists. Dawkins reminds us that there were other important feminist-atheist things going on in Dublin.

    The emphasis on anti-rape eduction has turned recently to attempting to approach men, and giving them messages like “no means no”. This is a wonderful change from approaching women, and trying to tell them how to not get raped. In elevatorgate a woman was approached by a man, said no, and he realized that “no meant no”. As far as rape is concerned this fellow’s actions were textbook OK.

    As far as the creepiness…well the 4AM dead-tired half-drunk woman may not be the warmest of audiences. He should have chosen his venue better. He was probably half-drunk too. It sounds like an awkward situation. Awkward situations can have a creepy air about them.

  23. Pingback: This is being passed around on the internets… | RedSpider

  24. Pingback: This is being passed around on the internets… | The Stumbling Block

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