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22 April, 2012

Women, Speak Up.

I've been thinking about this for awhile, ever since Watson's insulting brush-off on twitter and my subsequent reddit post calling her a bitch (dear god no, not the Holy One, Almighty Skeptchick). It's time for women to stand up to this bully and not let her silence us for having our own opinions.

I want to be very clear on my position, so I'm going to bring it back almost a year to her treatment of Stef McGraw after Elevatorgate. Calling her a misogynist without even addressing the original points made by Stef was absolutely uncalled for and nothing more than a vindictive attack on someone that dared disagree with her. What did Stef say that was so misogynist (a term Watson uses as a buzzword without even really knowing what it means)? Let's see:

 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.”

And the infamous:

 Since when are respecting women as equals and showing sexual interest mutually exclusive? 
Now, I will make the point that in sexual harassment training, it doesn't matter what the intentions of the harasser are, only how the victim perceives the action.  Watson's feelings of discomfort with a man inviting her for coffee whether his intentions were to seduce her or just have coffee are not the issue. She felt uncomfortable and declined the invitation. So what's the problem? Well, the man accepted her refusal and they went their separate ways.

The man actually did exactly what a man should do in cases where a woman rebuffs his approach. He accepted it and moved on. Some women won't want to be approached at all (Watson) and some women don't find these approaches to be threatening (Stef). Is there a right and a wrong? Only if you place on person's value system on the other. Stef made this point in her blog and Watson slammed her in a talk a few days later as being an example of "misogyny 101."

When I approached Watson on twitter, I asked her why she retweeted a violent joke, but condemned an entire subreddit (r/atheism) for the jokes on post about a book. I understood some of the jokes to be totally sexist and despicable, but some of them she posted were clearly satire or just in poor taste, like the Insanity Wolf with the caption, "You call it kidnapping, I call it surprise adoption." (She either misses the point of the Insanity Wolf meme or she just added it for extra fodder).

When she answered me, she did so very curtly, but I still got her point and realized that she saw the sex jokes (begun after the OP, a girl, commented "I'm bracing my anus"), as threatening. Okay, I can see where you're coming from, I told her, but before I knew it, she was tweeting about me (not to me) about her New Year's Resolution not to argue with idiots on twitter or something. I had been a really big fan of her until that moment. I had taken what she said about elevatorgate as legitimate. I hadn't really looked into the Stef McGraw issue, but, like I said above, her feelings in the elevator were hers and if she was scared, she has a right to ask men not to approach her in that manner. After reading that tweet, however, I realized she was nothing more than an "us or them," hive-minded, attention-seeker.

Afterward, her, her followers and PZ Meyers all decided to lead the attack on my reddit post, telling me to go do some plumbing work like a man is supposed to do and constantly referring to me as an MRA male. Oh, the surprise that someone with a vag could disagree with her.

Is it okay to send her hate male wishing she was raped? No. Is there a problem with sexism in this country? Absolutely. Does she have the right to attack everyone who politely disagrees with her? Absolutely not. And that, my friends is what makes her a bad person. Most of the people that don't like her feel that way because she is rude, divisive and dismissive, not because she's a woman. If she were a man, she'd still get the same disdain from many of us (and there are many of us).  It's time that women speak up and get the word out that she doesn't get to speak for all feminists in the atheism community, especially when her goal is to alienate women who disagree with her and shame them into being quiet. We need to get the word out there before she silences us all.

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