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04 August, 2012

Ugh, So I Just Wrote That Last Blog

And I stumble upon this gem on the Freethought Blogs. Granted, this person and his posts are generally more diplomatic and civil than the people who make FtB famous, but I can't get over the fact that he complains about the audacity of Richard Dawkins to criticize a Skepchick at all, as if they are untouchable when their expressed views are, or can be seen as inconsistent.

He goes on to explain why the strong regulations of hugs at American Atheists and the Hug Me, I'm Vaccinated event don't conflict with each other, but his arguments are weak. What about the people who want vaccination but don't want a hug?

He says things like:
The thing about consent is that it is often negotiated by the neurotypical without verbalizing or formalizing. One can offer a hug by opening one’s arms, and letting the other person approach if they choose.
That is exactly how hugs in real life work, so why does it need to be explicitly stated in a harassment policy that hugs should be asked for? What support does he provide that verbally asking for consent to hug a person is less important at this event?

 Even asking or motioning, though, crosses some people’s comfort barriers, so setting the expectation — verbally, via that blog post and via the title of the campaign — that hugs are on the table explicitly, and in advance, actually does people like that a huge service.
Oh, so because the word "Hug" is in the title of the event, it's already being verbally asked for. So what if someone feels they have to choose between getting an important vaccination and having to navigate and duck a sea of open arms?
And in fact, some people are even bothered by the very offer of a hug, so those people must needs make that apparent before they partake in the free vaccination services offered, because the whole event is predicated on something that might be to them a trigger, if not a simple preference.
It's up to the person that doesn't want a hug to say so when offered, or, because it has hug in the title, not go. Welcome to special pleading. The practices for giving and rejecting hugs, the non-verbal cues, etc, are all well and good for your own event, even though the event itself could be a "trigger," but they are not okay for adults attending atheist conferences.

He also mentions in the blog how a consent to hug policy is in effect at an event he went to where he got a lot of hugs"enthusiastically consented-to," and I just imagine everyone in the room adding, "Can I have a hug," with their arms stiff at their sides before receiving a "yes." Soooooo realistic, despite the fact that body language is about half or more of human communication. /sarcasm. I'm willing to bet that it's not at all like that, and if it were, it wouldn't be an event I would want to attend.


  1. It's fantastic I didn't know about all this until the moment I stumbled upon this article of yours. Will you be so kind and answer my question. Do you happen to know how to protect your personal entries from being used without your awareness about it?

  2. I wish I knew. The internet is one of those places where it's very hard to keep track of things like that. Since writing this blog post, however, Atheism Plus has all but abandoned this project.