Mike the Mad Biologist

There’s a lot heat that has been shed over the last week based on what struck me as a brief comment by Rebecca Watson about getting hit on in an elevator at 4am, as part of a much longer vlog:

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.

One wouldn’t think ‘don’t be a creep’ would be especially controversial, but, then again, a statement that not raping people isn’t very difficult brings out the assholes. So guess what happened in response to Rebecca’s vlog? Assholes. Lots and lots of assholes. Fortunately, Lindsay Beyerstein is on the case, and she has the best explanation I’ve read so far–it might even reach some of the assholes:

You’re familiar with the concept of the elevator pitch, right, fellow nerds? That’s the thirty-second pitch for your brilliant invention that you will deliver to the CEO of your company if you ever get her alone in an elevator. Ever wonder why it’s called an “elevator pitch,” as opposed to a “hotel lobby pitch” or a “gastro-pub pitch”? Because an elevator is an enclosed space where you might find yourself face-to-face with someone whom you wouldn’t ordinarily talk to, and, at least for those few seconds, that person is your captive audience.

This only works in movies. The nerd fantasy of the elevator pitch is about as realistic as the fantasy of the nymphomanical space twins with a thing for Magic the Gathering–but that doesn’t make it any less compelling.

Ok, that’s not it, but that cracked me up. Anyway, here’s the key point (italics original; boldface mine):

Men who want to flirt with women have to realize: Women live in a state of continual vigilance about sexual safety. It’s like having a mild case of hay fever that never goes away. It’s not debilitating. You’re not weak. You’re not afraid. You just suck it up and get on with your life. It’s nothing that’s going to stop you from making discoveries, or climbing mountains, or falling in love. Sometimes you can almost forget about it. It doesn’t mean it’s not there, subtly sucking your energy. You learn to avoid situations that make it worse and seek out conditions that make it better.

If a female stranger is wary around you, it is not because she suspects you are a rapist, or that all men are rapists. It’s because a general level of circumspection is what vigilance requires. Don’t take it personally.

If this frustrates you, try to remember that women are blamed for lapsed vigilance. If a woman does get raped, everyone rushes to see where she let her guard down. Was she drinking? Was she alone? Was she wearing a short skirt? Did she go to a strange man’s room for coffee at 4am?

A woman must be seen to be vigilant as well as be vigilant. If she is deemed insufficiently vigilant, she will be at least partly blamed for any sexual that violence befalls her. If she’s regarded as downright reckless, that “evidence” can be used to completely exonerate her rapist. If it comes down to a he said/she said dispute over whether sex was consensual, as so many rape cases do, the dispute becomes a referendum on whether the woman seems like the sort of reckless person who would have sex with a stranger.

That is the best framing of the problem I have read so far (possibly ever). As the kids used to say, read the whole thing.

Comments

  1. #1 BaldApe
    July 11, 2011

    Yes, of course men have to realize that women are placed at a disadvantage in many situations, and that this will greatly affect how they perceive a man’s comments.

    But sometimes women need to understand something about most men: We don’t hear hints. And it’s not something we can change, so “Well you ought to” isn’t an answer.

    I had this discussion with a friend and pointed out that if I were profoundly deaf, and facing away from her, my not hearing her whispering to me isn’t really my fault. Women are reluctant, I understand, to be direct when communicating from a perceived position of weakness, but sometimes that’s really the only option.

    What I’m trying to say is this: Men need to try to realize some things about women, and women need to try to realize some things about men. Communication is a two-way street.

  2. #2 Vene
    July 11, 2011

    BaldApe, that is, to put it simply, moronic. Men have nothing preventing us from hearing and comprehending what women say.

  3. #3 Lotharloo
    July 11, 2011

    I’m confused BaldApe. Women don’t use triple negatives when they say no to sex. They straight up say no. It is the guy who ignores it. But yes, you do have a point that a lot of guys do not get it. Apparently, if a woman continues to make out with her date, that means yes to sex even if she repeatedly says no. I guess it is her fault for just wanting to kiss.

  4. #4 Gingerbaker
    July 11, 2011

    This is not a one-sided issue. People, including some of the major protagonists, have escalated this to a call for a boycott of Richard Dawkins’ books!

    Think of the faulty inductive reasoning involved when an extremely polite invitation for a cup of coffee leads to a call for no less than a boycott of the books of one of the most important voices for atheism in the world. By supposed skeptics.

    I don’t see how any progressive cause, especially feminism, is furthered by hyperbolic rhetoric and, dare I say it, hysteria over imagined misogyny.

    Dawkins was correct to point out the pointed lack of perspective given to this incident, and the cries for a boycott, if not his outright downfall, are a huge embarrassment to the atheist community, and a thousand times worse than anything that transpired in that elevator.

  5. #5 Kierra
    July 11, 2011

    But sometimes women need to understand something about most men: We don’t hear hints.

    Actually there’s evidence that men are perfectly capable of hearing hints. They just like being able to fall back on that old stereotype when they don’t want to acknowledge the hints they are getting.

    From here: http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/mythcommunication-its-not-that-they-dont-understand-they-just-dont-like-the-answer/

    Drawing on the conversation analytic literature, and on our own data, we claim that both men and women have a sophisticated ability to convey and to comprehend refusals, including refusals which do not include the word ‘no’, and we suggest that male claims not to have ‘understood’ refusals which conform to culturally normative patterns can only be heard as self-interested justifications for coercive behaviour.

  6. #6 Robert S.
    July 11, 2011

    I didn’t think that the “don’t be a creep” message was at issue. I thought the drama was stirred up by a keynote speech about twits about bloggers commenting about vloggers commenting on, well, something to do with Watsons video. EG was inconsiderate, however, perhaps he isn’t a misogynist. Pointing that out doesn’t make me any less likely to defend or support Watson against actual attacks any more then it does McGraw. Does “want to hear about my invention” “No” “Ok” count as an elevator pitch?

  7. #7 frank habets
    July 11, 2011

    Robert S. wrote:
    “I didn’t think that the “don’t be a creep” message was at issue. I thought the drama was stirred up by a keynote speech about twits about bloggers commenting about vloggers commenting on, well, something to do with Watsons video”.

    The real issue was Watson attacking Stef from the podium. Uncalled for, and childish. That was the source of the large-scale outrage.

    Instead of addressing this (well, some did try to excuse it, poorly), the Watsonophiles painted those who pointed out Watson’s immaturity as being anti-feminist, thus shifting the spotlight away from the faux-pas.

    The best take on this is ERV’s post: http://scienceblogs.com/erv/2011/07/the_decent_human_beings_guide.php#comments

  8. #8 Drivebyposter
    July 11, 2011

    I think it odd that calling someone on BS is somehow wrong when that person is present, whether they have an equal chance to respond.

  9. #9 frank habets
    July 11, 2011

    She didn’t get invited to the podium to respond. Watson was ‘scoring’ a petty point in public. Ugly behaviour.

  10. #10 gator
    July 11, 2011

    I think this time you’ve stepped into something without really understanding what the tempest in a teapot is about.

    I’ve yet to see anyone claim that rape is OK. I think everyone is agreed on that.

    The dispute is over whether women are so helpless that all men *must* go out of their way to avoid being in elevators with them, *must* cross the street when they see them etc.

    One commenter even suggested that instead of the golden rule (treat others as you would be treated) men should be following the paranormal golden rule (treat others as they wish to be treated.) How a man should know ahead of time whether a given woman wants him in or out of the elevator is left to mind reading.

    Anyone who questions this is deemed a misogynistic asshat rapist. You seem to have bought into this as well. Apparently you believe all are assholes who might dare hold a different opinion from goddesses such as “Skepchick.”

    It is easy to show by absurd analogy those calling for EG’s lynching are wrong. I had a friend shot in the stomach and left to die on the sidewalk. The criminals were black. Luckily he did not die but it was a close thing. (This is true.) He now has a fear of black people. Should all black people cross the street to avoid making him anxious?

    I understand that women might feel threatened by strange men in an elevator at 4 am. Or on a lonely street in the middle of the night. They should! I would too — not because of rape, but because I don’t want to get mugged. The world is not always full of nice people and prudent people understand this.

    Of course rape is not OK. No means no. Really! No one is arguing differently. I would argue that EG has the right to make an ass of himself if he wants. I haven’t seen anyone argue that EG’s elevator pitch was elegant or likely to succeed. So what?

    This incident would have been a nothing were it not for another woman stating her views on the incident (S. McGraw) and R. Watson making a public spectacle of this disagreement in a forum where Ms. McGraw was unable to respond. I imagine being a feminist woman publicly accused of being an enemy to women is not fun. Being publicly accused of being an enemy to women by someone of some position and respect in your peer circle and not being able to respond in the same forum must plain suck.

    Now there’s your asshole.

  11. #11 G.Shelley
    July 11, 2011

    I think the answer to the “you’ve heard of the elevator pitch?” question would be “No”

  12. #12 Stacey C.
    July 11, 2011

    UGH. Really? The Tone Argument? The young woman posted a response to Watson’s vblog. Watson mentioned it during her speech. She didn’t attack the woman, she merely pointed out how obnoxiously anti-feminist the comments were. That somehow negates all the hideous bullshit that has been heaped upon her and other women who have stood up for her?
    And don’t get me started on Dawkin’s responses. I know *I* sure as hell won’t be buying another of his books until he makes a real apology.

  13. #13 helen jones
    July 11, 2011

    OK this may be titch off topic, but humans are slightly sexually dimorphic. Men are generally larger, heavier, and have greater muscle mass. So… when us “smaller and weaker” females are in a confined space alone with a “bigger and heavier” male. We tend, just as other animals do, we are more alert and cautious. OK, sometimes the hair on the back of our neck stands up. We females do this automatically. Its pretty much instinctual. The old lizard brain in action.

    Its not a dig at the guys. Its a fact. Women have to be more alert, situational awareness. Its not that every male we see we think is going to rape us. But… we have this instinct to survive. Fact… males are more aggressive… females are more acquiescent, (I hate that word).

    And I will say, I don’t get in an elevator if there is only 1 male in it. I wait for the next one or take the stairs. I have had my ass pinched too many times.

    I’m speaking in the broadest terms. So don’t bother posting your Aunt Sheila can pound the stuffing out of a Volkswagen, OK?

  14. #14 Joshua
    July 11, 2011

    Wow, there are a lot of people in this comment section that I wouldn’t want in an elevator with one of my female friends.

  15. #15 frank habets
    July 11, 2011

    @Joshua: “Wow, there are a lot of people in this comment section that I wouldn’t want in an elevator with one of my female friends”

    Er, why? I’ve reread the posts, and don’t see anyone here who would pose a threat to a woman in an elevator. Were some posts deleted?

  16. #16 frank habets
    July 11, 2011

    @ #12 (stacie): “She didn’t attack the woman, she merely pointed out how obnoxiously anti-feminist the comments were”

    Sounds like an attack to me. At the very least, it was high-school level of juvenile.

  17. #17 ErkLR
    July 11, 2011

    The dispute is over whether women are so helpless that all men *must* go out of their way to avoid being in elevators with them, *must* cross the street when they see them etc.

    I think this is what Men’s Rights Activists and extremist feminists have made it about, which is why it’s utter horseshit that most sane people don’t want to wade through. IMO the two groups deserve each other like fundy Christians and Muslim extremists.

    UGH. Really? The Tone Argument?

    Just because PZ (and others) has made it verboten, it doesn’t mean tone can’t matter, especially when dealing with people who are ostensibly “on your side”. However, I don’t think the thing about Watson’s speech is about tone, or at least not as far as I’m concerned. I disagree with what she did because she used her privileged place as a keynote speaker to attack someone she knew was in the audience and who would not have equal opportunity or preparation to respond.

  18. #18 Rob Monkey
    July 11, 2011

    I do have to agree with gator @10 somewhat. It seems that the real controversy here was not that RW really said that much about EG, but when the discussion started, there were shitloads of people on there saying the guy was a total asshole and a misogynist yadda yadda yadda. He made a clumsy pass and apparently took no for an answer (and I imagine he took it gracefully, or we would have gotten a blogful about his response). RW basically gave some reasonably good advice: “consider if the woman you’re trying to hit on is comfortable with the situation, and if not, maybe try another time.” Not a terrible suggestion, and things might have worked out better for EG had he heard that before. THEN the comments on Skepchick started, and it sank into a black hole of stupidity. Now we have women accusing the guy of being a complete shit, and guys trying to out-feminist each other by describing how many stairs they climb to leave the elevators for the ladies (yes, I’m being hyperbolic). Realistically, I think both groups could stand to take it a little easier. No, this isn’t neutering all men, but it also wasn’t anything close to an attempted rape. Guys could learn to consider that women do have to be more wary than they do, and women could learn the difference between intentional misogynistic douchebaggery and standard “didn’t know any better at the time.”

  19. #19 ErkLR
    July 11, 2011

    Oh, I forgot to add thanks to Mike for the link to that post. IMO it’s a FAR better explanation than Schrodenger’s Rapist.

  20. #20 BaldApe
    July 11, 2011

    No means no– I have no argument with that.

    “My car is parked three blocks away” doesn’t mean “no.”

    If you want to send someone a message, you have to send it on a channel they can hear.

  21. #21 Dieter Schwing
    July 11, 2011

    Did Elevator Guy ‘sexualize’ her? That’s an opinion. Is open.
    Was it a case of ‘guess what I’m thinking’? That, too, is open.

    Is this a fact on which we all can agree: ‘Don’t be a creep. Just don’t be that guy.’? I hope certainly so!

    In the culture of the conference, ‘naming names’ might be acceptable. Just can’t call that one. In the culture of conferences I attend, it would amount to base bullying, and would not be acceptable. Again, that could be totally okay in the culture of the conference – as such, it is innocent unless shown otherwise.

  22. #22 ikonografer
    July 11, 2011

    wow. that’s pretty stupid. in one article you do twice what watson managed to do in one. so now, not only are you saying that i’m to be considered a rapist all the time (to beat down your analogy, if men are the allergen that constantly force women to feel slightly sick, then, per force, if your analogy is to hold up, that’s the conclusion. funny, din’t mention that, didja?)

    oh, so, you must suspect i intend to rape you, and i intend to blame you for being raped, despite the fact that the very argument i would put to you is that i don’t stereotype people, and don’t like it when it’s done to me. which is what watson did. if it had been a black guy, she’d be excoriated for being a racist. there’s no difference here. grow up. i fear cops. i’m brown, i live in NY. does that mean that every cop wants to beat me or shoot me? on your view, i’m justified in thinking that, and being constantly afraid for my life. and no, that’s not me. that’s your argument taken to its logical conclusion. sorry if you don’t like it when it’s used against you.

    pfft.

  23. #23 Vince whirlwind
    July 11, 2011

    @Helen, 13,
    Men are far more often the victims of violent assault than women.
    Men, also , have to be situationally alert and cautious in order to survive.

    We probably don’t get our arses pinched quite as often as women do, though, and that’s kindof where Dawkins’ response to RW comes in…

  24. #24 Vivien
    July 11, 2011

    I quite liked the hay fever analogy. Look ikonografer, that situation would have put me on the defensive too. The elevator-early morning-drunk-strange-male combo is one of those classic examples of a potentially dangerous situation that people warn you about when you’re a lone female. Like walking to your car in the garage late at night. And yes, if something happens to you, everyone will tsk and wonder why you weren’t more careful. You may even have been asking for it.

    Basic survival skills (or street smarts if you prefer) require vigilance in situations like that. In short, it was creepy and slightly threatening. The guy probably didn’t mean it that way, but the vast majority of women would feel the same.

    By the way, this is why “threatening” looking men who I pass on the street often smile and say hello to me, especially if we are the only people around. It is a polite way of indicating that they are a decent human being and not a threat. I always appreciate it, being a smallish female type person. (I should clarify; by threatening I do not necessarily mean anything race based, large males, perhaps wearing scuzzy clothes, or with lots of tattoos sometimes do this. Like when mohawked punks give little old ladies on the train their seats.)

    In short, smart women are situationally wary. Polite men are generally aware of this.

  25. #25 Setar
    July 12, 2011

    But sometimes women need to understand something about most men: We don’t hear hints.

    Yeah, right.

    And it’s not something we can change,

    Bullshit. You change it by being a respectable person, which means paying some fucking attention to what other people say.

    Boys whine and piss on about how they can’t change themselves. Men say “fuck that noise, I’m changing myself anyway and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it”. So, are you a boy, or are you a man?

    so “Well you ought to” isn’t an answer because I’m a lazy little boy who wants to do whatever he wants without having to consider how others might feel about it.

    Come back when you can be a man, please. Until then, I have an uncircumcised penis to clean.

  26. #26 Wow
    July 12, 2011

    “but, then again, a statement that not raping people isn’t very difficult brings out the assholes.”

    Then again, the problem didn’t take off until a woman blogged “what’s the problem?” and then the one complaining outed her in a packed auditorium where she was speaker.

    It seems like “Asking for a date isn’t raping you” brings out the assholes. You know, the ones who KNOW that every man is a rapist in their heart.

  27. #27 Wow
    July 12, 2011

    “Men have nothing preventing us from hearing and comprehending what women say.”

    Vince, that’s moronic.

    Elevator Guy heard her say “no” and comprehended that it meant “no”. Completely heard, comprehended.

    Yet somehow, this means that Elevator Guy is guilty of Rebecca’s being creeped out which then morphed by the magic of the internet into “he was objectifying me!!! SHROEDINGER’S RAPIST!!!”.

    And despite EG having heard and comprehended, it’s somehow STILL Elevator Guy’s fault.

  28. #28 Wow
    July 12, 2011

    “They just like being able to fall back on that old stereotype when they don’t want to acknowledge the hints they are getting.”

    Kierra, you’re not a bloke.

    How do you know what men think?

    “Wow, there are a lot of people in this comment section that I wouldn’t want in an elevator with one of my female friends.”

    Why? Because they’d be male? Or that they didn’t subsume everything into an abject apology for being chromosomally divergent?

  29. #29 Wow
    July 12, 2011

    “She didn’t attack the woman, she merely pointed out how obnoxiously anti-feminist the comments were.”

    So Richard Dawkins being told he’s anti-feminist isn’t an attack either?

    And Mike’s comment about assholes isn’t either (since this would be being an asshole about women, anti-feminism).

    Mind you, by that light, you must agree that EG’s request for coffee WAS NOT IN ANY WAY objectifying or an imposition on RW and that the situation is no problem whatsoever.

    “And don’t get me started on Dawkin’s responses. I know *I* sure as hell won’t be buying another of his books until he makes a real apology. ”

    Why should he apologise? It wasn’t an attack on RW or women!

  30. #30 MacTurk
    July 12, 2011

    Ms Watson is in a lift in Dublin. There is another human being, of the male gender, in the same lift. He issues an invitation to her to go to his room. She refuses. They part and go to their separate rooms. End of incident, no rape.

    Subsequently, Ms Watson announces that the incident had caused her great mental distress, and she knows that the male in question was “sexually objectifying” her. She stated that this behaviour is offensive.

    Then another female posted a video wherein she stated that the reaction from Ms Watson and others was basically totally over the top. Ms Watson’s response was deeply condescending, arrogant and dismissive. Apparently, no other female can be as well educated or as feminist as she.

    As for Ms Watson’s response to Ms McGraw’s post, it was simply an abuse of power/privilege, and platform. Ms McGraw was not in any position to defend or respond. A very cheap shot.

    The abuse of privilege is a little ironic, given her response to Professor Dawkins.

    I have read a lot of Ms Watson’s stuff, and she is a card-carrying ideologue, whose convictions are cast-iron certainties.

    I am with Dawkins and ERV on this whole ridiculous issue. It is an over-hyped storm in a miniscule teacup.

    It is also, for the world outside the USA, basically proving that Americans are really weird.

  31. #31 Vene
    July 12, 2011

    I love how the menz here don’t understand how it’s a dick move to approach a woman for sex right after she finished saying she didn’t want that. I also love how they don’t understand how approaching her in a confined space she can’t leave from is quite unfair. I love how they think that the end result justifies the means (it’s a well known trait of skepchicks to see into the future). All of this over a friendly piece of advice to try an make menz slightly aware of our privilege in society.

  32. #32 Rob Monkey
    July 12, 2011

    MacTurk @31: “Subsequently, Ms Watson announces that the incident had caused her great mental distress, and she knows that the male in question was “sexually objectifying” her. She stated that this behaviour is offensive.”

    Have a quote? Cause I think you’re doing the exact mischaracterization I’m talking about. AFAIK, RW never said anything of the sort, she basically said it was creepy and guys shouldn’t do that. If you have a valid point against what she actually said (as opposed to what some of her random commenters did), then make it. If you have a problem with one of her commenters, go ahead and quote them instead of blaming RW for it.

    Vene @31: Okay, way to be the other side of the problem. Let’s be realistic, she did say she was going to bed, and we have no idea if EG was privy to that part of her conversation or not. Even so, it’s hardly a huge imposition to have someone talk to you for a minute or two before you go to bed. As for the elevator thing, maybe give people the benefit of the doubt a little. Tons of guys have never considered that elevators can be really stressful for women, and while people can rage all they want about how it’s all part of the patriarchy, it’s really just people not knowing better, and that’s not always a failing on their part. The way RW put it, “guys, you shouldn’t do this” is a hell of a lot better than sarcastic assholery about how all guys should totally know how women feel and the ones that don’t are dicks.

    Incidentally, if you want possibly like-minded men to roll their eyes at your comments, go ahead and keep using “menz,” and why not throw in a “mansplaining” complaint once in a while? I mean, it’s not like women rightfully object when men refer to women by using derogatory terms, right?

  33. #33 Wow
    July 12, 2011

    “Have a quote?”

    Do we have a quote on any of it? You know, that EG said something, even that he exists.

    “AFAIK, RW never said anything of the sort, she basically said it was creepy and guys shouldn’t do that.”

    Got a quote for that?

    “If you have a valid point against what she actually said (as opposed to what some of her random commenters did)”

    How about the way she treated Stef? How about her acceptance of the vitriol (Steve McIntyre does this lots: HE never calls anyone in a heap. He just doesn’t censor them. Others, yes, but let’s ignore that…).

    “Let’s be realistic, she did say she was going to bed”

    Have a quote for that?

    See how this goes when the only thing we have is hearsay and a video blog?

    “Tons of guys have never considered that elevators can be really stressful for women”

    Think of this: when would EG be able to ask?

    In the morning: have to hang about all morning to see her. Oh, nope, can’t. That’s creepy.

    During the evening: have to barge in and ask her in front of everyone if they can go somewhere together without others there. Oh, can’t do that, it’s creepy.

    Follow her out of the lift? Oops. No.

    Forget it completely?

    How about you, Vern, what’s the answer? Never talk to a woman?

  34. #34 Rob Monkey
    July 12, 2011

    Yes, we do have the quotes from the video RW posted on youtube. If you’re looking for complete verification of the entire incident and whether she was a jerk or not, it’s never going to happen. You can watch her video and see if your impression is different than mine, but it seems like most people complaining that they “can’t ever talk to a woman” are simply complaining about something they made up in their head. Again, go ahead and argue against a commenter you disagree with, but I’d be interested to see if you could justify a single one of your opinions of what RW said with something she actually, you know, said.

    As far as she treated Stef, I don’t agree with it. I think it was shitty and she would have looked a lot classier if she had apologized. They are separate issues though, and should be treated as such.

    As far as when EG would have had his chance, I don’t know and don’t give a flying fuck. Maybe that was his best shot, maybe not. If it was, he had no chance to start out with. Sorry, but while I don’t fault him for anything but being clumsy at propositions, he still was doing a Hail Mary pass to get laid. The fact that it creeped her out to be propositioned at 4am in an elevator is not exactly weird or unusual, and EG is a bit of a dumbass for thinking it might work. Again though, all she said was that it was uncomfortable and not a successful strategy for getting laid, something that I agree with.

  35. #35 Wow
    July 12, 2011

    But they aren’t the quote you gave, are they.

    This is the point I’m trying to get to you, Rob.

    “Have you quotes” isn’t really helping since you have been asked that and still haven’t actually given the quote. Just a statement of what you read in the quote.

    See?

    “As far as when EG would have had his chance, I don’t know and don’t give a flying fuck.”

    This is quite the problem if you then want men to not ask in a lift at 4am because it’s creepy and there’s no need to do it. If there isn’t an alternative, then there WAS a need to do it that way.

    It would make the actions quite a bit less creepy too: you’d see a benign reason for it for a start.

    “If it was, he had no chance to start out with”

    We know that NOW. But if it had been Stef or Abbie, then the chance of an answer to the tune of “How about tomorrow?” was liable to be non-nil since the main reason why RW was always going to say no is because of her belief in the action being creepy.

    “but while I don’t fault him for anything but being clumsy at propositions”

    Again, we don’t know it was a proposition.

    Asking for a coffee isn’t asking for sex. Asking for sex would be saying something like “Do you want to have sex with me?”. Coffee is too hot for sex, it’ll burn your delicate places.

    If it’s supposed to be “obvious that’s what he meant”, then how do you actually ask someone for a coffee? “Hello, I find you physically unattractive, so how about a coffee?”?

    “he still was doing a Hail Mary pass to get laid.”

    When you next ask your mum if she wants a coffee when you’re visiting (or she’s visiting), please remember that you said this.

  36. #36 Rob Monkey
    July 12, 2011

    Jesus, really? Sorry, but that whole thing was a study in being obtuse. The reason I’m not quoting the video is I don’t see a need to transcribe stuff for everyone out there. Its available and easy to find, the problem I have is that it’s painfully obvious that you and lots of people who agree with you didn’t bother to watch it. You can’t be bothered to find out what RW actually said, but you’re going to jump all over what you THINK she said. This whole “we can’t know what actually happened” shit is just a dodge to avoid the fact that you have a problem with Skepchick commenters, not RW, but since you’ve doubled down on what you THINK she said, you’ll look foolish if you admit it.

    This is quite the problem if you then want men to not ask in a lift at 4am because it’s creepy and there’s no need to do it. If there isn’t an alternative, then there WAS a need to do it that way.

    There isn’t a NEED to hit on someone or ask someone out at any particular moment. Sure, if he thought that was his only chance, and he thought it worth a shot, then go for it. Honestly, I’m sure there was an alternative, but it may have existed long before he made his ill-fated elevator attempt. Like at an hour before 4 am, when even hard partiers are thinking of bed. As it is, it’s a clumsy attempt, and unless she’d been eyeing EG all night and was just hoping he’d talk to her, there’s virtually zero chance of success.

    . . .the main reason why RW was always going to say no is because of her belief in the action being creepy.

    Sorry, you have NO idea if that’s true or not, it’s complete speculation on your part. Maybe she would have been interested had he asked at a better time, nobody can know, and nobody should fucking care! I think our main difference is that you seem to think women are saying, “no men can hit on women in elevators ever!” when in fact what was said was, “you have very little chance of success with women if you ask them out in situations that make them feel uncomfortable, and for many women, elevators are one of those situations.”

    As for the whole, “was he asking for sex or coffee” issue, I think it’s a pointless distraction. It’s perfectly fine for him to ask for sex, but most people who want a chance of success try lines a little smoother than “wanna have sex?” So yeah, sorry, but an offer for coffee at 4am is going to be construed as an offer to maybe hook up. If he didn’t intend it that way, well then he should pat himself on the back for being the most oblivious guy on the planet. If I had a female friend who agreed to coffee at 4 am in a hotel room with a guy and then was surprised when he thought it’d be a hookup, I’d rightfully consider her a little dense (let this be clear, this is not rape apologetics, nobody ever “deserves it” for making a bad assumption).

    As far as your last two statements go, I’d say they are the most obviously intentionally stupid questions. No, you don’t actually have to insult someone when you ask them for coffee, but if you ask them to have coffee at 11 am Sat. morning in a coffee shop, it’s a date. If you ask them to have coffee at 4 am in a hotel room, it’s asking for more than a date. If you want the 4 am date to just be a date and not code for sex, you damn well better make that loud and clear, cause anybody with any sense is going to assume otherwise. In reference to your second point, I don’t ask my mom to have coffee at 4 am in hotel rooms, but again, if you weren’t being intentionally obtuse you’d understand that asking your mom for coffee is different than asking someone of the opposite sex who’s not related to you.*

    *Offer not necessarily valid in Kentucky.

  37. #37 pornonimous
    July 12, 2011

    Her list forgot to mention that other common, weird situation where ‘no’ is so easily misinterpreted as ‘yes':

    you know, the situation where a woman invites you to her country after you expose US military war crimes, and then houses you in her house, and takes you around town for most of the week, and then, after you have sex with her a few times, and leave on about your business, she goes to the cops and reports you as a rapist.

    I just don’t get why guys are so sensitive about the issue–those “ASSHOLES”.

    Are they assholes because you and other men are implying that they could be or should be raped in their ass? Are they assholes because rape doesn’t happen to boys and men, and thus men can’t possibly understand the fear of having their asses explored? Exactly why do you guys use that specific exit port of the body when you want tomake a point about men?

    http://pornalysis.wordpress.com/2011/07/06/hot-sweaty-monkey-butt-sex/

    Of course not…

  38. #38 Wow
    July 13, 2011

    Mike et al, a question. On the basis of purely Rebecca’s statement that gives you to say: “One wouldn’t think ‘don’t be a creep’ would be especially controversial”

    Can I ask “So what?”.

    Why should I bother about an inconsequential incident where Rebecca felt creeped out?

    The answer really goes to the question pornominous asks:
    “I just don’t get why guys are so sensitive about the issue–those “ASSHOLES”.”

    If I say to rebecca on her vblog “So what?” is that being an asshole?

  39. #39 Wow
    July 13, 2011

    “Jesus, really? Sorry, but that whole thing was a study in being obtuse.”

    Yup it is.

    One method of promulgating obtuseness is to claim “Do you have a quote for that?”.

    “There isn’t a NEED to hit on someone or ask someone out at any particular moment.”

    There is. We’re social animals. When we keep away from people and never interact, that’s when we get weirdos. They lose connection with other people.

    And thanks for the straw by the way.

    There are many ways of saying “need” and your insinuation of it being an imperative is ridiculous and therefore stramanning of the first order.

    If EG wants to get to know RW better, he NEEDED to ask then because there wasn’t any better time.

    “Sorry, you have NO idea if that’s true or not”

    And you have NO idea if that’s true or not.

    We DO know that neither Stef nor Abbie would have been creeped out by it. And, since all we know of this event is that RW was creeped out and that is all we have for why this “would never have happened anyway”, this would determine that this request would NOT have been a problem with these two women.

    You can disbelieve them if you want.

    “As far as your last two statements go, I’d say they are the most obviously intentionally stupid questions”

    This would be because you don’t like to consider them.

    When you’re asking your mum if she wants coffee, you’re asking her for sex? Really?

    Or, rather, is it that you wonder if your mum would like a coffee. However she has plenty at home, so why YOUR home for coffee? Maybe because you’d like to talk to her.

    “No, you don’t actually have to insult someone when you ask them for coffee”

    See, the problem is that how then do you say “I don’t want to have sex with you but I do want to have coffee” then? After all, the genuine problem was, and I quote:

    “makes me uncomfortable when men sexualize me in that manner.”

    If you find someone unattractive and say so, then you’re DEFINITELY and EXPLICITLY not sexualising her.

    Now, note, YOU are sexualising women. Apparently if you find one physically unattractive, this is an insult. This presumes that you consider a woman’s LOOKS important. Objectifying her on her outer appearance.

    I think you need to keep away from people like Rebecca. They don’t like being sexualised.

  40. #40 Rob Monkey
    July 13, 2011

    Okay, this is just an exercise in talking past each other. You’re obviously not interested in actually defending your position so much as shouting to the internets that RW is wrong. I mean really, I’m not exactly a hardcore Skepchick, but I do think it’s important to actually debate against someone’s actual position rather than a made up one. The thing is, you may be right about there being women who wouldn’t be creeped out by this, but even if the ones who are creeped out are in the minority (and I doubt they are), there’s absolutely nothing wrong with RW saying, “hey, this can be creepy.” You’ve turned it into some imaginary war on men, where they can’t ever hit on a woman because apparently if one woman says it creeps her out, men are forbidden to ever do said action again.

    Your whole thing about my mom, coffee, and sex is stupid. Just stop. If you’re not at least willing to admit that asking someone to have coffee privately late at night can and will be taken by a lot of people as a way of hinting, “I’d like to get it on,” then you’re willfully obtuse or socially retarded.

  41. #41 MacTurk
    July 13, 2011

    Rob Monkey(no 32) asks whether I have a quote. Ms Watson herself states in her first video. “…when men sexualise me in that manner”. It is at 5mins 40secs onwards.

    A further quote from Ms Watson in her response to Professor Dawkins is “Richard Dawkins believes I should be a good girl and just shut up about being sexually objectified because it doesn’t bother him. Thanks, wealthy old heterosexual white man!” can be found here: http://skepchick.org/2011/07/the-privilege-delusion/

    As for the rest of Ms Watson’s comments and reactions, she is someone who likes her privileges, and is deeply dismissive of anyone – male OR female – who has the temerity to challenge the orthodoxy as laid down by her good self. At the Dublin conference, she started with Paula Kirby, then went on through Stef McGraw and stclairose, and ended with, well, basically everyone who does not agree with her.

    Dawkins and ERV are more in the right here than this arrogant and nasty abuser of power, privilege and platforms.

    It perhaps be pointed out again that this part of the internet deals with science, atheism, and scepticism. Banning questions and trying to impose orthodoxy is going an uphill struggle.

  42. #42 helen jones
    July 13, 2011

    @ 13 Vince.

    Its true men are more often the victims of violence. Perpetrated by MEN, not women. If your going to argue women are more inherently violent then women, you will have a tough time finding stats to back it up.

    I would suggest globally, men have a greater propensity to problem-solve with their fists than women. We generally serve poisoned mushrooms for Sunday tea.

    I am make very generalized statements. And I stand by the fact that average women are more “cautious, alert, sensitive, leery, nervous” in situations of a woman and male encounter in a location that is confined and isolated, like an elevator.

    I am not suggesting men should do anything with regards to these “elevator encounters”, except keep your hand off my ass. Its really the women’s responsibility to decide whether or not she feels safe enough to enter the elevator.

    Its each our own responsibility to act in a manner that will most likely get us through the day safely.

  43. #43 helen jones
    July 13, 2011

    Damn typos.

    I meant men are are more given to violence than women. Damn I’m a dumb bunny.

    I still say its the woman’s responsibility to gauge her circumstances and act accordingly.

    I’m not expecting every or any man to read my mind.

  44. #44 Wow
    July 13, 2011

    “I still say its the woman’s responsibility to gauge her circumstances and act accordingly.”

    And if a woman says “Sorry, could you please not do that, it makes me uncomfortable”, unless I know them well enough to rib them over it, I’ll stop.

    If a bloke does that, same thing.

    Child? Same.

    OAP? Same.

    MacTurk: “she is someone who likes her privileges, and is deeply dismissive of anyone – male OR female – who has the temerity to challenge the orthodoxy as laid down by her good self.”

    I think it’s simpler than that. Rebbecca NEEDED to have the victim card. Elevator Guy gave her a victim card to play, so he’s clear. However, Stef wanted to take that victim card away. THAT was the crime against her.

    As long as Rebbecca could play the victim, anything she does can be brushed off with “you aren’t the victim here, I AM”.

  45. #45 Wow
    July 13, 2011

    “The thing is, you may be right about there being women who wouldn’t be creeped out by this, but even if the ones who are creeped out are in the minority (and I doubt they are), there’s absolutely nothing wrong with RW saying, “hey, this can be creepy.””

    Dear oh dear, Rob.

    You aren’t listening are you?

    Go have a look at erv’s position. http://scienceblogs.com/erv/2011/07/the_decent_human_beings_guide.php#comments

    Or look at my first post here.

    Problem: AFTER that was all said, shitflinging was the name of the game.

    I ask you: What’s assholery about me saying about RW being creeped out: “So what?”

    That is what RD said about it.

  46. #46 Wow
    July 13, 2011

    “You’ve turned it into some imaginary war on men”

    Do you have a quote for that, Rob?

    PS: I point you to the quote from RW: “makes me uncomfortable when men sexualize me in that manner.”

    Apparently, any interaction can be seen as sexualising a woman.

    So RW is the one who turned it into one: “where they can’t ever hit on a woman because apparently if one woman says it creeps her out, men are forbidden to ever do said action again.”

    Greg Laden has pushed into “You MUST wait until the next lift comes!”.

    And the example of coffee and you having sex with her is ridiculous because you KNOW that asking for coffee isn’t asking for sex.

    But then EG asked for coffee. Not sex.

    So why is asking for coffee sexualising RW when you doing it isn’t sexaulising your mum?

    Any answer Rob, or are you going to blather away about how it’s all silly and CONTINUE to say why it’s different?

  47. #47 helen jones
    July 13, 2011

    This may be a bit of “how its said”, not so much “what was said”. Human communication is clearly not confined to language.

    We are all capable of making our intentions understood by the slightest and most subtle movements and inflections in our voices. How we glance at each other, the most subtle change of tone of voice.

    And when we attempt to re-tell these uncomfortable encounters we most often make a hash of it and sound ludicrous.

    Those encounters that make us most uncomfortable, are the ones that are so subtle, so implied, so instinctual, they are beyond capturing by voice alone. “It was the way he looked at me”. “He leaned over me, just a little.” “He took a half-step closer to me.” “His smile was creepy.” “He brushed against me with his arm.” “He made me nervous.” But he never said a word.

    These are the moments we women react like gazelles at the watering hole, or we lash out and generally say something rude or we just stand still and wait for the door to open. And I’m quite sure there are many times when men have no clue as the the nervousness and even panic that they have just caused. They might even think they were just being friendly and pleasant.

  48. #48 Rob Monkey
    July 13, 2011

    Fair enough MacTurk, although I think what she said in the video “when men sexualize me in that manner,” is a reasonable thing to say, given that I don’t think it’s crazy to think that he was asking for a hookup, and the manner he did it wasn’t appealing to her. OTOH, what she said to Dawkins is a little different, and that is a point on which I’ll disagree with RW, I think accusing the guy of objectifying her is over the top, sorry about not recalling the quote. I guess in a way it could be seen as objectification, but only if you’re willing to say that objectification can be good, bad, or neutral depending on the situation. If I “objectify” my gf in the sense that I find her attractive and whatnot, then sure, the guy was objectifying RW, but then it’s no longer a bad thing. I don’t discount my gf’s intelligence or anything else because she’s attractive to me, so I would generally use the phrase, “I find her attractive,” rather than “I objectify her.” So okay, if she thinks any guy who hits on her (or even clumsily asks for a hookup) is objectifying her, then that part is full of shit.

    However, I don’t think that’s the real meat of her point, or of the internet explosion since. I just can’t explain why the conversation has turned into the shitstorm of “men can no longer hit on women!” As far as the whole Stef thing goes, I said earlier that I disagreed with it, and I do think it was shitty. As far as Richard Dawkins, I still like the guy but what he said was stupid. Pointing out how shitty life is in some third-world hellhole is not an argument against making life here better, and that’s exactly what he did. Not any reasoning why what happened to her is ok or not, just pointing out how some women have it worse. I do think ERV’s take on the issue is spot-on, although she focused on the Stef issue, not the elevator issue.

    I think a lot of this has turned into a way for people to complain about RW in general. I don’t love everything she does, although I’m a big SGU fan. She can be too resistant to change an opinion (not a great quality in a skeptic), and the sycophantic commenters at Skepchick don’t help. I do, however, think that this whole elevator issue has gotten blown way out of proportion to what she actually said, and I think Greta Christina’s take on the issue is well worth the read: Why We Have to Talk About This

  49. #49 Wow
    July 13, 2011

    “This may be a bit of “how its said”, not so much “what was said”. Human communication is clearly not confined to language.”

    But then we’re getting into third-party thoughtcrime, I.e. “I think you thought this, therefore you’re guilty of it”.

    “These are the moments we women react like gazelles at the watering hole, or we lash out and generally say something rude or we just stand still and wait for the door to open.”

    Have you tried empathy? You know “If there are two ways to interpret what we said and one of them makes you cry, we meant the other one”?

    This is why I asked at Greg’s blog to say what would happen that would make them do as EG did.

    Maybe he really DID mean “Do you want a coffee and a chat”.

    You could also try: Distance (click that open button and get out of the lift). Dissuasion (be with friends). Discussion (say “sorry, asking me here is really weird, why would you ask that here and now?” but to them, not on a blog).

    And you’re supposed to be able to work through your fears: you’re an intelligent and reasoning being. Stop being the gazelle. Start being the human. You won’t be told off for not succeeding, you WILL get told off for not trying.

  50. #50 helen jones
    July 13, 2011

    @ WOW

    Frankly I don’t think we are talking about the higher functioning parts of the brain. And again sometimes, women are frightened, really frightened. These events are not about calm and rational thoughts. This honestly is about “flight or fight”.

    Most women will tell you of an incident where they felt trapped by a man, either in an elevator, on flight of stairs, etc.

    And maybe all the man was doing was minding his own business and going about his day.

    But during those moments instinct takes over. And a woman can react just like a gazelle. Heart pounding out of pure fear. Its not rational. That’s my point. Its a primitive reaction.

    I’m not suggesting this happens every time every woman gets on an elevator alone with a man. What I am saying, every women conscious of it or not makes instantaneous decision whether or not she “feels” safe enough to get in that elevator car.

    And WOW “Have you tried empathy? You know “If there are two ways to interpret what we said and one of them makes you cry, we meant the other one”? ”

    Trust me if you made me cry while standing in an elevator alone with you, I would not be thinking; Gee maybe he didn’t really mean that.

    I’d be digging in my purse for any type of defense weapon I could find.

    We don’t think alike… that’s the point.

    And don’t try and pick up a woman in an elevator alone with her. Its just daft.

  51. #51 TTT
    July 13, 2011

    The “back to my room for coffee” concept sure seems to bring out the Aspies on SciBlogs.

    It means “sex,” guys. Everybody else knows that. If you’ve never heard of it before, consider yourselves educated.

  52. #52 gator
    July 13, 2011

    51 comments, the most ever on one of Mike’s posts, and Mike can’t be bothered to reply to anything?

  53. #53 pornonymous
    July 13, 2011

    Helen Jones, you are a liar.Do you people get paid to tell these lies?
    @42 “Its true men are more often the victims of violence. Perpetrated by MEN, not women. If your going to argue women are more inherently violent then women, you will have a tough time finding stats to back it up. We really should confront liars at all costs.”

    All domestic violence stats, ever, have men and women perpetrating at near equal rates, or has women committing far more violence against men and children. Women initiate violence by rote, men complete the cycle.
    Women are bold violence initiators; men are regretful violence finishers.

    And as for other men, yeah, mmmm, that’s just an added burden on top of the shame of being abused by women.

    How long will men tolerate such lying by women?–another form of violence against men? Until you get sich enough to do s/th about it, other than blog commenting.

    Here’s the stats:
    http://www.csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm

  54. #54 Wow
    July 14, 2011

    “The “back to my room for coffee” concept sure seems to bring out the Aspies on SciBlogs.

    It means “sex,” guys.”

    So when you ask your mom if she wants a coffee, you’re asking for sex?

    Eeeeew.

    PS How do you ask someone if they want a coffee if you actually want to know if they want a coffee?

  55. #55 Wow
    July 14, 2011

    “Frankly I don’t think we are talking about the higher functioning parts of the brain.”

    Helen, God gave you higher functions for a reason. Don’t let that very expensive to run machinery go to waste. Your higher functions are in charge, not the lizard parts.

    It’s also the reasoning used to explain that it’s not men’s fault, they’re just using the monkey bits of the brain, not the higher functions.

  56. #56 Wow
    July 14, 2011

    “Pointing out how shitty life is in some third-world hellhole is not an argument against making life here better, and that’s exactly what he did.”

    No he didn’t Rob.

    He said “So what?”.

    RW: “I was creeped out”.

    World: “So what?”.

    I say to you, so what if Rebecca was creeped out?

  57. #57 helen jones
    July 14, 2011

    @53

    Yeah well as you can tell I suffered from a moment of finger failure. It was a typo, As you would have noticed if you had read my following comment.

    Call me old-fashioned if you like but I’m not a liar. Men are more physically aggressive than women. Check national stats for prisons, See who is in there for violence? I think you will find more men than women serving time for violence.

    “Women initiate violence by rote, men complete the cycle.
    Women are bold violence initiators; men are regretful violence finishers.”

    Are you saying we nag you into physical violence? Maybe you should check out your higher functioning brain.

  58. #58 helen jones
    July 14, 2011

    @53 “How long will men tolerate such lying by women?–another form of violence against men? Until you get sich enough to do s/th about it, other than blog commenting.”

    You accuse me of lying, and thereby of violence against your person?
    I miss-typed one sentence and than corrected myself. Get over it.

    I may be a dumb bunny but occasionally I let my higher functioning brain carry the load of daily life.

    But I will say the “primitive lizard brain” has yet to let me down when the poop hits the fan. Like it or not our “primitive brain centres” do carry a significant work load, even in modern elevators.

    If we didn’t need or use our “lizard” brain, why do we still have it? Shouldn’t such faladoodle have been tossed onto the bits and pieces Homo sapien spaien “no longer required rubbish pile” of evolution?

    Oddly enough we use that fight/flight etc responses, instincts, gut feelings all day everyday. It gives the higher function brain time to do the crossword puzzle in the paper.

  59. #59 Wow
    July 14, 2011

    “Check national stats for prisons, See who is in there for violence?”

    I think you need a better metric for violence than that. You’ll find more men for all crimes than women. Are women law-abiding? Or are women more likely to be let off?

    Like I said, you need a better metric.

    PS it is two-faced to admonish someone for not using their higher brain functions when you’ve said before: “Frankly I don’t think we are talking about the higher functioning parts of the brain” when defending your persona as: “These are the moments we women react like gazelles at the watering hole, or we lash out”.

    If you want to tell other people to use their higher brain, it would rather behoove you to use them yourself rather than be a gazelle, yes?

  60. #60 Wow
    July 14, 2011

    “But I will say the “primitive lizard brain” has yet to let me down when the poop hits the fan.”

    Only since it often throws that poop into the fan.

    When you ACT like a victim, you invite poop-fan-intersection. When you “lash out”, you’re getting a poop/fan situation again. If you don’t use your higher brain functions to avoid possible poo/fan collisions you will rely on your lizard side to make the wrong decision, since it doesn’t give a hoot about the rest of you.

    “If we didn’t need or use our “lizard” brain, why do we still have it?”

    If we don’t have a tail, why do we still have a tailbone?

    If we don’t need our appendix, why do we have one?

    Once we’ve evolved something, it doesn’t go away with ease and if it promotes no evolutionary pressure to avoid, we’ll keep it.

  61. #61 helen jones
    July 14, 2011

    What I’m saying is we need and use both levels of the brain; the instinctual, and the rational. I suggest perhaps more people should be aware of those instinctual responses to perceived danger.

    I think a scan over national prison stats is useful. You will find both men and women in prison for violence, men at a high rate than women. You ask “Are women law-abiding? Or are women more likely to be let off?” Interesting question. What are you suggesting? Women do commit crimes, they are caught, and are sent along through the legal system. Are they more likely to be let off? Again interesting. But hardly salient. If you belief the male-dominated legal system tends to treats the ladies in a kinder fashion. Then I would suggest you back it up.

    Perhaps women simply commit acts of violence at a lesser rate than men. I don’t recall seeing roving gangs of weapon carrying women at the last hockey game I attended. But I did see a few D&D men being frog-marched out of the arena.

    I think you will find women are arrested and convicted less often than men for acts of violence. Prove me wrong.

    But if you want to argue that men are the weaker, more gentle sex, have at it.

    I don’t think of myself as a gazelle, I’m more the bunny-type.

  62. #62 Wow
    July 14, 2011

    helen, the lizard bit doesn’t act, it reacts. That’s why it gets you in the poo so often.

    “You will find both men and women in prison for violence, men at a high rate than women.”

    And a higher rate for men than women for, say, shoplifting. Or fraud. Hence my query.

    The reasons for being in jail are far too squishy to use to make a case. It’s not like there aren’t any better ones out there, either. Genuine studies of aggression. Which generally support the idea that men are more physically aggressive. However women are more verbally aggressive and practice “Sending someone to Coventry” which is just as much an abuse as punching, but doesn’t leave any marks that allow you to get redress from a third party.

    “I think you will find women are arrested and convicted less often than men for acts of violence. Prove me wrong.”

    I never said you were wrong.

    I said you were wrong to use that fact to draw the conclusion you made.

    PS when sexual activities are undergone by a female teacher, there is investigation and a sacking. When it’s a male teacher, there’s a witchhunt. And there are several cases (though from the Daily Mail headlines, so salt required) where a woman pled that she had to look after her children and was therefore only bound over rather than incarcerated. A male would not get away with that.

  63. #63 helen jones
    July 14, 2011

    OK WOW you’ve made some interesting points. I agree men tend to be more physically violent,and women verbally aggressive. I think the was covered in my sexual dimorphism comment. Women can not be as physically aggressive with men. Men are bigger, stronger and more aggressive. There we agree.

    Really what other options do women have than words? Women are smaller, lighter and less strong. So what tools do we have to use? yep, nagging.

    I’m not sure being “sent to Coventry” is as much abuse as punching? It is abusive, but a physical attack is much worse.To be shunned doesn’t require setting of bones or reconstructive surgery.

    Ok in for a penny, in for a pound. Women are the weaker sex (physically). That doesn’t make us inferior. It makes us different.

    I still state women have a different way of sensing their surroundings than men. We have to be gazelles, we have to be highly aware of our surroundings. And yes sometimes we are intimidated by getting in an elevator alone with an unknown male.

    There is an undercurrent where the lizard brain is on alert. And yes it is reactive. And it works.

  64. #64 pornonimous
    July 14, 2011

    Helen, I maintain you are lying–deliberately, and I won’t waste the time to parse it out for you until you can find the time away from snacking on mayflies and such to MOSEY ON OVER to Fieberts website, which is chock full of tasty morsels going back three decades that prove women INITIATE violence more often than men.

    Here it is again for you.http://www.csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm

    And believe me, I am not here to entertain white women’s notions of what violence is, or how it affects men from birth.

    The simple fact is that women have many more forms of violence that never get addressed, and women seldom get caughtm because they perpetrate mostly on children, with young boys being primary victims.

    So isn’t it interesting that you want a pissing contest( ora tongue flicking contest, seeing as how lizardly you are being..)over men in prison–many if not all of them violated as boys> Andin case you haven’t looked at the bogus data, 50% of men are in prison for a line of coke, a bag of weed, or a blast on a crack pipe.
    Which leaves less than half of them in there for other crimes,of which violence is only a side effect of their upbringing.

    And, Wow: yeah, time for coffee every single time we address the hypocrisy inherent in 1) not acknowledge white female privilege, and 2) how often these men use derogatory sexual language against other men–it kind of reminds us of the false premise that men do not fear rape–it is embodied every time we say ” a kick in the balls (fourth degree sexual assault), or ” you are an asshole”( hate speech. directed at males whose asshole is a port of entry as well), or any of the myriad creative ways we are verbally sexually assaulted by both women and men–before the age of ten.

  65. #65 Wow
    July 15, 2011

    “Women can not be as physically aggressive with men.”

    False. Mrs Torvalds could kick the butt off 99% of men in the world.

    And aggression isn’t violence. And it isn’t the amount, it’s the frequency. Think of all those “momma grizzlys” and the answer to the question “Which is more dangerous, a male lion or mother boar defending her brood?”. Women CAN be as violent.

    “Men are bigger, stronger and more aggressive. There we agree.”

    This we agree on but the former statement doesn’t follow from this one.

    “I’m not sure being “sent to Coventry” is as much abuse as punching?”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_torture

    And what do you think this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posttraumatic_stress_disorder

    What makes it worse is that violence ends. Bruises heal. Bones mend. Mental anguish lasts as long as you can remember.

    And if the mental issues were not a problem, then rape would be no worse than “brutal hugging”.

    The reason why rape is bad is because the trauma of having been raped lasts beyond the violence.

    You can get over being beaten easier than you can get over being abused. Ask Richard Dawkins.

  66. #66 helen jones
    July 15, 2011

    @pornonimous Good Heavens I’ve touched a nerve. You seem rather angry with me. Name calling, is that a form of violence? I might need counseling after such an attack!

    And I’m curious what makes you think I’m white? You seem to be jumping to a conclusion with no evidence. I’ll admit to being Canadian.

    My tone of conversation was intended to somewhat light-hearted. I didn’t realize I was cutting to the quick. Nor did I think you would resort to childish naming calling.

    My thesis remains the same. Sexual dimorphism is a determining component in the relations between men and women. Women “generally” have to resort to a different strategy in survival than men.

    I do apologize if I’ve hurt your feels. I didn’t intend to do so.

    @WOW Who is Mrs Torvalds? And why would a single exceptional example destroy my thesis? Generally speaking women are smaller and weaker than men. Period.

    And I stand by my statement Generally men are more physically aggressive than women. Are there roving bands of violent Amazons I’ve missed in the news?

    Gentlemen please, calm yourselves. Perhaps traveling in public wearing a jock-strap might lessen you tensions with regards to the clear and present dangers gazelles, bunnies or lizards may cause you.

  67. #67 o1
    July 18, 2011

    ‘amorous advances’ anywhere, much less in confined space, are tricky. the sales pitch to the confined corporate gatekeeper is a weak comparison, because the rebuffee will only be a pest, not a rapist.

    Women live in a state of continual vigilance about sexual safety.
    yeah. to the extent that when men try to appear uncreepy, some women perceive them as creepy. (counter intuitive, but true because the vigilance is always starved of VALID evidence.).
    as a man in an elevator, you normally give just an acknowledging glance, or indirect facial expression, or, “ah, not my floor yet.” But in some circumstances, typically that the woman is accompanied, the moments of boredom inherent to the elevator transforms into small opportunity.

  68. #68 o1
    July 18, 2011

    http://bigthink.com/ideas/39234
    We can’t stand it when a sales associate gets in our face and uses cheap psychological tricks to try to make us buy stuff we don’t want. We take it as an insult to our intelligence. We resent it.

    i lack the energy to resent. sales silliness is pathetic, except when humorous.

    btw, wouldn’t it be difficult to rape someone in during brief time in an elevator without pressing the emergency button?

  69. #69 o1
    July 18, 2011

    http://scienceblogs.com/mikethemadbiologist/2011/07/vigiliance_of_sexual_safety_an.php#comment-4409111
    “threatening” looking men who I pass on the street often smile and say hello to me, especially if we are the only people around.
    and after passing by, we sneak a peek at you from behind.
    b-:

    http://scienceblogs.com/mikethemadbiologist/2011/07/vigiliance_of_sexual_safety_an.php#comment-4428627
    We generally serve poisoned mushrooms for Sunday tea
    so at 4am Monday through Saturday, I’m safe

  70. #70 Wow
    July 18, 2011

    Helen: “And why would a single exceptional example destroy my thesis? ”

    Because your thesis was:
    “Women can not be as physically aggressive with men.”

    An example where a woman CAN be as physically agressive with men invalidates the thesis in the same way as a single black swan invalidates the thesis “All Swans are white”.

  71. #71 helen jones
    July 18, 2011

    My thesis remains the same. Sexual dimorphism is a determining component in the relations between men and women. Women “generally” have to resort to a different strategy in survival than men. Women are “generally” smaller and weaker than men.

    As you should have noticed, my comments were generalized. Of course there are exceptions. The word generally should have been a clue.

    I stick by my comments.

    @o1 lol somebody at least has a sense of humor here.

  72. #72 o1
    July 18, 2011

    http://scienceblogs.com/mikethemadbiologist/2011/07/vigiliance_of_sexual_safety_an.php#comment-4409111
    “threatening” looking men who I pass on the street often smile and say hello to me, especially if we are the only people around.
    and after passing by, we sneak a peek at you from behind.
    b-:

    http://scienceblogs.com/mikethemadbiologist/2011/07/vigiliance_of_sexual_safety_an.php#comment-4428627
    We generally serve poisoned mushrooms for Sunday tea
    so at 4am Monday through Saturday, I’m safe

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