Monday, July 11, 2011

It Never Ends

Trigger Warning: Many links here lead to comment threads full of triggering material. I've had a hard navigating it all, while trying to keep from being triggered.

Well, the saga of ElevatorGuyGate continues. I've only been keeping a vague thumb on the pulse of it. It seems that every post the movers and shakers put up to try and calm people down and clarify the situation, just end up riling people up all over again. Jen and PZ have both posted in hopes of settling things down, but people really aren't getting it.

Which is unfortunate. The original video and comments weren't that big of a deal. But the blowback came hard and fast, which caused a domino effect that we're still seeing. Luckily, there have been some calm, reasonable responses to this whole thing that clearly and plainly lay out the underlying issues at play here.

There has also been a letter, addressed to Richard Dawkins for his obtuseness, that is signed by women in the atheist/skeptical communities that have experienced sexual assault/rape. The comments are extremely triggering, but I think they are necessary for those who have been asking through this whole debacle, "Is rape really that common?" As I said in my last post on this, yes it is. The fact that there are terrible atrocities committed against women in the middle east does not mean that women here have it easy.

A woman stating a situation made her uncomfortable revealed a plethora of views that believe she doesn't have a right to be uncomfortable. Which is ridiculous. Normally, I am known for raging at things like this. But I'm not angry. I'm not rageful. I'm sad. It saddens me that the culture of "shut up and be nice" towards women is so pervasive that even the atheist and skeptic communities can not escape it. At least, they haven't yet.

Admittedly, this reaction to Rebecca's video has made me wary of attending larger conferences. As a survivor, knowing that people think it is okay to proposition me in enclosed spaces is a worrisome thought. Jen jokingly posted about the sticker code at a Mensa gathering, but I honestly think it isn't a bad idea. People have weird idiosyncrasies that can put undue stress on social interaction. Having some sort of visual code could be handy for easing things along (mine would be "no sexual advances" and "no touching unless I know you").

I hope all of this blows over soon, and that people actually learn something from this mess.

1 comment:

  1. As bad as this has been, I think it is something that had to happen at some time. It has brought out the idiotic, sexist douchebags, but it has also made some, perhaps many, men learn something that they didn't know before. There are three things that upset me the most about this situation: (1)the aforementioned idiotic, sexist douchebags that attempt to give all men a bad reputation, (2)the women who, for what ever reason, have sided with Dawkins (check out ERV on ScienceBlogs for one of the worst instances of this), and (3)the amount of groupthink and "team" loyalty that has been shown throughout this. It's very disappointing. But no community is perfect, and I hope that as a whole the community comes out of this more aware and conscientious.