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Richard Dawkins in the elevator

(128 Posts)
Lilygran Mon 22-Jul-13 11:24:32

Just come across this interesting story'_Elevatorgate_comments] hmm Can't imagine why It hasn't had more publicity!

Bags Mon 22-Jul-13 12:23:42

Maybe because people understood his argument that the woman was in no way threatened, let alone damaged. The man did not assault the woman. He made her an offer. She refused. No problem.

Whereas women in muslim countries suffer actual threats and actual damage and actual assaults and actual abuse of all kinds every day. They don't have the choice to say no. RD is right that this 'case' isn't comparable and the woman is silly to make a fuss about it.

Haven't we all dealt with similar encounters? I have. Since the age of twelve.

Bags Mon 22-Jul-13 12:40:47

BTw, the thread title is misleading. It wasn't Dawkins in the lift.

petallus Mon 22-Jul-13 13:03:16

What an arse!

j08 Mon 22-Jul-13 13:31:25

I wonder if people like that are on the autistic spectrum. It's as though they can't feel any empathy with anyone.

I'm not intending to insult any autistic person here, before anyone leaps in.

j08 Mon 22-Jul-13 13:32:01

At first I thought perhaps he was being ironic. But no.

Bags Mon 22-Jul-13 13:41:31

He was being ironic. Obviously. He's one of the world's most vociferous campaigners against abusers of women.

What needed 'fixing' in the elevator tale? Nothing happened that needed fixing.

Are people saying that a man cannot invite a woman to his room for coffee and have her refuse and walk away?

She was upset that she'd been asked. Why be upset when the man accepted her refusal and left her alone? Isn't that just normal civilised behaviour? What has she to be upset about?

Dawkins is highlighting real problems and getting annoyed with someone who is making a fuss about a non-problem.

What's the word for the female equivalent of misogynist? That Rebecca person seems like one of those. She is whining about a non-event.

Bags Mon 22-Jul-13 13:58:54

The whole point of Dawkins' argument in this story is that he does feel sympathy for muslim women who have been and are being abused and he is doing his utmost, through rational argument, to reduce the problem globally by attacking the culture of female oppression of which the Abrahamic religions have been and in some cases still are guilty.

What was he supposed to say: "Oh, you poor thing to have been propositioned and to have had your refusal politely accepted."

whenim64 Mon 22-Jul-13 14:11:23

I do get her point. Dawkins doesn't take the point that, in certain circumstances, women can feel vulnerable, such as being confined in a lift on the way to a floor of rooms where there will be no staff around, or walking along a poorly lit quiet street at night. If overtures are made by strange men to women in such circumstances, it's difficult to rationlse that the chances are you won't come to any harm. And anyway, why should women have to go through that process of thinking 'am I safe here?'

Men that understand and empathise will not seize opportunities in this way, even if they will accept a rebuff.

j08 Mon 22-Jul-13 14:13:21

Wy did Dawkins have to stick his oar in at all? confused

whenim64 Mon 22-Jul-13 14:14:03

.....oh, and whilst I get Dawkins' ironic words, I think he was callous in the way he used them.

feetlebaum Mon 22-Jul-13 14:26:35

This has been rumbling on for months and months. Rebecca Watson had the temerity to mention the potentially frightening experience - being in a closed vehicle with an unknown man hitting on her - and said 'Guys - don't do that.'

And no - Richard Dawkins was not involved - he merely commented on the hoo-ha that followed.

The 'Men's Rights' trolls, kicked up a vile stink - she deserved to be raped - she was too ugly to rape - all that crap.

I don't think Richard was in full possession of the facts when he responded, doubtless via Twitter. And while we can all see where he was coming from it wasn't logical reply, strangely.

Ophelia Benson, at the 'Butterflies and Wheels' blog has been documenting the harrassment she has been receiving - it's not pretty.

By the way, men like me who don;t consider women to be merely pretty toys who should shut up, get their biscuits in the oven and their buns in the bed, are referred to as 'Manginas' by the Men's Rights shower. (This was actually used in an episode of New Tricks, I have just remembered.)

j08 Mon 22-Jul-13 14:27:27

Rebecca talks about it here 4.34 into video.

I think she has a very good point!

Perhaps Dawkins has more sympathy with the people who made the "comments" on youtube.

j08 Mon 22-Jul-13 14:28:09

Why call her "muslima"? Horrible!

Bags Mon 22-Jul-13 14:54:57

I can see why you think RD's comments callous, when. However, I interpret them as him cutting through the dross and saying it how it is, which is what he does. Judging from the link the OP provided, she didn't really have much, if anything, to complain about, so why was she complaining? Perhaps because of abuse she had received at the hands of men earlier in her life.

I assumed that 'muslima' was a name she chose. I very much doubt if RD would introduce such a name. We really don't have the full story with this link which, it seems to me, was only put there in an anti-RD sort of way – to highlight his forthrightness rather than any actual abuse that took place in the elevator (which appears to amount to none).

RD cannot be blamed for misogynistic remarks by others, such as those to which feetle seems to be referring.

Whatever anyone thinks of RD's debating style, he is not a misogynist. Anyone who thinks so has misunderstood.

Ana Mon 22-Jul-13 15:01:17

I'm puzzled about this. I assumed that the 'Muslima' Dawkins addresses was fictional - not a real person who would have chosen that name.

Ana Mon 22-Jul-13 15:02:54

i.e. he was using the sarky message to 'Muslima' to get his dig in about Rebecca Watson's complaint.

Bags Mon 22-Jul-13 15:09:05

Yes, I'm puzzled now too. I've just been listening to the youtube video to which jings put up a link. What the woman on there says about the elevator incident, at least up to 5:57 minutes into it, seems perfectly reasonable and uncontroversial. She speaks wise words to women on their own and to men who give invitations such as she was given in a lift at 4am. In short, do do that, guys.

What RD said was not in response to that but to something else that arose from this story, possibly the 'rumblings' that feetle mentions.

Bags Mon 22-Jul-13 16:09:22

Because I was puzzled, I investigated a bit. I'm not getting the impression Rebecca Watson is an altogether "nice person".

Here is something I found on Yahoo Q&A (it's from two years ago!):

Q: What do atheists think of the whole Richard Dawkins/Rebecca Watson "elevatorgate" thing?

A: Is this still going on? 

It started annoying me the first time I heard about it. As a woman who has been put in uncomfortable positions by men hitting on me, (no pun intended,) I can understand that it creeped her out a bit. 4 AM, drunk, hit on in an elevator. However, I'd rather be hit on in the elevator of a nice, modern hotel with security cameras everywhere than a few other places I can think of. But seriously, the guy didn't keep on with the asking when she said no. He took a chance, got shot down and dealt with it.

To throw Richard Dawkins under the bus for saying this is a non-issue is insane. For PZ Myers to be claiming this was a potential rape is totally insane. To say that is to say any contact between the opposite sex is a potential rape. 

Watson is militant to the point where she feels the only form of feminism acceptable is misandry. Which in my opinion, is just as bad as misogyny. Not all men are rapists. Most men aren't rapists. For Watson, who after another skeptics conference write that she was so annoyed at a pair of women that she was hoping the moderator would invite them all upstairs for a tickle fight to settle things really has some nerve to be so offended by being hit on. You don't get to objectify if you have issues with being objectified yourself. 

I'm with Dawkins with all of this. There are much bigger problems in the world for us women than being asked for coffee.

Bags Mon 22-Jul-13 16:10:41

I'm not impressed by what appears to be prejudice in the opening post either. Talk about muck-raking to discredit someone!

petallus Mon 22-Jul-13 16:29:44

I've just thought Bags. Maybe you think he was actually just inviting her for coffee. I had assumed he meant sex.

Aka Mon 22-Jul-13 16:34:59

I see exactly where you're coming from bags. In fact I'm getting a bit fed up with women portraying themselves as victims unnecessarily. Let's get strong, save the histrionics and focus instead on genuine victims, which is what RD was saying methinks.

petallus Mon 22-Jul-13 16:36:54

It's interesting that you mention muck-raking Bags. Isn't that what you are doing, looking for unsavoury stuff to discredit this woman?

j08 Mon 22-Jul-13 17:04:08

The woman in the YouTube vid is Rebecca Watkins and she does explain the incident that the whole thing hangs on. Some creep inviting her to his room "for coffee" at 4 am. And that was after a conference re sexism amongst atheists.

j08 Mon 22-Jul-13 17:07:07

She did n' t make a huge thing of it' Dawkins and the like did. And yes, worse things happen to Muslim women but that doesn't mean he can disparage this incident.