#NotAllMen and derailing feminist conversations

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#NotAllMen and derailing feminist conversations


Issues Pages: 

I was led to this a topic through an article relating to notallmen, but it also pertained to other aspects of misogyny that warrant discussion so I wasn't sure which it should be in.

Maybe in Not All Men, because it's an example of how fear permeates women's lives.  That is also where I called out the progressive community on their lack of support, and this is pertains to lack of support from the skeptic/atheist community.  But then, I also wanted to do a thread on Women in Tech, and why there are so few women in the gaming industry.  That stretched to include the celluloid ceiling in film, the problem of too few female directors and producers which I came across while exploring the extreme objectification of women in Hollywood. I started the objectification thread because I so often get the message that feminism really isn't needed in the 1st world anymore, especially not privileged white middle-class or rich women feminism.

Feminism has been diverted and channeled into women's issues of poverty and childcare and commercialized "sexual empowerment" through self-objectification, there's that word again.  The reason I started the objectification thread was my need to get back down to basic foundational feminist principles to see how they related to modern female sexual empowerment.  I have lots of other topics that get just as tangled up.

The more I try to focus in on one aspect of misogyny the more caught I am in a never-ending spider web.

There also is the problem of so few feminists members on babble.  It severely limits the development of discussions. Somewhere very recently in the feminist forum a poster said something to the effect that if women aren't drawn to science or whatever why push it?  Nobody took him up on it and I don't blame them. It's exhausting for a handful of feminists to try to teach feminism 101 over and over again. Which brings us full circle to progressive men and feminism. Why are there so few women/feminists on babble? Are women innately unprogressive?

So here it is, what  I didn't know where to put (just realized it also links to my skepticism concerning prostitutes evaluating clients)  


Fourth—and this is important, so listen carefully—when a woman is walking down the street, or on a blind date, or, yes, in an elevator alone, she doesn’t know which group you’re in. You might be the potential best guy ever in the history of history, but there’s no way for her to know that. A fraction of men out there are most definitely not in that group. Which are you? Inside your head you know, but outside your head it’s impossible to.


Here's what happened, boiled down from a video post Skepchick Rebecca Watson made about this (she tells this story starting at 4m30s into the video at that link). Rebecca was a speaker at a conference recently. After her talk and a late evening of socializing with attendees at the bar, she got on an elevator to go to her room. She found herself alone on the elevator with a man presumably also an attendee. He said he "found her very interesting", and would she like to get some coffee in his hotel room? Rebecca turned him down, and in her video talks about how uncomfortable that made her feel.

If the story ended here there would be obvious things to say about it (obvious to me, at least, but not everyone, as will become quite clear). This man may have had nothing but noble intentions, but that doesn't matter. Being alone in an elevator with a man late at night is uncomfortable for any woman, even if the man is silent. But when he hits on her? There's no way to avoid a predatory vibe here, and that's unacceptable.

Pasted from <http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2011/07/05/richard_dawkins_and_male_privilege.html>

I can understand that it's hard for men to truly grasp the woman's point of view here, since men rarely feel in danger of sexual assault. But Jen McCrieght's post, and many others, make it clear that to a woman, being alone on that elevator with that man was a potential threat, and a serious one. You may not be able to just press a button and walk away -- perhaps he has a knife, or a gun, or will simply overpower you. When there's no way to know, you err on the side of safety. And what makes this worse is that most men don't understand this, so women are constantly put into situations ranging from uncomfortable to downright scary.

Put even more simply: this wasn't a guy chewing gum at her. This was a potential sexual assault.

So you may not think anything bad happened to Rebecca on that elevator, but something bad did indeed happen. He didn't have to physically assault her for the situation to be bad. The atmosphere in there was enough to make it bad. And Rebecca was absolutely right to talk about it and raise awareness of it.

Pasted from <http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2011/07/05/richard_dawkins_and_male_privilege.html>

So here we are today. I am a feminist, because skeptics and atheists made me one. Every time I mention, however delicately, a possible issue of misogyny or objectification in our community, the response I get shows me that the problem is much worse than I thought, and so I grow angrier. I knew that eventually I would reach a sort of feminist singularity where I would explode and in my place would rise some kind of Captain Planet-type superhero but for feminists. I believe that day has nearly arrived.

You may recall that I related an incident in which I was propositioned, and I said, “Guys, don’t do that.” Really, that’s what I said. I didn’t call for an end to sex. I didn’t accuse the man in my story of rape. I didn’t say all men are monsters. I said, “Guys, don’t do that.” Cue Richard Dawkins‘ response:


When I started this site, I didn’t call myself a feminist. I had a hazy idea that feminism was a good thing, but it was something that other people worried about, not me. I was living in a time and culture that had transcended the need for feminism, because in my world we were all rational atheists who had thrown off our religious indoctrination so that I could freely make rape jokes without fear of hurting someone who had been raped.

And then I would make a comment about how there could really be more women in the community, and the responses from my fellow skeptics and atheists ranged from “No, they’re not logical like us,” to “Yes, so we can fuck them!” That seemed weird.

Pasted from <http://skepchick.org/2011/07/the-privilege-delusion/>  

Or maybe I should start a thread about how we still need feminism, even white middle class feminism and wealthy feminism. Intersectionality exists but patriarchy is the glue of oppression.