Politics
Monday May 21, 2018

 

 

 

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Rebecca Watson, founder of Skepchick.org, has found herself in the middle of a maelstrom of controversy. Charged language, sarcasm and accusations of obtuseness abound as this drama continues to unfold on the blogosphere. Major Players include, Watson herself, Jen McCreight, PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins to name a few.

But what has caused all this uproar?

Apparently, it all started because of an eight minute video where Watson chose to illustrate a point by recounting an incident that happened to her in Dublin. On the day of the incident, she had  given a lecture on Feminism and the Atheist Community  earlier as part of a panel discussion. She was touching on how to get more women involved in Atheism and Skepticism. Later, she annouced that she was tired and going to bed. An unfamiliar man then followed her into an elevator and invited her back into his hotel room for coffee.

Here's what she said, verbatim.

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.

This was enough to send bloggers and prominent figures aflurry. One such person was Richard Dawkins, who responded to the incident with sarcasm.

Dear Muslima

Stop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you had your genitals mutilated with a razor blade, and . . . yawn . . . don’t tell me yet again, I know you aren’t allowed to drive a car, and you can’t leave the house without a male relative, and your husband is allowed to beat you, and you’ll be stoned to death if you commit adultery. But stop whining, will you. Think of the suffering your poor American sisters have to put up with.

Only this week I heard of one, she calls herself Skep”chick”, and do you know what happened to her? A man in a hotel elevator invited her back to his room for coffee. I am not exaggerating. He really did. He invited her back to his room for coffee. Of course she said no, and of course he didn’t lay a finger on her, but even so . . .

And you, Muslima, think you have misogyny to complain about! For goodness sake grow up, or at least grow a thicker skin.

Richard

This action by Dawkins escalated the attention this situation was receiving. From BlagHag to Pharyngula it seems every prominent atheist/ skeptic blogger has an opinion on this.

Earlier today, Rebecca responded to Dawkins' statement in a blog post entitled, The Privilege Delusion:

 "…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! "

She also seems to be personally boycotting Dawkins, and many are following suit.

So many of you voiced what I had already been thinking: that this person who I always admired for his intelligence and compassion does not care about my experiences as an atheist woman and therefore will no longer be rewarded with my money, my praise, or my attention. I will no longer recommend his books to others, buy them as presents, or buy them for my own library. I will not attend his lectures or recommend that others do the same. There are so many great scientists and thinkers out there that I don’t think my reading list will suffer.

This recent turn of events has brought to light an issue that has been bubbling underneath the surface of the Atheist/Skeptic movements for some time now: are women being valued as an important part of these communities? Are women's issues taking a prominent enough place? We here at Godlessliberals.com would like to know what your opinions are on this situation, what you think  the implications are for the various communities involved, and what steps should be taken, if any, to adress these issues.

            

Watson's Lecture Starts at 2:20

 

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