I find it profound and startling that within the Atheist community a war is raging. I am a feminist, first off. I believe all women should hold the same standing in our nations. I don’t believe it is okay to beat, stone, abuse and subjugate women because of their predetermined sex. I am all for women having all say over their reproductive rights. I am also for women walking down the street and feeling safe. So now that you know where I stand, let me tell you where I don’t stand.
I don’t believe that women should be above men. After all we are not out to vilify them to the point of disgrace. I am not for, and don’t believe in making men feel bad that they were born the opposite sex. I don’t believe it is okay for women to make them out to be sex crazed monsters waiting to rape us every second. That is as irrational as the Muslim point of view. I don’t believe that sexual harassment is being asked out on a date, for a drink, of coffee, or is telling you that you are pretty.
Look I can understand Ms. Watson might have been afraid. She is a small woman, and being alone with a guy she feels may have some advantage over her, could be scary, but lets get real. This poor guy is now being treated as some huge, looming monster, and a sex offender who plotted to sexually harass a woman in an elevator. That is the drama teenagers deal with. We are beyond being teenagers, right? Being in an elevator and being asked for drinks equates, in my personal thinking, to just being asked. I am sure this person would have been uncomfortable having their ego crushed in front of everyone. I would not want my rejection made public, and I can’t imagine a guy who would. On another note personal safety can be an issue for public personalities.
This could have been handled better, and more discretely. The proper way would have been to address these issues with the people in charge of managing the convention. This would have left the atheist public in general out of the mix, and been resolved in an adult manner with all involved parties understanding where they stand. I can accept that sexual harassment happens everywhere. But I will not address this particular situation as that. If she had been twice his size, if it had been a woman, if many factors were different then I am sure this would not be treated the same way. This places a hard unwarranted burden on each gender.
Are we so irrational as feminists that now men must approach us under our designated environment, in a way that is feminist approved to ask in a gender neutral way for us to possibly, maybe bless them with the opportunity of being within the same building and perhaps drinking a beverage with us, and at some point approaching us to, perhaps see it we like them. The rules being violated here is the leverage of woman power. Feminism was supposed to bring us out of being seen as the weaker sex. It was supposed to take us from kitchen staff, and cleaning crew to leaders of our community, and strong independent women. What this sounds like is a small scared woman, who is powerless, and defenseless being abused by some big perp. On his behalf I find that offensive, and on her behalf I find it offensive to be seen as female/victim.
I have seen the comments made by some members of the community. It seems that while we should be trying to repair the rift it has caused, it is only getting wider. Now it may have seemed a bit insensitive the way Dr. Dawkins approached it, but in reality this man sees the kind of tragedies we can take for granted. He deals with the kind of thinking that gets people killed for being atheists and dealing with extremists. So perhaps he finds other issues more important, and this a bit on the level of juvenile. It is also offensive to see women calling other women feminazi’s. Well, I must be a bit jaded because I have been called a man hater, and such but didn’t go out of my way to start a blog war. Being called a feminazi to me equates to not living by someones gender bias, and “knowing my role in the kitchen.” Other than that, it does not hurt me. People are free to believe what they want, and becoming overly sensitive and dismissing more important topics in our community over such a ridiculous word is an absurdity.
I guess I stand by PZ Meyers, and Dawkins here, but I don’t dismiss the ladies parts. We knew coming into a community which had been male dominated it would be a fight to climb, unite and bring women in. However; by dividing them and scaring them that we are a community of overly sensitive, man bashing, female warriors looking to overthrow men will not aid in our goals. The women have been making good progress forward, and we need to continue. Our focus should not be on how we can force men to be submissive to us but stand beside them. What we need it so be stronger. I have dealt with many men in the atheist community, and they have feelings too. It is not okay to tell them that they are not allowed to express themselves, or force them to hide their emotions, or dismiss them based on gender. Equally we don’t have to accept abuse.
I give much respect to the men and women out there doing the hard work of changing minds and reaching people. It is a struggle I also know, but I refuse to be seen as a weak member of my community. I refuse to be valued less than men, or be treated as needing protection from them. I want to see us unite on common ground and set the rules for what suits us all. We do not need this battle in our community and if all parties involved are as mature as they ought to be then there should be a consensus of minds as to what we expect for all of us. Men can be harassed as well as ladies, and we should approach the reality of harassment as dignified adults. Anything less than that is just unacceptable.