TAE and feminism

A place for discussion and feedback regarding the Non-Prophets podcast and/or the Atheist Experience TV show.

TAE and feminism

Postby DjVortex » Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:56 am

I know that this is a heated and controversial topic, and my honest intention is definitely not to start a huge flamewar (although that's unlikely here, seeing how few people are active in this forum, but anyways), so I'll try to keep my views as neutral and civilized as possible. (That doesn't mean my views are extremist and radical and that I'm trying to restrict myself. What I mean is that when writing about this type of subject, it's very easy to poorly express oneself and cause misunderstandings on one's true position, so I'll try to avoid that as much as possible.)

I have noticed that The Atheist Experience crew has a very feminist ideology overall. The (perhaps semi-)official stance is that sexism is rampant (or at least somewhat prevalent) among atheist groups (at least in the US), and that it's a big problem that should be solved.

I was slightly appalled by TAE crew's official stance on the "elevatorgate" fiasco. Rather than doing what they should have done, in other words, take a neutral stance, they strongly and unanimously sided with the feminist party. Of course this only fueled the flamewar between the two extreme positions. (Which, by the way, was probably a case of the two sides talking about different things, yet confusing what the other side was saying. In other words, when the "anti-feminist" party was saying "this situation is ridiculous" referring to the particular example of someone asking someone else for coffee and that someone else overreacting, what the "feminist" party was hearing was "the whole idea of sexism existing among atheists is ridiculous". And of course the other way around.)

The latest TAE blog entry says: "Beth, Jen, Lynnea, and Tracie talk about rape-justifying language, abuse by the religious, and silly sexist videos by the “Amazingâ€
DjVortex
 
Posts: 218
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:45 am

Re: TAE and feminism

Postby JDoran » Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:07 pm

DjVortex wrote:referring to the particular example of someone asking someone else for coffee


Do you regularly get 3am invitations to the hotel rooms of people you just met for NSA coffee? I thought the whole elevator controversy was silly, but I don't doubt that the guy was hoping to get laid.
JDoran
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:10 pm

Re: TAE and feminism

Postby DjVortex » Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:00 am

JDoran wrote:Do you regularly get 3am invitations to the hotel rooms of people you just met for NSA coffee? I thought the whole elevator controversy was silly, but I don't doubt that the guy was hoping to get laid.


Imagine that the situation had been reversed. In other words, if it would have been a woman asking a man at 3am in a hotel elevator "for coffee", and the man refusing and then posting a vlog complaining about it. Would the community reaction have been the same? I don't think so. (The reaction would probably be more like "what a sissy".)

What if it had been a man hitting on another man in the exact same situation and then the "target" would have complained in a vlog how gays are sexist and see other men just as sexual objects. Would the reaction have been the same? I don't think so. (The reaction would probably be more like "what a homophobe".)

But if an outspoken feminist woman complains about a man (possibly) hitting on her, then all hell breaks loose. This is a double standard.

Anyways, my point was not to discuss whether this was a legitimate complaint that deserved such a huge community reaction, but to express my distaste on TAE crew's reaction to it. In my opinion they should have remained neutral rather than showing such a feminist biases. Of course this is just my opinion.
DjVortex
 
Posts: 218
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:45 am

Re: TAE and feminism

Postby JDoran » Thu Jan 26, 2012 2:44 pm

DjVortex wrote:Imagine that the situation had been reversed.


Let's not, because that wasn't the situation. You seem to be trying to obfuscate the event that caused her to post the blog in the first place. You've completely ignored that she'd just given a talk about how more women would get involved in the atheist community if they were treated more like people you want to exchange ideas with and less like people you want to sleep with. Then she (almost certainly) got propositioned by someone who had been there for the talk. He demonstrated exactly the sort of behavior she'd given the talk about and she felt it blog-worthy.

All hell didn't break loose until one of the most prominent members of the atheist community (Dawkins) expressed a similar view to your own, demonstrating that he had his head up his ass in regards to the issue.

In my opinion they should have remained neutral rather than showing such a feminist biases.


Why is it a bias to say that Dawkins is wrong when he was actually wrong?
JDoran
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:10 pm

Re: TAE and feminism

Postby DjVortex » Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:50 pm

JDoran wrote:Let's not, because that wasn't the situation.


Right, "it's not the same thing". If the situation had been the reverse, it would have been completely different.

Aka. a double standard.

Why is it a bias to say that Dawkins is wrong when he was actually wrong?


The irony of that sentence is mind-boggling.
DjVortex
 
Posts: 218
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:45 am

Postby Lausten » Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:50 pm

One thing that gets lost in all this is the really great talk that went on before the event in the elevator. Here is Dawkins in pt 4, but you can roll back to pt 1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nFEJV9ivdg&feature=youtu.be
I don't care much to open the discussion back up because SkepChick did a great job of responding, kept her professionalism while using some great sarcasm and used the event to do some educating for ignorant men.

To the double-standard, situational reversal stuff, the hypothetical reactions you mention would be just as stupid as many of the original reactions. Calling a guy a sissy or a homophobe is completely unproductive and beyond anything nearing the point.
Lausten
 
Posts: 234
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:53 pm
Location: N. Minnesota

Postby DjVortex » Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:23 am

I would like to make clear, that of course there exists sexism among men in atheist communities, sexism that shouldn't exist. And of course it is more prevalent among men toward women than any other possible combination. (Or, more precisely, people acting on their sexist views is more prevalent among men towards women. Ideologies that can be considered sexist is a slightly different topic.)

What is, however, often ignored and seldom discussed is the prevalent sexism and prejudices in the other direction.

If a man asks a woman "for coffee" at 3am in a hotel elevator, it is immediately assumed by everybody that this man is a sexist pig who just wanted a quickie, without knowing what his true motivations were. As I said, if the genders of the two people had been in any way different, but otherwise the situation would be the same, the average attitude of people hearing the story would be completely different. (The majority of people would belittle the "target" for complaining about it in a vlog, rather than thinking that the other person was a sexist pig.) This different attitude depending on the gender of the two people is the very definition of sexism.

In a similar way as racism is considered by most people to be possible only when a white person discriminates against a non-white person, most people consider sexism to be possible only when a male acts like a jackass towards a woman. Any other combinations are never considered sexism (or even if they are, usually significantly less so).

Moreover, if someone disagrees with this popular view, he is automatically assumed to be sexist himself, and doing so just to justify his own behavior and ideologies. It's seldom possible to have a rational discussion about these things without such presumptions immediately being made and prejudices coloring how such text is read. (Curiously, this is very similar to people discussing racism. If someone dares to present dissenting opinions on the prevalence and nature of racism, he is usually immediately assumed to be a racist himself, defending his own prejudices and behavior.)

This can be seen quite clearly when people use expressions like "silly sexist videos" or "he had his head up his ass in regards to the issue".

Lausten wrote:To the double-standard, situational reversal stuff, the hypothetical reactions you mention would be just as stupid as many of the original reactions. Calling a guy a sissy or a homophobe is completely unproductive and beyond anything nearing the point.


Of course. The thing is, these types of attitude are extremely prevalent, but this issue is seldom discussed. (And I didn't mean to say that people would actually respond to such a vlog with those words, although I'm sure some would, but that people would think like that and immediately dismiss the complaint as ridiculous. The reaction to such a video would be completely different.)
DjVortex
 
Posts: 218
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:45 am

Postby Lausten » Fri Jan 27, 2012 3:30 pm

people would think like that

Thanks for being the thought police. FYI; you don't have your finger on the pulse of the American psyche.

That you keep characterizing the situation as "a guy in an elevator at 3am" is your first mistake. There are important details you're skipping. That you dismiss the power relationship is absolutely your worst mistake. By not acknowledging that, most everything else you say is worthless.

These things are discussed quite a bit. Especially men claiming a double standard. It's not that they aren't discussed, it's that they are wrong most of the time when they say "if the situation was reversed" or make similar claims. Just like you are wrong here. Other people have discussed it and figured out it's wrong. It's not that it needs more discussion. You think it needs more discussion because you pre-concluded you are right, since you are being told you are wrong, you want to believe it just needs more discussion.

Go listen to or read Rebecca's posts on the subject. You might learn something.
Lausten
 
Posts: 234
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:53 pm
Location: N. Minnesota

Postby DjVortex » Fri Jan 27, 2012 4:58 pm

I'm sorry, but I can't make head or tails about what you are writing above. You keep repeating "it's wrong", "you are wrong", but you are not saying anything that actually has some substance. This isn't a discussion. This just sounds like putting your fingers into your ears and shouting "you are wrong, you are wrong" over and over (without even saying what exactly is it that I'm wrong about).

you want to believe it just needs more discussion.


It's not the amount of discussion that matters. It's its quality. When the "discussion" consists of ridicule, belittling, sarcasm, prejudiced assumptions and shouting "you are wrong" over and over, that's not a discussion.

Clearly this thread isn't going anywhere.
DjVortex
 
Posts: 218
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:45 am

Postby Lausten » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:59 pm

It's not the amount of discussion that matters. It's its quality.

And when you say something with substance or quality, I will respond to it. I made two points, then a long paragraph about how you are not adding to the discussion, just saying that "it" never gets discussed and "they" don't talk about "that". Then I recommended you go read up on the topic.

If you bring in something that Rebecca said that requires additional discussion, or anything new, I'll gladly discuss it.
Lausten
 
Posts: 234
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:53 pm
Location: N. Minnesota

Postby DjVortex » Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:37 am

Lausten wrote:just saying that "it" never gets discussed and "they" don't talk about "that".


Then perhaps you should read what I have written more carefully, especially my first post, because you are missing my point.

I am complaining about prejudice. I am complaining about such a visible organization as TAE showing it. The "it doesn't get discussed" was a complete sidetracking. You are for some reason clinging to that one thing and missing my main point.
DjVortex
 
Posts: 218
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:45 am

Postby JDoran » Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:32 am

DjVortex wrote:If a man asks a woman "for coffee" at 3am in a hotel elevator, it is immediately assumed by everybody that this man is a sexist pig who just wanted a quickie, without knowing what his true motivations were. As I said, if the genders of the two people had been in any way different, but otherwise the situation would be the same, the average attitude of people hearing the story would be completely different.


I didn't assume that he was a sexist pig. I did assume he wanted a quickie because the description of the event leads me to believe it is much more likely that this is the case. If someone you don't know asks you to their room for coffee at 3 in the morning, it's simply not reasonable to believe that it's really just for coffee. This is regardless of the genders of the people involved.

DjVortex wrote:I am complaining about prejudice. I am complaining about such a visible organization as TAE showing it.


Having not seen anything from the Amazing Atheist nor listened to GB(and you yourself admit that you haven't listened to the podcast, perhaps their arguments would convince you? They appear to have convinced Kazim), I'm endeavoring to explain to you why the one I have ("elevatorgate") is not prejudice.

Why do you think it's reasonable to believe that "elevator guy" had no ulterior motive in his invitation for coffee in his hotel room? If you do happen to think it's reasonable to believe he had an ulterior motive, why do you think that sex is not by far the most likely ulterior motive?

e:
I was looking back through the AE blog posts on the subject and we appear to have the timeline of events for "elevatorgate" wrong:
  • RW attends convention, gets asked by guy in elevator at 4am to come to his room "for coffee"
  • RW gives planned talk at said convention about how people ask why more women don't get involved in atheist community and possible reasons for such, gives examples including elevator event. Also mentions event in her blog. General consesus is that description of event is not angry, more along the lines of "hey guys, don't do this please. Women generally find it uncomfortable"
  • Commentors respond to blog, blow things out of proportion
  • Bloggers respond to commentors, saying they're not getting it
  • Dawkins privately contacts RW, gist of message is "get over it"
  • RW gets upset, responds publicly
  • AE comments on issue, saying "Dawkins shouldn't have said that, but atheist community should explain to him why he's wrong instead of disowning him"
  • Commentors respond to AE blog, blow things out of proportion
  • This thread
JDoran
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:10 pm

Postby Lausten » Sat Jan 28, 2012 2:19 pm

Then perhaps you should read what I have written more carefully, especially my first post, because you are missing my point.

I am complaining about prejudice. I am complaining about such a visible organization as TAE showing it. The "it doesn't get discussed" was a complete sidetracking. You are for some reason clinging to that one thing and missing my main point.

Your "main point" is not that different from what I have focused on. Your labeling of women who ask for respect as "feminist ideologues" is actually worse.

If you are an atheist, how do you feel about religious people who demand that their expressions be respected? And by "expressions" I mean things like demanding the right to post a prayer in a school. When atheists ask for that to stop, they say atheists are trying to force an ideology on them, that atheists should be neutral on the subject, and that we need to discuss it more.

JDoran: My recollection is that the talk came first. This is significant because we can assume that elevator guy should have known that she gave a talk like that, in other words she publicly asked for men to treat women in a way that would encourage them to participate in the movement. I think we can also assume that she was talking about it in the bar at the hotel while the guy was listening. Also a significant detail is that Rebecca said the guy was sitting off to the side and not engaged much in the conversation. When she got up to leave, so did he. Kinda adds to the creepiness factor for me.

It was on her follow-up vlog that she told the story and said, "guys, don't do that."
Lausten
 
Posts: 234
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:53 pm
Location: N. Minnesota

Postby DjVortex » Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:39 am

Lausten wrote:Your labeling of women who ask for respect as "feminist ideologues" is actually worse.


Where have I done that?

What I did say is that it seems that TAE crew has this biased notion that if someone expresses critique of feminism (such as the amazing atheist on youtube), he's automatically labeled as a sexist.

From what I have seen, the amazing atheist advocates gender equality as opposed to feminism, and points out that gender equality problems in western societies go both ways.

See for example these two videos of his:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-Nw3zyYpvs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JA4EPRbWhQ
DjVortex
 
Posts: 218
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:45 am

Postby Lausten » Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:15 pm

DjVortex wrote:Lausten wrote:
Your labeling of women who ask for respect as "feminist ideologues" is actually worse.


Where have I done that?


From your OP:

DjVortex wrote:I have noticed that The Atheist Experience crew has a very feminist ideology overall. The (perhaps semi-)official stance is that sexism is rampant (or at least somewhat prevalent) among atheist groups (at least in the US), and that it's a big problem that should be solved.

I was slightly appalled by TAE crew's official stance on the "elevatorgate" fiasco. Rather than doing what they should have done, in other words, take a neutral stance, they strongly and unanimously sided with the feminist party. Of course this only fueled the flamewar between the two extreme positions.
Lausten
 
Posts: 234
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:53 pm
Location: N. Minnesota

Next

Return to Non-Prophets / Atheist Experience Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron