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Old 09-17-2011, 09:09 AM
 
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Religion is where the concept of subservient women come from, muslin, christian........ Hide you body you shameful woman, follow 2 steps behind me........... ah yes, sex when ever I want it...... more rules in these holy books written by man..

Another reason to marry an atheist, for she has never been taught that this mystical male daddy figure in the clouds sees her as inferior to man.
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Old 09-17-2011, 04:10 PM
 
Location: Western NC
651 posts, read 1,277,534 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
I was surprised at how easy it was for me to just slip into the 'what's she getting all riled up about' and 'a woman should expect a few approaches' frame of mind rather than try to put myself in their position.
I get what you are saying. I really didn't think the incident was that big of a deal, and neither did Watson, until I started seeing the angry and dismissive reactions from some of the men that indicated that they could not see a woman's perspective even when it was explained over and over. Watson's example illustrated the reasons a woman might feel uncomfortable with unknown men in certain situations. It highlighted a difference in the way that men and women experience the world. The unfortunate reality for most women is that we have to be extra vigilant about rape. Many of these men indicated that they found elevator guy's behavior perfectly acceptable and would continue to approach women in a manner that raises red flags for many women. This behavior is not good for the atheist movement.

This attitude of safety is so ingrained in my mind that I don't even consider it remarkable and I automatically take precautions that might seem silly or offensive to men. In the back of my mind, I'm always assessing my surroundings and try to avoid situations that are known to be risky. An elevator, alone, at night with an unknown man is one such risky situation. In fact, women are often cautioned to avoid getting on an elevator alone with a stranger. So, I get how uncomfortable this made Watson especially with the added come-on.

Recently, I listened to a story about a man that hopped into his car and traveled the country alone. He had no plans, jumped from town to town and relied on strangers to provide him with a place to stay. I thought this sounded like an exciting adventure and wished I could do the same if I wanted. But, I realized that I would never feel safe enough to have the same adventure as that guy. I've talked with my husband about these issues before and at first he didn't understand my position. He doesn't worry that much about walking down a dark street at night alone; he doesn't live in the world where half the population is larger than him and could be a threat; his experiences and fears are fundamentally different from mine. Eventually, he did 'get it' and expressed dismay that women have these concerns.

I understand that some men might view this constant vigilance as offensive as they think 'but I'm not a rapist'. I'll be honest, I wouldn't like to be put in that position either. But, sadly, the reality is that the risk of falsely identifying situations as sketchy vs. misidentifying a sketchy situation as safe is profound.

I speak from experience as I've had an acquaintance drug my drink in an attempt to 'relax' me so that I would have sex with him; luckily I got out of there before anything happened. My acquaintance didn't see anything wrong with his actions; after all, he only wanted to relax me. Even worse, my sister was drugged and date raped this summer. I realize that my experiences represent the extreme end of this problem but you guys need to realize that this extreme behavior is disturbingly common; and, most of the perpetrators are able to justify their behavior. They don't see themselves as rapists; they redefine the behavior as something more acceptable. And, unfortunately, I can't always tell the difference between the good guys and bad guys upon first meeting you. So, we need all of you to understand the subtleties of these issues so that you can help us with this fight.

With all this being said, I want to stress that I'm not exactly consciously focusing on these things or being extremely fearful all the time; it's more of a background awareness that automatically informs my choices.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA
Fact is that being an atheist doesn't turn one into a perfect human bean. People still have the old views and modes of thinking and it's a good chance to lead the way in raising this issue as racism became an issue in the sixties and homophobia in the 70's became issues.
I was guilty of thinking that most atheists men would apply the same rationality to the issue of feminism that they applied to religion. I identify so strongly with atheists and respect fellow atheists so much that I put expectations on them that I shouldn't. This is an emotionally charged issue and I guess these reactions are to be expected. I hope that the guys will be open to education and be able to set their initial emotional reactions aside long enough to see the issues from a different perspective.

I'm not perfect either and it's unfair of me to expect that people automatically see this issue the way I see it. I've been guilty of not understanding issues of groups of people that I did not belong to and even becoming upset at what I felt was unjust attacks on my 'group'. For example, when I was younger, I did not understand issues surrounding racism. I thought that we had dealt with those issues and did not understand the problems that still exist. I felt unjustly attacked for being white and bristled at the term 'white privilege'. After becoming an atheist and dealing with the issues of being a minority group, I now 'get' the concept of privilege and try to check mine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA
it was good thing because it altered views. This is the chance for atheists to apply the rational view to this matter as well. That goes for Dawkins, too. I'm a fan but that doesn't put him beyond criticism.

I was embarrassed at his turning a discussion with a creationist into an ad hom attack rather than explaining where the reasoning was wrong. I saw him being uncompromisingly aggressive with an evolutionary theist. He has misjudged here, too.
Dawkins is usually very good with feminist issues. I don't agree with his comments but I'm not willing to write him off. His contributions in other areas still have value despite his error regarding this situation. I hold hope that he will have his 'consciousness raised'.

Last edited by Maia160; 09-17-2011 at 04:28 PM..
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Old 09-18-2011, 01:52 AM
 
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This is an important issue. It is not enough that reason is applied to religious matters; it should be applied to all matters. We atheists sometimes criticize theists for accepting science and fact - except in the religious area. Atheists should perhaps remove the timber - beam of being reasonable and rational - but only where applied to religion.

It is true as I've said that all one needs to be atheist is lack a god - belief (yep this is relevant folks ) but then we find the subject of the supernatural comes up and the atheist is obliged to apply the same rationale. It follows that we should apply it to everything.

Including morality? We have argued that it isn't from God, isn't absolute and is a concensus. The touchstone is the Golden rule. 'Don't do to others what you wouldn't want them to do to you.'

Many men might welcome a woman propositioning them, but That cartoon (I didn't get the point at the time, but I do now) has a gay in a lift propositioning a guy who evidently isn't. Of course, like a lot of these 'points', once it is made they do not go on to think it through. The guy shouldn't freak out or belt the gay in the eye. A pleasant. 'Sorry, No.' should do. That 'No' should mean 'No'.

But many men might think it means: 'Ok, but I need to be encouraged - with a bit of manhandling if necessary.' That's breaking the Golden Rule and, speaking of him, he does have a point: women expecting that men should know that they must always act like perfect gentlemen are often going to be unpleasantly surprised.

Well, where this is going is that if atheism, if it is to be anything more than a gaggle of lobbyists for having 'In God we trust' removed from the currency, and is hoping to provide a viable alternative society to a theist - derived one with its mix of morals based on a concept of Sin rather than concensus and evolved instincts rather than reason and consideration, then we should perhaps not dismiss this matter as not as important as snarling about ritual clitorectomy and work our way to where a woman can feel comfortable about attending atheist conventions, and even if a man cannot resist the impulse to proposition a chick that really interests him, whether she takes it as a compliment or a threat, she can rely on it that a polite 'Sorry (to disappoint) No', will be an end of the approach.

That sounds like I'm pontificating. I always do. It's the way I write. I am no expert - in anything - and I'm always putting forward ideas open to discussion. Discussion of the matter is invited.
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Old 09-18-2011, 02:45 AM
 
Location: Western NC
651 posts, read 1,277,534 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA
Including morality? We have argued that it isn't from God, isn't absolute and is a concensus. The touchstone is the Golden rule. 'Don't do to others what you wouldn't want them to do to you.'
I'm not a fan or the golden rule as it implies that one's personal preferences apply to everybody. It is a simple touchstone and, in most instances, will probably work. For example, most probably do not want to be treated rudely but I guess exceptions could be found. In those instances, such as flirting and sexual advances, where certain behavior has been mentioned as a problem, we should strive to educate others so that we can avoid these types of conflicts and make others feel comfortable.

As I see it, the problem appears to be due to women receiving boat loads of education on which situations are unsafe and men not receiving this same information. Most men have heard the 'no means no' phrase but haven't been taught the rest. The easiest way I can think to resolve this problem is to raise awareness regarding the types of situations that make many women feel unsafe. This information is needed so that innocent behavior is not interpreted as danger signals. Here's the thing, if a man engages in behavior that rapists commonly engage in, such as isolating a woman, alarm bells are going off for me.

Also, I would like to see our viewpoint not being dismissed so easily. I realize that it is difficult to understand the experiences of others, but we need to find a way to explain these issues so that others get it. This issue is making many women feel unsafe. I've read many accounts of women being followed into dark parking lots after atheist meetings or being propositioned so often that they don't feel like their opinions are valued. Many of these women never went back to these meetings. Or, many women want to go but feel like they need to be in a group to feel safe. This makes it difficult to attend as often these people don't know other atheists to go to these events with and just stay home.

I guess my question is, do we want the atheist movement to be a welcoming place for women?
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Old 09-18-2011, 03:41 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maia160 View Post
I'm not a fan or the golden rule as it implies that one's personal preferences apply to everybody.
Only in the Gospel twist on on it.

"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them" (Matthew 7:12, see also Luke 6:31). The common English phrasing is "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".
The Golden Rule - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This gives an opening of doing to others what you think should be done to them. Eg preaching. If you wouldn't want them preaching a different doctrine to you, don't preach one to them. Thus the Golden Rule applies as expressed in...
An example from (Late Period Egypt) (c. 664 BCE – 323 BCE) papyrus: "That which you hate to be done to you, do not do to another."
Greece "Do not to your neighbor what you would take ill from him." – Pittacus[12] (c. 640–568 BCE) and China "Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself." – Confucius 551 BC – 479 BC) (wiki)
And avoids such imposition BETTER than the twisted version in the Gospels

Quote:
It is a simple touchstone and, in most instances, will probably work. For example, most probably do not want to be treated rudely but I guess exceptions could be found. In those instances, such as flirting and sexual advances, where certain behavior has been mentioned as a problem, we should strive to educate others so that we can avoid these types of conflicts and make others feel comfortable.

As I see it, the problem appears to be due to women receiving boat loads of education on which situations are unsafe and men not receiving this same information. Most men have heard the 'no means no' phrase but haven't been taught the rest. The easiest way I can think to resolve this problem is to raise awareness regarding the types of situations that make many women feel unsafe. This information is needed so that innocent behavior is not interpreted as danger signals. Here's the thing, if a man engages in behavior that rapists commonly engage in, such as isolating a woman, alarm bells are going off for me.
I agree

Quote:
Also, I would like to see our viewpoint not being dismissed so easily. I realize that it is difficult to understand the experiences of others, but we need to find a way to explain these issues so that others get it. This issue is making many women feel unsafe. I've read many accounts of women being followed into dark parking lots after atheist meetings or being propositioned so often that they don't feel like their opinions are valued. Many of these women never went back to these meetings. Or, many women want to go but feel like they need to be in a group to feel safe. This makes it difficult to attend as often these people don't know other atheists to go to these events with and just stay home.

I guess my question is, do we want the atheist movement to be a welcoming place for women?
Sure we do. We have to get that 8% figure up! That's why this discussion is necessary and both wimmin and blokes have to do a bit of thinking.

If I can take a the ball (with a funny face painted on it) and run with it. Suppose women attending atheist or humanist or Skeptic (I am shure that sceptic means something else ) or secularist coventions (Freudian slip there?) Conventions.. or a few others might have a lapel badge ..
"Please do not ask for sexual favors as refusal often offends." (I see these as being first tried out in the US and then if it makes money we'll have a version for marketing in the UK)

The men needn't whine in aggrieved innocence. When they invite an interesting chick in for coffee, Arabica is the last thing on their mind. The positive side would be when a chick gives you a smile and then slips her badge into her dress top.

Now THAT'S what I call female empowerment.
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Old 09-18-2011, 09:19 AM
 
Location: OKC
5,426 posts, read 5,733,662 times
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The "no means no" rule is considerably harder in a world where "playing hard to get" is a tool of seduction.

In a perfect world there would only be "no" or "yes", and not a third category of "no initially, but yes eventually."

In no way do I mean to blame women, but I'm only pointing out that sometimes even women don't mean no when they say no, they only mean they don't want to appear to easy.

Of course my information is dated, having been married for a long long time. Maybe no one does that anymore.
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Old 09-18-2011, 01:40 PM
 
Location: Western NC
651 posts, read 1,277,534 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA
Sure we do. We have to get that 8% figure up! That's why this discussion is necessary and both wimmin and blokes have to do a bit of thinking.
Good to hear! But, I had no fears that you would say no as you are helping find solutions. My question was directed to the general audience (if we have one, lol!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA
If I can take a the ball (with a funny face painted on it) and run with it. Suppose women attending atheist or humanist or Skeptic (I am shure that sceptic means something else ) or secularist coventions (Freudian slip there?) Conventions.. or a few others might have a lapel badge ..
"Please do not ask for sexual favors as refusal often offends." (I see these as being first tried out in the US and then if it makes money we'll have a version for marketing in the UK)

The men needn't whine in aggrieved innocence. When they invite an interesting chick in for coffee, Arabica is the last thing on their mind. The positive side would be when a chick gives you a smile and then slips her badge into her dress top.

Now THAT'S what I call female empowerment.
ha! You might be on to something! Patent that idea, quick! (hey, I heard that someone even got a patent for how to make toast so I'm sure it's possible!)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
The "no means no" rule is considerably harder in a world where "playing hard to get" is a tool of seduction.

In a perfect world there would only be "no" or "yes", and not a third category of "no initially, but yes eventually."

In no way do I mean to blame women, but I'm only pointing out that sometimes even women don't mean no when they say no, they only mean they don't want to appear to easy.

Of course my information is dated, having been married for a long long time. Maybe no one does that anymore.
I'll probably be labeled a bad feminist for saying this, but I agree that these situations can be murky and this behavior by women is confusing. When I was a young 'good' christian I engaged in these games so that I wouldn't be labeled as a 'bad' christian. 'No means no' is a simple rule of thumb but it doesn't address context. I'd advise erring on the side of caution; some women might be playing games but other women might eventually submit as they feel like they just need to get the inevitable over with and avoid as much harm as possible. And for the women, we really gotta' stop this behavior! Sex positive ladies, no need for shame!

So, next up, I'm going to put together the information that women are taught. I've been talking education so I might as well do my part. I already know of a few good articles with this information that are aimed at men but I've noticed that a lot of the guys complain that they come across as condescending. So, I'm going to try to avoid that tone. I don't want to alienate anybody as I want to gain allies.

ETA: In fact, I would appreciate a male's perspective on this 'guide' before I post it so I can avoid any pitfalls! Any volunteers?

Last edited by Maia160; 09-18-2011 at 02:06 PM..
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Old 09-24-2011, 10:23 AM
 
Location: Bronx
16,256 posts, read 18,725,447 times
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As an athiest myself I find it hard for women to be attracted to me because of faith. Women tend to be more spirtual then men for some reason. This is the reason why there is a lack of female athiests.
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Old 09-25-2011, 01:56 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maia160 View Post
I'll probably be labeled a bad feminist for saying this, but I agree that these situations can be murky and this behavior by women is confusing. When I was a young 'good' christian I engaged in these games so that I wouldn't be labeled as a 'bad' christian. 'No means no' is a simple rule of thumb but it doesn't address context. I'd advise erring on the side of caution; some women might be playing games but other women might eventually submit as they feel like they just need to get the inevitable over with and avoid as much harm as possible. And for the women, we really gotta' stop this behavior! Sex positive ladies, no need for shame!

So, next up, I'm going to put together the information that women are taught. I've been talking education so I might as well do my part. I already know of a few good articles with this information that are aimed at men but I've noticed that a lot of the guys complain that they come across as condescending. So, I'm going to try to avoid that tone. I don't want to alienate anybody as I want to gain allies.

ETA: In fact, I would appreciate a male's perspective on this 'guide' before I post it so I can avoid any pitfalls! Any volunteers?
Volunteer. If only that it might make me think. It was well pointed out that 'hard to get' is part of the game and 'playing with a straight bat you gels' takes all the fun out of it. But something has to be done or we are going to get this problem all the time.

It's the old problem of trying to rub along with a lot of instinctive behaviour mixed up with a ragbag of inherited customs and it leads to problem everywhere. Men are as much to blame or more since they tend to be the predators. Or Tom cats.

You, O admirable Maia, are a perfectly good feminist (as I try to be - don't tell me men can't join) and the only feminists that would find fault with trying to find solutions to this problem rather than just keep men totally confused are the man-bashers, frankly. While I utterly endorse feminism, I disapprove of man - bashing. It's irrational and it causes bruises.
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Old 09-25-2011, 11:10 AM
 
Location: Bellingham, WA
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Strictly trying to put myself in the elevator-guy's shoes, and trying to imagine what on earth he was thinking, I believe I can start to understand why he may have done what he did. Depending on where you live, being an atheist can mean being completely alone in your ideology. It's not terribly hard to hide it from friends and coworkers, or depending on how open-minded they are, to be upfront but polite about it. Only the most uptight theists will be unable to work with you after discovering your atheism, and many would probably still be friends with you (maybe). But a romantic relationship? That could be much more difficult. Sure, it's possible, but most people on either side are likely to avoid it. So it's not really surprising that this guy, alone in an elevator with an attractive woman who is an outspoken atheist, may decide he might as well give it a shot. Heck, she may be the first atheist woman he's ever met! Granted if it were me, I wouldn't have taken it in that direction because a) I'd probably assume she wouldn't be interested anyway, and b) The awkwardness after the rejection wouldn't be worth it. But hey, maybe this guy was simply a lot bolder and more confident than me, and figured he had no reason not to at least try, since he possibly rarely, if ever meets atheist women.

Of course, as Maia explained, it changes when you try to look at it from a woman's point of view (and I stress the word "try"). If I were alone with a woman in an elevator at 4am in another country, my only thought would probably be, "Should I say anything to break the awkward silence, or would that be even more awkward?" By the time I finished debating that in my head, one of us would likely have gotten off the elevator already. If I were the woman, especially if the man happened to be quite a bit larger than me, I think I'd be apprehensive as well. Maybe not actually frightened by default, but certainly not entirely at ease. If the guy started talking to me casually, that might actually help as long as he didn't give off a creepy vibe. But if he invited me back to his apartment (within the short span of an elevator ride, mind you) then, yes, I'd be a little freaked out. If I say "no" will he get angry? What if he stops the elevator? What if he has a gun? I can see how it would be a very bad situation for the lady. My first instinct is to think, "Yeah, but most men aren't going to rape a woman." But would most men proposition a woman in an elevator at 4am? I don't know, but if I were the woman, that alone would be odd enough to make me question if the guy was "normal".
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