Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Over at Freethoughtblogs.com, Ophelia Benson responds to some more comments about the Rebecca Watson situation wherein she was propositioned by a guy in an elevator in the middle of the night and then publicly said that it made her uncomfortable. I'm still absolutely amazed that this is a "thing", because her comments seemed to me perfectly reasonable, but some people think it makes her crazy (among other things).

On Ophelia's blog, she posts the guy saying:

The solution to such ambiguity is simple – as a way forward, women who attend atheist-skeptic conferences that are absolutely certain they don’t want to be hit on should wear a clearly visible “do not proposition me” sign on their backs. If not, maybe a colour-code can be designated for such women by the event organisers – let’s say, red – and then it could be announced that all women wearing red clothes should not be propositioned or approached by strangers. But will they do this? Most probably not. They will, in all likelihood,  protest that it should not be incumbent upon them to make clear to others not to hit on them – yet at the same time they want to be in a public conference where human beings, the highly sexual creatures they are, are freely interacting.

Okay, so first off: really? A highly visible symbol? Like a colour? Or maybe a symbol like a pink triangle or star of david? A red letter, perhaps? But that's clearly a strawman (see what feminism gets you? NAZIS! Be careful how much equality you ask for, ladies, or else it's the holocaust all over again!!).

What really bugs me, really, really, REALLY bugs me is this implication that men are completely helpless when it comes to our penises. How dare women expect to be unharrassed in PUBLIC, where men with our uncontrollable sex urges are forced to try to decypher the complicated, ambiguous concept of not hitting on women when it's not appropriate.

It's ridiculous and offensive and it's everywhere. I mean, look, people make mistakes. We're animals, after all, and our brains are awash in presumably-useful hormones and neurotransmitters and whatnot that fairly often make rational decision making difficult or impossible. I've done stuff I regret, probably some of it because I was horny, or drunk, or skipped breakfast or something. But there's nothing in those regretful incidents where I can say "It's because I'm a MAN!!" and I sure as heck had to face consequences the morning after.

If a guy has trouble behaving himself, it's because the guy has a problem, not because he has testicles. I wish people would stop playing up the differences between men an women as if they were inescapable, natural, and true....because whenever we start to turn a skeptical eye on these differences, the importance of culture and "nurture" and one's environment starts to loom ever bigger. Bad behaviour is because someone fucked up, not because they "couldn't help themselves". Rape isn't a problem because boys will be boys, it's because some boys are assholes, and they ought to be treated as such.

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