I just thought I’d write a quick post to recommend people listen to the new podcast from Jen and Beagrie called the Anti Social Justice Podcast! It’s an Englishman and a Scotchwoman chatting about things like social justice warriors, Caroline Criado Perez, feminism and all the juicy drama in the skeptic/atheist world, like Elevatorgate and that really bad car crash that has become known as #stupidgate! They are really funny and have a great rhythm, so if like me you love all the drama then you will love this show! :)
Trigger warning: this article discusses Thunderf00t’s rape video, whch is about rape. Therefore, this article mentions rape. If you are triggered by mentions of rape, please don’t read this article because it mentions rape. Please read a different article that doesn’t mention rape.
Thunderf00t, creator of the acclaimed “Why do people laugh at creationists” series and demolisher of Anita Sarkeesian’s “Tropes Vs Women in Videogames”, has made a new video. And it’s bad. Really bad. It’s about rape. I’ve embedded it below:
Before I go on and say what’s wrong with this video, I want to say something about “sides”. I’m a skeptic, I go with the evidence. I often speak out against gender feminists and “social justice warriors” because some of them are attempting to infiltrate the atheist and skeptic movements. Their ideologies clash with evidence, so I try to combat them. However, in this case the evidence is definitely NOT with Thunderf00t, so I’m going to speak out against what he is saying.
The video starts by talking about risk avoidance. In other words, women should be avoiding situations where they may be raped. What Thunderf00t fails to do here, and throughout the video, is make a clear distinction between trying to avoid being a victim of a crime, and who is responsible for committing that crime. Sorry to sound like a social justice warrior, but they do have one thing right: rape is always the fault of the rapist. People are never put in a situation where they have to rape. At 1:56, he says “people have different sexual drives”. That sounds like an excuse for rape to me.
He then goes on to explain what he thinks the “rape spectrum” is (whatever that is), clearly having no idea what consent is. Then he says something at 7:46 that made me want to vomit:
“If you have been raped the most important thing to remember is that it was not your fault”. While this may be mostly true…
“Mostly true”? It’s “mostly true” that it’s not your fault if you get raped? When is it ever remotely true that the victim of rape is at all at fault? Again, it’s the fault of the rapist! Always!
He then starts talking about the psychology of not being a victim, then says something really dumb about wasps, then something about mountain lions. Later on Twitter he talks about a woman who burned herself on a MacDonald’s coffee. I will say this: mountain lions are animals, and a cup of coffee is an inanimate object. Humans can control inanimate objects, and mountain lions are not using free will. Rapists are people, and people choose to rape. Therefore, the blame for rape always lies with the person who makes the concious choice to commit it.
At 13:22 he says “Your choice of clothes is a statement about yourself”. What statement is that? Rape me? Again, it’s about consent man, CONSENT! It’s not a difficult idea. He finishes by once again failing to differentiate between taking precautions and taking blame. It’s really sad to see.
If Thunderf00t reads this, I know what he’ll says. Something like “Is it wrong to tell people to take precautions so they avoid being a victim of crime?”. Well, no it’s not. What IS wrong, is implying that it’s the victim’s fault they got raped because they didn’t take those precautions. That is what Thunderf00t has done in this video, and that’s why this video sucks.
Skeptic Ink Network blogger Justin Vacula is going to the Women in Secularism 2 conference! For some reason (and I’d love to know why) many people are not happy about this, and there is currently a smear campaign against him coming from PZ Myers and Ophelia Benson. Recently, Rebecca Watson has joined in with this tweet:
Just look at the text of Rebecca’s tweet, then compare it to what the picture is of.
Justin Vacula jokes about violence against women in response to women’s concerns about him harassing them at event
How, in the name of skepticism, does the picture (which I’m going to show below) suggest that Justin Vacula is joking about violence against women? All Justin does is point out that the image has made it onto Ophelia Benson’s blog, and that this is part of Ophelia’s “monitoring” of him. There is no joking from Justin at all!
I hope that people will look at the evidence and see that it does not imply that Justin Vacula thinks that violence against women is funny. Rebecca Watson and others who try to smear Justin just look very, very desperate and their petty minded groupthink has to stop!
Patriarchy: noun, A social system in which the father is the head of the family and men have authority over women and children.
The word “patriarchy” gets a lot of use in feminist circles, but the way the word is used is far more complicated that the simple dictionary definition above. In this post, I will take a look at three flavors of patriarchy: “a patriarchy”, “patriarchy” and “the patriarchy”. Although these three terms look identical, there are subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) differences that I would like to make clear! :)
I define “a patriarchy” as any social system where the power of males over females is enshrined in law. This work at all levels. For example, if the father of the family has more power than the mother, and this is in the society’s laws, then that society could be called a patriarchy. If the head of state always has to be a man, for example in Japan, then again, that country can be called a patriarchy.
Patriarchy is a much more general term, applying to social norms rather than anything official. For example, the idea of a “nuclear family” with the man at the head of the house still persists in western culture. The man is expected to get a job and provide for the family, whereas the woman is expected to stay home and look after the children. I personally am against “patriarchy” in this sense, as any entrenched social norms are very bad for people who they don’t apply to. There are countless people in this situation, including families where the woman goes out to work and the man stays behind as a “house husband”. Traditional patriarchal values say that this is wrong, whereas enlightened society says that this is just fine! In fact, patriarchal values are so ingrained that I’ve just called them “traditional”. :/
Anyway, this concept of “patriarchy” is very much present in western society and is rightly stood up to. However the same cannot be said for…
The problem with making “the patriarchy” into a definite article is that it implies that “the patriarchy” is something solid, something that can be found and smashed (or “fucked”, depending on how rude you are!). The problem with this, is that the concept of “the patriarchy” is totally unfalsifiable, and therefore goes against scientific (and therefore skeptical) thinking. If “the patriarchy” exists then where is it? Who runs it? Who needs to be fucked?
The concept of “the patriarchy” is comparable to “the Illuminati”, the shadowy elite who are supposed to be running the world. It’s a conspiratorial way of thinking that can get people angry without having anything to blame their anger on. It can also give people something to blame instead of putting responsibility on themselves. Didn’t get that promotion at the job? You are a woman, so it can’t be that you weren’t as good as the other candidates, it must be because of the patriarchy!
I know others will not agree, but I also see parallels between “the patriarchy” and George Bush’s “War on Terrorism”. In both cases, you have an invisible enemy that can’t be defeated. It is therefore a battle that cannot be won, so a war against it will be perpetual. This means that there will always be something to protest against, as the aims of these protests cannot be realized. In other words, you will always have an enemy to fight if the enemy doesn’t exist!
I think that people need to be clear with their definitions, certainly when it comes to patriarchy. People also need to be good skeptics and constantly analyze their beliefs, and hopefully I’ve convinced a few people that fighting “the patriarchy” is not the right way to go about things, we should instead look to challenge patriarchal values.
However, it should be said that there is no “one size fits all” solution to social conventions. I’m sure some people are fine with the idea of a “patriarchal” family, and they shouldn’t be criticized for buying into it. I say live and let live! :)
There is still a lot of talk in the skeptic community about “harassment”, and what constitutes it. Ophelia Benson claims that people photoshopping her constitutes harassment. In this post, I will show how ridiculous that idea is!
Here is a goat. Lets call him Clive:
Now, lets say for sake of argument that I want to mock Barack Obama. I could do that by putting his head on Clive and putting a crude message on the picture:
Now, according to Ophelia Benson, photoshopping constitutes harassment, so does the above image harass Barack Obama? I don’t think so! :) Let’s apply the same thing to a picture of Ophelia:
Now, who would consider either of the above pictures to be “harassing” of Barack Obama or Ophelia Benson? Only the hypersensitive or the histrionic I guess! :)
Once again Twitter has erupted with rage! This time it’s been caused by this article on the BBC:
The article, published on the BBC Newsbeat website, states that over 17 months, 35 people were charged with crimes relating to false rape allegations. It also features a story from a guy who was falsely accused of rape, and how badly it affected his life. The article concludes with the number for Rape Crisis.
Here is a short selection of outrage:
So what is wrong with the article? According to the mass of feminists on Twitter, it has missed the point of a recent report on rape statistics. UK left wing newspaper The Guardian takes a different approach. They state that the number of false rape allegations are very low, and that police should not dismiss people when they report rape.
The contrast between the two articles is huge, but surely both are correct! Yes, the rate of false allegations is very low, and rape victims should not be deterred from reporting crimes committed against them. However, as with all serious crimes, false rape allegations are very damaging, and should be taken seriously.
So, I come to a big beef I have with the skepchick/freethought blogs people: they have a term called “hyperskepticism”. They think that if someone reports being raped, then they should immediately be believed, and that questioning their claims is “hyperskepticism”. However, this would only make sense if people never lied about being raped. As you can see, the report in the Guardian and the BBC says that false rape allegations do happen!
It is a question of basic, simple justice. Everyone has the right to a fair trial, there needs to be a body of evidence in order to put someone on trial, and everyone is innocent until proven guilty. What you cannot do, is allow someone to point an accusatory finger at someone else, wait for them to say “he raped me” and then throw the accused in jail. All I am calling for is respect for legal process! :)
Rape happens. False allegations of rape also happen. If we want to live in a better world, both need to stop.
PS I’m not putting a “trigger warning” at the start of my posts. If it’s got “rape” in the title then it’s probably about rape! :)
I saw someone on Twitter (sorry, I can’t remember who you are!) asking for a timeline on the recent controversy involving Rebecca Watson’s evolutionary psychology talk, Ed Clint’s analysis of it and Rebecca Watson subsequently calling him a rapist. Well, I thought I’d make one! :) When all the facts are present it really makes Rebecca Watson look like a manipulator who can’t take criticism. :(
Weekend of November 18th 2012
Rebecca Watson, blogger and podcast sidekick, delivers a talk on evolutionary psychology (“How Girls Learned to Shop”) at the Sketicon 5 conference. If you can stomach her smarminess, you can watch it here.
December 1st 2012
Ed Clint, an evolutionary psychlogist who writes on the Skeptic Ink network, writes a very long rebuttal of Rebecca’s talk, going so far as to call it science denialism:
December 3rd 2012
Stephanie Zvan, a blogger at Freethought Blogs, writes in defence of Rebecca, telling us all what she was really talking about:
Chris Hallquist writes a review of Rebecca’s talk and addresses Zvan’s article:
Freethought Blogs kingpin PZ Myers then chips in with his usual series or strawmen and misrepresentations, completely failng to address Ed Clint’s critque.
December 18th 2012
Havng decided to ignore Ed Clint’s critique of her evolutionary psychology talk, Rebecca Watson decides to start blogging again by addressing some responses to a vague tweet she made:
The tweet in question was this:
If you have sex w/ someone who is drunk, they are unable to consent & that is rape.—
Rebecca the Undead (@rebeccawatson) December 17, 2012
Notice how vague this is. When Rebecca says “drunk”, it is very unclear how drunk she means. Does she mean feeling tipsy after a few beers, or unconcious on the bathroom floor? This was addressed by Myk Dowling:
Ed Clint decides to address Rebecca Watson’s ambiguous tweet on his Facebook page:
Rebecca decides to include this in her Skepchick post, even going so far as to include a comment which he later deleted.
So there you are. Rebecca Watson would rather label Ed Clint a rapist than address his criticism of her Skepticon talk. How very academic! :)