Once again comparing false rape accusations to actual rape.

Redditors insist that being accused of rape is just as bas or worse as being raped

I had a discussion on this issue again on reddit. I thought I’d repost my comments here. Unfortunately the person I was talking to deleted their comments, but I’ve quoted a part of it. Basically that person claimed that they had both been raped and been falsely accused of rape and both scarred them deeply. They were using their personal experiences to argue that false rape accusations can be just as bad as being raped. So I wrote

Were you convicted? Same thing can happen for being convicted of murder, or any other serious crime.

Not to mention that this is not necessarily what happens to all who are accused of rape. Much of the time, the rape victim is not believed at all, their tale trivialized, or they are victim-blamed.

Yes, it sucks to be considered guilty for something you didn’t do. If there’s enough evidence to convict you, it can totally ruin a life and nobody deserves that. But accusing someone of rape is nothing compared to being raped.

Simply being falsely accused does not always lead to anything bad happening. Being raped always leaves permanent scars.

The basic point is that the results of fale accusation and rapes always vary. Some victims might take it better than others. But rape, on average, has far far worse results and occurs with far higher frequency.

Finally, within the current system there is a kind of zero sum effect between false rape accusations and actual rapes. We’re still at a point in time where many kind of rapes are not considered “rape-rape” (as some clueless media personas have called it) and there’s still a huge amount of rapes that don’t see justice because the victim was afraid to come out for fear of being accused and victim blamed. By making the culture more focused on false-rape accusations (i.e. more skeptic towards accusations of rape), is just going to make victim blaming even worse and thus more women are unlikely to even come out.

There is no perfect solution within the sociopolitical system we live in (which is why, and others, are rather radical about the change we need to have). But until then, I find it absurd to compare something that happens to something like 0.5% (or was it 0.05%? fairly small anyway as it only affects around 2%-8% of rape accusations) of males and has on average very little consequences, to something that happens to 15%-25% (statistic vary, but it’s a fucking lot) of females, causes horrible psychological damage, and is so permeating that it affects the lives of all females, without it ever happening to them, simply due to the fear that it might.

They replied to that comment with parts I quoted when I responded.

sad but true that an accusation is basically the same as a conviction in the eyes of everyone around you when it comes to rape

That’s just not true. I guess it depends on who you hang out with but this attitude is definitelly not generic.

I’d say that the SOCIAL consequences of a false accusation are at least as bad if not worse as those of being raped, and the potential exists for someone’s life to be destroyed just as fully if not moreso (thanks to the lack of support/resources) as someone who was raped.

Again, that’s just not true and I haven’t seen any study showing that this is anywhere near common.

OTOH, there’s never a loss for cases of rape accusations (true of false) where the accused didn’t have any problems from it.

Yes, the potential is there, but having a potential for a false rape (or murder, or theft) accusation to turn out horrid is not a guarantee. But every rape turns out on a scale of horrid.

Everything I know about feminism I learned on reddit

MRAs are hilarious. We just write down things that they say.

a user in /r/ShitRedditSays (/r/SRS for short) has created a sort of Hall of Fame of quotes from men’s rights “activists” on reddit who presume to define feminism and feminists. In their own words:

How do magnets work? What makes the sky blue? What are the Olay seven signs of ageing? These are just a few of the questions science has yet to answer. But by far the biggest mystery of all is feminism. What is it? Who subscribes to it? And what does it portend? Until comparatively recently science had no answers to these difficult questions. But now, thanks to the combined collective wisdom of reddit, its Byzantine intricacies have been unravelled. In this thread, I will present the sum of reddit’s expansive knowledge on feminism. And as you might expect, most of the quotes below are indeed from the people who talk about feminism more than any other group on earth: mens rights advocates!

The results are hilarious, and not at all surprising for anyone who has spent a minuscule amount of time arguing from a feminist perspective on reddit. And don’t think that the quotes themselves are hard to find or anything. According to the OP, it took a couple of hours to create this huge-ass compilation of redditry, just by doing a fairly simple search for the “feminism” keyword. This is because it’s MRA that like to talk about the term itself, while actual feminists discuss the actual sociopolitical issues.

Some choice quotes to give you an idea:

  • Misandrist feminists want gender based apartheid, and the male population culled to lest than 10%
  • They sure do love their homosexuals, those feminists…
  • Feminism will not fight for men because its very purpose is to fight AGAINST men. How much more evidence do the men here need that feminism hates you?
  • Feminism IS the system
  • Feminism has ALWAYS been about promoting the needs of women above those of men.
  • feminism taken to it’s logical conclusion: Oppression everywhere you look. Paranoia and suspicion about every word you hear. The patriarchy is out to get you. Women are oppressed by evil men with impunity. Big Father is watching you. Big Father will rape you. Your only function as a woman in this “patriarchy” is to be raped and killed. Women have been so brainwashed by the patriarchy that they can never be free. The only solution – the final solution – is to remove the male from the planet and cut out the cancer before it kills you. Do you want to be free? You’re not free. You’ll never be free. The only path to freedom is to destroy the male that keeps you down. 77 cents on the dollar. 1 in 4. Rape, rape and more rape. Everything, everywhere is rape. Rape is around every corner. Sexism spews from the mouths of everyone around you. Look what men have done to you. Look how they hold you back. There’s not enough female electrical engineers because the patriarchy holds them back. You could rule the world. You DESERVE to rule the world. If women ruled the world there would be no war, there would be no sickness, there would be no pollution, there would be no discrimination, the would be no hate. If women ruled the world all the problems would be solved – forever! Doesn’t the world deserve better than what MEN can give it? Don’t you see how men everywhere are nothing more than a disgusting cancer rotting our world from the inside out? Don’t you see it makes sense that men and masculinity should be destroyed? Don’t you??!!

And that’s just the tip of the penis iceberg. Take a gander yourself and laugh your heart out.

/inb4 MRAs tell me how they find nothing funny or questionable about these quotes.


Criticizing authors based on the characters

I just read this post and while it makes some compelling points I’m not sure I agree with the author completely. Is it accurate to do a reverse psychology on an storyteller based on the flaws of the protagonists they’re making?

While I can understand the various story fails that Buffy and Firefly has, I can also understand that a story cannot have perfect characters. If Whendon was just designing flawless women all the time, it would just not make very compelling stories and people would rightly call him out for it. And if you’re going to have a flawed but empowered female character, she’s allowed to be flawed in her empowerment.

In the Firefly case for example, the author criticizes Inara for failing at her own empowerment at times, but doesn’t this make for a compelling story? Sure, Mal “saves” her (and it’s arguable that Inara didn’t need his help), but in the end she has to save him in turn from his own stupidity.

So yeah, Mal is very flawed, and Inara as well (albeit less so imho), but I’m not sure I’d characterize Whendon from the personality of such characters and particularly Inara’s story, especially when there’s others like Zoe who are nothing like Inara and don’t need any such help (and in fact end up saving Mal and her own husband more than once).

I’m also concerned about the “key points” for “Nice Guys” that the author is making. I used to be a Nice Guy and I never thought, for example, that “Men Are Evil, Male Sexuality is Evil“. Not even close. In face, I do not believe I held any of those Key Points as true in my Nice Guy phase. Rather, I was just very shy, inexperienced and awkward with females and my shyness was preventing me from making clear that I wanted a sexual relation, thus ending up bypassing it.

Perhaps I wasn’t the kind of Nice Guy the author is talking about as my phase only lasted until my early twenties, but given how little the Nice Guy Key Points describe my former self, I’m not keen on accepting them at face value.

Introducing the Confederation of Anarchist Reddits

/r/Anarchism attempts to confederate all the Anarchist communities of reddit. Lets see how this experiment works.

Exciting A Black flag and the 8 tendencies of anarchism in the form of bi-coloured stars, surrounding the all-black "Anarchism without Adjectives" star. Below it "reddit" is written.news everyone!

We implemented a new initiative yesterday at /r/Anarchism, meant to promote solidarity between the various disconnected anarchism subreddits: The Confederation of Anarchist Reddits.

The idea is very simple: Using Reddit’s built-in functionality to combine multiple subreddits on the same page, we create an aggregated page including all the known Anarchist subreddits. This means that someone can simply visit that page and get an overview of news from all subreddits, even if not subscribed to each individual one. Then we put a nice link on the header of each reddit (although that’s optional) which is meant to grab people’s attention and get them to visit the aggregated page.

In the end, we’ve settled to the following look:

And clicking on the link, takes you to this page.

As you can see if you visit it, you see the latest posts coming up in all the subreddits as well as a list of the subreddits in the confederation on the sidebar. Now people can simply open new browser tabs for each article of interest and vote on everything discussed in all the anarchist reddits.

Now you might ask, what’s the point? Doesn’t every individual user have the capacity to fine tune their subscriptions to any subreddits they want? Well, yes they do, but the confederation is there to serve a slightly different purpose. The benefits I see coming from it are the following

  • It allows new people to discover the anarchist community of reddit at one-stop and also provides them with a launching pad into reddit they can bookmark and visit. It also saves someone from subscribing to a dozen low-traffic reddits they’re only marginally interested in, and cluttering up their subscription list.
  • Because of the above benefit, people who wouldn’t otherwise subscribe to a dozen different anarchist subreddits, can now still be exposed to them via the aggregated page and ideas/news which they might otherwise miss, might grab their attention. Hopefully, this will lead to a sort of “cross-pollination” of ideas between the various subreddits.
  • Because of the common link and the implicit sending of traffic towards the smaller subreddits, I hope that solidarity will be improved in between the various fragmented communities. In the end, we’re all part of the same movement and significantly outnumbered so it pays to remind and reinforce our common ideological bonds.
  • It allows each subreddit to tailor its moderation policies to suits its own style. You see we have various perspectives on how a reddit needs to deal with anything from Trolls to Fascist Agitators to MRAs. In fact, the difference of opinion on the moderation policies were the primary reason for /r/Anarchism’s Great ShitStorm of 2010. So /r/anarchism has now settled in a somewhat active moderation against oppressive speech. However, many other people don’t feel the same way and a few have gone ahead an opened reddits which follow their own perspective. From janitorial moderation of /r/anarchist, to no moderation of /r/blackflag.
    Unfortunately, because /r/anarchism is the largest and most visible subreddit of them all ((To the point that we’re the 9th link in google for the search term “anarchism”)) many people argue for their own preferred style of (non-)moderation in /r/anarchism still and refuse to simply move to another anarchist reddit because /r/anarchism is the most big and active one. And that makes sense, as it’s almost as a voluntary ostracism to remove yourself like so.
    The confederation aims to bring the best of both worlds. Now each subreddit can choose the moderation style they prefer best and at the same time get the benefit of the larger community which uses the confederation aggregation as their starting point in reddit’s anarchist community. This means that even if what someone thinks is a perfectly legitimate post about “National Anarchism” was removed from /r/anarchism outright, they can still visit /r/blackflag and post it there. They will probably still get downvoted into oblivion now that the larger anarchist community can see such the post of course, but at least they will have less a reason to troll and complain that those nasty “authoritarians” of /r/anarchism censor them.
  • In the same vein, people who are not interested in reddits which do not moderate, retain the capacity to personally customize the aggregation so as to remove loosely moderated reddits altogether. So if /r/anarchist starts getting flooded by Men’s Rights, eventually many anarchists will simply remove the reddit from view and in a way, “organically” ostracize it from their collective attention.
  • It will allow smaller subreddits to gain some instant traction since their new posts will appear automatically at the view people who are using the confederation. So if Bob creates a niche subreddit about guerrilla gardening for example,  they can still take advantage of the larger anarchist community, even if their post introducing people to it is downvoted into oblivion. Even if they don’t advertise at all and merely start posting interesting articles.
  • It naturally presents a core point in action, to outsiders to anarchism: that is the principle of federation between anarchist communities, thus showing how we value both communities of a common mind, and expression of individuality between communities.

These are just the initial benefits I can see coming from it. I’m excited to see how it will morph and develop in the future. I’ve already informed the community and most other subreddits I initially added and reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, even from critics of /r/anarchism’s moderation.

What do you think of it?

MRA lulz of the day

In this discussion, I am talking to a completely culturally illiterate MRA who insists, INSISTS, that asking a lone woman you do not know to come to your room for coffee, at 4 in the morning is definitelly not an euphemism for casual sex.  Oh no. That’s just a particular feminist interpretation to make guys look creepy.

It doesn’t matter how clearly and patiently basic social nuances are explained to them, they don’t get it. So in the end, I suggested to actually go out and ask 10 different females what they would think about such a coffee request. The answer I received was just too good not to share it with the rest of you.

Some would certainly think it was strange and indeed it is, but it’s unlikely they would assume it was propositioning them for sex. Indeed I would think it was strange if a woman would do the same to me, but I would not assume it was propositioning me for sex.

Queue jawdrop.

The fact that they just assume what females would reply (which naturally is what they expect) is just…golden. By itself, this reply showcases just how male privilege works. Not only is the actual female perspective dismissed, but it’s just assumed based on the male perspective.

I may be ageist by thinking this, but does anyone else think it’s even slightly possible that this poster is not a socially awkward teenager? I just can’t accept that a full grown adult with actual social experience with females can be that deliberately obtuse. MRAs might overwhelmingly be scum, but at least they do understand social nuances.

In fact, if a woman accepted such a proposition in good faith and got raped in that stranger’s room, MRAs would be the first to call it a false rape accusation because of course she must have known it was about sex in the first place.

WTF Dawkins? What the flying fuck?!

Dawkins says some stupifyingly derailing shit.

Sean Prophet mentioned at a post in Facebook the following comment that Richard Dawkins supposedly left at PZ Myers’ excellent defence of Rebecca Watson.

Dear Muslima
Stop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you had your genitals mutilated with a razor blade, and . . . yawn . . . don’t tell me yet again, I know you aren’t allowed to drive a car, and you can’t leave the house without a male relative, and your husband is allowed to beat you, and you’ll be stoned to death if you commit adultery. But stop whining, will you. Think of the suffering your poor American sisters have to put up with.

Only this week I heard of one, she calls herself Skep”chick”, and do you know what happened to her? A man in a hotel elevator invited her back to his room for coffee. I am not exaggerating. He really did. He invited her back to his room for coffee. Of course she said no, and of course he didn’t lay a finger on her, but even so . . .

And you, Muslima, think you have misogyny to complain about! For goodness sake grow up, or at least grow a thicker skin.


He was then called on it

Did you just make the argument that, since worse things are happening somewhere else, we have no right to try to fix things closer to home?

And replied with more derailment.

No I wasn’t making that argument. Here’s the argument I was making. The man in the elevator didn’t physically touch her, didn’t attempt to bar her way out of the elevator, didn’t even use foul language at her. He spoke some words to her. Just words. She no doubt replied with words. That was that. Words. Only words, and apparently quite polite words at that.

If she felt his behaviour was creepy, that was her privilege, just as it was the Catholics’ privilege to feel offended and hurt when PZ nailed the cracker. PZ didn’t physically strike any Catholics. All he did was nail a wafer, and he was absolutely right to do so because the heightened value of the wafer was a fantasy in the minds of the offended Catholics. Similarly, Rebecca’s feeling that the man’s proposition was ‘creepy’ was her own interpretation of his behaviour, presumably not his. She was probably offended to about the same extent as I am offended if a man gets into an elevator with me chewing gum. But he does me no physical damage and I simply grin and bear it until either I or he gets out of the elevator. It would be different if he physically attacked me.

Muslim women suffer physically from misogyny, their lives are substantially damaged by religiously inspired misogyny. Not just words, real deeds, painful, physical deeds, physical privations, legally sanctioned demeanings. The equivalent would be if PZ had nailed not a cracker but a Catholic. Then they’d have had good reason to complain.


What is this I don’t even

I won’t go into details, as this and this posts say pretty much all I had to say on the matter ((Dawkings absolutely misses the point, continues derailing and generally dismisses the concerns of a female due to his extreme privilege blindness)). I just was completely stunned by the WTF-ness of the post by someone who should know better.

EDIT: Dawkins has provided yet another reply, showing that he still doesn’t get it

Many people seem to think it obvious that my post was wrong and I should apologise. Very few people have bothered to explain exactly why. The nearest approach I have heard goes something like this.

I sarcastically compared Rebecca’s plight with that of women in Muslim countries or families dominated by Muslim men. Somebody made the worthwhile point (reiterated here by PZ) that it is no defence of something slightly bad to point to something worse. We should fight all bad things, the slightly bad as well as the very bad. Fair enough. But my point is that the ‘slightly bad thing’ suffered by Rebecca was not even slightly bad, it was zero bad. A man asked her back to his room for coffee. She said no. End of story.

But not everybody sees it as end of story. OK, let’s ask why not? The main reason seems to be that an elevator is a confined space from which there is no escape. This point has been made again and again in this thread, and the other one.

No escape? I am now really puzzled. Here’s how you escape from an elevator. You press any one of the buttons conveniently provided. The elevator will obligingly stop at a floor, the door will open and you will no longer be in a confined space but in a well-lit corridor in a crowded hotel in the centre of Dublin.

No, I obviously don’t get it. I will gladly apologise if somebody will calmly and politely, without using the word fuck in every sentence, explain to me what it is that I am not getting.


Dear Richard, even if Elevator Rape wasn’t an actual thing, it would still be wrong to proposition women in inappropriate locations, such as female you do not know at 4 am in an Elevator. And there is a reason why they are called “inappropriate”. Because by normalizing them, you treat women as sexual objects. As if people who can’t possibly have times where there’s no chance in FSM’s blue earth that they would accept. As if your own desires make their own desires – which common sense has made blatantly clear – irrelevant.

Inappropriate behaviour can be called out and enforced, so that people stop doing it. Because it’s bad, m’kay? Because normalizing the idea that a woman can be propositioned for sex without even taking the time to figure out if there is a chance for it, is degrading to women as it reduces them to sex dispensers. Because using rape culture and patriarchical conditioning to corner a female and implictly pressure her (even if you do not realize the pressure you exert) into sex is reinforcing those bad cultures.

Note that I would love to live in a free world where males and females are sexually liberated and they feel confident proposing no-strings-attached sex without taboo and faux shame. But that world would arrive within true equality, where rape and abuse of females is not the norm at the hands of controlling and horny males.  I get the feeling that some are outraged that what they perceive is a small step towards that world of sexual liberation, is being trounced by “those prude feminazis who get their panties up in a bunch about a harmless request for sex”. They fail to see the institutionalized oppression who cannot make this step valid, without further marginalizing females in every other context.

If you want sexual liberation, you need to fight first for female liberation and true equality. Then, and only then, will a sex positive culture occur.

And finally, PZ nails it once more

I’m taking one last stab at explaining this. Imagine that Richard Dawkins meets a particularly persistent fan who insists on standing uncomfortably close to him, and Richard asks him to stand back a little bit; when he continues, he says to the rest of the crowd that that is rather rude behavior, and could everyone give him a little breathing space? Which then leads to many members of the crowd loudly defending the rudeness by declaring that since the guy wasn’t assaulting him, he should be allowed to keep doing that, and hey, how dare Richard Dawkins accuse everyone present of trying to mug him!

I’ve also had enough of a discussion with Sean Prophet trying to explain to him in Facebook why Dawkins is not saying anything relevant and why feminists are not in the wrong to call out inappropriate behaviour. I’ll post it below for your perusal.

  • Sean Prophet
    Absolutely!!!! If agreeing with Dawkins makes me misogynist, then hate me and bring it on. The feminists have a right to their opinion, but this is totally subjective, and in fact goes pretty far toward the demonization of men by calling them “creepy.” All the feminist definition of “creepy” means in this case is “made an unwanted advance.”
    Men are at a distinct disadvantage in this game since they *always* have to deal with the high likelihood of rejection, something women have far less experience with. This is not a “moral” or “progressive” issue. This is an issue of *equality.* And that means women get to say “no” and as long as the guy is polite and leaves, he has done nothing wrong or anti-feminist. He may have been clumsy, or simply not attractive, but that should not be a crime. Nor even an offense.
    And this does call for the phrase “grow up.” If women want to be considered equals, then *act like it!*
    I think Skepchick just made a colossal fool of herself. And shame on the others like Blag Hag and PZ Myers who doubled down on the foolishness.
  • Gretchen Chadwick
    I consider myself a feminist and I agree with you 100%. Well said!
  • Gretchen Chadwick
    However, there’s a lot of degrading crap that goes on on a daily basis that isn’t polite, as you’re probably aware…or maybe not, since you don’t have to deal with it.
  • Sean Prophet
    I agree many men are creeps. Which is why when a guy just screws up and politely leaves, he should be applauded for *not* being a creep.
  • Gretchen Chadwick
    I liked what you said about men having to regularly face rejection and how difficult that is. Women need to understand that and cut men some slack, as long as men are being polite. Women also need to stop participating in their own exploitation and then playing the victim. I’d love to see more respect and healing between the sexes. This is a good discussion to be having. Thanks for bringing it up.
  • Sean Prophet
    Hey no problem. I’ve got a blog post coming, where I provide more links and details. 😉
  • Divided By Zero
    What a bunch of nonsense from Dawkins. First of all, yes, he is making the argument that people should raise an issue with things happening to them because “children are starving in Africa” kind of thing and it’s obvious how ridiculously wrong that is. His reply to that is completely irrelevant. So it’s just words. Sure, and Rebecca replied with “just words”. What’s the problem again? Oh, is it because those words make you uncomfortable in propositioning unknown females you find in elevators? Are you for serious?
    Recebba has a right to point out bad behaviour, and privileged males like you don’t lose time in putting her in her place. It’s disgusting.
  • Gretchen Chadwick
    No, Dawkins has a good point. Feminism needs to set priorities. A guy asking a woman to have coffee with him is no big deal. I had a guy run down the street after me to invite me to dinner and I thought it was funny/sweet. I didn’t go because I didn’t know him, but, even if it had made me uncomfortable, he did nothing wrong. There are such bigger problems that feminism needs to tackle, not the least of which is how young women are being systematically trained through a variety of media to become perpetually youthful sex objects. Picking on men for asking to spend time with a woman just creates tension between the sexes and makes feminism seem stupid and frivolous. There are bigger fish to fry.
  • Divided By Zero
    You’re dismissing the very real concerns of why these women do not like this objectifying behaviour – and this has very little similarities to someone asking you out for coffee. The idea that there are other things to do is simply a derailing tactic used to silence and has no benefit to the discussion. People talk about their own experiences and the things that affect them on a daily basis. Just because some other people have other, more difficult situations to face, does not make those issues invalid.
  • Sean Prophet Db0 I addressed this in my blog post. As did Dawkins in his comment. This was a simple overreaction on the part of Skepchick, and now people are just doubling down to avoid offending feminatheists. Is there anywhere you would draw the line? Or do women just get to completely dictate every detail of men’s acceptable behavior?
  • Sean Prophet
    And I’m actually glad Dawkins has burst this little pustule of pompous powermongering entitlement. And it also smokes out the men who have absolutely surrendered and ceded all pretense of balance between the sexes. Certainly everyone has a right to their opinion, but I want nothing to do with women who act this way nor the obsequious men who follow them around. If I’m going to be that submissive, it’s going to be for a hot scene with a self-aware domme who has her shit together.
  • Sean Prophet
    Gretchen, I do think the media makes things worse, as you said. But youth and beauty are tied to fertility, so will always be desirable. Where I think there’s room for growth is broadening the range of what is considered beautiful. (As well as prolonging and preserving health.) Increasing the beauty in the world is really something we call all do with a simple shift in consciousness.
  • Divided By Zero
    They get to dictate behaviour when it affects them. This is not a contentious issue or something difficult to grasp. One is not “sumbissive” for recognising that women are not sexual objects you can proposition at any and all time.
    This ridiculous pompousy of yours is just absurd. Just bang your chest a bit more and declare you don’t care what those damn bitches want. Maybe you’ll feel manlier.
  • Sean Prophet
    Women *are* and always will be sexual objects. They are also a lot more than that. And there’s a whole other dimension to both sexes. But nothing can remove the fact that life is pretty much an endless stream of penises searching for vaginas.
  • Divided By Zero
    The problem is that such behavious treats them as *just* a vagina. Because you apparently do not see anything wrong when people treat women as if they’re there just for their enjoyment and they couldn’t possibly be some contexts were propositioning them is inappropriate.
  • Sean Prophet
    I don’t need to beat my chest (which is not all that large). I simply demand a balance of power between the sexes. My relationships with women have been the most important relationships in my life. I love and respect them, and they do the s…See more
  • Sean Prophet
    BTW I dislike overly submissive women (or men) just as much as the petty dominants. Self-aware people do not act out either extreme. They know unctuousness quickly turns to contempt. This kind of crap on either side is essentially two sides of the same developmentally-challenged coin.
  • Sean Prophet
    I agree elevator guy was inappropriate. Wrong time and place. But once he realized that, he quickly went home and left her alone. We can’t legislate (or even socially regulate) all the nuances of what goes on between people who are drinking late at night in hotels at conferences. There should be plenty of leeway so long as basic social norms e.g. consensuality, are being observed.
  • James Scott ‘Doc’ Mason
    My issue was with Skepchick’s characterization of the encounter as misogynistic. I agree with Sean that it was inappropriate, but only because she is a young, attractive woman. If he had said the same exact thing to a man, we wouldn’t have this conversation. Maybe I need a better understanding of misogyny, but from what she described it didn’t feel like he was hateful or sexualizing her. We simply do not have enough information to be objective about his intentions. Isn’t it possible that he found her interesting and simply wanted to continue the conversation in a quite setting? We’ll never know, because she did the right thing by politely saying no, and he did the right thing by accepting her refusal.
  • Divided By Zero
    Cheezus, you people are acting as if he asked her out for a coffee during work. Are you completely incapable of recognising the fact that propositioning is completely inappropriate at times and with particular styles? Do men get excused at all times as long as they accept the “No”? This is completely obtuse. Think about it for a second for crying out loud.
  • Sean Prophet
    Db0 did you not read where I said “elevator guy was inappropriate”
  • Divided By Zero
    And then you said “But once he realized that, he quickly went home and left her alone.”, which implies that all was OK. But all was NOT OK. You can’t proposition a woman at any time and method and act as if nothing was wrong as long as you accepted rejection. Some things need to be called out, and this is what Rebecca did in the first place.
  • Sean Prophet
    Rejection *is* the penalty. Nothing else is called for. Negotiation 101.
  • Divided By Zero
    Yes. There is. To give an example even you might understand: if someone comes to a woman an propositions her for money, simple rejection is not enough.
    Rejection, by itself, is not a penalty, except in the mind of midguided PUAs
  • Sean Prophet
    The guy was *not* a pua. He was simply inept. That is not a crime, or even an offense.
  • Divided By Zero
    Oh gawds…I didn’t say he was a PUA. I said “Rejection, by itself, is not a penalty, except in the mind of midguided PUAs”. And you haven’t countered my point that simple rejection is not enough.
  • Sean Prophet
    You haven’t supported the point. Shall there be a law passed to prosecute inappropriate speech? Public shaming? Ban from elevators? You’re going really overboard, just like Skepchick. And especially for an anarchist.
  • Divided By Zero
    I’m “going overboard” for the srawman suggestions you made? Are you for real?
  • Sean Prophet
    I still don’t understand the issue. He was shut down and went home. What more does anyone want??
  • Divided By Zero
    Have you see the video Rebecca posted about it?
  • Sean Prophet
    Yes, that was not a big deal. What was a big deal is that when Stef disagreed with her she called her out publicly and tried to turn the non-incident into some kind of feminist rallying cry. That was *way* out of line, and that’s what all the controversy is about.
  • Divided By Zero
    You’re not criticizing THAT though. You (and Dawkins) are criticizing her reaction to guy in the elevator. Whether she should have publicly made an example of her disagreement with Stef is up for debate. I’m with PZ Myers on that front http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/07/always_name_names.php
  • Sean Prophet
    It was still an overreaction no matter how anyone slices it.
  • Divided By Zero
    It’s an overreaction to point out that there are inappropriate times to proposition women and that women are not sexual objects?
  • Grace Feldmann
    NOT an overreaction and Thank you Divided By Zero!
    Grace Feldmann
    please see my note on this. And BTW I take the dare Sean. This IS in part about a blind spot around not just White, but male privilege and power. Absofuckinglutely.


And this is where the discussion stands at the moment.Hopefully, he starts to get it but I won’t get my hopes up.

However this whole Brouhaha does show how little connection there is between Atheists and their lack of common positive goal. Atheism is a negative cohesive point. It’s as unifying as the lack of hair and the more people that identify as atheists there are, the less cohesion the movement as a whole has, as it stops becoming novel (within a religious community) thus requiring support for others, and rather becomes the norm. But I digress. As I was saying, this just another example of how little one Atheist has with another.

You can’t demand that other Atheists are feminism or anti-racists because this is not a defining aspect of the irreligion. It’s precisely because you can have racist and sexist atheists that there is so much friction in the movement, and the secondary reason why I stopped wasting my time with it. The primary being the same for most others I presume: I live in a country where religious oppression does not exist anymore and therefore my irreligion is not used as a point of oppression.


Well that's a first. A gaming community that actively opposes objectifying women

The TF2 community shows more maturity than expected.

I came upon this thread on /r/gaming where someone thought that if more females played TF2, the class models would look like this:

Female models for TF2 that have been objectified with large bewbs and showing as much skin as possible.

Cringeworthy, I know.

So anyway, I went into the thread, expecting the usual privileged circlejerk that I would have to fight over to point out that the above art is extremely objectifying to womenm but I was pleasantly surprised when not only the top comment, but the majority of comments already made the same point.

I don’t if this says something about the TF2 community, or about reddit’s TF2 community but this is honestly the first time I’ve seen this happen. It’s usually the other way around, where I get downvoted to oblivion when pointing out that perhaps having all females dressed provocatively is just a tad sexist.

As weird as it seems, I think it has to do with the fact that the game didn’t have any official female models from Valve which would have been very likely to be dressed in skimpy outfits, simply because the original concept artist might not have given it a two second thought (anymore than they gave a thought to the idea that hey, maybe some of the characters should have been female). And from then on, it would have been an upward struggle to change the set perception where exposed cleavage, midriff and thighs should not the norm for females.

Now, that all the models are originally perceived as fully clothed, the expectations are different, leading in fact to fans creating empowered females when they try to create such models. Examples ((Unfortunately I don’t have direct link to the sources)) :

Lets hope that if Valve ever considers finally repressenting the other half of the human race in the game, they’ll go with such a design.


"The Rape" of Mr. Smith

The Shit Reddit Says….

I found this little gem via reddit, when someone was trying to equate being the situation of being robbed to being raped.

Quoted here in verbatim

“Mr. Smith, you were held up at gunpoint on the corner of 16th & Locust?”
“Did you struggle with the robber?”
“Why not?”
“He was armed.”
“Then you made a conscious decision to comply with his demands rather than
to resist?”
“Did you scream? Cry out?”
“No. I was afraid.”
“I see. Have you ever been held up before?”
“Have you ever given money away?”
“Yes, of course –”
“And did you do so willingly?”
“What are you getting at?”
“Well, let’s put it like this, Mr. Smith. You’ve given away money in the
past — in fact, you have quite a reputation for philanthropy. How can
we be sure that you weren’t _contriving_ to have your money taken away
from you by force?”
“Listen, if I wanted –”
“Never mind. What time did this holdup take place, Mr. Smith?”
“About 11 p.m.”
“You were out on the streets at 11 p.m.? Doing what?”
“Just walking.”
“Just walking? You know that it’s dangerous being out on the street that
late at night. Weren’t you aware that you could have been held up?”
“I hadn’t thought about it.”
“What were you wearing at the time, Mr. Smith?”
“Let’s see. A suit. Yes, a suit.”
“An _expensive_ suit?”
“Well — yes.”
“In other words, Mr. Smith, you were walking around the streets late at
night in a suit that practically _advertised_ the fact that you might be
a good target for some easy money, isn’t that so? I mean, if we didn’t
know better, Mr. Smith, we might even think you were _asking_ for this to
happen, mightn’t we?”
“Look, can’t we talk about the past history of the guy who _did_ this to
“I’m afraid not, Mr. Smith. I don’t think you would want to violate his
rights, now, would you?”

Bonus link: See here how funny reddit’s /r/gaming finds pedo rape, and what happens when I call them out on it.

A Gamer's Stockholm Syndrome

Sony is being targetted yet again, and the community of /r/gaming falls over each other to prove who’s the biggest tool.

So, over at /r/gaming, reddit gamers have got their panties up in a bunch once they heard the news that a pseudonymous hacking group is planning to assault Sony once more.Apparently gamers are none too happy that someone is assaulting their preferred corporation and they are under the impression that any downtime as a result of those hacks, will be solely the fault of those dirty hackers. Some have even taken it one step further, laying the blame for any potential erosion of internet freedoms (as a result of corporate lobbying and media fearmongering) on the hackers as well.

The whole discussion is littered with playstation gamers who are outraged, OUTRAGED, that they may have to suffer more downtime on their precious online gaming as a result of a possible new breach of Sony systems. The amount of corporate suckup-ery is disgusting.

However, any possible downtimes or erosion of civil rights is not the hacker’s fault.

One has to consider, who brought down PSN the last time. It wasn’t the ones who cracked themselves into the system and it wasn’t a denial of service attack. If was Sony itself who did it, as a reaction to their system becoming compromised. I doubt that the original crackers were politically motivated anyway but even if they were and finding user data was an unexpected freebie, the reaction of Sony was the fault of nobody but Sony. Had they encrypted their data, they wouldn’t have to take down PSN for everyone. It was a gross failing on their part of their lax security practices.

It was also Son’s fault because they explicitly poked the hornet’s nest. Nobody forced Sony to take away the otherOS which made the hacking community actively interested in hacking the PS3. Nobody forced Sony to start legally assaulting the hacking community. Nobody forced Sony to participate in political lobbying to erode internet freedoms. And while the previous crack might not have been a result of any of those, but rather an fortunate exploit for monetary reasons, the latest attempts seem to be pure retaliation meant to cause harm and lulz.

Basically, the hacking community seems to be sending Sony, and anyone else watching a message. “If you fuck with us, we’ll fuck your right back”. They don’t seem very aware of this, but it does look to me as a form of solidarity in the internet age. Remember that all this was caused by Sony going after a few individuals who cracked their system for their own benefit, causing no harm to Sony whatsoever.

Finally we need to remember that the reason Playstation users are being inconvenienced by downtime of PSN is again Sony’s fault. PSN is a walled garden if you remember. That means it’s centrally controlled and managed by Sony and alas, such are the faults of walled gardens. Had Sony allowed an open ecosystem, where PS3 machines could connect to the internet directly and used one of the many available means to play games online there as pioneered by PC gaming, then the downtime of PSN would have been unlikely to affect a lot of people. Had they allowed dedicated servers or direct connections, people would still be able to enjoy their games online. But centralization means that there’s a single and large point of failure. If you don’t want this to happen again, tell Sony to open their walled garden.

But of course the PS3 fanboys won’t do that because they’re incapable of thinking outside the box. In fact, I guarantee they’ll make excuses on why such a walled garden is not only reasonable for someone like Sony, but that it’s in fact better this way. It will be like someone defending the AOL network.

All that said, I’m not exactly agreeing with the direct action of those crackers. I’m not sure how effective they will be in the long run. At best, they might achieve that corporations might think twice from going after individual hackers and they might let more hacks to their system slide and perhaps be more open in their dealings in the future. But this actions has a chance to cause political backlash as well. The reaction of /r/gaming is typical in fact.

Could there have been a better way? I’m not sure and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, but I can’t blame the hacking community from retaliating against an oppressive entity like a multinational corporation with a rich history of questionable actions, which put them in their target sights.

However to blame the kneejerk reactions of the one with a history of abuse, on the ones retaliating to them is very much akin to a Stockholm syndrome. It’s like a kidnap victim blaming their family for not procuring the demands fast enough and empathizing with their kidnapper who as a result had to cut one of their fingers.

How did /r/anarchists started becoming interested in Anarchism?

Anarchists on reddit explain how they reached their political position.

Anarchists on march 3/14 (LOC)
Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

I thought I’d point out a discussion going on in /r/anarchism where various subscribers explain what made them turn to this political theory. We’ve done one of these before, but it’s always interesting to see new stories.

This time we have more people who got radicalized by state violence.


I’ve said this quite a bit recently, but: police brutality. It was seeing students get beaten at the London protests that made me question the role of police, as well as realising how much money is spent protecting politicians who are no different than the ordinary person.

A lot of other expressed something similar to my coming out story, in that they were always ideologically anarchists but didn’t know it until they discovered the theory.


It’s a bit complex but when I was younger my best friends were people of color but something bothered me. Their parents worked much harder than mine and longer yet they were poorer. It struck me as not equal and unfair so I sorta developed a rudimentary socialist idea from early on. Obviously I was a kid so it wasn’t anything impressive. I was pretty much a social democrat (although I labeled myself a liberal at the time). Around 2007 I became increasingly aware of how oppressive the government can be and sorta had a 2 month flirtation with Ron Paul until I realized that the ideology is tyrannical in it’s own sense. I wanted something that was anti government and anti capitalist to fit in with my views of inequality. Someone told me I was an anarchist around 2009ish and decided to explore it more. Read the philosophers..etc and pretty much had the same ideas that I developed on my own except a lot more refined. So here I am today!

And then others were affected by culture


I’d say it was a combination of exposure to punk rock and academia. As a teenager, I was into Bad Religion and Propagandhi. I gravitated into more underground punk stuff that leaned quite left. Then majored in Sociology and learned about inequality on a global scale and read a lot of Marxist theory. Then a band I liked – Stanford Prison Experiment – included a 30 minute lecture by Noam Chomsky at the end of one of their albums, which lead me to his writings. For the past 15 years now, I’ve been reading up on Anarchist thought.

Apropos Chomsky; there’s quite a lot of people who were converted by Chomsky in there as well. Just shows how effective a popular anti-authoritarian/anti-imperialist face can be, even if they otherwise espouse some very contentious positions.