06 July 2011

Is this elevator going anywhere?

#Elevatorgate is all the rage in the #atheist twittersphere at the moment. In what has to be seen as a rather crass and uncharacteristically hurtful post, Richard Dawkins (a man whom I hold in rather high regard, actually) wrote a very disparaging and frankly sexist and dismissive set of comments in response to Rebecca Watson's perfectly sensible and reasonable post dealing with the fact that she dislikes being propositioned in an elevator (that's a "lift" for those of us in the UK).
Now it seems things have got a bit out of hand, and I think everyone should just step back a bit and calm the heck down. Richard, please read over the comments you have received, and apologise. It's not that you are wrong in that the injustices and abuse that many women have to suffer are far worse than being propositioned in an elevator - they are. It is that your post was dismissive of a problem that is real and distressing - and *dangerous* - in our current cozy Western society. And that is the objectification of women. The notion that treating them as sex objects is OK, and they don't have a right to be upset about it. The bottom line is that religious thoughtlessness cannot reasonably be condemned for the same sorts of lapses that we perpetrate ourselves. If we are criticising others for their unacceptable behaviour, we need to recognise it in ourselves. Sometimes it needs to be pointed out to us, but when it is, we have to be gracious enough to accept it when it's correct, suck it up, apologise and move on.

I think this is my floor.


  1. I don't think the issue here is whether or not what happened was truly innocent, if awkward, flirting or something more dangerous. The issue here is that whatever the hell happened has largely been construed by the feminist atheists as a phenomenon that is somehow endemic to the atheist community. That is nonsense.

  2. Dear dog - nothing dangerous whatsoever happened in that elevator. A tired woman received a rather elegantly-worded invitation for a cup of coffee in a stranger's room, which she declined.

    From there, inductive reasoning ran amok until it was determined that what actually happened was a virtual rape by a typical misogynistic.

    Then Richard Dawkins wrote a humorously chiding blog comment reminding the discussants that actual misogyny is alive and well in the real world, and looks remarkably different than what actually transpired in that elevator.

    Which caused the woman in the elevator and hundreds of her supporters to call for a boycott of the books of Dr Dawkins, and then she even posted letters calling for the end of his career.

    And now we are treated to blog posts like this one demanding an apology from Richard Dawkins of all people - not the woman on the elevator.