Time to lose some more friends I guess...
So, more internet related drama explodes. This time in the skeptic/atheist community. It's reassuring, I suppose, to see a community other than roleplayers exploding into the same nonsensical bullshit but at the same time it's disappointing.
It all started when Skepchic attended a meetup and was asked back for coffee by a guy in an elevator, said no and they both carried on about their day. Big whoop one would think, people hit on each other all the time with varying degrees of subtlety or lack thereof on both sides of the gender divide. I've been subjected to unwelcome and uncomfortable approaches by men and women. I said no, I went on about my day, big whoop.
Of course, I'm not a woman and apparently it's utterly different. Sure men are more physically powerful in general, if you're willing to admit that much gender dimorphism but you start heading down that road as a rationalisation for feeling threatened and you're into the 'all men are potential rapists' territory which is rightly viewed as nonsensical hyperbole. Expecting a community of skeptics and rationalists to swallow that kind of idea is, frankly, stupid, or so one would think. Unfortunately it seems not and, exacerbated by Richard Dawkins pointing out that this whole fuss stupid it's blown up even more.
to Dawkins comments is even more hyperbolic and nonsensical and I violated the 'don't read the comments' rule, which was a mistake. Though there's a few slender voices of reason in there somewhere. If there's one thing that does disappoint me about fellow leftists, progressives and intellectuals it's their willingness to toss out all that hard-won detachment and rationalism when it comes to particular hobby-horses. Actually, tat's something that disappoints me about humans in general.
Hitting on someone isn't inherently threatening. It can be creepy, it can be uncomfortable but if you expect to go through life without ever being creeped out or made uncomfortable you're shit out of luck and frankly it's as often to do with people's sensitivity as any intentional or unintentional creeping out that's going on.
Now, entirely separately the poor lass has been subjected to inappropriate e-mails etc across the anonymity of the internet but one of these things is not like the other. Tarring all male attention with the same brush and assuming a face to face encounter to be the same as jerks on the internet is as sexist and wrong-headed as anything anyone else is saying. Sexual offences of ALL kinds in England and Wales were numbered around 55,000 in 2010. The population of England and Wales was around 55,000,00 meaning you've got about a 1/1000 chance of being a victim of any sort of sexual offence of any kind, anywhere on the spectrum. They're also more likely to be from familiar people you know, not random strangers in crowded hotels. Violent sexual assault of the type most people would characterise as rape are a miniscule fraction of that number (which would also include prostitution, solicitation etc). In fact you'd have more chance of being hit by a car than being violently raped.
As with old people's fear of robbery, mugging etc, the fear seems to far outstrip the risk of anything actually happening and when we bow to people's irrational fears we end up oppressing an innocent majority by doing things like banning hoodies from shopping centres or conducting witch hunts against anyone who makes the terrible mistake of bringing some sense to a storm in a teacup.
Rape's a terrible thing, nobody's saying otherwise. Turning down unwelcome (possibly) romantic advances, nowhere near as bad and not proportionate.
As a side note, I am really, really growing to loathe to term 'privilege'. Everyone has some form of privilege of some kind or another, using it as a way to deflect perfectly valid criticism is bullshit.