Monday, February 14, 2011

What Folks are Saying about Femalegate

I've been perusing the interwebs looking for people's thoughts on Femalegate (not sure I like that moniker, but it's been coined and seen in the Twitterverse), and I've found a few interesting posts. These are the only posts that I can find that are critical of Sharon's and Lyz's reporting. If anyone knows of others, let me know and I'll add them in an update.

My favorite by far is Richard Dawkins, the Dark Lord of Atheism, calling the original Blag Hag post "hysterical twaddle." He goes on to say about the Million Dollar Challenge,
When the Million Dollar Challenge was offered at the American Atheists meeting, it deeply offended some feminists, as can be seen from the article cited, and by the comments that follow. Why? Isn't the sex difference in availability simply a fact, demonstrated by experiment and dramatised as folk wisdom by the Million Dollar Challenge? Why does the recounting of a fact give offence, if it is true? Part of the reason seems to be the old fallacy that if something is 'biological' it is inescapable and can be used to justify bad behaviour. Needless to say, that is nonsense. Paradoxically, one objection to the Million Dollar Challenge is precisely that it doesn't tell us anything we didn't know already.
A hat tip to JesusFetusFajitaFishsticks (try saying that five times fast) for providing the link. She was the "lone vag" on the panel and wrote a post regarding the event. It's kinda not quite PC and funny as hell.
This woman stood up and made a self-righteous quip about how we shouldn't have been using the word "female" because we're not animals. #1, Yes we are. #2, Quit wasting everyone's time. If THIS is the most important thing you could think of to mention regarding sexism in the atheist movement then I'd say we're doing pretty damn good as a movement. You get the mic and THIS is what you choose to bring to everyone's attention?
Also, JFFF provides an excellent screen shot showing Jen's hypocrisy. Go check it out.

Angel of Harlots was also an attendee of the panel discussion and provides a point by point breakdown comparing her recollections with the Blag Hag post. The differences are telling. She sums up with:
There are many people, men and women alike, who were present at the conference and, like me, feel that Sharon's post misrepresents the events and attitude at SERAM. It worries me that the uproar regarding our opinions seems to always come back to the fact that we "didn't respect the offended woman." As a freethinker, I'm quite offended that fellow freethinkers expect me to mindlessly respect someone's actions and emotions when they are directly inverse to my observations and experience.
Interestingly, upon watching the video, she realized that she made an error in one small detail and published a second post explaining her error and apologizing. Note to Jen: apologizing for errors in reporting, whether small or large, is just good ethics.

The Mind of Nicole, yet another female attendee writes:
From the outrage discussed on this blog post about SERAM by Sharon Moss and Lyz Liddell you would think that as FEMALES were walking in to SERAM, the males were telling them tits or get the fuck out. As a female, I feel incredibly pissed, offended, cheapened, and annoyed by reading this post. I was at the SERAM, and I can't remember feeling objectified or put down as a female at any point during the weekend. SERAM was an amazing event, and to me it seems as if Sharon and Liz made the unorganized, mendacity of a blog post to bitch for the sake of bitching.
There Are Four Lights
When I first read the post I was shocked that such a poorly run panel took place. However, since viewing the actual footage of the event, I found that the appalling behaviour and outrageous comments from the horribly moderated panel I had imagined didn’t actually exist. I kept waiting for the wildly inappropriate male panelists and audience members to begin their ridiculing. I kept waiting for the shocked faces of the offended women in the audience. Blag Hag guest blogger, Sharon, left me thinking a horrible incident had occurred, but the spectacle I had imagined never came. In fact, the account of the incident wasn’t entirely accurate.
 shethought wrote a two part post. The second part contained one paragraph that I would never dare say around a femmenist, for fear of losing my balls. But, she's right. That is not an excuse to act like dicks, of course, but she's right.
 As much as nobody has the right to shut down women’s sexual behavior, nobody has the right to try to shut down men’s sexual behavior. Courting rituals are a part of the sexual behavior of men and women. As long as these men are not forcing themselves on to women, it is not our place to stifle it. Yes, it is overwhelming to someone when they are outnumbered, at a conference, 2 to 1 by the opposite sex, so you will encounter a higher frequency of men hitting on you. But what they are doing is not hurting you. If you feel uncomfortable by it, it is not because they are doing something to bring you down or to be malicious. They wouldn’t be hitting on you if they thought you were not something of value. The appropriate response to a situation where you’re getting unwanted attention is to point out for the guy that it is unwanted attention. It is completely socially acceptable, though it may harm someone’s ego, to tell the random peacock, fanning his feathers at you at a convention, that their beak is inadequate to help you build your nest. Then, you just walk away.

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