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Stef McGraw[edit]

There should be some mention, at the very least, of Stef McGraw who is referred to in the second video. A lot of those publicly attacking Watson, in response to rebuttals that the original video contained nothing objectionable, shifted to claiming that what they were really mad about is her "attacks" on McGraw and that "calling someone out" without actually getting her on stage to respond is a thing that is not done in professional circles. This is despite the fact that it's actually pretty common and McGraw herself didn't respond with similar vitriol, in fact remaining on good terms with Watson and the Skepchick crew. Apparently she even went so far as to help Watson out with a prank at one conference, but I can't seem to find the blog posts about it through all the chaff. Maybe someone else remembers this? --Kels (talk) 15:21, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Anything that makes this a good, sensible writeup would be good IMO. (Are there any such beasts?) - David Gerard (talk) 22:15, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

A list of the abusive responses[edit]

Watson notes some here and here. Anyone got time to put these (and any others) into list form for the article? - David Gerard (talk) 19:30, 23 August 2014 (UTC)

Here are a few of the first dozen "abusive" messages. One can only hope Watson will recover. 1)All I can say is please try to keep up the good work. It is appreciated. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

2) Congratulations on your blossoming misanthropy!

3)I think I probably speak for most of rational people when I say: Don’t let them win. Please? I’ll make you cupcakes.... wordoftodd

4)If Felicia can’t get cupcakes to you, I will be happy to make some for you. Do you like blueberry cupcakes? Just remember there are those of us who appreciate you and admire you – and absofuckinlutely can’t believe the shitstorm that arose from a simple comment on behavior.

5)I am here, on this website, because I read about what happened at the conference, your response, and the backlash – and that introduced me to your writing. I am finding my skeptical voice because I have begun to read what you put out for us. I am stronger with my new found voice. I am proof that the haters aren’t winning. Thank you Rebecca.

6) I should also add that the whole Elevatorgate issue is what finally pushed me to become a feminist. I started out on the other side of the issue, and as I read through the comments, it occurred to me that something wasn’t quite right. I followed the links that other feminists supplied to some of the denser participants and as I read, found that a lot of it began to click. I’m hardly an expert on feminist topics now, but it took seeing how people reacted to the incident (telling you they hope you get raped? Really?) to really bring it home for me. So basically, in short, fuck the haters.

7)I met you once at TAM 8, (tentacle felt vagina) and I want to say that you have been a huge inspiration to me. Your humor and fortitude have basically kept me in the skeptical movement when all hope seemed lost. The kind of B.S. you (and other female writers) receive for the egregious act of writing/speaking have definitely kept me from taking up a more active role on the internet. It just seems so disparaging. I am in awe that you continue to do it, and I don’t want you to stop. But in the end, you need to do what’s right for you.

Oh the humanity!Ariel31459 (talk) 22:00, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

Alternate angle[edit]

Could there be the potential that Dawkins was being critical of Watson's tendency to go after issues that are not of pressing importance?— Unsigned, by: Greatnecro / talk / contribs

I doubt it. If he was, I think he would have been much more overt about it. Zero (talk - contributions) 19:56, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
I'll come in stronger than that. No. No way. Not a chance. Ikanreed (talk) 20:08, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
Also this is Richard "I had a little jar of honey" Dawkins. He's been known to go after issues that are not of pressing importance himself. WėąṣėḷőįďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 21:15, 30 September 2014 (UTC)

Is this a blog or wiki?[edit]

no encyclopedia should ever have a sentence start with "Seriously, watch the original video". aren't you supposed to capture events and facts instead of telling people what to do? this is not how encyclopedias work -- (talk) 08:15, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

Hi. I've put some links on your talk page which explain what we are about.--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 08:33, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
RationalWiki is not supposed to be an encyclopedia, neither in style, nor in width of coverage.--ZooGuard (talk) 10:28, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

Only in Social Justice Bizarro Universe[edit]

Seriously, watch the original video; her only comment on the incident was to say "guys, don't do that". No shaming, no naming, no ranting. She has never said anything more than that; she did not accuse the man who accosted her of rape, she hasn't given any more details about him (and nor has anyone else), so no doxxing either. This was the impetus for years of hate. Decide for yourself if it warrants the following reaction:

The Elevatorgate controversy was never about the video, or her remark. The controversy erupted, because Rebecca Watson introduced Rape Culture and nuked Stef McGraw with it, when the very limited discussion was about double entendres in a confined space. Ms Watson accused "people in this audience right now" (McGraw was mentioned before) that they would laugh back down rape victims who stood up for themselves, and would believe that men could sexually objectify and assault women if they wanted to [ca. 15min]. This over-the-top smear and delivery caused the flame war (gross misrepresentation from a podium towards a member in the audience who would never be able to defend herself). Abbie Smith wrote "Bad Form, Rebecca Watson", and PZ Myers wrote "Always Name Names". Both of these articles are specifically about the CFI talk — not the video, not the "guys don't do that remark". All of those previous things were only added in retrospect, since, as the article notes, nobody cared about it before. "Dear Muslima" wasn't a response to Rebecca Watson, but to the flame war about something "slightly bad" (PZ Myers agrees here with Richard Dawkins!). This, too, was later retconned. Then, Rebecca Watson made it about herself, with "Privilege Delusion" where she also calls for a boycott of all things Dawkins. This was, yet again (just like the contentious issue in the CFI talk) swept under the carpet.


Rebecca Watson, CFI Leadership Conference 2011

Because there are people in this audience right now, who believe this, that… [Ms. Watson reads slide] “A women’s reasonable expectation to feel safe from sexual objectification and assault at a skeptic and atheist events is outweighed by a man’s right to sexually objectify her.” That's basically what these people have been telling me, and it’s not true [clapping] – thank you Melody [Hensely/CFI Exec Director, DC]. Since starting SkepChick, I’ve heard from a lot of women who don’t attend events like this because of those of you who have this attitude. They’re tired of being objectified and some of them actually have been raped. Quite a number have been raped or otherwise sexually assaulted. And situations like the one I was in, in an elevator, would have triggered a panic attack. They’re scared because they know that you won’t stand up for them and if they stand up for themselves, you’re going to laugh them back down. And that’s why they aren’t coming out to these events. — Rebecca Watson, The Religious Right vs. Every Woman on Earth, CFI Leadership Conference 2011<ref>The Religious Right vs. Every Woman on Earth, CFI Leadership Conference 2011, Watson</ref>

You might want to look up "Rape Culture" and you find the terms (e.g. objectification) and concept there.

PZ Myers, Always Name Names

Rebecca Watson talked about this experience at a CFI conference, and one thing she did was to directly address, by name, criticisms of her reaction to being importuned in an elevator late at night. She specifically discussed a criticism by one of the attendees, Stef McGraw, quoting her and saying where the argument was found, and a few people were angry at her for that, and demanded that she apologize to McGraw. Which is, frankly, bizarre.” – PZ Myers, Always name names<ref></ref>

Abbie Smith, Bad Form, Rebecca Watson

No one gives a crap about what Stef McGraw said about you on YouTube. No one. [...] You bring that crap up in a speech, and literally two people in the audience know wtf you are talking about. [...] Furthermore, because the audience has no clue what youre talking about, they just kinda have to take your word for it that the situation is what it is. But thats not always the case, is it? […] How would they know if Watson totally quotemined McGraw? — Abbie Smith, Bad Form, Rebecca Watson<ref> Abbie Smith, Bad Form, Rebecca Watson</ref>

PZ Myers, comment directed to Richard Dawkins' "Dear Muslima" situation

The guy in the elevator was not accused of being a rapist; I got the impression from Rebecca that she wasn’t even really worried about serious threat to her safety, but was annoyed that she was being pestered by an insensitive cad. It was “slightly bad,” as you [Richard Dawkins] put it, and she responded at an appropriate level to the problem. She basically said to the atheist community, ‘hey, guys, don’t be an insensitive cad,’ a suggestion I find remarkably uncontroversial — it’s a slightly good suggestion in response to a slightly bad problem. It’s darned good advice, even. — PZ Myers, Oh, no, not again…once more unto the breach<ref> PZ Myers, Oh, no, not again…once more unto the breach</ref>


[Richard Dawkins] therefore will no longer be rewarded with my money, my praise, or my attention. I will no longer recommend his books to others, buy them as presents, or buy them for my own library. I will not attend his lectures or recommend that others do the same. [...] But those of us who are humanists and feminists will find new, better voices to promote and inspire, and Dawkins will be left alone to fight the terrible injustice of standing in elevators with gum-chewers. — Rebecca Watson, The Privilege Delusion

Then she called for a boycott of Dawkins' books. — Gawker, Richard Dawkins Torn Limb From Limb—By Atheists <ref> Gawker</ref>

These are the facts. I have the sense that you won't like them, but perhaps there is still something rational about RationalWiki. You will also see that PZ Myer is mistaken, to put it mildly, and is later mistaken as well, when he claims there was no boycott.

Aneris (talk) 19:43, 19 April 2015 (UTC)

Sadly i had to open the talk page to read this insightful stuff. Currently the article readls like a manifest from a misandrist manifesto IMHO — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

Dear Muslima[edit]

So, Zooguard, what is your exact problem with the sentence "It started with a video by Rebecca Watson about sexism in the atheist community and caused controversy for Richard Dawkins after he wrote a blog post in response that started with "Dear Muslima"."? I'm asking since I'm not seeing the objection, whether it be called a blog post, a comment, a letter, or whatever. "A communication in reponse", if you want to be pedantic. --Castaigne2 (talk) 19:10, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

It was a series of comments on PZ Myers' blog, not, for example, a stand-alone post on Dawkins' blog. (By the way, the fact that the article mentions only the first comment is one of its shortcomings.) The lead is supposed to be a summary of the rest of the article, explaining in a few words the article's subject and its importance. I think that the sentence I wrote falls within that function.--ZooGuard (talk) 19:19, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
That's where I'm confused. So, the quote that starts with "Dear Muslima" was NOT written/posted by Dawkins anywhere, but were made up comments? Then why are we quoting it? --Castaigne2 (talk) 20:05, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, it was. But it was not a letter and it was not a blog post. It was a comment on someone else's blog. That's why, when you kept reverting to a version that called it a blog post by Dawkins, it got reverted straight back. It's a simple inacuracy. Queexchthonic murmurings 20:08, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
OK, but if I say it was a comment, as others have done, that gets reverted too. Why would that be? --Castaigne2 (talk) 20:10, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
These are changes you made that called it something other than a comment:
  1. [1]
  2. [2]
I can't find an edit where you called it a comment. Queexchthonic murmurings 20:17, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
I didn't say I did. If you check the fossil record, it's been done before, and that was not acceptable. But that's beside the point; why erase the whole thing if all it needs is a single word change? --Castaigne2 (talk) 20:28, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
I mean, according to the archive, the comment itself was written by Richard Dawkins. Was that a person trying to fake him or something? --Castaigne2 (talk) 20:10, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
Calling it a blog post is a needless inaccuracy. Why on earth did you try to fight over it? Queexchthonic murmurings 19:22, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────"about sexism in the atheist community" Is that the correct phrasing? I'm not sure the original encounter was labeled as sexist so much as just crude. Zero (talk - contributions) 21:26, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

Nobody will talk about the "dating advice"?[edit]

People, I'm new to this, but nobody talks about that video and I think it's pretty important. If Rebecca really wants to make the world a better, less sexist place, why did she find appropiate to treat men who didn't understand what the elevator guy was doing wrong like sociopaths literally incapable of treating women as anything other than sex objects? Those men asked her for dating advice. They wanted to know what was the correct way of doing it. And how did she reward their desire of learning? She told them to buy dolls and fuck them. If you hadn't hear about this: no, I'm not kidding.

This was not like the anime Monster in which the protagonist tells the villain he can't go around killing people, the villain asks him in return "Why not?" and the protagonist is left speechless because there is no way of explaining it to someone that doesn't get it. If some people needed additional explaining besides that from the initial video, she could and should have provided it. Treating them like sociopaths, dehumanizing them as much as she believes they dehumanize her, is definitely NOT the way to fight casual sexism. After something like that, you cannot possibly think that Rebecca Watson is faultless. Conflict solving requires understanding from BOTH sides. And such understanding is what BOTH sides of this conflict (not just one of them) have sorely lacked. Not getting it makes this article biased. — --Lord Nox (talk) 09:53, 27 May 2016‎ (UTC)

Okay, her reply was a bit snide, but your comment kind of comes off to me as being terribly offended that a woman doesn't feel obligated to explain to men how to hit on women without creeping them out. People are allowed to just ask you to stop doing something without providing you with a detailed lecture on polite behavior. Also, what "conflict" needs resolving here? A woman made an offhand statement that she was uncomfortable being hit on in an elevator (a closed space where you can't get away) at 4 AM, and in response a bunch of men went apeshit over a woman daring to say such a thing. Also also, RationalWiki is not and doesn't claim to be "unbiased". Have a look at RationalWiki:Newcomers. --Ymir (talk) 10:31, 27 May 2016 (UTC)
I KNOW that a bunch of men went apeshit over her. I know that, and of course I cannot defend it. But she wasn't talking to them. She was talking to people who had asked her about how to do it correctly. And of course that a woman is allowed to just ask you to stop doing something, but if you want to understand what you were doing wrong you should get a real explanation because that benefits everybody. You, her, everybody. Real social change comes from understanding, not from forbidding things when people don't understand why said things should be forbidden. Why is "rape culture" a thing? Because our culture portrays as good things that aren't good, but you need work and patience to point out why is that so and fight such conditioning. Believing in a rape culture that teaches wrong ideas, and believing that men who don't get it but are open to learning are little more than sociopaths incapable of seeing women as human beings, are two MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE things. You have to pick one, and just one, of them. Tell me, whose fault is it? Culture or sociopathy?
If you think that the only conflict here is between a poor, faultless victim and horribly mysogynistic people you are missing the point. Those people exist, but they only represent (the nastiest) part of it. I bet you are proud of being "biased", because you want to promote rationality and freethinking (and that's a really noble purpose in which I wholeheartedly believe), but simplifying things to the point of making the strawman fallacy is not the way to do it. That much I know.--Lord Nox (talk)
Of course Ms Watson was not obliged to explain the proper way to approach a lady for sexual favors at 4:00 AM in a hotel elevator. This is never done if you are a man and she has not told you explicitly "I would like your rod in my pocket." If the lady is a lesbian then it is simply never done. Ariel31459 (talk) 21:45, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
She wasn't obliged to treat the people who don't get as sociopaths either. Because, BTW, he didn't approach her for sexual favors; he invited her to talk over coffee. He MIGHT have wanted sex, in fact he probably did, but it's not proven. And if unproven, I just don't know why everybody assumes it. At the very least, it doesn't entitle her to give such kind of "dating advice", because it's not so-bloody-obvious sexualizing as you might think it is--Lord Nox (talk)
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