Today, in episode two of Man Boobz Super Fun Time Video Party, we present a brief monologue which we’ve entitled “Take the Stairs,” which was originally posted on Reddit’s Men’s Rights subreddit. It provides crucial information for men who don’t wish to face false accusations from some office floozy.
The full text of the original posting is below, for those who for some reason don’t appreciate little cartoon animals and/or text-to-speech.
Here’s the original posting:
I avoid interacting with the few female coworkers I have more than what is absolutely required. You never know when you’ll be accused of sexual harassment or even rape. It happens everywhere and I think if you don’t take your precautions it’s only a matter of a short amount of time before it happens to you. Whenever I get involved in a hiring situation I will most likely pick a man over a woman. While a woman may very well be the best candidate that doesn’t count for much when she’s disruptive as everyone has to tip-toe around her.
I used to take the elevator at work, but now I always take the stairs. That’s just a precaution I take against women who could potentially use the situation to make false accusations (you know like ripping her shirt open and running out of the elevator crying in front of a lot of witnesses and then start accusing me of attempting rape). That’s just one of the many things I’ve ended up doing in order to stay safe. All these safety measures add up and I’ve never been falsely accused of anything because they’ve just never had the opportunity to make an accusation that could stick. I’m sure a feminist will come along one day who will just completely pull something out of her ass despite of me having an alibi or witnesses, but that will be easily dismissed I’d hope.
Since a woman’s word trumps a man’s word whenever he doesn’t have an alibi a man just has to be very cautious. Don’t let a woman be around you on her own; better safe than sorry.
Even the Men’s Rights Redditors considered this a tad paranoid.
EDITED TO ADD: Props to this thread on Something Awful, which led me to the Reddit posting.
Two atheists at a conference get into an elevator at 4 AM. The dude atheist, apropos of nothing, invites the chick atheist to go to his room with him. The chick atheist, who’s never even spoken to the dude before, is creeped out by this. (She says no.) She mentions the incident in a YouTube video. A shitstorm erupts in the atheist-o-sphere because, like, how could she possibly call an atheist dude a creep and aren’t women treated worse in Islamist Theocracies?
Then Richard Dawkins says,
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.
In a followup comment, Dawkins tops that bit of hilarity with this:
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.
Damn. That joke didn’t turn out to be really very hilarious at all. Maybe I told it wrong?
In any case, as you might already know (or have gathered), this whole thing actually happened over the past weekend. The atheist chick in question is Rebecca Watson, a popular blogger who calls herself Skepchick. The conference in question was the Center for Inquiry’s Student Leadership Conference. The part of Richard Dawkins was played by, well, Richard Dawkins. (You can find both of his comments quoted here.)
The incident has been hashed and rehashed endlessly in the atheist-o-sphere (and even out of it), but I think it deserves a tiny bit more re-rehashing. Mainly because it illustrates that some really creepy, backwards attitudes can lurk deep in the hearts of dudes who think of themselves as enlightened, rational dudes fighting the evils of superstition and, yes, religious misogyny.
The strangest thing about the whole incident is how supremely mild Watson’s comments on the creepy elevator dude were. Here is literally all she said about him, in passing, in her video (transcribed here):
So I walk to the elevator, and a man got on the elevator with me and said, ‘Don’t take this the wrong way, but I find you very interesting, and I would like to talk more. Would you like to come to my hotel room for coffee?’
Um, just a word to wise here, guys, uh, don’t do that. You know, I don’t really know how else to explain how this makes me incredibly uncomfortable, but I’ll just sort of lay it out that I was a single woman, you know, in a foreign country, at 4:00 am, in a hotel elevator, with you, just you, and–don’t invite me back to your hotel room right after I finish talking about how it creeps me out and makes me uncomfortable when men sexualize me in that manner.
That’s it. That’s the whole thing. You would think that most guys would be well aware that accosting a woman you’ve never met before in an elevator at 4 AM is, you know, kind of a no-no. But, no, Watson’s comments suddenly became an attack on male sexuality and men in general. One critic put up a video lambasting Watson, ending it with the question:
What effect do you think it has on men to be constantly told how sexist and destructive they are?
Never mind that she didn’t, you know, actually do that at all. Nor did she even remotely suggest, despite Dawkins’ weird screed, that creepy dudes on elevators were somehow equivalent to genital mutilation or the general denial of women’s rights in Islamist theocracies. She merely suggested that guys might want to think twice before hitting on women who are alone with them in an elevator at four in the morning. Pointing out the creepy behavior of one particular dude is not the same as calling all men creepy.
Now, the atheist movement tends to be a bit of a sausagefest, pervaded by some fairly backwards notions about women. (Prominent atheist pontificator Christopher Hitchens, you may recall, seems to sincerely believe that women just aren’t funny. Not that he’s exactly a barrel of monkeys himself.) But some of the most vociferous critics of Watson have been other atheist women – including the one I quoted above.
I hear a lot of misogyny from skeptics and atheists, but when ancient anti-woman rhetoric like the above is repeated verbatim by a young woman online, it validates that misogyny in a way that goes above and beyond the validation those men get from one another. It also negatively affects the women who are nervous about being in similar situations. Some of them have been raped or otherwise sexually assaulted, and some just don’t want to be put in that position. And they read these posts and watch these videos and they think, “If something were to happen to me and these women won’t stand up for me, who will?”
When I started this site, I didn’t call myself a feminist. I had a hazy idea that feminism was a good thing, but it was something that other people worried about, not me. I was living in a time and culture that had transcended the need for feminism, because in my world we were all rational atheists who had thrown off our religious indoctrination so that I could freely make rape jokes without fear of hurting someone who had been raped.
And then I would make a comment about how there could really be more women in the community, and the responses from my fellow skeptics and atheists ranged from “No, they’re not logical like us,” to “Yes, so we can fuck them!” That seemed weird.
Watson began hearing from other women in the skeptic/atheist community who’d met far too many of that second sort of male atheist.
They told me about how they were hit on constantly and it drove them away. I didn’t fully get it at the time, because I didn’t mind getting hit on. But I acknowledged their right to feel that way and I started suggesting to the men that maybe they relax a little and not try to get in the pants of every woman who walks through the door.
And then, as her blog garnered more attention, she faced a virtual invasion of creepy dudes being creepy:
I’ve had more and more messages from men who tell me what they’d like to do to me, sexually. More and more men touching me without permission at conferences. More and more threats of rape from those who don’t agree with me, even from those who consider themselves skeptics and atheists. More and more people telling me to shut up and go back to talking about Bigfoot and other topics that really matter.
She didn’t shut up.
So here we are today. I am a feminist, because skeptics and atheists made me one. Every time I mention, however delicately, a possible issue of misogyny or objectification in our community, the response I get shows me that the problem is much worse than I thought, and so I grow angrier. I knew that eventually I would reach a sort of feminist singularity where I would explode and in my place would rise some kind of Captain Planet-type superhero but for feminists. I believe that day has nearly arrived.
So what’s more appalling – the fact that groping on trains is so common in Japan that two-thirds of young women commuters have had to endure it themselves, or the fact that a small number of train cars have been set aside for women in a fairly half-assed attempt to curtail some of this groping?
For a lot of MRAs, the latter. The subject came up on Reddit’s Men’s Rights subreddit recently, inspiring some of the regulars to fulminate against this allegedly misandrist outrage. Fatalistic pulled out the n-word and this facile comparision:
Here’s what I’m seeing here: “At least we let you in the back of the bus, nigger.”
ExpendableOne, meanwhile, managed to work in a staggering number of standard-issue MRA complaints into this one sentence:
I think it’s discrimination and subjugation entirely based on misandry, negative male type-casting/stereotyping and anti-male heterophobia.
To keep it short they exploit and propagate fears not only demonizing men in society but also terrorizing women and scaring the shit out of them making them more paranoid than they need to be.
And then they do it for money.
How would that work exactly?
1) Get groped
2) Set up women-only train cars
Given that the Men’s Rights subreddit is one of the few Men’s Rights forums online that is not completely overrun with misogynist fanatics, there were others who responded more reasonably. Alienblonde noted:
In Japan it’s a massive problem where school girls get groped by older males on trains in peak hour.
Happened to me in Europe too when I was back packing. Some old Spanish guy sat beside me and decided to feel me up.
Women shouldn’t have to deal with this and unfortunately, until it stops happening, I think [women only train cars are] justified.
Naturally, this being a Men’s Rights forum, she quickly found herself the focus of a game of “blame the victim.” Fatalistic accused her of “[j]ustifying discrimination with this all men are potential criminals feminist dogma.” When she pointed out that she was not, in fact, doing this, he moved on to castigating her for not making a public scene when she was groped:
You should out the people who actually do these things rather than treat the rest of us as criminals by default with disgusting bigoted policies and the back of the bus mentality.
When she pointed out that this could have put her in more serious danger, he merely scoffed:
You would have to be paranoid and spoonfed the most egregious of feminist women are helpless, men are unstoppable beasts that need other men with guns to drag them away dogma to believe that all but the most psychopathic would persist or try to harm you if you outed them to a crowd for their actions.
Yes, because obviously her heterophobia needs to be glorified… Penises are so disgusting and scary, obviously women should totally be justified in fearing them and there couldn’t possibly be any kind of misandry involved with such contempt, befuddlement or “helplessness/horror” to the mere sigh[t] of male anatomy. /s
Yep, if you’re a woman on a train, not wanting to have some random dude pull his penis out and rub it on you is “heterophobia.” Who knew?
In the case of the subway flasher, the alleged perp did indeed flee when confronted. (He was later arrested.) That’s pretty much the best-case scenario. But it’s hardly the only possible result, and it’s understandable why a woman riding the train to work (much less one backpacking alone in a foreign country) would hesitate to publicly accuse a groper of groping her. Having women-only train cars cuts down on the number of times women are put in this difficult situation.
Yes, in an ideal world, there would be no need for women-only train cars. In an ideal world, men wouldn’t grope women on trains.