Skepchick's huge controversy over late night proposition.

In case you are not currently aware, Skepchick Rebecca Watson attended some conference recently and, when she finally went to bed after talking for hours, found herself in an elevator with a strange man who asked her if she would like to go to his room for coffee to talk some more. In her recent video she said "Guys: dont do this...".


The problem is she is not really clear what the problem is. Some people are saying all men are evil rapists. Some people are saying she is over reacting to what was an innocent proposition. Having read a few of other peoples comments I believe the main problem was that she was trapped in an enclosed space with a strange man who just propositioned her and she declined. So the proposition itself was not bad(personally I would consider it flattering), but the timing and location of the proposition put her in uncomfortable situation. I think if he had asked her the same question in a more open space, she would of felt more secure that her answer would be heeded. Like if he asked her the same question just as she got off the elevator rather than when they were alone in the elevator, it would of not been such a big deal because if she says no: the doors close and they both go on their merry way.


What do other people think? all men are evil-psycho-rapists? she over reacted? what this guy did is totally fine?

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Precisely my point.  She is acting like she is the voice of all women by giving her personal anecdotal experience and reaction to the situation and saying 'it makes ME incredibly uncomfortable' 


Why would she write a blog post about not doing that to one female , specifically Rebecca Watson?  Is this worthy of a blog post?  


Would you , Jewelz , write a blog post about how you don't like it if somebody did something specifically to YOU?  So if anyone ever runs into you in let's say Dublin .... or Tokyo ... Or Australia , we should best remember your blog and refrain from doing that which annoys you?  Seems like a bit of a stretch.  



Perhaps it's because she address all men?  'Guys , don't do that' 


Unless the person's name is 'Guys' lol 


Come on ... read between the lines and stop trying to be so literal.  She is addressing all men by giving her opinion , which she thinks holds for all women.  

She's clearly addressing guys watching her video who might, perhaps, recognize her one day and repeat this behavior she mentioned which made her uncomfortable.


She DID NOT say all women hold this opinion. Claiming otherwise is putting words in her mouth. I agree with scarlett that you're reading more into it because it supports your opinion.


However, I guarantee there are many women who would share her discomfort in that situation (myself included) and it might be wise to consider that the next time you feel like following a foreign internet celebrity into an elevator and inviting her up to your hotel room at 4am for "coffee" after she's made it clear that she's exhausted and going to bed.


If you aren't the kind of guy who would do that, than she wasn't talking to you.

I'll take these one at a time-


1) Are all men evil-psycho-rapists?  The only one I am 100% sure of is me, and I can say with confidence that I am NOT an evil-psycho-rapist.  Further, I believe that the great majority of men in the world are not evil-psycho-rapists. Mysogonistic, perhaps.  Sexist, probably. Evil? No.


2)  Did she over-react? No, I believe her response (as reported) was mature, cool, and calm. "Please don't" - can't get much more calm than that.  I, for one, will not proposition her in a hotel elevator at 4 AM.  I'll go farther - I will not proposition ANYONE in a hotel elevator at 4 AM.  Just not my style.


3) Is what this guy did "totally fine"? - No.  Flat out, no.  There is a time and place for everything, and propositioning strange women at 4AM is not on.  Mind you, we know nothing about this young man in the elevator, beyond his lack of discretion.  It may be that he lacks the social experience which tells him in situations like this, "This may not be the brightest thing to do right now."  Hopefully, he learns from this.



There is a time and place for everything, and propositioning strange women at 4AM is not on.

So you are saying the timing of the proposition was cause for concern? I suspect he was probably afraid it was his last chance to talk to her in person and didn't want to miss out.


Also it is really not my scene but don't women get propositioned in nightclubs and bars at 4am pretty much every night of the week? bit different i'll agree, but still the fact it was 4am shouldn't be a huge cause for concern should it?

Actually, I'm pretty sure she was clear. It was 4am, she was alone, she'd just spent the better part of the day telling her audience that women really do just want to enjoy life without being propositioned and, whether people like it or not, women do actually have to live in constant fear in this rape culture.


Sure, the guy probably thought it was a fairly innocuous thing to do, but it was 4am, she was alone in a foreign country, and he propositioned her in an elevator after she'd just got done telling everyone she wanted to go to bed and sleep. 


Beyond that, it was actually only a short aside, mentioned in a much longer video. She was just saying 'guy's, try not to come off as creepy, and when a woman says she wants to go to bed and sleep, respect that' - that was it. It was everyone else who made this into a much bigger thing. (Not that it isn't something that should be addressed, as she had, in fact, done in her talks earlier that day.)


Dawkins - intelligent and interesting as he is - did not make matters any better, by belittling what Western women have to go through. Yes, it's not as bad as what women in other parts of the world live with daily, but that doesn't mean it's not bad. There is a legitimate concern in our part of the world over rape and sexual assault, and considering how under-reported rape and sexual assault is, and how few rapists and attacker's actually get jail time, even when they have been reported - is it any wonder? 


I haven't read all the responses to this, as I don't really have the time to go looking for every single blog/comment that talks about it, but I recommend Greta Christian's post on the matter. 

I haven't read all the responses to this

Neither have I, on the Skepchick website they even have overflow threads because the original threads got too long.


Sure, the guy probably thought it was a fairly innocuous thing to do, but it was 4am, she was alone in a foreign country, and he propositioned her in an elevator after she'd just got done telling everyone she wanted to go to bed and sleep.

Do you think it was all of these things in combination which made her feel uncomfortable? What could the guy of done differently to make the situation better? or conversely, which of these are the core issues and which are not particularly important?

Her point about 'when a woman says she wants to go to bed and sleep , respect that' is a stupid argument because women (and men) say things all the time they don't mean ... maybe she just said it to get away from the current situation so she could go find a coffee shop near by or an early bakery?  


Also , if this is about living in constant fear of rape , she needs to be ridiculed from both men and women because many people have already pointed out ... women , you probably won't get raped.  


"Every guy is probably not a rapist.  Now stop worrying and enjoy your life!"  



There have been three blog posts about this topic already,


I agree with Jewel and Usually Scarlett. If you want to address how men and women perceive situations differently then you can word the discussion in a different manner and in a general sense.You don't need to use the elevator story as an example. Maybe think of another situation where perceptions can be challenged.


Perhaps that needs to be a discussion, but the way it's phrased in your post, it seems very loaded, like you are asking for someone to say "yes, men are all evil-psycho rapists". Like you are looking for a fight. To me the actually elevator story has been covered.

I can agree that my original post didn't come across how I intended it....I will certainly form my posts far more carefully in future.

I was unaware of the others posts about this topic already, and I'd never heard of the bloggers in question until I read this post. Thank you for pointing it out. I poked around in the other threads, and while the story itself is less than interesting, I find the reactions from people fascinating.


As a side note, apparently I live under a rock.



How about a new topic?  Something original perhaps?  I've had as much Dawkins/skepchick fodder as I can handle these past few weeks.


Thank you.


Drive through.


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