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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Bah... I've been thinking more on this and I've changed my position somewhat. I now think skepchick was reasonable and justified in her concerns: 4am elevator stranger blah blah etc. But if we start slapping some kind of new rules on behaviour, what would this lead to?

All situations similar to elevatorgate (cringe) should be based on their own merits relative to the circumstance, that is, we should take different weightings depending on the situation. If I want to chat up a woman at 4am in an elevator, or a nightclub, or an abattoir, then I should be free to do so. Just as a woman is free to turn me down, hell, I don't mind if she slaps me across the face. The thing I don't agree with is Watson's "Guys don't do that".  I don't see it as a polite request. It's clearly a request for men to alter their behaviour. I would never say "women don't do this or that" So if we follow Watson and do this and don't do that, wouldn't that lead to a slippery slope whereby the very act of chatting up is tainted with an irrational fear of rape/violence? We are better than this.

Each time I think about social politics like this I feel society is surrounded on all sides by slippery slopes(both up and down). We need some serious hiking equipment imo.

It was never about rape/violence - she merely pointed out it wasn't a good approach.  What if some woman, trying to impress you, decided to show how loud she could belch after downing a pint of beer?  Might you not suggest, if you had an audience that included many women, "Girls, don't do that - not the sort of thing that turns me on."

Actually , that's probably a poor example because many guys would get really turned on if an attractive woman belched really loud after downing a pint of beer. At least I would. Any other men wish to give their opinion too? lol

Skill at belching is not on my list of desirable traits in a partner.

More or less agree with your post matt,and I do feel this has been blown up out of all proportion,the guy was an idiot for following her into the lift for sure but we don't know anything more about him and my guess is that in the morning he felt a right fool for what he did,like we all have after drinking(waking up and having little flashbacks of what happened the night before and usually it's way more worse than what happened here,that go's for men AND women)  as we know that much as they were in the bar till late,this guy then had two choices if he sees her again apologise or avoid her,he probably went for avoid and this episode has snowballed.I wonder what would have happened if the lift had cctv with sound recordings and rather than just walking away as the man did she used a TAZER on him as like she said she felt threatened,by using the tazer on the man it does something to his heart or brain or anything and this go's to court,now the jury has seen the tape and heard everthing and seen everything,now who would be in the wrong?

I don't think she over reacted. I think the response to what I consider to be a simple and fair comment about it not being cool to proposition a lone female in an elevator at 4am has been used to whip up anti-feminist fervour.

By the way, when a stranger begins a sentence with "Don't take this the wrong way" warning bells should go off because it's akin to saying "Trust me." You should ask yourself why a stranger feels the need to gain your trust if his intentions are innocuous.

Ask a rape survivor about this sort of thing and she is going to get very concerned under circumstances like those

Not all rape survivors are a "she".


Also, I don't think there is a difference between standing in an elevator and standing in elevator while talking. It is not the talking that is the problem right?

Are you saying we should always treat everybody as a rape survivor?

My guess is that a lot of guys tried to read in between the lines of what Rebecca Watson said and found scary what they read there so they thought they had to react. And that reaction literally caused a chain reaction. I'm still not sure that there actually was anything in between the lines and I'm hard fetched to find anything worth to discuss at all.

Now why did guys jump in to defend the elevator guy?

I think the most interesting aspect is that a lot of guys said that the elevator guy did not do anything wrong. But the question is wrong with respect to what. He did not do anything legally wrong or at least what he did should not be illegal (I guess that it might be made illegal was one of the concerns of some guys). He clearly did something socially wrong (against social conventions). But did he do anything morally wrong? I think that is actually an interesting question if you dig a little bit deeper.

He did absolutely nothing 'wrong' - other than choose a terrible way of going about meeting a woman.

When we are interested in people, we approach when the opportunity arises. Sometimes it's awkward. The timing is rarely "right". And?


If her view is that of fear, then she is the one whom should be asking herself questions. Discomfort? Whom hasn't been approached in a uncomfortable or creepy way? I know that I have. I had friends blocking access to me from a woman in the last year. And? Her opinion should be, "Don't approach me that way." and not "Don't do that." as a general statement. People are going to want to get laid and you may be the target from time to time. It's not always going to be pretty. It's not a big deal. 


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