Digital archaeology of Elevatorgate – a timeline

Oh, the huge manatee! Suirauqa has taken it upon xirself to chronicle the origin of the DEEEEP RIIIIIIFT that the community has found itself in, between people who think Rebecca Watson magically ruins everything by her mere presence, and people who think she’s just another human being. Xir googling efforts are chronicled here, and the proceedings of the event now known as “elevatorgate” make a sort of prequel to the harassment policies campaign in how major forces in the skeptical and atheist movements decided to align for and against female bodily autonomy.

A friend of mine was curious about the ‘Deep Rift’ that has been cooking in the atheist-skeptic blogosphere for about a year now, culminating in the Twitter storm over the FTBullies hashtag. I offered to make a timeline with bullet points. Little did I know that chronicling those cataclysmic events was going to be such a monumental task, requiring the last drop of my Google-Fu and reading/listening comprehension. Anyhoo, I must admit it was eeriely fun revisiting those events, and consequently, wondering anew how, atheist-skeptic or not, we all are subject to the very human foibles and frailties of ego, prejudice, presumptions, and sadly, blind irrationality. Vraiment, the humanity of it all!

Well worth the read, if you’re unsure why people deluge Watson with hate for otherwise completely unobjectionable statements.

In case you missed the link the first time through, click here.

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Digital archaeology of Elevatorgate – a timeline

70 thoughts on “Digital archaeology of Elevatorgate – a timeline

  1. 51

    KarenX @ 52:

    I completely agree with you. Smart exists for it’s own purpose, not to make an intelligent woman attractive to men (or gay women, for that matter).

  2. 52

    “…between idiots who think Rebecca Watson magically ruins everything by her mere presence, and morons who think she’s sooooo totally awesome that her farts smell like chocolate and flowers sprout wherever she walks.”

    Fixed.

    This is closer to the truth. Those of use who actually think “she’s just another human being” wish the rest of you would STFU already, it’s been over a year and the WE Love/Hate Rebecca Clubs really need to move on with something far less annoying and idiotic.

  3. 53

    That’s a good clarification, Karmakin. I guess I meant “objectification” when I said “sexualization.”

    Rebecca Watson objected to being sexualized in inappropriate settings, such as being a speaker at a conference. That’s often indicative of objectification, but either way, it’s demeaning and insulting when you specifically say, “I don’t like this,” and then people go ahead and do it anyway.

  4. 55

    As someone who’s not generally a reader of Skepchick, I see a hell of a lot more of the Rebecca haters than those who think she can do no wrong. In fact, I can’t even bring one to mind, just those who think the haters are full of shit.

  5. 56

    One group of people believed that elevator gate showed the need for the atheist and skeptic movements to promote equailty for, and oppose the harassment of marginalized groups. The other decided to fixate on and troll PZ, Rebecca, and the rest of their enemies list. You’re right Otto those too things are totally equivalent, you’re taking the high road on this one.

  6. 57

    Well, I definitely feel superior to you Illuminata. As for contributing nothing, since there has been over a year of nothing going on except the trolls and the white knights sniping at each other I guess I’m no different than the rest of you.

    That is unless you are talking about the enormously important contribution to the English language that was made when people were posting on which gender neutral pronouns were more appropriate previously in this thread. I know in a world where fundamentalists are trying to degrade your rights, corporations are pillaging everything while dictatorships are murdering thousands, it is important that he’s aren’t called she’s or she’s called he’s or dogs called cats, that’s pretty fucking important.

  7. 58

    @17 Hyperdeath…

    “Sexiness” has a far wider scope than physical appearance. If anything “smart is sexy” reinforces the message of not judging by physical appearance, because it promotes another factor as being important.

    Well… “smart is sexy” may reinforce the message that a woman is not being judged by physical appearance, but it’s mostly reinforcing the message that women are best when they are attractive to men, and that they are still being judged on according to some guy’s boner. Smart’s good because it makes men want to fuck you more! Just like pretty’s good! Men will fuck those girls too! How nice that there are so many women available to fuck, for all kinds of new reasons!

    It still a phrase that objectifies them rather than respects them as people with talents. I am not a fan.

  8. 59

    As for contributing nothing, since there has been over a year of nothing going on except the trolls and the white knights sniping at each other I guess I’m no different than the rest of you.

    Unless you count, y’know, actual harassment policies getting adopted by most of the cons out there (except apparently TAM, which seems to have removed theirs). But that ain’t a thang, is it?

  9. 60

    Otto, has anyone ever told you you’re a moron. Because you are. I mean, you equate discussing pronouns with inaction which is pretty fucking stupid. I mean on a scale of stupid to High Fuckwit I, you’re definitely II or III.

    Also, catch your eye on a thumb tack. The pain would distract you from the horrors that is FtB and Watson. You can real things to worry about!

  10. 62

    Yeah, because who fucking cares of those trans* men and women and intersex people and genderqueer folks feel included rather than alienated? PRIORITIES people!

    I will say “ARRRGGGGHHHH!” in empathy if that will cheer you up at all.

    Because if I never hear the small-percentage-of-the-population handwaving bullshit again, it will be too soon. And I am not particularly a trans-aware person. (Mega thread on Pharyngula was awful but had educational merits for readers like me.)

  11. 63

    Yeah, count me as one of the singular “they” users, and personal-preference-havers. And yes, Otto, it does fucking matter for the many of us who “he or she” don’t fucking apply to.

  12. 64

    That is unless you are talking about the enormously important contribution to the English language that was made when people were posting on which gender neutral pronouns were more appropriate previously in this thread.

    Yeah, because who fucking cares of those trans* men and women and intersex people and genderqueer folks feel included rather than alienated? PRIORITIES people!

  13. 65

    I vote for singular they/their/them as well. Both because re-purposing existing words is much more likely to work than making up weird-looking odd-sounding new ones (we’re not Shakespeare here), and because English grammar is already crap. We can count this as step one in slashing through subject-verb agreement, which has always been a thorn with no clear value. Maybe someday we’ll get around to cutting out the case residue of I/me/myself (and friends) as well.

    Regarding jamessweet’s concern at #13 about it reducing the information of the sentence, it’s not a serious problem in practice. The pronoun form should not be used in good writing before an ordinary or proper noun has been used. If it is, that was already ambiguous. If it’s not, then the number being contained in “they” is already defined.

  14. 66

    She trades on her sex, because she doesn’t have any ideas.

    and

    She was all about sexualization because she couldn’t possibly make her rep based on her thoughts.

    Ellipsis, you’re a fucking case study in misogynist thought.

  15. 67

    That’s even before I’ve gotten into Watson’s nudie-pics and the rest of it. But sure – “no sexualizing”.

    What nudie pics? There’s no such thing so far as I’m aware.

    Others have schooled you here on the difference between sexualisation and objectification. I’m sure you can appreciate that there are contexts in which sexuality and responses to it are appropriate and contexts in which they are not. Indeed, the whole recent brouhaha on harassment was all about identifying those contexts (usually where consent is forthcoming).

    What it does do is make utter crap of the whole “no sexualizing” nonsense.

    Not really. See the thoughts on context, above. This is a nuanced issue, except where consent is not given. It is perfectly possible and reasonable for a woman to pose for a calender and not have to expect to be defined by that for the rest of her days. Do you not agree?

    She was all about sexualization because she couldn’t possibly make her rep based on her thoughts.

    I’ve seen a fair few of her videos. Your view seems unfair, unkind and inaccurate.

    It’s worth noting that the trouble with Miss Smith started when Abbie Smith was horrified at the thought of being welcomed for her ovaries rather than her ideas. Watson’s never had anything else.

    What an unpleasant slur. It speaks volumes about you.

  16. 68

    Which are all okay. Sure, sure, no attempts to pressure there.

    I believe Greg asked for this, and maybe some commenters agreed. But I noted that few others did (or if they did, they did so out of my sight). But Greg is just one voice, a voice with little clout and one that so far as I can see is in the minority. So I don’t see this as the threat you do.

    I remember the hysteria whipped up against Dawkins.

    I remember Dawkins making a fool of himself with his dismissive, paternalistic and ill-judged post. Interesting use of the word ‘hysteria’ there.

    I know perfectly well that Greg Laden tried to make life hard for Smith in real life.

    Yes, Greg crossed a line. Several in fact. I am rather pleased he is gone from FTB. I hope he learns his lesson.

    I notice you’re all scurrying away from the abuse that hit people objecting to anything as tasteless as a bordello themed evening.

    What abuse was that? I fail to see that the quote you posted was abuse. Rather like the ‘guys, don’t do that’ comment, it was a gentle rebuke.

    If you wish to prove abuse, I’d like to see you give us some more evidence. I mean, you being a champion of facts and logic and all.

  17. 69

    Just a quick drive-by note from Suirauqa. He is happy to be referred to as a ‘he’, for he, indeed, is a he. But the non-gendered pronouns (Xe, Ze, Xir, Hir) are fine as well. He wouldn’t even mind being referred to as ‘it’.

    Now, carry on folks!

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