So I haven’t updated in a while. One of the reasons for it is that I’ve been pretty busy and I haven’t been able to make time to blog. The other reason is that I’ve been watching the internet blow up about sexual harassment policies at conferences and I was concerned that the only thing I would be able to write about it would be an endless stream of expletives. I must admit I don’t understand why there has been such backlash against adopting such policies in order to make women feel safe at conferences. I’ve been reading about this in the past few weeks and I have to say that the whole situation doesn’t really make me feel welcome in the atheist/skeptical community. Aren’t we supposed to be the smart ones? The people who are rational? If so, harassment policies at conferences should be a no-brainer. Instead, there has been idiotic suggestions that this meant women wanted to ban flirting and/or hooking up at conferences. How does a rationally thinking person go from implementing a policy to banning flirting? I don’t get it. I’m a woman and given the vitriol I’ve seen directed at the Skepchicks and Freethought Blogs in the past few weeks for merely suggesting adopting policies, I’m not feeling inclined to go to a skeptical/atheist conference anytime soon. Why would I spend a ridiculous amount of money to go to a conference that seems unwilling to make women feel welcome and safe? It doesn’t make you want to get involved with the movement.
I should mention that I like flirting. I enjoy sex. That being said, I think it’s ridiculous to imply that those two statements mean that I should have to be open to sex and flirting at all times, whether or not I am interested or in the mood to engage in either. Believe it or not, some people do go to conferences for other reasons than getting laid. It’s possible they are there to learn something. And yes, they may want to connect and socialize with others that have the same interests, but that does not necessarily translate to an invitation for sex. Those people deserve to have just as fulfilling an experience at conferences than everyone else. Having harassment policies and procedures that are properly communicated and enforced ensures that everyone can have a great experience. If your argument is that my safety and comfort is ruining your experience at conferences, then you’re an asshole. I’m not interested in sleeping with you because that’s not why I would be going to a conference. Move on and find someone who is. If there isn’t, then maybe you should consider that this isn’t the place to try to get laid. Maybe it’s that you’re an asshole and that’s not a turn on. Whatever the reason, your right to get laid doesn’t override my right to not be harassed.
I know we are winning this fight because many conferences have adopted harassment policies and many of the men in the movement have expressed their support for this kind of policy. The problem I have is that it should have never been a fight. I don’t understand why this suggestion caused such a shitstorm. I don’t understand why Rebecca Watson can’t say anything that doesn’t cause a flood of rape threats to be sent her way. You want to know why more women are not attending your events? All this bullshit is why.