Skip to main content

Last Words: Rebecca Watson and Richard Dawkins

Here’s the substance and sequence of events as I see it.



• Rebecca Watson had an elevator encounter that she felt uncomfortable with. She talked about it on her blog. She has every right to do so.


• PZ Myers picked it up on his blog. Thus far, this is like a conversation about dating techniques.


• Dawkins decides to get into this debate. He equates Watson’s experience with the great amount of suffering that women face in various countries including threats to their lives. Dawkins trivializes Watson’s experience as ‘zero-bad.’


• On the face of it, it seems like these are two distinct and unrelated issues and there’s no reason for anyone to compare these two experiences. Or is it?


• One is aware of problems such as date rape and various forms of sexual crimes which take place on campuses. Problems that are unique to the so-called advanced nations. Backward nations meanwhile are faced with the age-old issues: everything from killing female fetuses to killing female infants to injustices to young females to forced marriages to dowry harassment to death punishment for adultery, etc. I have clearly left out other forms of cruelty.


• Could it be that there’s something common in the male mindset which enables males to commit the first set of crimes in the rich countries and the second set of crimes in the poorer countries? It seems there’s after all some thread which links these two sets of crimes.


• So, Rebecca Watson’s encounter can be placed in the broader spectrum of persistent male mindsets. And then we can all conclusively agree that the elevator guy was egregiously in error. There’s after all a continuum from innocent offers of coffee to a situation where an acceptance of such an offer is construed to be an invitation to have sex. And when the female later makes it clear that the two matters are distinct, that often leads to misunderstanding, violence, and possibly rape.


• Dawkins erred in looking at it as an isolated incident and ignoring the historical baggage.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Sarah Kay's poem from TED

If I should have a daughter, instead of mom, she's going to call me Point B,

because that way she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way  to me.
And I am going to paint the Solar Systems on the backs of her hands, so she has to learn the entire universe before she can say 'Oh, I know that like the back of my hand'
And she's going to learn that this life will hit you, hard, in the face, wait for you to get back up, just so we can kick you in the stomach but getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air.

Top 10 Crazy Facts About India

Here's a random list of things. 1.Indians sometimes prefer to abort a fetus if they find out that it's female. (Or they just kill the new born baby after it's born.) 2.There are more than 20 million babies born in India. EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. 3.Child labor is so commonplace in India that few notice it or consider it out of the ordinary. Kids work as waiters or dishwashers in roadside restaurants. Sometimes, kids ferry tea to the local police station from a nearby roadside tea stall. 4.Massive numbers of kids and younger and adult women are employed as maids in middle class to rich households. Middle class houses might pay 200 rupees to a female who comes and washes the dishes. Rich houses might employ women permanently by paying them more. 5.Cars in the Indian cities are washed in the morning by car-washers who tend to be young men who get paid around 100 to 200 rupees per month for this service. 6.India is home to some crazily competitive exams. The IIT JEE and the IIM CAT have …

Edward Snowden

This seems to me to be the defining journalism-whistle-blower story of this generation. It's rare in today's world when privileged people voluntarily choose to take steps whereby they give up comfortable lives to do something that is in the 'public good.' Mr. Snowden was clearly a computer whiz which explains why he got jobs at the CIA (including postings in Geneva under diplomatic cover). Booz Allen obviously did not hire him or pay him the $1,20,000 salary without Mr. Snowden showcasing some considerable technical expertise. I believe Mr. Snowden's expertise probably lies in having deep expertise in various flavors of Linux. That is what I am inclined to infer from his various job roles as a 'Systems Engineer' or 'System Administrator.' Being the self-driven sort of person that he was, I am sure he must be having good knowledge about networking and encryption stuff including but not limited to Cisco routers and related technologies. To put these t…