I read the Rebecca Watson piece in Slate and I wasn’t really shocked that men are using threats of rape to marginalize someone who dares suggest they disagree with. But Richard Dawkins’ response really stunned me. He wrote a nasty comment suggesting that Watson’s expression of her discomfort about being sexualized and propositioned by members of the skeptic community somehow invalidated the complaints of women in the developing world face, including genital mutilation.
But can’t both of those things be problems? Can’t it be problematic that men—skeptics or otherwise—treat women as solely sexual objects in the developed world while other men—religious or otherwise—abuse, assault, and mutilate women in the developing world? Can’t all forms of sexism, sexual assault, and harassment be an issue to be addressed?
Part of the issue might be the self-righteousness involved in any group that sees itself as superior to others—skeptics see themselves as more enlightened than religious people, so they have a hard time accepting that rape culture is not confined to one segment of the population.
For people who prize rationality over all else, the idea that two problems can exist simultaneously shouldn’t be that difficult to grasp.