So there’s this incident going around the parts of the Internet atheists hang out in. Here’s a summary and here’s some responses on the issue. Anyway, I don’t want to talk about how appropriate it was for someone to criticise the arguments of someone else during a keynote speech at a conference. I’m slightly more interested in the responses to Rebecca Watson’s anecdote about the man in the elevator. To sum up, at 4am, a man followed her into an elevator and invited her to his room for coffee because he found her interesting. She expressed that this was creepy behaviour and that she felt sexualised. In response, a whole bunch of people have said that she was making too much of the incident.
A lot of men don’t seem to see why this is creepy. Honestly, even though I live in relatively safe Singapore, I get slightly nervous when in the elevator late at night with a strange man. In fact, I’ve even shut elevator doors on men I see coming in the distance (something I don’t do in daylight). When I’m in the elevator with a male I don’t know, I try to stand near the buttons. Basically, I know that as a female, there is always the chance that I could be attacked and I need to be vigilant. And so if some random guy comes into the elevator with me and starts to talk to me, I am definitely going to freak out. And really, if you think that, as a male, you are being unfairly discriminated against, that’s too bad. I’m not going to apologise for this, not when victims of sexual assault are often the ones being investigated instead of their attackers. As men, you have a whole lot more power in society. People tend to believe you more. People don’t judge you on your appearance. People will even come to your defence saying that the victim asked to be assaulted because her skirt was short. In such a reality, I think it’s perfectly reasonable for females to assume that men who approach you in elevators for coffee at 4am are creeps.