Skepchick

10/12/19

Skepchick.org is a website and blogging site founded by Rebecca Watson in 2005 to: "discuss science and skepticism from a woman’s perspective. Over the years, it’s grown to be a home to dozens of writers who tackle those issues as well as progressive politics, feminism, and social justice". Rebecca was the co-host of the Skeptics Guide to the Universe from 2006 to 2014 and started the site, which originally consisted of a forum and a monthly online magazine aimed at women, the LGBT community and teenagers (which are traditionally all under-represented in skepticism and atheism) in 2005. Currently there are 18 regular contributors, including Rebecca. She is also the host of the Quiz-O-Tron podcast and has her own successful YouTube channel.

In 2011, after attending the World Atheist Convention in Dublin, Rebecca posted a Vlog were she said: '...At four in the morning, we were at the hotel bar. I said I've had enough guys, I'm exhausted, going to bed, so I walked to the elevator, and a man got on the elevator with me and said "Don't take this the wrong way, but I find you very interesting and I would like to talk more, would you like to come to my hotel room for coffee?" Um, just a word to the wise here, guys, don't do that. I don't really know how else to explain that this makes me incredibly uncomfortable, but I'll just sort of lay it out that I was a single woman, you know, in a foreign country, at four a.m., in a hotel elevator with you, just you, and I, don't invite me back to your hotel room right after I've finished talking about how it creeps me out and makes me uncomfortable when men sexualise me in that manner.' This reasoned request went largely unnoticed...initially.

A few weeks later, prominent atheist and scientist Richard Dawkins wrote what became known as the "Dear Muslima" open letter, in which he sarcastically compared Watson's experience to that of muslim women who have had their "genitals mutilated with a razor blade" and contrasted "the suffering your poor American sisters have to put up with" with women who "aren't allowed to drive a car...leave the house without a male relative [and who can be] stoned to death if you commit adultery" (and in doing so committed the moral equivalence fallacy). The resulting fallout became known as "Elevator Gate" in skeptical and atheist circles and led to a fractious and quite nasty online debate - Rebecca and many women who supported her were subjected to horrific misogynist abuse and Dawkins was dismissed as a misogynist - that still resonates today, especially in US skeptical and atheist circles.

  • Meetup Events
  • Facebook Page
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Podcast
  • Newsletter
  • Donate at Patreon

© 2018 The Edinburgh Skeptics Society

SCVO Logo