[…] But in this case, what we’re talking about is the difference between sexual interest, sexual attraction, versus sexual objectification. Objectification has a few things about it that separate it from interest. For instance, focusing on the physical aspects of a person; ignoring their individuality, and their stated desires (for instance, my desire to go to sleep, my desire to not be hit on, which is all I had been talking about all day); and also a disinterest in how your actions will impact the “object” in question. And that’s a really serious point, that I think you all should consider, especially if you want to encourage more women to join your groups.
Because there are people in this audience right now who believe this: that a woman’s reasonable expectation to feel safe from sexual objectification and assault at skeptic and atheist events is outweighed by a man’s right to sexually objectify her. That’s basically what these people have been telling me, and it’s not true. [one person applauds] Thank you, Melody. You know, since starting Skepchick, I’ve heard from a lot of women who don’t attend events like this because of those of you who have this attitude. They’re tired of being objectified, and some of them have actually been raped; quite a number of them have been raped, or otherwise sexually assaulted. And situations like the one I was in, in an elevator, would have triggered a panic attack. They’re scared, because they know that you won’t stand up for them. And if they stand up for themselves, you’re going to laugh them back down. And that’s why they’re not coming out to these events. […]
Of course, you can just ditch all the superfluous words. Instead, lets present –
A Woman at TAM
– A poem by Becky Watson