There have been a lot of difficult, emotional and frustrating conversations in the skeptical blogosphere lately. With regards to feminism and harassment, it’s hard to find someone NOT talking about it, at some level. I have also noticed a couple of worrying things:
We’re exhausted: The constant barrage of arguments is starting to get to us. I see it in my fellow skepchicks, other bloggers, folks online and I see it in my local friends, some of whom aren’t even getting involved publicly. A lot of folks have talked to me privately saying that they understand that the conversation is important but simply don’t want to say anything and get swept away in the storm of comments and blogs.
We’re worried: I’ve had more than one person express concern about going to skeptical conferences because of this discussion and the reports we’ve heard of harassment. That these events will be dominated by this conversation and will be stressful and no fun.
We feel alone: When I was younger, I remember someone talking about personal safety, and telling me that if you’re being attacked, it’s better to yell “Fire” than “Rape” or even “Help” because people are more likely to get involved if there’s a fire. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I know I wasn’t alone in being given this advice. I can’t think of anything more disheartening than the idea that if something bad happens, we’re on our own and nobody will help us.
So I decided to co-opt A’s A.I. to spend some time talking about the positive experiences we’ve had in the skeptical community, in every day life and at conferences. Let’s, for a moment, try to remember why we’re all fighting to make these events more inclusive.
The first time I attended a skeptical conference, I had no idea what to expect. I never thought I would fall in love with this community the way I did. I’ve met some of my very best friends through the skeptical community and every conference I go to, be it Dragon*Con or SkepchickCON or TAM, it’s the best thing ever because I get to see the people I love. We laugh, we drink, we constantly challenge each other and we are better friends for all of it, even when we disagree.
Your turn. What are your favorite memories and experiences with the skeptical community, particularly in meatspace?
P.S. I am monitoring the comments on this thread very carefully. If you are here to argue, there are a LOT of other places you can do that. PLEASE use this thread to stay positive and talk about your really great experiences in the community.
Featured image courtesy Surly Ramics