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The Troublemaker


Often when I post about Rebecca Watson, I am helpfully reminded by someone that she is a lightning rod, a troublemaker, looking to stir shit in the skeptic world. From what I have read of her Skepchick blog, this just doesn’t ring true to me. What I’ve been able to gather from following her for a year or so is that she was just a young woman and a skeptic who was rudely introduced to sexism and misogyny in the skeptic world and responded to that by talking about it–loudly and often–instead of shutting up.

I think it’s the loudly and often part that gives Ms. Watson her bad rap (with idiots). And, indeed, if you do read her blog you’ll notice a pretty sizable chunk of her posts deal with misogyny in the skeptic world. But to me this makes a tremendous amount of sense. I think that after Elevatorgate, it would have been bizarre if skeptic-related feminism had not become a big part of her shtick. I mean, the reaction to her gentle admonition was just freaking insane. I can’t imagine this event and its aftermath not influencing the way she viewed the skeptic world greatly–of course she became more attuned to sexism!

And I think that it’s at this point we get into a rolling stone gathering moss situation: Rebecca Watson blogs about sexism. She is criticized for that–often in a way that proves the need for her vigilance– and she speaks up again. And because she keeps speaking–for legitimate reasons–she becomes “the troublemaker.” Bullshit.

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