Women in Tech: Steve Hodson gets it wrong; Louis Gray gets brownie points

I was kind of thrilled to see Louis Gray jump in with a lovely and honest post and say “I’d like to read more women bloggers,” and kind of distressed to see Steve Hodson point to Stephanie’s Quilao’s powerful posts on sexual discrimination and feeling denigrated because of her appearance/gender as evidence that there are fewer female bloggers, or women in tech, because those mean old sexist men just make it too unpleasant for them.
From my perspective, while Steve probably means well, that assumption is on a par with saying women don’t become doctors because the mean old physicians and all that messy, red blood just drive them away. Like, ugh.
Steve says: “We as a society like to propagate the whole equality line but the reality is that there is no equality for women unless they have nice legs and big tits. No matter how as males we would have the world believe otherwise the fact is we continue to look on women as sexual objects and nice decorations to have around the office and make unwanted passes at.”
WTF?
This is the biggest line of bullshit anyone supposedly sympathetic to women has thrown in a while.
Steve, let me try to break it down for you:

  • Sexism hurts men and women both, and is bad for business
  • A few assholes don’t define everyone
  • Pointing to problems that need to be resolved and saying, as you seem to be doing, “Oh, these problems mean that this is just how things are and we need to understand that,” doesn’t create positive change, it just justified keeping things as they are.

Honey, if you think women are less involved with tech because K athy Sierra got death threats, you’re not dealing in reality here.
My suggestion is you stop lumping all men and all women into absolute groups and realize that there are male feminists, women chauvinists and the rest of us in the middle, trying to do the right thing and learning as we go along.

Latest Comments

  1. Seth Finkelstein says:

    By the way, the Kathy Sierra story was HIGHLY sensationalized, and a very bad example of the supposed topic (good example of A-lister power, though – it became such a big story BECAUSE A-LISTERS HYPED IT!)
    See:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2007/apr/19/blogging.comment
    “Accusations of sex and violence were bound to grab the headlines”

  2. Mary Hodder says:

    Hi Seth,
    Why is the kathy sierra thing a bad example? As a woman founder, I regularly get death threats and all sorts of bad sexual stuff. Less but similar as a long time woman blogger.
    But I feel *lucky* that none of these demented people seem to consistently repeat these things, or they don’t appear to have spent a lot of time on the harassment.
    So I ignore them. But I do think that this is more than a “supposed topic.”
    I deal every day with male hostility from the tech community. Before I got into tech, I assumed there really wasn’t much sexism in business because I’d never seen it. In face it never would have crossed my mind to talk about it.
    Now, in tech, I experience it several times a day. And it sucks that I even have to think about it.
    Of course accusations of sex and violence are bound to grab the headlines. But does that mean it’s not a topic or that we shouldn’t discuss the very real problem that all women in tech deal with?
    We (the women) talk about this all the time without men around. We just feel we can’t bring it up much, relative to the amount it happens, because we’ll be whinny and men won’t like it.
    For me, your comment proved that point. It’s hostile, and makes me feel badly about how badly I’ve been treated, and that I might even say something about it to anyone.
    mary

  3. Seth Finkelstein says:

    Mary, it’s a bad example because it was so highly sensationalized. It was the bogosphere at its worst, a reputation-destroying mob which blindly echoed A-lister’s pushing of the crowd’s emotional hot-buttons, without caring about truth or facts.
    It’s not part of the supposed topic of this post, except as a study of group pathology.
    I understand the politics here. Not taking an accusation at face value and immediately joining in denunciation lays one open to charges of hostility and insensitivity. All I can say is that my point is only that a specific story was not as reported, not that no sexism, death threats, etc exist.

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