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vetler on Mar 22, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite



I don't know if this is going to be an unpopular post, but I don't think this is such a clearcut case of sexism as the API Jam/"Lighten Up" stuff we've seen recently. I think we can all agree that using scantily-clad women as advertising objects is a bad thing- we were hating GoDaddy for it long before SOPA. But I think that everyone in this story went about things the wrong way.

Shanley Kane had a legitimate complaint. But tweeting "please take it down, it's fucking gross." isn't really a great way to approach the situation. Don't get me wrong- the response was bad, too- Katz cc-ing Kane's employer later down the thread was a particularly bone-headed move.

The actual root sexism isn't the story here. It's a story about PR, or about making- and dealing with- complaints. Sanz's first reply actually admitted that the video needed to be replaced- if he'd rephrased it to something like "we've taken your views on board and we're going to talk about this in the office tomorrow" that might have been the end of it. But his response was vague and he took Kane's anger personally. Then it all spiraled out of control. I don't think the Geeklist guys are bad guys in the slightest, and I expect we'll see a reply from them soon.

EDIT: I meant "a bad thing [in the tech industry]" rather than an overall bad thing. Apologies for the misunderstanding that ensued.


>I think we can all agree that using scantily-clad women as advertising objects is a bad thing

Nope. They're paid for it, there is nothing illegal about it and I fail to see anything wrong with targeting perceived likes of a segment of the population to move product. In fact, I believe that's what advertising is. I see no difference between a woman in a bikini or a celebrity in an ad.


"They're paid for it, there is nothing illegal about it"

Ah, Hacker News, where all ethical questions boil down to "were they paid?" and "is it illegal?".


Also, "define <word for which the definition is obvious>".

If you can't write a mathematical proof of it, it doesn't exist, and any discussion of it will inevitably lead to a bunch of people arguing semantics.

This site is one of my favorites, but when an article about sexism in the industry hits the front page, I do what I can to avoid the comments. The majority of the time, it will be things like

* "I still have a problem with this notion that simply because women may be fun to look at, that they are objects."[0]

* "I don't think you'll ever be able to take the objectification of women out of society, and I don't know if it's necessary to try - we've seen women begin objectifying men in some capacity in the last seventy-five years or so, and I don't know if that's necessarily an unhealthy thing. Better to let that objectification be out in the open than keep it locked up in your head."[1]

* "I really hope that everyone is as equally offended and quick to point out sexism for every advertisement, television show, and movie featuring a very fit, shirtless man doing a stereotypical "masculine" activity"[2]

[0]: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3740048

[1]: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3740090

[2]: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3740003


There is a higher moral ground than just what is legal, and what people are willing to do for money.


Agreed, and a lot of it has to do with the context. If your're selling swimsuits, then you hire models, have a photo shoot, and sell swimsuits. But in the technology industry, where a lot of people are working very hard to encourage more women to get involved, there's no place for this type of objectification of women. We should hold ourselves to a higher standard.


That's why we're all seeking to ban pornography, right?


No. If you're selling pornography, you hire porn stars, make porn, and sell it. That's the adult entertainment industry. If you're selling "an achievement-based social portfolio builder...exclusively for developers, to build tangible credibility in the workplace..." maybe you don't hire a model to dance around without pants on. Maybe you do, maybe you don't care, but if your customers care then maybe you should too.


Your morality is not everyone's morality.


Are you saying this disqualifies his point because some people don't include equal treatment of women in their moral outlook? Or are you just stating a fact?

If the former, then you are wrong. If the latter, I'm not sure what you're trying to add to the conversation.


There is nothing higher* about the moral ground. It usualy degenerates civil conversation to people taking mountains offense and guilt-by-association attacks.

*'Higher' in this case interpreted as "more positive" or "more virtious".


This is not Iran. Women are allowed to dance around in underwear. And get paid for it. It was that model's choice. She was OK with it. If she's OK with, I'm OK with it.


Many people can't see any difference between a snippet of code from the Linux kernel allocator and a MySQL SELECT statement. That doesn't mean there isn't a difference, just that they aren't educated on the matter. Same deal here. Studies have shown substantial and harmful differences in how people respond to the two scenarios above.


+1

As long as consumers choose to us services that monetize primarily on ads, (Facebook, Google, et. Al), I say game on. I may not personally agree on a style basis, but focusing on the morality of a business model seems like a way better time sync than trying to get everyone to capitulate to your opinions.


My point with all this is that you can advertise however you want. Naked women, women in bikinis, who cares. However if you do some blatant sexism and want to attract intelligent women into your ranks, or want to attract intelligent men who give a shit, you fail. Furthermore you can expect a PR backlash. And of course will try to justify yourself.

The reason for this is obvious: they have NO INTENTION to take the video down, and will do anything they can to stop criticism. Classical Trolling.

The appropriate response would have been:

"We are sorry for this, and did not realize the sexism portrayed, we will begin work asap to move away from such advertising."

That would have been the end of the conversation. And would have boosted their cred if anything.


>will do anything they can to stop criticism. Classical Trolling.

Trolls don't try to stop criticism. Trolls like upsetting people.


> The actual root sexism isn't the story here. It's a story about PR, or about making- and dealing with- complaints.

Agreed. I'm kind of amazed how far it went. Regardless of if you think she was in the right or wrong in her arguments, Kane stayed reasonably on target with her comments while Sanz & co hung themselves.

At some point in time you have to throw a bucket of water on the situation instead of letting it turn into a wildfire. Even if it didn't necessarily start as a PR or customer support issue, it quickly became one, and you kind of have to recognize when that happens. Especially when you're talking about issues relating your company to people on something like twitter (i.e., a super public place where your words have some permanence and reach).


I think we can all agree that using scantily-clad women as advertising objects is a bad thing...

Why is it a bad thing? Have you taken the time to talk to some of the women who appear in these ads? They may have a bigger problem with your labeling them as "advertising objects" than them appearing scantily-clad.


I would say that it's a bad thing because it offends women in the tech industry and makes them feel alienated- the root of this entire story.

It's quite likely that the models in the ads have no objection to what's going on- clearly, they chose to get into the industry. But that's not really the point- there is such a thing as being aware of your environment, and the tech industry has started making real efforts to be more inclusive. If you don't pay attention to this kind of stuff you're going to get a backlash.


Those are two very different arguments.

Are you saying that they simply made the wrong ad for their tech audience(easier to agree with for a moment) or that they made some huge moral blunder(more difficult to agree with, also the argument by the lady who started the conv).


I think that moral judgements are inherently difficult to make on an objective level, because everyone has different morals. It's why I said that her demanding they take it down wasn't actually a great move- clearly, it offends her, but that doesn't actually give her the right to demand them to take it down.

But imagine, for instance, that she tweeted something similar to @playboy. She'd be very unlikely to get a positive response, or really any support from others. But the tech world is not Playboy, we're supposed to be an inclusive community that wants to encourage more women to be involved.

So I guess my answer is somewhere between your two options- they made a moral blunder in the context of the tech community.


I think it's pretty hard to dispute that advertising modeling is objectification. The thing is, objectifying an individual who agrees to be objectified is not a bad thing. What is bad is generalized objectification.

In other words,

OK: that model is being used as an object for marketing clothing

Not OK: women are objects that are fun to look at

I can't really agree to the position that sexualized advertising is inherently sexist. But in the case of geek culture, there is a big heap of social context that has to be taken into account that makes it very touchy territory.


I still have a problem with this notion that simply because women may be fun to look at, that they are objects. Perhaps you should define "object".


> The actual root sexism isn't the story here. It's a story about PR, or about making- and dealing with- complaints.

I think it is, actually. This method of dealing with women who speak up - veiled threats, sniping about "tone," complaints that 'we're not being treated fairly!' - is the actual root sexism. It's not just a PR problem or a problem with complaints. The anger here focused directly and solely on the woman who made the complaint, in an ugly and crass way, and that qualifies as more inherently sexist than anything in the video.


The anger here focused directly and solely on the woman who made the complaint, in an ugly and crass way, and that qualifies as more inherently sexist than anything in the video.

Well... no, because the anger would have to have been because she was a woman rather than just directed at a woman. Being angry at a woman isn't sexist.

I don't see any evidence that the responses were that gender-specific. If I'd made similar complaints they might have also called me out on my tone.


This is a misunderstanding of what sexism is, I think, though it's a common one.

Sexism is not about intentions. Neither is racism, for that matter. It's about the effect our actions have in the world. I can be a non-racist and say racist things; I can even say racist things accidentally or inadvertently. That doesn't make them less racist. Likewise, I can consider myself enlightened, and mean absolutely nothing sexist by it, and still let my girlfriend do all the housework, or say things that I don't realize are hurting women in general.

That can be little scary, I think, because most of us are at least a little worried that we're going to get accused of something terrible and be held up as guilty of sexism or racism. But there's something freeing about letting go of that and accepting that everybody can make mistakes. The fact that you say something sexist doesn't make you a sexist. The point is just to try to stop doing and saying things that harm the status of women as a whole in society.

And in this case, yes, this harms the status of women as a whole in society. I'm pretty sure that Christian Sanz and Rueben Katz are perfectly nice guys who don't catcall women on the street or abuse their wives or girlfriends or whatever. I'm sure, in short, that they're no sexists. But that doesn't change the fact that this event is part of a pattern that is endemic and that makes it very, very hard for women to speak up when a company does something wrong. The pattern is laid out clearly by one of Shanley Kane's tweets: distract people by focusing on "tone" and saying you're not being treated fairly, and then make subtle economic threats.

Regardless of whether or not Christian Sanz or Rueben Katz are themselves sexists - I have a feeling they're not - this pattern is patently sexist. And it needs to stop. It's a pattern that's been repeated over and over again. We can't see this one incident as completely divorced from the millions and millions of other incidents where women have been gaslighted ('calm down already! why are you so upset?') and then threatened with economic hardship.


Complete bullshit. The "anger" that you refer to has very little to do with her being a woman. If the same words came from a guy, he'd be met with a similar response.

On the whole, I think the guys involved in the conversation end up looking more stupid and petty, especially given they are cofounders. Now, am I sexist in saying this? Does everything have to viewed from those lenses?


I agree with badclient, there are ways to speak to people about things you disagree and the way she handled it was far from being professional.

You can try to reason with people or you can just have a bad attitude and smack them and hope the other will bow.


You're right, the original sexism definitely isn't the story. But the way the geeklist guys handled it wasn't just bad PR. As Kane pointed out several times, the way they treated her was part of the same orthodoxy that gave rise to the sexism in the first place.

Threatening a woman for speaking out, repeatedly invoking one's "family", demanding politeness, etc., saying she's desperate for attention, all have overtones that aligned with the sexist narrative in an unfortunate way. When two men are accused of condoning sexism respond by trying to bully the woman who's complaining, that means something different than just bad PR.


Exactly. You could make the argument that the video was mildly sexist (though no more so than the rest of the advertising industry), but to demand it be taken down because "it's fucking gross" is idiotic. I would have simply told her to get lost.


Being right is no excuse for being bone-headed. Shanley Kane may have been right to point out that the video was a tad sexist, but she was totally bone-headed in how she went about it. Moreover, though she is well within her right to request the video be reviewed and perhaps dealt with, demanding it be taken down because it's "fucking gross" is far more unacceptable, to me, than the contents of the video.

What's next? Should I ask Shanley Kane to take her tweet down because I find it offensively stupid?

The answer is obviously no.


Morally, I don't know what a good argument against using scantily clad women as advertising objects is - historically, scantily clad women have been used in advertising for thousands of years, and I think that's kind of the object of that particular advertising, and in some instances (Axe body spray), it probably works.

There's a wide margin between booth babes and sexual harassment, and conflating the two leads to people getting the wrong idea about sexuality, where to draw the line, and modern feminism.

I don't think you'll ever be able to take the objectification of women out of society, and I don't know if it's necessary to try - we've seen women begin objectifying men in some capacity in the last seventy-five years or so, and I don't know if that's necessarily an unhealthy thing. Better to let that objectification be out in the open than keep it locked up in your head.


I am all against Godaddy, but ... using scantily-clad women as advertising objects is a bad thing- we were hating GoDaddy for it long before SOPA

This is ridiculous - as is the argument in the original post. That an ad should be pulled because why the ads with a woman in her underwear dancing around to dupstep? is quite similar to the view that porn should be banned because it is toxic to marriages and relationships and a cause of misogyny and violence against women.

Both views represent a subjective, personal world view, presented by a person that goes around proclaiming superior morality of their values and trying to enforce it on others. Both have subjective value sets and act all outraged that not all people subscribe to these. One is the girl in the original post, the other Rick Santorum.


Also--it's an advertisement. Can't we promote egalitarianism without trying to criminalize male sexuality? Nobody would have complained if it was a male model doing the exact same commercial.


It's a story about sexism. The "PR" in this case is basically a "How to be Sexist" guide. They hit all the high points -- "looking for attention", "double standard", "I bought you drinks!", and, of course, threatening the woman's economic welfare.

It's absolutely, unmistakably clear that this is a company whose culture is inherently and proudly sexist.


You missed "tone argument" (as in, "I don't like you being uppity about this thing which I don't care about so I'm going to draw attention to the language you chose to use rather than deal with the actual issue at hand.") but otherwise yup, that pretty much hits all the high points.


You don't have enough information to differentiate the case you're making from "I don't like you being uppity about this thing which I care about and I was going to make right, but now I won't, because you're unprofessional and it's hard to believe you'll appreciate if I'll fix it" or even from "I don't like you being uppity about this thing which I care about and I'm going to make right, but you're unprofessional and I'd like you to tone it down so I'm going to slap you on the wrist until you do", which is completely innocent.

Think rationality/LessWrong differentiation. It looks to me that you just don't have enough bits to differentiate between the hypotheses.


This is slowly getting out of hand. I would even dare to speak of censorship.

Who cares what a random girl in a video is doing? Was she forced to appear in there? Then what's the problem? It's not even "fucking gross", it's just a couple of people giggling around being silly!

I'm a girl and never felt objectified by bosses/colleagues in the tech world, nor suffered any kind of sexism. But maybe it's because I never cared for it. I did my job and was respected for it, just like everybody else. In this century YOU are responsible for the way you present yourself to others and that's how you will be judged. They will respect you (or not) because of what you do, how you do it, how professional you are, what you accomplish.... regardless of what you are.


How do you dare speak in such a sensible and understanding manner? Why don't you talk about the times where you met a jerk at your workplace and he was a jerk, and you were offended, so now every workplace ought to be filled with men full of lust because they are geeks so they have poor social skills (funny, cliches about geeks in the office are OK !). Anyway this is, of course, a joke and some of the things I have found in previous threads.

But seriously thank you for saying what other women in the office where I have been working in the past have said: there is generally no problem. I don't know where the people I have read were working, but seriously, if it's that horrible, switch jobs.

And about the thing getting out of hand, this is the internet, people circle jerk problems ad nauseum, and Hacker News is not an exception.

Sexism is a subset of stupidity and a great deal of the latter is shown here.


"I'm a girl and never felt objectified by bosses/colleagues in the tech world, nor suffered any kind of sexism."

I can tell. How sad that you should use you lucky position to blast those who have, rather than showing women that it doesn't have to be that way.

Nice insinuation that those of us unlucky enough to have been on the receiving end of sexism are not working hard enough to earn respect... sigh. Sisterhood, eh?


A customer or random stranger saying they think your content is inappropriate does not even begin to approach censorship. Censorship is a related topic of discussion, but nothing resembling it is happening here.


She is asking the video to be taken down, not merely pointing that it's inappropriate -> "I don't like it, take it down".

I'm just talking censorship because it's the nth thing of this kind I've seen this week alone and I'm starting to see a dangerous trend. Apologies if it looked a bit out of place, should have added a better explanation of what I meant.


> I'm a girl and never felt objectified by bosses/colleagues in the tech world, nor suffered any kind of sexism.

Many others have, though, and you shouldn't dismiss their experiences because you were fairly lucky.


I don't think you have a good working definition of censorship. There is no authority figure here, and no one is being silenced; what's happening is people speaking up about things that make them feel hurt, threatened, and alienated. This is how things work in a free society.

It's great for that you've never felt subject to sexism. (Says in your profile you're in the UK, might have something to do with it-- I don't know if you've read anything about the political climate here in the States, it's a little actively hostile towards women right now.) But I'm afraid what you're saying is wishful thinking. The fact of the matter is some people are assholes, and it's quite possible to do your job well and still not be respected, and in our industry that falls much, much heavier on women.

There are fewer women in tech today than thirty years ago. We have a real problem, and ignoring it isn't helping anything.


I really hope that everyone is as equally offended and quick to point out sexism for every advertisement, television show, and movie featuring a very fit, shirtless man doing a stereotypical "masculine" activity (construction work, heavy lifting, playing a sport, or fighting each other).


This is not a legitimate counter-argument. The use of women in advertising, and our social treatment of women in general, has negatively affected most women's ability to be treated professionally and respectfully. The use of fit, shirtless men in advertising does little to hold men back in general.


I agree that women are underrepresented in our field (and certainly others).

I have two issues with your post. Maybe they are a failure to understand what you're saying (blame it on reading comprehension in that case):

1) ".. has negatively affected most women's ability to be treated professionally and respectfully"

If you reread those lines, would you still choose them? _Most_ women's ability to be treated in either way or both is negatively affected? Maybe I stumble when I read 'most' and change that mentally to 90% or so - which my gut rejects as unreasonably large and way over the top.

2) Did you watch the video? Would you, if that girl came now down the street, think disrespectful about her? Consider her unprofessional in her job?

I think the video was obviously shot for this effect and completely unnecessary. The 'I need new pants' comment at the end was the biggest issue I have with that stuff. Watching it I reacted like w/ most advertisements: Lack of interest in general, disgust for so badly disguised tries to influence the viewer, me.

But I don't think videos like these will go away, nor are they the biggest problem. Failure to distinguish between a model with little more than a shirt on (job: to be looked at) and your fellow rails programmer (job: produce awesome code) because they share the same sex is .. stupid. And needs to be eliminated.


1) ".. has negatively affected most women's ability to be treated professionally and respectfully" If you reread those lines, would you still choose them? _Most_ women's ability to be treated in either way or both is negatively affected? Maybe I stumble when I read 'most' and change that mentally to 90% or so - which my gut rejects as unreasonably large and way over the top.

Yes, I'd write this the same way. I'm referring to the subtle effects that the real katie wrote about yesterday in "Lighten up". Women are treated professionally and respectfully in many situations, but the subtle effects of what she described add up, and do indeed affect most women.


I never intended it to be a counter-argument. I was just pointing out how hypocritical it would be if you don't agree that half-naked men in advertising is as equally sexist and offensive.


Actually, it does get mentioned a lot, both in discussion of difference of portrayal, how it hurts men who don't actually want to strive towards displayed image (or, for example, have little chance of developing such a body type), and how it hurts women (because a heterosexual woman will probably end up in a relationship with a guy, and in our culture, it's not a question if he's influenced by the mainstream image, but how badly).


Its taken a bit of meditation and conversation on the topic, but half-naked men in advertising isn't equally sexist or offensive.

Believe me, I see where you're coming from. My gut instinct (which I'm trying to tame) when I hear something about objectification is "I wouldn't mind someone objectifying me!" - but that instinct is wrong and here's why.

I (straight, white, american, upper middle class, male from suburban christian background) have a shit ton of privilege. Part of that as I understand it is that there are huge double standards in society at large for men vs women. There are things that I can do, which a woman doing would have incredible different reactions an consequences.

To be extreme, if I worked for a company and the rumor was that I had slept with every woman that worked there, it would likely be seen by the coworkers (and management potentially) as being a generally positive thing. James Bond, etc... The rumor of a woman doing the exact same and she's a slut. The consequences of being seen in a sexual light for a man aren't the same as they are for a woman. For men, its a sign of increasing power, and for women unfortunately its of decreasing power.


Everyone certainly isn't, but feminists tend to feel that stereotypically gendered depictions of men are as wrong as those of women, if not always as damaging. It gets passed over in mainstream discussions, but it's definitely a good thing to talk about.


I am not equally offended because I don't feel that the sexualization of men in advertisements is equally offensive. The reason is simple: the sexualization of women comes from a male-fantasy prospective. The sexualization of men also comes from a male-fantasy prospective.

What does offend me are advertisements with the bumbling-husband archetype or similar man-without-a-woman stereotypes.

Edit: I should point out that I do think male sexualization is bad as it can promote poor body image, etc.


Are you trying to assert that a couple of half-naked women in an advertisement for no reason is analogous to a shirtless man in the context of a masculine activity during a film? I would love to see your reasoning because I believe the context dictates the offensiveness of the message.

Also I can detect the implication that somebody is a hypocrite if they do not sit there and correctly judge every single case of sexism that comes their way. Do you believe that ethical decisions are black-or-white and that you cannot judge one ethical decision unless you have the ability and time to judge them all?


I should have specified that those actions take place out of context. Such as showing a half-naked man riding on a horse down the beach to sell a product to women.

Obviously everyone has different sensitivities, but if you cannot objectively identify sexism of both men and women in advertisements, yes you're a hypocrite.


>> If you cannot objectively identify sexism of both men and women in advertisements, yes you're a hypocrite.

Consider the context though. How were women treated a 100 years ago? How are they still treated? Feminism, etc.

I think you need a better model that takes this into consideration. Whether you like it or not for historic reasons there is greater sensitivity about sexism against women. I don't think rejecting this is being more objective, it's called trying to force an incomplete model onto reality.


What a about something like this:

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-yD8EzRoZItM/TuWQwWlZNyI/AAAAAAAABc...

Every woman I've talked to LOVES this kinds of photos. I've never ever hear anybody protesting this (except maybe some prude religious idiots).


Those poor objectified men. It must be horrible to be portrayed as powerful, capable, and striving for dominance.

Edit: which is not to mean that the entire gender stereotyping thing doesn't hurt men — of course it does — but there's a world of difference between what it does to men and women.


People should really stop trying to have serious conversations on twitter. Something about that website cranks people's IQs and maturity levels down to power-save mode, and nobody ever comes out looking good.


Probably the fact that it strongly discourages polysyllabic words... and you know, thoughts.


+1 to this!


It wasn't offensive for girls featured in the video (or why did they?), yet it's immediately offensive for some random stranger on the net who then proceeds to command its removal. If something is gross here, this is.

P.S. Objectification is a kind of strange word. Human body is an object. It's physical, materialistic. Now, if there would be objectification of human soul (or whatever other thin layer) that where we would start to worry, but there isn't.


When people talk about 'the objectification of women,' they're not talking about the dictionary definition of the word objectification. It's shorthand for sexual objectification.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_objectification


"Objectification is an attitude that regards a person as a commodity or as an object for use, with little or no regard for a person's personality or sentience." If you're a model, that's what you do for a living. I mean, they use their body to demonstrate clothing. Where could they get the space to display their personality and sentience here?

If it's okay for them it should also be okay for everyone else, don't see why not.


>It wasn't offensive for girls featured in the video (or why did they?), yet it's immediately offensive for some random stranger on the net who then proceeds to command its removal. If something is gross here, this is.

Got to say, I agree. The advert doesn't appeal to me in the slightest - the sexuality is so in-your-face and over-the-top. It's pandering and almost condescending:

Look, a geeky guy hugging a model in panties! Buy our shirt, it has a website logo on it. Look, here's some boobs, here's some leg, you're a man in your twenties who works in tech, so this is what you want, right? So just give us the money already.

The advert has turned me OFF the product it was selling by being too overt. But that's just me.

What I find objectionable about this saga is Kane's rather entitled "I find this offensive, so it must be removed" attitude. The advert itself is not, in my mind, sexist. The idea that women need some kind of guardian angel who stops models from being shown in promotional videos - that I find offensive.


The most offensive part of this all is the idea that this is a good use of anyone's time. This has gone beyond any sort of discussion, it's now just a petty and childish argument you could expect to see on some low budget reality tv show, does this really need to be here?

I guess this is a good advertisement for Storify though.


I've watched the video ... if that is sexist, then what about this perfume commercial with a half naked Matthew M McConaughey? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HL83sQG8fFA

Or all those commercials with half naked men aimed at selling male underwear to women (so their man will look just as good).

Is that sexism too? Why does nobody cry about that type of sexism?

Guess what I'm asking, in general, why is sexism towards women so horrible and sexism towards men is simply accepted as the way things are?


> why is sexism towards women so horrible and sexism towards men is simply accepted as the way things are?

Feminists are opposed to sexism towards men. The reason you hear a lot more about sexism towards women is that men are the dominant of the two genders, so sexism against us [men] holds us back a lot less. This is particularly true in tech: how many men would you guess have ever left the tech field due to sexism compared to how many women?

Also, another point: it's appropriate to use appearance to sell products, when those products are related to appearance or attractiveness. If you're marketing a product that's going to make people look and feel sexier, it's totally fine to demonstrate that by showing sexy people using that product.

Geekli.st is not a product that's meant to enhance your appearance, it's meant to enhance your career. So the women is in her underwear, why?

And in fact, in the ad, only the woman's appearance is deemed important. The man is wearing a t-shirt and shorts, while the woman is in her underwear. That contrast to me is the most obvious reason why this is sexist. The man is essentially dressed like a hacker, and the woman is dressed like eye candy.


The difference is that there's not a big Twitter argument (that I know of anyway) by people who are offended by the Matthew McConaughey commercial. If there was, Dolce and Gabbana would have to deal with it, just like Geeklist is having to deal with this one.

This is not exercise in defining objective rules about what "is" and "is not" sexist. Sexism is highly subjective, like most social topics. What matters is that a geek girl--supposedly the target audience for Geeklist--complained about a Geeklist video.

Complaints about brand are not uncommon. If you manage a well-known brand they WILL happen, and there are good and bad ways to handle them. Getting the hackles up, subtly threatening the employment relationship, whining about being polite, are all bad ways to handle it.


The difference is the societal context. Women are judged by and valued for their appearance (to the exclusion of other attributes) to an extent that men are not.


Have you talked to women? They're even more concerned with what men look like than we are about them!

The things women talk about in regards to men would put even the manliest of construction workers whistling after every woman on the street to shame.


Please note my parenthetical.


The difference is in what is being marketed and to whom. Perfume is all about presentation and is marketed towards women.

Geeklist is a social media startup marketed towards both genders.


I appreciate rational talks on sexism and discussions -- but if I wanted to read articles with juvenile titles like "OH HAI SEXISM" and that deal with drama on twitter, I would go read TMZ.


Sanz should have realised that what he saw as her attacking him and his brand was actually a girl trying to get some social justice. If he removed his ego from the equation he would have understood that a thoughtful response and change in behaviour from him and his associates would have provided a PR win-win for him and a happy response from the women that his company may serve.

I literally can't believe he tried to play the victim card and to get her employer involved. Knowing how to handle yourself and how to represent your company under stress is very important.

There is a great opportunity for somebody to start an association of start-up founders that are female-friendly and get people to join. Creating a social contract to do the right thing would help people lead in the right direction without feeling criticised.


You can go around looking to be offended or you can take charge and lead. It's easier to be offended.


Is it only the fact that they're scantily clad?

Do women also find the fact that only women actors are used in cleaning commercials "fucking gross"?


> Do women also find the fact that only women actors are used in cleaning commercials "fucking gross"?

I can't speak for women, but I do. I'm tired of men being portrayed in those commercials as buffoons who can't possibly manage household tasks, as well.


But whom else but white men can you portray as buffoons without getting lynched by, well, everyone ?


"Do women also find the fact that only women actors are used in cleaning commercials "fucking gross"?"

It's not gross in the same way, but yeah, that is a great example of sexism!


If anything I'd say it's grosser.


I understand that it sucks, but it's targeted marketing. Same reason the use kids in toy commercials and sports in beer commercials.


Isn't that just because 9 times out of 10 those products are bought by women?


I must say, just two or three weeks ago Cracked linked me to another case of someone flipping the hell out inappropriately over a swear word. In this case, it was a 911 officer actually hanging up on a caller, multiple times, while her dad is having a seizure, because she was panicking and used the f-word. Then the officer actually went and arrested her for claimed offenses which weren't actually illegal:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRKtWis69wk
So, look, guys. I know swear words are ugly and important and serious business, but we have to be careful that we don't immediately wear our Morality Crusader hats before we apply a little compassion. It's the same as trying to use the tools that you already have, rather than trying to roll your own implementation: don't roll your own until you absolutely have to.


Drama on twitter? Surely not!


Our prejudices run deep.


overdramafication because of overbitchiness? boring..


Because calling a woman "bitchy" is always a convincing rebuttal to a charge of sexism...


keymone said: "overdramafication because of overbitchiness? boring.."

Quoted for posterity.




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