Yes, they are. Its just that any one isolated indecent of disapproval doesn't get much attention compared to incidents of scum. I'm not saying the levels of scum are acceptable, just that there is a disparity in which encounters get shared.
The disapproval needs more mindshare, and thats why I think it was a smart move that defcon staff embraced the red/yellow cards. Nobody is really going to walk around telling everyone about the time they saw a guy tell another guy to knock it off. The cards on the other hand, they had plenty of people talking.
On the whole though, we tend to look out for our own. Stories like this: http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3043545&cid=4096... and this: http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3043545&cid=4096... tend to be much of my 1st hand experience, the worst I know of first hand are people that don't known any better than to stare at someones tits.
We know that people have reported their first hand accounts of receiving harassment at multiple cons and multiple times per con. These incidents are not isolated. There is a strong chance that if you are a woman and you attend hacker conferences you will be harassed at least once. Computer circles at large have a problem with sexism and as an overall community does not disapprove of sexist behavior, attitudes, and actions.
Other people may not experience harassment at conventions. That is their experience and that is legit. However, that does not in any way negate other people's experience of harassment at those venues nor does it excuse those incidents. Conferences need to take a firmer stance against this kind of behavior, more so than just having cards, but rather with a well defined and clear harassment policy that is actually enforced.
Given the subject matter I made a poor choice of words using "any one isolated" instead of "any individual", the later phrase is not associated with marginalizing harassment/assault and I should have used that instead.
However, even with the poor choice of words I'm not trying to imply that the number of incidents is low enough to be swept aside, in fact I say that in the very next sentence.
I never said harassment wasn't a problem, I was trying to address the parent post on the topic of peer disapproval. I was trying to articulate that perception of the level of peer disapproval is a very important factor in addition to peer disapproval proper. Only the perception of disapproval can "stop it before it starts", and these cards seem to be a good way to spread that perception.
Sharing incidents where someone is called out on the spot are necessary so that the peer disapproval can spread. Publicizing only the incidents where the harasser gets away with it, that serves to reinforce a perception that can very easily lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I totally agree with you that as a community we need to call out our peers firmly and clearly when we feel safe to do so. As of right now that isn't happening and hacker conferences are not safe spaces for women. We are not creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of harassment by letting people share their experiences of those incidents. The only way we can combat the problem is to acknowledge its existence and listen to the experiences of those who suffered such behavior and attitudes. People should be absolutely free to relate their stories of calling people out and addressing such behavior, but let's not kid ourselves about the reality of what is going on at these conferences for women.
One of the problems isn't lack of disapproval. It's being instantly prepared to confront the situation in a way that's helpful and effective. When I'm just going about my business, seeing something egregiously wrong often leaves me speechless for a bit. It'd be great to have these in my wallet to whip out and say, "Dude, yellow card!"
Personally I find the "just say something to them" approach to be far _less_ confrontational, you can do it discretely and one on one or perhaps just the small local group hears it. Handing someone a bright red/yellow card in what is likely a crowded area creates a spectacle. Many others know what is occurring, lots of pointing and whispering occurs, etc. This puts the receiver in a much more confrontational mindset especially if the receiver feels they did nothing wrong, now they don't have to defend themselves to you alone but to anyone within vision of the hand off, how would the receiver do that without really causing a scene?
Of course. An agreed structure around confrontation reduces the barriers and makes the whole thing easier. That's true of most interactions, not just confrontation.
I'm sure some trolls would be excited by the challenge. But I think these will often serve the purpose of letting somebody know that they have very clearly crossed a line and causing to think about their behavior.
I'm not trying to defend the behavior described in the article, I'm just saying that men act like that because it works.
If you haven't noticed that different women want different things, and are attracted to different kinds of guys, that might explain why you have trouble telling the difference between flirtatious give-and-take, and one-sided harassment. Or for that matter, the difference between assertive but respectful self-confidence, and blind aggression.
"when the girl is attracted to the guy, it's flirting, but when she isn't, it's creepy/sexual harassment"
How about if we correct that to: "when the girl responds positively to the guy, and he keeps going, it's flirting, but when she responds negatively (or tries to avoid him) and he keeps going anyway, it's creepy/sexual harassment".
Never underestimate the power of generalization. Women are shorter than men. Women are slower than men. Women are physically weaker than men. These generalizations allow for individual exceptions, of course, but they are true in an important statistical sense. They allow us to predict that, for example, most top basketball players, powerlifters, and sprinters will be men. Indeed, it's no coincidence that the recently completed Olympics had separate competitions not only for physically disabled athletes (the Paralympics), but also for women. They could not in general compete otherwise.
Returning to your point, I doubt you really believe that it's meaningless to talk in terms of "what women want".
Despite variation in individual tastes, in general women are attracted to charming, confident men. Moreover, I'm sure you could add a few more adjectives to that list. QED.
I wish you were right. Much of the time, men have no slack in this regard—in today's hypersensitive environment, it's often "one strike and you're out". The costs of being accused of sexual harassment are high, while the costs of making false accusations are low; this leads to predictable results.
"Men have no slack in this regard"? Really? I've never had anyone accuse me of harassment. I've only ever met one person who claimed to have beeen accused of harassment; based on the other tall tales he told (going 130mph on a dirt bike while being chased by a police helicopter, killing people with his bare hands in the Marines, and more), it's entirely possible that he made the whole thing up, or equally possible that he was actually guilty of harassment (he claimed the jury found in his favor).
The cases I've read about recently involved women clearly telling their harassers to stop, that the attention was unwanted, and the harassers refusing to heed those repeated requests. Rather than "one strike", it was more like "3 strikes, and still swinging".
It took me a long time to realize this because I didn't have very good data to work from--I didn't have a large set of observations of interactions between men and women, and out of those I did have there were very few instances of harassment. It seemed to me that based on the complaints of harassment vs. the small number of cases I'd witnessed, the problem must be that women were choosing to call normal behavior harassment when it was unwelcome. Which I think is your argument. But I've realized that that's not the case. The kinds of harassment being complained of are not borderline cases. In most of the recent cases I've read about (Readercon, etc) the harasser was explicitly told to stop at least once. That is not ambiguous, and it's not based on the perception of the person being harassed.
I guess what I want to say really is, 'stop feeling threatened by this.' If you are a person with even a barely-functioning social instinct, and recognize and respect when someone feels uncomfortable in a situation, there is only a microscopic chance that anything you do will be misinterpreted as harassment. And if you do say something that someone interprets as sexist, the first response will simply be to call you out on it. That's a conversation it's ok to have if you're confused, 'I'm sorry; I didn't mean to offend you. Could you tell me what about what I said bothered you?' Again, if you're a person with a basic social instinct, you will prefer to modify your behavior in small ways to make the people around you comfortable. If you truly feel someone is being unreasonable, just avoid them.
No, it most certainly does not. There is a big difference between being confident and showing leadership, and groping strangers in public.
And the "agressive, alpha male" (which is a term that I hate, by the way) persona doesn't work for everyone, either. I know plenty of women for whom that's a huge turn off.
> It's almost as if when the girl is attracted to the guy, it's flirting, but when she isn't, it's creepy/sexual harassment.
It's creepy and harassment if it's creepy and harassment. You can flirt without grabbing someone's crotch, without trying to lick them without permission. There are also more appropriate venues for flirting, and less appropriate venues. At a hacker conference, people are generally more interested in talking about hacking and less about flirting; and in particular, there are many women there who will already feel a little ill at ease and marginalized due to how few of them there are relative to the men, who might not take kindly to many people treating them more as a potential date than a peer. At a singles bar? Flirting is probably more appropriate.
And yes, there is a certain degree to which some behavior will be interpreted as flirtation by some people and creepy by others. To avoid that, it's good to try to cultivate a certain sense of self-awareness, and when in doubt, err on the side of not being creepy.
Even if I were trying to pick someone up at a conference, I'd talk about hacking, engage their interests, ask them what they are working on, etc. Intellectual flattery.
Physically, I'd be cool. If, after some time, the woman initiated some innocuous physical contact (shoulder & arm touching, for example), I would not reciprocate in kind. No, I would reciprocate with more platonic interest. This might be slightly disappointing at first, but it would build trust. Physical reciprocity only later, like a long-delayed echo.
Really, the physical stuff is entirely dispensable in the courtship phase. So is any kind of sexual innuendo. Keep it cerebral, boys. Ask questions, listen.
But, I'm not looking to pick anyone up.
At which point she would think you aren't interested in her and then move on mentally and physically to someone else.
Theres this myth that men who are assholes succeed with women. I suppose they do technically succeed - in getting women with low self esteem to sleep with them through manipulation and "pickup artist" techniques. But how successful do you think they are at finding a truly fulfilling and meaningful relationships? How successful do you think they are with bright, intelligent, worthwhile women who have their act together. You really think those women are walking away from defcon wishing they met some guy who "negged" them, and physically forced himself on them?
As someone said already, theres a huge difference between being an aggressive asshole and being assertive. The asshole licks a random womans tattoo to start a conversation. The asshole grabs a womans crotch and hides in a crowd. The assertive guy decides to start a conversation with a woman he thinks is interesting, and if hes at all socially aware he knows when shes uninterested in continuing to talk and he moves on.
The line that shouldn't be crossed is being an asshole that sexually assaults women, its really not that blurry.
"How successful do you think they are with bright, intelligent, worthwhile women who have their act together."
This trope is bullshit. People who respond to methods that you disapprove of are somehow less worthy people? Where's your evidence for this? This sort of insult shouldn't be any more welcome than the behavior this thread is supposed to be about.
Yes this is all anecdotal, you caught me, i don't have any studies on the dating habits of women and assholes. I think saying my comments are worse than sexual assault is tad bit hyperbolic.
Here's the thing, plenty of the guys lamenting don't know what a fulfilling and meaningful relationship IS, therefore they conflate an abusive one they can't have with what they should have.
Yep, and that makes it incredibly hard to be a guy. You're almost "damned if you do, damned if you don't" when it comes to flirting and initiating things. Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to know - in advance - how someone is going to react.
That said, there is a line somewhere, of behavior that is never appropriate towards someone that you don't already have an established relationship with. Asking a random female (or male, for that matter) to "come up to my room for a pillowfight" is just stupid in almost every conceivable context.
Appreciate how privileged you are when your worry isn't "i hope some random man doesn't try to grab my ass" but instead "how am i supposed to know if this random woman wants me to grab her ass?". Is it really that difficult to be a guy? Is the line of sexual harassment (especially in the context of the articles examples) really that hard to figure out?
Yes, I'm fully aware of that. I believe that part of solving the larger problem here involves both sexes having a better understanding of the position of the other. This is not as simple as "guys suck, you all need to change."
Nevermind how difficult it must feel to try to fit in as a minority group at a conference only to find yourself sexually harassed by a stranger.
Sexual harassment sucks whether you're a minority or not. I'm very sympathetic to the plight of women at conferences (and elsewhere) but not going to sit here and apologize for being male either.
Appreciate how privileged you are when your worry isn't "i hope some random man doesn't try to grab my ass" but instead "how am i supposed to know if this random woman wants me to grab her ass?".
Meh. We all have our own crosses to bear.
Is it really that difficult to be a guy?
Is the line of sexual harassment (especially in the context of the articles examples) really that hard to figure out?
In the context of the examples cited in this article, I'd say "no." Which, if you read my original comment, I'd already made that point. In the more general sense, the absolutely is pretty much "it depends." Men have absolutely been accused of "harassment" for behavior that other people (including other women) would shake their heads at and go "WTF? That's not harassment at all." There's definitely an element of subjectivity in all this.
Not all women are looking for a hookup every time they leave their house. If you hit on a girl at a convention, and she thinks you're creepy, it's your fault. You shouldn't be hitting on her.
You might come back with, "But what about all those girls who say it's creepy for one guy to hit on them but it's attractive for another? How am I supposed to know if I'm the creepy guy or not?"
To which I would reply... How many times has that happened to you? How many times have you been called creepy by a gal at a bar only to have her run off with another, more attractive guy who gave her the same exact line? I'd guess that happens pretty rarely, right? Maybe never?
I don't know about you, but I'm not trying to make any such comparison. Nor do I find it to be relevant. This isn't about "is it harder to be a guy or a girl," it's about the fact that it's tough to be a guy OR a girl. IOW, women aren't the only ones who have challenges when it comes to dealing with the opposite sex. And I don't believe it makes sense to look at the challenges that either sex has, in a vacuum. We're all in this together. We need more shared understanding that goes in both directions, not more antagonism.
You cannot argue that “it’s tough being a guy” and then say you weren’t comparing it to being a woman. What the hell else were you comparing it to, being a Tyrannosaurus? However tough you may think your position in life is, chances are pretty high you’re living it on The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is.
Actually, I just did.
What the hell else were you comparing it to, being a Tyrannosaurus?
I wasn't comparing it to anything.
However tough you may think your position in life is, chances are pretty high you’re living it on The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is.
Great, that's not something I can control, now is it? Of course I have empathy for people on all the other difficulty levels, and want to help make things better for them. But I still have my own problems regardless of how easy anyone else thinks my life is.
Of course, none of this is really relevant to the conversation that started all this, and I'll probably regret replying to this comment later.
Again, to reiterate what I said before... what we need is more shared understanding, that goes both ways, and less antagonism.
1) A skyscraper is really small. A skyscraper is really big.
2) A skyscraper is really squishy. A skyscraper is really cuddly.
All of the above are implicit comparisons, but the ones in 2) are really dumb and make no sense. Are you suggesting you really meant to fit category 2 despite pretty clearly using terminology befitting category 1? It's really better for you to just own up and admit you made a small mistake, than to dig your heels in deeper and show your reluctance to listening, to being receptive to learning anything new.
Everyone has their own problems in life. The issue at hand is women suffering from problems caused by the very same people who repeatedly attempt to diminish the severity of their (women’s) problems and try to make it about men, instead. Again.
“what we need is more shared understanding, that goes both ways”
There is plenty of understanding of your position already. It's not a hard one to figure out. We're calling out the sense of entitlement, privilege, and refusal to stop whining about your problems every time we're trying to have a conversation about _someone else's_ problems.
Yes, men have problems too, but we're not talking about them right now. This is about how women are treated in tech.
I'm willing to believe that maybe some of these men simply do not understand the difference between confidence and assertiveness and straight-up sexual harassment. If the guys are truly ignorant to the rudeness of their actions, the red/yellow/green card should have a very positive effect.
Yeah, it's easy enough to simply be polite, throw out some very casual flirting, and the see if the other person responds in kind. If they don't, don't try to escalate the encounter. Somehow this seems to escape an awful lot of people for some reason...
I don't think you need to apologize. Their uncomfortable demeanor could be brought on by lack of attraction rather than offensive behavior (assault/harassment), in which case their negative reaction will be a clear sign to get out.
That said, not all women will automatically assume you are creepy just because they are not attracted to you.
It is not hard to be a man if you just act polite but still purposive <sarcasm>just don't try to fondle her before you said "hi".</sarcasm>
I know it is neither easy nor fun, especially if there are social phobias involved, but it is definitely not hard to be a guy trying to flirt with a women. Maybe uncomfortable, but rumors are, that women who try to flirt with a man have the exact same problems.
Hopefully this read will clear some stuff up. You need to lose the victim complex.
LOL... based on that alone, I don't think I'm going to waste any of my time on the link you posted. Pointing out that both sexes have their own set of challenges, and refusing to toe the "women are good, men are bad" line is hardly having a "victim complex."
That's because it's a personal, relationship kind of thing. Your behavior depends partly on the other person. There is no single set of rules that will cover all people, all circumstances, all the time. (For "polite company" or formal gatherings there are of course protocols. But at a party, it's much more individual and personal.)
Yes. You're allowed to greet your friends by hugging them if that's the kind of relationship you have with them. You are not allowed to greet a bank teller that way, or a canvasser, or most of the other people you encounter. The fact that what's appropriate in one situation is inappropriate in another situation is tangential, because...
"the guy must guess where that line is and that he'll be wrong sometimes."
is not really true. First of all, understanding how another human feels in a situation is not 'guessing.' As social animals, humans are excellent at reading cues from body language, facial expressions, etc. to understand how other humans feel.
Second, as a previous reply said, paying attention in your interactions with other humans is actually your responsibility. If you are the least bit perceptive, you are extremely unlikely to be wrong about 'where the line is.' And to go a little further in the you-really-shouldn't-feel-threatened-by-this vein, if you're one of the people who worries about crossing the line unintentionally, you've probably never been near it.
QFT. I was very intimidated by these discussions until I realized this point.
For most people, yes. For some of the geekiest among us, I'm not sure that always holds.
Violating someone's personal space or verbally harassing them isn't flirting, its harassment and assault. There is no conflation of the two, and those that do try to relate them are doing so to enable and excuse their harassing behavior. In cases where you don't know what is acceptable, honest and polite communication always works, and of course you could always DO NOTHING and stop worrying about it.
Women (and men) are attracted to assertive behavior, not aggressive behavior. Huge difference.
(that said I will never understand nor defend the scenarios depicted in the article)
Meanwhile, aggression covers a lot of ground, which includes clubbing someone over the head, and generally being a jerk. But the fact that someone uses this word with two "g"s and two "s"s to describe some part of the process of building a happy family does not mean that other people are going to automatically know how to build a happy family after having read the paragraph that uses those words...
Broad, broad strokes.
I won't say that you're wrong, because I have absolutely no evidence to back it up, but I know that it isn't true 100% of the time. So, if you behave that way, you run the very real risk of offending x% of women that are not attracted to aggressive men. It is most definitely not a universal rule, and I've had success with women by talking to them like a normal person, and attempting (probably failing, perhaps endearingly so) to be charming and funny. It just seems like a better option.
There's also the other issue of hitting on people at professional conferences, which seems like it's a terrible idea.
DON'T TRY TO HIT ON WOMEN AT CONFERENCES OR OTHER BUSINESS/PROFESSIONAL ENVIRONMENTS AT ALL. PERIOD.
There is no shortage of more appropriate times and places we can test our theories about alpha male behavior, aggressiveness or what have you. Hell, some venues are specifically intended for such endeavors! Use them!
But that is in itself IS a generalization. I have family members and best friends who met their SO's at conferences or in professional environments. Or you can look at famous people who met their SO's working on the same project.
The real rule, is to start off completely polite, and judge your behavior based on your reception. You start talking about an interesting exploit, impress each other, and the next thing you know you're talking about more personal stuff. Or, someone gives you the cold shoulder, talk is awkward, and you move on instead of forcing things into a sexual context.
The vast, vast majority of the time people react differently to the same actions depending on the source of the actions. You do it, I do it, everyone you know does it. Why is it only a "double standard" when women do it?
There's nothing wrong with flirting with women, if they aren't interested then they can be quite clear about it - the problem is that some peoples idea of flirting is creepy and borders on harassment.
Try not making sweeping statements about what women do and don't like, and work from there. PS, it's not all about sex.
The creepy label is not about "some guy who isn't attractive to me is flirting with me". It is about "some guy keeps flirting/making advances even though I am not interested". And before the standard replies start cropping up:
* I am not a particularly attractive male
* I am not a mind reader
* I am not some sort of atypical nerd with "great natural social skills too"
* I am not just ignorant of what is said behind my back.
Basically, if you want to flirt without risking creepy, keep a few things in mind:
* Learn to understand non-verbal communication, it is 90% of flirting.
* Never (at first anyway) be overly direct. This is a 2 person mutual decision/consent game. At no point should you make the other person feel they have no input into the direction of interaction. Always start flirting subtle, because it respects the other person's right to reciprocate or disengage without confrontation or needing to defend them-self.
* It is ok if they aren't interested. It doesn't make you a creep in their mind, you being a creep makes that happen. Just back off as soon as you are aware of disinterest (see first bullet), continued flirtation after disinterest is communicated is what gets people the creep label.
* There are appropriate times and places for flirtation. Outside of that, creep label is a high probability. Learn these :)
I guess all of this is to say: being creepy isn't about flirting when a woman isn't attracted, it's about not following the socially OK norms of flirting and not respecting the rejection)
Final note: some women do just label guys who flirt creeps, just as some men label all women outside of church as "whores". They are not the norm, and don't worry about it, some people are just different, or hurt, or whatever, but it doesn't make their reality your reality.
I've heard this line many times, and it makes sense on the surface, but "flirting" isn't a singular act. Even if a girl isn't into a guy, a guy can introduce himself and start a conversation without coming off as creepy. If she's into him, then maybe things will progress to flirting, but if she's not, that's when the guy should get the signal to not be creepy and push something that is unwelcome.
Anyway, the whole alpha male debate is besides the point. Also, I think you're confusing aggressiveness with not being a complete wimp. I often see women being attracted to dominant, strong, self-confident guys. Aggressive ones? Not so much.
"It's almost as if when the girl is attracted to the guy, it's flirting, but when she isn't, it's creepy/sexual harassment."
Almost? Oh really?
> the fact is that men who behave aggressively are the ones who succeed in sexual pursuits most often.
I have myself seen the so called "bad boy" attitude succeed in a number of situations in real life. This just gives wrong signal to other men. The so called double standard has no easy solution. Or an easy way to recognize it either. It's one of those things that exist and no one either knows about it or doesn't talk about it.
I hate sexual harassment as much as the next guy/girl. But the line between sexual harassment and being aggressive is vary blurry. It's not black and white, it's rather subjective. What may be harassment for one person may not necessarily be so for others. I believe it is not intentional all of the time. What people need to know is to know the boundaries. Understand what is not apparent/obvious.
Those "bad boys" are interesting in ways that you are not.
Still, who cares if you get the girl? You're not entitled to date any/every woman. You do not get to because you want to.
Shouldn't the concept of who a person wants to date change from person to person? There are suggested behaviors, but solid "rules" are generally dictated by people trying to sell a book of questionable value, not people legitimately trying to help you succeed in your dating life :)
But a case of harassment/flirting is not black and white because (1).
They (being anyone who thinks "women love jerks" is an acceptable thing to say undigested) need to step way back and think about why they find themselves in this position without blaming women for not wanting them as they are.
They need to step way back and think about why they find themselves in this position without blaming women for not wanting them as they are.
The point I was trying to make is that people are expected to adhere to "rules" that either don't exist or not well defined and hence subject to change from person to person. Generalizing is not an option because such thing are usually complicated and the accused might not have don't it intentionally. It is sometimes simply not clear where to draw the line.
If it worked, why did any of the women complain? Why didn't they swoon and drop their pants and beg to be taken on the spot? Because it doesn't work.
Not being an awkward schlump is attractive. Being an asshole is not so much.
Interesting thought. I'm wondering if there has every been a study or even one of those TV shows to prove out that point.
It would seem to be fairly easy to setup with some "honeypots" and a group of males to see what happens with each behavior. Or simply a group of women with male actors playing the role of aggressive males.
Of course it all depends on the parties involved. But I know they've done similar non-scientific things even with hair color and found blond woman asking questions in central park in NYC get more attention than brunettes.
Showing someone you like them and then gauging their reaction takes balls -- but showing someone you like them, and then ignoring their rejection, is rather weak. Needy even. That those brutes delude themselves into thinking that's top notch alpha male behaviour is one thing -- but if you're shy yourself, don't buy into it. Some women like assholes; most don't. Being bold and maybe even cheeky is one thing, but only the weak seek outright dominance. (Which goes for females who like to play games, too; same cause, different course of action).
The computer security industry has its own special problems. There is a very significant segment of the population that has "do whatever you can get away with" as their mantra and have built up significant antibodies against any criticism thanks to a large crowd of enablers.
Who was the last person who was shunned from the community for his behavior and/or actions?
"GSF1 is one of the most common fallacies, and one of the most deeply held. Many geeks have had horrible, humiliating, and formative experiences with ostracism, and the notion of being on the other side of the transaction is repugnant to them."
If you think being bullied and abused removes the possibility of them feeling comfortable being bullies and abusers, you have issues with reality.
Adrian Lamo's reputation has certainly taken a hit.
How common is this behavior at bars in general, independent from a hacker con?
Also: some of the girls that I know who are hackers are offended at the idea of red/yellow cards. The implication there seems to be that they're helpless, and need somebody to swoop in and save them.
That, at least to some of my girl friends, is utter bullshit, and is blatantly sexist against women.
And to be completely honest, the red/yellow card thing has already become a flirtatious joke among people.
I think it'd be helpful to identify why this problem exists in the tech field. Is there a chicken and egg situation where more women in tech would solve these problems, but something about tech prevents more women getting involved?
People who already have power do not need props and schemes, because, well, they have power. I know that if I grab my boss’s crotch during a meeting and he says ”you have thirty seconds to convince me not to fire your sorry ass right now”, every witness to the event and everybody above him in the corporate hierarchy will back him up.
A man tempted to do the same thing to a woman less powerful than himself does not have the same assurance that he will suffer consequences for his bad behavior, and you can’t just create that sense of assurance by fiat. (As the Readercon debacle indicated, even written policies are no guarantee.) So people of good will are still trying to figure out how to hack the social environment to achieve a better culture, and until the rules of that culture become second nature to us all, then those social hacks will seem like, well, hacks.
The cards enforce the very thing they're trying to prevent.
Your tactic of putting your hands over your eyes and ears has been tried, at length in the past. It hasn't ever worked wherever it's been tried.
Like Hollaback, this is a very imperfect, but apparently effective solution. I appreciate your appeals to straw Feminism, but "women should react the same as men to every situation to 'prove' they are strong" is not it, it's a mess of privileged assumptions.
I'll concede that imperfect but effective solutions are probably necessary to help foster this sort of equality in the long run, though, and the more people who step up and take responsibility for pushing the change (regardless of gender), the better.
Totally. Putting your hands over your ears and eyes isn't going to get us to that point.
I don't doubt that worldwide, men suffer sexual and physical assault from the opposite sex at a lower rate than women.
However, in developed countries, I wouldn't be surprised if it's closer than we collectively think. Here is an informative article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jun/07/feminism... Men are probably less likely to report incidents due to humiliation or rather, lack of action. Checkout comments on stories when boys get sexually molested by female teachers. Oh yeah, the boy is supposed to love it because he's a boy! Very different when the genders are reversed. Castrate the man! Execute him! Or how about physical assault? Did Elin Nordgren serve any time or get lambasted by feminists for assaulting Tiger Woods? Nope. In fact, she got a tidy settlement.
Who was I to think that the fact 1-in6 men are sexually abused while underage was a quick and easy response to a remark that men are not sexually assaulted in any real numbers.
I should have looked up the statistics on all demographics, because apparently that sexual abuse isn't good enough sexual abuse to refute the weight the parent poster was giving to the 1-in-4 women statistic.
Thanks sethg, I see clearly now.
(He didn’t actually assault me, but I later learned that one MIT fraternity had nicknamed him “the NAMBLA man”, and a while after that there was an article in the school paper reporting that he had just done time for rape.)
When 1 in N women can serve in the military without being raped by their fellow servicemen, then we can talk.
And then can we have the conversation wherein you attempt to defend your apparent belief that people dying in service of their country is superior to people being RAPED BY THEIR OWN COUNTRYMEN in service of their country.
If people in the armed forces were killed by their fellow soldiers at the rate women in the armed forces are assaulted and/or raped (which would mean a Fort Hood massacre every _week_), it would get a lot of attention, and the perpetrators would actually be prosecuted instead of shielded from consequence. But when a victim of assault reports it in the military, the consequences usually fall on the victim and the perp gets to walk. I think any rational human would find that sickening.
I also take umbrage with your sugarcoated characterization of rape as "involuntary sexual intercourse," as if it could happen by accident. There is no such thing as "involuntary" sexual intercourse. Sex requires consent. If consent is not given or is revoked, it immediately becomes assault and/or rape, and the person who disregards that becomes an assailant and/or rapist. Your use of dismissive, diminishing rhetoric to describe (or even excuse) the traumatizing act of sexual assault/rape is a lame and misguided attempt of political correctness of your own preference. Which is a nice way of saying that you're propping up rape culture.
I don't know you, but based on your comments you seem to have very little to no empathy for victims of assault. I would implore you to examine why that is.
I agree that the props idea is stupid, but men do have things differently. Men don't have to resort to using crazy schemes largely because women overwhelmingly don't approach men. And men who are sexually or physically assaulted by women have a significant fear of being ridiculed by society for not fighting back (or in the case of sexual assault, enjoying it).
I've worked mostly in corporate environments. If I had to characterize a type that was in need of sensitivity training, it usually wasn't the tech guys, it was the "business" type (marketing, finance). Of course that's just my experience.
It's likely a factor but you're putting the cart before the horse.
Women have broken into countless so-called "boys clubs". Doctors, lawyers, marketing, etc... How is tech an exceptionally hostile environment towards women?
agpen is criticizing boys' clubs, a term that encapsulates a certain culture, behaviors, and set of beliefs. The gender of those participating in that culture is typically male, but women can and do perpetuate boys' club cultures on their own, often because that's the only way they can gain admission. It's fairer to see criticism of boys' clubs as a criticism of that culture and set of behaviors, and the idea that one must participate in those behaviors in order to be accepted, not of men in particular.
How is tech an exceptionally hostile environment towards women? http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Timeline_of_incidents - Schneier links to this in the OP. If your response to that is "sexism happens everywhere," well, I'd like it to stop happening everywhere, and I'll start with my home turf.
What are these cultures, behaviors, and beliefs exactly?
To me, boy's club is another rhetorically nebulous term like patriarchy created by the girl's club. As long as we're speaking of generalizations, let me tell you about the girl's club. I used to date a girl that went to an all women's college. Every time I visited her in the dorms it was customary for everyone to yell out, "alert, man on board". When we ate at the cafeteria, five girls(FIVE), walked up to her and informed her there is no need for her to be dating a man. Without any consideration to my presence. Despite this unwelcoming atmosphere many were eager to inform me of the boy's club, patriarchy, and male privilege like they were reading a script of political talking points. These are women that are socialized to be hateful towards men and are blinded by this hate. They are socialized to feel like victims even though they go to a fancy school the average male couldn't afford.
Yes, there are gender centered problems that need to be addressed. But there is a lot of non-sense rhetorical noise out there created by the girl's club. It's like the girl who cried wolf.
The includes links to studies (like Sapna Cheryan, Andrew N. Meltzoff, Saenam Kim, Classrooms matter: The design of virtual classrooms influences gender disparities in computer science classes, Computers & Education, Volume 57, Issue 2, September 2011, Pages 1825-1835, ISSN 0360-1315,) that show a "lack of ambient belonging", that is being alienated by other group members, was the primary cause, and another that interacting with sexist male engineers lowered women's performance (
Few people seem willing to accept that the lack of women in tech has something to do with men, but it does. Included the "high school girls" who aren't interested: the Girl Scout's study found that the biggest thing keeping them out was expecting to face sexism if they chose those professions.
This is not unrelated to how they're turned off further after and into their careers.
Do you think some of those women would be willing to post here? There's nothing that says that women can't hand out these cards. Or that they can't be handed out to dudes harassing dudes.
EDIT: The cards don't seem to be gender specific, though it is implied that they will be mainly used by females.
This. Very much this. The formula is simple: Get a bunch of people drunk, and the lecherous ones will come out of the woodwork. This is not a problem unique to any particular field. In fact, I would go as far as to say this is a non-problem. If you can't deal with it, then stop choosing to hang out in bars.
Often, it is the women who cry the loudest, that crave and seek out the kind of negative attention described here, so that they can boast about their own attractiveness to other females, while pretending to be disgusted.
There are many more severe forms of oppression, that deserve our attention more than this.
With all the shit women get whenever they raise their voice on these matters, they truly have near-zero incentive to conjure up lies.
Worse, her example of the cards is hardly the worst, most inconceivable thing to be suggested as something that really does happen. Rape and assault really do happen, it's far less difficult to imagine that some guys don't understand how a bingo card with "get a woman to flash her tits at you" is a massive problem and not “just a bit of fun.”
Sometimes, people like to go to bars to hang out with their friends or significant others. Believe it or not, entering a bar does not give you the right to run around groping people.
The sexual assault apology in this thread is unbelievable.
Hitting on != groping people and you damn well know it.
To quote the parent:
> It sounds like a lot of this stuff happens at bars during events, not at the events themselves.
No one started talking about specifically being hit on until you brought it up, so either you were talking about what the woman went through and mistakingly called it "hitting on", which is what I assumed, or you're talking about something unrelated to this discussion, which is apparently what happened. Don't get upset when someone tries to bring your unrelated argument back on topic.
Either way, people don't always go to bars with the intent to get some. Assuming everyone is there for that reason is ridiculous.
How to handle actual harassment and assault is obvious: you call the fucking cops. I'm not sure why that warrants a discussion at all.
Finally, women in our society are socialized to be nice, to not make waves, to get along. Maybe you don't like that, but you can't just make decades of socialization that millions of people have undergone disappear because you don't like it.
Because you just want to get out of there as fast as possible and escalating into violence is likely just going to draw it out?
Because you're afraid bystanders will take his side and you'll be seen as the aggressor?
Because there's a lot of cultural pressure for women to ignore sexual harassment and you don't want to "rock the boat" that badly?
Or how about because these are grown men and women in an at least semi-professional environment and the idea that they should have to resort to violence to solve their problems is completely fucking absurd?
No. If you assault me, guess what's happening? I'm going to hit you in the fucking face, and most of the people here, since we're, you know, a community are going to physically remove you from the area.
Edit: if this wasn't clear, the "I" in this story is would be my female friends.
Just because the groper deserves to get his ass kicked doesn't mean that doing so is legal.
Have fun explaining that to the cops (and the jury).
"After I touched her inappropriately she slapped me, so fearing for my life, I punched her in the face, breaking her nose"
Hell, if you do that you're likely to get punched in the face by a random passerby.
There is a concept of escalation in most states' self defense statutes.
If a 110 pound woman slaps you in the face and you react with a force that could cause death or serious injury, you'd be hard pressed to make anyone believe that you reasonably feared for your life (or serious injury).
"Somebody began physically assaulting me so I responded by defending myself."
Find me a jury that will convict somebody for that.
WHY does this topic come up so much in hacker/geek culture? Seriously, I'm starting to believe there are guys walking around who WANT to be slapped, just so they can finally live out their "equal rights mean equal lefts" fantasy.
Regardless, I don't like the idea of slapping someone. I think we can come up with a better idea, like the cards.
I would like to see some sort of experiment between using these cards and slapping someone— although, slapping is pretty rare. What happens most of the time is the woman feels incredibly unsafe and awkward while she tries to understand the reason all those people are just watching her get assaulted.
So really, if you see this behavior, please step in. Tell the asshole he needs to get out. Make it known his behavior isn't appropriate.
A slap from a 110 pound woman (just a hypothetical weight) is not equal to a punch from a 160 pound man.
A punch from the man can easily cause lasting harm--broken nose, broken jaw--an open-handed slap across the cheek from the woman cannot (barring some crazy edge case).
>Prove a grope occurred.
She's not going to have to. The cop who arrests you is going to believe the crying bleeding woman over the man with barley a scratch on him--and eventually the prosecutor and the jury will too.
It's best just not to punch someone much physically weaker than you are unless you actually fear for your safety, e.g., she's holding a knife.
- Toucher is an 800-pound gorilla.
- Toucher is your boss.
- Toucher is more important to the venue than you are.
- Toucher is going to be believed, and you are going to be disbelieved.
- Toucher is going to be supported, and you're going to be shamed for "making a fuss".
- Toucher is someone you have to live with.
And so forth.
Still I'm sure some people will abuse this system like any system and lets face it the audience will not exactly be angels in not abusing any form of system. Lets face it, in Football it's not exactly perfect. Unless all events are video'd to death and can be verified then it is abusable. That said how long until somebody does a erect nipple/penis video recognition system, scary thoughts on many levels.
Today red cards, tomorrow video survalence and full location tracking with all your comminications monitored so you can be at a event were people complain about privacy.
There again I thought sexual harrasment was a against the law and that carries more weight than any token scoring system that trivialises the offence.
Was that a quote, because sexual harassment is not against the law--it's a civil matter that only applies in certain very specific situations.
Sure there are other laws you could break in the process of sexually harassing someone, but "sexual harassment" is not something you can be charged with.
We often claim to be one of the purest of meritocracies, since our primary interactions only allow us to interact with each other's work and emails/posts, but clearly we aren't quite as capable of this meritocracy as is commonly stated. I wonder how much differently these women are treated online as opposed to in person when interacting with the same people.
If the yellow-red card system does catch on, I would prefer to see the green card avoided. I don't know if it really adds anything to the system, and I worry that it would detract from people understanding what they did wrong. "I got a green card, but also a yellow card. I'm still good to women though, that second chick was just a crazy bitch." It seems like it gives people a way to justify their bad deeds with other good deeds.
However people attempt to do it, it would be lovely to see this kind of behavior weeded out, as it provides both a point of hypocrisy and isolation that benefits no one.
Ugh! Words fail me.
This on the other hand... wow, just wow. It's sexual harassment, no question about it, and should be dealt with and punished as such.
You just have to remember with advances that when in doubt, take a step back. You wouldn't grab someone you weren't attracted to from behind right? If your planned chat up didn't work, so what? You came for the tech not the women right?
And blokes, lets please keep out of "its so hard for men too". Sure, men get sexually assaulted, it's a real problem. In my city its nearly as likely for men as women, but here's the key. Do you feel safe at conferences? I do, but it seems lots of women don't.
Let's make everyone feel safe and valued at all our events.
Its a party with technical talks to listen to while you pre-game.
Once the talks are over there are defcon sponsored concerts, a handful of events at the conference venue, and events aimed at defcon attendees all over town.
Sure there are talks, but kids don't run away from home to attend Black Hat Briefings.
So that changes the situation where some people don't want to be grabbed/touched/propositioned?
I'm just asking if the problem is the conference, or the parties, or if they're indistinguishable. The OP says that this boorish and unacceptable behavior is stopping women from attending the conference. And that it doesn't happen at other hacker conferences.
DefCon is a party.
Step in when it's one of your friends doing the harassing. Let them know they're being immature and inappropriate. People respond a lot more when it's someone in their peer group.
I'm sure a lot of people have let a lot of stuff like the above slide because "Oh that's just FooBar. He's always like that".
When someones health, life or well being is on the line. I have seen too many women starting / acting scenes just to make some white knight to intervene. There was research where in public woman was being assaulted/abused by man and everyone intervened. Then they switched it around - NOONE CARED.
Besides, feminism was claiming how strong and able to defend themselves women are. So by interjecting you are being SEXIST.
Next, imagine your sister/mother/fiance was the girl at the bar who got licked or had her crotch grabbed. How would that make you feel?
I'll never understand how anyone can defend this sort of behavior... I used to volunteer at the women's center on my college campus... if you heard half the experiences most of these women go through on a regular basis maybe you'd learn some empathy.
How would you feel if some guy started cat calling you as you walked home at night? How about while you walk to the store? Now imagine this happening on a regular basis.
I think the correct way to deal with harrasment is those who partake are either simply banned from the con or dealt with more severely depending on the conduct, and those who behave simply continue enjoying the benefits of conferencing with like-minded individuals of all genders and backgrounds.
You could have replaced those two terms and ended up with the same article. Perhaps the problem isn't just a nerd demographic issue.
But pronouncements from on high can only do so much, especially in an age when authority is so easily controverted; to suggest that tackling it inside hacker culture is somehow missing the big picture is missing the fact that it's part of the global effort, rather than incidental to it.
A culture which supposedly prides itself on merit and intelligence at first glance ought to be most receptive to actually picking up a book and studying social issues, but the reality is instead that we get a social group full of men's right's advocates and evopsych true-believers and other terrible terrible people.
Please cite your statistics. edit: Statistics that the geek culture provides a "more welcoming home" than society at large. I'm not disagreeing with the fact there are society-wide issues, I'd just like you to back up that particular assertion about geek culture.
>A culture which supposedly prides itself on merit and intelligence at first
This is a hacker convention. Not a thing-PG-recontextualized-hacker-as convention.
>the reality is instead that we get a social group full of men's right's advocates and evopsych true-believers and other terrible terrible people.
The broad brushes with which you paint are not helping. Laying inaccurate generalizations like this on the very people in positions to help solve the problem disenchants and disinterests them.
Rape culture seeks to describe why rape occurs and is promoted within a society. As per usual, Wikipedia has the overview: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_culture.
EDIT: Another good resource I use for this same convo that happen inevitably someone mentions sexism in a male space like Hacker News: http://www.shakesville.com/2009/10/rape-culture-101.html
> This is a hacker convention. Not a thing-PG-recontextualized-hacker-as convention.
I didn't realize considering yourself a hacker was a license to violate other people.
> The broad brushes with which you paint are not helping. Laying inaccurate generalizations like this on the very people in positions to help solve the problem disenchants and disinterests them.
That women are not in positions to solve this issue or be empowered to not have to deal with these situations is the problem in the first place. If someone can't be interested in being a basic human being that provides a safe space for a conference, perhaps they should re-evaluate what they are doing and stop.
I don't disagree with the parent post's point. I disagree with the way they are arguing it.
I can fully, 1000% get behind the statement that "Rape-culture and patriarchy are definitely major society-wide issues", but if they want to make the casual accusation that "they undeniably find a special welcoming home within geek culture", I'm going to fucking call you on it unless you can bring some proof.
Again, I'm not disagreeing that there is a problem, I'm disagreeing with the assertation that the hacker community "prides itself on merit and intelligence at first". That's it.
Again, I'm not saying that assault at defcon isn't a problem, what I am saying is that labeling a huge swath of people as "men's right's advocates and evopsych true-believers and other terrible terrible people", is in fact counter-productive. I was at defcon and wasn't even aware that sexual conduct there was a problem until I talked with a goon that saturday night. Does that make me a men's right advocate? Or a evopsych?
I see that you're just looking to pick a fight, I should have never taken the bait.
No one is baiting anyone here except the people who feel the need to poke holes in a call for decency.
Am I supposed to sit back and just let ends I happen to agree with justify means that I don't? Why?
By all means, disagree. Just try not to freak out when other people disagree with your disagreement.
There's also a great bunch of geek feminist blogs, which work to educate on problems in the community. Two particularly fantastic ones are Captain Awkward (http://captainawkward.com/) and Pervocracy (http://pervocracy.blogspot.ca/). You say you don't just want a fight, well here's your homework.
No, I can see it. Off the top of my head I can paint with broad strokes that many are stuck in their shell and terrified of them, or have no social tact and act wildly inappropriate in conversation. They can't stop staring at ladies' chests either.
But "rape-culture and patriarchy [...] find a special welcoming home within geek culture"? OK, I'll read your links, but I'm expecting to see comparative analysis between society-at-large and geek culture.
The first one does not inspire confidence, "the problem with geek culture" just got me to an opinion piece full of image macros that got passed around. So far all I've discovered is that you can cherry-pick images of ladies to make misleading insinuation about the way they are portrayed in geek-pop-culture in either direction. I hope your other links have something more to say than point out that the purposefully-off-color id of 4chan is off-color, and don't make the casual amalgamation between 4chan macros and "geek culture" at large, if that is even a thing.
Also, if you follow the rabbit hole of what geeks think about the term "creepy", you start to find all sorts of stuff. The Captain Awkward blog is a good resource for that.
Quand il s'agit de tromperie,
il est toujours bon, sur ma foi,
d'avoir les femmes avec soi.
Et sans elles,
mes toutes belles,
on ne fait jamais rien de bien!
EDIT: That is overcompensation for a lonely sausage-fest life. This is why gay engineer's lives are better than yours:
When it comes to cheating, duping, to thievery,
It is always good, upon my word
To have women with you.
And without them, the very lovely ones,
One never does anything right!
I've flirted at one of the evening events after the talks - after hanging around the person for several hours and spending some time one-on-one. And I had no intention of doing so when I first met them. No way would I do that under any other circumstances.
If you're interested in someone you meet at a conference, you need to be extremely cautious and not expect that the other person shares your interest. Probably it is best to offer personal contact information in addition to professional and see what comes of it rather than pursuing the matter at the conference itself. Let them decide how to contact you.
Hitting on someone at a party or bar during the conference might be in bad taste but as long as the pursuer takes no for an answer it's not what I would call sexual harassment. However if it happened repeatedly from multiple people I would get fed up and leave.
Hitting on someone at the conference proper when the focus should be technical is insulting and completely inappropriate. +1 on calling the pursuer a pervert.
And the conference organizers and presenters need to be held to a higher standard. They should not encourage or engage in sexual behavior even if it's a social event.
Intentional, uninvited physical contact is right out and should not be tolerated under any circumstances. The instigator should be kicked out no matter what.
I have been attending DefCon since DCIV and I've had my share of confrontations with drunk idiots who think their flirting methods are acceptable. A well worded put-down almost always keeps these guys at bay. A well placed arm-bar or knee typically takes care of the rest. I played Vanna Vinyl at Hacker Jeopardy for three years (and Beer Betty once). I had hordes of guys asking me for photo-ops when I was all dolled-up for HJ. 99% of them didn't recognise me during the day when I was in shorts and a tshirt w/no make-up.
I love DefCon and have no intention on not attending until DT calls it quits. It's the one week out of the year that I get to spend with my friends and adopted from all over the world. DefCon has never been a "professional" conference. It's a hacker convention/weekend long, cut-loose party with talks. (There are talks at DefCon? ;) If you want professionalism, attend the BH conference the week prior.
He's a total skiddie, though, so what you're saying makes sense.
However they deal with it at bars is how they should deal with it here.
I know lots of really interesting people, male and female, who would stay home rather than put up with that treatment. Let's keep the interesting people, and revoke the badges of the weirdo predators who can't keep their tongues to themselves.
This is one of the stupidest and wrong-headed comments I've ever seen in my life. I'd like to understand more about how someone arrives at such a polluted worldview.
Can you tell me a bit about your upbringing, friendships and romantic relationships? I'd like to understand why a few women being mean to you means that 50% of humanity should go fuck itself and tolerate intolerable behavior.
Thanks in advance for any insight you can provide.
And by the way, if that was woman groping some man and putting her mouth on on him without permission - noone would care. Simply speaking - sexism works both ways.
Bragging? Really? Pointing out obvious thing that you all knights on high moral horses forgot - woman is not always victim. And if she is perpetrator she more often than not goes free (woman drugs husband, cuts off his penis - not guilty.)
And I am "bragging" here BECAUSE "would give you some understanding and sympathy". I know how women fake their harassment to get attention I feel "understanding and sympathy" for men that was harassed that way.