Every time I spoke up about the above crap, I got some sympathy, but I also got some guy who didn't understand what the big deal was. If I wasn't in the middle of being raped or beaten or threatened or fired, guess what I needed to do?
How long would you put up with it? Do you love anything that much? If your spouse subtly treated you like crap every day, how long would your marriage last? If you saw a friend being treated this way by their boss, wouldn't you tell them to quit?
Or would you tell them to lighten up?
You, person who told me to lighten up, saw one little thing. It didn't seem like a big deal, did it? One little line! One joke! One comment! But it's not just one thing to me: it's one of thousands that I've had to endure since I was old enough to be told that 'X is for boys!' It's probably not even the first thing I've had to deal with that day, unless you've gotten to me pretty early.
That's the main problem with subtle discrimination. It leaves those that it affects the most powerless against it, quietly discouraging them. If they speak up, they're treated to eye rolls at the least, and at the worst, are called oppressors themselves. We're accused of not wanting equal rights, but of wanting tyranny.
While I support Noah's right to say what he wants to say in the US, I do believe that his attention-grabbing tactics are in extreme poor taste and future conferences should take heed that this is what they might be signing up for by getting him as a speaker. Noah seems to be an otherwise smart guy and an excellent businessman. I'm sad that he seems somewhat obtuse to this behavior as inappropriate.
The "Lighten Up" situation is quite different in that there was an identifiable victim of the sexism who suffered concrete consequences such as being forced to attend an HR meeting. "Every woman in CS" is too broad to establish an identifiable victim and "this makes me angry" is not a concrete consequence.
Sure, but the point of the 'Lighten Up' is that just because someone doesn't speak up doesn't mean that they don't feel disenfranchised. In fact, that is the frustrating point for Katie, because by speaking up, one risks being branded (or, at least, told to 'lighten up')
Hypotheticals aside, the biggest problem with your argument is that you seem to be saying that if the OP was a woman, then she'd have more of a point...I hope to think that isn't the case...if the OP's point is flawed then it is wrong if it comes from a woman.
(in the abortion debate, the "men should mind their own business" sentiment is also flawed, especially since there are a good number of women who oppose abortion)