If this was question about whether a new drug worked or not, the issue would be settled. Ergo, gender bias against women exists.
Then maybe try to fix that instead of complaining about bikinis in powerpoint presentations?
Would anyone raise even an eyebrow if a woman sliped a sexy male model photo in a slide?
The context is not symmetrical. Men have not been historically discriminated against in the workplace on the same massive scale that women have.
It doesn't get stopped because most people don't see it as a high priority.
No, the parent comment asked whether anyone would raise an eyebrow if a woman posted a sexy male picture, implying that men are being more reasonable in acquiescing to such humor. I was pointing out why most men aren't as disturbed by it.
1. You say "instead", as if this were a choice between two alternatives. This is known as the "false dilemma", and it is a logical fallacy.
2. It is not clear how to fix the problem about discrimination based on names on CVs/résumés, whereas the solution to bikinis in powerpoint slides is much simpler (delete the pictures from the slides, smartass). To use a much abused phrase, this is low-hanging fruit.
3. You also assume that the issues are unrelated or isolated, and that (for example) showing inappropriate pictures of women at tech conferences does not cause people to discriminate against women on CVs/résumés, when it is very plausible that the pictures of women in bikinis normalize / contribute to the measurable acts of discrimination.
> Would anyone raise even an eyebrow if a woman sliped a sexy male model photo in a slide?
You think this is a clever argument, but it is not. Let me illustrate for you a better analogy.
Suppose for a moment that you are a guy who just graduated from college, make $20,000 a year in your dream internship, and are on the long trek to success in your field. You're in a new city, and don't know many people. You're constantly bombarded with pictures of men who "made it", have $200k cars, wear $10k suits, drink $500 bottles of liquor, and buy their mistresses $80k pieces of jewelry.
Now I'm going to kick the analogy up a notch, so it's solidly in the "alternate reality" realm.
You date a girl, and she tells you, "My personal goal for you is for you to make six figures next year."
What a jerk, huh? Well, if you swap genders and replace the line with "lose fifty pounds this year", then you're back in our current reality.
Sexism is not a simple problem and you do not help anything by imagining what it would by like if a woman put sexy pictures of a man on a powerpoint slide. Fact is, men are not generally worried about getting raped.
How is this any different from our reality? You really don't need to venture into some alternate reality to experience this.
I think this describes exactly describes the frustration that many men experience. You can be called dumb your entire childhood; it is made clear to you that you are inherently a monster capable of anything, that you have most likely raped someone; it is funny if your genitals are mutilated because you probably deserved it; if a woman hits you, you probably deserved it and you should take it like a man; your life can be ruined by simple accusation by a woman and if she was lying there is no punishment for her; if you divorce, your children will automatically go to your wife unless she is a criminal; even if she initiated the divorce, you will still have to support her; political figures proclaim that women are the true victims of war even though you were the one who lost his legs in battle; if you want to stay at home and look after your kids, you are lazy, if you want to focus on your career you are an uncaring father (either is okay for a woman); you are portrayed as bumbling idiot on television; you are told that you are lucky if a woman gives you the time of day; if you approach a woman you can be called a creep, if you don't you are shy; if your wife hires a hitman to kill you, she will be acquitted because you apparently abused her despite no evidence of this; you are treated like a creep if you show any interest in being around children and any social pressure on you to be successful can apparently only exist in an "alternate reality" but NONE of this matters because you are in a "position of power" so you should just deal with it like a man and make sure you don't show any pictures of women in underwear at a conference (despite how stupid this is) because then you are a sexist pig.
The reason I said "alternate reality" was because the quote about "six figures" was a complete fabrication, based on something a man actually said to a woman, but altered to play on typical male insecurities.
If your point is, "Gosh, men have it hard, too." Sure, I'll agree. But, you're laying on the hyperbole a bit thick.
Regarding the actual issue, I agree with you that it is not okay to show women(or men) in underwear at a tech conference in most cases but I am not sure if it was sexist or not because I was no there and didn't see the presentation. I don't think that this kind of thing has any place in a professional environment under normal circumstances though.
edit: My point proven by halostatue. Who is hinting that just because I am a man, I have no right to complain because everything comes so easy to me despite him having no knowledge of my particular circumstances.
The point of Scalzi's "Straight White Male…" essay is that all else being equal, being born a straight white male in western culture will result in large amounts of unseen privilege that can be leaned upon without even thinking about it.
It says nothing about relative ease of accomplishment after that. It says nothing about the small, petty, and (generally) inconsequential ways in which men are discriminated against (think auto insurance, as a first order item) in general life.
It also doesn't say a damned thing about whether you have the right to complain or not. It says far more about you thinking whether you've got standing to complain in a particular case, as the reality is that most men do not face gender discrimination on a regular basis—and when said discrimination is systemic (as it is in custody and alimony arrangements), then it must also be addressed—and it generally is being addressed (slowly, but surely).
You replied "Always appropriate:" with a link to the essay in reply to klodolph.
I assume that you were replying to this part of his post:
>If your point is, "Gosh, men have it hard, too." Sure, I'll agree. But, you're laying on the hyperbole a bit thick.
By replying in this way, you were effectively dismissing any disadvantage men have or discrimination they face because they have it easy in life according to John Scalzi (and it is always appropriate to remind people of this). Was this not your reply's intention? If so, what was it?
I was absolutely dismissing your hyperbolic list because of its hyperbole, and I was doing so in part because Scalzi addressed the baseline (which is what's really at discussion here) and the oft-hyperbolic attempts (like yours) to pretend that because "Men Have Problems, Too" that the discussion of the baseline isn't even worthy of being talked about.
But if you really want to have that list dissected, here we go:
1. "You can be called dumb your entire childhood". Suggesting that only boys hear this sort of thing is laughable. In my experience, boys are more likely to be called smart and clever than girls, who are more likely to be considered adorable and pretty. Systemically, girls in America are told that they aren't supposed to be good at math or engineering from about grade four on (boys don't do better in math until about the seventh grade).
There are cultures that consider the education of girls to be a waste of time, money, and effort—and I'm not just referring to the hard-line Taliban. These girls aren't just told that they're dumb, they're told that they're not even worth being told that they're dumb.
2. "it is made clear to you that you are inherently a monster capable of anything, that you have most likely raped someone". This is, of course, pure hyperbole when it's said by those who say it against men, and equally so when a man repeats it as if it were an accepted truth about all men.
Even so, there are far too many men who simply do not understand that not only does "no" mean "no", but only "yes" means "yes" (sex while she's blindingly drunk is not consensual, sorry).
3. "it is funny if your genitals are mutilated because you probably deserved it". I remember a lot of jokes around the Bobbitt case, but I also remember jokes not too longer after the Challenger accident. That case is very difficult because Bobbitt was an abuser (and continued to be with future spouses) and may have raped (he was charged and acquitted) his wife (marriage does not mean automatic consent). She was considered not guilty by reason of insanity and was committed to an institution for a short period of time.
On the other hand, almost all of the campaigners that I know or have encountered against male circumcision are women.
4. "if a woman hits you, you probably deserved it and you should take it like a man". I don't even know what to say to this one, because I've never heard anything like it and don't know any woman who would say it. There's a few men I could imagine saying it, but they're "macho men" in any case. Women are charged with assault.
5. "your life can be ruined by simple accusation by a woman and if she was lying there is no punishment for her". With the first part of your statement, you highlight a legitimate (if rare) problem; with the second part of your statement, you go off the rails. Look at the DSK case: his accuser is facing a civil suit over the loss of face here. If someone lies about a case and is caught doing it and the embarrassment for the prosecutor is high enough, you're going to be facing some music.
6. "if you divorce, your children will automatically go to your wife unless she is a criminal". In most jurisdictions, this is no longer true. Family courts want amicable separations and arrangements where possible (they're substantially cheaper and more stable on the family) but will look at the stability offered by both parents when determining the primary caregiver and the visitation schedule. The cases that I have heard where this tends to be true have judges who make such judgements on fallacious "traditional" (e.g., "a mother's place is in the home" traditional) arguments. This is the same sort of fallacy that spurs on "covenant" marriage law efforts.
7. "even if she initiated the divorce, you will still have to support her". Once again, I'm not even sure where to go with this one, mostly because it's full of wounded male ignorance.
(1) Where this sexism is entrenched in law (and it depends on the jurisdiction; in Ontario, the law is income-balanced with equal division of property), this is based on the perception of the woman as the stay-at-home mother and homemaker. Income-balanced laws still tend to favour the woman because (2) women generally make less money than men; when my wife divorced her first husband, she could have been liable for a equalization payment to her then-husband because she made more than he did.
Let's be clear, though, that the ignorance in this statement is actively dangerous. It does not matter who initiated the divorce (that's sort of the point behind 'no-fault' divorces). Under your scheme, somene who is leaving an abusive partner would not be eligible for any part of what they gave up. This is a great way to ensure that these people never leave their abusers…and as such are more likely to be seriously injured or killed.
8. "political figures proclaim that women are the true victims of war even though you were the one who lost his legs in battle". I hear this more about kids than about women. I also hear this mostly from people who are, essentially, chickenhawks.
9. "if you want to stay at home and look after your kids, you are lazy, if you want to focus on your career you are an uncaring father (either is okay for a woman)". I'll have to tell the couple of guys that I know who are stay-at-home dads that they're considered lazy. And…I guess you've never heard of women being called "ambitious bitches". Look carefully at what you said here, and then go back and read what has been written about Marissa Mayer and her recent pregnancy. Not only was her suitability as a businessperson called into question because she was pregnant, her suitability as a mom was called into question because she didn't take a long maternity leave. Resolve that conundrum without determining that it's double-standards sexism…and maybe I'll give you this one.
10. "you are portrayed as bumbling idiot on television". That Chrissy Snow on Three's Company was so smart, what about Kelly Bundy! Not all characterizations of men on TV are Peter Griffin or Homer Simpson or Al Bundy. Going back to somewhat before the same period as Three's Company, you have Mike Stivic ("Meathead" played by Rob Reiner). You've got Alex P Keaton (not bumbling, not an idiot, but not like the rest of his family, either).
11. "you are told that you are lucky if a woman gives you the time of day" and "if you approach a woman you can be called a creep, if you don't you are shy". If you act like a creep, you probably are a creep. There is a time, place, and way to approach someone with respect…and acting outside of that realm is creepy. Look at the discussions that female cosplayers have had recently about the (negative) attention that they've gotten by creeps who think that it's okay to take rear shots without permission (and one thing I read recently was interesting, because she was more than happy to give permission for people to photograph her—she made her costume to be seen, after all—but the shots without permission and that completely sexualized her turned her off).
12. "if your wife hires a hitman to kill you, she will be acquitted because you apparently abused her despite no evidence of this". Huh. If you're talking about the Nicole Doucet case, it seems to be an unusual case, but it probably says much more about the RCMP's handling of the case than it does about her ex-husband. He is an unfortunate injured party in this case, but there are plenty of real convictions of women who have hired hitmen (successful or no) to kill their partners. Your knowledge of this case is probably as deep as my knowledge: not very deep at all, and it's a lightning rod case much like the old McDonald's coffee case. By the by, your characterization is typically wrong on one point: she was not acquitted. Her conviction was set aside, and the grounds were based on misconduct. (The laws are also different here in Canada; prosecutors can appeal acquittals.)
13. "you are treated like a creep if you show any interest in being around children" Once again, I'll have to tell all of the male teachers that I know that they are creeps! It's going to be shocking news to them.
I don't know you, but you've somehow picked up a lot of beliefs that are contrafactual or are at best truthy. I treated your list with derision because, frankly, that's all that a hyperbolic list like that actually deserves.
I just find this a huge simplification and generalisation. Sure, it may ring true with some people but it is an opinion piece. It doesn't present any evidence for its claims. Not everyone that reads it will draw the same conclusions about it as you. So it does nothing to change the validity of my hyperbolic list which I never presented as fact but as an illustration of the frustration that many men are feeling.
As stated above, the list is not a list of facts but it describes how the frustration that many men are experiencing so it is pointless to attempt to repudiate each point. Some of these points are huge issues however, and do seem to be indicative of systemic sexism towards men. Maybe you don't feel the same way but many people do.
Your "Always appropriate" comment hit a nerve because it basically says that any issues that men have with sexism towards them is null and void(regardless if it is in the form of an exaggerated list of issues) because this guy(Scalzi) says men have things easier and it doesn't matter in what context the issues arise because it is "always appropriate". Now maybe you didn't mean it that way but I cannot see how it can be taken any other way.
I do believe that the baseline (as you call it) needs to be discussed but believe it or not, not everyone sees it the same way as you or Scalzi. It is certainly not as simple as Scalzi makes it seem. Sexism towards men IS part of the "baseline".
I also take issue that you now feel that the list represents my beliefs. I never presented them as such. I have not made up my mind about them but I do feel that there are issues here. I am by no means a mens rights nut but I do feel that male issues are underrepresented and your "Always appropriate" comment is analogous to a "Don't worry your pretty little head about it" response to a woman bringing up sexism towards women. The fact that you don't see that is frustrating.
Having said that, I am not going to change your mind and you are not going to change mine so this is pointless.
This is such a bad interpretation of halostatue it is not even funny. Here's a quote from halostatue:
> It also doesn't say a damned thing about whether you have the right to complain or not
I know what you're trying to get at with this but there are two types of people in the world - those who start to feel depressed because they haven't "made it" and those who take it as an inspiration for what they could become. Which direction one goes in is a choice. The losers will give up, the winners will fail over and over again until they succeed. I would not want to be in a world where success is hidden from me because I might cry over not having it myself.
For the record, I agree that bikini shots are not appropriate at a software conference whether women are present or not. I do not see it as sexist but I do think that it is entirely irrelevant and misplaced and would question what the person who put them in there was thinking and whether they might be drunk.
Logical fallacies are perfectly fine in some contexts. I "appeal to authority" every time I listen to my doctor instead of my friend's intuition without even checking what my friend said. Given insufficient time, you pretty much have too. You cannot check everything by yourself. Authority itself was established as a means of offloading some fact checking to the other's expertise. A doctor's degree DOES provide some assurance, it's not just an empty title.
That digression aside, the same thing applies here. What you call "false dilemma", I call a priority. In every situation, given limited resources, you get to make choices and compromises. If your house is on fire you don't stop to mow the lawn. You put the fire off.
>2. It is not clear how to fix the problem about discrimination based on names on CVs/résumés, whereas the solution to bikinis in powerpoint slides is much simpler (delete the pictures from the slides, smartass). To use a much abused phrase, this is low-hanging fruit.
The problem with low-hanging fruit is that they give you a false sense of accomplishment. In optimising code, the easy 1% fix doesn't mean anything if there is a slow function taking 60% of the call times.
Plus, there's an assumption that bikini slides are a problem. Unequal pay is a real problem with real consequences. Bikini slides is merely something that offends some prudes and that some people don't like, not the real issue with sexism. We see naked and half-naked men and women everyday, in TV, in the Movies, on the net, in ads, everywhere. Suddenly it's too much in a presentation? I think this is more about the separation between work/life (a protestant ideological remnant) than anything else. A notion that the workplace should not be sexy/playful/political/etc.
>3. You also assume that the issues are unrelated or isolated, and that (for example) showing inappropriate pictures of women at tech conferences does not cause people to discriminate against women on CVs/résumés, when it is very plausible that the pictures of women in bikinis normalize / contribute to the measurable acts of discrimination.
Very plausible? That is as far fetched idea as any I've ever heard. At the very least, citation needed.
>Would anyone raise even an eyebrow if a woman sliped a sexy male model photo in a slide?
>>You think this is a clever argument, but it is not. Let me illustrate for you a better analogy.
So my argument (with exactly the same situation as the one complained about) is not good, because I couldn't (theoretically) stand an entirely different situation that you describe?
Let's see your analogy for a moment. For one thing: I AM constantly bombarded by pictures of men who "made it". Especially in HN, it's all too easy to see people bragging about acquisitions and 6-figure salaries. And there ARE women that are attracted to that kind of thing, and wouldn't give a poor guy the eye. Just as you describe.
Now, what does this has to do with the situation? Is a bikini slide meant to mean "lose 50 pounds"? Or "women in the audience should look like these"?
If I showed a picture of Simon Peyton Jones would that equally imply "programmers in the audience have to be as smart as him else you are losers"? If I show Marc Zuckenberg or some other successful enterpreneur does that mean "Less than 1 billion net worth is for suckers"? Would anyone even think of it that way?
>Sexism is not a simple problem and you do not help anything by imagining what it would by like if a woman put sexy pictures of a man on a powerpoint slide. Fact is, men are not generally worried about getting raped.
Where's the equality then? Or is having different arbitrary demands for each gender acceptable?
It's a nice analogy. Please identify the fire, and tell me how to put it out. Your criticism is that I am behaving suboptimally if my goal is to fix discrimination, and the clearest way to demonstrate this is to explain how I can behave more optimally.
> The problem with low-hanging fruit is that they give you a false sense of accomplishment. In optimising code, the easy 1% fix doesn't mean anything if there is a slow function taking 60% of the call times.
Please, figure out a way to identify the 60% function here, and identify how to solve it. If such an optimization exists, I'll go for it. Explain in further detail (1) what it is that we should fix and (2) how we should fix it. Otherwise, the low hanging fruit is what I'll go for because (1) we know it's a problem and (2) we know how to improve it.
> Very plausible? That is as far fetched idea as any I've ever heard. At the very least, citation needed.
There was a recent discussion about how much evidence you need in order to convince people that sexism is a real problem that we need to solve. But "citation needed" in this case very easily turns into "citation provided", if you would bother to go to Wikipedia or Google rather than dismiss claims offhand.
1. "exposure to seemingly innocuous sexually suggestive ads can lead to disturbing antifemale sentiments" http://www.psu.edu/dept/medialab/researchpage/newabstracts/o...
2. "women whose male partners objectified them scored lower than those whose partners didn't gaze at their bodies" http://www.livescience.com/11649-ogling-men-subtracts-women-...
If you'd like to read the studies and point out flaws in methodology, or provide studies that refute these claims, feel free to do so. I hope you consider these studies sufficiently relevant for the discussion, I don't want to have to track down the study which most closely replicates the conditions described in the article.
> If I showed a picture of Simon Peyton Jones would that equally imply "programmers in the audience have to be as smart as him else you are losers"? If I show Marc Zuckenberg or some other successful enterpreneur does that mean "Less than 1 billion net worth is for suckers"? Would anyone even think of it that way?
I think men have an enormous problem when they internalize the comparison of themselves against more successful men portrayed in media, and this can definitely have harmful consequences. There are plenty of stories about men who become unemployed during an economic downturn but don't tell the family. Every day the men would drive out to a parking lot, wait for ten hours, and return home, living off savings. They thought that the prospect of being unemployed was emasculating. They felt that being laid off is a personal failure — even in a recession, even if the company is going bankrupt for reasons beyond their control.
I think this would happen less if we reassured men that they do not become worthless creatures just because they are temporarily unemployed, that they have value as a human being beyond their careers. I think there aren't nearly enough men in media (movies, advertising, etc.) portrayed as valuable members of society through avenues other than what the traditional measures of success dictate.
For further reading, I recommend "Stiffed" by Faludi and "The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love" by hooks. I've been looking for a good book about men written by men, but I have not yet found one that incorporates the most basic lessons learned by the feminist movement. It's like the difference between Kant and Aristotle: Aristotle was a genius but his work is mostly irrelevant today, of course he wasn't well-read by modern standards since hardly anything had been written yet. Most men writing about male sexual politics haven't read enough from the past dozen or so decades of female sexual politics, and it shows in their sophomoric arguments.
> >Sexism is not a simple problem and you do not help anything by imagining what it would by like if a woman put sexy pictures of a man on a powerpoint slide. Fact is, men are not generally worried about getting raped.
> Where's the equality then? Or is having different arbitrary demands for each gender acceptable?
If I were really after just "equality", and I were a dictator, I could just order my secret police to rape men until the numbers match up for the two genders. I'd not like to get into a deeper discussion about "equality" but suffice it to say our resources are (as you stated) limited, and the problems for men and women are different, so we have no business e.g. allocating the same level of funding to men-only DV shelters because they are simply not needed as much. Also suffice it to say I think objectifying men is wrong too; but it is not as much of a problem (based on empirical evidence that suggests that it is not as much of a problem).
Target the major issues of discrimination?
From income inequality to the systemic wrongs that put a disproportionate number of black americans in prison.
Then you can worry about token BS issues like offending bikini slides in a tech conference where each man/woman attending makes $50000 or more and has paid like $2000 to attend.
Why can't we do both? Maybe the problems are related? It's wrong (although a common argument) to insist everyone be working on the single most important problem all of the time.
What are you working on right now? Grails app? Game? It's less important than curing malaria, so you should drop what you're working on and go do that.
That's a fair comment. But they might not be, and conflating the two might itself be a problem. See my comment here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5206857 for more.
Uh, yes? Why would anyone ever do that?
To take it further, just imagine if the "male programmer" stereotype was up on the slide as a "before" image with all of the insecurities of men highlighted--namely height and penis size. The "after" image shows the man visibly more endowed and taller. Again, if a WOMAN were to do this at a conference, she'd be ridiculed on the blogs for months after at the very least.
The rest of us think that this attitude is part of the problem.
EDIT: You're welcome to work on whatever problem you want. Don't try and tell me what my priorities are though. I disagree with you.
Oh, and using the "western world" as a sign of some "superiority" moral or otherwise, is extremely racist. The majority of the world doesn't think the "western world" as that advanced or superior anyway. Not to mention that the majority of the world still has deep scars and mourns its people because of the "western world" colonisation and treating them as slaves.
Not to mention that people living in a country where a young girl dies giving birth because she was denied an abortion don't get to say what the "western world" does.
(Nor do people living in a country that still has the death penalty and had black/white segregation until 40 years ago).
Probably not. The thing is that women on these conferences already feel unsafe because they are outnumbered and often inappropriately hit on.
How do you know the fix isn't to complain about bikinis in presentions?
Notably, the effect of the faculty participant's gender was not significant, so the study did not show men discriminating against women, but both men and women taking gender into account.
Perhaps, but the modern law says you cannot take gender into account. The people reviewing the CVs claimed not to be taking this into account. But this evidence shows that they are.
"Katrina. That sounds hot. Do you think Katrina's probably hot? Let's give her an interview."
This was in 2006, by the way, not 1956.
The Harlem Globetrotters picked the best of the african-american basketball players, who were not welcome on other teams. The result was predictable in hindsight, they beat the other teams by humiliating margins.
The other side of the coin is that the white-shoe firms didn't touch certain types of businesses (like M&A or IPOs) because those businesses were considered "ungentlemanly." So they were left to the Jewish firms, who developed an expertise in the fields during the decades that they were considered unimportant.
If you really want to trace the origin of the Jewish finance/law stereotypes back to their root, it goes all the way back to Middle Ages (and possibly earlier). Money handling and the trades were considered unclean/uncouth professions, and the landed aristocracy were so rich that they didn't need to concern themselves with such business. Some countries even mandated that Christians couldn't engage in such businesses. Jews took up finance, merchandizing, artisanry, etc., and placed a great deal of importance on professional success -- it being the only way that Jews could advance in society. To whatever extent that my people are stereotyped as "naturally" good at finance, etc., it's usually because nobody else was touching those things for hundreds of years.
Another part of the medieval stereotype I think came from Jewish cultural emphasis on literacy so good Jewish boys could read the Torah. As a side effect, it's hard to do e.g. banking if you can't read.
Or that Jews couldn't take up other professions.
Jewish American doctors, facing discrimination from the WASP elite of the era, leveraged their talents, innate ability, and entrepreneurial drive to create institutions with names that now stand for the best in the business.
My 4 year old boy goes to a day-care where one of the care givers is a man. I know of at least a mother that refused to leave her kid there scared that he was a sexual predator. The same prejudice is faced by male obstetricians.
In the end, whenever you stigmatize a profession as belonging for a specific gender you do sexism, doesn't matter how you do it and who you target.
Crude? yes - inappropriate? absolutely - funny? not in my mind - "against" women? I don't understand how.
I make this distinction because I think about an old professors of mine who stupidly would try to make women welcome by saying things like "Nice to have such a beautiful young lady here". His intent was to make them feel better, but he didn't get that it doesn't work that way.
Note that it included sexual imagery of women, not just sexual imagery. Making a commodity of women's bodies is a big theme of sexism in media, so to introduce that kind of imagery at conference where women will be a smaller percentage of the audience compared to men, you are essentially saying that those women present don't have value outside of their bodies. This kind of thing is hugely alienating.
However it's mostly women that are excluded from more jobs. The idea that "men are excluded and discriminated as much as women" is false.
In my understanding, the point of the article is that it proves that sexism is much more prevalent, serious, and harmful than I am able to discern as a white male. Reading things like this make it much easier to emphasize with women (and men) who get upset over sexist humor.
Also, sexism is not about intent, most of it isn't deliberate, and much of it is committed accidentally by people such as myself, despite my best intentions to generally do otherwise.
So they don't ask because if they did it would harm them.
(You include evidence in quotes, to imply it's not real evidence. You can see the paper there, what's wrong with the evidence? If you don't want to accept the evidence just because you dislike what it tells us about the world, you are not a scientist)
> If you don't want to accept the evidence just because you dislike what it tells us about the world, you are not a scientist
Further, please avoid ad hominem attacks, it is unprofessional and does not further your point.
The people reviewing CVs didn't claim to be taking this into account (and odds are, weren't). This evidence shows they were taking things into account that they thought they were.
Maybe gender related jokes don't have a place at conferences and work places - I am not sure - but there should be room for jokes about genders somewhere, right? I mean, where does this political correctness stop?
We "all" laugh at jokes that are funny until we hear one that "isn't so funny" because it targets something painful in us.
For example, I'm pretty damn tired of all jokes about Balkans, ex-Yugoslavia, Serbia, etc. A lot of them are even true, but after several wars and a bombing campaign from NATO and leaving the country because I feel deserve a future denied to me by choices of previous generations, let's just say that I can't appreciate that particular humor anymore.
Now, imagine being a woman. Imagine growing up with TV cartoons grooming you to become a princess, a fashion model or, if you failed at that, a housewife. Imagine getting only a certain kind of gifts for birthday, in certain colors. Imagine people paying more attention to your breasts than what you're saying to them. And then imagine hearing sexist jokes since you were a kid. Would you really find a sexist joke funny at a conference?
By the way, I don't think that it is appropriate to show people in underwear at a conference unless it is relevant. I am just pointing out that what you said could easily be applied to men.
I've seen your other comments and I think you're consistently overreacting. Scalzi's essay is there to simply introduce a metaphor to explain why straight white males, on the average, have it easier than other groups. It's not there to condone or promote sexism (or racism or any other unfair discrimination) towards straight white males.
If your whole point is "well, it's not right to be sexist towards men either", then I agree with you completely, but the relevance of your claim is questionable in this discussion because: 1) nobody originally claimed it's right to be sexist to men and 2) sexism towards women is so much more prevalent, especially in our industry, that it's a problem that has higher priority than sexism towards men.
Please explain to me how boys do not hear sexist jokes towards men but girls hear sexist jokes towards women.
>Our society is not equally sexist to men and women.
I never claimed that it was but I am sick of this complete denial that sexism towards men is an issue and is arguably as big an issue as sexism towards women.
>Scalzi's essay is there to simply introduce a metaphor to explain why straight white males, on the average, have it easier than other groups.
Yes but Scalzi's metaphor does nothing to explain "why" at all. There is no evidence presented. It just presents a metaphor that explains what he thinks is going on not what causes it or if it even exists in the way he thinks it does. Is there some part of it that I am missing?
>It's not there to condone or promote sexism (or racism or any other unfair discrimination) towards straight white males.
It could be argued that constantly telling men (and boys) that they have it easier without presenting evidence of specific areas where this is true is sexist as well as damaging to both men and women.
>If your whole point is "well, it's not right to be sexist towards men either", then I agree with you completely, but the relevance of your claim is questionable in this discussion
My original comment was in reply to klodolph's assertion that sexism towards men is so far fetched that one needs to imagine some alternate reality to our own where sexism towards men exists in order for a man to understand sexism. My argument is that it does exist in this reality and it is far more wide spread than people would have you believe. Klodolph claims that I misunderstood their use of this alternate reality argument so that makes my original comment pointless. Subsequently, halostatue replied with an extremely frustrating comment that suggested that any issue a man has with regards to sexism is always inconsequential because some author wrote a blog post where he claims that men always have it easier to anyone else in the same position. Not only does that make very little sense but condoning the dismissal of sexism towards men in such a way is sexist in itself.
I replied to your post because I am tired of this belief that men need to imagine what sexism feels like in order to understand it. We don't need to imagine what sexism feels like because we experience it all of the time, just like women do.
>1) nobody originally claimed it's right to be sexist to men
Yes nobody claimed that it's right to be sexist towards men but no one seems to acknowledge that it even exists on the scale that it does.
>sexism towards women is so much more prevalent, especially in our industry, that it's a problem that has higher priority than sexism towards men.
This is difficult. I honestly do not know which type of sexism is more prevalent but I feel that that is irrelevant because sexism needs to be seen as a single issue, not as two different issues. In order to get rid of sexism you need to do it in a non sexist way otherwise, you are merely shifting sexism from one group to another. Perpetrating sexism towards men in order to solve (or while solving) sexism towards women does nothing but but cause anger and frustration among men and women.
Matter of scale, as before. For every sexist-to-men joke I've heard as a kid, I've heard more than ten sexist-to-women jokes.
There's no denial that sexism towards men exists. What is being constantly denied is that it's a valid argument in the debates about sexism towards women. Literally every time someone is discussing sexism towards women there's someone -- to be blunt, someone like you -- who says something along the lines of "But, but, there's sexism towards men, too and it ain't right!"
Yes, there's sexism towards men and no, it's not right, but you're derailing the discussion of a more pressing issue: sexism towards women.
No, it's not "arguably as big an issue as sexism towards women", because of the scale and history. Again, it's something pretty well described in "The Distress of the Privileged".
Yes, you're missing the part called "required reading". It's just like reading an article about using matrices in 3D graphics: you're expected to know basic arithmetic operations such as adding, subtraction, multiplication, etc.
Scalzi's essay presents a way of explaining a phenomenon that has been described and analyzed in a myriad of other places to which you have easy access.
That's like arguing that swimming against the current will necessarily move you upriver, without considering how fast you're swimming and how fast the current is.
People are telling men (and boys) that they have it easier because they're still living in the world where it's normal for them to have it easier without even knowing it.
That's because the scale on which it exists in the areas of the society we're usually discussing (i.e. tech industry) is nothing compared to the scale on which sexism towards women exists in those same areas.
I agree with you that traditional gender roles that are still being imposed on both men and women are just as sexist towards men as they are towards women. Case in point: in the school, a kid is not considered manly if he doesn't conform to those gender preconceptions (hold your drink, have a pretty girlfriend, be muscular and/or athletic).
I honestly do not know which type of sexism is more prevalent but I feel that that is irrelevant because sexism needs to be seen as a single issue, not as two different issues.
That's tricky. You can "see it" as equally wrong and punish it equally, but that's not all there is to handling and countering sexism.
In order to get rid of sexism you need to do it in a non sexist way otherwise, you are merely shifting sexism from one group to another.
I agree that countering sexism to women by being sexist to men is a case of two wrongs not making a right. What I disagree with is your claim that informing men of prevalence of sexism towards women is sexist in itself. What I also disagree with is the idea that men are being equally harmed by whatever degree of sexism towards them exists currently as women are harmed by the degree of sexism that is currently leveled against them.
I do disagree with a number of points in your reply but I am not going to respond to them because then you will respond to my reply and so on without us getting anywhere. This is futile. Agree to disagree but hopefully you three will try to look at things with a slightly more open mind and I will do the same.
> I mean, where does this political correctness stop
It seems really obvious to me. At work, at a conference, you don't tell racist, sexist, ableist etc jokes. What you do outside work is up to you. (But, if you do it outside work and in public it may complicate things if you have a work related discrimination problem.)
> political correctness
"Political correctness" is often a buzzword used to dismiss people who want to discuss this. Other, better, words exist. "Politeness" is one.
"Freedom of expression" is another, though.
Just wanted to highlight this response from coldtea below because it's spot on.
I don't have first amendment rights, as I'm not American. And the cliches and Prudishness of one specific society do not universal "basic human decency" constitute.
Or, as Bernard Shaw put it: "Pardon him, Theodotus. He is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature."
This is not "freedom of expression" being under attack. It is, at most, about let's maybe not so much invite guys like that to talk at conferences.
It's not about "politics" as in the narrow sphere of political affairs (democrats, republicans, voting etc).
It's about "political" in the wider sense (that is "trying to be tactful", not to annoy various sides, etc).
No, that's a false etymology. The term "politically correct" in its modern usage came from leftist movements in the 70s to describe politics (not in the broad sense of "tact"). Think of it as a synonym for "ideologically sound". The civil rights movement was definitely about politics, not tact. The term "politically correct" was then appropriated by the same leftist movements and used sarcastically to parody themselves.
Afterwards, it entered the general lexicon.
It's not about etymology. It's about usage. The term has a long history and differing uses. The etymology does not matter (it rarely does, and if it does it's mostly for historical reasons).
It's the use of the word that matters.
That's your way of advocating for more politeness? Just goes to show the hypocrisy of the whole thing.
I'm even _more_ for an egalitarian society. And far more actually than merely getting some "bikini slides" off of tech presentations or ensuring women make the same as men.
I don't want women and men being paid less than other men and women and being treated as trash in the first place. That is, i'm a pro-left, in the marxist tradition. Now, do I get to call you a "coward" or a "capitalist pig" if you don't agree with me in this issue?
Furthermore, is a place full of actual and wannabe startup founders/millionaires, the place to accuse me of "hiding behind my own narcissistic conception of freedom and unexamined privilege"?
I find gagging on the gnat of "sexist slides" while digesting the camel of economic inequality hypocritical and counter-productive.
Bosses don't pay women less because they are sexist. They pay them less because they can (e.g talking advantage of the fact that women get maternal leave, or are better at work-life balance than men, and thus deemed less "devoted" to the company and such BS). If they could, they would pay anyone less (and when they can, they do). It's not about making them less "sexist" (there are women bosses that also pay women employees less). It's about making LAWS to force them to give equal pay for the same job description.
The simple fact is that "jokes" which reinforce current power structure are not good jokes. As a man you don't get to decide how women should feel about scantily clad ladies in technical talk slides, just as a white person you don't get to tell black people how they should feel about affirmative action. When you make philosophical proclamations about the world from a position of power you're no different from a jock making fun of a nerd because "he looks funny".
Just a modicum of empathy is all that people want in the vast majority of cases.
Famously? People have been making jokes about farse worse matters than rape for millenia. From war, to incurable illness, to genocide, to torture, to the plague, everything has been made into the subject of a joke.
It might be a novel concept for a prudish, politically correct section society, but it's historically true.
Nothing. It has to do with the "proved" part. Something known to be true man for millennia does not get "proved".
How could you possibly come to the conclusion that "jokes which reinforce the current power structure" are equivalent to jokes about dead babies, torture or genocide? Especially after I opened my comment explaining that yes, in fact, you can make a joke about any subject matter. It's like you didn't even read my comment at all, you just glanced a keyword signifying a binary position and then you decided to dump your preconceived opinion here.
What do you think about the assymetry of, for example, the classic "[A], [B], [C] walk into a bar" jokes, where an ethnic /racial/profession/etc group C is crudely belittled and made fun of?
In practice, such jokes are seen as acceptable if C is a major/nonthreatened group, but the exact same joke would be offensive if C is swapped to a smaller/more vulnerable faction - does that match what you feel?
Maybe race related jokes don't have a place at conferences and work places - I am not sure - but there should be room for jokes about race somewhere, right? I mean, where does this political correctness stop?
When you are exclusively in the company of people who know you well enough to tell precisely how ironic you are or aren't being.
There's a big difference between making race/sex jokes with people who realise you are being ironic + actually have no problem with it (I emphasise actually!), vs. when you are actually demeaning someone and they are __in the room__ at the time.
There's definitely a big problem with sexism in our industry (+ elsewhere too clearly.)
A thought experiment: somebody gets up on stage and presents a slide saying 'so simple that even blacks can use it!'
There's a degree to which in any society where it's ok to make 'jokes' or comments with an edge, when the group in question is to some degree subjugated. That still remains the case with women to a large degree, far less so race (at least openly in the west), and 100% is the case with weight. It's worth stopping and taking a look at that.
Now, not all of those jokes fit into any environment. And neither should fun be derived from putting someone else down, like racist or sexist jokes do. And then, there's always the question of "what's funny?" So the best way to handle things is: The more people listen to you, the more you err at the side of caution.
Racism is a different thing than "jokes about race".
A joke about race can be very funny, both ways. A racist joke, is just racism.
I'm am not going to down vote you, but I hope you understand the difference.
Prejudice against privileged groups isn't met with as much outrage as prejudice against unprivileged groups, and this is as it should be. Both are harmful, but the harm of the former is tiny in comparison to the harm of the latter.
This gets complicated when we consider that treating underprivileged groups as the proverbial 5-year-old children can also be a problem, such as when we assume they're incapable of speaking cogently for themselves, and so on. It's a difficult problem, which is why these kinds of topics always generate 100+ comment threads and much simpler topics do not.
That's why people called grown Black men "boy" back in the day - it's egregiously racist and infantilizing to African Americans.
One view says that fairness is about aggregate outcomes. We can observe that certain groups appear to be suffering from poor outcomes, and we regard this as unfair to members of those groups. We also recognise the historical factors involved in producing those outcomes. So, we might say "Women are under-represented in the software industry. This is because there are fewer women with relevant skills. But this is because of a legacy of centuries of sexist discrimination against women, and the only way to correct this is to perform some balancing discrimination in favour of women now". This view has no problem in recognising that women can be, on average, "inferior" (less experienced, say) programmers, but says that if they are inferior then it is because of historical factors and not any innate characteristic of women.
The other view says that fairness is about individual acts. It's unfair to take certain aspects of a person's identity (e.g. gender) into account when evaluating a person, so we don't do that. It's unfair to act in a way that makes people of certain identities uncomfortable or disadvantages them in group situations, so we don't do that. Since advantage is relative, it's also wrong to act in a way that benefits only people of a certain identity. They think that disadvantaging someone because of their identity is unfair to that person, and even giving a person a positive advantage is unfair to them because it demeans their real achievements.
Followers of the two ethical frameworks have a lot of trouble understanding each other. The second group thinks fairness is about acting fairly towards individuals, and thinks that it would be wrong to treat a woman differently from a man, since that is, after all, the sine qua non of sexism. But this also rules out giving the women a positive advantage. This directly conflicts with the notion of fairness held by the first group. They will, bizarrely, both describe the other group as being 'sexist' - group one for believing that it's legitimate to treat women differently from men (but only if it is done to correct a historical imbalance), and group two for arguing that it's wrong to consider gender when dealing with someone, because this ignores historical and systemic factors.
I lean towards the individualist position myself, but it's not wrong to worry about the systemic factors and the aggregate outcomes. I also suspect that whilst the philosophical debate is very entertaining, it's also not very relevant to day-to-day life, which would be vastly improved by putting the philosophy to one side and just being a bit nicer to each other.
Now, start your talk please
Can I turn that around? Can I instead answer "When should the jokes about gender stop?" They should stop when they begin to offend someone or to marginalize them.
Now, when hanging out with a couple of your friends, you probably have the social skills, the ability to discern body language to be able to tell when someone gets offended and back off. Or maybe you don't: maybe, like me, you aren't especially good at reading nonverbal cues, in which case you should realize that about yourself and tread less close to the line.
But when presenting at a conference? When sending out a company-wide email? You don't have the skill to tell what will be a problem and what will be funny: NO ONE has that skill. So stick to the things that you are sure won't offend anyone.
Unless you're the kind of person who thinks it's just FINE to exclude or offend a few "sensitive" individuals as long as you get a chuckle from most of the room. If you're that kind of person then I don't want to associate with you anyway.
You should be allowed (both legally and morally) to make crude fun of leaders and politicians, including the leader of your country and leaders of companies, parties and NGOs.
You should be allowed (both legally and morally) to make crude fun of people's habits, including the current religious practices of your country or other peoples.
These are important core freedoms to have - but these already offend some people SO much, up to and including murder, that the other sensitive topics (racism,sexism,etc) pale in comparison.
The problem arises when sexist jokes aren't regarded as intentionally offensive, and the discourse is internalized to the point where sexism is regarded as being funny, because it's sexism.
I don't see a lot of "funny" racism - if any - in the industry, and I think it's because we've come much farther, when it relates to race - and to some degree sexuality as well.
Comedian Stewart Lee is good at describing this mentality: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgABbHPdwH4.
To be fair, the examples given are, I think, sexist, and there for titillation. These examples aren't jokes, they are, er illustration.
On the other hand, women are beautiful to look at, and using women in this way does, I'm afraid, help bind information in to the male head. That is why sex is used so much in advertising. Until men are completely de-sexed in some creepy way, I don't see this changing much.
I dunno, I just don't like the idea of giving up being a "man" and having man feelings. And I feel like this sort of feminism is all about women being women at the expense of men being men. None of that means women should be mis-treated in the work place, underpaid, or even slightly harassed. But I do think a bit of understanding both ways is required.
I say drop the stuff about images, and make damn sure women are paid properly and taken professionally seriously.
Is that not enough?
And it's not political correctness, it is respecting that we all experience things differently.
I agree that most humour will offend someone. Try watching a stand-up act that doesn't offend someone's race, gender, sexual orientation, age, or any other demographic information. Some of those discriminatory jokes can be really funny; after all we're human.
There's a time and place for it. Context is everything.
Tech events do not satisfy any of these criteria. If you are presenting, there are numerous ways to inject humor without demeaning anyone. What's funny is that, as a guy raised in the rural south, the thought of presenting ANYTHING with pictures of scantily clad women strikes me as immediately something not to do in public, ever. It also smacks of someone lacking intellect and creativty, and is in the same realm as bathroom humor. If you have to sink to that level, you aren't clever or funny, so don't try to be.
What makes these jokes different, though, is that they are about having fun at somebody else's expense. Some people care about not causing others discomfort; some don't.
Also, personally, I tend to find them embarrassing and juvenile, not funny.
I mean, where does this political correctness stop?
Usually wherever inability to empathize with others begins. There is, after all, no law against being inconsiderate.
The fact is, it's always possible to be offensive no matter what the actor does.
Anecdotally however, playing a character of a given background becomes offensive when the actor portrays a caricature of the background or the actor speaks or acts in a way that takes away the character's humanity. Therefore, it's typically okay to play a character of a specific background, as long as you stay true to how the character thinks or acts as a human, and not as a caricature or cartoon.
Look, it's like talking about or showing your naked body. You can't do it in work or professional contexts. If the people close to you are OK with all of ye getting naked, fine. But if someone complains of you being naked at work, you have no right to complain.
Another issue with offensive speech is that it normalises behaviour and thoughts that may be far more pernicious than a tendency to make jokes. If you have one of "those friends" that tells a disproportionate amount of (sexist/racist/rape-based/etc) jokes, it may be the case that you laughing along is actually justifying/enforcing beliefs they hold that you would find reprehensible (and likewise for you telling jokes of the same nature in their company)
As we are all subconscious sexists (there's a link up-thread to a study on blind hiring as an example) there is also a very real danger that you cause harm to your own mind (in the sense of creating or reinforcing bad behaviour and opinions) by engaging in humour or speech based on sexism, even if you don't think you believe the underlying sexism that you are lampshading with the humour.
It is perfectly possible to joke about horrific things without intending to condone or support those things. That said, the place for these jokes is unlikely to be in groups of people you don't know at tech conferences. That's insensitive, rude and often intimidating - so don't.
My impression, as a male who's evolved in several macho environments including high tech, is that the grossest sexist jokes are about males' frustration with gender imbalance, rather than against women.
What makes a joke funny? The fact that it's intellectually engaging, or wildly surprising, or that it discharges an existing yet unspeakable tension. 95% of sexist jokes are neither of the two former. The "fun" in sexist jokes shared among brogrammers is that the group rolls itself into the most degrading mediocrity engendered by a frustrated-males-only-attendance, with nobody lecturing them that they ought to behave better, what with their over-education, supposedly progressive social views, genuine interest for the opposite sex etc.
To take just one example in the comments here, "We are hiring fashion interns" with underwear girl pictures is simply not funny: no intellectual stimulation, nothing comic nor original here. And it's neither about women (models or professionals) nor about underwear. It's about the crippling level of frustration admitted by making such a lame joke, and by laughing at it.
My empirical observation is that when a few women join a male professional setup, sexists jokes quickly vanish, not because people don't dare cracking them, but because they don't feel the need to tell them anymore (IMMV). It nevertheless remains half of a vicious circle keeping women out of some career paths, to the detriment of both genders.
Except there are women attending these conferences.
Being frustrated about something doesn't make it okay to do something which hurts people and expresses a prejudice. I am personally very frustrated when it comes to women, but it doesn't make it okay for me to try to bully them, because that is what this is plain and simple.
Funny how many meandering explanations/justifications are sat in this thread. Quite depressing.
The "joker" vents out his frustration, fed by a male daily work environment, in a gender-mixed conference. The result is event more detrimental than when such attitudes are displayed in front of a 100% male attendance indeed.
> Being frustrated about something doesn't make it okay [...]
I did most certainly not write, nor imply, that it was OK. I just didn't insist more on how bad it was, because there's only so much beating a dead horse can take, and because I didn't think I had anything constructive to add to this truism.
> Funny how many meandering explanations/justifications are sat in this thread. Quite depressing.
I'm afraid you're getting confused between explanations and justifications; that's probably one of the causes for your depressed feelings.
Sure, I apologise for implying this was your personal opinion, however the strength of my tone is based on the fact that some will use your observation as an excuse.
> I'm afraid you're getting confused between explanations and justifications; that's probably one of the causes for your depressed feelings.
Actually I feel fine, a figure of speech :-) the problem is that many will use these explanations as a justification, the gap between the two isn't very far.
A: That is NOT funny.
In seriousness though, she sort of does have a point. Women at these types of thing are pretty outnumbered, and making them uncomfortable with stuff like this isn't very... gentlemanly.
Delete this comment you sexist pig
The "It was meant to be a joke." line is weak sauce. Man up and admit that you were acting juvenile, and just apologize for your behavior. And try to do better next time.
What I find interesting and scary is that some people will put far, far more effort into defending their choice than it would take to change it to something less offensive (and dare I say it, funnier - most "jokes" that rely on sexism are old and tired)
Where does sexy end and sexism begin? I too am against sexism (who isn't?), but most Americans appear to find women in limited amounts of clothing sexy; take a look at most women's magazines in the grocery store next time you're there (or, better yet, look through a bunch of Cosmos at some point: someone suggested I do it, and I found the experience highly educational). Sexism in tech and the workplace are real problems, but I don't think a slide with a woman in underwear is a good example.
Comparisons between the U.S. and France are often dubious, but reading Elaine Sciolino's La Seduction: How the French Play the Game of Life made me rethink some of the issues Koll describes. Sciolino writes, for example:
The game of the sexes also extends deep into the workplace. In the United States, the mildest playfulness during business hours and in a business setting is forbidden; in France, it is encouraged. In American corporations, men are told routinely that they cross the line when they compliment a female employee on the color of her dress or the style of her hair. In France, flirtation is part of the job.
(I wrote more about the book here: http://jseliger.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/la-seduction-how-th...).
And her experiences in the French workplace appear to be mostly good. It might be that the U.S. and France are too different to compare, but I also don't think that the asexual approach implicitly endorsed here is right or even practical.
There's an obvious point being made when a slide with women clad in bikinis is shown at a geeky male-dominated conference. Do you think that's about some women looking sexy? And what do you think about the contrast between those slides and the technical ones? Do you not think doing that expresses an opinion about women's place in technology?
Personally I find what marketing does to women both when advertising to them and advertising using them utterly despicable.
I think you're muddying the waters in quite a weaselly way here, and it makes me feel uneasy. We shouldn't repress sexiness (whatever the hell that would mean), but this is blatantly nothing to do with that. Nothing.
>> There's an obvious point being made when a slide with women clad in bikinis is shown at a geeky male-dominated conference.
>> Personally I find what marketing does to women both when advertising to them and advertising using them utterly despicable.[/quote]
Oh come on, please...
The point being made is very likely not much more than 'look, here's some nice looking girls to make you feel good', which tends to work on male audiences, because men like looking at good-looking girls, just like they like looking at shiny sports cars. It's the exact same reason why car ads or ads for computer components often have good-looking female models in them. It gets the audience in a positive mindset, so the ad has more effect. If you take big issue with that (like you seem to do), your problem is with the simple evolutionary fact that men fancy good-looking women, good luck trying to change that...
As for 'what marketing does to women both when advertising to them and advertising using them': did you ever care to have a look at one of the millions of magazines explicitly targeted at women? They are full of pictures of fashionable sexy people, male and female, for the exact same reasons some geeks put bikini pics in their powerpoints: because the audience likes looking at them...
I don't condone sexism in any way, but trying to find some kind of evil sexist motives, intentional or unintentional, behind every instance where women are depicted for their good looks, seems extremely cynical and sour to me.
...Be a little more polite. 'Oh come on, please' does not contribute to a reasonable discussion, rather encourages a flame session which is useless for all concerned.
> If you take big issue with that (like you seem to do), your problem is with the simple evolutionary fact that men fancy good-looking women, good luck trying to change that...
Or perhaps I have a problem with what they use it for and the effect it has on the users. You fail to even consider that possibility.
I could draw an analogy between that and adding cocaine to soft drinks (good luck trying to change the human brain's reaction to that chemical...) - it's not a question of natural [heterosexual] male behaviour, it's the fact that it is used to manipulate with complete lack of regard for how it might affect the non-target audience.
>As for 'what marketing does to women both when advertising to them and advertising using them': did you ever care to have a look at one of the millions of magazines explicitly targeted at women? They are full of pictures of fashionable sexy people, male and female, for the exact same reasons some geeks put bikini pics in their powerpoints: because the audience likes looking at them...
Again, what is isn't necessarily what should be. Actually the huge use of airbrushed models in womens' magazines is often harmful to women/girls, as they try to match up to a fantasy view of a woman (encouraged in mens' minds by what they are shown.)
> I don't condone sexism in any way, but trying to find some kind of evil sexist motives, intentional or unintentional, behind every instance where women are depicted for their good looks, seems extremely cynical and sour to me.
Again with the emotive language! Not useful. My extreme cynicism and sourness aside ;-), if a person's good looks is used in a context where doing so encourages a prejudice, then it's bullying, plain and simple.
Nobody's in denial of natural feelings of attraction here, that's a straw man I feel.
I agree with the unrealistic anorexic photoshopped models you see on ads and magazine covers, but I'm not sure whether I can even attribute that to 'sexism', as it appears to be the fashion ideal for many women, for whatever reason. None of my male friends even like that kind of look, and yet it's somehow the norm in fashion and lifestyle targeted at women. Is that sexist? Why do women think men find anorexic women attractive? Could there be other reasons things are the way they are, that are unrelated to sexism?
That might mean something if the audience was only men. But instead it had the effect of making the women feel like they were being ignored, as if the presenter was only speaking to the men in the room.
Sorry, what point? The first thing that comes to mind is that the presenter wants to communicate that the tech is sexy.
> And what do you think about the contrast between those slides and the technical ones?
I might be thinking of a different slide deck, but the women were on the same slides (to the side or in the background) as the technical content.
That kind of imagery is made for a male gaze and is oriented towards straight men, so how exactly does that convey sexy to a room full of people of different gender and different orientations? (hint: it doesn't and using that kind of imagery is very sexist and alienating)
In both cases, the ads are alienating. In male gaze ads women are explicitly not desired except as an object, so there's a very direct alienation there. For advertising selling to women, the ads serve to highlight elements that a women should have or is missing to in order to be the ideal, which is alienating as there is no such thing as an ideal women and everyone's needs are different.
I mentioned it earlier, but Killing Us Softly is a nice video lecture that covers a lot of this kind of material (this link is trailer only, I'm afraid): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTlmho_RovY
You're dismissing a real problem here. Sexism is not isolated to acts of discrimination, it is a part of culture. Fixing sexism is not just about stopping discrimination, it is about changing culture. We bombard kids with pictures of sexy women in bikinis and men in lab coats, and wonder why there aren't as many women in tech even though they're so damn competent at it. Showing pictures of women in underwear in tech slides sends the message, "women are for sex, not tech". Don't hyperbolize this by calling it the "asexual approach".
Imagine putting on a clip from a minstrel show in your presentation. Horrifying, right? But you're not actually being "racist", you're just being "racy". Maybe you think the "aracist" approach is impractical. Maybe a bit of harmless playfulness about "negroes singing songs and working on the railroad" should be encouraged. After all, in American corporations, white folk are routinely told that they cross the line when they compliment a black man on his natural sense of rhythm, or his large penis.
Maybe, but I'm not convinced: again, see Sciolino as a counter-example.
We bombard kids with pictures of sexy women in bikinis and men in lab coats, and wonder why there aren't as many women in tech even though they're so damn competent at it.
There's some truth to this—"we" should show more women in lab coats (and men in bikinis?). But women in bikinis appear in so many contexts (advertising, magazines, etc.) because so many people apparently want to see women in bikinis. If Carl Sagan's latest book or Hillary Clinton's latest achievements sold millions of copies of Vogue or US Weekly or sugared water, no one would be happier than me, but they don't.
Sexism is most definitely cultural, almost all critical writing at various levels has talked about the cultural and systemic nature of sexism. While French and US culture is different, France also has its share of cultural issues with sexism and racism, so it does not follow that because some customs are different there is no sexism.
> But women in bikinis appear in so many contexts (advertising, magazines, etc.) because so many people apparently want to see women in bikinis.
Using women's bodies as a commodity in advertising and marketing does not mean that everyone wants to see women in bikinis all the time. You might want to see Killing Us Softly for more information about women and advertising (this link is trailer only, I'm afraid): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTlmho_RovY
As far as I can tell, your argument is "because people like it, it is okay." This is obviously wrong, so please explain your argument in more detail.
> see Sciolino as a counter-example
An opinion held by a journalist is not a counter-example. You'll need something better than an argument to authority.
I would be much more interested in your arguments for concluding it is 'obviously wrong' to choose the kind of imagery that the majority of people apparently enjoys looking at. I'm really trying to follow your reasoning here, but aside from possible personal ethics and morality I can't really think of a good reason to draw this conclusion. Isn't the whole idea of a 'common culture' between a group of people to act and express themselves in ways the majority enjoys and/or deems acceptable?
You could always argue the merits of American/western culture in general, and I would agree there are many things I dislike about that, but the way women are treated isn't one of them.
That's the wrong^H^H^H^H^Hincorrect antecedent. Sorry, my fault for using pronouns. I was saying that "because people like it, it is okay" is a flawed argument. It doesn't help that I meant "wrong" as in "unsound/incorrect" but the word has a second meaning of "unjust/immoral".
This fundamental problem of any form of normative ethics is that they are all subjective. If you accept the notion that everyone is entitled to his or her own personal views on ethics and morality, this inevitably means the majority opinion is what ends up as being the accepted morality.
Of course we could argue about whether normative ethics in general, or utilitarian ethics in particular are 'wrong', 'incorrect' or 'unjust', but that even though that could lead to a very interesting discussion, it wouldn't probably get us anywhere. Over two thousand years of thinking before us haven't reached any kind of consensus on this topic ;-)
Is using sex inherently bad?
The word sexist is going to lose all meaning if people throw it about like this.
So that's why I upvoted this article. Let's all keep drilling this into our community until it finally sticks.
I see what you did there.
The logic applied in this article is equal to saying that it is racist to display a white man on your presentation, because then you are obviously promoting racism.
Now, I completely agree that sexism is a bad thing - but come on, this is not really sexism.
If you're a fashion designer talking about your latest underwear fashion? Go for it. If you're presenting about gender issues? Go for it—but be careful that your slide materials don't undermine the message. If you're talking about a web API? You've got to be kidding me if you ever think that such a thing is ever appropriate.
No one is saying that you can't have fun with your presentation slide deck—one of my favourite slides that I ever made was a for a RubyConf (San Diego, I believe) where I was talking about how to use PDF::Writer for presentations…and I presented the following code:
He says something like: "After I started in FitnessDK i got so popular, that the only way I got get some alone-time is to take a fish-shower".
As long as you don't put a specific gender in a certain role or use them to show that the other gender is superior, I don't think showing a human body is sexism.
1. That's an ad, not a presentation at a conference. There are different "rules" for ads, but even those have to comply with local norms and expectations (it would not, for example, be aired in the U.S.).
2. It's mildly funny, yes—but only because you provided a translation. It's also sexist and people could legitimately find it offensive. The ad is a variation on the themes represented in the various AXE Effect advertisements (e.g., this product/service has made me so irresistible to women that I have to do this other outrageous thing). It sets up unrealistic expectations among both men and women. It's not sexist because it uses a nude, it's sexist because of the attitude.
3. Unless you are (a) at an advertising conference talking about the use of gender normatives and selling with sexual promises or (b) at a fitness conference talking about effectively attracting the male 18-29 demographic…this ad and images from it would be completely inappropriate for use in presentation materials. Even if (a) and (b) are true…it would be worth considering whether the ad is one to use in your presentation.
The problem is one of time, place, and appropriateness of the material to the audience. Even in Denmark, I suspect this ad would be criticized if it were played in the early afternoon while children are watching after-school television.
Without trying to generalize too much, a lot of guys don't get it because they think that there's no such thing as too much attention from someone whose gender you're attracted to. They think that they'd love to get catcalls from random (usually female) strangers about how toned their abs are, etc. If that sort of thing happened in real life to guys on a regular basis…it would get old fast. (Which is sort of the backhanded point of the ad you pointed to. It just doesn't happen that way, and women by and large don't need to try to do anything to encounter creeps in the tech world or fandom or…)
I think you've generalized the lesson incorrectly. There is a certain amount of context behind showing women as sex objects in your technical presentation that is lacking by showing a white man on your presentation.
Put it this way, is there anywhere you'd find the sexy women inappropriate? If there is, that's how some women feel about it in a business setting.
Sexism in the right context can be funny, as can many horrible things. As part of a slideshow for a workshop or as part of a conference speaking engagement is hardly ever the right context.
But the examples given in the article are not even jokes, much less good jokes. They are examples of behavior that only objectify women. This is what needs to stop.
A former female coworker of mine had no problem dealing with sexual jokes around the office despite being a modest and conservative person. She just rolled with it. But she called me up to complain one time because she was at a conference where the highlight was lining up to get autographs from the swimsuit models dressed in bikinis. Now, there was absolutely no point in including that activity and since she had no interest in getting that autograph it set her apart from her male colleagues unnecessarily.
Edit: fixed grammar and punctuation
"These are just a few examples..."
It's endemic. Everywhere. Each example on its own is a unwelcome irritant, but the repetition and seemingly universal acceptance makes the problem so much worse. O(n) probably...
I don't attribute any malice to most of the presenters, "Most of the guys were genuinely sorry and glad I made them aware of the damage they were doing.". No raindrop feels responsible for the flood, and all that.
More obviously sexist material is noticed by many more people, and uproar rightfully occurs (http://news.cnet.com/8301-31322_3-57434780-256/dell-apologiz...). But the continuous, boiling-frog, "just-a-joke" sexism is a big problem.
†I don't actually know...
"Just because you're offended, it doesn't mean you're right" ― Ricky Gervais
When almost every complaint is more about censorship or silencing opposition those who are battling for basic human rights get painted under a broad stroke that belittles their actions and efforts.
Again, I'm not saying the author of this article is wrong; I can't even say firmly whether I support it or not, the jury is out on it.
What exactly is a "legitimate" battle against sexism? The reason why there is so much noise, as you put it, is because these incidents of sexism happen a lot and people are much more able to publish call outs against that sexism that can be see by many people.
> Again, I'm not saying the author of this article is wrong; I can't even say firmly whether I support it or not, the jury is out on it.
Actually, the jury is in, using women as objects to convey sexy is really sexist, esp. in professional contexts like conferences. Discussion about media representation and women as objects has been ongoing for several decades now.
I often laugh at sexist jokes concerning both men and women. I don't take those jokes personally but I also agree that one has the right to disagree and express their opinions towards the content of different media. (if-by-whiskey?..)
I find having a wank nice. Doesn't mean I should do it at a presentation.
HN is normally such a well-informed, polite place. Then someone posts a "sexism exists and is bad" post and suddenly this is a youtube comment thread where wilfully-ignorant people shout at each other (alas, with a layer of smugness because they have superficially analysed the problem, or rather, have analysed how to speak their prejudice while sounding logical.)
The contributions on the side of the angels always get more upvotes, but the sheer numbers of those on the other side often seem to drown them out.
Boo, I say! Less of this sort of thing!
It's difficult to make a joke which no-one finds offensive, if you follow these complaints to their logical conclusion conferences would be very dry and dull.
All "jokes" aside, most jokes target certain groups of people, so are essentially discriminating one way or another. But there's a big difference taking jokes seriously. I laughed when I heard the joke that I mentioned above (only because of the wordplay). Some might find that a bit childish. That being said, I still 'respect' women 100% and see them as equals. And if a girl wants to make a joke about men? Sure, why not? A joke is suppose to be lighthearted and shouldn't be taken serious at all (hence the name 'joke').
But using these 'jokes' at conferences etc... is a massive no-no. It's uncomfortable for the women that are attending. It adds no extra value at all (but sure, feel free to <insert nerd joke here>).
Ps. the examples given don't even seem to be funny whatsoever. Sure, the majority of men love checking out 'hot babes', but if women have to watch the same demo, it's just plain weird... And it's not even relevant/professional.
The equivalent would be us men, looking at topless hunks from some random TV show during a tech demo. Again, weird (although I'd probably laugh a lot more for some bizarre reason).
Thus, something one finds funny can be not-funny to another either because it appears dangerous (offense), or because it seems normal (meh). This correlates with how closely or exclusively one feels the "norm" that is violated.
It's interesting to analyze why I find jokes funny or offensive (or funny in spite of myself), such as self-deprecating humor, puns, racial/religious/dirty jokes, etc.
Although this can explain why some are offended when others attempt humor, it in no way excuses including offensive content - the point is to be sensitive to the feelings and values of others. We should work both to avoid giving offense, and to be tolerant when others offend without intent.
I'm not going to disagree that what she's describing is probably sexist, I'm also not going to disagree that she's right when she says this type of thing gets attention.
But I am going to disagree that people think "sexism is entertainment". These types of things are done for the "sex" or "shock" value, not for the "sexism".
What does that mean?
1) Feel free to fight sexism, but stop trying to end it, it will never happen. Instead, punish it.
2) Stop blaming everyone who happens to be in proximity, it's not my fault, I'm not offended, and honestly I don't care that you are (maybe I'm a jerk, but I'm also not a sexist). Instead, call out the specific offenders, I might actually take your side I didn't feel like I was targeted.
When a person presents at a conference with material intended to be humorous, but where the humor excludes women, it is adding to the problem that women do not enjoy an equal position with men. It reinforces that this is an industry where men are privileged, and sets an example for others of privileging men.
I can't imagine someone publicly defending racist jokes included in a conference in this day and age. Even if it's "just a joke", it excludes members of the audience based on circumstances of their birth. The same applies equally well to sexist jokes which exclude members of the audience based on circumstances of their birth, yet people are willing to publicly defend the choice to be sexist.
Jock strap: hey, this is sexist, you're making me think about testicles.
Edgy humor is risky because someone will always be offended when you tread in these areas.
I say that as an utterly unathletic person, so I could be wrong.
With a cup, it's meant for protecting the male genitals from impact in contact sports like hockey or football.
But I respect that you put your money where your mouth is. Idle frustration and slacktivism is pretty grating.
Yes, I'm a guy, and yes I make crude jokes in front of my close friends on occasion. But I'd never do it in front of someone who might think I actually believe what I'm saying. That includes 99.9999999% of humanity.
Sexual references and images can make people uncomfortable and may be inappropriate, but they are not sexist. It's not surprising that in a male dominated field, sexual references are primarily female - this also doesn't make them sexist.
Sexist: "Prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex."
Again, these images may be inappropriate in a professional context, but they are not sexist. In my personal opinion, sexuality is a part of life and sexual references don't bother me. They should be used judiciously and not to the point of distraction, but they are not inherently inappropriate. Others may disagree.
Calling sexuality sexist is sexist itself. It implies that sexuality is the domain of one gender, when in fact it is universal.
It's funny how people who usually call themselves Product Manager and involve the words lean and "UX" tend not to be software engineers.
"UX, agile, lean startup,... Product Manager "
I saw twitter, linkedin, posterous, pinterest, flickr but no Github.
"As software engineers, we're a defeated tribe. We work for businessmen, get little respect in comparison to the value we add, and often are pigeonholed into roles that are 3 levels below our creative and intellectual ability. We do most of our work for managers and investors who think we're losers because we don't have their jobs."
The best way to knock down racism/sexism/discrimination is to make achievements that great that change people mind. Ayn Rand or Marie Curie are great examples. Moreover, fighting against the expression of discrimination is unproductive, you can make them shut up but they won't never think less.
I love a good sexist joke once in a while. But things should be balanced. If a presenter would make fun of men and women in equal amounts, I would not be offended personally. I would have a problem with a presenter that would only make fun of women and not of men. That would be very similar to discriminating based on other properties such as race or religion.
Help me out here. Is this funny? or just ageist, sexist and racist all at the same time? I need to know if I'm supposed to laugh or be offended.
1. "Jokes are not discrimination." I hate to tell you this, but tasteless jokes are part of the problem. People absorb and internalize their environment. Maybe if I phrase it this way: Why is it that you bombard kids with pictures of women in bikinis and men in lab coats, then wonder why women don't go into tech in spite of their competence?
2. "We should solve actual discrimination, this just isn't important." Sexism is a multifaceted, interconnected beast of many factors.
3. "What if a woman showed a picture of a man in a bikini?" You are not being clever by swapping the genders, this isn't some math problem where you can flip the sign and cancel a bunch of factors out. People are constantly exposed to media which equate the worth of women with their physical attractiveness, so showing a picture of a woman in a bikini leverages decades of social conditioning. It reinforces the idea that women should be evaluated based on cup size rather than the quality of their GitHub repositories. To make an analogy, if you are a man, were you ever stressed out (maybe during your 20s) about whether you were successful enough? Have you ever paid for a date that you couldn't really afford so you could impress a woman? Imagine if you went to a tech conference with tons of women, and they made jokes about men who are poor, and showed pictures of guys with $10k suits driving Audis, joked about never dating someone who wasn't at least a senior VP, and then a tubby, mustachioed woman who hasn't showered approaches you and drunkenly asks if she can see your wallet, and asks how much you make in a year. "I bet it's a lot." She says, thinking it's a compliment.
I'd like you all to listen to this last bit.
This is a discussion about sexism. It's a proper field of study, like chemistry. It doesn't make non-stick pans, rocket fuel, or methamphetamine. However, just like doing meth doesn't turn you into Walter White, living your life doesn't make you an expert on sexism.
Most of you guys I'm guessing have never read a single fucking book on sexism, but you're chiming in with your damn opinions anyway. The reason why Hacker News discussions on Go, tech startups, and prime numbers are so interesting is because Hacker News is filled with experts on those subjects. A reason why the Hacker News threads on sexism are so terrible is because y'all are lazy fuckers who don't know what the hell you're talking about. Owning a penis makes you about as qualified to comment on how pictures of women in bikinis affect women at tech conferences as, say, the fact that I own a bicycle makes me an expert at automobile maintenance.
It's the same kind of thinking that leads people to think that they can hold an interesting discussion on philosophy when they ask whether the "red" that you perceive is actually the same as the "blue" that I percieve. Okay, sure, that discussion is worth having, I guess, and if you've never read a book on philosophy in your entire fucking life it might actually cover new ground.
Do any of those match the definition of [sexism](https://www.google.com/search?q=define+sexism&ie=utf-8...)?
> Prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically > against women, on the basis of sex.
I bet this is part of the problem: we don't really know how to define (and thus identify) sexism properly.
Here's the second from Merriam-Webster: "behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex"
These behaviors continue to push the idea that women are eye candy.