Man tells woman she is attractive ... Another woman interprets this as sexism
It might be an inappropriate time to say it, but this is rudeness, not sexism. How often is it that you are talking to someone, anyone, they comment on how attractive you are and you are sorely offended? Never? Because I know from my personal experiences (as a highly privileged cis male of course) that I love being complimented.
If we are to interpret every single unrequested compliment as sexism that feminists will soon find that they are unable to find a boyfriend.
If you want an example of sexism, then here is one, from the very fingers of the feminist news reporter herself: "that she looks like a woman but acts like a man." Why should any woman need to act like a man? In this day and age do we still believe in these traditional gender roles, that only a man can be effective in a leadership position?
And then some victim blaming: "Mayer didn't [...] [goad] the "dirty old man" with some low-cut top or skimpy outfit [...] But, of course, you weren't even wondering that, were you?" No, as a matter of fact, I wasn't. That comment was an unnecessary attempt to read the mind of the reader. At no point did I assume that this respected member of her community would be sat in her shareholders meeting wearing a bikini or a v-neck down to her stomach.
Propaganda, the lot of it.
Sexism isn't about saying something "inappropriate". Sexism is about power and the abuse of gender to assert said power.
Let me break the dynamic down for you:
1. This investor is in a weak position. He is not on the panel and he is a small time shareholder. He's a little nervous.
2. The investor gets his chance to ask a question. He makes a "joke" which reduces the stature of the person to whom he is speaking and elevates his sense of dominance.
3. The laughter in the room adds a little more juice to his ego. That's what this kind of "joke" does.
4. Then, he asks his actual question from a more powerful position.
My guess is that he probably "jokes" with lots of people in this sort of way. Little so-called jokes.
What makes it sexist is that the comments are gender based and really quite offensive if you think it all the way through. What makes it really sad is that this sort of thing happens all the time and women are expected to just "laugh it off".
The definition I found is: "Prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex.". Institutionalized sexism would be necessary in order to be able to assert power via gender, but I don't think this necessarily makes them the same thing?
2. [...] He makes a "joke" which reduces the stature of the person to whom he is speaking and elevates his sense of dominance.
I would have thought it would reduce his own stature ("dirty old man" is not a good thing). Which is something that nervous speakers do seem to do for some reason.
Dig down another level and take a look at the root of prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination. You'll find all three are about assertion of power over another person or group of people on the basis of certain criteria (race, gender, ethnicity, etc).
I would have thought it would reduce his own stature, which is something that nervous speakers do seem to do for some reason.
That's the trick of self-deprecating humor. It's very effective in deflecting criticism from others. After all, once you've said something outrageous about yourself what else can someone do to you? However, it can also be used to soften or excuse what's likely to be a controversial statement. The investor's opening prattle works pretty much the same way.
I should point out that it is highly unlikely the investor planned these remarks. It is more a learned action, practiced over time, which has become institutionalized in his behavior and the behavior of those like him.
"Well, if you were a woman at a shareholders meeting, would you comment on the looks (good or bad) of any men on the board, when addressing the board?
Pro Tip: These types of comments are inappropriate in that setting."
There is a thing such as "color-blind racism", that is IIRC dismissing race playing a factor when it actually does, either out of lack of awareness or harboured racism. I postulate there is such a thing as "gender-blind sexism", too.
I do think it's scummy, and I do not think putting scummy in quotes is okay, unless it's actually a quote. I furthermore know it is the tip of an iceberg (I don't mean the guy, whom I don't know, I mean society). Therefore I do not feel comfortable about anything other than being blunt, direct, humour- and relentless when it comes to this. This is not just a "remark", and the internet reactions to such topics are not all just trolls, it's indicator of work ahead of us.
The comment is sexist, by "I have 2000 Yahoo shares", he means "I have power over you", and "I'm a dirty old man and you look attractive", could be interpreted as "I don't respect your power over me, you're just a woman and all you can do is be pretty", which is an attempt at debasement.
But what does this have to do with gender?
"I'm a dirty old man and you look attractive", could be interpreted as "I don't respect your power over me, you're just a woman and all you can do is be pretty", which is an attempt at debasement.
could be interpreted
One could interpret anything as anything...
a MAN asks the question of a WOMAN.
It really couldn't be any fucking clearer.
A man asking a woman a question is not by definition sexist. A sexist question needs to prove "power over" based on gender, not shares owned in a company.
cis male? Am I the only one who has no idea what this is?
i.e. Pre-op transsexuals would not be "cis".
Cis can refer to both men and women.
Cis is the antonym of trans, so cisgender is a term to refer to non-transgender people.
I've never heard cis used this way, and it is not the definition, by any stretch.
While pointing out they have power/money, while the other party has the looks?
That happens a lot, and only ever [edit: usually, 99% like] one way. Even older rich women who hit on me do it more like a young girl would than this dude would.
So, no. If you want idiocy or propaganda, try your own post.
I would think that format is typical for public (or semi-public) meetings where anyone who wants to is allowed to present to the group.
Calling such a remark a "tidbit about himself" sounds like a tolerance for sexism on the side I don't have. For all you know, the part he "really wanted to talk" about could just be a pretext to drop that particular turd err I mean tidbit into her lap.
I would dispute the "pointing out they have power/money" part. Both because he doesn't, and because I would assume that information is expected from anyone who talks.
Calling such a remark a "tidbit about himself" sounds like a tolerance for sexism on the side I don't have.
And I assume calling it "inappropriate" does as well?
To me the story isn't that guy, he's probably fine, and if he's not I don't care. The mixture between genuinely thinking that's cool and polite laughter is what annoys me more, just like the reaction here did more than the story. Not that I'm saying cancel the meeting and tar the guy, but at least let her respond on her own terms instead of already deciding it was "just a joke"?
Or even just saying "feminists" like it was a disease or at least some hardcore bias. It's being called a member of modern civilization, which is kind of this shadow culture utterly lost on those not part of it. HN should understand that, right?
That said, I don't think that particular question is sexist. Football (particularly in the midwest where Mayer hails from), is pretty broadly popular across gender lines to the point where it's not uncommon enough for women to like football that it would be effective in exclusion signaling.
Sometimes questions like that are an attempt at signaling exclusion. The purpose is to remind you that you're different from the group. It's really irrelevant to the quality of the question whether you were actually the school's star track athlete, or instead spent all your time hacking on your computer. It's even irrelevant whether the stereotype is actually true (I don't know if people at tech startups are less likely to have played sports in college than people at investment banks). All that needs to exist is a clear stereotype and for both sides to be aware of the appeal to that stereotype.
Dude, not even the President of the United States can get away with that kind of thing.
Not to mention it was written to be as link-baity and "controversial" as possible, while making sexist remarks clearly without knowing it.
Rebecca Greenfield was _so close_ to praising Mayer on her career without completely debasing all female leaders in the world.
I agree that this article is lousy and poorly written.
Also, if you're not a feminist by 2013, what are you? This stuff was a no-brainer the second it was came up with.
We should all be egalitarian: characterized by belief in equal political, economic, social, and civil rights for all people, rather than feminist: defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women.
There is a reason John Lennon wrote a song called "woman is the nigger of the world". I haven't met a sane smart man who felt threatened by feminism. Not one. Scoffing at the excesses, sure. But not calling it out like some warning sign.
Do you accuse a group working for the ethical treatment of prisoners of not wanting everyone to be treated ethically? No.
You see, that's how much I pay attention.
So when feminists pass bills that implement mandatory arrest policies for the male in any domestic violence calls.... a man would have to be insane to be threatened by that?
Or when a feminist twists the definition of rape so that over 1 million male victims of rape are ignored every single year (which then allows them to come to some nice fancy conclusiosn like "95% of all rape victims are female")... I'm insane for being threatened by that too?
And then we have NoW, the biggest feminist organization in the entire world... I must clearly be insane to be opposed to the fact that they constantly rally against any group or bill that tried to remove the bias from custody trials (in which mothers get custody 90+% of the time).
And this is only scratching the surface...
I suggest you stop being so ignorant of the many legitimate reasons why people have a problem with feminism.
Talk to any male who has dealt with a female stalker. All the legal 'protections' put in place and advocated by feminist organizations don't apply to men. If anything they will be the tools used to further abuse.
Sure no one is threatened by the dictionary definition. It's the polices advocated by feminist organizations.
That's because that's the definition. Wikipedia: "Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women"
While there's a large crossover and the former certainly tries to pretend to be the latter, there's also an element of male-targeted sexism within the feminist community that would always prevent me from identifying with them.
Why let the jerks take over the term? Call it female chauvinism, done. Anyone who is still confused is trying hard to be, IMHO.
People talk a lot, but my intuitive guess is that their lack of empathy and/or awareness of the world around them prevents them from "identifying with feminism" despite the bad apples. Don't take that too personally, but that explains my allergic reaction to sloppyness around this subject.
I support so many things that are also abused, and so do you. Source: we're having this conversation on the internet :P
"I want to see a man beaten to a bloody pulp with a high-heel shoved in his mouth, like an apple in the mouth of a pig."
"Marriage as an institution developed from rape as a practice."
"I feel that ‘man-hating’ is an honourable and viable political act, that the oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them."
"All men are rapists and that’s all they are"
"In a patriarchal society, all heterosexual intercourse is rape because women, as a group, are not strong enough to give meaningful consent."
[edit/note] I can't post a full rebuttal of what you've written right now as I'm at work, but if you're still on this once I've gone home I'll be happy to debate this point with you.
If you disagree, show me how this applies here. Show me how the fact that the blogger "is a feminist" matters at all. She provides full source material, she doesn't diss men in general -- so what, exactly, is it? Guilty by association, the association not being that she actually mingles with the kind of bigots you mentioned, but that she gets associated with them?
I would feel guilty for contributing to this red herring if I didn't also think it's good to talk about just how much we resemble birds on an oily beach thinking we're wearing tuxedos.
Feminism as taken from an encyclopedia is basically equated with the equal rights movement for women. I am in 100% support of this side of feminism and the idea that all people regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation and so many other dimensions should live as equals.
The feminism I am against is that which seems to have strongly influenced gender politics in recent years in such areas as domestic violence convictions, accusations of rape, how divorces are perceived and handled and so many other important issues. This is the feminism that says men are inherently sexist and that the whole system of life and governance (the "patriarchy") is designed for the systematic rape, enslavement and degradation of women.
However, this isn't the point you've raised in this most recent comment so I'll try to address that instead. You say that the fact that the blogger is a feminist doesn't matter, and you're completely correct. However, seeing some self-professed "dirty old man" make a comment about how Marissa Mayer looks attractive and jumping straight onto "he's being sexist!" is a classic feminist move and is what's being criticised here. Sure, the comment was inappropriate in a professional environment, but it's not like the guy was saying "how do you expect us to take you seriously, you're a woman". The fact of the matter is men are physiologically built to recognise and look for beauty in women, and there's nothing sexist about that. Mislabelling everything as being sexist against women is how said feminists seem to be able to hide blatant sexism against men as if it were a perfectly normal belief to hold, and I will happily attempt to neutralise any such statement if only to try to minimise some of the extreme views that can grow from it.
Anyway, I'm reading too deeply into this now so all I can do is suggest you watch some videos and read some posts by Karen Straughan aka girlwriteswhat. She very succintly covers the issues with modern (some would say radical) feminism while at the same time advocating for equal rights, and hopefully from taking in some of her points you'll be able to understand why I've reacted so strongly to your suggestion that feminism is "a no-brainer".
I don’t think that I would consider myself a feminist. I think that, I certainly believe in equal rights. I believe that women are just as capable, if not more so, in a lot of different dimensions. But I don’t, I think, have sort of the militant drive and sort of the chip on the shoulder that sometimes comes with that. And I think it’s too bad, but I do think feminism has become, in many ways, a more negative word. 
I'm an egalitarian, because I believe in equal rights for all people, not just one biological sex.
Unless you're a cis female, feminism is very hostile to you. Since I am GLBT, I find egalitarianism much more appealing for this reason as well.
This makes you, among other things, a feminist.
It also makes you, for example, an opponent of the case system in India, regardless some people deeply involved in that issue committing bad acts under its cloak (not saying there are those people, I have no idea, that's not the point).
Unless you're a cis female, feminism is very hostile to you.
I'll be the judge of that.
1. You do not get to decide for me who and what I am or what I identify as. What the hell makes you think that you have the right and the might to tell me who I'm supposed to be?
You can say that--according to your definition of it--Christianity is about being kind to others. Ok. Whatever. That doesn't make me a Christian. And you definitely don't get the right to call me one. (I'm an atheist.)
2. It's funny you mention India. Feminists lobbied heavily (and successfully) for only one biological sex to be legally able to be booked for rape. Spoilers: it wasn't women.
I'll be the judge of that.
Wow, ego. Do you also tell trans people to go kill themselves?
I want to hear about if the dirty old men have shut the hell up or not since then.