I guess this is just where we differ. I don't belive that one way of living is inherently better than another; or that I have some moral imperative to make others behave in a way that I see fit. Of course, I'd love them to, and if asked the reason that I act differently, I'd be happy to explain.
I used to feel the way that you do. It's easy to get caught up in the "of course, slavery is wrong! Of course, sexism is wrong!" But then it slowly starts to bleed into "of course, we have to spread Democracy to Iraq," "of course, we have to make laws that gay people can't marry"...
Moral superiority is how wars start. By making others' ways of life into the literary Other, you're demonizing the very people you're trying to convince.
Yes, my position in life certainly has an effect on the truth value of my statements.
> you're making an insane leap to say that criticizing routine discrimination "is how wars start"
Moral absolutism causes problems. "I'm better than them" causes problems. I'm saying that morality is not cut and dry. You're treating it as though it is.
And it's certainly why people fight to ban gay marriage. Don't you see that, "Women find stripping offensive, it drives them away, don't let that happen" is the same thing as "We find homosexuality offensive, we can't let that happen"? Those who feel they're on the moral high ground will do all kinds of things to impose their morals on others.
> It looks like you're missing the difference between suggestion and coercion
In this case, you may be suggesting, but other comments here are certainly imply coersion.
> assume that everyone is choosing to engage in sexism rather than uncritically going along with the status quo.
You're assuming that the woman there are offput by the 'strippers,' and that's why they weren't attending the conference. I'm merely pointing out that that may not be the case at all.
> Don't you see that, "Women find stripping offensive, it drives them away, don't let that happen" is the same thing as "We find homosexuality offensive, we can't let that happen"?
Well, sure, if you misrepresent the problem your argument looks better. Our argument is quite simple: don't demean people. Demeaning women? Bad. Demeaning gay people? Bad. Getting upset about the inability to use your religion as a justification to demean people? Tough luck.
> You're assuming that the woman there are offput by the 'strippers,' and that's why they weren't attending the conference. I'm merely pointing out that that may not be the case at all.
Note that no one here is saying Yahoo should be shut down, hack day stopped, etc. The only thing people are saying is that there should be a clear message that this behaviour is wrong - and that we should be encouraging everyone to recognize and refuse to participate in it. Conference strippers aren't the only reason why the gender ratios are unequal but the attitude has gone a long way towards making our field unattractive to anyone who doesn't fit a rather unenviable stereotype.
This is an empty argument because those who oppose gay marriage would not accept the assertion that it is demeaning. You could just as easily claim that allowing gay marriage is demeaning to heterosexuals. But let's pretend everyone agrees it is demeaning. Isn't it acceptable to demean someone (fines, imprisonment or other punishments) when someone makes some type of transgression? In the case of gay marriage, the moral transgression would clearly permit some of this.
Moral relativism is equally as tired as absolutism.
Hiring strippers for a technology event is a simple question of social graces, class, and creating an inclusive environment -- not morality.