back to article Speaking in Tech: 'I get told to wear makeup by other women'

speaking_in_tech Greg Knieriemen podcast enterprise Greg Knieriemen and Ed Saipetch are away, leaving podcast co-host Sarah Vela with a "hostile takeover" on her hands. Rocking the mic this week with Sarah are special guests Sarah Novotny, program chairwoman for OSCON and technical evangelist and community leader at NGINX; …

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Re: Preaching to the choir

"Haram started kidnapping the daughters of West Coast executives and selling them into slavery, attitudes might change."

I don't know how more retardedincoherentyou can get. "Responsibility to protect" progressive bombing runs and all that jazz come to mind. What do you want to express with this kind of stupdidityunclear proclamation?

"If random violence were perpetrated by random obscurantists right here, attitudes might change."

"If victims were blonde white girls instead of brown-skinned ones, attitudes might change."

"If these things were happening right here in whitey land, attitudes might change."

I dunno, please enlighten me.

You can also specify HOW things would change. Consider that I do not consider the maintenance of a "kill list" by black presidents as "change".

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I've never seen why the willingness to tell a filthy joke is the metric by which a woman proves herself acceptable in the workplace. Not saying there's anything wrong with a filthy joke but it's always the first thing a woman seems to feel the need to announce or a guy seems to want to use, when showing a woman is accepted.

Can't count the number of comments I've seen along the lines of: "and she tells even dirtier jokes than the men" in response to a negative comment about women in the workplace. Is this the highest praise that a woman can aspire to?

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It depends on the workplace.

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The most likely reason for the filthy joke metric

I've never seen why the willingness to tell a filthy joke is the metric by which a woman proves herself acceptable in the workplace.

Most likely that social more has come about so that everyone knows that the woman is "safe" to relax and crack jokes around - in other words, it shows that she's not an Adria Richards who's willing to destroy her colleagues' careers by getting all offended when someone utters a harmless innuendo.

Given the virulence with which the politically correct punish people for having a sense of humour or even momentary lapses of thoughtlessness, it seems that some way of knowing where one stands with one's colleagues is necessary. This "metric" seems to be one such way.

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Paris Hilton

Re: The most likely reason for the filthy joke metric

>>"Most likely that social more has come about so that everyone knows that the woman is "safe" to relax and crack jokes around "

That never even occurred to me. A signifier that a woman is not a threat to the existing level / tone of discourse... o.0

The need for such a signifier is itself concerning. Though I take your point about Adria Richards. As a feminist, I was furious at the damage she did to our efforts for equal treatment. I can be quite sensitive to sexism but even I didn't see anything wrong with that joke and her response was completely out of order.

Okay, I can kind of see the appeal of a signifier to men in the workplace that they don't have to be on 'best behaviour' all of a sudden. But what bugs me is when a woman has to start taking on exaggerated culturally male behaviours to offset that she is a woman. The technique of being more lad than the lads. If that's how someone is, then fine. But as well as a signifier or non-threat as you highlight, it also is often a defensive thing to overcompensate for being female. And I would prefer it if no woman saw a need to 'compensate' for her gender.

Also, guys shouldn't feel threatened by the presence of women in the workplace so that special reassurances are required. Honestly, if you're telling racist / sexist / homophobic jokes or acting such in your workplace, a Black / Female / Gay member of the group should not have to play up how much they're like the others so that they feel reassured and comfortable continuing to behave that way.

But a dirty joke doesn't need to be sexist. Someone should tell Adria Richards. But then Adria Richards lost her job ultimately, for tweeting that picture. And it provided an excuse for a lot of nasty misogynistic people to crawl out of the woodwork too. So really there are no winners with sexism on any "side".

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Re: The most likely reason for the filthy joke metric

But what bugs me is when a woman has to start taking on exaggerated culturally male behaviours to offset that she is a woman.

Believe it or not, I do understand your frustration on that level. Being viewed as a woman rather than a professional when there is work to be done is indeed demeaning. I understand this very well because there are times when I equally resent being viewed as a man rather than a professional. Like the time when I was installing an IT system for a school and had to be accompanied everywhere in case I did something unspeakable to the children, despite undergoing extensive police checks and "don't do this, this or this" training. I felt demeaned by the assumptions implicit in this treatment, so I do understand how it must feel to be viewed as a sex object when you're just trying to get a job done.

So I agree on that front. Women should not have to compensate for being women any more then men should have to compensate for being men. Unfortunately it is human nature that we are all judged by our gender and while we are sorting out the issues we all have to deal with it as best we can.

Also, guys shouldn't feel threatened by the presence of women in the workplace so that special reassurances are required.

Absolutely. But a large part of the reason for feeling threatened is because, as I've mentioned elsewhere, a moment's lapse of thoughtlessness can ruin a career. In some cases a word out of place or even a look in the wrong direction at the wrong time can touch off a shitstorm. When everyone is so uptight about not offending the wrong person it creates an atmosphere of distrust and fear, which not only damages productivity but causes personal and psychological harm to all sides as well. Maybe if the social-justice crowd were less fanatical and more forgiving of slip-ups this problem would sort itself out given time.

It takes time to change thought patterns ingrained by centuries of social inertia. Think of it as being like a non-Newtonian fluid; if you stir it slowly, it remains runny as milk, but try to change it rapidly it becomes like cement. We've radically altered male and female outlooks within one generation. Many people are now unsure of where they stand or what is expected of them. To set those expectations in an atmosphere of dire punishment for the slightest infraction is going to turn a lot of people against the new paradigms. That's what "backlash" means. That's what enables misogynists and racists to claim victimhood, and it sets back all the achievements gained by equality campaigners over the last few decades. Which is a tragedy.

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A little something called respect

Because there's too many arseholes about who can't find the middle ground and have to go to extremes, if I had to drastically change who I am to fit in I'd consider if it's worth living a lie 9-5 just for a job.

We have a 70/30 split men/women on our support floor, a good mix of Windows/Unix/DBA admins, sure sometimes we crack a few innuendo laden jokes but it's nothing too racey and it's pitched at a level that everyone can enjoy. It's about respect for everyone in the office, be they white, black, asian, female, male, gay, straight, whatever. It's about finding a middle ground to ensure respect for everyone. That way no one feels left out, no one feels victimised and no one is made to feel they have to be someone they're not.

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Anonymous Coward

men get told every day to conform

we're forced into boxes of expectation every day. some of us are shoved aside by office politics, and mangled perception.

But if a hundred men get shafted, who cares? If we're wearing ties and outfits that cost as much as we make in a month because some executard decrees, that's the "price of success".

A woman told to don makeup, oh the horror! fails in the political arena, "old boy's network!" and if she doesn't comply with the status quo, "sexism!!!11!!"

Must be nice to be able to blame failures on "-ism" instead of just not being good enough or lucky enough. Us men who fail are all "Losers". Women and "minorities" are all "victims" and are allowed to keep their pride.

News Flash: It's always been about kicking @ss or kissing it. If you have the "juice" at your work/game/wherever you kick. If not you kiss. If you don't succeed, and find yourself failing most of the time, you gotta look at the most common element: YOU.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: men get told every day to conform

Oh please, if you're a white male you're playing the game of life on easy level.

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Re: men get told every day to conform

Depends where you live. If you live in a "western-ish" democracy you have it relatively better than those living in a dictatorship, no matter what flavour you are.

I agree that being told to wear a suit is a first-world problem and not a big one at that.

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Re: men get told every day to conform

I can't remember the last time I was told that the only acceptable wear came from Savile Row, but if it takes you more than a week to earn enough to pay for a few decent shirts, shoes and a baseline Hugo Boss, you should consider another career. Men's business clothes are actually rather better and cheaper than the ones available to women.

Let's summarise the truth about this. Depending on how good they are at their jobs and how essential those jobs are, people get told to conform. If you're a world class brain surgeon, the 6th former who is about to get a Cambridge scholarship, or a kick-ass database miner, nobody much cares what you do if it's legal. If you are a replaceable customer support drone, expect to be ordered about.

But within that spectrum, until very recently (and then only in some industries) women have had a much more raw deal than men. Anybody who has worked in companies for a number of years and kept their eyes open is well aware of it. Some of the worst sexism has come from the Trade Unions, and some more of it has come from women in supervisory positions themselves. And some of it comes from male managements. But it is additional to the pecking order. Put simply, women have to be significantly better than men to get the same status in their jobs, and this is unfair. Not as unfair as Apartheid South Africa where black Africans were simply not allowed to do higher status jobs, but unfair.

The numbers show this; in most jobs that do not prioritise strength, women earn less than men. Historically we could point to the failure of the Nobel committee to award a prize to Lise Meitner (I'm a bit proud that the Royal Society did their best to redress this injustice) and to Jo Bell-Burnell, just two very visible instances. We could ask why, as computer programming became a higher status job, the percentage of women involved in it shrank. We could also perhaps ask why, in relatively egalitarian Germany, someone like Frau Doktor Merkel can become Bundeskanzler, while in this country the only women who seem to reach the top in politics seem to be loud male substitutes lie Thatcher.

What we can't do, despite your effort, is to avoid the fact that this is a general social problem, not simply an individual one.

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Re: men get told every day to conform

>>"Must be nice to be able to blame failures on "-ism" instead of just not being good enough or lucky enough"

This right here is why you're getting modded down. It's not because anyone disagrees men don't suffer through problems in the workplace too. Men are, like women, people. And people get treated unfairly.

No, the problem is you don't seem to believe that there is still a lot of sexism toward women in the workplace and that this does create special problems. Example, it is possible for a man to be sexually harassed in the work place, it is very much less common than for a woman to be so. It is unlikely anyone is going to look at you as a man and say or think: "men don't make good programmers". It's still not that uncommon to encounter someone who thinks that of you as a woman.

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Re: men get told every day to conform

Oh please, if you're a white male you're playing the game of life on easy level.

Claiming that, because most privileged people are white males therefore all white males are privileged, is the same thing as claiming that because most boy-buggerers are gay therefore all gays must be boy-buggerers. People like you who rant the loudest about the evils of stereotypes are the first ones to employ them when it suits your agenda, which makes you hypocrites of the worst stripe.

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Re: men get told every day to conform

Agreed. There are many more white males passed over for promotion than anyone else, because they're often the majority, and just because people who say things like "Oh please, if you're a white male you're playing the game of life on easy level." who think that white males are the only people it's okay to publically bash, it doesn't make it true.

Just because no one will shriek at you when you say it, doesn't make it not bigoted. Just means there isn't a market for professional white males to be representatives on chat shows.

Suggestion: next time women are on the Reg podcast, let's not hear about what it's like for women in tech. Let's just hear about technology. That will do more for equality in hearts and minds than anything else.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: men get told every day to conform

>> This right here is why you're getting modded down.

- " -

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Re: men get told every day to conform

It is unlikely anyone is going to look at you as a man and say or think: "men don't make good programmers". It's still not that uncommon to encounter someone who thinks that of you as a woman.

I might point out that works both ways.

It is unlikely anyone is going to look at you as a woman and say or think: "women don't make good childcarers". It's still not that uncommon to encounter someone who thinks that of you as a man*.

(*since many people are much more ready to consider a man a potential rapist or paedophile and therefore a danger to children than a woman. Unfortunately both sexes have to deal with their particular forms of bigotry.)

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Facepalm

Re: men get told every day to conform

The biggest pile of fly infested, horse shit I've ever read in my life! I'm glad I don't have to work in your retarded Gordon Gecko fantasy world you seem to have created around you. ( Sanity check time! It's 2014, not 1985! ) The biggest question is how hell you get into work each day, must be a bitch squeezing your enormous bell-end shape head through standard doorways everywhere you go!

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re: men get told every day to conform

Let me try to understand what you're driving at. You're saying that because men get "shafted" without complaining, that women should then also accept getting shafted without complaining? That, because you've surrendered the right to stand up for yourself, that others should do the same too?

If you feel like some dark and sinister matriarchal conspiracy is denying you the use of an "-ism" why not try "classism" or "geekism". Being told to spend a month's salary on a professional outfit that'll go completely unappreciated by the server you've got to reboot or the shell script you've got to correct could well fall under this rubric. If you've got evidence of being held down because of something you ARE instead of something you DO then by no means go quietly into that dark night. Rights are not a zero-sum game.

Before complaining about other people standing up for themselves, why not try standing up for yourself? You have nothing to lose but your chains!

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Trouble at the bottom

I've never managed to get a job in my local beauty waxing salon despite how hard I try.

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Re: Trouble at the bottom

Here's a helpful hint. When the interviewer told you it was £7 an hour, you weren't supposed to reply: "I can afford that."

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Anonymous Coward

Pussy, in that context, has nothing to do with vagina...

'Pussy', in this context, derives from the late middle English word 'pusillanimous'.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pussy, in that context, has nothing to do with vagina...

I don't think so. According to the OED, "pusillanimous" comes from Latin via French, while "pussy" meaning "weak, cowardly", first attested in 1842, and "pussy" meaning "vagina", first attested in 1699, both come from "puss" meaning "cat", which is Germanic.

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Bah!

"Makeup"? I get asked to wear a mask or a bag over my head by women I've never been introduced to.

This daft female needs to grow a pair.

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