back to article Calm down, dear: Woman claims sexism in tech journalism

In yet another baseless attack on tech journalism, a woman has complained about supposed sexism in the field. Holly Brockwell – editor of Gadgette, a virulently pro-woman and so therefore anti-man tech website – has written a blog post claiming to give insights into "what it's really like to be a female tech journalist." She …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You are all phallocrats

    And I am triggered.

    (Photo to follow.)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: You are all phallocrats

    I am triggered by triggers.

    I thus demand a Vive to create a safe space. Otherwise patriarchy.

  3. Anonymous C0ward

    Re: You are all phallocrats


  4. Tim Worstal

    I have to admit that

    My career, such as it was, in tech journalism was entirely untroubled by ejaculate covered images of myself. Clearly no popularity at all among gay men or girls who gush.

    However, there is a bit that I don't understand here. We don't have to get entirely all Simon Baron Cohen here but the tech industry is rather heavy on the "nerd" sector of the population. Nerd having two slightly different meanings at times, one "interested in tech and engineering" and one "not all that good at social interaction". The bit I'm not getting being why is there all this vocality about the sector "tech and engineering" being full of people "not very good at social interaction"?

    It's rather one of those things that goes with the territory, isn't it? Like complaining that man sheds don't come with lace doilies, or that the graduate students in French Romance poetry don't seem to be very good at maths.

    Admittedly, I do get easily confused. I recall a very pretty young Randian Objectivist insisting that one of the joys of the philosophy was that it allowed her, nay encouraged her, to have decent sex when- and where- ever. OK, fine by me, but why did she get very pissed off when I made a pass at her?

  5. Cari

    Re: I have to admit that

    Have you ever found the complaints that essentially boil down to "nerdy fields are full of nerds, eww!" often have an anti-neuroatypical/AS bent to them?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: I have to admit that

    > I recall a very pretty young Randian Objectivist insisting that one of the joys of the philosophy was that it allowed her, nay encouraged her, to have decent sex when- and where- ever. OK, fine by me, but why did she get very pissed off when I made a pass at her?

    What part of decent sex did you not understand, Mr Worstal?

  7. Tim Worstal

    Re: I have to admit that

    How would anyone know without trying it?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: I have to admit that

    > How would anyone know without trying it?

    Beats me. They just seem to have a well tuned sort of sixth sense for that. Don't ask how I know. :-(

  9. Philip Lewis

    Re: I have to admit that

    I trust you are doing well Tim, the quality of discourse here hasn't been the same since you wandered off

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where's the rest of the women to tell this this crazy, privilege and respect demanding, feminist (redundant, I know) to shut the hell up?

    Another "I have a vagina thus you will put me in an altar and listen to my every word as they came from the Popess" is just another sample that contributes for me to avoid women in tech even more. Just in case.

  11. Dave 126 Silver badge

    I think it might be difference in approach... generally, women benefit more from encouragement than men, so a women's forum that was judgemental would soon be empty. It does mean that a forum where, at least initially, 'all opinions are equally valid' can appear daft to people who consider themselves objective and problem-solving, but it does encourage more people to participate. It does mean that more views are heard, and really you can't judge the merits or otherwise of an idea until you have heard it. This mottos is required, because it very common for people with good ideas to doubt themselves. As Bertrand Russell said: "Morons are cocksure, the intelligent are full of doubt".

    Yes, men can benefit from encouragement too, but in so much of our society (I don't care whether 'tis nature or nurture here) men compete with each other, or value the sentiment "I'm shown myself this can work, so bugger the lot the of 'em I'm gonna do it anyway!". Sometimes this attitude is seen in successful women, too. Sometimes when a woman has experienced sexism early in her career it shows them that some people are just idiots and not to take any notice of them, and to instead to trust their own judgement. It is this trusting of one's own judgement that is often necessary to trail blaze. A lot of scientific advance has been made by rejecting - or at least questioning - the orthodoxy.

    This competitive streak can also produce good results.

    Okay, I'm massively over-generalising here, but that is inevitable. As a male on the edge of the Aspy spectrum, I value objectivity. And the lumping of individual females together as women (either by men, or indeed by women) has always seemed an odd approach, when its easier to know individual people.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When "it" happens to women it's sexism (thus men blaming). When the same things happens to men its just "how things are". Dunning-Kruger is not a justification to treasure each point of view and opinion. People, regardless of sex, are nasty. Nobody is entitled to be coddled and "nourished", whether they have a vagina or not, and for good reasons.

    Progress is made by unreasonable men.

  13. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  14. moiety

    To be fair, going to the trouble of calling up a decent-sized image; wanking over your monitor; taking a photo of THAT and then sending a photo of the result to the subject of the photo is fairly disturbed behaviour.

    Although technically, I think, the person was violating their own monitor. Not that that's an excuse; as the act of sending the image puts it into violation country.

    Can't say it's ever happened to me (nor have I eve been asked to get my moobs out at an exhibition but that might require some sort of planning permission). Hard to say how I'd react in the situation (like death threats...easy to dismiss until it's you getting them; then context becomes very, very important); but I like to think that I'd call them out -by name- and then take the piss until I was bored. Which might be some time, if I could find enough gullible manufacturers to send free samples of screen wipes out. Both the photo and being asked to get her tits out are genuine reasons for complaint though. Can't fault her for that. Most of the rest of her blog post, I filed under "the world is full of arsehats and if you take it all personally you'll go mental".

    I did disagree with her 2 paragraphs starting with:

    Speaking of which, as often the only woman in the room, it always falls to me to call out sexism. There can be 50 guys in the room, and not one of them will say a word.

    ...though. She hasn't thought that through. Skipping over the fact that IT tends to attract people who are better at machines than people. A person interrupting proceedings to speak out about sexism will be 1) Interrupting 2) Almost certainly be branded a white night or SJW by many of the rest of the 49 males (with varying degrees of jocularity/intent depending upon how mysogynistic the room actually is) and 3) Probably suspected by the lady herself of having an agenda...the act of speaking out would likely win you no friends in the room.

    Can't say I really liked the Reg article...the tone was too low-key in comparison to the YouTube commentators being satirised and it took a couple of passes to work out if it actually was satire. It really warranted an Alistair-Dabbs-after-a-case-of-redbull level of froth that was missing here. Plus making us think on the weekend is a bit out of order.

    Plus, who's your audience? Not sure what your demographic is; but being old-ish to me means that it is quite hard to take sexual harassment as seriously these days. People actively prevent me trying to take my shirt off. As a white, male, ex-pat I get to sample the twin delights of everything I say or do being an -ism to somebody whilst simultaneously getting to experience some genuine racism from the pointy end; all of which gives you some perspective. Our species is flawed and -to quote Avenue Q- Everyones A Little Bit Racist. Or sexist, or whatever-ist is under discussion. And that can't be fixed, largely. By the time you get crusty enough to read El Reg, you either know that; or are so entrenched in your beliefs that it'd take A Christmas Carol levels of intervention to sort out. So the article was largely preaching to the converted. Maybe it's an attempt to get younger readers in. Maybe I'm confused. Maybe it's time for a beer. Yeah, probably that last one.

  15. jake Silver badge

    @Kieren McCarthy

    Do you really hate the over-the-weekend ElReg moderation staff that much? What did they ever do to you? Inquiring minds & all that ;-)

  16. 2StrokeRider

    I needed this today. Nothing to smile about except waking up and then this...pure Reg satire in it's finest form! Well done!

  17. ZanzibarRastapopulous Silver badge

    How widespread?

    Is this really "sexism in tech" or just a small bunch of people with mental health problems?

    Presumably women with a high profile on the net in any area get this kind of abuse from the same sickos?

    Back in the day, these perverts, along with those chavs that have their hands down their pants all the time, would have been stuck in an asylum out of the way of normal folk.

  18. EvanPyle

    Oh el reg, what happened to you?

    This site used to be great, now it's just storage ads and clickbait.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > This site used to be great, now it's just storage ads and clickbait.

    You forgot DevOps

    (off to wash my mouth now)

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Although the majority of the sarcasm in this article is spot on, it's undeniably hypocritical of Holly to complain about being labelled a "female tech journalist" while editing Gadgette, a self-confessed "online magazine for women".

    I have no doubts that chauvinism is still an issue in the tech world, and it doesn't excuse acts such as the aforementioned ejaculation incident, but she's clearly not innocent of perpetuating sexism in tech journalism.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Sexism

    Is not the name of the website itself, "Gadgette", a feminization of gadget, itself an affront to a feminist?

  22. Garry Perez

    Shame Really

    As she looks quite a babe

  23. martinusher Silver badge

    Not here ..... please.....

    At first glance this might be some kind of end of week recreational feature or maybe something that was supposed to be for April 1st that got out early. However, as a long time Guardian reader (I started back when it was the Manchester Guardian) I don't think its much of a joke because the online version of the paper is awash with this kind of article. They're typically written by ladies in the Millenial age group and they seem to be trying to tell us that sexism is the reason why they haven't got one of those Google type jobs where you earn six figure salaries for lounging around all days issuing tweets of wisdom. (We've all seen the Intern -- that's what programming's like, isn't it?)

    In real life I have accomplished female relatives, I've got a daughter who's an engineer, a pilot and apparently capable of doing anything and I've worked with, and for, many outstanding women. You still have places, people and cultures that aren't quite up to speed (Texas, for example) but in the real world you get judged on your merits - its about professionalism. (Also, unfortunately, a lot of work involves hacking away at the coal face without someone dropping by every five minutes to tell you how wonderful you are.)

  24. nsld

    I blame the internet and peoples ego's

    Part of the problem is that the internet has a far broader reach than people seem to grasp, and consequently, if you reach more people the chances are some of them will be the types inclined to crack one off over the monitor and send you a picture.

    Add into that the "look at me" approach to social media and its little wonder that this kind of thing happens. Twitter is a great example, its like a global Weatherspoons packed full of random inebriates just shouting into the ether, if you post something on twitter it will get some form of reaction, not all of which will be positive. If you don't want negative responses then its probably best not to put your issues in the public domain.

    Apparently Holly has been fighting the NHS for years to be sterilised and has now succeeded, I know this, not because I know her but because she tweeted about one of the many news articles about it. So having shared with world and dog that she wants the taxpayer to cough for her tubal ligation (£1500 according to the soaraway Sun) she then complained that people messaged her to try and change her mind or objected to the NHS spending this money on something that's non essential and not life threatening. I hate to break this to people but if you stick your stuff up on the interwebs you can't complain if people respond in a way that you don't like, after all, if you wandered down the street and told people random personal stuff you would probably end up getting sectioned!

  25. Dieter Haussmann

    Well I for one am off to make a very sticky protest to this female chauvinist chick.

  26. Mycho Silver badge

    Thankyou so much for giving Goatse-senders new ideas. My eyebleach shares had been falling.

  27. This post has been deleted by its author

  28. x 7 Silver badge


    now her website has the effrontery to claim that blondes aren't thick

    the review is at

    the actual paper is at


    "Discrimination based on appearance has serious economic consequences. Women with blonde hair are often considered beautiful, but dumb, which is a potentially harmful stereotype since many employers seek intelligent workers. Using the NLSY79, a large nationally representative survey tracking young baby boomers, this research analyzes the IQ of white women and men according to hair color. Blonde women have a higher mean IQ than women with brown, red and black hair. Blondes are more likely classified as geniuses and less likely to have extremely low IQ than women with other hair colors, suggesting the dumb blonde stereotype is a myth."

    what a load of BS. We all know blondes are stupid!

  29. Old Handle

    Re: Blondes

    Interesting way to slip a study on phenotype and intelligence under the radar without being called racist,

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Educational video:

  31. Mikel

    Got another pic?

    Can't quite make out her qualifications from the framing and/or angle of this one. /sigh off to GIS...

    Edit: here we go.

  32. x 7 Silver badge

    Re: Got another pic?

    more pix here

    qualifications before surgery

    after surgery

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



  34. This post has been deleted by its author

  35. x 7 Silver badge

    "Great article, and as for the lady on the cover. I would. :)"

    is that before or after her brain reduction surgery? (see photos linked below)

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does anyone not know that the ladies actually think this way in the U.S and possibly in the YUK? There must be a government program where they round up a bunch of girls and tell them how brilliant they are and force business to hire them to not only write tech but also promote their tech inventions such as digital hair curlers.


  37. Old Handle

    No matter which way you spin it, it's the same tired old story. How about doing a balanced article next time.

  38. Carsten Holmskov

    Wow, I must say, after years of reading The Register, this gotta be the worst article, by far.

    Sure, I get it's satire and I don't take it as sexism, it's just incredibly poorly written, with lame, half-done jokes, vast exaggerations and neither the humor to be funny nor the sarcasm to be serious.

    Overall, what a disappointment from TheRegister, maybe insted of using very weak "satire" you should try to tackle the subject in a more real manner, or just leave it alone ?


  39. John Deeb

    Holly Brockwell does not deserve such supportive satire.

    Holly Brockwell's rants do not appear entirely sane (welcome to the hu-man race!) but this is why:

    1. Founded "Gadgette, the UK’s biggest tech site for women"

    - and "always a female tech journalist". Hmm yeah, founded a tech site for women. Doh!

    2. Freely disseminate strong gender based opinions on Twitter

    - and "flypaper for male rage”. Hmm yes. Provoke - receive, upset, receive upset.

    3. Collect critical comments and turn them into postcard to advertise site

    - and receive harassing/abusive types of photographs. Wow! Magic!

    4. "women don’t care about sound quality, only whether headphones will mess up their hair'.

    - is actually what many women DO still worry about in life outside tech world.

    5. " countless press releases about pink gadgets and sex toys, not to mention childrenswear"

    - More to do with keywords and ranking. Run a few other successful websites and find out.

    6. "I get more requests to talk to the media about trolling and harassment than I do about technology"

    - Perhaps because it seems to be her favorite topic (stirring up more drama for business)?

    7. "You’re not asked to panels about tech, but panels about women in tech"

    - Because that's how she profiles her self, you know "tech site for women"?

    8, "There can be 50 guys in the room, and not one of them will say a word"

    - Probably because they have no idea why this one is making such a fuzz about that thing?

    9. "it perpetuates the idea that if you invite a woman to your tech event, she’ll start causing trouble."

    - What perpetuates that experience might be: "it always falls to me to call out sexism".

    10, "I’ve been blacklisted by brands for calling out their sexism. I’ve been accused of making it up"

    - It's not impossible businesses ignore those who seem a bit confused and dramatic on the issue

    11, "They’re not used to women in “their” field and they preferred it when it was just the men"

    - No, most men don't like the hysterical, imaginary, overblown drama SOME women seem to desire to spread wherever they go in search for dragons to slay.

    That all said, there are a lot of lame, sexual insecure males out there who say a lot of stupid immature things on inappropriate moments. It's just that the blog entry "What it’s Really Like to be a Female Tech Journalist" does not address this convincingly and tells us more about the issues of the woman who tries to call out these issues. That's the uphill battle in a nut shell.


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