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Geeklist, Sexism, Redemption-- Oh My
March 22, 2012 5:20 PM   Subscribe

Last night, the founders of Geeklist and a female product manager got into a twitter fight about a video featuring their logo. A reporter for the Guardian Storified the whole fight and titled it "OH HAI SEXISM". Then, the entire internet got mad. The founders of geek list issued a "non-apology" apology. The founders Christian Sanz and Reuben Katz are now looking for redemption.

Earlier this week, the gentleman at Sqoot got into similar hot water (though not as severe).
posted by antheawatson (846 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
I originally learned about this on Hacker News. Of course, the thread there was deleted for an unspecified reason.
posted by grouse at 5:31 PM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is the sort of thing that makes me wish I used geeklist (or even understood what it is).

So I could tell them to take a hike.
posted by oddman at 5:35 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


I know people are going to say Shanley Kane was somehow unpleasant in how she approached with her complaint, but the truth is most complaints take forms we do not like. Responding with public silencing, implied (and genuine) threats to her job, suggestions that since they once bought her a drink she should have been somehow less offended, etc. are all classic techniques for shushing people, particularly women.

The weird thing is that I don't think there's, like, a course in silencing tactics. It's just like people come up with exactly the same tools every single time. It's like a bizarre improv game where the goal is to shut up someone you don't agree with, using the tools of privilege, and its done unconsciously and identically every single time.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:36 PM on March 22, 2012 [111 favorites]


Homeboys just learned a great lesson in Internet - self-righteous activism is one of the sweetest, most effective forms of trolling.
posted by falameufilho at 5:41 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Self-righteousness is a helluva drug.
posted by pts at 5:43 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Until "Twitter Fights" involve chains and baseball bats, the events aren't getting a lot of respect from me.
posted by HuronBob at 5:43 PM on March 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


Y'know, I don't like the video, but I really can't blame Sanz for getting his hackles up when someone he doesn't know pops onto his feed and starts making demands that he DO WHAT I SAY RIGHT FUCKING NOW. Judging from Sanz's initially-polite-but-increasingly-annoyed tone, I think this is neither sexist objectification nor silencing of an uppity female, but rather a perfectly sensible resistance to being handed rudely-worded demands by anonymous internet person.

Of course, sometimes random internet people are haughty, and demanding, and rude. What really gets me is this dipshit at the Guardian continuously interjecting "Why won't Sanz just do exactly what random internet person says, and no one will get hurt?"
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 5:43 PM on March 22, 2012 [34 favorites]


Better to have yelled and yelled than never have yelled at all.
posted by TwelveTwo at 5:44 PM on March 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


Boy, that dude's response is like privilege bingo. "Maybe if you were LESS BITCHY I would have listened to you."
posted by thehmsbeagle at 5:45 PM on March 22, 2012 [81 favorites]


I am really happy with the way Basho (well, their CTO at least) handled this.
posted by mkb at 5:45 PM on March 22, 2012 [25 favorites]


Is it sexist to ask whether actually reviewing the video is necessary to render an opinion? Or is that beside the point?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:46 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was only mildly annoyed with Sanz and Katz until they dragged her employer into it...Jesus guys, what a shitty move. Way to look like bullying assholes.
posted by emjaybee at 5:46 PM on March 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


Has anyone seen the video?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:46 PM on March 22, 2012


HOW DARE YOU USE NAUGHTY LANGUAGE?! WTF?!
posted by brundlefly at 5:47 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


can someone link the video? It's private on vimeo. anyone have an alt?
posted by rebent at 5:48 PM on March 22, 2012


Not just their CTO. Whoever runs their official Twitter account, and other employees there have voiced their support rather than sweep the event under the rug as embarrassing.
posted by mkb at 5:48 PM on March 22, 2012


Yeah, I thought about posting this here. The thread on Hacker News went pretty badly; I think we can handle it better.

Kind of a reminder that the ol' 'Why are you being HYSTERICAL about this? Calm down! Geez!' plus 'You know, you're only making it harder for yourself to keep a job... hint hint' one-two punch is still alive and kicking. Ugh.

In the interest of being positive about it, though, you have to say that Shanley's employer, Basho, is completely awesome for standing up and saying they support their employees having whatever opinions they choose without having their employer involved in those opinions. Very, very cool.

ThatFuzzyBastard: “Judging from Sanz's initially-polite-but-increasingly-annoyed tone, I think this is neither sexist objectification nor silencing of an uppity female, but rather a perfectly sensible resistance to being handed rudely-worded demands by anonymous internet person.”

As I said over on the Hacker News thread: this is a misunderstanding of what sexism is. Sexism has nothing to do with intentions. Sexism is about the impact our actions and words have on the world; sexism is when those words and actions do harm to the status of women as a whole in society. I can be a perfectly nice guy who is nice to women and all that and still let my girlfriend do all the housework; sorry, but that's sexism in action.

Cool Papa Bell: “Is it sexist to ask whether actually reviewing the video is necessary to render an opinion? Or is that beside the point?”

The second one. Completely, absolutely beside the point.
posted by koeselitz at 5:48 PM on March 22, 2012 [37 favorites]


I'm confused. The only link to the video I can find leads to this message ...

This is a private video.Do you have permission to watch this video? If you do please first log in to Vimeo to watch this video.

What am I missing here?
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 5:48 PM on March 22, 2012



Imagine how much better misunderstandings on Metafilter would be if Matt enforced a strict 140 character limit on posts.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 5:48 PM on March 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


We'd all just post haiku. You know that, Pogo.
posted by TwelveTwo at 5:49 PM on March 22, 2012 [13 favorites]


This may be white male privilege speaking, but I don't see how this was specifically about sexism. It could have been anybody complaining about anything in a public forum (drawing attention to something offensive) and being threatened for it.

Think about all the celebrities who tweet at huge companies to change some mildly offensive thing they're doing or another. For the most part, the big companies ignore it until they think it'll impact their bottom line. Is it weird to suggest that small companies do the same-- not engage with the odd twitterer? Engaging is really where it seems like they went wrong here.

Not saying that the original video isn't sexist. I haven't seen it. It probably is. And they SHOULD have taken it down. But people are more pissed about their response to criticism. I'm just saying no response is better than the response they gave.
posted by supercres at 5:51 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


There really needs to panel to discuss the issue. The video is by a female videographer. I'm not sure we everyone should be so quick to silence female artists.
Clearly a complex issue.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:52 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


The second one. Completely, absolutely beside the point.

Well, I see that. I absolutely do, as clearly as I see the initial interaction between these parties jumped several rails and wandered into all sorts of icky icky.

And yet...

I haven't seen the video. Perhaps it's not really bad? I can imagine "woman dances in T-shirt and panties" in several different ways.

But yes, regardless, Ms. Kane has an opinion and is certainly entitled to it, and should be allowed to express it without receiving personal insults.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:55 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


"The video that offended people on twitter".
posted by idiopath at 5:56 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah you can kind of completely ignore what the complaint is about and this ends up just being a shining example of How to Be a Douchebag. Like, seriously those guys are every person I've ever tried to make a point to that just didn't want to hear it and put up a wall of ignorance. Or pretty much what Bunny Ultramod said.
posted by palidor at 5:56 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


but I really can't blame Sanz for getting his hackles up when someone he doesn't know pops onto his feed and starts making demands

Except they do sort of know each other, and what she is saying is that she finds something offensive, and instead of acknowledging her words, his response is to tell her why she shouldn't be upset at them.

Because in 2012 if you are confronted with someone saying "hey, that video of a woman dancing around half-naked in a t-shirt with a logo on it offends me" the right answer is not "some women like that kind of thing." The right answer is not "oh, but that video was made by a woman, and by implication it can't be all that bad." The right answer is certainly not to make veiled threats about her employer. But you do all those things, all those wrong answers smell like sexism to me.
posted by ambrosia at 5:57 PM on March 22, 2012 [34 favorites]


Why didn't @shanley complain to @godaddy first? They're a far bigger player in the tech community with videos that are far more likely to offend her (assuming the part she's offended by is the woman dancing in a tight T-shirt and panties, which is pretty much GoDaddy's staple).
posted by rh at 5:58 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


supercres: “This may be white male privilege speaking, but I don't see how this was specifically about sexism.”

I totally agree with you that they would have been much better off not saying anything – I mean, seriously, if you don't want drive-by snark, don't be on Twitter – but I disagree with this bit. Like I said above, the sexism has nothing to do with the intention and everything to do with the historical precedent across every part of our entire society of following this exact pattern.

I mean: one town in Mississippi in 1950 where black people can't eat at a lunch counter is maybe one cranky racist running the restaurant, and maybe a town of people too lily-livered to do anything about it. Thousands of towns across the country where black people can't eat at lunch counters is a national and societal disgrace, a problem of very large proportions, and constitutes a problem of racism. This is like that: it's a thing that's been done over and over and over again to women, following this exact pattern. There is no sense in which this specific event is not part of that society-wide problem.

Cool Papa Bell: “I haven't seen the video. Perhaps it's not really bad? I can imagine 'woman dances in T-shirt and panties' in several different ways.”

Well. I saw it before it was taken down this AM. And... it looks like somebody posted it here, so there you go.
posted by koeselitz at 5:59 PM on March 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


I love how concerned they are about her cursing. On the Internet. On Twitter.

God help us all!
posted by jsturgill at 5:59 PM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


But people are more pissed about their response to criticism.

Yeah, the way to react to doing something stupid and thoughtless is to double down and go for douchebaggery too. Being PRO ≠ email to shut her down; being professional means listening to her substance and dealing with the complaint on it's merits.

Yo is objectively irritating, but that Sanz guy should never be allowed near a communications device for the rest of his life.
posted by bonehead at 5:59 PM on March 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is like exhibit infinity on how Twitter is a minefield for anyone somewhat in in the public eye. It's a definitely-public medium that a lot of times has sort of a circle-of-friends feel. I'd wager if she had posted her objection the same way in a blog post or something they would have taken some time to craft a response, issued a sort of blah statement, and quietly seen that the video got taken down.

I don't mean to defend their response or anything, but I think that a lot of times when confronted people's immediate reaction is to be defensive and that can lead you down a dangerous path of doubling down and hole-digging. If you take some time to think about it you can recognize when you're wrong and need to shut up.
posted by ghharr at 6:00 PM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


"The video that offended people on twitter"

Well, that video is just a pointless waste of time, so fuck these idiots that don't know how to deal with criticism.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:02 PM on March 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


Looking at these people who take 'offense' at things is kind of amusing when you're sitting in the part of world where people have actual problems.
posted by signal at 6:03 PM on March 22, 2012 [18 favorites]


Thanks, idiopath. Seems like cut and dried sexist BS to me. Not sure why these dipsticks thought it was worth defending, and so offensively. Not very bright, would be my guess.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 6:04 PM on March 22, 2012


Looking at these people who take 'offense' at things is kind of amusing when you're sitting in the part of world where people have actual problems.

Are you taking a page off their book now? Or my sarcasm detector is working badly?
posted by palbo at 6:05 PM on March 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


Signal, please don't do that. It's not a good way to approach this sort of thing.
posted by jsturgill at 6:06 PM on March 22, 2012 [33 favorites]


Old guy here. Could someone explain to me what the OH HAI meme means?
posted by jayder at 6:08 PM on March 22, 2012


OH HAI
posted by koeselitz at 6:09 PM on March 22, 2012


(Sorry, that's pretty ambiguous, jayder, but basically the answer is lolcats.)
posted by koeselitz at 6:10 PM on March 22, 2012


Looking at these people who take 'offense' at things is kind of amusing when you're sitting in the part of world where people have actual problems.

I am not sure whether you want us to flag this so it's deleted or retort, but all I can say is, if you don't care about this issue, there are probably threads that you do are about and won't shit in.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:11 PM on March 22, 2012 [22 favorites]


The implication is that if you have a family you cannot do anything sexist. This will come as a comfort to all the married pornographers in the world. (There are plenty. Many happily married.)
I made it this far before I pretty much disliked everyone involved including the author of the post. I'm not going to dance on the pinhead of whether or not it's possible to make porn without being sexist, but this analogy blows.

If you put your employer in you bio you are acting as a representative of them, even if you say, "Thoughts are my own and not those of @company." Want to spout stupid shit on the internet, create an account that has nothing to do with your company and have at it. This is like when people put in, "RTs are not an endorsement." Then what the fuck are they? You obviously thought enough of the original tweet to hope your followers would find value in it.

It's a bit hard to judge this fight without being able to see the actual video. I spend a lot of time engaging brands. A lot of time. I even occasional use swearwords when writing them. For the scientists in the crowd: which do you think gets a more consistently positive response. The one with swearwords or the one without?

If she had tweeted, "I'm one of your customers, would love to see this go away. Thanks!" we might have a different story. You may also have these guys not viewing her as either a customer or potential customer. I find a lot of shit bigoted, but if I am not a customer I am not sure why the person would care. "Yo, Slim Shady, I find your shit offensive and sexist so won't buy it." They may even have thought they were debating the issue with her.

In the end this is a exercise in frustration, since I can't see how egregious the video was. It could be a horrible sack and the guys should be pelted with cat turds for not going after the person that made it for damaging the brand.

I believe in anger. I get angry all the time. I think sometimes anger is merited. I get angry at people who tolerate stupidity. But without the video I have no way of deciding.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:16 PM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


The video is linked above, cjorgensen.
posted by craichead at 6:19 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


You realize their complaint wasn't just that there was a curse word? It was that she had addressed them in a public forum, rather than emailing them directly -- which she addressed by pointing out that the video was public, and therefor earned a public response, which they then ignored. And that she had insulted them, which she hadn't, and when she demanded to know where she had done so, they claimed that she had deleted her tweets. Oh, and that they had bought her drinks, and so how could she do this? AND that she had her employers name on the page, and wouldn't it be a shame if this got back to her employer, such as by them @'ing them, which they did.

You've cherry picked the argument so it sounds as though their response was a reasonable reaction to the appalling spectacle of a curse word. It isn't. They were throwing up EVERY SINGLE THING they could think of to shut her up. Based on this, it's fair to suppose that her tone wasn't the problem, it's that she raised the issue at all.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:21 PM on March 22, 2012 [21 favorites]


"People who complain about sexism are just trying to SILENCE WOMEN!"

ha, I ain't even going to argue. I will let the fact that the video is the work of a female artist stand by itself. The guys should have handled it better, I will admit that, but this seems to be part of someone's portfolio, I'm sure she doesn't need her work attacked and called "fucking gross" on the internet.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:21 PM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm sure she doesn't need her work attacked and called "fucking gross" on the internet.

Being a woman doesn't protect you from online criticism. And being a woman doesn't mean that you're incapable of creating work that reinforces sexism.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:23 PM on March 22, 2012 [53 favorites]


Hold the phone. This is a silly argument that happened on Twitter, for god's sake. Listen, isn't there something more pertinent that should be drawing our feminist ire?
posted by deathpanels at 6:23 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Twitter: YouTube comments you can subscribe to, in real time.
posted by Xoebe at 6:23 PM on March 22, 2012 [28 favorites]


Also if you're including this video in your portfolio as something to promote yourself you probably don't care if someone calls your work "fucking gross" on the Internet. I mean, I don't think you're not going to be working on a film with Scorsese any time soon. Sorry.
posted by palidor at 6:26 PM on March 22, 2012


The guys should have handled it better, I will admit that, but this seems to be part of someone's portfolio, I'm sure she doesn't need her work attacked and called "fucking gross" on the internet.

Yeah, I mean, yay for lady videographers busting up glass ceilings, I am down with this, but getting ahead by being sexist doesn't make you feminist, it makes you sexist. And exempting women artists from the standards we hold a progressive culture to on the basis that they need special treatment is also, you know, a little sexist?

I mean, it's not as much of a slam dunk as some other sexist stuff, but yo, it is indeed sexist.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 6:26 PM on March 22, 2012 [14 favorites]


I will let the fact that the video is the work of a female artist stand by itself.

Minorities in media often have to pick between portraying themselves and their group in problematic ways, and being in the media at all, let alone successful. It sucks, but it's their choice, and a choice people who aren't minorities don't ever have to think about. It doesn't mean they can't be criticized for it, but it should be in the larger context of that gave them that stupid choice in the first place.
posted by Garm at 6:29 PM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


I mean, I don't think you're not going to be working on a film with Scorsese any time soon. Sorry.

Oh, what an excellent point! The thing is, being sexist tends not to hurt people, especially men, and in fact often helps their careers for a long time, especially in entertainment and media. See for example Ricky Gervais.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 6:30 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


(So which is a bigger web performance killer, cloudfront or twitter? Ugh.)

Yeah, I hope this is held up as an example of what NOT to do.
posted by maxwelton at 6:33 PM on March 22, 2012


I already liked Basho (Shanley Kane's employer), because they make very clever, useful things. After seeing Justin Sheehy's (Basho's CTO) tweet about this, I love them.
posted by urschrei at 6:35 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


And being a woman doesn't mean that you're incapable of creating work that reinforces sexism.

Are we here really entitled to judge what the content of her work should be?

Like I said, there needs to be so thought put into this. I'm not 100% sure the world needs a bunch of intenet guys decrying her work as sexist.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:36 PM on March 22, 2012


Are we here really entitled to judge what the content of her work should be?

Um, sure? Why not?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:38 PM on March 22, 2012 [8 favorites]


Are we here really entitled to judge what the content of her work should be?

What? Women are "allowed" to call out another woman's work as sexist. We might sympathize with her conundrum, but sexism is sexism. See: Sarah Palin, blah blah &c.

Are you a guy? I'm confused. Are you assuming everyone talking about this is a guy?
posted by stoneandstar at 6:39 PM on March 22, 2012 [16 favorites]


Are we here really entitled to judge what the content of her work should be?
I'm not sure one really needs a credential in order to judge things. I judge things all the time, and I bet you do, too. People are entitled to make stuff. Other people are entitled to say they're good or bad or cool or boring or sexist or whatever they think them to be.
posted by craichead at 6:40 PM on March 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


Can I have the 10 minutes of reading that sad piece of work back now? Every aspect of the story is about a nerd seeking attention. From Kane, to the two fellows, to the filmer, to the chap who brought it all together.

This is not about sexism or feminist protest. If you watch the video, it's the same thing as you'll see a thousand times over. Sex sells. And that goes for women or men. But this isn't about sex. Kane took offense and expressed it in a stupid way. The response was stupid. She tried to construe it as sexist, when it was just stupidity. And then some dude writes a crap article about it.

In fact, Kane's actually hurting the feminist cause by conflating sexism with powerism. Yes, this entire experience is a waste of time, so I'll make up a word. This has nothing to do with intimidation because of her gender. In fact, it's like watching chimpmunks jousting with tiny lances.

See, now I'm dimishing the image of Kane and the fellows by comparing all of them to tiny rodents with spears, battling for the amusement of The Humans.

Stupid. They should all be embarrased. Purgatory hath no wrath -- well, kinda not, because that's not really our vibe man, maybe no slapping… yeah slapping. I saw it on a lolcat once. Purgatory hath no slapping like a nerd with a microphone.
posted by nickrussell at 6:41 PM on March 22, 2012 [34 favorites]


Every aspect of the story is about a nerd seeking attention. From Kane, to the two fellows, to the filmer, to the chap who brought it all together.

Or it's about somebody who genuinely upset about thing, and perhaps your judgment is somehow impaired by a vague idea that nerds shouldn't be taken seriously because they are somehow desperate for attention.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:42 PM on March 22, 2012 [11 favorites]


Like I said, there needs to be so thought put into this. I'm not 100% sure the world needs a bunch of intenet guys decrying her work as sexist.

Shanley Kane addressed this pretty well in her tweets, I think: The video was posted publicly; that opened it to public criticism. I think it's good to talk about this stuff, myself, it gets us all sharpening our observational muscles and thinking about ways women can be used as brand representatives that aren't sexist and as such are probably more original than the stuff that's out there now.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 6:43 PM on March 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


ThatFuzzyBastard: “Judging from Sanz's initially-polite-but-increasingly-annoyed tone, I think this is neither sexist objectification nor silencing of an uppity female, but rather a perfectly sensible resistance to being handed rudely-worded demands by anonymous internet person.”

As I said over on the Hacker News thread: this is a misunderstanding of what sexism is. Sexism has nothing to do with intentions. Sexism is about the impact our actions and words have on the world; sexism is when those words and actions do harm to the status of women as a whole in society. I can be a perfectly nice guy who is nice to women and all that and still let my girlfriend do all the housework; sorry, but that's sexism in action.


Sure. That would be. But Sanz wasn't making his girlfriend do housework; he was expressing some reluctance to order a female director to take down a video she made. Women acting like the world owes them obedience by virtue of their ladyparts is also sexism in action, albeit of a different sort.

Being a woman doesn't protect you from online criticism. And being a woman doesn't mean that you're incapable of creating work that reinforces sexism.


Well, sure. And being a woman also doesn't mean you can't be a privileged asshole who thinks everyone should drop what they're doing and obey you any time you complain.

That's what really gets me about her behavior here---this assumption that because she's offended, the normal rules of polite social behavior don't apply to her. If Sanz had said "Your post is fucking inconsiderate. Take it down" she would have raged about being silenced, but when she tells him to take down a (female) friend's video on her say-so, with a little swearing just to make sure she's taken seriously, she expects him to ask how high he should jump. You come into someone's house and start rudely issuing orders, you deserve to be flipped the bird.

(anyone who responds with "Well what if someone's in his house BEATING HIS WIFE and you tell him to STOP!" will be laughed at)
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 6:46 PM on March 22, 2012 [27 favorites]


Oh man, that Hacker News article really boils down everything I hate about developers:
Nope. They're paid for it, there is nothing illegal about it and I fail to see anything wrong with targeting perceived likes of a segment of the population to move product. In fact, I believe that's what advertising is. I see no difference between a woman in a bikini or a celebrity in an ad.
Sigh.. developer, developers, developers...

No where else will you find a greater concentration of sexually frustrated, hubristic, know-it-alls than in a random technology startup.
posted by deathpanels at 6:46 PM on March 22, 2012 [26 favorites]


I guess that I'm not convinced that the video "is sexist," exactly, but I do think that when that particular aesthetic is associated with tech stuff, it gives the impression that tech stuff is for straight guys. And since there's already a perception that tech stuff is for straight guys, that's probably not a great message to send.
posted by craichead at 6:46 PM on March 22, 2012 [8 favorites]


The video was posted publicly; that opened it to public criticism.

She wasn't criticizing. Criticizing would be writing a blog post saying "I am offended by this video and here's why." She was issuing orders (and not even issuing them to the right person!).
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 6:47 PM on March 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


In fact, Kane's actually hurting the feminist cause

OH GUYS OH GUYS NOW I HAVE A HARD WAY AND TONIGHT'S ADD A ZERO NIGHT.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 6:47 PM on March 22, 2012 [13 favorites]


being a woman also doesn't mean you can't be a privileged asshole who thinks everyone should drop what they're doing and obey you any time you complain.

That demand was never made.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:48 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why didn't @shanley complain to @godaddy first? They're a far bigger player in the tech community with videos that are far more likely to offend her (assuming the part she's offended by is the woman dancing in a tight T-shirt and panties, which is pretty much GoDaddy's staple).

Why is it at all relevant that there are other entities that are yet worse?
posted by kenko at 6:50 PM on March 22, 2012 [11 favorites]


Or it's about somebody who genuinely upset about thing..

You mean to tell me someone's genuinely upset about something on the internet!!!!

Well, this changes everything! I forgot you have the right to be an entitled jerk if you're really genuinely upset about something...
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 6:54 PM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


I forgot you have the right to be an entitled jerk if you're really genuinely upset about something...

Are you talking about the Geeklist guys? If not, I am not sure what you mean by "entitled."
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:55 PM on March 22, 2012


Are we here really entitled to judge what the content of her work should be?

Yep. I can judge whatever I want, for whatever reason. What's to stop me?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:55 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


That demand was never made.

She repeatedly told them to 'take it down' - so it kinda was.

This is simply a case of someone yelling on twitter and the people being yelled at handling it badly. The whole thing should have been conducted through email where both parties could have had time to construct sensible replies to each other.

I would not expect to be taken seriously if I asked for something to be changed because it was 'fucking gross'. This is about appropriate interaction - not sexism.
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 6:56 PM on March 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


I love the idea that I can hire a woman to make a video and thereby be inoculated from charges that the video is sexist.
posted by kenko at 6:59 PM on March 22, 2012 [11 favorites]


Sorry, or at least thereby render the whole thing a complex issue.
posted by kenko at 7:00 PM on March 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


Why didn't @shanley complain to @godaddy first? They're a far bigger player in the tech community with videos that are far more likely to offend her (assuming the part she's offended by is the woman dancing in a tight T-shirt and panties, which is pretty much GoDaddy's staple).

This is like claiming that a a murder who kills one person is not worth condemning because serial killers kill several people.

Both are still bad, even if the latter is worse. It's not a zero sum game. You can simultaneously hate TWO things!
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:00 PM on March 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


Are you talking about the Geeklist guys?

Both of them kind of suck, but her attitude (Kane) was pretty shitty from the get go.
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 7:00 PM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


She repeatedly told them to 'take it down' - so it kinda was.

"Please take it down."

"You should try to get it removed because it's representing YOUR BRAND"

That's literally it. The first is a request, the second is a recommendation based on the fact that the brand might be seen as sexism. I am going to go ahead and assume that you just misread the piece, but I would ask that you reread it so we can discuss the same thing, rather than an imaginary demand that you think you read.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:01 PM on March 22, 2012 [18 favorites]


"Please take it down."

Wow, when you put it like that it seems to reasonable. Oh wait, what was the full quote again -

@csanz @rekatz please take it down, it's fucking gross.

I know I'm more likely to do something a stranger asks me when they end their request with 'it's fucking gross'.
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 7:03 PM on March 22, 2012 [12 favorites]


It still doesn't turn it into a "drop everything and do what I say right now."

She has been misrepresented throughout this thread. It's anther fucking silencing tactic, and I would ask that we stop it.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:05 PM on March 22, 2012 [19 favorites]


Bunny, I think you're being deceptive there. Don't you think here's a difference between
"Please take it down."
and
please take it down, it's fucking gross.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:05 PM on March 22, 2012 [15 favorites]


Fine, I will accept that people think they are entitled to judge a woman's work for sexist content. I will also accept people think it is ok to demand that part of her portfolio be taken down.

I love the idea that I can hire a woman to make a video and thereby be inoculated from charges that the video is sexist.

Except this was her video on her Vimeo account.

Guys, I'm not even saying it isn't sexist, I will withhold judgement on that. I am just worried that a peice of her work is going to get "unpublished"
posted by Ad hominem at 7:06 PM on March 22, 2012


Yes. The first is a disconnected request. The second is a request with an explanation. But OH MY GOD she used a curse word to express her dissatisfaction with sexism.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:07 PM on March 22, 2012 [8 favorites]


I can be a perfectly nice guy who is nice to women and all that and still let my girlfriend do all the housework; sorry, but that's sexism in action.

It's not sexist unless the expectation is based on gender.
posted by eddydamascene at 7:09 PM on March 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


But OH MY GOD she used a curse word to express her dissatisfaction with sexism.

You're really gonna get all angry at folks for pointing out the second half of the quote when you said the first was literally it?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:10 PM on March 22, 2012 [9 favorites]


Won't anyone think of the brands!?!

THE BRANDS!!!
posted by anthill at 7:10 PM on March 22, 2012 [12 favorites]


But OH MY GOD she used a curse word to express her dissatisfaction with sexism.

No one gives a shit that she said 'fucking', stop acting like we're all a bunch of prudes. She was acting rude and fighty.
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 7:11 PM on March 22, 2012 [11 favorites]


Ok, I'll bite. I don't get why calling something sexist is OMG teh censorship!, but calling something rude and fighty is not.
posted by craichead at 7:14 PM on March 22, 2012 [16 favorites]


You're really gonna get all angry at folks for pointing out the second half of the quote when you said the first was literally it?

Yes. This whole thread is making me mad. Because the same knee jerk reaction to somebody calling somebody else on privilege is happening here, and it's exhausting.

Listen, the things we need to hear rarely comes in the way we want to hear it. It often comes forcibly. If we have misbehaved, it probably will come from somebody who is angry. But we're getting fixated on her tone here, and discussion of tone is historically a silencing tactic. It's not a question of how she expressed herself, but instead what she said, and by focusing on how she said it, we can safely ignore what she said.

She was acting rude and fighty.

Oh she was expressing herself forcefully and clearly. Depends on your perspective. And, again, misses the point.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:14 PM on March 22, 2012 [22 favorites]


She was acting rude and fighty.

What besides the "fucking gross" comment was at all rude or fighty?

Also she didn't "complain" to GoDaddy and did complain to Geeklist presumably because she kind of knows these guys and geeklist is something she's active in and uses, I would guess. Probably also why she said "fucking gross" instead of being more formal about her complaint. Because she knows and is familiar with them.

I mean, I don't understand that argument at all. If I were like, hmm, tonight I shall go on social media and find a target I find sexist, only the most sexist target will do...I mean that's a full time, 24/7 job.
posted by sweetkid at 7:15 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just read the OH HAI article and I think Shanley Kane was totally professional the whole way through. She used twitter for exactly what it's best used for: a way to interact directly, publicly, and in real time with the major figures in your industry or sphere of influence. Didn't seem any more vulgar than what you'd probably hear in the offices of all concerned.

She basically lobbed a PR softball at these guys and they crapped their pants, and then started throwing the crap. Like others have said above it's kind of shocking to see people reading from these old, outdated scripts, but it's also amusing, especially when the culture at large calls them on it.
posted by chaff at 7:16 PM on March 22, 2012 [56 favorites]


Yes. This whole thread is making me mad. Because the same knee jerk reaction to somebody calling somebody else on privilege is happening here, and it's exhausting.

That's fine and all but you need to be careful when posting angry because it makes you mistake prone in your posts and if you direct your anger at people for just correcting your mistake the whole thing gets muddled. Been there, trust me.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:18 PM on March 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


Sure, Shanely might have been shouty or whatever, but these guys identified themselves as grade 'A' douchebags when they dragged her employer into it, and when Basho backed her up, they proceeded to try to threaten Basho.

I don't why I care about this, except, after spending half a decade or more in the tech scene, I am just fucking sick and tired of pompous, sanctimonious Type-A "darlings" like these guys.

Another the other hand, genuine or not, they have apologized, there's that. The moral of the story: if people are angry, try to listen, and, if possible, try to fix the problem.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:20 PM on March 22, 2012 [10 favorites]


I do not wish to have a discussion with you about how I express my anger in this thread. Let's stick to the topic, and if you wish to address me personally, memail me.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:20 PM on March 22, 2012 [8 favorites]


Signal, please don't do that. It's not a good way to approach this sort of thing.

Basically, whenever I read/see people get all worked about about being 'offended' by this or that, it just seems sooooo first world problem-ish. Seriously, some video on the internet is your biggest problem?
posted by signal at 7:21 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bunny - Maybe calm the fuck down a bit before posting.

or

Maybe calm down a bit before posting. See the difference?

Chaff- Wait - So by telling them it to take it down because it was 'fucking gross' she acted professionally? So next time I disagree with my boss I'll just say 'Fuck No!'

Sure that'll get me what I want. She went out on the attack CAPS AND ALL and was surprised when the guys handled it badly. There is a way to handle things correctly.
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 7:22 PM on March 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


Don't you think here's a difference between

"Please take it down."

and

please take it down, it's fucking gross.


yes, the second one gives a reason for the request, making it seem less peremptory.
posted by kenko at 7:24 PM on March 22, 2012 [9 favorites]


So next time I disagree with my boss I'll just say 'Fuck No!'

No, you only get to do that if you're genuinely upset.
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 7:24 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't think "calm the fuck down" is the same at all.
posted by kenko at 7:24 PM on March 22, 2012


Maybe calm the fuck down a bit before posting.

Calmer than you are, dude. Calmer than you are.

Oh, wait. I was capable of responding to that with a Lebowski quote, instead of totally freaking out, contacting your employer, and claiming you insulted me.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:24 PM on March 22, 2012 [30 favorites]


All I could see during the dancing girl video was the word Geeklust gyrating about. And the insistant dubstep throbbing of fake rnb man voice loop I can stop can't stop can't stop can't stop. Something something symbolism.
posted by kaspen at 7:27 PM on March 22, 2012


To those defending Geeklist here:

Why do all of your posts have to be so RUDE and SHRILL and HYSTERICAL and COMBATIVE? Did you really have to INSULT all the other posters here in a PUBLIC FORUM? I mean, you could have taken it to MeMail. They have FAMILIES, you know. I certainly hope the kind of posts you make here never get back to your EMPLOYER.

Don't feel I addressed any of your points substantively? Why ever not?
posted by kyrademon at 7:28 PM on March 22, 2012 [72 favorites]


Basically, whenever I read/see people get all worked about about being 'offended' by this or that, it just seems sooooo first world problem-ish. Seriously, some video on the internet is your biggest problem?

Nobody said it was their biggest problem; however, sexism is definitely a problem in our society and needs to be addressed. Just because it doesn't involve starving children doesn't mean it's worth addressing (and the "bigger problems" are really beside the point, often used as a tactic to quiet minorities and others from speaking out.)
posted by too bad you're not me at 7:28 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Seriously, some video on the internet is your biggest problem?

I haven't seen anyone say that it is their biggest problem. Yes, it is a problem.
posted by grouse at 7:29 PM on March 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


Offensiveness or inoffensiveness of the video aside, how on earth is "immediately take down this thing that offends me" not a statement of privilege? Can we please just stop using that word already? It's almost always meaningless.
posted by downing street memo at 7:30 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


how on earth is "immediately take down this thing that offends me" not a statement of privilege?

Again, when and where was this said?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:31 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can't now because you deleted all the tweets where you mentioned sexist. Nice

Now, if you doubted these guys were dirtbags, that bit of outright lying should nail it.
posted by ignignokt at 7:33 PM on March 22, 2012 [8 favorites]


Again, when and where was this said?

In the first twitter post. I am going to go ahead and assume that you just misread the piece, but I would ask that you reread it so we can discuss the same thing.
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 7:33 PM on March 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


For the record, I'm not defending geeklist. Those guys are clearly jackasses. I also don't think Kane was out of line, she doesn't owe those guys anything.I just don't think she is in the right demanding that the video be taken down when it became clear that it was not the property of geeklist. Now they are going to use the pressure of their "brand" to demand that a third party unpunish their work.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:33 PM on March 22, 2012 [8 favorites]


In the first twitter post.

It literally was not said in the first quote. But, wow, you zinged me.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:34 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Privilege" is obvious and meaningless when both parties in an argument are privileged. It's not worth mentioning but in progressive discussion spaces it has this voodoo-like power that ultimately ends up shutting down debate.
posted by downing street memo at 7:34 PM on March 22, 2012 [13 favorites]


Ladies, ladies, if you would just calm down and stop being so shouty, I would sit here and listen to your politely-worded complaints in a benevolent way and really think them over for merit. That's all you have to do. Why can't you just be cool?
posted by thehmsbeagle at 7:35 PM on March 22, 2012 [49 favorites]


Does this mean I can't wear panties on the internet either?
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:37 PM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


I would have preferred the tweets in a consecutive stamp, without the commentary. I should think that if the content of the conversation is as bad as advertised, it would be better to trust the reader to come to that conclusion on their own. But, I suppose, snark is snark.

as to the conversation itself, this is why I don't have a twitter account, because sometimes I say stupid things without thinking, too
posted by davejay at 7:40 PM on March 22, 2012


Er, stack, not stamp. Had the word timestamp in my head. See? there's one of those stupid things I say.
posted by davejay at 7:40 PM on March 22, 2012


HOW DARE YOU SAY STAMP I HAVE A FAMILY.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:41 PM on March 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


Ladies, ladies, if you would just calm down and stop being so shouty, I would sit here and listen to your politely-worded complaints in a benevolent way and really think them over for merit. That's all you have to do. Why can't you just be cool?

This is my favorite gender-discussion trope by far.
posted by downing street memo at 7:42 PM on March 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


I said upthread that I thought Shanely was sort of shouty. To clarify, I don't think that's a bad thing. It's not even unusual for people to be shouty on the internet. What's unusual is not knowing how to diffuse a shouty situation.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:42 PM on March 22, 2012


It is entirely possible to find the Geeklist video sexist, Kane's tweets rude, and Sanz's & Katz's response unbecoming all at once.
posted by fatehunter at 7:45 PM on March 22, 2012 [32 favorites]


Guys guys guys, hold on. This stuff about the cursing is totally relevant and in no way concern trolling. No major player in the tech industry ever gets away with using four-letter words to add flavor or emphasis to their writings.

Not Zed Shaw.

Not Steve Yegge.

Not Jeff Atwood.

Not Mike Monteiro, either.

It's as plain as the nose on your elbow: programming culture is fundamentally opposed to freedom of expression—at least when it comes at the expense of politeness. That's why there are more PCs than Macs. Tech people (always fans of wordplay) like being constantly reminded that political correctness is the most important of virtues. For your average programmer, actual factual correctness isn't even in the top fifty virtues!

Especially not when it comes to recognized havens of intellectual discussion such as Twitter or HN.

It's frankly stunning that she would misunderstand these most basic principles of internet etiquette. Has she been living under a rock for the past forever?
posted by jsturgill at 7:46 PM on March 22, 2012 [11 favorites]


I don't think the sarcasm in this thread is really helping to move the dialogue forwards.
posted by smoke at 7:49 PM on March 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


Wow, this thread is fucking gross.
posted by stoneandstar at 7:50 PM on March 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


Organized Sports are stupid.
posted by ovvl at 7:52 PM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't think the sarcasm in this thread is really helping to move the dialogue forwards.

I genuinely can't tell whether that's meant sarcastically or not.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:58 PM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh man that Christian Sanz guy is megadouche.
@shanley @csanz email. Not twitter Shanley. You're representing a brand too, @basho so take it offline.
Basically saying "wah, you're being mean to me, I'm going to call your boss!" like a damn second grader tattle tale.

Anyway, this stupid drama epitomizes one of the things that really annoys me about twitter. Twitter drama is always over the most meaningless nonsense imaginable.

It's also what annoys me about the tech "scene" which seems to be full of whiny babies constantly coming up with completely pointless 'products' that only people who spend 90% of their time on the new social network du jure (i.e. them) would ever use. I guess this Riak thing by "@basho" is a database, which is I guess a little more interesting then yet another social waste of time.
posted by delmoi at 7:58 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


how on earth is "immediately take down this thing that offends me" not a statement of privilege?

Just because someone is impassioned or aggrieved enough to speak out about some public thing that denigrates a group they belong to does not mean they are speaking from a position of power or privilege. It often indicates the opposite.

"Privilege" is obvious and meaningless when both parties in an argument are privileged.

Men and women are not equally privileged.
posted by chaff at 7:59 PM on March 22, 2012 [15 favorites]


(Wow, one of the 'related posts' is this one from like 12 years ago)
posted by delmoi at 8:00 PM on March 22, 2012


Also, just enchanted and mystified about how the gender of the video's director somehow became a salient point in this conversation, just magical.
posted by chaff at 8:02 PM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Twitter is weird. It has a skewing effect in that it can make people more resonant, sometimes to their benefit and sometimes to their detriment. In Kane's case it redounded to her benefit--people picked up what she had to say and looked at the available evidence and agreed with it. For these two guys, it made them look awful. They really should have taken their own advice and gone to email immediately. This is the problem with twitter. If you say the wrong thing, everyone else can just amplify you and it can come back on you 1000 fold.

The thing is for every 1 person who meaningfully engages on twitter, there are 5 who will uncritically repeat the loudest thing someone has to say and it can become really problematic, because it makes them seem more powerful than they are.

A few weeks ago, my job was viciously attacked on twitter by someone calling us fuckwits, making false and potentially libelous claims against one of my colleagues, etc. It was made all the more frustrating by this person's followers, who were just retweeting whatever the person said without any qualification or asking questions. We considered a number of options, up to and including an official tweeted response. In the end, we opted for a public response on our website that was respectful, professional and addressed every one of this person's claims. We then contacted some of this person's followers who had retweeted the offending tweets and pointed them to it. By doing so, I think we squashed something that could have become an intractable and embarrassing public fight.

Granted, I thought my workplace was in the right, and I think these dudes were definitely in the wrong, but if you want to talk about who was being professional, well companies get criticized all the time. Big companies by thousands of people. Everyday. You need to show some restraint and maturity when dealing with your critics, or else you look like a dumbass. These guys look like dumbasses on every level. They make their company look ridiculous, they look bad as people, and they definitely look like they have a piss poor understanding of the power of a platform like twitter.

And for everyone complaining about how this is a dumb thing to even be upset about, you sound dumb as fuck. I can get mad about 1000 things every day and still find time to be mad at this. Shame your brains can't hold more than one thought at a time.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:02 PM on March 22, 2012 [16 favorites]


Wow, one of the 'related posts' is this one from like 12 years ago)

Damn, I sometimes wonder what happened to Jon Katz. I even read his book on Geeks.

Wonder what he would have made of all this.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:04 PM on March 22, 2012


Also, just enchanted and mystified about how the gender of the video's director somehow became a salient point in this conversation, just magical.

Well you have to admit that it is fucked up that some dudes trying to shut up a woman in Twitter results in a female director having to remove her video from vimeo because it has their logo in it.

Fuck it, nobody looks good in this story.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:11 PM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's not fucked up when something with no artistic value whatsoever, regardless of who made it, goes away.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:13 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


that poor woman in the video can't afford trousers. We should all club together to buy her some.
posted by jb at 8:17 PM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


what if we straight up abolished gender

just got our best scientists together and gave people both sets and like averaged bodies

it can be done, we have the science, all we need is a test market
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:20 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


signal: “Basically, whenever I read/see people get all worked about about being 'offended' by this or that, it just seems sooooo first world problem-ish. Seriously, some video on the internet is your biggest problem?”

Wait – do you really believe that nobody in the first world actually has problems? And of all the apparent non-problems a person in the first world can have, do you really think having someone threaten to get you fired from your job so you don't have any income is the least problematic?

Fidel Cashflow: “I know I'm more likely to do something a stranger asks me when they end their request with 'it's fucking gross'.”

But the video is fucking gross. What's wrong with saying that a fucking gross thing is fucking gross? This is kind of how Twitter works. People say what they think.

Like Shanley said, the video was fucking gross, and they put it in public with their name on it. If you put a fucking gross thing out there in public with your name on it, you shouldn't be shocked or appalled when someone says that it's fucking gross and you should take it down.
posted by koeselitz at 8:23 PM on March 22, 2012 [9 favorites]


what if we straight up abolished gender

Then we would be both misandrist and misogynist at the same time.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:24 PM on March 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


Fuck it, nobody looks good in this story.

Really? Honest to God, I thought Kane and Basho came off smelling like roses here. I think Kane was more measured than her opponents deserved.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 8:24 PM on March 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


And, also, "Sure, it's sexist, but everyone behaved badly," is another way to not talk about sexism. You know?
posted by Snarl Furillo at 8:30 PM on March 22, 2012 [18 favorites]


The video is linked above, cjorgensen.

It told me it was private and I have to be a member of vimeo to see it.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:31 PM on March 22, 2012


Really? Honest to God, I thought Kane and Basho came off smelling like roses here. I think Kane was more measured than her opponents deserved.

ok agreed. Basho did good. Kane, when confronted with sheer idiocy kept her shit together. I wish she she had contacted Gemma but Those geeklist guys deserved a smackdown.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:32 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fuck these guys at Geeklist forever.

Also fuck about 10% of you guys forever.

Which 10% is left as an exercise for the reader.
posted by edheil at 8:33 PM on March 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


But the video is fucking gross. What's wrong with saying that a fucking gross thing is fucking gross? This is kind of how Twitter works. People say what they think.

Ya know, what is or isn't 'fucking gross' is really a subjective thing.
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 8:34 PM on March 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


what a bunch of noise.
posted by whorl at 8:35 PM on March 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


@furiousxgeorge

do it, flip the switch, press it

a gigantic crater in the earth over which the disrupted jetstream whirls, sooty with the ashes of the fucks i once gave
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:36 PM on March 22, 2012 [7 favorites]



It's not fucked up when something with no artistic value whatsoever, regardless of who made it, goes away.

I agree. But who is to judge ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:37 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


craichead: “The video is linked above, cjorgensen.”

cjorgensen: “It told me it was private and I have to be a member of vimeo to see it.”

No, idiopath linked to it. It's on Youtube, and it's public. Here. Grainy, but you get the doucheyness.
posted by koeselitz at 8:39 PM on March 22, 2012


Fidel Cashflow: “Ya know, what is or isn't 'fucking gross' is really a subjective thing.”

I don't think so. Sexism is fucking gross.
posted by koeselitz at 8:41 PM on March 22, 2012 [9 favorites]


I agree. But who is to judge ?

Yeah, but we have conversations about what is and isn't art and what's good or bad art all the time. It's easy to pillory the post-modern art criticism world as this everything goes drunken orgy where everyone's precious existence is its own masterpiece and simply by existing you are Picasso, but that's not what's going on.

And if this does have some artistic value, it's like the least creative video you could possibly conceive of. It's not like "Scantily clad pretty girl hawks product to dudes" is some RICH UNTAPPED VEIN of creative expression. It's pretty much like the description of 95% of advertisements in the world in the last 60 years.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 8:43 PM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't think so. Sexism is fucking gross.

But the definition of what is sexist is also subjective. The debate about porn is ongoing, for example, and that takes it a lot further than people in their underwear obviously.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:45 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


The video in question is offensive, borderline criminal, and should have been immediately taken down upon request, no matter how aggressively worded. This kind of thing has no place in our society, and it's up to all of us to stop it whenever, and wherever we can. Whatever artistic merit it might contain is completely outweighed by its offensiveness.

Fucking dubstep. Gah!
posted by ShutterBun at 8:45 PM on March 22, 2012 [8 favorites]


I don't think so. Sexism is fucking gross.

Yeah, sexism sucks, but I'm not so sure I buy that the ad was sexist. Objectifying, sure, but what specifically made it sexist?
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 8:45 PM on March 22, 2012


this everything goes drunken orgy where everyone's precious existence is its own masterpiece and simply by existing you are Picasso
am i alone in thinking that actually sounds pretty swell

also, metafilter: that
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:45 PM on March 22, 2012


But the definition of what is sexist is also subjective. The debate about porn is ongoing, for example, and that takes it a lot further than people in their underwear obviously.

Well, the issue here isn't that people shouldn't wear underwear or be attracted to people in underwear, it's using traditionally attractive young women's sexuality to sell products, which both objectifies women and alienates them as consumers or users or the brand or product in question.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 8:48 PM on March 22, 2012 [11 favorites]


Well, that's one way to jumpstart publicity for a beta site.
posted by Ardiril at 8:55 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, the issue here isn't that people shouldn't wear underwear or be attracted to people in underwear, it's using traditionally attractive young women's sexuality to sell products, which both objectifies women and alienates them as consumers or users or the brand or product in question.

Well yeah, and the porn debate isn't limited to free porn either. It's a business too.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:57 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, sexism sucks, but I'm not so sure I buy that the ad was sexist. Objectifying, sure, but what specifically made it sexist?

Turning women - people who are female - into objects - things - is sexist.
posted by gingerest at 9:02 PM on March 22, 2012 [12 favorites]


I think the porn thing is all about context; the impact of porn on our society is a different discussion.

There's no reason for a company, let alone a knowledge economy company, to be using "nekkid girls" or "booth babes" to promote their product or service, and they ought to immediately acknowledge that it's inappropriate.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:04 PM on March 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


So it's objectifying either sex to use their sex appeal to promote a product? Hm, but I like sex appeal!

Turning women - people who are female - into objects - things - is sexist.

So that David Beckham Super Bowl commercial but with a woman?
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:06 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


lol dongs
posted by tumid dahlia at 9:07 PM on March 22, 2012


There's no reason for a company, let alone a knowledge economy company, to be using "nekkid girls" or "booth babes" to promote their product or service, and they ought to immediately acknowledge that it's inappropriate.

The reason is the same as the porn business though...to make money. The cable company has porn for the same reason they have attractive women in their ads, I'm not sure why the ads would cross a line but not the pay per view. The brand is associated with it either way.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:09 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


You remember an athlete named David Beckham - it's not objectification if you can identify him as a whole human being with qualities apart from his fuckability.
posted by gingerest at 9:09 PM on March 22, 2012 [11 favorites]


No, idiopath linked to it.

I thought that was the "making of."

Privileged white male here, but this is a perfect representation of why I can't wrap my head around these things.

I think people should be able to do whatever the fuck they want as long as it occurs between consenting adults and doesn't infringe on the rights of others. I'm even willing to expend this courtesy to people (men and woman) that want to take their clothes off for money. This did not look like a porno shoot where the model was drugged to the gills and having a terrible time of it.

Does it perpetuate stereotypes? Yes. Does this need correcting or fixing? Fuck it. Don't know.

Seriously, it's like France's Burqa law. I was all on the side of the righteous and oppressed with this one. Yeah, ban that fucking symbol of oppression! Then I heard an interview with a woman that saw it as a symbol of her religion, an embracing of tradition, and just something she liked to wear! Who am I to tell her she can't? People get bent out of shape over Madona's use of religious iconography, but with her it's freedom of expression and style, baby! What if someone wore the burqa as a hipster? You know, ironically, as a statement? I'm straying from my point here, but you fall into a weird place when you start condemning other people's choices. It's grayer when you are saying their choices actually hurt you.

There is no right or guarantee to not be offended in this life. My best advice for someone that finds that video "fucking gross" is not to watch it. I saw an obviously attractive woman dancing around in her underwear. I guess I am the wrong gender and sexual identity to find that gross.

> Well, that video is just a pointless waste of time, so fuck these idiots that don't know how to deal with criticism.

You have been on YouTube and twitter before, right?

> The video in question is offensive, borderline criminal, and should have been immediately taken down upon request, no matter how aggressively worded. This kind of thing has no place in our society, and it's up to all of us to stop it whenever, and wherever we can. Whatever artistic merit it might contain is completely outweighed by its offensiveness.

See, hyperbole like this serves little. Well, unless you are joking, then hat's off, man! It's not borderline criminal unless you're Mike Daisey! I'm going to go back to thinking you're joking. I had my sound off, so didn't hear the dubstep.

People are welcome to be offended. Go ahead, you have my permission. You can even go watch videos of baby goats and shit instead.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:10 PM on March 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


Guys guys guys guys guys guys guys

Let me presemt you with a revolutionary concept that will blow your minds:

THEY'RE ALL DOUCHEBAGS. THE THREE OF THEM.
posted by falameufilho at 9:14 PM on March 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


perhaps your judgment is somehow impaired by a vague idea that nerds shouldn't be taken seriously because they are somehow desperate for attention.

Yes but "nerds desperate for attention" is why Twitter was invented in the first place.
posted by Ratio at 9:14 PM on March 22, 2012


I wonder how long it will take for men to figure out that it's not their job to tell women what is and is not sexist. Forever, probably.
posted by Zot at 9:16 PM on March 22, 2012 [25 favorites]


You remember an athlete named David Beckham - it's not objectification if you can identify him as a whole human being with qualities apart from his fuckability.

Famous people can't be objectified, only people I do not know?

I'm losing you here. I was just joking, but now I am seriously lost.

Anyway, I agree with this:
THEY'RE ALL DOUCHEBAGS. THE THREE OF THEM.

She was mean, then started shouting YOU CAN'T SILENCE THE PROLETARIAT etc. etc. and they were stupid in response. Is this really the war anyone wants or needs to be fighting? Eh. I just wanted to make a sexy, sexy David Beckham joke.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:16 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


You remember an athlete named David Beckham - it's not objectification if you can identify him as a whole human being with qualities apart from his fuckability.

Ah, ok, so if it's a celebrity then it's ok because we all know he/she is actually a human. It's only sexism if the person being objectified isn't famous. Got it.
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 9:16 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Geez, who is giving these people money?
posted by Brocktoon at 9:17 PM on March 22, 2012


THEY'RE ALL DOUCHEBAGS. THE THREE OF THEM.

I said that hours ago. I included the author of the story too.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:17 PM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


I didn't read the entire link... Where was the part where someone something something said they wanted to fuck David Beckham?
posted by KokuRyu at 9:18 PM on March 22, 2012


The video could be totally objectively awful, and a random internet person who walked up to your virtual door and yelled "please take that video down its fucking gross" would still deserve the answer "Who the fuck do you think you are to give me orders?" Among the many awful thigs about twitter is this attiude that if you're *really* angry, you can tell people to do things and if they don't do it fast enough it's because they hate you. Reading the exchange, it's grim how Sanz starts out being apologetic, but Kane keeps making demands and refusing to talk like a person, so when Katz shows up he's walking into a room where everyone's yelling and decides that yelling is the best way to proceed. Kane was straight-up trolling, defined as talking really rudely to someone so you can get a thrill when they're rude back. If she cared about the video making women feel unwelcome, she would have said that. By simply charging in and making demands, she made clear that what she cared about was her ability to exert power, waving her magic complain wand and making somethig she didn't like disappear.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 9:18 PM on March 22, 2012 [13 favorites]


"There's no reason for a company, let alone a knowledge economy company"

Except that now a million pairs of eyeballs have visited geekli.st today, and only 2% of them agree with that whole sexist dogma. Designlikewhoa.com probably did pretty well today, also.

No doubt, sex sells. Congratulations to all involved.
posted by Ardiril at 9:19 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's no reason for a company, let alone a knowledge economy company, to be using "nekkid girls" or "booth babes" to promote their product or service, and they ought to immediately acknowledge that it's inappropriate.

Which they did - in their very first response tweet

@shanley @rekatz oh that was super old ad created by a friend, we need an updated version that shows less skin! :)

People seem to be overlooking that.

posted by AzzaMcKazza at 9:19 PM on March 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


Oh yeah, the commentary on that link from the Guardian guy was atrocious. Some of it was just completely editorializing. Especially in the beginning when the woman was outright hostile while the guy acknowledged that they needed a new video. Saying stop being so aggressive is not telling an "uppity women to shut up".

But hey, David Beckham guys. Have you seen his abs? HE DOES NOT EVEN NEED THOSE TO PLAY SOCCER. I am a straight man and I want to touch them.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:21 PM on March 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


I had my sound off, so didn't hear the dubstep.

You avoided about 99% of the offensiveness right there. (though kinda missed the point of my little joke)
posted by ShutterBun at 9:22 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


OnTheLastCastle: "She was mean..."

No. Seriously, no. She was not in any sense mean. People need to grow the crap up - what are we, in third grade? When your company markets itself through a video that is fucking gross, people are going to point out that it's fucking gross. That is them doing you a favor by pushing you to avert a huge marketing mistake. If you think otherwise, you shouldn't run a startup that caters to geeks, and you sure as shit shouldn't be on Twitter.
posted by koeselitz at 9:24 PM on March 22, 2012 [17 favorites]


Oh man, that Hacker News article really boils down everything I hate about developers:
Nope. They're paid for it, there is nothing illegal about it and I fail to see anything wrong with targeting perceived likes of a segment of the population to move product. In fact, I believe that's what advertising is. I see no difference between a woman in a bikini or a celebrity in an ad.
Sigh.. developer, developers, developers...
As a developer, this comment really really bothers me. Software developers are far more diverse than you seem to think.

Yes there are ugly parts about our culture, but many of us, myself included, are working very hard to fix it, and I honestly think that we are making real progress.

Don't forget that Metafilter had to have quite a number of contentious conversations about sexism to get to where it is now. The developer community is in the process of having those same conversations.
posted by !Jim at 9:25 PM on March 22, 2012 [9 favorites]


Things like this always remind me that no matter how cool and nice you are, you are inevitably going to piss someone right the fuck off. I just hope they don't have twitter.

And I have no idea if those guys were ever cool or nice, I literally mean myself. You get it all the time in AskMes where someone is A STRANGER SAID I HAD NICE SHOES UGH IS HE A CREEP and you think "I told someone they had nice shoes! Fuuuuuuuck!"

Okay, I'mma leave because I'm not up for arguments. So no need to continue talking at me and saying I should have thicker skin, koes.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:27 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Among the many awful thigs about twitter is this attiude that if you're *really* angry, you can tell people to do things and if they don't do it fast enough it's because they hate you.

Actually, that's just one of the awful things about the entire planet.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 9:28 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


No. Seriously, no. She was not in any sense mean.

Will you concede she was being a dick?

What I seem to be gathering from all this is that if a company or a brand is on Twitter its ok to talk to them as if they were your friend and you don't have to show any pleasantries at all. People keep saying 'They were on Twitter - what did they expect?' Maybe- perhaps - starting discourse properly?
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 9:31 PM on March 22, 2012


Don't forget that Metafilter had to have quite a number of contentious conversations about sexism to get to where it is now. The developer community is in the process of having those same conversations.

This conversation here right now isn't going too well, though, is the thing that's making me short-tempered.

Plus, it's 2012. How much more time do y'all need to get this straightened out, do you think?
posted by Snarl Furillo at 9:32 PM on March 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


OnTheLastCastle: "So it's objectifying either sex to use their sex appeal to promote a product? Hm, but I like sex appeal!"

I like chocolate, but chocolate with pickles is gross.

I like sex appeal, but sex appeal used to sell products is sexist and thereby wrong.

Things can be okay on their own but wrong in combination with another thing. This is rational.
posted by koeselitz at 9:32 PM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


My favorite part is how their apology originally read "any woman" instead of "any person" (e.g. "We did not mean to offend any woman") until I tweeted at them to change it. Thank god for my white male privilege or things coulda gotten FUCKED UP.
posted by soma lkzx at 9:34 PM on March 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


This entire thing is pretty hilarious in a sad, sad way. Like crying while eating.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:35 PM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


I wonder how long it will take for men to figure out that it's not their job to tell women what is and is not sexist. Forever, probably.

But if a truly enlightened woman would give me the manual I could live by without coming across as sexist that would rule. I'll even read it once she starts killing her fair share of spiders, signs up for the draft, mows the lawn on occasion, and gets the vote. Women already have the vote? Wow, am I behind the times!

Whenever you exclude a segment of the population from the discussion you make it so it is impossible to change that segment's mind. If you want to recruit people into your cause they need to be able to tell anyone when they are wrong. Otherwise what you have is fanaticism. Either what the woman in this video is doing is sexist and wrong or it isn't. It shouldn't matter what your gender is when making this decision and vocalizing it.

It didn't make me want to engage with this product I'd never heard about before. Was it sexist? Again, send me the manual. If images of a dancing, alluring female are wrong, then I don't...oh, never mind.

> Plus, it's 2012. How much more time do y'all need to get this straightened out, do you think?

Once you have the rules that cover all situations write 'em up! That book will sell like fucking hotcakes.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:37 PM on March 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


Anyway, have fun with your stopping using sex appeal to sell products. Rar! Tiger claws!
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:38 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Plus, it's 2012. How much more time do y'all need to get this straightened out, do you think?

Well, like any major change in a community, it's going to be an ongoing process. As long as sexism exists in society at large, every group of people is going to have to struggle with this.
posted by !Jim at 9:40 PM on March 22, 2012


I like sex appeal, but sex appeal used to sell products is sexist and thereby wrong.

I really, truly don't understand this attitude. It's the same absolutist line of thought that fundamentalists have. Are there no shades of grey? Why is everything so binary?

Good luck tilting at the windmill of sex appeal in advertising...
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 9:40 PM on March 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


OnTheLastCastle: “So no need to continue talking at me and saying I should have thicker skin, koes... Anyway, have fun with your stopping using sex appeal to sell products. Rar! Tiger claws!”

Look, the condescending bullshit about how we're all just pointlessly cranky jerks is really uncalled-for, dude. If you hate us that much, why comment here at all? You made your Beckham joke already. Go watch a beer commercial or something.
posted by koeselitz at 9:41 PM on March 22, 2012 [10 favorites]


It ain't even about developers. It is about startups. I work at an uncool corporation, I love hiring and working with women who got treated like shit by ruby rockstars. I will even treat them as an equal. Best developers I have worked with have been women. You think I'm going to treat them like crap when they make my life so much easier?
posted by Ad hominem at 9:41 PM on March 22, 2012


I will even treat them as an equal.

I do this to children, but I don't really mean it. Fucking kids!

With this, I am bowing out as even I can't tell if I am being sarcastic anymore.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:44 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Once you have the rules that cover all situations write 'em up! That book will sell like fucking hotcakes.

This is a joke, right? We're joking now? Serious question.

Well, like any major change in a community, it's going to be an ongoing process. As long as sexism exists in society at large, every group of people is going to have to struggle with this.

Women have been talking about this stuff for literally two centuries now, and in earnest for the past 40 years. Does it strike you as freakin' odd that an entire community that has developed after many major feminist events is still hostile to women? Because it flipping annoys the hell out of me to fight the same battles over and over and over only to have men tell me to just be a little more patient. I only get one freakin' life.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 9:44 PM on March 22, 2012 [36 favorites]


This is about more than "sex sells." Geeklist's product is a platform for "geeks" to sell themselves on the technical job market. Using a scantily clad woman (next to a fully clad man, who is making sexual comments about her) to sell this service to a field that is less (possibly much less, depending on how you define "technical") than 25% women, and one where women face multiple well-documented obstacles to advancement, is--yup--fucking gross.
posted by kelseyq at 9:45 PM on March 22, 2012 [43 favorites]


However rudely she phrased her feedback, Shanley Kane was doing the people at Geeklist a favor.

I'm a female software engineer and I do the initial screening for coders we hire at my company. Geeklist looks like a tool that would be useful for helping me find people to recruit. Seeing a video like the one in question, would instead just lead me to silently conclude that their product is not for me or my company and then keep my distance without them ever knowing about it.

It's just like the time my local radio station decided that it really needed to give away a trip to the Moonlite Bunny Ranch and I just stopped listening because I decided that it wasn't for me.

Customer feedback is a valuable resource even if it formed out of little poo nuggets. I make sure to thank even the most irate customers on our support site because they took the time to let me know that something isn't right. If it's a feature and not a bug, it's an opportunity to evaluate our workflow and interface. And even if it's something I can't or don't want to fix it's never about tone or who the customer is. It's better to say "Sorry, we can't do that!"
posted by Alison at 9:46 PM on March 22, 2012 [40 favorites]


Look, the condescending bullshit about how we're all just pointlessly cranky jerks is really uncalled-for, dude. If you hate us that much, why comment here at all? You made your Beckham joke already. Go watch a beer commercial or something.

I'll just be over here fighting poverty, domestic violence and making my city a sanctuary city. I ain't got no time for women unless you threaten their right to choose contraceptives and abortion.

WHAT? I FORGOT TO MENTION ALL DA SAME-SEX MARRIAGE. UGH.

I actually love my job because that's what I do. Sorry I'm not taking your anger here seriously enough. I actually agree with Fidel Cashflow's comment 3 above me. I shall quote it.

I like sex appeal, but sex appeal used to sell products is sexist and thereby wrong.

I really, truly don't understand this attitude. It's the same absolutist line of thought that fundamentalists have. Are there no shades of grey? Why is everything so binary?

Good luck tilting at the windmill of sex appeal in advertising...
posted by Fidel Cashflow


To be serious for a moment, I do wish to end sexism as well. I truly, truly do. Do I think this situation helped that in any way? Fuck. No.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:46 PM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Pogo_Fuzzybutt writes "Imagine how much better misunderstandings on Metafilter would be if Matt enforced a strict 140 character limit on posts."

The recorded exchange was incoherent enough to give me a headache. It might be a lack of practice on my part but 140 characters (especially when you sacrifice 5-15% "@"ing stuff) isn't enough to have a readable conversation.

ShutterBun writes "The video in question is offensive, borderline criminal, "

Explain please what was borderline illegal about the video.
posted by Mitheral at 9:46 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Azza, thanks for the reminder of what I'd forgotten m'self--- that Sanz's first response was "Yeah, that video is a little porny and we're going to replace it", and it was only after Kane started in with "Do what I say FASTER you prick!" that his tone got heated.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 9:47 PM on March 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


But if a truly enlightened woman would give me the manual I could live by without coming across as sexist that would rule.

In what situation in social interaction as anyone ever given you a manual? I would guess none. And yet, you probably get by. This is really not that hard.

Take this video: why is the man dressed like a stereotypical programmer (informally, in other words), while the woman is in her underwear? If the site is meant to appeal to programmers who want to enhance their careers, then surely they should both be dressed like programmers, or at least in some way that would be professionally appropriate. The incongruity in their dress just doesn't make any sense, unless she's only there as eye candy for males. If she's only there for eye candy for males, then it's implied that female programmers shouldn't be able to enhance their careers, since the product is for males. That's pretty obviously sexist to me.

I wish I could do this for every conceivable situation for you. Maybe if you furnish me with such a list, sorted from most common to least, I can tackle the top few. Hell, maybe we could make an app, and crowdsource parts of it.

Or, you could just try to be a little bit more aware. Nobody reasonable expects perfection. Reasonable people expect you to make mistakes and admit them and learn from them.
posted by !Jim at 9:49 PM on March 22, 2012 [25 favorites]


Shutterbun was making a joke about dubstep, mitheral. I know it's actually really hard to spot the jokes in here.

And here I thought only conservatives could make their positions indistinguishable from satire.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:49 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


To be serious for a moment, I do wish to end sexism as well.

Come on, with fronds like these, who needs anemones?
posted by Snarl Furillo at 9:49 PM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


I love some of you! Brotherhood of man! SHIT FUCK I MEAN PERSONHOOD OF MAN.

This stuff writes itself. Do I really seem like a guy who needs to go watch a beer commercial? I promise I am your best liberal ally in the entire world.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:50 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why didn't @shanley complain to @godaddy first? They're a far bigger player in the tech community with videos that are far more likely to offend her (assuming the part she's offended by is the woman dancing in a tight T-shirt and panties, which is pretty much GoDaddy's staple).

Alright everybody, from this moment on, the next post on Metafilter better be the best and most important post of all time. After that, the 2nd best and 2nd most important post of all time. And so on.

Looking at these people who take 'offense' at things is kind of amusing when you're sitting in the part of world where people have actual problems.

Why are you posting on Metafilter instead of SOLVING IMPORTANT WORLD PROBLEMS?

I will even treat them as an equal.

Congratulations?
posted by kmz at 9:51 PM on March 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


I do this to children, but I don't really mean it. Fucking kids!

With this, I am bowing out as even I can't tell if I am being sarcastic anymore.


I'm not even sure how you can get like this. It is clear that startup guys have minimal respect for women. This happens time and time again. It is a fact that many male devs will not take technical advice from women seriously. View all team members as valuable assets. Treating a professional as a professional is just common sense.

With that I am out also.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:53 PM on March 22, 2012


OnTheLastCastle: “I'll just be over here fighting poverty, domestic violence and making my city a sanctuary city. I ain't got no time for women unless you threaten their right to choose contraceptives and abortion. WHAT? I FORGOT TO MENTION ALL DA SAME-SEX MARRIAGE. UGH. I actually love my job because that's what I do. Sorry I'm not taking your anger here seriously enough.”

I honestly and truly have no idea what any of this means.

me: “I like sex appeal, but sex appeal used to sell products is sexist and thereby wrong.”

Fidel Cashflow: “I really, truly don't understand this attitude. It's the same absolutist line of thought that fundamentalists have. Are there no shades of grey? Why is everything so binary?”

Okay, let's talk about this. What use of sex appeal is okay in advertising? I guess the question there would also include – what are your opinions on advertising and the benefits it brings to society?
posted by koeselitz at 9:53 PM on March 22, 2012


Twitter is profoundly stupid: the 140-character limit is such a barrier to communication that it just breeds micro-controversies like this. This is neither the first nor the last.
posted by kaibutsu at 9:59 PM on March 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


Azza, thanks for the reminder of what I'd forgotten m'self--- that Sanz's first response was "Yeah, that video is a little porny and we're going to replace it", and it was only after Kane started in with "Do what I say FASTER you prick!" that his tone got heated.

I don't think that's an accurate description of the way this situation developed. Kane did use the phrase "fucking gross," but she also said please, asked them to explain themselves, and laid out a pretty cogent case for why the video was sexist and offensive to female developers specifically- none of which Sanz bothered to respond to, choosing instead to focus on her "aggressive" and "not professional" "tone."

Shanley Kane: Why the ads with a woman in her underwear dancing around to dupstep?

Christian Sanz: Oh that was super old ad created by a friend, we need an updated version that shows less skin.

Kane: Please take it down, it's fucking gross.

Sanz: why the aggressive tone?

Kane: Because it's aggressively offensive yo.

Sanz: Your tone is offensive, and my name is not yo. We didn't produce the video, our friend (tshirt company owner) did

Kane: Sorry my "tone" is offensive but a video that objectifies and sexualizes women in the context of "geek culture" merits anger. Even if you didn't make it you should still try to get it removed because it is representing YOUR BRAND and has YOUR LOGO. And even by allowing it to be posted without making it clear it isn't your brand or your values- you can do better.

Sanz: I'm not cool with the angry tone regardless of the context or situation, far more professional ways to handle.


I think Sanz escalated this, not Kane.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 10:02 PM on March 22, 2012 [17 favorites]


Well, like any major change in a community, it's going to be an ongoing process. As long as sexism exists in society at large, every group of people is going to have to struggle with this.

Women have been talking about this stuff for literally two centuries now, and in earnest for the past 40 years. Does it strike you as freakin' odd that an entire community that has developed after many major feminist events is still hostile to women? Because it flipping annoys the hell out of me to fight the same battles over and over and over only to have men tell me to just be a little more patient. I only get one freakin' life.
Was the battle against sexism in advertising ever won? I feel like it's still incredibly common to see male-oriented products advertised using sex appeal.
posted by !Jim at 10:05 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay, let's talk about this. What use of sex appeal is okay in advertising? I guess the question there would also include – what are your opinions on advertising and the benefits it brings to society?
I'm also interested in this question. I haven't thought about this a lot, but my feeling earlier was that sex appeal is fine for things that actually have to do with sex. If your product is meant to make me feel or look sexier, showing sexy people in the ad is one way to convey that.
posted by !Jim at 10:08 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've reread it multiple times, and I cannot find where she says, or even implies, that they are not doing things fast enough for her tastes. Can somebody quote me the part where she does that? Because it has come up again and again in this thread.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:10 PM on March 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


Complaints are annoying and troublesome by definition. People, independently of gender, race, socioeconomic stratum etc, who believe they are being verbally attacked, have an instinctual tendency to defend their actions, to "double down" as some have put it. Only when in a state of calm will (or can) they seriously consider what the complaint might have been about.

If you treat others with contempt, they will most likely treat you the same way. This is absolutely independent of rightness or wrongness or deservingness; the process of inducing in a person a belief that they have been deserving of contempt, is pretty much exactly the same process as inducing in them a belief that they are in error, and in either case, they must respect you for you to have a chance at it. Both "sides" of this kerfuffle are guilty of treating each other contemptuously, however Kane started in with the contempt.

As for the actual situation, on watching that video my immediate impression is that it was an ad for women's shirts and knickers with the Geeklist brand on them, ie for merch, rather than for Geeklist itself. If I saw this girl dancing in a banner ad I would assume, in the microsecond before I tuned it out, that the intended clicker is a woman. (Or maybe that small cross-section of heterosexual men who are actually willing to buy clothes for their female partners.) I'm not sure what implications that has for the sexism of it, probably not many.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 10:10 PM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


!Jim If your product is meant to make me feel or look sexier, showing sexy people in the ad is one way to convey that.

This is cart-before-horse. Showing sexy people with the product, is intended to make you feel that the product will make you feel or look sexier.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 10:12 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


They are all douchebags - the overly-aggressive iniital, bitchy twitterer, and the two guys who somehow felt the need to respond and keep responding.

They just should have done what all cool people on twitter do: ignore the haters and go have another drink.
posted by Cycloptichorn at 10:12 PM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


If you treat others with contempt, they will most likely treat you the same way.

Yeah. So when your ad shows contempt for me as a female professional, I feel pretty contemptuous toward you.
posted by stoneandstar at 10:13 PM on March 22, 2012 [15 favorites]


I think one way you could win the battle against this type of advertising by teaching people to be better consumers. What kind of complete moron lets sex appeal determine what beer they drink? Train people to be suspicious and critical of all ads, and as a bonus you might make them more likely to be critical of the ads for other reasons aside from the attempted rip off.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:14 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's not fucked up when something with no artistic value whatsoever, regardless of who made it, goes away.

yikes
posted by Sauce Trough at 10:15 PM on March 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


If you treat others with contempt, they will most likely treat you the same way...

the overly-aggressive iniital, bitchy twitterer,


My hand to God, this is like getting a view into an alternate universe. I'm seriously baffled that we are apparently reading the same set of tweets and interactions.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 10:15 PM on March 22, 2012 [37 favorites]


My hand to God, this is like getting a view into an alternate universe. I'm seriously baffled that we are apparently reading the same set of tweets and interactions.

No fucking joke.
posted by asterix at 10:17 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


So now she's "bitchy" and the rest of us have our claws out! But sexism is dead. Good night, ladies. Try to keep the noise down.

If I saw this girl dancing in a banner ad I would assume, in the microsecond before I tuned it out, that the intended clicker is a woman.

I seeeeeeeeriously doubt that any woman would think this, unless she was sexually interested in women.
posted by stoneandstar at 10:17 PM on March 22, 2012 [23 favorites]


That's literally it. The first is a request, the second is a recommendation based on the fact that the brand might be seen as sexism. I am going to go ahead and assume that you just misread the piece, but I would ask that you reread it so we can discuss the same thing, rather than an imaginary demand that you think you read.
Sexist is what they wanted. And attention is what they wanted, and now they got it, ironically, because of this twitter fight. I would never have heard of them otherwise.

It's just run of the mill sexist advertising, but the problem is, if you're trying to create a 'social network' running ads like that is doubly counterproductive for women, not just because it creates a sausage fest, but also because it sets the tone of the site as somewhere objectifying women is fine. And, if it's also supposed to be a site for professional networking and sharing portfolios, then that puts women at a disadvantage.

If this was an add for a car, or a t-shirt site or even a 'for fun' social network like reddit it wouldn't be as big of a deal, but if you're promoting yourself as something that can help people in their carriers, and you're doing it in a way that is hostile to women who don't want to 'act sexy' or whatever that's much more problematic. Shanley Kane was pointing that out to them.

Yes, she used profanity, but the video featured a dude (jokingly) pretending to ejaculate in his pants while a model danced in front of him with the bands of her panties in her fingers. For anyone to get sympathetic vapors for these guys over an f-bomb is ridiculous.

(I don't think the video itself is 'gross', but in the context of promoting a website for programmers to do professional networking? That's a problem for women who want to work in tech)

I mean, people were discussing pinterest the other day, I went to look at the front page and there were a bunch of pictures of hunky dudes making doe eyes at the camera. That's... not really what I want to spend time looking at. But imagine if Pinterest was billing itself as a social network that could help people with there carriers but, in order to use it you had to spend half your time looking at beefcake photos. Just looking at the front page now an examples of what I'm talking about: 1, 2, 3, 4. But that's not even close to an analogy, because the problem isn't just looking at the photos, which aren't that hard to deal with, but inviting culture that promotes viewing women as sex partners rather then colleges.

On the other hand, with a "just for fun" website, whether it's pinterest or reddit, that kind of thing doesn't have any consequences for anyone. While it may define the culture, people who don't like it can just go elsewhere to waste time.

Interestingly, when I went to pinterest just now, I actually saw more pictures like these: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 then I do of dudes. Which is kind of an interesting phenomenon)

posted by delmoi at 10:18 PM on March 22, 2012 [18 favorites]


> Once you have the rules that cover all situations write 'em up! That book will sell like fucking hotcakes.

This is a joke, right? We're joking now? Serious question.


If I were joking I'd have added "...to women" to the line.

Once you have the rules that cover all situations write 'em up! That book will sell like fucking hotcakes to women.

Or:

Once you have the rules that cover all situations write 'em up! That book will sell like fucking hotcakes to men with vaginas.

See, now it's a joke.

If I were to tell the woman in this video she should't have done it, is a sexist boob for having done it, should feel bad for having done it, and for fuck's sake put some clothes on, you hussy. I'd be a dude making a woman's choices for her. That makes me an asshole in my book (I'm sure I am an asshole for other reasons in your book). The same guy that makes that decision is the same guy who thinks it's fine to get bent out of shape when she decides to have an abortion. Me? I prefer to not tell women what they can do with their own bodies.

The more offensive part of this video to me is the blatant product placement. I could watch this woman frolic for a few more minutes without getting bored, but then that's the way I am wired. I'm not going to make a case for biology excusing behavior, but to pretend guys aren't going to look at beautiful and sexy women on the internet ignores like 85% of the internet.

> Explain please what was borderline illegal about the video.

He did. It was: "Fucking dubstep. Gah!" I fell for it too.

> I think Sanz escalated this, not Kane.

But the discussion started at an 8. That is ratcheted up from there doesn't mean it ever started out as civil discourse.

> I'm not even sure how you can get like this.

It was your comment, "I will even treat them as an equal." It comes across as obnoxious. Like, "I have black friends." Like this someone makes you special. Good on ya, that's big of you. Probably not how you meant it, and that's also how these discussion go awry. I apologize for the snark. I wasn't the only one that read it that way, but again, take back my comment. I thought it was funnier than you did, sorry.

> I've reread it multiple times, and I cannot find where she says, or even implies, that they are not doing things fast enough for her tastes.

I think it's the time/date stamps. Honestly. I'm not sure I get it either, but that's how I read what's being said. Make you point. Give them time to react. Then come back. She was persistent, and they did react, but since it wash;t by taking down the video she persisted. This is fine. They were engaging her. She should communicate her stance and does.

Good night.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:19 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Snarl, why didn't she send them a polite message asking to take the video down? And when they said, 'oh, it's not even our video, someone else made it,' why didn't she say 'oh, okay, I'll go ask THEM to take it down?'

Because she was in a pissy mood and felt that lashing out at someone was the best way to get what she wanted. Now she just looks like a total jerk - even if she had a good point to begin with, yelling your good point at someone is the worst way to transmit that information possible. It just makes other people defensive, and yeah, it makes you look - bitchy.
posted by Cycloptichorn at 10:19 PM on March 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


Internet grinds to a halt when confronted by image of girl dancing in her undies.
posted by ShutterBun at 10:19 PM on March 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


They were fast to permanently delete my geeklist account when I asked. So, yey customer service.
posted by andreaazure at 10:22 PM on March 22, 2012


cjorgensen: If I were to tell the woman in this video she should't have done it, is a sexist boob for having done it, should feel bad for having done it, and for fuck's sake put some clothes on, you hussy

Literally nobody thinks the model is sexist for taking the work. You're being obtuse.
posted by gilrain at 10:25 PM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why not?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:25 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Snarl, why didn't she send them a polite message asking to take the video down? And when they said, 'oh, it's not even our video, someone else made it,' why didn't she say 'oh, okay, I'll go ask THEM to take it down?'

"Please take it down, it's fucking gross" is actually pretty polite. I don't think the please was sarcastic.

I don't buy this, "Oh, we had nothing to do with it" line. If the video had a person in a Geeklist shirt doing something Geeklist didn't approve of, they would have had that thing banished from the Internet in a heartbeat. That's how companies maintain the strength of their brands. If the model were wearing an Apple shirt, who would you think Kane should have contacted- the videographer, or Apple? Who would have had more leverage in that situation?
posted by Snarl Furillo at 10:27 PM on March 22, 2012 [14 favorites]


furiousxgeorge: Why not?

Is that to me? I'd say: because she isn't the one choosing to market a social site aimed at furthering developers' careers (both men and women) using an ad which objectifies women.
posted by gilrain at 10:27 PM on March 22, 2012


cjorgensen, you are being a complete ass, I'm thinking on purpose. Note that literally no one is telling the woman in the video to "put some clothes on." They are, however, suggesting that alienating women in ads for a career search website is totally inappropriate, especially when the industry in question under-represents women. You have access to a virtually unlimited amount of free porn and images of naked, beautiful women on the internet, but you (and apparently most men, who knew) whine like a baby at the suggestion that women might not want to see this kind of attitude-- which plagues them in their career and limits their ability to professionally advance-- in an ad for a career site. Oh, but sorry, your boner.

Good night and good riddance!
posted by stoneandstar at 10:29 PM on March 22, 2012 [21 favorites]


"Please take it down, it's fucking gross" is actually pretty polite.

That's the funniest thing I've read in the entire thread. The things you learn on Metafilter...
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 10:31 PM on March 22, 2012 [8 favorites]


Is that to me? I'd say: because she isn't the one choosing to market a social site aimed at furthering developers' careers (both men and women) using an ad which objectifies women.

She made the choice to be paid to help do all that though.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:32 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]



"Please take it down, it's fucking gross" is actually pretty polite. I don't think the please was sarcastic.


This is in no way polite. What exactly would you consider an impolite request to be?

And, like it or not, the fact that her company does business with the company in question DOES make a difference. It has nothing to do with her gender, it has everything to do with her decision to publicly pick a fight with a business partner over something that could have easily been solved with a simple email - or an actual polite request. One of my employees would have been in deep shit for that, because this ain't show-friends, it's show-business.

But the point wasn't to get the video taken down - it was to express outrage. That's why I have very little respect for the initial twitterer. If she had responded by saying 'could you please ask them to take the video down, female coders like myself find it offensive,' they would have done so and none of us would even have heard about this interaction. But that wasn't the point, was it?
posted by Cycloptichorn at 10:33 PM on March 22, 2012 [9 favorites]


They were fast to permanently delete my geeklist account when I asked.

That was the other fucked-up thing about this whole deal: they were/are in beta, but they hadn't yet implemented the "delete my account" functionality. Which, really, WTF?
posted by asterix at 10:33 PM on March 22, 2012


Cycloptichorn: Snarl, why didn't she send them a polite message asking to take the video down? And when they said, 'oh, it's not even our video, someone else made it,' why didn't she say 'oh, okay, I'll go ask THEM to take it down?'

The fact that it wasn't, apparently, solicited by them does not come out until way later in the conversation, after they. Their first response is "oh that was super old ad created by a friend, we need an updated version that shows less skin" which implies that it was their ad, albeit created by a friend (presumably paid).

And looking back over it, I'm not convinced they didn't pay for, or at least okay, the ad. They just say "We didn't produce the video, our friend (tshirt company owner) did". Literally, that only means they didn't make the ad themselves. I can't imagine they didn't get a say in whether it went public. Even between friends, it'd be a big stretch to release an ad sight-unseen.
posted by gilrain at 10:33 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hmm, apparently geeklist is going to focus on female entrepreneurs next month to "become part of the solution".

*rolls eyes*

---
Why didn't @shanley complain to @godaddy first? They're a far bigger player in the tech community with videos that are far more likely to offend her -- rh
@those @at @signs @offend @me @as @a @human @being.
Well you have to admit that it is fucked up that some dudes trying to shut up a woman in Twitter results in a female director having to remove her video from vimeo because it has their logo in it.

Fuck it, nobody looks good in this story.
-- ad hominem
Oh please. It was a commercial video. It repped a brand. The brand doesn't think synergies properly with the key demos or properly leverages social SEO eigenvector datagrams it gets taken down. That's life.
Except that now a million pairs of eyeballs have visited geekli.st today, and only 2% of them agree with that whole sexist dogma. Designlikewhoa.com probably did pretty well today, also.

No doubt, sex sells. Congratulations to all involved.
-- Ardiril
Yup. Sex. Drama. Twitter. Regardless of who actually sucks the worst, everyone involved got a material benefit out of this. Which is another reason why twitter is so annoying.
Will you concede she was being a dick?

What I seem to be gathering from all this is that if a company or a brand is on Twitter its ok to talk to them as if they were your friend and you don't have to show any pleasantries at all. People keep saying 'They were on Twitter - what did they expect?' Maybe- perhaps - starting discourse properly?
-- AzzaMcKazza
I don't think she was a dick. I think the guy was massively, massively oversensitive. In fact, I would actually say I'm offended by how oversensitive he was. It was just a pathetic display to incredibly mild internet criticism.

But as I said. Everyone got a material benefit out of this fight. They all got hits, publicity, etc. geekslist especial, but Basho as well. So why the fuck would they want to engage in civilized discourse when they can profit off drama instead? That's like expecting cast members on jersey shore to work out their differences in a calm and productive manner instead of getting drunk and screaming at each other. Or. Whatever it is they do on that show.
If you put your employer in you bio you are acting as a representative of them, even if you say, "Thoughts are my own and not those of @company." Want to spout stupid shit on the internet, create an account that has nothing to do with your company and have at it. This is like when people put in, "RTs are not an endorsement." Then what the fuck are they? You obviously thought enough of the original tweet to hope your followers would find value in it.
the problem is her "opinion" was just "I think this video was offensive and should be taken down. Is that really something to involve someone's employer over? I think anyone who does that is pretty much a pathetic loser, which is certainly what I think of the people who run geekslist at this point.
No one gives a shit that she said 'fucking', stop acting like we're all a bunch of prudes. She was acting rude and fighty.
OMG SOMEONE WAS RUDE AND FIGHTY ON THE INTERTUBES!?!?!?!?!?!?

Seriously. Sometimes people say things in a way that seems rude. Sometimes they don't mean it and are just speaking in vernacular - sometimes they do mean it. Whatever. If you're going to be on the internet, you are going to get flames.

It could be seen as "I demand you take this down because I'm that important" but it can also be seen as "this offends me and I think it would be in your best interests to take this gross fucking thing down". But even if it was the former, so what? You can't expect everyone to be nice to you all the time.

I think some guys get a lot more upset when pretty girls say mean things about them. They need to get over it.
"Who the fuck do you think you are to give me orders?" Among the many awful thigs about twitter is this attiude that if you're *really* angry, you can tell people to do things and if they don't do it fast enough it's because they hate you. Reading the exchange, it's grim how Sanz starts out being apologetic, but Kane keeps making demands and refusing to talk like a person, so when Katz shows up he's walking into a room where everyone's yelling and decides that yelling is the best way to proceed. Kane was straight-up trolling, -- ThatFuzzyBastard
So lets say Kane was trolling. That means Sanz was trolled. Internet rules: that makes her the winner. And that makes him a loser.

But seriously. If you think her first two comments were rude... so what? People have a right to be rude on the internet and the 'rudeness' was so incredibly mild the fact that he tried to go to her boss and complain like a 2nd grader just makes him look pathetic.
Anyway, have fun with your stopping using sex appeal to sell products. Rar! Tiger claws!
It wasn't a "product", they were trying to build a "community" for software developers. Which, less face it, is not very sexy. By promoting it using sexy babes, they are saying to women "we don't value you as colleges, we value you for your body, don't come here and expect to be taken seriously" To guys they are saying "Like programming? Like tits and girls who hot babes? Then totally join our message board!" It's creating a venue for professional advancement that both repels women, and at the same time fosters a culture of disrespecting them on the board. Not helpful for getting women into tech.

And frankly, not very professional either. I certainly wouldn't want to post my stuff there at this point and associate my "brand" with theirs.

Plus, as I said, I am personally irked by how thin skinned and emotional they were when presented with mild criticism/ advice given in a salty tongue. And going to someone's boss because they hurt your feeling is just not what adults do.
posted by delmoi at 10:34 PM on March 22, 2012 [16 favorites]


OMG SOMEONE WAS RUDE AND FIGHTY ON THE INTERTUBES!?!?!?!?!?!?

I know, I'm as shocked as you.
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 10:36 PM on March 22, 2012


It wasn't a "product", they were trying to build a "community" for software developers. Which, less face it, is not very sexy.

This is, in every way, a product.

And also not very sexy.
posted by Cycloptichorn at 10:37 PM on March 22, 2012


hadn't yet implemented the "delete my account" functionality

A lot of sites don't have delete account functionality. MeFi used to close accounts manually for a really long time, for example.
posted by ODiV at 10:37 PM on March 22, 2012


What kind of complete moron lets sex appeal determine what beer they drink?


Determine? very few people likely let sex appeal entirely determine a purchase but I think part of the reason sex has such a capacity to sell products is the fact that much of the cognition that it impacts is subconscious and therefore very difficult for a consumer to be critical of. I think there is quite a complex conversation to be had regarding how, if at all, sexual images can be used tastefully in advertising.

Frankly, I think simply asking people to be more critical of advertising is perhaps overlooking the complexity of both how sexual images are processed by most people and how this plays into a culture where (perhaps unfortunately) people define themselves based on their purchases.

I agree with your larger point but I politely disagree with your assessment of its simplicity.
posted by sendai sleep master at 10:39 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


And also not very sexy.

Neither is Evony, but the stupid ads still made for a profitable game. aeschenkarnos kind of nailed one of the issues here: This is cart-before-horse. Showing sexy people with the product, is intended to make you feel that the product will make you feel or look sexier.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:39 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is in no way polite. What exactly would you consider an impolite request to be?

"Take this down or I'm telling all my friends how much you suck."
"Take it down, you fucking gross pervs."
"Fuck you, take this down."
"Take this down, I hope you DIAF."

She didn't threaten them, she didn't call them names or personally insult them, she explained her position pretty calmly when asked, and she used a vulgar word that is pretty socially normalized, especially as an adjective. I don't think saying "fucking gross" renders you immediately not credible.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 10:39 PM on March 22, 2012 [18 favorites]


She made the choice to be paid to help do all that though.

True, but note how absolutely impossible it would be to have a career as a female model if you didn't accept work like this. I'm not going to tell women they can't be models, I'm going to tell male creative directors to quit commissioning this shit.

I've never seen so many men pearl-clutching over the use of a curse word. Really guys? The "please" was directed toward the guys, the "fucking gross" was directed toward the video. Kane tried to keep it light by joking ("yo"), but apparently these two morons were already on their own outrage bender. The way you guys are reading this exchange, I'd be surprised if you're not running it through Babelfish.
posted by stoneandstar at 10:40 PM on March 22, 2012 [24 favorites]


furiousxgeorge: She made the choice to be paid to help do all that though.

Eh, she made the choice to act in yet another spot, probably for a production company she works with often. Maybe she was familiar with the goals and business model of the company the ad was for, but that would be speculation. It's not speculation that a company chose to market a should-be-inclusive, professional social network with an objectifying ad. That's the sexist part. That, and how they responded to criticism, of course.
posted by gilrain at 10:41 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


She didn't threaten them

Publicly insulting and repeatedly attacking business partners of your company on Twitter absolutely is a threat. Posting something on twitter is the exact same thing as telling all your friends something. By definition - that's what twitter is for and how it works!

Your point seems to boil down to 'well, because she wasn't as rude and crass as it would have been possible to have been, she was downright polite.' She wasn't. It was a childish and emotional way to handle the situation and not something that anyone should be defending - no matter what your opinion is of the content in question. It doesn't advance the cause and it reflects poorly on everyone involved.
posted by Cycloptichorn at 10:45 PM on March 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


I honestly do not see any meaningful difference between "this video is fucking gross" and "fuck you, take this down". "Fucking gross" is not a useful criticism, it is inchoate invective. Start off with invective, and you will tend to get it back.

I think a lot of people here are confusing "she was rude" with "she was wrong". It is entirely possible to be rude and right, rude and wrong, polite and right, polite and wrong. Being right is not a license to be rude, not that anyone needs a license to be rude as such; if you are rude you will get the consequences of that rudeness (ie, rudeness back), and most of the time when you are addressing humans, rudeness will have the effect of rendering whether you are right largely irrelevant in the eyes of the one you are rude to.

In fact, like most of Kane's defenders, the one you are rude to will tend to think "they were rude to me, therefore they are wrong" and will respond by spinning up post-hoc justifications for their initial statement. Decoupling emotional from factual content just isn't something most folks practice. Very few are more than vaguely aware that it can even be done.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 10:49 PM on March 22, 2012 [8 favorites]


True, but note how absolutely impossible it would be to have a career as a female model if you didn't accept work like this. I'm not going to tell women they can't be models.

If it's an industry that it is currently impossible to participate in without profiting off of sexism and objectification, why not tell them to avoid it? Without the dancing women you can't make the ads with the dancing women. CGI kind of sucks at doing that well.

If this type of ad is unavoidable, do we absolve the female director of sexism too?

I think it would be more accurate to say the participation is sexist, but possibly justified anyway for the reasons you mentioned.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:50 PM on March 22, 2012


And looking back over it, I'm not convinced they didn't pay for, or at least okay, the ad. They just say "We didn't produce the video, our friend (tshirt company owner) did". Literally, that only means they didn't make the ad themselves. I can't imagine they didn't get a say in whether it went public. Even between friends, it'd be a big stretch to release an ad sight-unseen.

At the very least, Gemma Aguiar (t-shirt manufacturer) lists Geeklist as a client. (The front page of her site features a model flopping her hair around and pantlessly modelling a different t-shirt, but unlike the original video, the underpants do not appear to be part of the product line. I don't know why I am telling you this, except to note that pantlessness seems to be central to Design Like Whoa!'s strategy.)
posted by gingerest at 10:52 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


RT @kaibutsu "Twitter is profoundly stupid: the 140-character limit is such a barrier to communication that it just breeds micro-controversies like this. This is neither the first nor the last." – tru dat.
posted by delmoi at 10:54 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Your point seems to boil down to 'well, because she wasn't as rude and crass as it would have been possible to have been, she was downright polite.' She wasn't. It was a childish and emotional way to handle the situation and not something that anyone should be defending.

What do you think she should have done or said instead of what she said? What do you think is the ideal way for this interaction to have started and ended?

"Fucking gross" is not a useful criticism, it is inchoate invective. Start off with invective, and you will tend to get it back.

Kane started off with, "Why the ads with a woman in her underwear dancing around to dupstep?" Sanz responded with, "We need an updated version that shows less skin!"

Sanz made it clear that he understood that Kane objected to using a sexy model to promote the brand. He knew exactly what she was talking about from the beginning; she wasn't incoherent.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 10:55 PM on March 22, 2012 [8 favorites]


What do you think she should have done or said instead of what she said? What do you think is the ideal way for this interaction to have started and ended?

for fuck's sake (I'm being rude here) - go through the thread and find a few examples that people have already given.

Fuckit - here's one. An email saying 'Hey guys, whats up with that video? Bit sexist don't you think? Whats the deal there?'

Hell, send that to them in a DM.
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 10:57 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


If it's an industry that it is currently impossible to participate in without profiting off of sexism and objectification, why not tell them to avoid it?

Because men can be models without having to deal with this cognitive dissonance shit? Women aren't responsible for ending sexism at the cost of their jobs. In my humble opinion.

I want to add that as a woman who went through a math/computer science program in college, the environment was exceedingly hostile. I can't take anyone seriously who pretends like this is inevitable or incidental or boys being boys, or less important than their right to sexy commercials. Maybe you didn't know before, but now you know, so shape up.

Publicly insulting and repeatedly attacking business partners of your company on Twitter absolutely is a threat.

Ridiculous, ridiculous, ridiculous. She DID NOT insult anyone. Repeat, she DID NOT insult anyone, let alone repeatedly. You are pulling this out of your ass. Tell me where exactly she threatened anyone? This is going to be some interpretive magic.

Also, she was polite at first! And they were like "Haha yeah. You're right. Welp." So fuck all y'all!
posted by stoneandstar at 11:01 PM on March 22, 2012 [13 favorites]



What do you think she should have done or said instead of what she said? What do you think is the ideal way for this interaction to have started and ended?


Over email - exactly as was suggested. The guys involved were giving every single signal, from the very first post, that they would do what she wanted, while asking her to stop being such an ass on an extremely public forum towards her business partner. To be fair, the guys in question should have done the right thing and simply ignored her ass.

I deal with interpersonal communications for a living, and the simple fact of the matter is that if you come at people with knives, you get knives back - every single time.

This is why I don't use twitter - it's an asinine forum for people's emotional venting.
posted by Cycloptichorn at 11:02 PM on March 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


She DID NOT insult anyone.

Of course she did, and if you're too juvenile to see it, I certainly don't care enough to educate you about it.

I think I'll just leave you guys to your outrage at this point - though I will say that this is actually a really delicious follow-up to the actual twitter thread, in that the same lack of interpersonal communication skills mixed with over-the-top opprobrium are showing up here as well!
posted by Cycloptichorn at 11:05 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Over email - exactly as was suggested. The guys involved were giving every single signal, from the very first post, that they would do what she wanted, while asking her to stop being such an ass on an extremely public forum towards her business partner. To be fair, the guys in question should have done the right thing and simply ignored her ass.

I do not agree that businesses should be shielded from public criticism about sexism, or that the best way to combat public sexism is in private.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 11:08 PM on March 22, 2012 [28 favorites]


Shanley Kane: Why the ads with a woman in her underwear dancing around to dupstep?
Christian Sanz: Oh that was super old ad created by a friend, we need an updated version that shows less skin.
Kane: Please take it down, it's fucking gross.
Sanz: why the aggressive tone?
Kane: Because it's aggressively offensive yo.


^^Note how they did not actually offer to do anything at all. She hadn't asked yet. Once she asked, they got defensive, thus not "giving every single signal, from the very first post, that they would do what she wanted." That is a very poor reading. Once she asked for what she wanted, they got all fussy. Even if you thought she was being a bitch, they still showed no inclination whatsoever to "comply" with her "demands" (which began with "please").

She didn't insult anyone. The only insult that I can see would be along the lines of "wow, you're really going to let a fucking gross video represent your brand?" Which is only an insult if... you choose to be insulted when someone points out that you're allowing something offensive to go on in your name. Which is a very juvenile attitude.
posted by stoneandstar at 11:09 PM on March 22, 2012 [19 favorites]


Because men can be models without having to deal with this cognitive dissonance shit? Women aren't responsible for ending sexism at the cost of their jobs. In my humble opinion.

Right, I'm saying if women refused to participate they could get to the point where they wouldn't have to deal with this. I'm not saying they should, for the reasons that were pointed out above, but I am saying they could. The individuals involved could also consider careers that aren't based on their appearance. It's tough for me to think they should get a free pass to make money with sexism any more than the directors should get that pass. Call it what it is, even if you think they should continue with it.

I can't take anyone seriously who pretends like this is inevitable or incidental or boys being boys, or less important than their right to sexy commercials. Maybe you didn't know before, but now you know, so shape up.

I don't support these commercials and do not think they are inevitable. That is why I said women should not participate in them. That is why I suggested all consumers should stop being idiots and falling for these stupid ads. That is why I also agree companies should stop making them.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:12 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


There isn't any ideal way and it's difficult to predict a response however IMO "it's blatantly sexist" is less likely than "it's fucking gross" to provoke a defensive response. It's objectively true; anyone with a sane understanding of sexism would accept that. However, "fucking gross" is clearly subjective.

Whether sexism is "fucking gross" is actually a matter of opinion. I consider it erroneous and immoral, but "fucking gross" to me is an aesthetic criticism. Cat vomit all over the bed. Nine-day-old egg sandwiches. These are, subjectively to me, fucking gross, but no sane person would consider them to be sexism. Maybe Kane genuinely does experience an aesthetic response to a sociopolitical wrong, however I think it is much more likely that she intended to express contempt and anger.

She is entitled to feel those and to express them. But contempt, right or wrong, provokes contempt in return. Which she knows, and you know. Why argue against that?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 11:12 PM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Cycloptichorn: "Your point seems to boil down to 'well, because she wasn't as rude and crass as it would have been possible to have been, she was downright polite.' She wasn't. It was a childish and emotional way to handle the situation and not something that anyone should be defending - no matter what your opinion is of the content in question. It doesn't advance the cause and it reflects poorly on everyone involved."

There are a couple of things here.

First of all, you're ignoring the larger problem of gaslighting and 'tone' arguments. What I mean is: this is something women face constantly, and it's a very real manifestation of sexism. The problem is when a woman tries to call a man on sexist words or actions and that man avoids the issue completely by instead attacking the woman with words like 'hysterical' and 'rude.' The general characterization is that marginalized groups that speak up and say something about it are being "uppity" and need to "calm down."

The basic rule here is that it's pretty much never a good idea to respond to accusations of sexism with complaints about how rudely those accusations were expressed. That's for several reasons. For one, sexism is a larger and more damaging problem than rudeness, which is a minor problem and generally doesn't harm anyone in a lasting way. For another, by complaining about rudeness in that situation, you're only furthering the sexist trope of the hysterical woman.

But in a sense all of this is completely beside the point, because Shanley wasn't rude, and characterizing her as rude is inaccurate. She opened by saying that the video is 'fucking gross.' Anybody who works with devs has heard these words many times and should be aware that they aren't necessarily mean personally; Shanley actually knew these guys, and she thought she was doing them a favor by pushing them to disassociate themselves from a video that is admittedly fucking gross.

And even if you don't buy that she said this in good faith, Shanley then proceeded to prove it. When told that she was being rude, she apologized for her tone, which is something people seem to be missing here. It didn't help; this apology fell on deaf ears, and the two guys kept tweeting on and on about how rude she was being. But t was clear that, from the start, her excoriation of the video wasn't intended to be a personal indictment of the brand, and on the contrary she was calling on them to show that they're better than that.

Also, at no time did Shanley lob insults, unless you're worried about a video getting insulted.
posted by koeselitz at 11:14 PM on March 22, 2012 [50 favorites]


aeschenkarnos: "She is entitled to feel those and to express them. But contempt, right or wrong, provokes contempt in return. Which she knows, and you know. Why argue against that?"

Because the larger societal pattern - the pattern of women being marginalized by being told they're acting uppity and hysterical and need to shut up - is worth fighting against.
posted by koeselitz at 11:20 PM on March 22, 2012 [12 favorites]


Over email - exactly as was suggested.

You seem to think that being accused of sexism is worse than perpetrating sexism. Is it because men's feelings are more justified than women's feelings? The sexism came first. Kane didn't say anything out of thin air.

PS: Even if these guys didn't know about the video, a thought experiment. They're allowed to respond to an angry comment with professional threats... but a woman isn't allowed to respond to a hostile video with irritation? Or at best, we should equate these two as equally... dangerous?

I'm saying if women refused to participate they could get to the point where they wouldn't have to deal with this

This is super hypothetical and unrealistic. Plus, there are ways of coercing women into your shitty commercials.

But contempt, right or wrong, provokes contempt in return.

This actually isn't true! There are many people who respond to accusations of sexism (and racism, and homophobia, and so on) with thoughtfulness or embarrassment, for instance. It's not a law of human interaction.
posted by stoneandstar at 11:25 PM on March 22, 2012 [23 favorites]


This is super hypothetical and unrealistic.

Which is why I have said the continuing participation is justifiable. I'm just saying it's still sexist.

Plus, there are ways of coercing women into your shitty commercials.

Really?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:30 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the depressing thread, geeklist defenders.

When a couple of startup douchebags get called on their sexist ad (especially as sexism seems endemic in tech startups), all their defenders can do is misconstrue and misrepresent Shanley's conversation, worry about a word that everyone here uses a dozen times a day (if not a dozen times per hour), and then claim this sort of dirty laundry shouldn't have sunlight shone upon it.

And to claim it was a "business partner" thing is laughable. The douche boys were the ones who opened that can of worms with their, as Delmoi aptly put it, pathetic tattling to her boss.

Shanley comes across as reasonable and--despite the awful use of that word, "fucking," that no one has ever used before as an adjective to describe something awful--mature, and the start-up guys come across as immature, petty, and full of themselves. Same as it ever was.

That one of them has bred further depresses me, but that's my own problem.
posted by maxwelton at 11:33 PM on March 22, 2012 [17 favorites]


So many things to comment on.

First... Ugh, that Sqoot ad was so brogrammer it hurt.

Everyone's on San Francisco time (even if these tweets aren't showing that where you're viewing them)

Everyone is indeed on San Francisco time. Frankly, I'm ready to burst this dotcom bubble and start over.

Anyways, I completely agree with delmoi's point that Geeklist is trying to build a community, so they need to be especially careful about what values they promote in that community, because the founder's and manager's behavior will be amplified inside of that community. And that ad was promoting harmful ideas and values to members of the community, and creating a hostile environment to women.

But I have an honest question about using female sexuality to advertise products. Is it never valid? Because if we keep this up, we're going to end up with a world where only beautiful men like Isaiah Mustafa are allowed to use sex to sell products. And the irony will be kind of silly. Yeah, I get it, those ads were funny, this one featured dubstep, big difference I know. But it was still using sex to sell. It goes back to the porn argument a bit, as furiousxgeorge brought up.
posted by formless at 11:37 PM on March 22, 2012


koeselitz The basic rule here is that it's pretty much never a good idea to respond to accusations of sexism with complaints about how rudely those accusations were expressed. [...] For another, by complaining about rudeness in that situation, you're only furthering the sexist trope of the hysterical woman.

Accusations of anyone whatsoever, of anything whatsoever, if expressed rudely, will provoke defensive and hostile responses. That's just how humans, regardless of gender, work. What you are asking there is for a special exemption from a standard human reaction. "Provocation" is a defense under law to crimes of assault for good reasons; whether or not the angel thinks it's useful in the long term to attack the person who verbally abuses you, the ape is already into it.

The sexist trope of the hysterical woman exists because the woman in question has become hysterical from extreme frustration. She has not been taken seriously, she sees no way to force the others involved to take her seriously, and social expectations militate against them taking her seriously (and her making efforts to do so). Again regardless of gender, this is a psychologically intolerable situation for anyone to be in, and the natural human response is rage, tears, self-destruction, apathetic withdrawal. That men do it less often, is only because the social expectations (in first-world societies) put (first-world) men into that type of situation less often.

Of course it is wrong that women are frustrated. However I would argue that you propose mollification (and the etymology of that word is interesting) as a solution and that is equally disrespectful.

That's for several reasons. For one, sexism is a larger and more damaging problem than rudeness, which is a minor problem and generally doesn't harm anyone in a lasting way.

This I disagree with. I see sexism (and other prejudices) as an instance, a type, a subset of rudeness. The rude are inconsiderate, discourteous, selfish and cruel. If a person is considerate, courteous, generous and kind, he or she takes into account the feelings and motivations of others and this will include their rights to be equal members of society.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 11:38 PM on March 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


It was your comment, "I will even treat them as an equal." It comes

sorry, I was being sarcastic. Sometimes that doesn't help and we have to fight our natural inclination to be dicks.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:39 PM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


furiousxgeorge, are you serious? Oh my goodness. The next time a man calls women hysterical, I'm pointing them to this thread. Is it even remotely conceivable that I was referring to you personally. Is it. (A: No. It is not.) Please review the conventions of idiomatic speech.

And whatever, I don't think it's sexist, but I don't really care about that right now.
posted by stoneandstar at 11:40 PM on March 22, 2012


I'm going to chime in here (against my better judgment) and agree with the people who said that "it's fucking gross" is where the conversation when south. But for a different reason: When speaking to privilege you have to use words that help them see their privilege. It's not that Kane was wrong, or that she was rude, it's that she was speaking from a point of view that Sanz had no common experience with. And Sanz is not trying to shut her up or dismiss her as hysterical. He interpreted her words as an attack because he could not understand the cultural experience that generated them, and responded as if being attacked. Here's how I think the conversation could have gone differently -- with both people working to explain their different perspectives to each other rather than assuming common knowledge:


Shanley Kane: Why the ads with a woman in her underwear dancing around to dupstep?
Christian Sanz: Oh that was super old ad created by a friend, we need an updated version that shows less skin.
Kane: Please take it down, it alienates women who are still struggling to be accepted in geek societies like GeekList.
Sanz: Hmm, I never thought about that. You're right. Well it's not our video. You'll have to contact the person who posted it.
Kane: I will do that. Please be more considerate of your female customer base in the future.


Should Sanz have already known that the video alienated women? Yes, he should have. Is it realistic to expect that that would be the first thing that occurred to him when Kane said "fucking gross?" No. Sanz is blinded by his privilege and the things that he cannot see have to be explained to him. It took this entire thread for me to learn the nuances of the situation. You can't realistically expect Sanz to read "It's fucking gross" and instantly understand what it feels like to be a woman in geek society.

That is what fighting sexism really needs to be about. Educating the ignorant. Sanz was ignorant and Kane failed to educate him.
posted by yeolcoatl at 11:40 PM on March 22, 2012 [10 favorites]


Basically, whenever I read/see people get all worked about about being 'offended' by this or that, it just seems sooooo first world problem-ish. Seriously, some video on the internet is your biggest problem?

My biggest problem is something more along the lines of: Men throwing acid in women's faces, burning them, raping them and saying the rape is okay because the man who raped them is willing to marry them, mutilating women's genitalia, sexually harassing them, making them feel unsafe and insecure, telling their doctors it is okay to lie to them, creating social structure after social structure where they are second in every way: as citizens, as parents, as students, as workers, and society refusing to recognize that sometimes the best man for a job is actually a woman.

I do what I can from my first world location to address each of those problems as they come up, but it is a continuum, and sometimes the only thing I can affect in a given day involves discussing a video on the Internet.

Sorry for the late to the thread semi-derail.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:41 PM on March 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


I dunno. I don't use that sort of language in my professional correspondence. Maybe the kids these days talk like that to their business associates and it's okay, but it would have gotten me fired pretty quickly for using that language to ANYONE, vendor or customer. I guess I'm just too old for this business, because I found the whole thing pretty offensive in a business context.
posted by Woney at 11:44 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


furiousxgeorge, are you serious? Oh my goodness. The next time a man calls women hysterical, I'm pointing them to this thread. Is it even remotely conceivable that I was referring to you personally. Is it. (A: No. It is not.) Please review the conventions of idiomatic speech.

No problem. It was unclear to me what you meant there since you previously had implied I thought I had a right to the sexy commercials.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:44 PM on March 22, 2012


When speaking to privilege you have to use words that help them see their privilege.

Actually, no, you don't. He also could have thought about these problems for a single second before he became a grown-ass man, but that obviously didn't happen. I want sexism to stop, sexism pisses me off, and if I spent my time explaining sexism to people who don't want to listen every time I had a problem with it I'd do literally nothing else. Your heart is in the right place, imo, but expecting women to be nicey-nice and say the same things over and over again while no one listens is assuming we're all masochists.

I see sexism (and other prejudices) as an instance, a type, a subset of rudeness.

This is minimizing and insultingly sanitized. But I am being polite about it.
posted by stoneandstar at 11:47 PM on March 22, 2012 [18 favorites]


Fast-moving thread. :)

stoneandstar There are many people who respond to accusations of sexism (and racism, and homophobia, and so on) with thoughtfulness or embarrassment, for instance. It's not a law of human interaction.
It's not an iron law, for sure. Mature people tend to give emotional content the contextual weight that it deserves, rather than reacting only to the emotional content (and also the hyper-rational and emotionally stunted tend to ignore emotional content as being irrelevant data). Most folks you will meet tend to overweight emotional content and therefore it is pretty safe to assume, unless well-proven otherwise, that someone you are rude to will be rude to you back. The Geeklisters fairly obviously are in that category.

koeselitz Because the larger societal pattern - the pattern of women being marginalized by being told they're acting uppity and hysterical and need to shut up - is worth fighting against.
I agree, however this is a battle within a war; the larger war is against treating people as other than what they actually are, and privileging stereotypes and presumptions over individuals and facts.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 11:47 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


yeolcoatl: When speaking to privilege you have to use words that help them see their privilege.

It might be a good tactic to baby the privileged into seeing your point, but you certainly don't have to do that. No need to compound their privilege by also privileging them to control the terms of engagement.
posted by gilrain at 11:47 PM on March 22, 2012 [13 favorites]


Thanks, furiousxgeorge. I don't think I was referring to you specifically when I said people felt they had a right to sexy commercials, but I don't remember who's who anymore. I'm pretty sure it was that guy who went to bed.
posted by stoneandstar at 11:49 PM on March 22, 2012


gilrain It might be a good tactic to baby the privileged into seeing your point, but you certainly don't have to do that. No need to compound their privilege by also privileging them to control the terms of engagement.
That depends on whether you actually want them to do something, or if you intend to use them as torch-and-pitchfork targets to motivate others to do something.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 11:50 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Right, I'm saying if women refused to participate they could get to the point where they wouldn't have to deal with this.

If my uncle were plumbed differently, he'd be my aunt. Sure, acts of appeasement to the patriarchy are sexist. I am not a big fan of Ms. Aguiar's decision to use sex to sell her products on the grounds she has a male-dominated clientele (which is what Mr. Sanz and Mr. Katz suggest in their apology), and I think it falls along the "appeasement" end of the participation spectrum.

But it's nothing like as simple as "don't take part and it'll work itself out" (otherwise the Lysistrata approach would resolve the national "debate" on family planning).
posted by gingerest at 11:51 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Very often it's a choice between saying what you want in the way you want to say it, and changing another person's perception of the world.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:51 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


aeschenkarnos: That depends on whether you actually want them to do something, or if you intend to use them as torch-and-pitchfork targets to motivate others to do something.

I would say it depends on whether you want to treat them as equals ("Hey, this shit ain't cool.") or whether you want a chance at getting a better result by being obsequious ("Please sir, won't you reconsider this?").
posted by gilrain at 11:53 PM on March 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


gilrain
No need to compound their privilege by also privileging them to control the terms of engagement.

I am a teacher by trade. When I speak to my students in a way that they can understand me, I am not giving them control of the engagement. What I am doing is taking them to the place I want them to go by starting from the place where they are. I am always in control of the engagement, because I am always in control of the destination. You cannot communicate with someone if they cannot understand you.

But when I speak to my students this way, there is no question that the power and the privilege are all mine.
posted by yeolcoatl at 11:54 PM on March 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


Is it appeasement to say "This video makes you look horribly unprofessional, and is likely to alienate a significant part of your prospective audience, men as well as women."?
posted by benito.strauss at 11:55 PM on March 22, 2012


The video belonged to design like whoa, was shot by design like whoa, and was an ad for design like whoa's product. That model is on design like whoa's front page doing the same schtick. Geeklist reacted stupidly, but also because the correct reaction is: "I agree. Not our video or our ad, though. You should tweet at @designlikewhoa instead."
posted by incessant at 11:56 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't use that sort of language in my professional correspondence... I found the whole thing pretty offensive in a business context.

This didn't take place in a business context; it wasn't professional correspondence.
posted by PueExMachina at 11:58 PM on March 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


benito.strauss: Is it appeasement to say "This video makes you look horribly unprofessional, and is likely to alienate a significant part of your prospective audience, men as well as women."?

No, but it might well be condescending to imply that a woman's complaints will not be treated respectfully if she does not follow an (admittedly nice) acceptable script.
posted by gilrain at 11:59 PM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


stoneandstar This is minimizing and insultingly sanitized. But I am being polite about it.
You and I are working from different definitions of rudeness. You seem to be using it to describe the specific act of mild, mostly verbal, discourtesy of no great long-term importance. I see it as a continuum of contemptuous disregard for the rights and feelings of others, which would start close to the same point at which you end your definition.

Would you consider the impulse to hurt, to be the same as the impulse to kill, just to a milder degree? Or would you consider them to be qualitatively different things?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 11:59 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


yeolcoatl: What I am doing is taking them to the place I want them to go by starting from the place where they are.

I think most women are getting tired constantly taking people to the only place that gets results, which is the place where they don't feel that their perceived authority is being threatened by a woman.

You sound like a good teacher; I don't find the situations analogous.
posted by gilrain at 12:01 AM on March 23, 2012 [9 favorites]


benito.strauss: "Very often it's a choice between saying what you want in the way you want to say it, and changing another person's perception of the world."

Geez, do we have to be this pompous about it?

If only women in tech knew how to talk to the assholes trying to exclude them from the techie club, then sexism would have disappeared from geekdom forever! It's so unfortunate that women don't seem capable of politely and coherently communicating their displeasure at being told they're worth nothing to the community. Sexism is an awful problem; it's such a pity that the impoliteness if women allows sexists to continue in their sexist ways without realizing what they're doing. Maybe we men should just give a class to women on how to be polite when confronting blatant sexism that makes it seem like no one gives a fuck about their ideas or input.

Hamburger hamburger hamburger.
posted by koeselitz at 12:03 AM on March 23, 2012 [22 favorites]


gilrain I would say it depends on whether you want to treat them as equals ("Hey, this shit ain't cool.") or whether you want a chance at getting a better result by being obsequious ("Please sir, won't you reconsider this?").

There are many other options than these two, and the point of difference as I see it is the view of you and the emotion(s) about you that you intend to induce in your interlocutor. (And also in the surrounding audience.)

Addressing them as an equal means that you intend them to believe that you will show them a basic level of respect, and you wish them to give you the same. Being obsequious means that you intend them to believe that you are weak and harmless, you fear and admire them, and to do as you ask would be a benevolent act.

Instead you might want to be intimidating, to induce in them a state of fear and uncertainty, so that they will do ask you ask because the consequences you will inflict on them will be worse for them than doing what you want. As per yeolcoatl's example you may want to induce in them respect for your knowledge and intelligence, and the way to do that is as he/she describes.

All communication comes from the intention to convey some message to some recipients. If the message you intended to convey is not the one that you actually conveyed, that would imply that something in the message you sent was at odds with your intentions.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 12:06 AM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


> I would say it depends on whether you want to treat them as equals ("Hey, this shit ain't cool.") or whether you want a chance at getting a better result by being obsequious ("Please sir, won't you reconsider this?").

> No, but it might well be condescending to imply that a woman's complaints will not be treated respectfully if she does not follow an (admittedly nice) acceptable script.

It's not the fact that this person is a woman, it's the fact that they're a stranger to me. Among equals there is a distinction between formal and informal. Using informal too quickly can come off as rude. Someone who I don't know saying to me "That shit (you're involved in) ain't cool." would put my hackles up pretty quick.

This reminds me of earlier discussions, where there seemed to be a difference between 20-somethings and 40-somethings. 20-somethings think of other people on the Internet as just any other dude/dudette they know. 40-somethings think of them as strangers initially, and it takes time and more communication to establish a more familiar relationship.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:07 AM on March 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


Based on the ground this thread has covered, I am doubting that "asking nicely" is the key here. "Asking nicely" means being willing to get dragged through an endless conversation about whether privilege exists, if porn is sexist, if women aren't actually more privileged than men, if we're holding their hand the right way, &c. You know what? Read a book.

Maybe if Kane had been nicer, Sanz wouldn't have lashed out. But if Kane had been nicer, it also wouldn't have lit a fire under his ass, and he wouldn't be the subject of public scrutiny and shame, so I guess being a bitch worked out pretty well in the end!

aeschenkarnos, if that's how you define oppression-through-rudeness, the real spectrum is from rudeness to genocide. That's a stretch. I don't think it really has to do with rudeness, though I can see how on relatively minor issues like this one, someone less rude might be more willing to listen to another person's objection.
posted by stoneandstar at 12:09 AM on March 23, 2012 [10 favorites]


Holy shit this thread is getting a ton of comments. Kind of weird. It's like the fukushima of twitter drama or something. Also, how many women are left posting? It seems like a thread about sexism yet again descends into men yelling at eachother. Good times.

Is that to me? I'd say: because she isn't the one choosing to market a social site aimed at furthering developers' careers (both men and women) using an ad which objectifies women.
-- gilrain
She made the choice to be paid to help do all that though. -- furiousxgeorge
I don't think there's anything wrong with sexy advertising per se. The problem with this might not be obvious if you're not a dev. But ultimately there's no reason why women can't cynically exploit sexism to get ahead. If you're a designer and not a dev, do you care about the difficulties of women in computer science? Or do you care about getting paid?
And, like it or not, the fact that her company does business with the company in question DOES make a difference. It has nothing to do with her gender, it has everything to do with her decision to publicly pick a fight with a business partner over something that could have easily been solved with a simple email - or an actual polite request. One of my employees would have been in deep shit for that, because this ain't show-friends, it's show-business. -- Cycloptichorn
I don't really see it as picking a fight, though. I see it as 'salty talk'. She used some crude language, but really it was far less crude then the video itself (which, as I stated, features a guy pretending to ejaculate in his pants as a joke)

Think about it. You put your code portfolio on geekslist. Now there's a video out there promoting geeskslist featuring a guy pretending to cum in his pants associated with your code portfolio. Is that something you would want? It's not really something I'd want unless I was looking for coding work in the porn industry.

But regardless. Even if the video was fine, how can you say using the term 'fucking gross' is offensive when the video wasn't? Completely illogical.

Beyond that, taking it to someone's boss is just such a pathetic move it's ridiculous. I could never respect someone who would do something like that. And I wouldn't want to be in a business relationship with someone I don't respect.
Because she was in a pissy mood and felt that lashing out at someone was the best way to get what she wanted. Now she just looks like a total jerk - even if she had a good point to begin with, yelling your good point at someone is the worst way to transmit that information possible. It just makes other people defensive, and yeah, it makes you look - bitchy. -- Cycloptichorn
Less bitchy then trying to get someone in trouble with their boss because their feelings got hurt over two tweets. Seriously. How can you have any respect for someone who acts like that? I certainly can't.
Complaints are annoying and troublesome by definition. People, independently of gender, race, socioeconomic stratum etc, who believe they are being verbally attacked, have an instinctual tendency to defend their actions, to "double down" as some have put it. Only when in a state of calm will (or can) they seriously consider what the complaint might have been about.

If you treat others with contempt, they will most likely treat you the same way. This is absolutely independent of rightness or wrongness or deservingness; the process of inducing in a person a belief that they have been deserving of contempt, is pretty much exactly the same process as inducing in them a belief that they are in error, and in either case, they must respect you for you to have a chance at it. Both "sides" of this kerfuffle are guilty of treating each other contemptuously, however Kane started in with the contempt.
-- aeschenkarnos
First of all, both sides benefit from this in the short run. I think maybe Geekslist might have hurt their brand in the long run. We'll see. But the incentives are reversed. Make drama. Escalate. Tweets are retweated. Blogs are blogged. Hits are generated, money is made. There's no incentive for contestants on reality shows to be nice to each other, or work out disagreements sensibly. Drama is what sells.

So, that said. Part of being an adult is not flipping out and running to tell mommy when your feelings get hurt. You do that, you're a baby. A loser. Even if I thought that the ad was fine, I'd still think of these geeks lists people as whiny tattletales who try to fuck up people's jobs just for having their feelings hurt.
If I saw this girl dancing in a banner ad I would assume, in the microsecond before I tuned it out, that the intended clicker is a woman. -- aeschenkarnos
I don't know how I would respond, because I run adblock (TVs? Do people still own those?)

But seriously, it wasn't a banner, it was a video, featuring a dude pretending to ejaculate in his pants while photographing the model, who was pulling at the at the bands of her panties. It's done as a joke, but still. Do you honestly that kind of thing appeals to women think that's the kind of thing that appeals to women in and advertisement.
This is cart-before-horse. Showing sexy people with the product, is intended to make you feel that the product will make you feel or look sexier. -- aeschenkarnos
Please. Ads for women feature sexy women. Ads for men feature sexy women. But the differences are pretty obvious.
But the discussion started at an 8. That is ratcheted up from there doesn't mean it ever started out as civil discourse. -- cjorgensen
These people knew eachother, at least professionally. We haven't seen their other tweets. We don't know what the baseline is.

But seriously, from my experience with the internet this is like 0.5
It wasn't a "product", they were trying to build a "community" for software developers. Which, less face it, is not very sexy.-- me
This is, in every way, a product.

And also not very sexy.
Not really. The software facilitating it is a product, but the 'community' that develops on a website isn't a product, it accretes. Now, you can take people's personal data and sell it if you want, but in that case the 'community' isn't the product, it's the bait.

Anyway, philosophical point. What I really meant was that this isn't like a hamburger or a car. Selling something like that to men using sexy babes doesn't make it harder for women to drive eat burgers. If some sexist pig buys a car, it doesn't impact a woman who buys the same car.

But if you invite people to be sexist pigs on a messageboard, that's going to make it unappealing for women. Not the end of the world, there are plenty of messageboards full of sexist pigs, there are plenty of women focused messageboards as well. But, if you're positioning your messageboard as a professional networking space for programmers, and you fill it up with sexist pigs the effect on women is problematic.

If your site became successful, it would make it harder for women to get a job.

So, from a game theoretic perspective, women have no choice but to attack it. How can you be surprised that people would get angry at and lash out against things that could hurt their careers, or the careers of people like them? It would be more surprising if they didn't get mad.
Neither is Evony, but the stupid ads still made for a profitable game. aeschenkarnos kind of nailed one of the issues here: This is cart-before-horse. Showing sexy people with the product, is intended to make you feel that the product will make you feel or look sexier. -- aeschenkarnos
Heh, right. But what I'm saying is that something like evony, women don't have to play it. On the other hand, pinterest, with all it's beefcake photos isn't something that I need to use. Although as I pointed out, seems to have as many or more pictures of sexy women – but as 'inspiration' for losing weight. Pictures of sexy women seem to be appealing to women in a way pictures of sexy dudes are not. But there is a difference between what's "appealing" in selling a video game or hamburger, and what's "professional"

That video was in no way professional. If it was an ad for a porn site or something, it would make more sense.
Publicly insulting and repeatedly attacking business partners of your company on Twitter absolutely is a threat. Posting something on twitter is the exact same thing as telling all your friends something. By definition - that's what twitter is for and how it works!

Your point seems to boil down to 'well, because she wasn't as rude and crass as it would have been possible to have been, she was downright polite.' She wasn't. It was a childish and emotional way to handle the situation and not something that anyone should be defending - no matter what your opinion is of the content in question. It doesn't advance the cause and it reflects poorly on everyone involved.
-- Cycloptichorn
Yeah, I don't really get what the point of this is. Yes, it was an emotional response. So what? If you can't handle an emotional response to something you put online get off the fucking internet.

I mean really, the video itself was offensive. So how can it be that you can put out an offensive video, then flip out when people tell you it's offensive?

That's what gets me about this whole thing. Show a video of some dude joking pretending to ejaculate in his pants over a girl gyrating her hips, pulling on the bands of her panties, exposing her thighs in a t-shirt with your logo on it? Totally cool.

Complain the ad is not professional and use a swearword in the process OMG TOTALLY UNPROFESSIONAL I'M TOTALLY TELLING YOUR BOSS.

I mean come on. It's ridiculous. It's embarrassingly pathetic on the part of geekslist. Simply saying "we stand by the ad. Suits our brand" would have been fine. Saying "yeah, we'll ask her to take it down, sorry", that would have been fine. But the response? The response was P A T H E T I C.
Right, I'm saying if women refused to participate they could get to the point where they wouldn't have to deal with this. I'm not saying they should, for the reasons that were pointed out above, but I am saying they could. The individuals involved could also consider careers that aren't based on their appearance. It's tough for me to think they should get a free pass to make money with sexism any more than the directors should get that pass. Call it what it is, even if you think they should continue with it.
Again, I don't think there was anything morally wrong with the ad. It was pornographic. Pornographic advertising is fine for something's, but for a social networking site that wants to attract women? Not so much. And if you are creating a professional networking site that's hostile towards women, that's a problem.
There isn't any ideal way and it's difficult to predict a response however IMO "it's blatantly sexist" is less likely than "it's fucking gross" to provoke a defensive response. It's objectively true; anyone with a sane understanding of sexism would accept that. However, "fucking gross" is clearly subjective.
Look. People are going to disagree about what language is offensive. I don't find it offensive at all. If you're such an oversensitive baby that can't deal with criticism from people using different parameters for politeness, without crying like a baby and trying to get them in trouble with their boss over TWO TWEETS, well, I don't know what to say - but I certainly don't respect you.
She is entitled to feel those and to express them. But contempt, right or wrong, provokes contempt in return. Which she knows, and you know. Why argue against that?
I'm not saying she shouldn't have expected contempt. I'm saying the way he expressed his contempt proved him to be the lesser person, by an enormous margin. I would never want to enter into a business partnership with such a hypersensitive baby. What happens the next time he flips his shit and throws a tantrum over some perceived slight? He certainly damaged his brand already with this nonsense in the long run, even though he probably got a lot more eyeballs for now.
posted by delmoi at 12:10 AM on March 23, 2012 [17 favorites]


benito.strauss: "It's not the fact that this person is a woman, it's the fact that they're a stranger to me."

Your underlying assumption here is entirely false. Shanley knew the guys she was interacting with. They were not strangers to her. She had met them in the flesh and had drinks with them. This wasn't some kind of drive-by thing, and it wasn't some kid talking to strangers like she knew them.
posted by koeselitz at 12:10 AM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Is it appeasement to say "This video makes you look horribly unprofessional, and is likely to alienate a significant part of your prospective audience, men as well as women."?

No. Why would it be? But Ms.Kane went on to say nearly exactly that when she was explaining what was making her so angry: "Sorry my "tone" is offensive but a video that objectifies and sexualizes women in the context of "geek culture" merits anger. Even if you didn't make it you should still try to get it removed because it is representing YOUR BRAND and has YOUR LOGO. And even by allowing it to be posted without making it clear it isn't your brand or your values- you can do better."

To which Mr. Sanz replied with more comments on tone, completely skipping over the substance of the commentary, and talking about professionalism (which I don't even understand, because her remarks were clearly made in her personal capacity from her personal Twitter account.)
posted by gingerest at 12:12 AM on March 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


What koeselitz said, and if I were running a business enterprise and an actual stranger critiqued my strategies, I would actually be extra polite, as a representative of my project, imagine that. A lot of people here would really suck at running anything public.

She used some crude language, but really it was far less crude then the video itself (which, as I stated, features a guy pretending to ejaculate in his pants as a joke)

Repeating delmoi, because this is honestly the stupidest part of this whole argument. You think the word "fucking" is crude?
posted by stoneandstar at 12:15 AM on March 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


stoneandstar: But if Kane had been nicer, it also wouldn't have lit a fire under his ass, and he wouldn't be the subject of public scrutiny and shame, so I guess being a bitch worked out pretty well in the end!

This is the cool part, yeah. A lot of this thread is "if only she'd been more polite, she could have gotten through to them!" But guess what? It's 2012. The video has been removed, they've issued an apology, and all of a sudden their social network is having a focusing-on-women month. Good!

Looks like she got through, somehow.
posted by gilrain at 12:19 AM on March 23, 2012 [9 favorites]


> Shanley knew the guys she was interacting with.

Oops. I didn't pick that up. But if they knew each other in the real world, why did they carry out this spat in public? I'm too old for this shit.

> You think the word "fucking" is crude?

Depends on the context. I once spent a day and a half going though a project's code base and trouble ticket database removing all the "swear words" before handing them over to a client. "Fucking" was on the list of words to remove.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:19 AM on March 23, 2012


gilrain I think most women are getting tired constantly taking people to the only place that gets results, which is the place where they don't feel that their perceived authority is being threatened by a woman.

Firstly, threatening their authority seems to have worked quite well, if not brilliantly, in this case. Secondly, writing to French-only language speakers in French may become tiresome, but it is not going to change the fact that you need to do so to have them understand you.

Perceived authority is important to everyone. Were I addressing a woman in authority, and I wanted her to do a certain thing that appeared to be within the range of her authority but involved a change in her attitude to something (for example "please move your car so I can get mine out?" or "please approve this loan application"), then I would most definitely address her in a way that does not threaten her authority. Just as I would with a man. It's not so much basic courtesy to do it, as it is significant discourtesy not to do it.

As with "hysteria", acting in a way that is not threatening to a person's authority is associated more with women, because (1) women on average still have less authority than men in our society; (2) whatever the present situation, our language and culture drags a chain of assumptions generations long.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 12:21 AM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Seriously, I feel like people who are defending his response because HOW ELSE COULD YOU ACT are missing the fact that he actually shot himself in the foot, here.

Depends on the context.

Exactly. On Twitter, in response to an ejaculation-joke video: Pretty appropriate context.
posted by stoneandstar at 12:23 AM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


gilrain
I don't find the situations analogous.

Of course not. I'm not trying to build an analogy. I'm not saying that the situations are similar, I'm saying that they're the same. I'm saying that if you want to change behavior, attitudes, and understanding, the tools to do that are the tools of education, because educating is what you're doing. Of course, as a teacher, I believe education is the answer to everything. I am biased, I admit.

I think most women are getting tired constantly taking people to the only place that gets results, which is the place where they don't feel that their perceived authority is being threatened by a woman.

I'm not talking about making the men feel "safe." People cannot learn unless they are uncomfortable. By all means, make them uncomfortable. You can certainly be more confrontational than my example and still succeed. You could probably succeed even better. All I am saying is be confrontational effectively. Do it in a way that creates transformations: and the way to do that is to remember that transformations have a beginning point.

I'm talking about taking into account that men have no experience being a woman, and educating them in language that explains the experience of being a woman to someone who does not naturally conceive it. Not once, not twice, but repeatedly until thinking that way becomes natural. That's how education works. That's how minds are transformed.

I don't care how you do it. Rude or polite, confrontational or non-confrontational does not matter to me. But do it in a way that communicates to someone who has no idea what you're talking about or where you're coming from.

You sound like a good teacher;
Thanks. I'm not, but I like to think so.

That's it. I've said my piece. I'm going to bed now.
posted by yeolcoatl at 12:24 AM on March 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


I hate how people use the term "sex sells" when what they mean is "images of young women in very little clothing alongside anything is interpreted as sex".

Sex is not women's bodies. The fact that so many people associate sex solely with women's bodies is part of the problem.
posted by Deoridhe at 12:29 AM on March 23, 2012 [40 favorites]


Look, if metafilter generates 250 comments on the rhetorical subject, then i'll wager good money that the act was whatever the violation that was stamped on the tin says it was.

This was not a calendar of women photographing themselves nude to spread the cause of modern feminism, this video was teenage -level "come over here and fuck me" objective taunting, and it's fucking gross.
posted by roboton666 at 12:30 AM on March 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


aeschenkarnos,

1) Threatening his authority worked quite well, but not with him. He basically had to be mass shamed. Had no one been listening, "a polite exchange" is typically a non-starter. And as for the "French" analogy, these guys could read a book, no?

2) Perceived authority is important, but there's like, no important authority dynamic going on here. They're not her superiors, she's not their superior. This is actually going back to the implication that men have the authority and women should be obsequious, again, I think? Wait. What are you arguing?

yeolcoatl,

I'm talking about taking into account that men have no experience being a woman, and educating them in language that explains the experience of being a woman

Read a book! Or, wait, spend your entire life with women, and learn this before you're old enough to be a developer. (But since they didn't, yes, if I had hours of my life and a significant investment in changing a specific piece of behavior, I'd take this route.)
posted by stoneandstar at 12:31 AM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


yeolcoatl: I'm talking about taking into account that men have no experience being a woman, and educating them in language that explains the experience of being a woman to someone who does not naturally conceive it.

I really appreciate your points in general, but not as applied to this case.

If a these guys can't hack it by reading some good literature and/or just using their imagination, then they would be well advised to take a women's studies class from an educator. Not every woman needs to take the time to educate every man on the experience of being a woman. There are classes for the remedials amongst us.

And unless a man is particularly obtuse, they can "hack it" by using basic empathy and imagination. Like most apes, we evolved for that. More often, it's not that they need to be carefully educated to see a woman's perspective; they just need to stop being lazy.
posted by gilrain at 12:32 AM on March 23, 2012 [11 favorites]


I'm going to chime in here (against my better judgment) and agree with the people who said that "it's fucking gross" is where the conversation when south. But for a different reason: When speaking to privilege you have to use words that help them see their privilege.

Oh yes. Also, always use "sir" or "madam", remember they are your betters and you must never hurt their feelings and bla bla bla bla.

I'm so tired of this 'privilege' nonsense. Is this guy really more 'privileged' then the girl? They are both rich software developers. At this level 'privilege' is somewhat of an abstract concept, it really has more to do with personal connections to more powerful people then gender. I know two people working in SV, both female, one Asian. Both are far more 'privileged' then the vast majority of men in this country, and therefore, in the world.
That is what fighting sexism really needs to be about. Educating the ignorant. Sanz was ignorant and Kane failed to educate him.
Totally her fault. What an uppity bitch. She should have known her place and spoken to a man with the respect/compassion he deserves. Talk about a setback for womankind!

*rolls eyes*
I dunno. I don't use that sort of language in my professional correspondence. Maybe the kids these days talk like that to their business associates and it's okay, but it would have gotten me fired pretty quickly for using that language to ANYONE, vendor or customer. I guess I'm just too old for this business, because I found the whole thing pretty offensive in a business context.
I don't know if there was a business context or just a 'professional' context where they both knew each other through professional networking. Anyway, different industries are different. You wouldn't expect for people applying for government contractors to offer drugs and try to have sex the people evaluating the bids apparently how they roll in the oil industry and interior department. I'm guessing people might have even used the F word too. As in "Here's our environmental impact statement on the pipeline, want do snort some meth and fuck?"
Very often it's a choice between saying what you want in the way you want to say it, and changing another person's perception of the world.
Yeah, but so what? She wanted the fucking gross ad down and now it's down. And the company is doing a "woman's month" on top of that. So whether she changed their perception of the world, she got what she wanted with a cherry on top. Clearly she succeeded in her goal.

The other guy's perception is not her responsibility. Why should it be?
I am a teacher by trade. When I speak to my students in a way that they can understand me, I am not giving them control of the engagement.
Yeah, and I'm guessing you get paid for it?

This crap is annoying. It's as if the responsibility for bad behavior rests on the person the bad behavior targets. It's no different then the "tone" arguments above, except re-cast in the language of feminist theory. Changing the language doesn't make it any less stupid. It's not her or anyone else's responsibility to 'educate' people, if they're not getting paid to do it.

Behavior, not mindset, matters. If someone is a sexist pig, but are afraid of negative consequences for acting like a sexist pig, and therefore do not - then the problem is as effectively solved as if you had converted them into a non-pig.

Like I said, she wanted the video down, and now it's down and repudiated (only a pirated copy remains). So whether or not you think her "tone" was wasn't "nurturing" enough, she got what she wanted.
posted by delmoi at 12:34 AM on March 23, 2012 [9 favorites]


benito.strauss: "I didn't pick that up. But if they knew each other in the real world, why did they carry out this spat in public?"

Well, a couple of reasons, I think. The main point to start from is that this company publicly posted a really, really offensive little video, the main message of which was basically "women aren't welcome in our tech community."

That message is what Shanley started from. And though she was angry, I think she knew intuitively that this was really a very public matter. If it had been some minor think that an outlying group may have thought was offensive, yeah, an email or even a phone call might have been best. But - lest it need to be repeated - this video is really very offensive; and not just because it's literally gross (simulated ejaculation, etc) but because it's a divisive message about who is and who isn't welcome on geeklist.

When a company whose very reason for being is creating a technology-focused community decides to broadcast publicly that women aren't welcome if they're wearing pants, it kind of demands a public discussion of the implications.

So, yeah. I think Shanley was upset, and she focused that anger in her words, which were strong. However, this was a major insult to women in the tech community; it's a very serious thing, and something that we geeks are trying to hash out right now across society.

I think Shanley absolutely did the right thing.
posted by koeselitz at 12:35 AM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Now there's a video out there promoting geeskslist featuring a guy pretending to cum in his pants associated with your code portfolio.

To be fair, the video seems like it was a "behind the scenes" type of thing, demonstrating the abilities of the advertising studio in question. GeekList is open for shame in approving a photo of a gal in her chonies, but they can't possibly be held responsible for the entirety of what went on during the shoot, can they?
posted by ShutterBun at 12:35 AM on March 23, 2012


stoneandstar 2) Perceived authority is important, but there's like, no important authority dynamic going on here. They're not her superiors, she's not their superior. This is actually going back to the implication that men have the authority and women should be obsequious, again, I think? Wait. What are you arguing?
I'm arguing that the owner of a website on which a video is displayed perceives him/herself as having authority over that website or video, and the expression of a desire to have them remove it, necessarily includes an acknowledgement that they can. (Which is separate from getting them to believe that they should.)

In this case the video wasn't actually on Geeklist's website, so it was Kane who perceived Sanz and Katz as having authority over it when they in fact did not.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 12:39 AM on March 23, 2012


I hate how people use the term "sex sells" when what they mean is "images of young women in very little clothing alongside anything is interpreted as sex".

Sex is not women's bodies. The fact that so many people associate sex solely with women's bodies is part of the problem.


This this this.

And yeah, the fact that a bunch of nasty-ass male programmers associate women primarily with sex in a professional environment is literally exactly the type of hostility that holds women back.
posted by stoneandstar at 12:42 AM on March 23, 2012 [10 favorites]


Kane and everyone else on the Internet. I don't think it's weird for people to assume that a video with the Geekslist logo plastered all over it has something to do with Geekslist.
posted by koeselitz at 12:42 AM on March 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


Repeating delmoi, because this is honestly the stupidest part of this whole argument. You think the word "fucking" is crude?
It's crude, but it's less crude then the video they had just linked too. So at this point, you can't really point to Kane as having been the more crude of the two. The video was all about fucking. Or at least, ejaculating. In your pants. (As a joke.) While a sexy woman gyrates her hips in front of and pulls her panties up and down.
Looks like she got through, somehow.
Or people can't get through their heads that what's actually in their heads doesn't actually matter. It's what you actually do that matters.
I'm not talking about making the men feel "safe." People cannot learn unless they are uncomfortable.
Yes. But stop. Read what we are writing. it doesn't matter if they learn or not. Seriously it does not. It does not matter, not one tiny little iota, if they truly learn to understand why something bad is bad. That is the least important thing in the world

All that matters is that they stop doing it. And this guy did.

When I was a kid. I stuck a fork in a power socket. It hurt. I didn't know that it was because AC current rapidly triggers and un-triggers your nerve endings as it changes direction. I didn't know that nerves worked by electrical ion gradients across cell walls and thus could be triggered by having a large voltage applied to them.

All I knew as that it hurt. And so, I was much more careful playing with electricity. I only got shocked a few more times after that! Later on, as I grew up, I learned more about electricity and neurochemistry, and now I feel like I understand a lot more about why it hurt.

But, none of that has anything to do with my avoiding shocks as a child.

The problem is the assumption that the so called 'un-privileged' have a responsibility to baby and nurture the privileged. Which if you think about it, would actually be a privilege. So you're advocating giving the "privileged" more privileges. That's clearly counterproductive, if the goal is to make people equal.
posted by delmoi at 12:49 AM on March 23, 2012 [9 favorites]


delmoi The other guy's perception is not her responsibility. Why should it be? [...] This crap is annoying. It's as if the responsibility for bad behavior rests on the person the bad behavior targets. It's no different then the "tone" arguments above, except re-cast in the language of feminist theory. Changing the language doesn't make it any less stupid. It's not her or anyone else's responsibility to 'educate' people, if they're not getting paid to do it.

When you address someone, if you have enough empathy or at least enough common sense to do so, you form some mental model of how they will respond to what you have to say. This is entirely separate from the factual content of whatever it is that you are trying to put across.

Facts don't speak for themselves, people speak for them. You are responsible for what you say. If you failed to adequately predict how someone would respond to what you said, and they respond in some way unfavorable to you, then you absolutely are still responsible for that outcome (just as you would be if you had correctly predicted a favourable response, but people don't really mind being responsible for good things).

I'm going to predict that you are thinking "what about the other person's responsibility?". The other person is responsible too. He or she, having heard what you say, is responsible for how he or she takes it, and in turn responds, having mentally modelled (with varying adequacy) your state of mind in having said it, and your state of mind after hearing what they say in response. There is no conflicting responsibility, there is mutual responsibility. You and I are both responsible for this particular discussion between us, as is anyone else who weighs in.

Also, not bothering to "educate" people unless you are paid to do it strikes me as a singularly distasteful way to live, and a bizarre turning point to make that distinction on.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 12:50 AM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm so tired of this 'privilege' nonsense. Is this guy really more 'privileged' then the girl?

Do you know anything at all about the woman's experience of the world? Do you know if she repeatedly got shut out of jobs because she was a woman? Do you know if she ever got harassed at work? Sexually assaulted? Physically abused my a man? If any woman in her family had that experience? Her female friends? If she has repeatedly seen images of women denigrated in work environments?

I'm going to go ahead and guess that you don't have the answer to that. And that's also a mark of privilege -- that you can go ahead and assume a woman hasn't experienced sexism, beacause you haven't.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:51 AM on March 23, 2012 [23 favorites]


To be fair, the video seems like it was a "behind the scenes" type of thing, demonstrating the abilities of the advertising studio in question. GeekList is open for shame in approving a photo of a gal in her chonies, but they can't possibly be held responsible for the entirety of what went on during the shoot, can they?
I tried to make it clear in my comments that that part of the video was a joke. But still, it was there. She was doing it with their t-shirt on. That's what their brand is going to be associated with. And it's especially important when you consider whether or not her use of the word "fuck" was somehow inappropriate.

I don't think it was gross, but it was pornographic. It wasn't appropriate for a website that's aiming for being gender inclusive and professional. So unless they were not aiming for gender inclusive, the video should have been taken down. Which they ultimately did, after making huge asses out of themselves and in general debasing themselves (IMO)
posted by delmoi at 12:52 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do you know anything at all about the woman's experience of the world? Do you know if she repeatedly got shut out of jobs because she was a woman? Do you know if she ever got harassed at work? Sexually assaulted?
Not this woman in particular. But like i said, I know two women who work in Silicon Valley, and they have never mentioned any sexual harassment, and I'm sure they would have. One of them recently changed and was all stressed out about which of the multiple offers she should take, based on what percentage of the company they were going to give her.
posted by delmoi at 12:58 AM on March 23, 2012


I know two women who work in Silicon Valley, and they have never mentioned any sexual harassment, and I'm sure they would have.

You know, your personal anecdotes in no way are a representative sample, and don't represent usable data.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:59 AM on March 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


delmoi Yes. But stop. Read what we are writing. it doesn't matter if they learn or not. Seriously it does not. It does not matter, not one tiny little iota, if they truly learn to understand why something bad is bad. That is the least important thing in the world

All that matters is that they stop doing it. And this guy did.


All that matters to me, delmoi, is that you obey me. I don't even care if you understand my instructions. I don't give a damn if you "agree", I don't recognize you as a thing whose "agreement" matters. You merely act in accordance with my will, or you do not. If you do not, I will hurt you, and if you repeat it I will hurt you more. If you obey, I will stop hurting you. Over time, you will learn to obey my will, or perhaps you will die. You are a non-person, replaceable, empty of worth, empty of meaning.

Would you actually like to be treated like that? Why the hell do you imagine that you have any right to treat others in such a horrendously contemptible, psychopathic manner? That attitude is infinitely worse than anything Katz and Sanz may have done.

Personally, I rather like the idea of being treated as if I mattered, as if my understanding of a request were important to my accession to it. I don't mind being pushed out of the path of a moving train or something, but in general, if I want to be treated as a cognizant being, I must treat others likewise.

I doubt you could opt out of that basic social contract even if you wanted to.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 1:01 AM on March 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


(delmoi, in case I miscommunicated, I was agreeing with you about Fucking-gate. I agree that the stupid part of the argument is that people are fainting over a curse word when the video itself is uncivil. And I like your shock-treatment analogy.)

I'm sure they would have

Maybe you shouldn't be. Not least of all because often very driven women like to put it out of their head. And very successful women are still subject to other types of sexual oppression, so I think privilege is still a valid concept.

If you failed to adequately predict how someone would respond to what you said, and they respond in some way unfavorable to you, then you absolutely are still responsible for that outcome

Since you're seemingly arguing from logical principles, what if I'm a woman in an abusive relationship, who doesn't anticipate that her husband will flip his lid? What if I don't anticipate that someone reading my Facebook status across the country is drunk off their ass? I don't see how this is a useful principle when people are acting dishonorably?

aeschenkarnos, again: I would spend nearly every second of my day educating some jackass if I considered it my responsibility to educate the ignorant pro bono. Yes, sexism is that ubiquitous.
posted by stoneandstar at 1:03 AM on March 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


Oh, Jesus-- when some dude is being a fucking douche and threatening my equality in society, no, I don't give a fuck about him. I don't even give a fuck about hurting him. I just want it to stop. This is very dumb.

"My will" is that you (whoever you are) quit stomping all over me, so yeah, fucking quit it. If you have to learn by example that ignoring a sexist ad will get you chewed out across the internet, fine, just quit it. This is not exactly 1984.
posted by stoneandstar at 1:13 AM on March 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


BTW, this is why "education" is such a waste of time-- I'm talking about my ability to have a career where I'm not objectified or held behind in the workplace, and a guy is making tortured philosophical arguments (that aren't even cited tbh) at everyone. This is not an abstract debate when the insults and barbs, alienation, condescension, invalidation, &c. affect you every day.

And I'm officially talking to myself, so I'm out. Queen of the hill?
posted by stoneandstar at 1:20 AM on March 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm talking about taking into account that men have no experience being a woman, and educating them in language that explains the experience of being a woman to someone who does not naturally conceive it. Not once, not twice, but repeatedly until thinking that way becomes natural. That's how education works. That's how minds are transformed.

Honestly, I'm over pro bono work for changing hearts and minds of men who think a mimed ejaculation video is the height of professionalism, but using the word fucking is beyond the pale.

If it takes being called a hysterical bitch to get fucking sexist shit taken off the internet, I'm cool with that. I get called a hysterical bitch for holding onto my purse tighter when someone walks up behind me, for fucks sake, and all that accomplishes is having a weapon ready just in case.

There are a lot of lies used to shut women up. "Be nice and we'll listen" is one of them. No, actually the reality is, be nice and we'll pat you on the head and ignore you and nothing will fucking change. Another is "don't challenge authority". You know what, fuck that - especially in a geek world. What the fuck do geeks and nerds do OTHER than challenge authority? But suddenly, because the authority is geek MEN we geek women should sit down and shut up?

I really don't care if the bullies learn their afterschool special lesson about how Women Are People Too. I care that they stop being fucking sexist in public.

Fuck.

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.

Fuckity fuck fuck.

Fuck.

P.S. If you want me to teach you to not be a sexist, my fee is 90$ an hour, minimum an hour.
posted by Deoridhe at 1:29 AM on March 23, 2012 [34 favorites]


See, I keep reading comments along the lines of "OMG how unprofessional/inappropriate!* this should have been carried out in an email", but that's pretty disingenuous because regardless of how it started Stanz and Katz could have finished it via a personal email at any time they wished. It's not as if Kane was holding a gun to their heads, forcing them to continue the conversation via Twitter.

See, I'm a totally privileged white male and I can tell you exactly how I would have responded to this (because I've been in similar public situations): again, assuming we actually know each other (like the people in question here), the moment her grievance was made public, no matter how "fighty" it was, I would have been on the phone with her to resolve the complaint. This is not only good customer service, but just good human behavior in nearly every scenario.

And it doesn't matter how you frame it: if the premise of your argument sounds anything like "well she shouldn't have started the conversation at level 8" or "if you are bitchy people will stop listening it's just human nature" then you have chosen the tone argument.


*As a personal rule I consider the majority of uses of the words professional and appropriate to be rude and condescending, and my gut reaction is to tell that person to Fuck Right Off. Human nature or not, if you're actually interested in the truth you'll be willing to handle people who lack your goddamned sense of decorum.
posted by Doleful Creature at 1:47 AM on March 23, 2012 [12 favorites]


the tone argument argument is dumb
posted by Snyder at 1:49 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


stoneandstar Since you're seemingly arguing from logical principles, what if I'm a woman in an abusive relationship, who doesn't anticipate that her husband will flip his lid? What if I don't anticipate that someone reading my Facebook status across the country is drunk off their ass? I don't see how this is a useful principle when people are acting dishonorably?

That's a whole other philosophical discussion, and to bring it back to the case at hand, Katz and Sanz are responsible for posting a sexist video that has antagonized people, which they could and should have predicted. Their parents, early influencers, and the culture in which they were raised are collectively responsible for teaching them that their actions in that regard were okay. And so on back to the dawn of time. But they are still responsible for what they do now.

(I did not expect to be debating the moral value of simple recognition of other human beings' agency, for fuck's sake.)
posted by aeschenkarnos at 1:53 AM on March 23, 2012


What's wrong with being sexy?
posted by Meatbomb at 2:16 AM on March 23, 2012


What's wrong with being sexy?

This is why we can't have nice things.

YOU RUINED CHRISTMAS.
posted by Deoridhe at 2:21 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Aeschenkarnos, why are you debating agency? My point was that your argument about prediction was irrelevant.

Meatbomb is invisible, everyone.
posted by stoneandstar at 2:22 AM on March 23, 2012


I think Meatbomb is suggesting that the video would have been better if it were in Dubly.
posted by ShutterBun at 2:27 AM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why would it have helped if the video were shot in a tiny, oil-rich middle eastern nation?
posted by koeselitz at 2:39 AM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


The girl would have been in a burqa.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:48 AM on March 23, 2012


It's really not that offensive. You should have seen the video they wanted to make!
posted by Meatbomb at 2:52 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


cjorgensen : This is like when people put in, "RTs are not an endorsement." Then what the fuck are they?

Sometimes they're a "Look at what this idiot said", to alert followers of an epic catfight starting between a bunch of geeks in San Francisco. :)
posted by dabitch at 2:58 AM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Apologies, I'm getting tired, and conflated a couple of comments.

I think there are two parts to the issue of "the tone argument". One part of it is: X says something in an aggressive manner to Y, and Y seizes upon the aggression as an excuse to ignore the content of what X actually said. This includes demonizing X for being aggressive, etc. It is a cynical action on Y's part, and in particular where X objected to some situation that privileges Y, it becomes a means of Y unfairly retaining that privilege. The more infuriating the privilege, and more frustrating it is to X, the more likely that X, being human, will make the comment in an aggressive manner. Hence infuriating/frustrating privileges are more persistent than dull ones, as those who object to them keep getting dismissed as aggressive.

The other part is that X and Y are humans, and if X says something in an aggressive manner to Y, regardless of context, it is quite likely that Y will take that badly and respond emotionally; being defensive, being aggressive back, ignoring X, etc. It's awfully hard to tell what goes on in Y's head, from the outside.

Now in my understanding of the article linked by Doleful Creature, and reading down delmoi's earlier comment to somewhere within the bounds of common sense and decency, there is an argument to be made that it's not relevant to X what goes on in Y's head, that X's engagement with Y in any meaningful manner is optional.

As the two are members of the same society this would leave only sociopolitical power between the two to decide the matter on. And, going back to the base premises of the matter under discussion, we are talking about a differential in sociopolitical power with X at the bottom. This implies that by refusing to engage with Y, X faces a certain loss.

And yet changes for the better do occur. So what happens then? I think it's the third party: Z. Z engages with Y. Perhaps Z is a member of the same privileged group as Y, perhaps Z is in a group with X but more patient or appealing to Y, perhaps Y has been wearied and had some time to reflect, but for whatever reason Z has been successful in convincing Y to change.

Whether or not X educated Y, X did educate Z. Perhaps X's aggression motivated Z. Perhaps Z was more empathetic to X, seeing X's distress. Who knows? My point is that the tone argument as it has been presented here so far is incomplete. It doesn't matter if Y's attitude and feelings matter to X; so long as X matters to Z, and Z matters to Y, X can change Y through Z.

But some people have to matter to each other.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 3:07 AM on March 23, 2012


¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by stoneandstar at 3:14 AM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think if anybody had called something associated with the company I work for "fucking gross", I may have lost the plot a little too.

Nobody comes out of this well. I may be missing something, but everyone here is acting badly. It could have been handled better by all parties involved.

Sometimes I find the "these are the typical ways they silence us" gambit to be overworked. Sometimes people are angry at each other regardless of their genders. Sometimes people say stupid things outside the context of privilege.

Even if @csanz is being threatening (which I'm not convinced he is), saying "How To Silence Women Speaking Out About Sexism: 1. Focus on tone and semantics to distract. 2. Make subtle economic threats. 3. PROFIT?" misses the point for me. This isn't how you silence women, it's how you silence anyone.

I didn't think the video was sexist, didn't think that the people at geeklist were doing or saying anything they wouldn't say to either gender. I do think that everybody handled the situation badly.
posted by zoo at 3:20 AM on March 23, 2012


Sometimes people are angry at each other regardless of their genders. Sometimes people say stupid things outside the context of privilege.

And sometimes men try to assassinate a woman's career because she spoke up about sexism. Whoops!

Congratulations, though I find the "sexism doesn't exist" gambit overworked by sexists.
posted by stoneandstar at 3:24 AM on March 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm not convinced with the tone argument thing either. I think "tone" is used to shut down discussions, and to highlight this is a useful tool, but if I'm being an idiot in a discussion like this, and someone pulls me up for being an idiot then it's sometimes less than useful of me to say "Ah, typical - You're reverting to a tone argument because you know I'm right and you're trying to move the conversation to being about my failings"

Can we not just assume that @csanz finds swearing offensive, cut out the swears and go back to the point at hand.
posted by zoo at 3:26 AM on March 23, 2012


sometimes men try to assassinate a woman's career because she spoke up about sexism.
Sometimes they do. I'm not convinced that this is what is happening in this situation.
posted by zoo at 3:27 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


It is literally what is happening.
posted by stoneandstar at 3:28 AM on March 23, 2012 [18 favorites]


But if we're to take their word for it, Sanz and Katz weren't even claiming that 'please take it down, it's fucking gross' warranted that response. They were claiming that she'd attacked and insulted them and their brand in more egregious ways, which is where all the "I have a family" stuff came in. When she asked for details, Sanz claimed he couldn't give them because she'd deleted those tweets.

I appreciate Storify can make Twitter conversations hard to follow, so here's the actual exchange with all the @-so-and-so parts taken out. (For those unfamiliar with Twitter: everything here is a reply to the tweet before it, which means that the user has clicked 'reply' on an individual comment, not just addressed something generally to that person):

Katz: we actually replied nicely in public too. My partner [Sanz] was a gentleman, but F-bombs and calling us sexist is lame.
Kane: yes, i said your video was "fucking gross" and i maintain it.
Sanz: that's just one thing u said, you attacked us personally and the company.. you clearly have no shame.
Kane: please show me where i did that.
Sanz: Can't now because you deleted all the tweets where you mentioned sexist. Nice.
Kane: I HAVE NOT DELETED A SINGLE TWEET

It is possible to delete individual tweets on Twitter. But if she had, and Katz or Sanz had replied to them (which presumably they would have done), there'd be evidence of it. Which there doesn't seem to be.

So, either a) Sanz was purposefully lying about what Shanley said in order to avoid addressing what she actually said, or else b) Sanz was filtering her objection through so many of his own assumptions about How Women Object To Things that he actually convinced himself of things that never happened. (I was assuming a) to start with, but after reading so many odd things in this thread, b) is probably much more likely.)

But either way: what is Kane supposed to do, exactly, in a situation where her actual points are being dismissed because of 'attacks' that she didn't even make? She can't say them more politely, because she didn't say them in the first place. She can't apologise for saying them, because she didn't say them in the first place. She can't expand upon them in more detail and explain what she really meant in a helpful and educational way, because she doesn't even know what the hell it is they were, because... she didn't say them in the first place. Claiming that Kane is responsible for the way this conversation went is beyond disingenuous.
posted by Catseye at 3:29 AM on March 23, 2012 [24 favorites]


You know, your personal anecdotes in no way are a representative sample, and don't represent usable data.
Two examples are more statistically relevant then zero examples. And I'm not at all saying that this woman has never been sexually harassed, or dealt with sexism in general. But why presume this guy has had a problem free life? Maybe he's been turned down for a job because someone else was more well connected then him? That's my point. Or, let's say this guy had to work a crappy job for years, while Kane was able to get right into the startup game because her parents were rich and knew some VCs?

The assumption you're making by saying that he must have more privilege then her is the assumption that race/gender/whatever privilege is the only 'stuff' that can fit in the 'knapsack' but in reality, a lot of stuff can go in there.

In an environment like this, personal connections matter far more then any signifier, because personal connections are how you get the really good jobs. There are probably jobs at larger companies where they do more traditional job posting, and in those cases biases may come into play.

I think it's totally fair to say that the median woman in tech has less privilege and more stops in her path then the median guy in tech. But you can say the same thing about height. The average woman is shorter then the average guy, but that doesn't mean Charleze Theron is shorter then Tom Cruise. Or Danny DeVito. (and by the way, height is another thing that confers a huge amount of privilege)

Anyway, I went on LinkedIn to check their resumes. Shanley went to CMU, which is pretty elite in the CS world. She worked in PR at CMU for year, and her next job was an account executive at "Launch Squad", where she got articles in major tech news sites and, as well as the Atlantic. Then she worked as a marketing PM at some company called Apigee. Two months ago she got this job at Basho as "director or project management".

This is all, by the way, in four years. She graduated in 2008.

Christian Sanz doesn't list any college education at all. He was an IT admin in the Navy for four years, then worked as a Sys Admin at a hospital for a year. He worked as a web developer, then as a software engineer for 4 years at Disney Then worked his way up the ranks at break.com from 05 to left break to be the VP/CTO at some company I'd never heard of in 2008. In other words, when Shanley was just graduating CMU, Christian had been working for 14 years, starting as a Sysadmin in the Navy, working his way up to VP/CTO at some startup.

So, which one of them started with more privilege here? Is a woman with a masters degree who's gotten the roll of director of product management 4 years after graduating graduate school really less privileged then a guy who started out as an IT guy in the navy and never went to college?

After reading that, I kind of feel a bit more sympathy for the guy. There are a lot of motivations besides sexism that could have caused his response. It could be an age thing. She would only have been 10 years old when he joined the navy, and it could also have been a 'class' jealousy thing, he would have felt he'd worked harder to get where he was. He might have responded the same way, had he been

(Oh, and here's the weird part: The friend I mentioned before who had to pick which job offer to take, is only one degree of separation from Shanley. And Christian was one degree of separation from another college friend, although I kind of lost touch with that guy. Talk about random coincidences. I only have four connections on linkedin, and hardly ever use the site.)
All that matters to me, delmoi, is that you obey me. I don't even care if you understand my instructions. I don't give a damn if you "agree", I don't recognize you as a thing whose "agreement" matters. You merely act in accordance with my will, or you do not. If you do not, I will hurt you, and if you repeat it I will hurt you more.
When it comes to actions that harm or put other people at risk, that's absolutely true.

Imagine, for a moment we were in a car together. I'm behind the wheel and you thought I was driving too fast, on one of those roads on a mountain with cliffs on both sides. And you thought I was going to kill us both.

What you just said right there? That's exactly how you would feel in that situation.

You wouldn't care if I understood why you thought it was dangerous, all that would matter to you is that I slow down. When you're not in the car, you could care less how fast I drive, right?
Would you actually like to be treated like that?
Why should it matter to you how I feel?

There is one reason, of course. Most people have some level of empathy. So if they do something that hurts someone's feeling, they'll feel bad. But they also have 'empathy' for their future selves, or they have empathy for how their family might feel if they died when the car they were in flew off the side of a mountain.

People balance the reflected feelings caused by hurting someone's feelings, with the feelings they (or their families) have to endure if the person keeps doing what they're doing.

Worrying more about how other people feel then you do, even when those people are hurting you or putting you at risk is masochistic, or at least 'submissive'.

I think it's pretty ridiculous for one man to lecture another man about how women should worry more about our feelings then theirs, It's something I disagree with completely. Obviously, in a relationship - you want to have balance, but you want to also be at the same level of relative self/other empathy that they do. Otherwise: problems.

But these people weren't in a relationship. They were just professional acquaintances. Why should she treat him like he's her boyfriend?

But the big problem I have is with this idea that 'lesser' people (women and minorities) should just roll over and take it when their 'superior' people insult them. The idea is that 'superior' people have every right to insult and belittle, and 'lesser' people have no right, to do the opposite, and instead must try to avoid insulting the feelings of the 'superior'.

Fundamentally, this idea is intrinsically tied to the idea there are lesser and superior people. If you believe people are equal, or at least that everyone has equal 'standing', then the idea is completely meaningless. In CS terms, they are logic gates connected to nothing, dead code in an if statement that will never be true. Just ugly useless noise.

That isn't to say it can be practically a good idea to be nice to people who have more power, but men aren't all united against women. But the idea that people with less power have a moral responsibility to be nicer to people with more power is so obviously warped and authoritarian that - well it's obviously pretty warped and authoritarian.

Now this question again:
All that matters to me, delmoi, is that you obey me. I don't even care if you understand my instructions. I don't give a damn if you "agree", I don't recognize you as a thing whose "agreement" matters.

Would you actually like to be treated like that? Why the hell do you imagine that you have any right to treat others in such a horrendously contemptible, psychopathic manner?
There are two conceptual problems with this: 1) is it psychopathic/sociopath to put a psychopath/sociopath in prison, and not worry about trying to make him not sociopath (which I don't think we think is even possible, as it is caused by neurological issues?) Yet, that requires we do what you just said is sociopath itself. Your model of sociopath makes no distinction between pro-social and anti-social behavior. Altrusitic punishment (which sounds somewhat oxymoronic, but isn't) is an important concept to understand, where individuals punish people who hurt society as a whole even at a cost to themselves as individuals. Our entire justice system is based on the idea that people in society can punish those who cause problems for society, until they stop doing it.

Society itself cannot be sociopathic by definition.

Anyway, behaving in that way can be either anti-social or pro-social, depending on whether someone is trying to modify someone's behavior in a way that benefits society, or benefits only ourselves.

The second conceptual problem is this idea that somehow you would ever have the power to do this. In the case of altruistic punishment, people can only do it when society is backing them up. In this case, 'society' backed up Shanley Kane, and agreed that the video was offensive.

If Kane had instead demanded that Shanz re-shot the ad but this time cover the model in green body paint, people would just have assumed she was joking. She could not have gotten society on her side.

At the same time Kane clearly suffered for this. People flipped out on hacker news. People even called her "bitchy" here on meta-filter.

It's a textbook example of altruistic punishment. Kane put herself in a position to take a beating in the twitter sphere for the benefit of womankind. She probably underestimated what would happen, she might have thought she'd just offend the guy and he'd think less of her. But that's still altruistic punishment. That is antipsychotic, pro-social behavior. Not the reverse.

So that's the irony of what you're saying. Altrusitic punishment isn't just not a violation of the social contract. Not only is it condoned, by the social contract, altrusitic punishment is the enforcement mechanism of the social contract.

Btw, I linked to the PDF since there was no article on Wikipedia on altruistic punishment, the paper actually suggests a mathematical model for how altruistic punishment could have evolved. Interesting stuff... which i don't have time to read
posted by delmoi at 3:29 AM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


stoneandstar: Also, I'm not trying to say sexism doesn't exist. I'm trying to work out if this is cut and dried sexism.

The fact that you're "literally" sure that geeklist are (a) trying to shut this @shanley down and (b) that they're doing it *because* she spoke out against sexism doesn't mean that is literally what is happening.

I think there's room for interpretation in this situation.
posted by zoo at 3:31 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Although everyone is discussing the question of whether the video is sexist, Kane didn't actually call it sexist until a ways into the conversation. She more specifically complained that it was objectifying and sexualizing women in the context of geek culture; seems to me like, for the people protesting that the video isn't sexist, whether or not those more specific claims are true ought to be addressed before getting into the more subjective (?) issue of whether doing so is sexist.
posted by XMLicious at 3:35 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, where exactly?

I can't see any other way to get from A to B, except that he's just dumb. Which, fine, but he said a lot of ignorant stuff anyhow. I think the conflict escalated because he was ignorant.

whether or not those more specific claims are true ought to be addressed

That happened like lightyears above your comment and did not result in a consensus, because it never has in time's history. If you don't think alienating women from a career building site is sexist (and plenty of women have attested that it's alienating, so the evidence is there), you're coming up with lots of clever ideas about what female professionals "should" be like in a world where bootstraps are in fashion.
posted by stoneandstar at 3:42 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is a woman with a masters degree who's gotten the roll of director of product management 4 years after graduating graduate school really less privileged then a guy who started out as an IT guy in the navy and never went to college?

Yes. You don't get to pick certain arbitrary measurements of privilege while ignoring other factors that also contribute to social, economic, and career equality. Things like welcoming work environments, assumptions of competency, fair hiring practices, inclusive extra-curricular networking opportunities, access to capital, assumption of physical safety...and plenty of other things that people who are privileged enough to take for granted never think to add to their list of things that helped get them where they are.
posted by billyfleetwood at 4:03 AM on March 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


That happened like lightyears above your comment

Yeah, sorry, I was lagging way behind reading the thread and caught up to that point right after I posted that. I guess it wasn't clear but I entirely agree that the video was sexist; it seemed to me that people were trying to shift the discussion from what she actually, specifically articulated about why the video was sexist to some more nebulous discussion.
posted by XMLicious at 4:24 AM on March 23, 2012


Wow -- I read a lot of the thread here before clicking over and reading the actual twitter exchange, and I expected to see Kane being really rude and fighty. She's actually very reasonable, and they're clearly the ones who take it to the unprofessional place.

For those who say that she just barged in and "yelled" "please take it down, it's fucking gross", I think you're ignoring the context -- first she asks about it politely ("why the ads with a woman in her underwear..."), then they respond in a playful manner (" oh that was super old ad created by a friend, we need an updated version that shows less skin! :)"), she responds with the "please take it down" to indicate that she's not joking, they immediately attack her tone ("why the aggressive tone?"), and she responds with ("because it's aggressively offensive, yo") which seems actually quite friendly -- firm, but friendly. From that point on, they start harping on their tone. It's really pretty upsetting to read.
posted by cider at 4:46 AM on March 23, 2012 [17 favorites]


The fact that you're "literally" sure that geeklist are (a) trying to shut this @shanley down and (b) that they're doing it *because* she spoke out against sexism doesn't mean that is literally what is happening.

Well, they wanted to shut down the public discussion with her about her grievances, right? It seems apparent to me that was why they kept insisting that the discussion needed to be taken to email (if you search through they really hammered on this again and again and again) while not actually switching to email themselves, but despite carrying on the public conversation almost completely avoided actually addressing her concerns about the video, and claimed that she had "managed to make a public debacle".

I mean, you see that they basically just kept trying out various ways to pressure her into retracting what she'd said or to stop talking, right? And that they were trying to rid themselves of public accusations of sexism?

Certainly, they were entirely thinking about themselves rather than pursuing some broad societal issue, but it seems pretty clear to me that they were trying to shut down her public discussion of sexism on their part. They were even saying that she shouldn't even express opinions like that publicly at all because of the position she holds at one of their business partners.
posted by XMLicious at 4:55 AM on March 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


The founders Christian Sanz and Reuben Katz are now looking for redemption.

*facepalm* And doing an awful job of it with this April/March "Women in Tech" thing. WHY OH WHY do these people never get good PR advice?
posted by DarlingBri at 5:08 AM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Then, the entire internet got mad.

That's what that noise was. I thought some cats were fighting in the backyard.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:08 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's unbelievable to me that this thread is at least 90% about tone. It's not even derail territory, this is bombing the stations and mining the bridges and ripping up the tracks.
posted by fightorflight at 5:20 AM on March 23, 2012 [12 favorites]


Yes. You don't get to pick certain arbitrary measurements of privilege while ignoring other factors that also contribute to social, economic, and career equality. Things like welcoming work environments, assumptions of competency, fair hiring practices, inclusive extra-curricular networking opportunities, access to capital, assumption of physical safety...and
Nope, but I really don't think you can say that a man without a college degree is more 'privileged' in silicon valley then a woman with a masters from CMU. It certainly isn't true that they make more money on average. Sanz is an extreme outlier for his demographic extreme (unless he just left off his college education for some reason, which I seriously doubt). None of that excuses his behavior. But is don't think you can draw a hard line between men and women and say every man is more privileged then every woman. I'm sure the average woman with a masters makes more then the average man with no college and navy experience. It would be interesting to see the numbers, but I don't really have time to look it up.
She would only have been 10 years old when he joined the navy, and it could also have been a 'class' jealousy thing, he would have felt he'd worked harder to get where he was. He might have responded the same way, had he been -- me
Er, I was going to say had he been talking to a dude. But then I thought about it a bit more and thought maybe not. It's hard to believe he would have responded the same way if a guy had said it the same way. It's complicated, but I think had a guy told him in his mind he'd think "This guy is mad because he's worried I might embarrass him by offending some woman" - whereas with a woman saying he thinks "I've offended some woman!? Oh no, that can't be right, she must be wrong!" he might not verbalize it that way.

The thing is, for a guy offending an attractive girl is actually a painful experience, much more so then offending some dude. That's probably where this "tone argument" comes from. But it's the responsibility of the guy to check this and realize that it's not her fault you feel due to her saying something that wouldn't bother you if a guy said it.


(Oh and another issue that might have contributed to it may be the fact she's a PR person and writer, professionally, while he's been doing IT since she was in grade school - those things may have contributed to it, particularly with his 'imma tell your boss' stuff. He thought of her as someone who was, or at least should be, below him on the totem poll. He might not have responded the same way if a woman the same age and with the same 'chops' as him made the comment. There are a lot of class, status, status anxiety, age and gender dynamics in play here. Could be part of why he was annoyed at the 'yo' thing)
The other part is that X and Y are humans, and if X says something in an aggressive manner to Y, regardless of context, it is quite likely that Y will take that badly and respond emotionally; being defensive, being aggressive back, ignoring X, etc. It's awfully hard to tell what goes on in Y's head, from the outside.
Yeah, but what I'm saying is that, as a guy, in my experience, it hurts way more to be criticized by a pretty girl then it does by another guy, unless it's someone I've known for a long time I guess.

It's not caused by some kind of socialized 'sexism' but rather I think by physical attraction and the fact that a 'harsh' statement from someone you're attracted to is a blow pride and how you feel about how attractive you are.

But even if it's not based on "sexism" it's still detrimental to women, if they want to be managers they have to criticize when their employees screw up, etc. If they behave like men, they seem like worse people then men to men. I think guys need to recognize where these feelings come from, and dismiss them.

(That is to say, having a stronger emotional response to criticism by women may not be due to "sexism" in your "heart" but for women, a failure to respond the same way is functionally identical to sexism)

But ultimately, it's not women's responsibility to explain it to them. It's something they need to figure out on their own. Or not. If they don't they can sit in stew in their bitterness. These days, those people no longer have enough power to somehow turn back the clock on women's rights. And a lot of the 'bitter' nerds are afraid to act out in blatantly sexist ways at work due to the previously mentioned possibility of altruistic punishment (or, perhaps punishment by HR)
I think if anybody had called something associated with the company I work for "fucking gross", I may have lost the plot a little too.
Does your company put out videos with graphical ejaculation jokes paired with gyrating models? And if they did would you at that point be surprised? I mean, I doubt employees of Reddit are surprised when they get called gross, everyone knows what goes on in some of those subreddits, especially some of the ones that don't exist anymore. If you're going to engage in raunchy of course you are going to get pushback.

That's what I meant about the oversensitive, crybaby attitude by the guy. No matter what you do on the internet, people will complain. Sometimes they will be mean about it. The more controversial or 'edgy' it is, the more complaints it will get. This guy was an idiot if he thought he could put out a video like that without anyone complaining.
Can we not just assume that @csanz finds swearing offensive, cut out the swears and go back to the point at hand.

N- o- p- e

And anyway, how could you have a problem with the word "fuck" but not a model gyrating her hips and tugging on her underwear while a guy (jokingly) pretends to take pictures and ejaculate all over the inside of his pants, all while she's wearing a t-shirt with your company's logo?

The vulgarity of the video, compared to the 'vulgarity' of the response is the problem with that argument.
Although everyone is discussing the question of whether the video is sexist, Kane didn't actually call it sexist until a ways into the conversation. She more specifically complained that it was objectifying and sexualizing women in the context of geek culture; seems to me like
To be perfectly clear here, before Sanz flipped out and tattled to her boss, all she had said about the video was that it was 'gross'.
What's wrong with being sexy?
There's nothing wrong with being sexy, IMO. and you can sell stuff to women using sex to women as well as men. Look at Victoria's secret, for example. I don't want to "speak for women" on the issue, but it's easy to imagine a woman who wants her boyfriend to appreciate her body in a sexual way in the bedroom, but doesn't want her co-workers doing it at work, and even less want to work in an industry where her sex appeal and willingness to put up with "nice tits!" comments determines how many views her portfolio gets on some (hypothetically) inexplicably popular bullshit social network run by pervy brogrammers.
posted by delmoi at 5:20 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Having seen the video, I think saying it's fucking gross is using a nice tone. Unless these people are running the Magic Knickers of Funville site or a Women, We Like Like You Because You Dance Semi-naked for Us webgetogehterathon, this is a terrible video to have associated with their brand.

I don't actually have a problem with using sex to sell things. I do, however, have major issues with using women in their knickers as a selling point for your supposedly all-inclusive geek site. Or any all-inclusive site. The least of their issues is having some one point out that that is fucking gross on the Internet.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 5:32 AM on March 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


I really don't think you can say that a man without a college degree is more 'privileged' in silicon valley then a woman with a masters from CMU.

What in happy fuck does that have to do with how the idiots from Geeklist represented themselves? I am stunned by the direction of this thread. Who cares about her attitude? They did a shitty thing, got called on it and, instead of either fixing the shitty thing or ignoring it, chose to respond in a terrible way.

Oh, but it's ok because he has a salt-of-the-earth background according to your 15 seconds of digging on the Internet. Great.
posted by yerfatma at 5:35 AM on March 23, 2012 [15 favorites]


For the first time in a long while I read an entire MetaFilter thread, and I am absolutely disgusted by the sexist pricks that make up a portion of this community. For all the times we see the rah-rah MetaFilter is so great, it is threads like this that make me want to walk away. I imagine there were many more people who had valuable things to say to fight the sexist crap that was being spewed here, but for whatever reason decided not to wade into the muck, so I want to thank ALL of those people who took the time to express why the fight against sexism is still needed not only in society, but RIGHT HERE ON METAFILTER. Special shoutout to stoneandstar, who was a superstar in this thread.
posted by terrapin at 5:39 AM on March 23, 2012 [45 favorites]


WHY OH WHY do these people never get good PR advice?

I'm speculating here but the culture in tech startups is one of always knowing what's best and just being either too cheap or broke to pay for it. Lean startup and all that.

Also, I watched the whole @sqoot thing unfold and I believe the backlash they received upon their stupidity was rightfully justified but I'd like to point out that @shanley was involved in that one as well and is now going around ambushing people on Twitter and demanding that comments offensive to her be removed from forum threads while simultaneously claiming economic immunity while promoting her employer. This is a series of events that will not lead to positive outcomes for those involved, especially when people begin attacking free speech.

She's is in her right to be offended but in this case the offending parties are in their right as well. Obviously misguided and sexist, yet in their right.

The tech community has its problems, gender issues being right at the top, and will rally when it comes to pressuring organizations or people to change their attitude but invoking one's right to live in a hostile-free world through censorship isn't going to be popular. The community simply doesn't work like that. Changing people's minds is a lot harder than organizing a Twitter/Reddit/Facebook storm or demanding that speech be mitigated.
posted by jsavimbi at 5:52 AM on March 23, 2012


Catseye pulls out the key moment for me:

Sanz: that's just one thing u said, you attacked us personally and the company.. you clearly have no shame.
Kane: please show me where i did that.
Sanz: Can't now because you deleted all the tweets where you mentioned sexist. Nice.
Kane: I HAVE NOT DELETED A SINGLE TWEET


"You clearly have no shame" is about as obvious an example of using tone to stomp out criticism from a woman as it's possible to get. That Sanz is *making shit up* as he does it is icing on the cake. Drive-by comments that the "tone argument argument" is stupid are absurd. There it is, clear as day.
posted by mediareport at 5:54 AM on March 23, 2012 [15 favorites]


WHY OH WHY do these people never get good PR advice?

Because they are guys in startups. One of the first conclusions you make in a tech startup: "Marketing is a dead paradigm. It all happens organically now, man. And we don't need sales people because our product is so great." So when someone rings up to say the product is shit, the Emperor has no clothes, etc, the resulting flip-out is doubly ugly.

You may draw what conclusions you like about the current state of Google.
posted by yerfatma at 5:56 AM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm not going to read this entire thread right now because with reviews like terrapin's, why should I? I will probably read later to catch up and so as not to be hypocritical considering my further words below.

I do want to say that there are ethical ways to disagree and there are unethical ways. Silencing, insulting, ad hominems are all classic, stupid (because it does nothing to promote discussion or mutual understanding) wastes of time and energy. And it's unethical too. Ethics, I assert, especially in this context (of having a contributed, moderated web log where discussion is king) are that we SHOULD be prepared to discuss hard things and if we're not prepared, maybe we should do our best not to bring the fight.

When we clash with others, we can do a lot of different things, depending on the kinds of people we are. But I think it's a reasonable expectation to have folks in a discussion like this all be invested in finding a way to build a bridge. We cannot do this unilaterally. Folks on either side of the chasm need to figure out how to build the bridge together.

But when we are at our best, we engage with our fellow conversationalists. We take on new ideas and we derive even newer ones. And that's how we as a culture, a society and a community move forward. I think that's us at our best. At our worst, our feelings are hurt, we are unable to hear what the other person is saying and we can't move on.

One of the things I've learned from the mods over on MeFightClub's minecraft server communities is herrdoktor's ROTATO, and that boils down, be excellent to each other, and if you can't do that, be civil, and if you can't do that, go be alone for a while and figure out how to do the first or the second. When you are capable of discussing in good faith, then come back and have fun with us or help us making the world a better place. But please do it WITH us, not for our own good.
posted by kalessin at 5:56 AM on March 23, 2012


Also, I watched the whole @sqoot thing unfold and I believe the backlash they received upon their stupidity was rightfully justified but I'd like to point out that @shanley was involved in that one as well and is now going around ambushing people on Twitter and demanding that comments offensive to her be removed from forum threads while simultaneously claiming economic immunity while promoting her employer. This is a series of events that will not lead to positive outcomes for those involved, especially when people begin attacking free speech.

It already did lead to a positive outcome. The ad got pulled, everyone knows that the geeklist guys are douches, maybe a few other tech companies noticed and think twice before pulling some fratboy bullshit.
posted by empath at 5:57 AM on March 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


and is now going around ambushing people on Twitter and demanding that comments offensive to her be removed from forum threads while simultaneously claiming economic immunity while promoting her employer.

Can you link to any evidence of that? It's a strong accusation, is all I'm saying; it could probably use a link or three.
posted by mediareport at 6:04 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Among my many reactions to this is surprise that anyone at Geeklist got worked up about the sentence, "Please take it down, it's fucking gross." If the worst thing anyone had ever said to me in public in the context of my job was "Please take it down, it's fucking gross," that would be as the massaging of my soul with a gentle feather puff. (Although I would find it difficult to part with my nostalgic attachment to the actual worst thing anyone ever said to me in public in the context of my [not current] job, which was "Get raped with a machete.")

Now, I am not saying that something has to be the worst thing anyone has ever said to you in order for it to rankle or for you to object to it, and frankly, if they want to say she could have been more polite, I wouldn't argue. She could have; it would be a nicer world if we were all 10 percent more polite, I suppose. But I'm surprised that they don't have a thicker callus about this kind of thing, and after she decides to say "fucking gross" instead of "gross" (I really don't know how they could plausibly take issue with anything else she said during that exchange), it's a weird turn into that dynamic of, "If you want to be listened to, you can ask me nicely in private, or do you want me to take this up with your dad?" That does have unhappy intentional or unintentional gender connotations, even if it also implicates lots of other elements of Twitter etiquette. (I'm pretty confident that even many people who saw no elements of gender in that exchange at all and thought she was being rude still thought it was bad form to go to someone's boss over something only tangentially work-related.)

In the end, I admit there's part of me that's more amused than horrified at how badly it went to focus on absolutely everything other than her argument about the video being distasteful and bad for the brand. It turns a little Keystone-Kops-y for me somewhere around "I have a family." I don't think gender dynamics are the only thing at work here, but they certainly seem to have left footprints all over this story and the reactions to it.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 6:16 AM on March 23, 2012 [16 favorites]


maybe a few other tech companies noticed and think twice before pulling some fratboy bullshit

I've been calling out @pud for years for being a smut peddler for using naked women to sell t-shirts yet he's deemed successful enough that VC's will make him EIR and companies will throw money at him or buy out his losing ventures. Drew Curtis has been successfully running Fark on beer and boobies since times immemorial. Reddit has its shady subs. With examples like those it's no surprise that someone wouldn't take a stab at it as well. Except the morons @sqoot appear to have received their sex ed from Joe Francis and misogyny doesn't play well in many circles. Especially in the Boston tech community.

Can you link to any evidence of that? It's a strong accusation, is all I'm saying; it could probably use a link or three.

I'm reading her tweets. What are you really saying? Not from me.
posted by jsavimbi at 6:18 AM on March 23, 2012


For all the times we see the rah-rah MetaFilter is so great, it is threads like this that make me want to walk away.

The original twitter fight didn't seem all that exciting to me, but some of the comments here were seriously eye-rollingly bad. Like, crazy bad. There's something about the intersection of technology and discussions of sexism that brings this out every time, sadly.
posted by Forktine at 6:19 AM on March 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


Great terrapin - I guess that makes me a sexist prick.

Which is weird, because I'm trying hard not to be sexist, I'm completely in agreement that Tech Culture is sexist and I want equal opportunities for all.

I think my biggest failing in all this is that I'm unwilling to demonise one party in this little squabble as automatically sexist. Firstly, because it's probably not true and secondly, because it does nothing to make the situation better.

Anyway - here's some of the terribly sexist things I've done:

I think @shanlon was rude to him.

I think that some people just don't like swearing.

If someone tells me that they're not sexist, I'm happy to accept that as a possibility. In fact, I generally like to think people are not sexist from the get-go.

I think it's hypocritical that he can be accused of making tone arguments in one breath and then slammed when he tries to make amends because his tone is wrong.


Metafilter has some way to go until everyone agrees with everyone else, but painting the site as being overpopulated with male pricks spits on what is actually a very accommodating place.
posted by zoo at 6:20 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I will ashamedly admit that I once said something along the lines of "what if there was a rich woman and a poor man, now who's more priveledged??" when trying to grok sexism during a discussion. I'm just thankful that it happened in person so that my ignorance isn't forever archived on the internets for everyone to see like these schlubs from geekistlist or whatever they call themselves.
posted by some loser at 6:26 AM on March 23, 2012


or, you know, like some other posters in this thread...
posted by some loser at 6:29 AM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think @shanlon was rude to him.

So what? These aren't two people meeting in church, this is someone complaining to a company, and a company that actively seeks out (spams) anyone in the tech community at that.

If you run a business, act like an adult and take criticism in whatever shape it arrives in. Sometimes it's ill-expressed and sometimes it's totally inaccurate. But it doesn't matter. The upside of having a business is it makes money for you. The downside is having to smile even in the faces of your worst enemy. It's basically like being one of the guards outside Buckingham Palace (or where ever those guys are).
posted by yerfatma at 6:32 AM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


What's wrong with being sexy?

This is a Spinal Tap reference, by the way.
posted by howfar at 6:35 AM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


"I think @shanlon was rude to him."

Someone saying "please take down [the video]. it's fucking gross" is maybe a 3 on the asshole scale of 1-10. It's a little demanding, sure, but she did say "please." She didn't say "or else." She didn't call him fucking gross, she called the video fucking gross.

Reuben Katz's response, in which he cc'd her employer, is about an 8 or 9. It's an aggressive asshole move specifically calculated to get her in trouble and shut her up. Fortunately, the good folk at Basho recognized that Ms. Kane was correct and justified in her critique.

also lol that every time a woman isn't verbally polite, men who barely raise an eyebrow about rape or murder suddenly become pearl-clutching Victorians
posted by a_girl_irl at 6:52 AM on March 23, 2012 [27 favorites]


yerfatma:

So nothing. You can be rude to people. But if you are rude and the conversation starts steering itself into the rocks of name calling, arguments and general badness then it shouldn't be all that suprising.

I've no problem with her expressing her opinion that the video was "fucking gross". I swear all the time. It's a fucking awesome thing to do. I just think that people shouldn't be all that suprised that in swearing, she managed to piss someone off.

As people have said upthread, she's achieved her goals. But as other people have said - it's not exactly bridge building.

I would prefer people to build more bridges is all. I'd prefer it if we could work together to make things better for women in technology.
posted by zoo at 6:55 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


the good folk at Basho recognized that Ms. Kane was correct and justified in her critique

Not my reading of the situation at all. The good folk at Basho recognized that @shanlon should be able to have her own opinions on things. They then tried to calm down the situation. They tried to build bridges.

Basho acted correctly in this, and more power to them. But they never said "We totally agree with @shanlon, this is our opinion also."

It probably is their opinion, but they never came out and said it.
posted by zoo at 7:00 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd prefer it if we could work together to make things better for women in technology.

But, as you don't think the initial video was sexist, how are you going to be able to work with someone like Kane who was genuinely offended by it? Whether you like it or not, you're in disagreement with her, and everyone making nice and pretending that they're all on the same side isn't going to change that.

If you and Kane don't want to be on the same side of the river, what on earth is the point of building bridges?
posted by howfar at 7:01 AM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm reading her tweets.

Ah, I thought you were talking about her behavior on other forums. But if you're really suggesting that the insinuations from Geeklist about telling her boss were appropriate, all I can say is her boss disagreed pretty obviously.
posted by mediareport at 7:11 AM on March 23, 2012


Basho acted correctly in this, and more power to them. But they never said "We totally agree with @shanlon, this is our opinion also."
posted by zoo at 7:00 AM on March 23


The CTO of Basho tweeted the following, and the official Bastho account RTd it. It doesn't get much more clear than that. "While @shanley was speaking as an individual, not as the voice of Basho, she has broad support here -- and this individual agrees with her."
posted by a_girl_irl at 7:11 AM on March 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


I am very glad I became aware of this incident yesterday because someone on another site made me aware of Derailing for Dummies.

You know what? I'm guilty of having done a handful of things that were derailing tactics in my time, but once you see them spelled out, as a list, and then look at something like this Metafilter thread it becomes clear what the issue here is.

It doesn't matter if the video was sexist (although it should matter), or who it was created by, or whether Shanley Kane was a little too abrasive or whether this was the right forum. What matters, to me, is that someone made a claim that something was sexist, in a public forum, and was hit with this startling array of derailing, both from the geeklist founders and from different communities where I've seen this discussed:

You're Being Hostile
You Just Enjoy Being Offended
Your Experience Is Not Representative Of Everyone
I Don't Think You're As Marginalised As You Claim
Well I Know Another Person From Your Group Who Disagrees!
You Are Damaging Your Cause By Being Angry

And the new, all-time favorite -- "I have a family." I still don't get that -- someone uses one swear word and speaks out about one video related to your company's brand, you're an individual who employs a number of people and has past experience with running companies, and... you fall back on "I have a family"?
posted by mikeh at 7:13 AM on March 23, 2012 [31 favorites]


I would prefer people to build more bridges is all. I'd prefer it if we could work together to make things better for women in technology.
That's odd to me, because your posts here haven't exactly made me think you're super sincere about making things better for women in technology. Actually, reading this thread feels a little bit like banging my head against a wall, and it's making me rethink my participation in this community. I feel like we go round and round and round and round, and nothing ever changes. So apparently you don't have to use the word fuck to fail at bridge-building!
posted by craichead at 7:14 AM on March 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


Okay, I woke up (on San Francisco time) thinking about this thread, and here's the thing that was bugging me all night. Sanz' first response about this video is this: @shanley @rekatz oh that was super old ad created by a friend, we need an updated version that shows less skin! :)

Super old? We need an updated version? It implies that the ad is some ancient throwback, dating to the '70's when Fiat thought it was ok for advertisers to run ads that read "if this car was a lady, it would get its bottom pinched." But they didn't make that ad in the 1970's, they made that ad at a time when they ought to have known better. And that first response has struck me as pat-on-the head dismissive. So it surprises me not one whit that Shanley Kane resorted to "it's fucking gross" to get her point across.
posted by ambrosia at 7:15 AM on March 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


Oh god. "Fucking gross"?

So, any content that anyone else finds "fucking gross" must be taken down, at once. Like those videos that show guys kissing each other? I know lots of folks think that is fucking gross!

OMG! MEN HAVE SEXUALITY! FUCKING GROSS!

We must judge everything by the values of the most up-tight, grossed-out person on the internet. Only then can we be sure we aren't objectifying anything offensive.

Woops. That would be very offensive, wouldn't it?
posted by Goofyy at 7:19 AM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


OMG! MEN HAVE SEXUALITY! FUCKING GROSS!
posted by craichead at 7:22 AM on March 23, 2012


Urgh. Sorry. Didn't mean to hit the "post comment" button.

I was going to say that the problem is not with straight men having sexuality. It's with assuming that straight men are the only audience for tech stuff. It's with reinforcing the idea that women exist in tech as objects of male lust, not as actual people who might buy your product.

And if you think that's the same as objecting to pictures of two men kissing, you may just not be capable of following this discussion.
posted by craichead at 7:25 AM on March 23, 2012 [16 favorites]


Goofyy, I think the point is that this woman, as an individual, found a video connected to a company she has personally interacted with to be gross. If you find material disgusting, you are more than capable of avoiding it. If it's connected to a business you have considered using, then you might go to a different vendor. This particular video was promoting a brand she felt she had a personal stake in, and did not like how it portrayed a brand that she presumably actually liked, or had reason to interact with.

Basically, the founders of the company attempted to use the reason she was concerned with their image against her.
posted by mikeh at 7:33 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


OMG! MEN HAVE SEXUALITY!

Yeah, wow. That's just a crazily pinched view of the issues here.
posted by mediareport at 7:37 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Goofyy, I think the point is that this woman, as an individual, found a video connected to a company she has personally interacted with to be gross. If you find material disgusting, you are more than capable of avoiding it. If it's connected to a business you have considered using, then you might go to a different vendor. This particular video was promoting a brand she felt she had a personal stake in, and did not like how it portrayed a brand that she presumably actually liked, or had reason to interact with.

Basically, the founders of the company attempted to use the reason she was concerned with their image against her.



So your point is *what* exactly then?
posted by some loser at 7:37 AM on March 23, 2012


So what you're saying, Goofyy, is that she should shut her mouth in the name of freedom of speech.

Do you see the problem here?
posted by howfar at 7:40 AM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


To draw a difference between Goofyy's derail that "omg people find things gross" as a general concept is a lot different from this specific case?
posted by mikeh at 7:41 AM on March 23, 2012


I didn't originally think the ad was sexist. I'd agree though with what people have said about adverts like this reinforcing a male dominated culture. That's not good, and it's something I shouldn't have missed.

So my newly revised opinion on this is that the advert isn't sexist because it has an attractive gyrating, sexy woman in it; it's sexist because it reinforces the position that only men work in technology.

craichead: So - you don't believe me. This is a real shame, and it's what I think is at the bottom of this story. There's so much assumed intent on both sides (the comment about @shanlon deliberately ambushing people is a good example of this) that we may as well close up the thread. If the assumption is that I'm pretending to care about something when in fact I'm just trying to shut women up, then there isn't much I can say or do.

Saying "That's odd to me, because your posts here haven't exactly made me think you're super sincere about making things better for women in technology." don't address any of the issues. They just place you in opposition to me.
posted by zoo at 7:42 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the clarification mikeh, my brain was having a hard time parsing your comment.
posted by some loser at 7:43 AM on March 23, 2012


For what it's worth, I don't think the optimal approach would have been "someone finds this objectionable, quick, pull it!" but instead to acknowledge the concern and give an indication that it'd be looked into. If they, as a company, then decided they didn't want it linked with their brand, then they could act as they felt necessary.

Tapdancing around the actual concern is the issue, here, and acting as if claims of sexism/objectionable content have less merit.
posted by mikeh at 7:44 AM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


So, any content that anyone else finds "fucking gross" must be taken down, at once.

You're not referring to anything Kane said, right? Because as has been pointed out repeatedly in this thread, she did not do anything like demand some immediate action... after Sanz himself had said that the video needed to show "less skin" she asked him to "please take it down" and said that she found it gross.

Really seems to me like the people who are trying to claim that she was making some insistent demand for immediate action are intentionally trying to cast her as exceptionally rude and unreasonable. Same with the pretense that if she had simply said "gross" instead of "fucking gross" everything would be so, so different.
posted by XMLicious at 7:49 AM on March 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


zoo: I think my biggest failing in all this is that I'm unwilling to demonise one party in this little squabble as automatically sexist. Firstly, because it's probably not true and secondly, because it does nothing to make the situation better.

With respect, I don't think that's the issue at all. The issue is more that you're seeing Kane's objection (and people's support agreement) as a statement that one party is 'automatically sexist', and b) that you see an accusation of sexism as 'demonising' the accused party.

This also seems to be the way that Katz and Sanz were processing it:

1) Someone is objecting to a video ad with a dancing half-naked woman;
2) This objection is because she objects to the way the woman is sexualised/objectified;
3) Therefore, she thinks the video is sexist;
4) Therefore, she thinks our company is sexist;
5) Therefore, she thinks we personally are sexist;
6) Sexism is bad, therefore sexists are bad people;
7) Sexists are bad people, therefore it is an insult to call somebody a sexist unless it's true;
8) We are nice people with families and female employees and etc etc, so therefore we are not sexists, and it is an insult to call us sexists;
9) how dare you attack us we're CCing your boss.

And for them, this is so obviously the logical pattern that they get to step 9), she says 'where did I attack you?', and Sanz claims she deleted the tweets where that happened because he's that convinced she must have done.

But these don't all automatically follow from each other. You can get to step 3) without going to steps 4) or 5), because it's possible to do a sexist thing and not therefore be an inherently sexist person. Even if you do get to step 5), that doesn't mean step 6) follows. It is possible - hell, it is common - to do/say/believe a sexist thing without being a bad person. The word is not divided up into evil moustache-twirling villains vs. everybody else.

This kind of low-level, unconscious sexism that's ingrained in so many societies is still sexism, even if it's not malicious, even if the people doing it are otherwise lovely people who are nice to their families and great to their friends. Pointing out that something they did is sexist is not 'demonising' them, or putting them on the same level as Ted Bundy - it's just pointing out that something they did is sexist.

I don't know Katz or Sanz. Maybe they're lovely in all other contexts. But they still messed up here.
posted by Catseye at 7:49 AM on March 23, 2012 [36 favorites]


That's not good, and it's something I shouldn't have missed.
It's something that you wouldn't have missed if you'd ever thought about these issues before, even a tiny bit. You're clearly an absolute newbie at thinking about gender issues. But instead of approaching these issues with even an ounce of humility, because you've literally never considered them before for even two seconds, you proceeded to lecture the little ladies about how wrong we are and how you understand things better than we do. This is extremely familiar behavior. It's so familiar that there are bingo cards and "for dummies" websites that delineate and laugh at the behavior you've exhibited in this thread. And because you're behaving like a stereotypical ignorant-but-condescending jerk, you set yourself in opposition to us. If you don't want that to be the dynamic, you might try taking some time to educate yourself before you declare yourself an expert who can explain the situation to the dumb girls.
posted by craichead at 7:52 AM on March 23, 2012 [19 favorites]


Exactly, Catseye. I am sexist and racist, despite the fact that I hate sexism and racism and do my best to oppose them. If you point out that I've done something sexist or racist, I need to look at the action, not try to justify what I've done in order to protect my amour-propre.
posted by howfar at 7:55 AM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Catseye: YES! Thank you for calmly responding in a much more eloquent manner than I would have. This is exactly the kind of explaination that was needed here but I figured someone else would say it better than I ever could. So thanks for being that person I guess. Just because a person 'didn't mean to be sexist' doesn't mean that they are incapable of being sexist or furthering sexism through their actions or failure to act.
posted by some loser at 7:55 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


The first programmer, ever, was a woman. The first compiler, ever, was written by a woman. Somewhere, you loose a lot of argument about women in the industry when you add those too facts. Oh, and the recently departed CIO of a Fortune 100 corporation was, wow, a woman.

Those women need to get back in their place! Obviously, that is in front of a computer.

So, what was y'alls problem again, exactly?
posted by Goofyy at 7:56 AM on March 23, 2012


And you can put two in my tootoo.
posted by Goofyy at 7:56 AM on March 23, 2012


Hey thanks craichead. I guess that's me told then.

[x] Absolute newbie at this kind of thing.
[x] Haven't thought about this for more than two seconds.
[x] Behaving like a jerk
[x] treating everyone like "little ladies" or "dumb girls"

Apologies for the typically aggressive, boneheaded male behaviour.
posted by zoo at 8:03 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


The first programmer, ever, was a woman. The first compiler, ever, was written by a woman. Somewhere, you loose a lot of argument about women in the industry when you add those too facts.

half of the first humans on earth were women, so the very concept of sexism is a big fake lie. cool arguments. learning a lot this morning form smart dudes with impeccable manlogic
posted by a_girl_irl at 8:08 AM on March 23, 2012 [23 favorites]


Is it happy hour in Switzerland? Because I think Goofyy's drunk.
posted by mediareport at 8:16 AM on March 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


Special shoutout to stoneandstar, who was a superstar in this thread.

Amen.
posted by Summer at 8:20 AM on March 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


Goofyy. Way back in the 80s, 40% of CS degree candidates were women. Now it's 12%.

Claiming that Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper were women, so that must mean that Computer Science / IT in the modern world is fine when it comes to gender issues is laughable.

Either a) You really believe that or b) you're deliberately making such facile arguments in order to wind up everyone else. Neither option reflects particularly well on you.
posted by pharm at 8:24 AM on March 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


there are no men on the intarwebs
posted by fraula at 8:25 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I guess the problem with trying to have the "what you did" conversation about sexism instead of the "what you are" conversation (see here) is that when they really are sexist, they don't see the difference between the two. And whether or not you accused them of being sexist, they will believe that you did.
posted by parudox at 8:27 AM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


is that someone made a claim that something was sexist, in a public forum, and was hit with this startling array of derailing, both from the geeklist founders and from different communities where I've seen this discussed:

I think you're confusing "derailing" with "disagreeing".
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:32 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am trying and failing to come up with a text based response to goofyy, so: (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
posted by empath at 8:33 AM on March 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


All they had to do was make another vid with chick-programmers flocking around a shirtless dubstepping dude. This is what art is FOR, people.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 8:34 AM on March 23, 2012


For what it's worth, I don't think the optimal approach would have been "someone finds this objectionable, quick, pull it!" but instead to acknowledge the concern and give an indication that it'd be looked into.

Right, that's exactly what they did ("yeah, we need to make one that shows less skin"). At which point Katz started issuing demands.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:42 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Goofyy: “OMG! MEN HAVE SEXUALITY! FUCKING GROSS!”

Do you believe that it is possible for sexuality to be used in an offensive way to manipulate people to sell a product?
posted by koeselitz at 8:44 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


At which point Katz started issuing demands.

Which is patently false. "Please take it down, it's fucking gross" is not a demand. It's a request.
posted by maxwelton at 8:45 AM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, offering to make something new that isn't sexist neither admits the problem with the old video (hint: it's not "skin") nor does it remove it.
posted by parudox at 8:48 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


ThatFuzzyBastard: “Right, that's exactly what they did (‘yeah, we need to make one that shows less skin’). At which point Katz started issuing demands.”

maxwelton: “Which is patently false. ‘Please take it down, it's fucking gross’ is not a demand. It's a request.”

No, ThatFuzzyBastard is absolutely right. At that point, Rueben Katz started making demands: 'apologize for what you've done! Your tone was offensive! Grovel before us, or we will get you fired!' Please note that the girl's name is Shanley Kane. Rueben Katz is Christian Sanz's partner. (I get the feeling ThatFuzzyBastard was a little confused about these facts, but he's factually correct when he says that Katz started issuing demands pretty much immediately after Sanz made that concession about 'too much skin.')
posted by koeselitz at 8:49 AM on March 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


I think you're confusing "derailing" with "disagreeing".

Nope, they tried every tactic they could think of to pressure her to stop talking about it in public. Except for the very first response where Sanz sort of dismissively, jokingly agreed with her they avoided actually talking about whether the video in question was objectifying and sexualizing, so it wasn't a matter of disagreement. Definitely derailing and it's pretty absurd and deceptive to portray this as some sort of issue of differing opinions.
posted by XMLicious at 8:52 AM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ah, no, sorry koeselitz, I did indeed get the four-letter names names wrong. Right, first Kane said this video is offensive, Sanz said yeah, we're not crazy about that video and are going to change it. Then Kane demanded that she take it down right away (which is indeed a demand, not a request, as they had already acceded to the request). At which point Sanz got his hackles up, and lost his temper with this stranger who refused to take their polite "Yes, we are going to do that" as an answer and thought she was being silenced when everyone didn't immediately do what she wants.


it's pretty absurd and deceptive to portray this as some sort of issue of differing opinions.


I think it's absurd and deceptive to portray a pretty clear issue of differing opinions (is the video offensive? to whom? should it be immediately taken down? are they moving fast enough to take it down?) as one where Sanz is not allowed to have an opinion different from Kane. This seems to be the common thread here amongst Kane's defender's: the idea that if Sanz says anything other than "You are so right! How can we do what you want in a way that you're more satisfied by" then they are enforcers of sexism.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:58 AM on March 23, 2012


note how absolutely impossible it would be to have a career as a female model if you didn't accept work like this.

This is obviously false; all one has to do is crack open a Sears catalogue to see plenty of women modeling in a non-sexist manner.

Repeating delmoi, because this is honestly the stupidest part of this whole argument. You think the word "fucking" is crude?

Pretty well ya. If you don't think "fucking" is crude what kind of language would be crude?

that's it isn't? I've tipped right over into GOML territory and I should be heading to sears for a couple of pairs of pants with elastic waisbands that go up to my arm pits.
posted by Mitheral at 8:59 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sanz said yeah, we're not crazy about that video and are going to change it.

No, that's not what he said. He said "oh that was super old ad created by a friend, we need an updated version that shows less skin! :)"

"We need" is not the same thing as "we are going to change it." The first response disavowed responsibility for the content of their own ad, and then made hand-waving gesture noises about eventually getting around to fixing it.
posted by ambrosia at 9:10 AM on March 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


I have the sudden urge to channel Malcolm Tucker, but shall resist.
posted by pharm at 9:10 AM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


I would like to say, without sounding naive or patronizing (but probably doing it anyway) that I always enjoy having my perspective shaken up a bit by these MeFi sexism (and racism, etc) threads.
As an American white male its really easy to not be able to see through the gauze of my inherent privilege. We all have our own day to day fights and setbacks and from that position it can be difficult to see that some of us are playing from advantage even if it doesnt seem like it from our specific point of view.

Anyway, just wanted to put on the table that these conversations that we have on sexism here may seem endless and exhausting to have to keep hashing out (especially if you are a woman) but it's not without its benefits either. I've learned a lot from them and I suspect other dudes on here have too, but often there's not really much of an opportunity to actually say that. So Im making one right here. So thank you. :) <--- genuine smiley
posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:10 AM on March 23, 2012 [16 favorites]


hey while you guys hash this one out I'm gonna be over here contemplating all the time, money, and energy I've spent pursuing a profession where a video featuring a man faux-ejaculating at the sight of a half naked woman to sell a service to people with skills like mine is widely defended and a woman tweeting "fuck" is crude and unprofessional
posted by kelseyq at 9:11 AM on March 23, 2012 [39 favorites]


“... first Kane said this video is offensive, Sanz said yeah, we're not crazy about that video and are going to change it. Then Kane demanded that she take it down right away (which is indeed a demand, not a request, as they had already acceded to the request). At which point Sanz got his hackles up...”

Have you actually read the tweets we're talking about here? What you describe in this paragraph is flatly wrong. This is the chronology:

1. Shanley asks about the video – no demands or requests or opinions at all. Just a question: what's up with it?

2. Christian Sanz says something about how it has too much skin and they want to do a new one and it's too old. None of this has to do with Shanley's objections to the video. It doesn't matter that there's skin. It doesn't matter that it's old. Of course this has nothing to do with Shanley's objections, because she has not raised them yet. Christian just says 'ha ha, yeah, too much skin, we'll look into it,' etc.

3. Shanley says: "Please take it down, it's fucking gross." Please notice that "please take it down" is emphatically not a demand. It's a request. You may feel that it's grating to say "it's fucking gross," and Christian apparently did, but helpfully...

4. Shanley spends several tweets then explaining why she calls it that, laying out carefully her position,and even apologizing for her tone. This is all completely cordial. She's not insulting toward Christian or Rueben at all. She doesn't constantly make demands. She makes one request, then helpfully explains why she's making that request.

Seriously, look at the tweets again. They do not say what you're describing them saying.
posted by koeselitz at 9:19 AM on March 23, 2012 [12 favorites]


a pretty clear issue of differing opinions (is the video offensive? to whom? should it be immediately taken down? are they moving fast enough to take it down?)

When did either Sanz or Katz address any of those issues other than in that very first reply? Point out the tweets where they did anything other than try to discuss Kane's character or tell her how she should be expressing her opinions. You appear to be completely making this up out of thin air.

Oh, wait, there were a couple of tweets where they tried to excuse themselves of responsibility for the video by claiming that they had no involvement with the project. Funny that they would try to do that if they didn't think it was offensive and were simply discussing the nature of it.
posted by XMLicious at 9:26 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


"... the common thread here amongst Kane's defender's: the idea that if Sanz says anything other than 'You are so right! How can we do what you want in a way that you're more satisfied by' then they are enforcers of sexism."

That is not what is being said. At all.

It has been repeatedly explained that this is not what is being said. At all.

I will try to make this clear. Saying 'the problem was that they responded to her comments by repeatedly taking issue with her tone while ignoring the substance, and then they eventually got around to attempting to shame her into silence, threatening her job, and making false accusations against her' is not the same as saying 'the problem was that they did not instantly obey her'.
posted by kyrademon at 9:27 AM on March 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


Frankly I'm crestfallen by how seriously the men involved in the initial twitter exchange (and many people here) seem to believe in the premium of their feelings. It's like people who get upset when people correct them, and believe they're justified in finding it insulting, even when they were incorrect.

Further, the lengths people here are going to skew Shanley Kane as some kind of antagonist ("mean"? really guys?) I'm reminded of arguments I had with my ex where "You were checking her out" would turn into "You hit on her every time you see her, so", in regards to a woman I have never even spoken to (or checked out). It's like people get so upset when the truth doesn't seem to work for them that they just escalate and make up new ones, as though their "cause" is more important than what was actually said or done. Unfortunately we only seem to recognize the ceiling of this when someone Godwins.

How depressing.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:32 AM on March 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


Oh, so the problem is that Sanz didn't disavow the video in quite the way you'd like! He said "it shows too much skin" rather than saying "you're so right, that video is completely sexist", and then said "we need to change it" rather than "we are changing it RIGHT NOW". Oh, well then, that's totally different, hunh?

As for where they did anything other than try to discuss Kane's character: That would be *the first reply*, in which they say the video isn't really appropriate and that they're going to change it ("need" generally means something you very much wish to do). Then Kane started telling them what they had to do to satisfy some random internet person, and they got annoyed. As one would.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 9:32 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


If there's anyone in this thread acting in good faith who believes:
  1. Her use of a curse word is an important factor in determining right and wrong in this interaction
  2. "Please take it down, it's fucking gross" is a demand
  3. Individual citizens criticizing companies or their video advertisements amounts to censorship and is morally wrong
  4. It is valid/no biggie that the GeekList people, as owners of a successful business with direct ties to her employer, threatened her job because of her tweets
  5. The GeekList people were responding to the content and meaning of her tweets in good faith, and not attempting to use what they believed to be their position of relative power to force her to back down without meaningful engagement
  6. Public actions (like the video) should not be subject to public responses (such as her tweets), but only private ones (such as e-mail)
Feel free to mefi mail me. I will try to provide an alternate perspective without sarcasm or attacking you.
posted by jsturgill at 9:34 AM on March 23, 2012 [11 favorites]


ThatFuzzyBastard: “Oh, so the problem is that Sanz didn't disavow the video in quite the way you'd like!”

No, that is absolutely not my problem with this exchange. It might be the one thing Sanz says that I don't really mind at all. Why would he even disavow the video at that point, anyway? Nobody even told him they disliked it! For all he knew, Shanley was asking because she wanted to be in the next one.
posted by koeselitz at 9:38 AM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Me: "... attempting to shame her into silence, threatening her job, and making false accusations against her ..."

ThatFuzzyBastard: “Oh, so the problem is that Sanz didn't disavow the video in quite the way you'd like!”

I feel you are missing the substance of my point.
posted by kyrademon at 9:43 AM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]



Hey, concern trolls who think she should have emailed them: someone did, a month ago.
posted by fightorflight at 9:48 AM on March 23, 2012 [20 favorites]


I think @shanlon was rude to him.
Obviously this is subjective. I accept that you thought the second tweet was rude, but I don't believe he really thought that. Based on everything that followed, I think he was simply pissed off that someone had called him out on his bullshit. And instead of defending his bullshit, he used silencing language.

Here's the wiktionary definition of rude. I like the part about rudeness happening when someone doesn't act in a manner that is "socially acceptable." Given the nature of twitter, the nature of tech startups, and the history of his tweets history, use of the f-word seems pretty darn socially acceptable. You may find the word rude but there's no reason to expect that he would think it's rude. The guy is OK with swearing, he was an acquaintance of Kane, and the swear word was not directed at him, it was not a personal attack.


I think that some people just don't like swearing.

Sure, but as has already been shown by lesbiasparrow upthread, the guy is totally OK with using the f-word in a public forum like Twitter.


I think it's hypocritical that he can be accused of making tone arguments in one breath and then slammed when he tries to make amends because his tone is wrong.

The issue with Katz's apology is not about tone, it's about the utter lack of a sincere apology. In a 387 word letter that goes on and on about what defenders and promoters of women they are, Katz only explicitly says "we apologize" ONE TIME in the entire letter. Sure he mentions "we're sorry" at the beginning and end of the letter, but that is not the same as saying "we apologize", which again, he only says once (in 387 words!) and then doesn't actually apologize for the thing they did! He just apologizes with a condition: if anyone was offended. Give me a fucking break!

That is a classic non-apology. He's basically saying, "look, if you're offended by this I'm sorry." He's in the middle of apologizing and yet still implying there's a chance he didn't doing anything wrong. So yeah, I'm sorry, maybe, if you really think so.

If I was their PR rep. this is what I would have told them to write:

"Hey, Katz here. We screwed up. We posted a video that is offensive to a lot of people, and when our good friend Shanlon called us on that we treated her like shit and tried to discredit her to her own employer. It was wrong, we do know better. We were being colossal assholes. We should never have acted this way, and we don't do it again. Shanlon, we apologize for the way we treated you."

Look ma, only 68 words!

When you apologize, it helps to show a little humility. If you're actually interested in making things right it even helps to take the blame for stuff you don't think you did. Take the heat. Offer the olive branch. Be nice even if you're still pissed off inside. This is not a show of weakness. It's a gesture of conciliation. It's how you make good with people who matter to you. It's how you show someone that you are more interested in continuing a relationship with them than you are in winning the argument.

Otherwise what is the point of apologizing? Just to get people off your back?
posted by Doleful Creature at 9:49 AM on March 23, 2012 [10 favorites]


Oh, so the problem is that Sanz didn't disavow the video in quite the way you'd like!

That is a complete 180° from what you were saying before. Up until now you've been saying that they were disagreeing with her.

Then Kane started telling them what they had to do to satisfy some random internet person, and they got annoyed.

No, after apparently agreeing with her in the very first response Sanz started acting confused as to what she was was finding objectionable and he asked her why she was aggravated. She answered his question and he and Katz proceeded to tell her how to express her opinion and whether or not she should.
posted by XMLicious at 9:59 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah just to repeat. She didn't say the ad was sexist. She didn't say the ad was objectifying. All she said, before the guys went ballistic on her was that it was gross. And really, given the content, is it surprising that people might find it gross? It's possible that men, as well as women might find it gross, and certainly it's unprofessional, when the website is for professional code portfolios.
WHY OH WHY do these people never get good PR advice?
The irony is, he did -- Kane is a PR person.
I think @shanlon was rude to him.

I think that some people just don't like swearing.
-- Zoo
*sigh*. I realize you agreed that the video was sexist, and I realize this is a crazy long thread and not everyone is going to read every comment. But I'd just like to point out that I linked to four to specific examples of him using the word 'fuck' in his tweets. here's one

--
Oh, but it's ok because he has a salt-of-the-earth background according to your 15 seconds of digging on the Internet. Great. -- yerfatma
Hmm, lets look at what I said right after that, in the same comment:
That's what I meant about the oversensitive, crybaby attitude by the guy. No matter what you do on the internet, people will complain. Sometimes they will be mean about it. The more controversial or 'edgy' it is, the more complaints it will get. This guy was an idiot if he thought he could put out a video like that without anyone complaining. ... To be perfectly clear here, before Sanz flipped out and tattled to her boss, all she had said about the video was that it was 'gross'.
Does that answer your question? If not, you could go back and read some of my other comments, starting maybe my first one:
Oh man that Christian Sanz guy is megadouche. ... Basically saying "wah, you're being mean to me, I'm going to call your boss!" like a damn second grader tattle tale.
Seriously, I bashed that guy all thread, then said "oh, given this one thing gives some insight into why he might have acted the way he did" before calling him an oversensitive crybaby a paragraph later.

Is 100% negativity the only acceptable response here? We can't even make an effort to learn more about why someone might have acted the way they did? I don't agree with that.

Anyway. I'm I still disagree this idea that every single woman is less 'privileged' then every single man. The analogy I used above was height. Most men are taller then most women. But that doesn't mean Charleze Theron is shorter then Danny DeVito. Was Ivanka Trump born with less privilege then, say, Eminem? I think the answer is no.

It isn't like I just decided to post that out of the blue, rather I said we shouldn't assume all women have less 'privilege' then all men, and then I thought it might be interesting to go look up and see what these people's resumes actually said. I actually assumed he would have come from a highly privileged background and was surprised that he didn't seem to have. In no way did I say that justified his behavior, rather I pointed out that there were a lot of other dynamics in play, including class envy, age, status anxiety, etc. I think I made it clear that I thought gender was the determining factor.

In any event, I don't think the specific 'privilege' status of these two is the issue at all, Kane was looking out for all women in tech, not just herself.

--
Because they are guys in startups. One of the first conclusions you make in a tech startup: "Marketing is a dead paradigm. It all happens organically now, man. And we don't need sales people because our product is so great." ...
You may draw what conclusions you like about the current state of Google. You may draw what conclusions you like about the current state of Google.
-- yerfatma
Worth $210 billion dollars? All the founders billionaires? I think I could live with that kind of failure. Unfortunately the lesion they learned by getting beat by Apple and Facebook is that "not being evil" isn't actually a competitive advantage. Their stock is up 33% since they launched Google+. They may be getting bad press, but that isn't how wallstreet grades them (and, btw, I'm not defending them, simply pointing out that their recent behavior has earned $60 billion in market cap, along with the bad press)
posted by delmoi at 10:07 AM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Mitheral, it doesn't change the fact that women would be giving up a lot of jobs (that men in comparable situations could take) and be taking on an extra burden to vet sexist work and give up jobs instead of advancing in their careers. Sears models aren't exactly superstars. Regardless, if you want to heap abuse on the models, have fun with that, I'll continue to be pissed off at the jerks who come up with these ideas.

TheFuzzyBastard, you're not reading the conversation right. There's no other way to say it. You're pulling things out of the air and saying things that are patently untrue. Please listen to others who have pointed this out.

zoo, coming in and talking about how it took 300 comments to change your mind but you still don't ACTUALLY think it's sexist, and furthermore, you take it PERSONALLY that we're talking about sexism here, is so so so boneheaded. Honestly, the conversation was going fine without you, we already tried to reason with people like you at the onset of the thread. And note how instead of responding to any of the extremely well laid out, rational arguments people proposed directly to you, you got butthurt about how anyone might think you're a sexist. This is exactly what happened between Kane and Sanz. Why do you think people are kind of seething at you right now?

LOL forever about the fact that somebody DID EMAIL THEM, and they ignored her, as you do. And terrapin, I 100% agree. I no longer think of Metafilter as a place where these discussions can happen.
posted by stoneandstar at 10:10 AM on March 23, 2012 [9 favorites]


If I was their PR rep. this is what I would have told them to write:

"Hey, Katz here. We screwed up. We posted a video that is offensive to a lot of people, and when our good friend Shanlon called us on that we treated her like shit and tried to discredit her to her own employer. It was wrong, we do know better. We were being colossal assholes. We should never have acted this way, and we don't do it again. Shanlon, we apologize for the way we treated you."
That may be what they should have said if they were sincere, but I don't think it's what a real PR rep would tell them to do.

Anyway - Twitter. These guys really trashed their brand among the people who might actually give a crap about signing up for their service. I'm guessing their investors probably told them to STFU. They can't be too happy about this.
posted by delmoi at 10:10 AM on March 23, 2012


I will try to make this clear. Saying 'the problem was that they responded to her comments by repeatedly taking issue with her tone while ignoring the substance, and then they eventually got around to attempting to shame her into silence, threatening her job, and making false accusations against her' is not the same as saying 'the problem was that they did not instantly obey her'.


I suppose that wouldn't be. But they said they were going to take down the video. And she kept yelling at them---in fact, she then escalated. Because they weren't moving fast enough, or groveling hard enough.

Why would he even disavow the video at that point, anyway? Nobody even told him they disliked it! For all he knew, Shanley was asking because she wanted to be in the next one.

Perhaps because he thought it really wasn't appropriate? Which only further strengthens the impression that Sanz was well aware of what's wrong the video, and was simply reacting in anger to some complete stranger walking up to him and issuing orders.


As for the above...

Her use of a curse word is an important factor in determining right and wrong in this interaction

Given that I think that part of the issue is indeed whether you are obligated to listen to a stranger on the internet when they tell you what to do with their marketing, yep, tone matters. After all, we're clearly not arguing about whether the video is sexist---Sanz said right at the start that it was inappropriate (albeit not in the way you would prefer). So that's a given. The question is whether they properly responded to Katz, and there, tone matters, including sweating.

I love me some Oreo cookies, but if someone I didn't know walked up to me and said "please eat a fucking Oreo cookie", I'd say "Is there something wrong with you?" rather than chowing down.

"Please take it down, it's fucking gross" is a demand

Uh, what else is it? A request? A suggestion?

Individual citizens criticizing companies or their video advertisements amounts to censorship and is morally wrong

Nope, no disagreement there. Katz can and should criticize the video vociferously, and in public. It's the issuing of orders that I don't like.


It is valid/no biggie that the GeekList people, as owners of a successful business with direct ties to her employer, threatened her job because of her tweets

That, I would agree, was not cool. They pretty clearly lost their temper when random internet person started yelling at them, and reacted in anger. They shouldn't have done that. Then again, she shouldn't have gone trolling with her employer's name in her profile, so plenty of foolishness to go around.

The GeekList people were responding to the content and meaning of her tweets in good faith, and not attempting to use what they believed to be their position of relative power to force her to back down without meaningful engagement

As I lack mutant powers, I can't evaluate their good faith. It looked to me like they responded initially, but when random internet person responded to their polite response with rage, their got mad and started swinging. That often happens when you start a fight.

Public actions (like the video) should not be subject to public responses (such as her tweets), but only private ones (such as e-mail)

No, I certainly wouldn't say that. If Katz had written a blog post, or made a public tweet, about why this video was bad, that would have been totally appropriate. Tweeting to her followers "Can you believe this video? This stuff is what makes tech so unfriendly to women" that would've been absolutely appropriate. Even tweeting to Sanz "This video is sexist" would be okay; he could respond, as he did "Yeah, we're going to change it". But when you start rudely making demands (and yes, as in all communication, tone matters), it's no surpise when the person you're telling at yells back. As I said above, the fact that you are super angry does not mean the person you're angry at must automatically placate you.

"Hey, Katz here. We screwed up. We posted a video that is offensive to a lot of people, and when our good friend Shanlon called us on that we treated her like shit and tried to discredit her to her own employer. It was wrong, we do know better. We were being colossal assholes. We should never have acted this way, and we don't do it again. Shanlon, we apologize for the way we treated you."


How about this instead:

"Hey, Katz here. We screwed up. Many years ago, a friend of ours made a video to promote our then-new company, and that video was offensive to a lot of people. We probably should have asked her to change it then, but we didn't. When Shanlon started behaving like a jackass to us, we should have swallowed our pride, looked past her incredibly childish behaviour, and ignored her, moving ahead with our plans to change the video despite the fact that she was demanding it in such an ugly manner. When you argue with an idiot, it's hard for people to tell the difference, and we should've just let it go instead of losing our tempers. Instead we dragged other people into this stupid argument, and drew her employer's attention to her stupid public pronouncements, which isn't very nice."
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 10:11 AM on March 23, 2012


Uh, what else is it? A request?

I love the fact that you think it's completely unbelievable that other people might interpret it as, yes, a request.
posted by asterix at 10:13 AM on March 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


I no longer think of Metafilter as a place where these discussions can happen.

Oh, you mean the discussions where you can come in and say "This person is an asshole!" and everyone else will nod their heads and say "You're so right!!!" Yeah, i guess not.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 10:13 AM on March 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


they said they were going to take down the video

~*~*~ THIS DIDN'T HAPPEN! ~*~*~ -- how can I make this blink and scream at you?

I knew it was ThatFuzzyBastard before I even reached your tagline because you keep making the same fundamental reading error. Please point out where they said they were going to take it down. It didn't happen. In fact, they said nothing about taking it down and when someone emailed them with a similar complaint, previously, they did nothing. You're kidding yourself if you think their milquetoast admission that the video was "old" was a pledge to action.
posted by stoneandstar at 10:16 AM on March 23, 2012 [18 favorites]


No, the discussion where in response to the opinion that it is stone cold asshole behavior to threaten to contact someone's employer over their complaint of sexism, we don't throw acid in our eyes and pretend the only thing we saw was the word "fucking," which gives us the vapors.
posted by stoneandstar at 10:19 AM on March 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


“... some complete stranger... ”

Just for the sake of accuracy, I'll point out again that Shanley was not a "complete stranger" to Christian Sanz and Reuben Katz. She knew them. She'd met them in real life. They'd all had drinks together. They were friends with her employees. The term "colleague and acquaintaince" seems more fitting here.
posted by koeselitz at 10:23 AM on March 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


You can continue to call this woman a stranger to them, ThatFuzzyBastard, but it still isn't true. If you read the FPP link the GeekList guys mention buying her a drink at an event. Then used that against her in the way some people use the "she was asking for it" defense. For a relative newcomer to MetaFilter you sure are going out of your way to establish a reputation here.

they said they were going to take down the video ~*~*~ THIS DIDN'T HAPPEN! ~*~*~

There you go stoneandstar.
posted by terrapin at 10:23 AM on March 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


Thanks for clearing up what I said, and what I meant stoneandstar.

Also thanks for the accusations of being butthurt. I'll ignore the obvious implications of that particular word for the moment. But yes, my feelings were hurt by some of the accusations flying around.

Guess I should stop being so whiny. Guess I'm just being oversensitive. Guess I should stop being shocked that people move off the conversation at hand and start making ad-hominem attacks.
posted by zoo at 10:25 AM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


complete stranger...a stranger on the internet...random internet person...random internet person

ThatFuzzyBastard, is it because your argument is entirely predicated on the fiction that this was trolling by a "random internet person" that you feel the need to repeat so often it in the hope that it will become true?
posted by howfar at 10:25 AM on March 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


How about this instead:

That isn't an apology by any stretch.
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:26 AM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, and hey guys, what's actually hilarious about this is that the sexism in the original incident lies in the fact that Sanz & What's-His-Name overreacted and invented gross distortions of Kane's behavior because 1) it's hysterical and out of line to get mad about sexism, and 2) it is a grave and incomprehensible insult to be (rightfully accused) of sexism. Let's all reflect on how 1) and 2) have reoccurred at least a thousand times in the behavior of men in these comments.

zoo, you kind of are being whiny and oversensitive. You continue to act like people calling you sexist is the ~real tragedy~ of this thread. You can say you're not sexist all you want, but if women don't believe you, maybe you should do some looking inward? And LOL at the idea that people JUST moved off the conversation at hand to start insulting you-- people were desperately trying to derail the conversation at hand from square one. Look how many people have lobbed insults like "bitch" and "rawwrr!!" at the beginning of this thread? And yet many women made logical and coherent arguments. And you STILL haven't responded to the rebuttals people have made to you!

Damn terrapin, I'm out of favorites! But that is beautiful, and consider all your honesty in this thread favorited.
posted by stoneandstar at 10:31 AM on March 23, 2012 [10 favorites]


I thought I'd linked this earlier, but apparently not.

Another person has stated she previously contacted geeklist about the video.
@harthvader
A data point: I sent @gklst a direct email about that video a month ago and they didn't do anything about it or inquire more.
posted by mikeh at 10:33 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I suppose that wouldn't be. But they said they were going to take down the video. And she kept yelling at them---in fact, she then escalated. Because they weren't moving fast enough, or groveling hard enough.
Yeah... I don't know what you're talking about. Sanz clearly 'escalated' when he decided to act like a toddler and run and tell her boss she was being mean to him.

I went back and looked through some of your older comments in this thread, found this one:
The video could be totally objectively awful, and a random internet person who walked up to your virtual door and yelled "please take that video down its fucking gross" would still deserve the answer "Who the fuck do you think you are to give me orders?"
Sure, and that's what they did. And the result is they totally fucked over their brand by acting like petulant children flipping out about the 'tone' of the advice, rather of analyzing the criticism in an impartial way and acting on it.

Here's the thing. If someone tells you to do X, and does it in a harsh way. You may "Feel" like saying "Fuck you I'm a grownup you can't tell me what to do!" But, first you should ask yourself: "Would it be a bad idea not to do X?"

Because if it is. you really ought to swallow your pride and just do X.

Like if someone says "You seriously need to stop smoking, yo. It's fucking gross" you might want to say "Fuck you who are you to tell me what to do!?"

And so, instead of quitting, you keep smoking. Do you really win in the end by getting lung cancer? Did this guy 'win' by trashing his brand? (Hint: the answer is no)

Really, you seem to be saying we should expect everyone to act like petulant teengaers. I suppose that's a step up from a toddler who run tells mom your boss that you hurt his feelings, which is the direction they chose to go in.

But neither of those are models for how grown man should behave.
posted by delmoi at 10:34 AM on March 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


stoneandstar: “I no longer think of Metafilter as a place where these discussions can happen.”

ThatFuzzyBastard: “Oh, you mean the discussions where you can come in and say 'This person is an asshole!' and everyone else will nod their heads and say 'You're so right!!!' Yeah, i guess not.”

Look, I know this thread has become pretty contentious. And I'm sorry for that. I think it's really down to some deep misunderstandings between us all about what's really going on. I think a lot of us over here on this side of it are kind of frustrated by the fact that there are a bunch of incorrect things you keep saying about this exchange – not incorrect in a vague kind of way where we can have a good conversation about what sexism really means, but just simply factually incorrect. These are kind of essential details. Maybe we should just focus on them and try to leave the invective behind. Here they are, as far as I can tell:

1) You've called Shanley Kane a "random internet person" and a "stranger." But she knew the guys she was talking to.

2) You've said that she complained about the video, then they promised to take it down, and then she kept yelling about it. In point of fact, they did not promise to take it down. And

3) This doesn't seem to fit the correct chronology of what happened at all. She asked about the video, they preemptively said it showed "too much skin," and then she made her request.

These three simple points – do they make sense to you? I think they're what's causing the contention; it just seems pretty simple, and you can disagree with us about the whole thing in general, but these are disagreements about the basic facts of the situation. Those shouldn't be the disagreements we get hung up on, since the facts are all out there in black and white.
posted by koeselitz at 10:34 AM on March 23, 2012 [11 favorites]


Whenever there are >300 comments on a thread, it's pretty much a dead certainty that half the comments are by people who haven't read, or have seriously misread, the linked article, and the other half are by people trying in vain to get them to actually read it.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 10:37 AM on March 23, 2012 [10 favorites]


No, ThatFuzzyBastard is absolutely right.

Sorry, my bad, got the players confused. Don't let yourselves get old, kids, you'll end up like me.
posted by maxwelton at 10:40 AM on March 23, 2012


zoo: “Great terrapin - I guess that makes me a sexist prick. Which is weird, because I'm trying hard not to be sexist, I'm completely in agreement that Tech Culture is sexist and I want equal opportunities for all.”

Nobody called you a sexist prick, zoo. As far as I can tell, nobody's called anybody else a sexist prick in this thread – nor in the tweets we're talking about, for that matter. I know it can seem personal, but please understand that words and actions are separate in this context from the person doing and saying them. You can do or say a sexist thing without intending it, without being a sexist prick. None of this is intended as a personal attack or an accusation, only a discussion about how we ought to communicate.
posted by koeselitz at 10:41 AM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Geekli.st has a blog on which they have published two relevant posts:

http://gklst.tumblr.com/post/19749271079/becoming-a-part-of-a-much-needed-solution-at-geeklist
http://gklst.tumblr.com/post/19734620901/geeklist-and-a-public-apology

Excerpt:

As for our handling of the twittersphere. We could have handled it better. I know Shanley personally, have skyped and emailed her many times and interviewed her for a job at Geeklist. She is an awesome candidate that as a startup I was very sad the timing was not right to work together. Of our 5 person team 2 are women and I am certain they can speak on our behalf as respectful gentlemen in the workplace who create a welcome environment for all. I also own a business with my wife where we have over 350+ women employees. I’ve built my career over 15 years working to make this world a better place for women, mothers, and children.

In my wildest dreams we would never wish to offend any woman [or anyone]. The initial request made sense and we were discussing finding Gemma to take it down, when we got taken off guard a bit by her continued comments. We handled those poorly. We apologize as well if our handling of the tweets offended anyone.


and

We are sorry.

Reuben Katz

CEO/co-founder

Geeklist

and

Christian Sanz

CTO/co-founder

posted by ben242 at 10:52 AM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


From their second apology attempt:
We have learned so much from this experience thanks to our glaring mistakes as well as the honest and welcomed feedback of all. We were wrong in how we handled our friends valid complaint. We’re sorry Shanley. We have learned much from you as well.
Ah, good. An actual apology this time. That's nice to see.
posted by gilrain at 10:57 AM on March 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


A bitchy-ass, presumptuous lecture about things that male anti-sexists (I dare not say feminists) do, btw, since I guess it's on topic now:

1) Listen a lot before speaking or claiming there's no sexism to be found. (zoo, it seems after reading quite a bit you realized you were initially in the wrong, so there's a pretty good illustration why)
2) Try (especially hard) not to frame the entire conversation around their feelings.
3) Consider that women sometimes act angry about sexism because they are angry about sexism, because it's personal and out of their control, why wouldn't they be.
4) Try to focus on the issues that are being obscured by people who want to rationalize away even the clearest examples of sexism, rendering it meaningless, because a million testimonies from women about reoccurring patterns of behavior won't change their mind.
5) Own up to sexist behavior and assumptions honestly and without drama.

So yeah, some of these are acquired behaviors, as are brushing your teeth and pissing in the pot. If you don't want to be anti-sexist, that's your choice (after all, you wouldn't want to be a "man with a vagina," as some man felt it behooved him to say above), but if you believe you are and you're bad at these things, you're probably making more work for women.

mikeh, I think someone else linked to that as well, but sincere thanks for linking again. It's an awesome illustration of how half this thread didn't have to happen.

Good news everyone, the actual world is waaaaayyy ahead of Metafilter on this one. If we can call another part of the internet that moves money around "the actual world."
posted by stoneandstar at 10:59 AM on March 23, 2012 [12 favorites]


zoo, one thing I've learned from exchanges like this: just because you make a sexist gaffe doesn't necessarily mean you're sexist, but you should perhaps rethink how you talk/think/write and be more aware of how what you put out in the world might be perceived by others.

I'm not sexist (I hope) but I still, as an average middle-aged white guy, say and write shit from time-to-time that could easily be construed as sexist...it's because I didn't think before mashing on the keyboard. Sometimes it's because I'm just incoherent. Sometimes it's because I'm not being empathetic...lots of things I don't really feel at the core of my being still slip past the filters. And it's good to get called on them because I can make an effort to be more thoughtful going forward.
posted by maxwelton at 11:01 AM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


1) You've called Shanley Kane a "random internet person" and a "stranger." But she knew the guys she was talking to.

That I actually was not aware of, and seems to be the case. So yeah, I'm wrong on that.

2) You've said that she complained about the video, then they promised to take it down, and then she kept yelling about it. In point of fact, they did not promise to take it down. And

Nope, there I'm quite right. They said "we need an updated version that shows less skin". Maybe that means they were just planning to re-edit the existing? Hard to say. But certainly a clear statement that the video she was looking at wouldn't be up much longer.

3) This doesn't seem to fit the correct chronology of what happened at all. She asked about the video, they preemptively said it showed "too much skin," and then she made her request.


Right, which is just what I'm saying. She complained about the video, they said it would be changed or replaced, and then, after they said it would be changed or replaced, she started yelling.

Ultimately, part of what gets me about this is this line from the Shanley apology people approve of:

In my wildest dreams we would never wish to offend any woman [or anyone].

I hate this. I hate the idea that it's horrible to ever offend anyone. I hate the idea that "any" woman, anywhere, in any way, can be offended by something and the speaker must immediately apologize in a way that will satisfy the offended party, with no disagreement permitted about whether the thing is offensive to other women, or whether they intended offense, or anything at all other than how many words they should use to apologize. This is the precise chronology of how we end up with a world of bland corporatespeak, and it's awful.

It's also part of an ugly process of drawing lines around who really gets to speak for real women---there's lots of things Phyllis Schlafly finds offensive to her as a woman that no one here would think anyone needs to apologize for, but no one here would suggest that an apology to her is necessary, because she's the wrong kind of woman.

Now the way to deal with that is to discuss content, and whether content is right or wrong. But here, I think there's a split between discussing the content of the video, and the content of the tweets. The content of the video is indeed pretty offensive, as Sanz acknowledged. But the content of the tweets is also... well, not offensive, but certainly rude. And while Sanz may have been unwise to get upset, I can't blame a person getting trolled for reacting badly. Fuck the internet rules that say the person who gets upset about trolling is the loser; fuck a troll.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 11:13 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


2) You've said that she complained about the video, then they promised to take it down, and then she kept yelling about it. In point of fact, they did not promise to take it down. And

Nope, there I'm quite right. They said "we need an updated version that shows less skin". Maybe that means they were just planning to re-edit the existing? Hard to say. But certainly a clear statement that the video she was looking at wouldn't be up much longer.


Not clear at all. Not even implied.
posted by some loser at 11:18 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've probably spewed this at MeFi before since it ties into a number of things I've realized in the last few years, but:

There are very few truly sexist people, but a great many acts rooted in sexism, intentional or unintentional. The same really goes for racism, although the rules are somewhat different.

If someone says something you have said is sexist, the first reaction isn't to deny it. Ask why it's sexist, and ask how your intentions have come across. Sexism can be defined legally and, to an extent socially, but it's really in the eye of the beholder. Some people may hold different opinions than you. A very small number of people may not be rational actors about it. In any case, learn a lesson, apologize, and move on.

In the case that it's a public forum, or if you want to know if you were actually in the wrong, talk to people you believe to be your peers AND the peers of the person who was offended. If everyone agrees that you were not sexist, chalk it up to a miscommunication. If everyone agrees you were sexist, then you've had a learning experience.

Everyone is a little sexist, but most people are not sexists. It's kind of like how most people jaywalk or exceed the police limit but you wouldn't call them criminals. If someone is a habitual offender -- then, maybe then, you start to wonder.
posted by mikeh at 11:20 AM on March 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


koeselitz: ctrl-f is your friend.
posted by zoo at 11:21 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


They said "we need an updated version that shows less skin". Maybe that means they were just planning to re-edit the existing?

What? There's not a Law of Conservation of Stupid Videos. They showed no intent to remove the video, in response to Kane or the other Twitter user's previous email. They said they "needed" to make a new video, and said nothing about taking down the old one. (Also, no way were they going to edit the pre-existing, what? How, even? What would be left?)

I can't blame a person getting trolled for reacting badly. Fuck the internet rules that say the person who gets upset about trolling is the loser; fuck a troll.

Kane wasn't being a troll-- sexism is a real issue in the tech community. She was being sincere. But guess what, it doesn't matter what you think, because it turns out her behavior led to a better outcome.

I hate this. I hate the idea that it's horrible to ever offend anyone. I hate the idea that "any" woman, anywhere, in any way, can be offended by something and the speaker must immediately apologize in a way that will satisfy the offended party, with no disagreement permitted about whether the thing is offensive to other women, or whether they intended offense, or anything at all other than how many words they should use to apologize

Is the world a place of bland corporatespeak when men can't make sexualizing comments about women in the workplace, or promote their company with sexist videos, or beat down a woman with threats because she's upset about sexism? Oh, I'm so sorry. Those guys didn't try to disagree with her (they agreed the video was sexist), they didn't really make an argument about their intent (they agreed the video was sexist). The argument was purely about Kane's tone being more significant than their sexism. This is a straw man.

There are very few truly sexist people

mikeh, I appreciate your comments, but this is super wrong.
posted by stoneandstar at 11:25 AM on March 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


I was being pretty optimistic on that one, I admit. There are quite a few sexist people, but I would like to think most are just dumb people who don't know any better and are just prone to lots of sexist comments and acts.

I'm trying to pretend the world is less bleak. Cut me some slack?
posted by mikeh at 11:30 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


ThatFuzzyBastard: Nope, there I'm quite right. They said "we need an updated version that shows less skin". Maybe that means they were just planning to re-edit the existing? Hard to say. But certainly a clear statement that the video she was looking at wouldn't be up much longer.

That is a very weird assumption.

You say: Man, your car is getting long in the tooth.

I say: Yeah, I need a new one.

Do you think that's certainly a clear statement that I'll be buying a new car, soon? Would you be surprised to see me driving the same old car a month later? Do you walk up and say, "What the hell, man, you promised you'd get a new car!"
posted by gilrain at 11:30 AM on March 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


They said "we need an updated version that shows less skin". Maybe that means they were just planning to re-edit the existing? Hard to say. But certainly a clear statement that the video she was looking at wouldn't be up much longer.


Yeah, I agree that this might be an acknowlegment that the video isn't appropriate, but it doesn't indicate any urgency whatsoever. And the fact that they follow it up with a smiley face seems to indicate that they're not taking it very seriously; to me, it's more like "oh, yes, we're scamps, but we'll get around to doing something about it someday." And she follows up with something that (to me) indicates "this isn't really funny, it's actually really gross, you should do something about it". Seems reasonable to me.
posted by cider at 11:34 AM on March 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


And in response to delmoi's worthy point: if someone walked up and said to me "You have to stop smoking; it's fucking gross'" I might or might not stop smoking, but I would definitely tell that person to fuck right off.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 11:35 AM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


What if somebody said, "You need to stop smoking; it's fucking gross, and you keep stubbing it out on my kid's face?"
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:39 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm trying to pretend the world is less bleak. Cut me some slack?

For sure, dude. :)
posted by stoneandstar at 11:53 AM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


it doesn't change the fact that women would be giving up a lot of jobs (that men in comparable situations could take) and be taking on an extra burden to vet sexist work and give up jobs instead of advancing in their careers. Sears models aren't exactly superstars. Regardless, if you want to heap abuse on the models, have fun with that, I'll continue to be pissed off at the jerks who come up with these ideas.

I feel like we are talking past each other here. To me the jobs that would be lost are inherently sexist and with few examples aren't positions that exist for men. IE: You pretty well don't see skantily clad men standing/hold products in advertising as a vehicle for eye candy in the same way you don't see male "booth babes". You see both men and women actually using products (though probably more white men on average than a represtational average would suggest) but the beefcake advertising model is minimal. There isn't anyway to eliminate the sexism of appeal to sexuality advertising without eliminating the jobs.
posted by Mitheral at 11:55 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Let me expand my previous offer.

If you are participating in this thread in good faith and believe:
  1. "oh that was super old ad created by a friend, we need an updated version that shows less skin! :)" clearly and unambiguously translates into a promise to remove the video and replace it with a less sexist one
  2. Businesses should not have to take the public's feelings, politics, or ethics into account in their advertisements or brand management practices, as it hurts society when people in their position worry about how they are viewed by the public
  3. Inversely, the public must make tone a primary consideration when speaking to business representatives and other public figures because otherwise they may cause offense
Feel free to give me a memail and I'll try to provide an alternate perspective in a respectful, non-judgmental manner.
posted by jsturgill at 11:55 AM on March 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


ThatFuzzyBastard, you are quite the study in contradictions. You've spent this whole time constructing arguments and reconstructing arguments and when the light showed through the holes in them just flat-out stating that Kane is a jackass and it's incredibly offensive merely to state the opinions she stated, and apparently not bothered by the Geeklist guys' "What effrontery, to speak a curse word in our presence! You have grievously insulted us and our entire house!" act but now you're terribly vexed by this world you imagine where "it's horrible to ever offend anyone"?
posted by XMLicious at 11:55 AM on March 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


And in response to delmoi's worthy point: if someone walked up and said to me "You have to stop smoking; it's fucking gross'" I might or might not stop smoking, but I would definitely tell that person to fuck right off.
Lol, right. and you're the one who is going to get lung cancer, not me. That's the point. Acting like a petulant teenager hurts you. It doesn't hurt me. What you don't seem to understand here is that no one cares if you tell them to fuck off. Except to the extent that they will use that fact to form a negative opinion about you. It doesn't actually hurt them.

(plus, he didn't just tell her to fuck off, he publicly try to get her in trouble with her boss)

Whether or not you tell me to 'fuck off' has no impact on my life at all, just like all this nonsense didn't end up hurting Shanley Kane at all, while Shanz is begging the internet for forgiveness. See how that works? The person you hurt by acting that way isn't the person making the rude suggestion, the person you hurt is yourself.

Had he responded like a grown man, rather then a teenager, his life would be a lot better now, his startup would have better prospects, etc (seriously this social network b.s. is as much, if not more about hype, fashion, buzz etc then programming, beyond minimum competency. Doesn't matter how good your code is if no one wants to 'associate' with you)

Now you may simply be trying to say "telling someone to fuck off here was expected, so we can't really criticize him here". But the problem is, as I said, no. That's what I would expect from a petulant teenager, not a grown man.
Nope, there I'm quite right. They said "we need an updated version that shows less skin". Maybe that means they were just planning to re-edit the existing? Hard to say. But certainly a clear statement that the video she was looking at wouldn't be up much longer.
Sorry, no. Someone had apparently emailed them about the video a month ago. "We need to do X" does not mean "We will do X in a short time frame" – that simply is not what those words mean
It's also part of an ugly process of drawing lines around who really gets to speak for real women---there's lots of things Phyllis Schlafly finds offensive to her as a woman that no one here would think anyone needs to apologize for, but no one here would suggest that an apology to her is necessary, because she's the wrong kind of woman.
Well, it would be simple to simply listen to women when they actually say they are offended. That way, you wouldn't have to take anyone's word for what all women want.

However, you seem to be saying that it's rude for women to tell people they are offended, and that rude people should be ignored.

In that case, there is actually no way at all to find out what offends particular women. That's very convenient.
Fuck the internet rules that say the person who gets upset about trolling is the loser; fuck a troll.
Awww, U mad bro? Weren't you just saying that we shouldn't worry about offending people - now you're saying you were offended by rudeness and are complain about having your feelings hurt?

Which is it? Do people's feelings matter, or do they not? Because you have to chose. One or the other. You can't run around spewing offensive nonsense, and then get all butthurt and cry about it when people point out that it's offensive. Doing so is logically incoherent. But more then that, it's just pathetic.
posted by delmoi at 12:12 PM on March 23, 2012 [10 favorites]


Mitheral, I don't know what to say, except that your argument about modeling is like telling African-American actresses that they shouldn't take roles as maids. Even if they all stopped, maybe the bigger problem is white people writing screenplays where black people are always supporting characters? The career of a female model is pretty much determined by how good she is at her job and how sexy she's willing to be to sell products. Furthermore, who cares? This has nothing to do with anything here, truly. Even if the model in the video were being sexist, it changes nothing about this situation.
posted by stoneandstar at 12:27 PM on March 23, 2012


This whole fiasco is a great example of why twitter needs to be taken out back and shot humanely euthanized.

Writing is a painfully limited medium of communication, all things considered, because it's missing the nuances of body language and this makes it extremely easy to misinterpret a message. People tend to read messages in writing with an adversarial slant. Taking that limited and slanted communication and further imposing a limit of 140 characters means that any kind of criticism comes out as "GRARRRARARRAR". I highly doubt that Shanley would've walked up to the geeklist guys in person and started yelling and swearing at them about something on their web site, and demanding immediate action, and I doubt any of the ensuing clusterfuck would've happened either. But hey, in our ultra high bandwidth future we somehow chose to elevate a communication platform that is primitive and stunted, encourages miscommunication, and generally brings out the worst in us.
posted by mullingitover at 12:33 PM on March 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


Mitheral, I don't know what to say, except that your argument about modeling is like telling African-American actresses that they shouldn't take roles as maids. Even if they all stopped, maybe the bigger problem is white people writing screenplays where black people are always supporting characters? The career of a female model is pretty much determined by how good she is at her job and how sexy she's willing to be to sell products. Furthermore, who cares? This has nothing to do with anything here, truly. Even if the model in the video were being sexist, it changes nothing about this situation.

This is actually what the phrase "the personal is political" was invented to address - the personal choices women make in order to do such frivilous things as eat and have a roof over their head are affected by the political climate in which they can get jobs. Therefore, we should not judge the PERSONAL choices women make to do such silly and hysterical things as remain alive, but rather take POLITICAL and COLLECTIVE action to change the circumstances they live within.
posted by Deoridhe at 12:35 PM on March 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


I highly doubt that Shanley would've walked up to the geeklist guys in person and started yelling and swearing at them about something on their web site, and demanding immediate action

But that's not what happened. How many times does that need to be repeated?
posted by maxwelton at 12:38 PM on March 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


Endlessly.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:40 PM on March 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's also part of an ugly process of drawing lines around who really gets to speak for real women---there's lots of things Phyllis Schlafly finds offensive to her as a woman that no one here would think anyone needs to apologize for, but no one here would suggest that an apology to her is necessary, because she's the wrong kind of woman.

Well, it would be simple to simply listen to women when they actually say they are offended. That way, you wouldn't have to take anyone's word for what all women want.


So the next time Sarah Palin says she's offended about something, you'll be urging everyone to stop whatever offends her, right?
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 12:41 PM on March 23, 2012


This whole fiasco is a great example of why twitter needs to be taken out back and shot humanely euthanized.

Whether it's a fiasco depends on your perspective. I think this has brought a lot more attention to the fact that sexism is a very real thing in tech. To me that's a good thing.
posted by parudox at 12:42 PM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


So the next time Sarah Palin says she's offended about something, you'll be urging everyone to stop whatever offends her, right?

You've jumped to an unreasonably conclusion from a reasonable statement. This is not arguing in good faith.

But in answer to your question, yes. If I listen to Sarah Palin make a case that something hurts women, and the case makes sense, I will urge people to stop it.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:43 PM on March 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


ThatFuzzyBastard - The phrase "willfully obtuse" comes to mind when I read your comments. "Troll" is a close second at this point, as I can't believe anyone could really be quite SO genuinely obtuse.
posted by some loser at 12:47 PM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


ThatFuzzyBastard: “So the next time Sarah Palin says she's offended about something, you'll be urging everyone to stop whatever offends her, right?”

Yes. If Sarah Palin says she's offended by something sexist and divisive that makes women feel unwelcome in my community, and if she expresses that cordially and thoughtfully and lays out her reasons intelligently like Shanley did in this case, then yes, I will urge people to stop whatever it is she's complaining about.
posted by koeselitz at 12:48 PM on March 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


What if somebody said, "You need to stop smoking; it's fucking gross, and you keep stubbing it out on my kid's face?"

If you think someone posting an offensive video on their website is comprable to stubbing out a cigarette in your kid's face, then I imagine the world must be very trying.

So the next time Sarah Palin says she's offended about something, you'll be urging everyone to stop whatever offends her, right?

You've jumped to an unreasonably conclusion from a reasonable statement. This is not arguing in good faith.

But in answer to your question, yes. If I listen to Sarah Palin make a case that something hurts women, and the case makes sense, I will urge people to stop it.


I said that I hate the statement "We never want to offend any woman," which many here seem to have thought was a very good one. I suggested that part of why I hated it was because it implicitly drew a line around who was allowed to be an offended woman, and made the point that there are plenty of women you are happy to offend. Perfectly good faith; sorry that disagreement seems like bad faith to you.

Because that whole decision about whether the "case makes sense" is where the argument is happening here. You reserve the right to make that decision if you're evaluating a statement by Sarah Palin, but will not extend that right to others.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 12:50 PM on March 23, 2012


I said that I hate the statement "We never want to offend any woman," which many here seem to have thought was a very good one.

Literally nobody in this thread has said this, nor has there been any discussion of this statement in this thread. Are you sure you're in the right thread? Sometimes I have a few tabs open to different web pages and accidentally respond to one when I mean to respond to the other.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:53 PM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Because that whole decision about whether the "case makes sense" is where the argument is happening here. You reserve the right to make that decision if you're evaluating a statement by Sarah Palin, but will not extend that right to others.

The argument happening here is about whether Kane was nice enough when she pointed out that a sexist video was sexist. I think three people have defended the video's contents. No one else has said her case doesn't make sense, just that they don't like how she said it.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 12:54 PM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


ThatFuzzyBastard mentioned that statement (which came from the latest apology, with slightly different wording) himself. But you're right, Bunny, that nobody else here has talked about it, nor stated agreement with or approval of it.
posted by koeselitz at 12:55 PM on March 23, 2012


Oh I see. So he's taking issue with one of their badly worded apologies?

It's so hard to tell, as he has not taken issue with anything else they have done.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:57 PM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


So the next time Sarah Palin says she's offended about something, you'll be urging everyone to stop whatever offends her, right?

If you'll settle for Palin-Lite, there's this thread on Michele Bachmann which discusses Bachmann's right to be offended by the song "Lyin' Ass Bitch" used as her walk-on music.
posted by gladly at 12:58 PM on March 23, 2012


parudox: "I think this has brought a lot more attention to the fact that sexism is a very real thing in tech. "

Which is a shame, because it should've brought more attention to the fact that twitter brings out one's inner idiot. From my reading of the word vomit we're calling this 'conversation,' I'm honestly not convinced that the geeklist guys would've interacted with Shanley any differently had she been male.
posted by mullingitover at 12:58 PM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


1) Quit blaming it on Twitter. This kind of thing happens all the time, everywhere.

2) TheFuzzyBastard, several people stated that if Sarah Palin made a case that something was negatively affecting women, they'd listen. No one's saying you should never offend a woman for any reason, but that you shouldn't offend a woman by being sexist, because it's sexist, duh?

Observe how after the Sandra Fluke debacle, conservative women stepped up and accused Bill Maher of sexism. Men on the left may have flipped out and called the conservative women opportunists without further comment, but many women on the left nodded their heads and said, "Yes, Bill Maher is sexist."
posted by stoneandstar at 12:58 PM on March 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


(and that's not to say that they handled it in anything resembling a mature fashion).
posted by mullingitover at 12:59 PM on March 23, 2012


ThatFuzzyBastard: “I said that I hate the statement "We never want to offend any woman," which many here seem to have thought was a very good one. I suggested that part of why I hated it was because it implicitly drew a line around who was allowed to be an offended woman, and made the point that there are plenty of women you are happy to offend. Perfectly good faith; sorry that disagreement seems like bad faith to you.”

Sorry, ThatFuzzyBastard, you totally lost me here. I guess I think you're saying it's unnecessarily broad – right? I can see that. It's kind of silly to say "we never want to offend any woman." If a woman is a Nazi (to take a silly example) I don't mind offending her on that count. So – er, I would agree that it's an overbroad statement.

But it doesn't seem like that's what you mean; you seem to be saying that it's too narrow. I don't get that. How does "we would never wish to offend any woman [or anyone]" draw any line at all around who is allowed to be offended? Seems like they're saying they don't want to offend anybody, not just a particular group. But I think I'm just misunderstanding what you mean.
posted by koeselitz at 12:59 PM on March 23, 2012


I'm honestly not convinced that the geeklist guys would've interacted with Shanley any differently had she been male.

And they still would have been defending sexism, so this would still be an issue and instance of sexism.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 1:00 PM on March 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


So the next time Sarah Palin says she's offended about something, you'll be urging everyone to stop whatever offends her, right?

Oh, come on -- seriously?
posted by empath at 1:00 PM on March 23, 2012


This was kind of the icing on the "we don't get what we're doing" cake yesterday: https://twitter.com/#!/shanley/status/182878421133705217

When Shanley Kane doesn't reply to a request to meet up because she's busy at work, Reuben Katz implies she'll be there and requests that people show up for a community meeting. Is there a particular reason to have a community meeting, and to imply that one of the interested parties should be there, when she has not stated such?

sheesh
posted by mikeh at 1:01 PM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


So the next time Sarah Palin says she's offended about something, you'll be urging everyone to stop whatever offends her, right?
****
If you'll settle for Palin-Lite, there's this thread on Michele Bachmann which discusses Bachmann's right to be offended by the song "Lyin' Ass Bitch" used as her walk-on music.
****
...and reading through that thread many folks basically said "You know, Bachmann is a total liar and deserves to be called out for her political bullshit but it's not cool that the word 'bitch' was used because it's harmful to women."

I think we've demonstrated we can have a reasonable discussion on this topic about someone nearly universally vilified at MetaFilter. So now that we've resolved this little red herring we can move on, right?
posted by Doleful Creature at 1:06 PM on March 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Mitheral, I don't know what to say, except that your argument about modeling is like telling African-American actresses that they shouldn't take roles as maids."

That's not a bad example.

I guess the problem I have with this line of discussion — where the gender of someone is (or is not) supposed to be the primary determinant of what is sexism and who can judge what is sexism — is that the implicit assumption that it's binary is simplistic and false, and, more importantly, such discussions act as diversions and (worse) are often intended to be diversions.

That is to say, while sometimes it's an anti-sexist who will argue that a man has no standing to make any claim about what is or isn't sexist (it happened once in this thread), what's much more common is that an anti-anti-sexist will argue that because a woman was involved in a claimed sexist act, or endorses it, or something similar, then it cannot be sexist. It's a diversionary, silencing tactic, just like the tone argument is.

The argument about whether the female model or videographer are themselves sexist for being involved with this video are examples of this. The videographer has direct responsibility, so that context is unambiguously about whether a woman can do sexist things. The model is a bit more ambiguous, as her responsibility for the video as a video is indirect. She's objectifying herself in a sexist context, certainly. So she has some responsibility.

But as you, stoneandstar, are arguing, women being sexist, doing sexist things, enabling and participating in sexist structures and institutions — the context is not the same as when men do those things. It's just not. And that's especially true when the institutions and structures are deeply embedded and powerful and the risk to women going against them is very high and the possible consequences grave.

Nevertheless, that doesn't mean that, by definition, women cannot be sexist, or, indeed, misogynist. Many are both. The same is true of racism.

And while the context of such bigotry against one's own class is very different than bigotry against another class, that doesn't mean it's not a bad thing and that it shouldn't be objected to, and shouldn't be fought against. It should. But doing so necessarily involves an understanding of how the context is very different. Both in how one approaches protesting such things, and how one understands it and how it can be remedied.

But, again, such discussions are like Institutionalized Bigotry 352-level discussions. When such discussions appear in a context like this quite obviously Sexism 101 discussion, they are derailing. Why, exactly, are we spending time worrying about whether Kane is actually less privileged, or whether the model also deserves opprobrium, when these are clearly side-issues? It's because, I think, even when it's not someone who is intentionally being anti-anti-sexist, but rather just sort of clueless, it's because it's easier to talk about other things than the underlying reality of the endemic sexism in the tech industry and how shitty the geeklist guys acted.

Sexism is as sexism does. A number of people in this thread, and also the geeklist guys themselves, seem to be confused into wrongly thinking that sexism is determined by intention. Sexist acts are acts which reinforce sexist institutions. Sexist institutions are those which protect and further privilege determined by sex. Men and women can perform sexist acts with and without sexist intent or awareness. An act that occurs within the context of protecting and furthering sexist privilege and is therefore sexist can occur outside the context of protecting and furthering sexist privilege and therefore not be sexist. The attention paid to "something that's sexy" and "sex sells" as being determinative of sexism is deeply confused. For that matter, equivocating objectification with sexism is also confused. Certainly, in practice, most of the sexual objectification that occurs in our culture occurs within the context of protecting and furthering sexist institutions, but it isn't always, and it need not be. Worrying about "sexiness" is a red-herring. What is worth worrying about is that the larger context of that model appearing dressed and behaving as she does in that video selling that product in conjunction with that industry and in the larger context of how women have been used to sell products in the past and present. All those things together, yeah, that video is unambiguously and egregiously sexist. There are a lot of videos like it. That doesn't make it okay.

And the same need to pay attention to context applies when we look at how the geeklist guys responded to Kane, and how many people have argued in this thread. It's not automatically wrong to be critical of someone's tone. Of course how we deal with other people, how we speak and write to them, matters; and, all things being equal, deserves scrutiny and bad behavior should be criticized. But there's a specific context in which this particular discussion about Kane's "tone" is occurring. And, good grief, that context couldn't be more obvious.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:09 PM on March 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


"Which is a shame, because it should've brought more attention to the fact that twitter brings out one's inner idiot."

Yes, because that's clearly of more urgency and import than the entrenched sexism in the technology sector.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:13 PM on March 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


You reserve the right to make that decision if you're evaluating a statement by Sarah Palin, but will not extend that right to others.

I promise you: telling her, "We don't agree with you; we think the video is all in fun and we're comfortable with it" would have provoked about one billionth the unhappiness that this response has. It sounds odd, but the substance of this debate (whether the video is inappropriate or not) is kind of a red herring, as this is much more about the way the parties went about disagreeing with each other than it is about the disagreement itself.

You seem to suggest that what happened in this situation was something like: (1) She told them it was offensive, (2) they respectfully disagreed and stood by the video, (3) she began shrieking and swearing at them, (4) they politely asked her to cease and desist, and (5) she wouldn't, so (6) they grew frustrated.

What happened, it seems to me, is actually (1) she pointed out that the video was obnoxious, (2) they implicitly agreed with her ("we need one that shows less skin") but winky-winked about it, which irritated her, so (3) she told them that the right answer to realizing you have a video up that you know is objectifying women is to take it down, not to send winky faces to people who object to it and leave it right where it is, and then (4) they began the series of subject-changing strategies that followed. This included accusing her of wanting attention, making ominous mentions of her job and her company's contracts, telling her she had "no shame," telling her she should have written to them privately, and so forth.

As I read this story, she got angry precisely because they essentially agreed that her discomfort with the video was hard to argue with, but they did a sort of "Ain't I a stinker?" grin about it, which made her more angry. And it would make me more angry, also. Her point was, I think, "Don't tell me you know it's a cheesecake video and then wink at me. Take it down if you know perfectly well it's [to use her words] fucking gross."

This wasn't about them disagreeing with her about whether it's something they probably shouldn't have up or not and her insisting on her own way. They essentially said they agreed that it would be better to replace it with something else. I think this was about her saying, "What's up with the underwear dance on a tech site?" and getting back, basically, what sounded like, "We know, we should probably get one where she has clothes on. LOL, hee hee." I can completely understand why that made her angry. Because at that point, it's not about "Is the video kind of degrading?" but about "What do you do with a video that's kind of degrading?" Their answer seemed to be "Maybe someday, we'll get a different one." So the disagreement wasn't about whether it was sexist, but about whether the fact that it was sexist required any response.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 1:16 PM on March 23, 2012 [20 favorites]


@mullingitover RT "Writing is a painfully limited medium of communication, all things considered, because it's missing the nuances of body language and this makes it extremely easy to misinterpret a message. People tend to read messages in writing with an adversarial slant. Taking that limited and slanted communication and further imposing a limit of 140 characters means that any kind of criticism comes out as "GRARRRARARRAR". I highly doubt that Shanley would've walked up to the geeklist guys in person and started yelling and swearing at them about something on their web site, and demanding immediate action, and I doubt any of the ensuing clusterfuck would've happened either. But hey, in our ultra high bandwidth future we somehow chose to elevate a communication platform that is primitive and stunted, encourages miscommunication, and generally brings out the worst in us." – LIK TOTALY
posted by delmoi at 1:17 PM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


So the next time Sarah Palin says she's offended about something, you'll be urging everyone to stop whatever offends her, right?
No, because I think it's OK to be offensive sometimes. That's why Shanz was so out of line to be so offended and oversensitive about Kane's comments that he tried to get her in trouble at work over them.
I said that I hate the statement "We never want to offend any woman," which many here seem to have thought was a very good one.
No one is saying no one should ever offend any women. But Geeklist was a professional social networking company. Do you think LinkedIn wants to offend anyone? Jobvite? StackExchange? Of course not. Companies that depend on everyone feeling welcome have to be nice to everyone if they want to make money.

Geeklist, Jobvite, LinkedIn, Facebook. Those companies really don't want to offend Sarah Palin or Bachman or anyone else. Facebook even let Palin keep a hateful anti-Muslim post up that violated their guidelines after she whined about it getting deleted.

The obtuseness on display here does make one suspect a troll.
posted by delmoi at 1:17 PM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah also it turns out that when Geeklist blamed Design Like Whoa for everything, they were lying. DLW just made the apparel - the shoot and the video were explicitly for, and commissioned by, Geeklist.

http://designlikewhoa.tumblr.com/post/19791735980/response-to-geeklists-letter-after-reading
posted by a_girl_irl at 1:26 PM on March 23, 2012 [13 favorites]


Yeah also it turns out that when Geeklist blamed Design Like Whoa for everything, they were lying. DLW just made the apparel - the shoot and the video were explicitly for, and commissioned by, Geeklist.

You mean to say there's gambling in this establishment? I'm shocked. Shocked.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 1:31 PM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Again, think about what this site was trying to accomplish.

They wanted to be an important part of how programmers present their work to potential employers. Like how github is an important site now for programmers to share code (despite being closed source. Bleh)

Now it's a little redundant, since programmer all know how make their own web pages. But lets assume this site is really awesome and has social features that make it worth using over a standalone website. You post your code there, people see it, you get hired. They make stacks of cash off ads.

But lets suppose this site is actually female unfriendly. Women get hostile comments, maybe they get "down-votes" maybe they get criticized for being uptight all the time, whatever. That would make it harder for women to get work in SV. That's the risk Kane was trying to fight against.

Now lets say on the other hand that they are not yet popular, but they get a reputation for being a female unfriendly place with a Fratboy mentality. Well, then they're fucked Prospective programmers won't want to host their portfolios there, because they'd be worried that it would make them look like Fratboy assholes. Just like people don't put their reddit UID on their resumes. Maybe some bottomfeeder companies that actually want that kind of work environment might recruit there, but it would be a dumping ground of crappy coders.

Maybe they can move past this, but their chances of making it big are diminished. Looking at the crunchbase it looks like they raised $600k just six months ago

@CShanz moronic, petulant (and confused, apparently) tweets just cost someone a lot of money.
___
Oh man, reading through the article their site is even stupider then I thought
Relying heavily on Twitter OAuth, Geekli.st lets developers create profiles to house “cards” for programming-related achievements and micro-achievements like “I helped build Google Reader from the ground up,”"Helped grow Skype from zero to first few hundred million users,”"Redesigning parts of the SimpleGeo site to scale for more products,” etc. Users can view a stream of other user’s cards by clicking on the Geekli.st logo at the top of the site.

CEO Reuben Katz tells me that sites like LinkedIn or other recruiting sites are technically Geekli.st’s competition, but not really as Geekli.st focuses on nurturing the developer community, “What we do differently is provide a safe zone for developers to brag. Instead of their audience being recruiters or hiring focused resumes, we give them Achievement-based communication between peers from their own community.”
Come on really? Little cards and achievements and crap? Apparently I made a mistake assuming they were doing something useful. This is exactly the kind of stupid "tech" crap that's so absurd these days - some 'revolutionary' app requiring zero innovation that just allows silicon valley people to stare at eachothers navels even harder

posted by delmoi at 1:35 PM on March 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


"But they said they were going to take down the video."

No, they didn't.

I'm afraid that I have to be rude here for a moment, but I'd like to know whether you actually do realize this and just find it inconvenient to admit or whether you really truly do believe that this invented reading unsupported by any facts is true?

Because when you have to make shit up to buttress your argument, well, it shows that your argument isn't very good and that you likely have an ulterior motive for presenting it. Why do you have so much invested in defending Geeklist here?
posted by klangklangston at 1:45 PM on March 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


Yeah also it turns out that when Geeklist blamed Design Like Whoa for everything, they were lying. DLW just made the apparel - the shoot and the video were explicitly for, and commissioned by, Geeklist.

http://designlikewhoa.tumblr.com/post/19791735980/response-to-geeklists-letter-after-reading

WOW they are EVEN BIGGER assholes then I could have POSSIBLY IMAGINED*! They immediately tried to shield themselves by putting trying to blame it all on a woman (so not sexist!) when actually they chose what to put in the video.

Also, I don't really think it's fair to blame Design Like Woah here. A video like that wouldn't be nearly as sexist if they were selling underwear. She could have thought it was a content site, something like a version of maxim for nerds. If it was something like that, it wouldn't be specifically bad for women in social media/internet development. ('tech' is way to general a term here, IMO)

It's the context of what the site is supposed to be, combined with with the video, that makes it specifically a problem for women in the industry. Someone who isn't familiar with the ins and outs of the 'tech' 'community' might not understand that context, and see a problem with the shoot. Or she might not have even known what geeklist was about.

(*on reflection, I guess that's somewhat hyperbolic, I can imagine some pretty big assholes)
posted by delmoi at 1:46 PM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, big ups to Stoneandstar and Delmoi for their part here.
posted by klangklangston at 1:46 PM on March 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


Ok I'm kind of late in responding to this comment, but it's still relevant and worth discussing in the larger context of the issue:

Mitheral sez: Pretty well ya. If you don't think "fucking" is crude what kind of language would be crude?

I see you did add a little "get off my lawn" comment, so maybe for you this really sincerely is the height of crude language for you, but I can tell you right now that I can think of dozens of cruder things that tweet could have gone down. Admittedly I'm a horrible person with a very active imagination.

Again I think it's really important to note that to many people, especially a lot of younger people working in technology, using words like "fucking" are not really that crude. Clearly Katz demonstrated as much in his own tweet history. Or was it Sanz? Anyway, the point is that the f-word doesn't necessarily hold the same weight for these guys, as they've shown in the past, and them (or anyone else on behalf of them) suddenly acting like it does is being deceptive. As they were.

But hey, I'll play along. Could Kane have been more demanding, more rude? Oh yes, allow me to show you a few options of increasing rudeness (these are just off the top of my head, I could probably do worse if given time). The option number indicates the rudness-quotient or RQ:

[warning!: offensive]
RQ 004: Please take it down, you are fucking gross
RQ 006: Take it down right now, you fucking gross asshole
RQ 019: YOU GODDAMN AFTERBIRTHS TAKE THIS DOWN RIGHT FUCKING NOW OR ELSE
RQ 998: I bet you fuck corpses. Take this video down or I will hunt you down like the asshole-eating dog you are and murder your family in front of you #thisisapromisenotathreat #imfuckingserious #iwillcutoffyoursmallpenisandfeedittoyou

[/offensive]

Okay that last is over 140 characters but I think you get the idea. Kane could have been infinitely ruder.
posted by Doleful Creature at 2:04 PM on March 23, 2012


I didn't mean to imply that "fuck" was the crudest thing ever (something that is self evident because as you've demonstrated modifiers to "fuck" like the ever popular mother could ramp up the crudeness) merely that "fuck" is indeed crude language. I imagine there are times and places where that isn't the case but they are going to be in the minority and certianly rare during customer relations between friends or collegues.
posted by Mitheral at 2:21 PM on March 23, 2012


Fair enough, and I would agree but my personal anecdata contradicts this. Then again, I work in IT with lots of airline startups and we are a rowdy bunch. The similarities with airline and online startups (heh) seem pretty close to me, hence my lack of shock at the use. I totally get why you and people in loads of other industries would feel otherwise.

Carry on then.
posted by Doleful Creature at 2:25 PM on March 23, 2012


Fuck everyone that believes everyone needs to be polite when pressing for change. Being polite is what has allowed stupid sexism, racism, all -isms and privilege to persist. The only times we've had radical social change for the better is when the pissed-on get pissed-off.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:36 PM on March 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


For people in tech jobs, 'fuck' is about as common as 'thank you'.
posted by empath at 2:40 PM on March 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


(As a complete aside, if I was a venture capitalist, I would forbid any high level founder/executive in a firm I was funding from having a twitter account or a blog which wasn't vetted/placed in the charge of a communications specialist with proven customer relations skills.

There's really no upside to the activity, and plenty of downside. A vetted blog or twitter will be forgettable but at least it can reinforce the company's messaging without opening a can of worms.

A friend has a startup dev company, has a twitter account explicitly tied to that, and while he never says anything foolish or gross, it's just dribbles of badly punctuated inanity which poorly reflects on what I know is his intelligence and abilities. You would not hire him based on his twitter ramblings.)

posted by maxwelton at 2:42 PM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


At some places I've worked 'fuck' was waaaaay more common than 'thank you'.
posted by Doleful Creature at 2:43 PM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, at my company it might be closer to 'hello', but even then you don't tend to say 'hello' multiple times in the same sentence like we do.
posted by empath at 2:50 PM on March 23, 2012


Yeah, at my company it might be closer to 'hello', but even then you don't tend to say 'hello' multiple times in the same sentence like we do.

I am trying to imagine how this thread would have gone if Sanz said "fuck" and Kane responded by saying, "please delete that tweet, it's gross."
posted by Snarl Furillo at 3:18 PM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thanks everyone for your nice comments. I don't know if it's proper etiquette to respond in-thread but I appreciated everyone else who made comments in defense of Kane as well.
posted by stoneandstar at 3:26 PM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Can you link to any evidence of that? It's a strong accusation, is all I'm saying; it could probably use a link or three.

Not entirely related to her "demanding comments critical of her to be taken down," but it seems as though she was having some concurrent drama with the ADA Initiative, which was providing consulting services to Geeklist on how to mitigate/resolve their sexism problem.

All of her tweets directed to @Adainitiative seem to revolve around a poorly conceived apology tactic that one of their directors came up with, and Kane was apparently "sick to her stomach at their betrayal" and urgently requesting their attention, to the point that she was ready to publish their email correspondence unless they jumped under the bus first:

http://adainitiative.org/2012/03/clarification-on-consulting-services-and-apology/
posted by ShutterBun at 4:09 PM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, that adainitiative apology makes no sense. Someone at adainitiative threw out an idea to a few people -- in an apparently private email exchange -- and was forced to apologize for even considering it, all because some hypersensitive harridan on the Internet threatened to "expose it"? And then, even more absurdly, as part of the PC hara kiri, the adainitiative person also apologizes for the ableist language of asking for a "sanity check"? Areyoufuckingkiddingme? What is it about the internet that breeds these idiotic (is that ableist?) whiners, professional bickerers and kowtowing toadies?
posted by jayder at 5:19 PM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


ShutterBun: “All of her tweets directed to @Adainitiative seem to revolve around a poorly conceived apology tactic that one of their directors came up with, and Kane was apparently "sick to her stomach at their betrayal" and urgently requesting their attention, to the point that she was ready to publish their email correspondence unless they jumped under the bus first...”

Er. Really? I'm kind of trying to sort out what happened, and can't see any of the tweets you're talking about. Maybe they were deleted, I'm not sure. Also, in the link you gave, the author states that the person who objected (Shanley I guess?) was one of the people to whom the email was sent in the first place.

I'm really just pretty confused by what's going on here.
posted by koeselitz at 5:31 PM on March 23, 2012


(I can only see three tweets from Shanley @Adainitiative, and it's not really clear what's going on in them.)
posted by koeselitz at 5:32 PM on March 23, 2012


(I also have a feeling I don't know how to search Twitter properly. Sorry for that.)
posted by koeselitz at 5:33 PM on March 23, 2012


As part of that mission, we work with organizations to be more welcoming and supportive of women in these areas. One type of consulting we do is helping organizations to respond to sexist incidents that have (rightly) drawn the ire of the community.
"the community"

In which there are enough ire drawing "sexist incidents" to make money consulting on the... cleanup?

Anyway, I like the the term "sexist incidents", makes it sound like a 'critical event" at a nuclear reactor or "depressurization incident" on a plane. As if "sexism" was some fluid, coursing through the pipes of "tech", sooner or later a pipe will burst, and sexism will spew out everywhere, naturally creating 'ire'.

And when that happens, Call the Ada Initiative, and they'll be there mop in hand.

Well, not quite, apparently they do this gratis, at least according to their email.

---
Anyway, I'm a little confused here about what she's apologizing about here. From what I understand the time-line is:

1) Geeklist talks to Valerie Aurora about what they should do
2) Aurora has an idea to have Geeklist appologize in their underwear. She recognizes this is a bad idea, but sends it out to some friends anyway.
3) Friend X demands the right to publish the entire email chain to the list, or else she will publish the entire thing publicly.
4) Friend X also demands the Ada initiative have nothing to do with geeklist.
4) Aurora doesn't want this, so she publicly apologizes.

Is that right? Because if so, Friend X in this situation would be behaving pretty awfully. Was friend X Kane? If so, that doesn't portray her in a positive light at all. If it wasn't Kane, it would be good to clarify.

I could certainly understand Kane being upset to get that email, but at the same time there is zero reason for a public apology

(I can only see three tweets from Shanley @Adainitiative, and it's not really clear what's going on in them.)

Here's what I can gather of the conversation:
Shanley Kane:    Dear @adainitiative, please have your board members contact
                 me immediately or provide me with a  public mailing list address.

Leigh Honeywell: @shanley I'm an advisor, sup? /CC @adainitiative

Shanley Kane:    @hypatiadotca @adainitiative what is your email address

Leigh Honeywell: @shanley both of them are probably asleep tho :)

Leigh Honeywell: @shanley info at adainitiative dot org goes to Mary and Val, mine
                 is leigh at hypatia dot ca
That fits with Shanely being Friend X in the story in the apology. I don't see why any of this needed to happen in public.
posted by delmoi at 5:50 PM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


So I read most of this after work today. Would have participated (glad I didn't) if I had seen earlier. Things I have learned from the comments: (1) fuck twitter, it's stupid. I'm so glad that I haven't ever signed up. It's fucking gross. (2) Jesus Christ, it's not that big of a deal; will anyone even remember what @kane is in 2 months? (3) Girls in panties is bad advertising for your PROFESSIONAL social networking site and (4) get a life most people, life, too, shall also pass.
posted by gagglezoomer at 6:09 PM on March 23, 2012


Would have participated... if I had seen earlier

get a life

HI GUYS JUST GOT HERE AFTER SPENDING HOURS OF MY LIFE READING 400 POSTS IN A THREAD I DIDN'T TAKE PART IN JUST WANTED TO LET YOU ALL KNOW THAT YOU'RE WASTING YOUR TIME AND JONATHAN FRANZEN WAS RIGHT ABOUT TWITTER NOT THAT I HAVE ONE I JUST KNOW AND ALSO IT'S A WASTE OF TIME TO FIGHT SEXISM ON THE INTERNET THOUGH I WOULD HAVE COME BY TO OFFER A FRESH UNIQUE MALE PERSPECTIVE AND MAKE SOME DERAILING COMMENTS ABOUT WHAT LOSERS YOU ALL ARE HAD I BEEN HERE EARLIER GLAD I DIDN'T WELL BYE
posted by stoneandstar at 6:26 PM on March 23, 2012 [24 favorites]


harridan

really
posted by stoneandstar at 6:29 PM on March 23, 2012 [15 favorites]


Was Ivanka Trump born with less privilege then, say, Eminem? I think the answer is no.

This line of logic always comes up in conversations about privilege. And it's wrong. Privilege is not measured in dollars. Eminem was born with the privilege of being born into a situation that he could eventually buy his way out of. No amount of money can buy Ivanka trump out of being a woman in a sexist society, with the exception of gender reassignment surgery, which carries it's own baggage and discrimination, and kind of proves the point of male privilege anyway.
posted by billyfleetwood at 6:30 PM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


BUNCH OF STUFF TYPED IN ALL CAPS

Guess I was honestly just... fascinated... by the amount of conjecture and analyzing that this complete non-controversy seemed to spark. Maybe it's just cause I'm "old", but jesus christ what a bunch of whiny babies (on BOTH sides, mostly the GL defenders though). I truly, honestly, though, do not understand twitter and, even if I did, still don't understand why people take anything anyone on there says on it ever as serious. It's a spontaneous medium where you are limited to like, one long sentence or two short ones. Can I ask why everyone cares so much without caring myself? /unique male perspective
posted by gagglezoomer at 6:38 PM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Newsflash dudes: Privilege is contextual; privilege is not zero-sum, and disingenuous comparisons make you look like you either don't understand the concept or have a vested interest in defending privilege or both.
posted by klangklangston at 6:39 PM on March 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


hypersensitive harridan

It's so amazing what a gender neutral insult this is! It certainly doesn't hinge on century old stereotypes of women!

Can I ask why everyone cares so much without caring myself? /unique male perspective

1) Really not unique at all. Tons of men have an "objective and uncaring" attitude toward sexism.

2) My fee is $95 an hour, payment in advance, no refunds.
posted by Deoridhe at 6:54 PM on March 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


Anyway sorry, I've been trying to figure out what's with the @Adainitiative sitch, but I don't get it.

From Kane's Twitter: "tell me the ads initiative isn't a free gun for hire that promotes objectifying men in a 'tweet able' way to correct bad PR"
From another user's Twitter, in a tweet @Ada: "hey instead of working on crazy ideas, you teach them to be HONEST in apologies & actually apologize, or is that too 'crazy'."

It seems like they're ticked that The Ada Initiative was being cutesy and jokey about it when the problem was that Sanz and Katz wanted to be cutesy to avoid conflict in the first place. I mean, what they did to her personally was pretty egregious, so I can understand her anger at Ada for floating ideas that are really quite patronizing. But I can't tell what was public and what was private and what was to whom so I think this is not going to get very far on my end. It is the Ada Initiative's goal to deal with sexism (related incidents) so the fact that they're receptive to criticism and good at apologizing is a good thing.

Also, hiring a nonprofit to digest your "oops" moment into a tweetable message for the masses is kind of tacky. Keep in mind these guys not only failed to deal with a sexist video, but reported Kane to her employer, said she had no shame, and seemingly lied about having commissioned the video and photoshoot in the first place. (This I am still a bit confused about.) Consulting on how to be an honest communicator and treat women in your community with respect is what is actually needed. Farming out a flashy way to salvage your PR is kind of insult to injury.

Re: Twitter, to be honest, most of the skirmishing I've seen on Twitter over sexism/racism/homophobia issues hasn't been any worse or more poorly thought out than what I've seen on tumblr or Metafilter. Blaming Twitter just seems to totally miss the point.

Yeah, people seem to think this kind of "privilege" means some kind of dictionary definition about material wealth, but that's really not what it means. No matter how much money you have you still get negative messages about being a woman, it's just that class and race privilege might help mitigate the more dire consequences.
posted by stoneandstar at 7:02 PM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


And to clarify, in PC parlance, male privilege doesn't absolve a white woman from being racist toward a latino man, or classist toward a working-class man, or homophobic toward gay men. There are a lot of ways a woman can pull privilege on a man, it's just that it's not useful to refer to that as gender privilege (since the real issue usually has to do with race or class prejudice on her part and the part of society). If that's the bone of contention.
posted by stoneandstar at 7:06 PM on March 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


Was friend X Kane?

It seems pretty clear that it was indeed Kane. Fits in with the general timeline, as well as Kane's own tweets about "betrayal" and promises that she would be publishing the entire email chain.

Over the space of a couple of hours, she is trying to contact @hypatiadotca, stating (more or less)

1. Please add me to your members list so I can post a comment on your forum/blog
2. Please add me or contact me (a representative then responds to her tweet, asking what the issue is)
3. What is your personal email?
4. This is unacceptable
5. I am beyond words
6. Your organization appears to be "selling out" / not solving anything / doing something worse than a non-appology
7. I am sick to my stomach at our betrayal
8. What happens now?
9. I am publishing the entire email chain tomorrow
10. You offered the same "non-apology apology" as the other guys

To my eyes, it seems bad, and unfortunately seems to fit in with the perceived narrative of the earlier fracas of her being impatient, demanding / unreasonable, etc. In this case, the target couldn't have been more sympathetic, yet here they are, another group forced to jump on their swords.
posted by ShutterBun at 7:11 PM on March 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


Was Ivanka Trump born with less privilege then, say, Eminem? I think the answer is no.

Well, Eminem has some gender privilege, and Ivanka Trump has some class privilege, and in various situations one will outweigh the other although that does not mean that either is imaginary.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 7:30 PM on March 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


Shanley Kane was trolling.

She tweets, NOT to the @Gklst Twitter account, but to Christian Sanz and Reuben Katz on their personal Twitter streams, seen by anyone who follows them *personally* (rather than following @gklst).

She calls the men out over a video made over 7 months ago. This is equivalent to making a MetaTalk thread instead of emailing the mods over a minor issue. Much has been made about the video not being taken down after an email a month ago, too. Really? One person complains, and the video should be taken down? I'm glad the mods here don't go by that metric.

Christian Sanz, who knows SK, was blindsided by what was undeniably an attack out of nowhere as far as he was concerned. His initial response is still perfectly fine:

Shanley Kane: ‏@csanz @rekatz why the ads with a woman in her underwear dancing around to dupstep?
Christian Sanz: @shanley @rekatz oh that was super old ad created by a friend, we need an updated version that shows less skin! :)


SK now responds:

Shanley Kane: @csanz @rekatz please take it down, it's fucking gross.
Christian Sanz:@shanley @rekatz ? why the agressive tone
Shanley Kane:@csanz @rekatz because it's aggressively offensive yo.


Trolling, obviously. There is NO WAY Shanley Kane is acting in good faith here. The "please" means nothing in face of the "fucking" and the "yo," both of which are intentionally offensive. Arguing that "fuck" is common when you're working in technology ignores the fact that it is absolutely not common when addressing someon on Twitter. CS could have replied to her with, "What the fuck is so aggressively offensive about it?" But he doesn't.

Christian Sanz: @shanley @rekatz your tone is offensive, and my name is not yo. We didn't produce the video, our friend (tshirt company owner) did

That's a reasonable response. After that, CS definitely should not have engaged the troll. His responses are poorly framed, make him look like a sexist apologist or a sulky boy whose feelings have been hurt. I agree he handled the situation poorly! I just also think Shanley Kane acted poorly from the very beginning.

Despite being blindsided as well, Reuben Katz handles it much better. Interestingly, the Storified version by the so-called "reporter" from the Guardian omits several follow-ups from RK illustrating more measured discourse:

reuben e katz: ‏@shanley @csanz hiya shanley, it was done a while ago, shoot me an email (you still have it, right?)
reuben e katz:@shanley @csanz hey Shanley, you have my email and Skype, why not just let me know? You may have a point on the 'tastefulness' but twitter?


and later:

reuben e katz: ‏ @shanley @csanz hey Shanley, we really didn't sponsor the video. They're big fans of Geeklist did our shirts. No offense meant to women.

Diggz: This is wht #brogramming culture promoteshttp://codinggeekette.com/2012/03/21/the-plight-of-women-in-tech-lately/ @shanley @csanz @rekatz
reuben e katz: ‏@JohnnyDiggz @shanley @csanz we don't support or promote that at all, in fact we have huge love for our geek girl community and they love us
reuben e katz: @JohnnyDiggz @shanley @csanz building a safe zone for ALL geeks is @gklst and our culture overall shows that. + geek girls [love] our swag too!


KR and CS accuse Shanley Kane of deleting tweets, which she denies. I don't think she deleted tweets, but she AND the idiot at Storified definitely cherry-picked from the Twitter feeds. I went through the tweets myself (I'm home sick with the flu and have the time) and that Storified version is incredibly slanted. The "reporter" was asked to include more in the story, but refused.

Here's some of what was left out. RK, CS and the Basho CEO have a discussion of their own in the background, which went unreported (big surprise):

Christian Sanz:@rekatz @antonyfalco @basho @shanley attacking + cursing at another brand and the people rather than handling it like a PRO is not cool.
Antony Falco: ‏@csanz @rekatz I understand you guys are upset. Let's meet up & talk about this calmly. Coming to Basho Bash? If not, coffee before?
reuben e katz: ‏@antonyfalco @csanz we were invited and planned on it. We'd worked with Mark on hooking you up and we use RIAK. Coffee would be cool. Dm.


And what happens? Shanley Kane, no longer the center of attention, tries to stir things up again:

Shanley Kane: ‏@csanz @rekatz you have managed to completely avoid the issue of the video. kudos.
reuben e katz:@shanley @csanz you have managed to make a public debacle of what should have been a kind email to me. Best to you @basho#winning
reuben e katz: ‏@shanley @csanz oh and we made it clear. We didn't shoot the video, our t-shirt provider did self promo. Girl devs love and live in@gklst


Jade R Thomas: ‏@zahnster @csanz @shanley @rekatz how about a fresh take on this. The video is inappropriate and puts your brand in a bad light. Should remove it.
reuben e katz: @zahnster @csanz @shanley thanks Jade. We didn't make it or condone it, but you make a good point and I hadn't seen it.


If Shanley Kane really cared about the issue, she could go after vimeo or the people who put the video up, or the male at the end who makes the comments, (I personally have no problem with someone wearing little more than a shirt when the SHIRT is what is being sold.).

But she does none of these things, because she is a troll and none of those people have enough of a presence on Twitter or the internet to get her the attention she wants.

Just because Shanley Kane considers the entire video sexist or pornographic or "fucking gross" doesn't mean that the video should be taken down completely, either. Unfortunately, that's what's happened now. Despite the fact that Shanley Kane is the one who tries to argue that she has been SILENCED ALL HER LIFE:

Shanley Kane: @rekatz @JohnnyDiggz @csanz you telling me to "take it offline" and cc'ing in my employer in an effort to silence me is disturbing.
reuben e katz: ‏@shanley @johnnydiggz @csanz by the way, your employer is our client and I interviewed you to work for us before you went there. Email = pro
reuben e katz: ‏@shanley @johnnydiggz @csanz silence you? Not possible. Your employer is plastered on your twitter handle so you rep them as I rep @gklst


Much has been made of mentioning and engaging Shanley Kane's employer, Basho, and that it is dirty pool for Katz and Sanz to go there. Again, she laid into them personally, not @Gklist, and I see the validity in the argument that if she feels fine in doing that because "they represent Geeklist", than turnabout is fair play:

Diggz:‏ @csanz it's not right to vilify @shanley for getting pissed off. she has a right to speak her mind wo you getting her employer involved.
reuben e katz:@JohnnyDiggz @csanz @shanley she should have addressed it to geeklist then. not us personally. she has my email. calling us sexist is lame.


So, to me, the only objectionable part of that video is the commentary by the guy at the end (who, by the way, considers himself a comedian. If you watch any of his stand up on YouTube, it's painfully obvious he sucks at comedy. I guess he's trying to be funny here (?), but I agree he is more offensive than humorous). That's not on Geeklist.

Another thing--I don't know who decided this would be a "making of" video. We have two different versions: the t-shirt designer's and the guys from Geeklist's. SK and others have immediately sided with the designer in this. Why? Right now, we have a he said/she said situation and nothing more, so why assume Geeklife is lying and the designer is telling the truth?

It really irks me when some feminist activists automatically assume that every woman holds their opinion and is acting in good faith, while every man is a dishonest, sexist creeper.

Shanley Kane is a troll, and she does not get a pass on trolling from me because she's a woman. And Christian Sanz And Reuben Katz seem like decent guys who got personally attacked and just handled it badly.
posted by misha at 7:37 PM on March 23, 2012 [10 favorites]


Every time I come back to this thread the ground has shifted. I expect soon to find out that Kane was on the grassy knoll being a harridan towards Oswald and perhaps priming the gun for killing Kennedy. God knows what is going on in the increasingly bizarre efforts to move the argument to increasingly weird territory. However, I do know that whatever Kane does or has done or will done, it does not make her point less valid about this video, or the response from GL less scummy.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 7:41 PM on March 23, 2012 [12 favorites]


All I can think is she much really fucking hate Go Daddy commercials. Like with the fire of a thousand suns hate.
posted by Jeremy at 7:42 PM on March 23, 2012



It seems like they're ticked that The Ada Initiative was being cutesy and jokey about it when the problem was that Sanz and Katz wanted to be cutesy to avoid conflict in the first place. I mean, what they did to her personally was pretty egregious, so I can understand her anger at Ada for floating ideas that are really quite patronizing. But I can't tell what was public and what was private and what was to whom so I think this is not going to get very far on my end. It is the Ada Initiative's goal to deal with sexism (related incidents) so the fact that they're receptive to criticism and good at apologizing is a good thing.

Also, hiring a nonprofit to digest your "oops" moment into a tweetable message for the masses is kind of tacky. Keep in mind these guys not only failed to deal with a sexist video, but reported Kane to her employer, said she had no shame, and seemingly lied about having commissioned the video and photoshoot in the first place. (This I am still a bit confused about.) Consulting on how to be an honest communicator and treat women in your community with respect is what is actually needed. Farming out a flashy way to salvage your PR is kind of insult to injury.
Yeah, it's pretty weird. We have, like, 10% of a conversation about a serious interpersonal argument posted publicly. At the same time, just from the twitter feed it does seem like she did issue a threat, with a time table here:

Here's what I can gather from looking through her feed. It used to be you had to go back and forth between different feeds to reconstruct a conversation, now the UI does, like half(?) the work for you, but it's not all that clear. there was some more of the conversation I missed earlier.
Shanley Kane:    @hypatiadotca @adainitiative what is your email address

Leigh Honeywell: @shanley fwiw not sure why the supporters list is moderated 
                 membership;  likely to stop known griefers / trolls :/


Shanley Kane:    @hypatiadotca because right now I am sick to my stomach at 
                 this profound betrayal.

Leigh Honeywell: @shanley part of our mission is to help folks learn from 
                 their mistakes, and that includes our own.

Shanley Kane:    @hypatiadotca what happens now?

Leigh Honeywell: @shanley I'm not sure, tbh. My read of that thread was that
                 folks understood why the idea was bad; I'm really sorry it 
                 hurt you, regardless.

Shanley Kane:    @hypatiadotca okay, I will be publishing the email thread 
                 tomorrow.

Shanley Kane:    @hypatiadotca also, your "I'm sorry it hurt you" is a classic 
                 move, didn't hear it enough lately, so thanks
I can understand being mad. But that doesn't mean you should go out and threaten to publish people's private emails. It's kind of similar to what Shanz tried to do to to her earlier, by getting her in trouble with her boss. Posting someone's private emails because you feel like they 'betrayed' you isn't really a mature thing to do either.

---
And it's wrong. Privilege is not measured in dollars. Eminem was born with the privilege of being born into a situation that he could eventually buy his way out of.
Yes, Eminem ended up becoming rich, but how many of the other kids who grew up around him could just "buy" their way out of it? Eminem is just an example because he's famous. I knew poor white kids (both boys and girls) who grew up near me who are still poor and certainly aren't in a position to "buy" anything. It sounds like you're saying it's "easy" for any poor white kid to just work hard and get rich and that if they fail to do that, it's their own fault. If that's the case, I don't agree at all. Generational poverty is a real thing.
Newsflash dudes: Privilege is contextual; privilege is not zero-sum, and disingenuous comparisons make you look like you either don't understand the concept or have a vested interest in defending privilege or both.
Yeah, probably not. Obviously the normal use of the word 'privilege' means a specific thing you're allowed to do by someone else. "driving is a privilege, not a right" "TV privilege" "The privilege of meeting the queen and so on.", the implication is that unlike a right they are revocable or contingent on the good graces of whatever entity issues them. That's obviously different from the word as used in a lot of these threads. So yeah, I guess it's fair to say I don't "understand" precisely what you mean. Wikipedia just calls it "a way of framing issues surrounding social inequality"
Well, Eminem has some gender privilege, and Ivanka Trump has some class privilege, and in various situations one will outweigh the other although that does not mean that either is imaginary.
I didn't say it was imaginary. I was thinking there was some kind of "measure" of privilege where you could say one person had more then another. If that is the case it would seem to me, based on the way i hear it used that someone like Ivanka Trump would have "more" of it then someone who grew up in the same circumstances as Eminem, (As a specific example, maybe that didn't work well, since at this moment Eminem specifically is very rich)

In any event, I was conceptualizing it as some kind of measurable quantity. If that's not what you guys meant, we would have been talking past each other.

(also, this is somewhat of a derail.)

posted by delmoi at 7:47 PM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


*sigh*

Shanley Kane: @csanz @rekatz please take it down, it's fucking gross.
Christian Sanz:@shanley @rekatz ? why the agressive tone
Shanley Kane:@csanz @rekatz because it's aggressively offensive yo.
Trolling, obviously. There is NO WAY Shanley Kane is acting in good faith here. The "please" means nothing in face of the "fucking" and the "yo," both of which are intentionally offensive. Arguing that "fuck" is common when you're working in technology ignores the fact that it is absolutely not common when addressing someon on Twitter. CS could have replied to her with, "What the fuck is so aggressively offensive about it?" But he doesn't.
The thing you just quoted has been discussed a million different times already. I realize the thread is really long, but enough has been written about those three specific tweets in this thread to fill out a Thesis (although not a very good one)
posted by delmoi at 7:54 PM on March 23, 2012


I was thinking there was some kind of "measure" of privilege where you could say one person had more then another.

It is fluid and complex like many things in life and usually no, we do not measure it on a quantitative scale.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 7:55 PM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay, thinking about what a fucking troll is. A troll is a person who posts incendiary comments in a disingenuous fashion in order to stoke the flames of a conflict they have no or little personal investment in. As much as people think that a woman consistently and clearly calling out a sexist video is baiting and attention whoring, it is the only thing that won't get shut down with an "oh ;) you're right we're thinking about it" or aggressive attacks on her character (and career!).

misha, nothing you've said hasn't already been said or responded to. Christ.

Trolling, obviously. There is NO WAY Shanley Kane is acting in good faith here. The "please" means nothing in face of the "fucking" and the "yo," both of which are intentionally offensive. Arguing that "fuck" is common when you're working in technology ignores the fact that it is absolutely not common when addressing someon on Twitter. CS could have replied to her with, "What the fuck is so aggressively offensive about it?" But he doesn't.

... how is the "yo" intentionally offensive? To me it clearly and obviously reads like an attempt to lighten the conversation. Jabbing your thumb in your chest like an 80-year-old man on his porch and declaring MY NAME ISN'T "YO" is a pretty obnoxious response. Have you guys ever heard friends in the tech business discuss anything, ever?

And, uh, "fuck" is very common on Twitter, these folks already knew each other, and there's really no way to get men to stop claiming that women must be polite about sexism, is there? When a woman calls out sexism and a man's first response is about her "tone," he's being spectacularly dense.

Shanley Kane had a strong personal investment in the issue, her posts really weren't incendiary if you're not a second-grader, and she was being genuine in her desire to communicate that they escalated the conflict and did nothing about the issue. Also, it's very possible the GL devs were lying throughout, let's keep that in mind.
posted by stoneandstar at 7:57 PM on March 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


A troll is a person who posts incendiary comments in a disingenuous fashion in order to stoke the flames of a conflict they have no or little personal investment in.

this is slightly reductive
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 7:59 PM on March 23, 2012


Just because Shanley Kane considers the entire video sexist or pornographic or "fucking gross" doesn't mean that the video should be taken down completely, either. Unfortunately, that's what's happened now.
Misha, if you want to see the video it's right here.

It's a joke, but remember this was in the context of a video promoting a professional networking site, like LinkedIn or Jobvite, or whatever. Would you want to put your resume on a website that was promoted that way? Would a job site promoted that way be helpful to women who want to get jobs in tech? If someone is comfortable linking their business with a video like that, can they really take offense at the F-word?

Also, he uses the word 'fuck' in his own tweets, although not that often.
posted by delmoi at 8:01 PM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


delmoi, I agree that it's really hard to tell what's going on and posting private emails seems questionable. But I do think there is a difference, which is that 1) in the GL situation, they threatened to report her to her employer for her "tone," and 2) Kane seemingly (??) wanted to expose the Ada Initiative to the public for acting primarily in the interests of GL instead of women, when they are a nonprofit that operates in part on individual donations and which has stated goals to the contrary. They did follow up with a clarification of their consulting services, which makes me think that's the issue at stake. The thing is that they didn't actually make the video or even propose it (and it was shouted down), so the necessity of exposure seems questionable.

So I do agree that it seemed like (at least) premature exposure, but Aurora is the Executive Director and it's hard to tell who knew what and what other conversations were going on. Kane being insulted that the AI offered their services to GL in such a way that was just buying them goodwill without any real work makes sense, though.
posted by stoneandstar at 8:03 PM on March 23, 2012


Also, I apologize on behalf of my public business interests that I did not capture the nuanced and rich history of the tradition of trolling in my post. This... , you can undoubtedly shed some insider perspective.
posted by stoneandstar at 8:06 PM on March 23, 2012


**in actual apologies, I keep implying that AI intended to produce the video or something, but it was just Aurora's brainstorming e-mail that seemed glib. I'm wondering why she sent it to Kane, and what else was said, because there's kind of a disconnect.
posted by stoneandstar at 8:09 PM on March 23, 2012


It sounds like you're saying it's "easy" for any poor white kid to just work hard and get rich and that if they fail to do that, it's their own fault. If that's the case, I don't agree at all. Generational poverty is a real thing.

As a poor person with poor parents and poor grand-parents, and as a woman, I don't think that was the implication. It's just that no matter how much money I ever earn, I can't quit hearing bullshit about being a woman, whereas if my (imaginary) brother made bank... well, he never had to deal with it in the first place. Eminem will never be called a cunt or a bitch with the power that a woman can be, Eminem probably rarely worries about being raped, Eminem writes many songs confessing to domestic abuse, which rich women don't escape by being rich. On the other hand, there are many easily imagined ways Ivanka Trump could more easily get by in the world than a poor Eminem could, or could even leverage her class against him personally to cause tragedy.
posted by stoneandstar at 8:19 PM on March 23, 2012


... how is the "yo" intentionally offensive?

Well, when I was in middle school there was a teacher in her sixties who would fly into a rage if any kid said "yo" in her presence. She also said it was disrespectful to wear a hat while inside a building. This was a quarter of a century ago. So maybe misha is ninety and/or Edward Cullen.
posted by XMLicious at 8:21 PM on March 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


yo, my name is - yo, my name is - yo, my name is: not yo, yo.

/sorry
posted by delmoi at 8:26 PM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


a concern troll is an example of a troll that has personal investment in a conflict

this is not me trolling/that, however
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:55 PM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


how can i put a picture of a cat up?
posted by gagglezoomer at 8:58 PM on March 23, 2012


misha: "It really irks me when some feminist activists automatically assume that every woman holds their opinion and is acting in good faith, while every man is a dishonest, sexist creeper."

It's really obnoxious when people storm into a thread and lob an accusation like this - not so much because it's unsubstantiated but because it's absolutely untrue and unfair. Nobody here (or in the Twitter thread!) has even called these guys sexists, much less said they were dishonest creepers. Nor has anyone here alleged that Shanley Kane is a saint; we've been happy to talk about some big mistakes it looks like she made in the aftermath of this.

When your accusations are so far off base when compared with reality, I can't help but feel that you're bringing some personal baggage into this debate.
posted by koeselitz at 9:05 PM on March 23, 2012 [9 favorites]


This, of course, alludes to you: "a concern troll is an example of a troll that has personal investment in a conflict"

Actually, this is incorrect in my experience. Confusingly, a concern troll is not actually a type of troll. They're distinct concepts that unfortunately seem to share the same name. Trolling really is generally recognized as not involving any personal emotions on the part of the troll. Urban dictionary seemed to back me up on this past time I checked. (This is one of the reasons why "concern troll" is not a very useful term, and should probably be avoided.)
posted by koeselitz at 9:12 PM on March 23, 2012


I knew poor white kids (both boys and girls) who grew up near me who are still poor and certainly aren't in a position to "buy" anything. It sounds like you're saying it's "easy" for any poor white kid to just work hard and get rich and that if they fail to do that, it's their own fault. If that's the case, I don't agree at all. Generational poverty is a real thing.

yeah, but you're still comparing an external circumstance to something that's inherent to a person's being. Put it this way. All other things being equal, does one person have an inherent advantage or disadvantage that they can't do anything about? Poor white kids have it bad, but poor black kids born into the same situation have it worse. Rich white women might have it relatively good, but rich white men have it even better.

Nobody is arguing that privilege automatically equals success or happiness. The way I see it, it's simply a matter of no matter what problems a person may have, there are other people who can have the exact same set of problems, plus that one additional thing that a person of privilege will never have to deal with.

But you're right, this is a bit of a derail, and besides, I'm convinced that any person who doesn't get this is never going to be convinced.
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:15 PM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Trolling really is generally recognized as not involving any personal emotions on the part of the troll.
i think the term is nebulous which is what i was saying earlier
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 9:17 PM on March 23, 2012


Well, it is just a word, I guess. I have never heard it used the way you're describing, but my experience is not absolute. If you want an excuse to call Shanley Kane a troll, have at it.
posted by koeselitz at 9:49 PM on March 23, 2012


Nobody here (or in the Twitter thread!) has even called these guys sexists

Nobody has *specifically* called any individuals "sexists" by name, but the main article in the FPP is "Oh Hai, Sexism" and speculates that "sexism" (specifically) was at least partially responsible for GeekList's motivation for commissioning the video.

So no, Kane didn't come right out and call them sexists, and they were mistaken in believing she had. However, she makes no qualms about using the word "sexism" in describing the contents of the video, the light in which GeekList is portraying themselves, and indeed her own motivation: (i.e. "speaking out against sexism.") So it's clear that "sexism" is very much the core accusation here, whether it's against an individual, or a corporation.

We all know there's a difference between saying "you are sexist" and "you are participating / condoning an activity that is, in fact, sexist." Some people here have offered constructive criticism / advice about how Kane could have conveyed her message in a more helpful or constructive manner. Others have taken issue with this, saying that it shouldn't be a woman's burden to educate men (or indeed, other women) about sexism in 2012, when everyone ought to know better. And even if they did, it would be a full time job, etc. Still others have argued that Kane's means were justified by the ends: the video was taken down, that's what she wanted, so there we go. The fact that the video was almost certainly taken down strictly due to negative publicity backlash as opposed to "they finally saw the light" is apparently irrelevant.

If that works for some people, so be it. I'm a white male (who's occasionally made a career out of taking pictures of women in their chonies, just to make matters worse) so it's certainly not my place to tell anyone how to practice their particular brand of correcting social injustice.

Though I am reminded of a video that got some very positive response here on the Blue some time back, about how to approach incidents of racism (especially among self-proclaimed "non-racists") It's certainly not the responsibility of every person of color to educate white folks about how they're messing up, but for those truly interested in fomenting change, as opposed to simply expressing outrage (however justified it may be) it seems like very good advice.

How to tell people they sound racist.

(I'm aware that race and gender issues are not one and the same, but they both deal with tone, attitude, changing perceptions & behavior, etc. so in this case I think the lesson is a valuable one, or at least food for thought.)
posted by ShutterBun at 9:50 PM on March 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


I might use this event as a discussion topic in a class I teach on current moral and social issues. It's a good instance of a tone argument, and also a good instance of the fallacy that someone doing something sexist or bad implies that they are a sexist or bad person.

Koeselitz is always very eloquent on this fallacy, and I'm always glad to see it. People need to be able to be criticized without losing face in order for moral progress and growth to take place. The idea that all criticism slanders a person's character is a huge impediment to this end.
posted by painquale at 10:28 PM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


for those truly interested in fomenting change, as opposed to simply expressing outrage (however justified it may be)

patronizing distinction, Kane got results despite not following the formula. Implying that being angry and being effective are always exclusive is just wrong. Especially on a case-by-case basis. This is a particularly insidious form of the tone argument.

But it is a good video from what I remember.
posted by stoneandstar at 10:33 PM on March 23, 2012


"being angry" should have been "expressing outrage" for clarity
posted by stoneandstar at 10:41 PM on March 23, 2012


What this really is is a bunch of young people behaving badly. Each and every one of them played a fool's role. I'm embarrassed for them.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:42 PM on March 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


But it is a good video from what I remember

Re-watch it if you get a chance, and take particular note of the part where "taking the wrong approach" can do more harm than good, and that it tends to lead to opportunities for derailment and/or over-defensive posturing, in which (and I'm reading into it) well-meaning fence-leaners may be inclined do reject a good message due to poor tactics (see also: PETA)

Kane may or may not be interested in learning about how to be a more effective activist, and she's certainly not beholden (beheld?) to do so at this point, but what some people are attempting to do is simply point out: "OK, this here is likely why you got the reaction you got."

Kane got results despite not following the formula.

As the saying goes, she won the battle, not the war. We all (everyone who opposes sexism) want the war to be won. Winning a minor battle could be seen as advancing that goal, but on the other hand it could simply mean that both sides are now more battle-hardened and entrenched.

How many other startup tech companies out there envisioned themselves in GeekLists's shoes and thought "fuck that noise! If some colleague talked to me like that, I'd give her 140 characters of 'step the fuck off!" More than a few, I bet. (granted, they would never take that position in public, but I can't help but suspect that it's not going to make the war any easier to win)

Bottom line is that this is a tempest in a teapot in a tempest. It's not up to Kane to carry the flag for feminists everywhere, nor is it up to the GeekList guys to carry they weight of a few thousand years of sexism on their shoulders. But analyzing the events, sharing reactions and feelings is all part of the process. It's popular (or at least common practice) for people to chime in, roll their eyes at how "wrong" everyone is, or how "they thought better of the people of Metafilter before all this, etc." but again, it's part of the process. We're talking about a problem that's permeated hundreds of cultures over thousands of years, how the hell can you expect a couple hundred people on a website to completely "get it" when it takes acts of congreff/government just to get people to agree on a High Definition video format?

And yo*, calling "opinions which diverge wildly from my own, and even my expectation of those of my opponent" trolling is, in itself, trolling. It's worse than calling someone out with "you've got to be kidding," but taking it one step farther to suggest "your statements are so far out of whack that I am legitimately convinced that you are simply adopting your chosen position in order to skew the conversation." Talk about harsh accusations. No doubt trolling has gotten a lot more sophisticated over the years, but is anyone really willing to stand up an accuse someone (in this thread) of straight-up "saying jack-ass stuff just to get a rise out of people" (or whatever the currently accepted definition of trolling is)

*directed at whomever was making the accusations, not necessarily you, stoneandstar
posted by ShutterBun at 11:32 PM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Stoneandsand, I put a lot of thought and effort into my post, read all the comments, watched the video, did independent research and included tweets that had not been part of this thread or any other coverage.

Yet you choose to be dismissive, ignore this and attack me. And why?

Jabbing your thumb in your chest like an 80-year-old man on his porch and declaring MY NAME ISN'T "YO" is a pretty obnoxious response. Have you guys ever heard friends in the tech business discuss anything, ever?


Because you assume I'm a guy. Way to prove my point!

You even managed to get sexism AND ageism in your reply. Nice! Now maybe you can insult the mythical me you have concocted to explain how saying "My name isn't yo" is obnoxious. Because that doesn't make any logical sense.

And, uh, "fuck" is very common on Twitter,

Are you even on Twitter? Because it isn't in my experience, and I'm pretty active on Twitter. Especially inappropriate when a professional is addressing a grievance with another profesional.

these folks already knew each other, and there's really no way to get men to stop claiming that women must be polite about sexism, is there? When a woman calls out sexism and a man's first response is about her "tone," he's being spectacularly dense.

Shanley Kane had a strong personal investment in the issue, her posts really weren't incendiary if you're not a second-grader


Well, when a women, me, calls out another woman for being a troll, your first response is to assume she's a guy and insult her, so I'm not sure why you are feeling all superior right now.

Did you not like my tone?
posted by misha at 11:41 PM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


misha, I think stoneandstar was assuming that Sanz was a man, not that you are. And, in her defence, he is.
posted by misfish at 12:05 AM on March 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


And here you are, assuming I'm sand!

"guys" = not an assumption that you, personally, are a guy.

Yes, I am on Twitter, I use it daily. I hear fuck about a thousand times a day, guess your friends are really good at addressing grievances with other professionals.

I was in fact referring to Sanz, not you. I never, not once, assumed you were a man. And I'm kind of lolling about it now.
posted by stoneandstar at 12:32 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


misha, seriously, nobody assumed you were a guy, nobody assumed that all women agree with Shanley, nobody assumed that any guy who disagrees is a sexist prick. You're making this really personal in an unfair way.
posted by koeselitz at 12:34 AM on March 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


"guys" = also not an assumption that you are more than one person.
posted by stoneandstar at 12:35 AM on March 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


misha: "You even managed to get sexism AND ageism in your reply. Nice! Now maybe you can insult the mythical me you have concocted to explain how saying 'My name isn't yo' is obnoxious. Because that doesn't make any logical sense."

I don't really get most of the things that are going on in this paragraph, but if you're saying it's not fair to dismiss a phrase just because an old man might say it, yes, I agree. Really, I think the main reason "my name isn't yo" is obnoxious is because it's a condescending nitpicking at another person's way of speaking. It's very much like those times when one person ignores what another person has written in a Metafilter thread and instead points out a spelling error.

People use the words they use to communicate, and they should be taken that way. To nitpick at them and act as though people are uneducated because they use a colloquialism is to be (yes) rude and fairly juvenile.
posted by koeselitz at 1:07 AM on March 24, 2012


Stoneandstar, I am sorry I got your name wrong.

I still cannot read what you wrote and see how it makes sense if you aren't making that assumption. Who are "the guys", then? You say you meant Sanz, but why the plural? Why would you switch from "an 80 year-old man" to "you guys" if you are still talking about the same person?

Koeselitz, I am not bringing any baggage here. I brought in a few more facts and my opinion and was dismised for it. It is dismissive to say that, "only a second-grader would find Shanley's remarks incendiary."

And i absolutely do believe that there is an assumption by some in this thread that women - feminists = we all think the same = we can do no wrong, while men = wrong and sexist. When furiousxgeorge tries to point this out and asks why the female model is not accused of being sexist, for example:

I'm not going to tell women they can't be models, I'm going to tell male creative directors to quit commissioning this shit.

I don't see where anyone said this video was the product of a male creative director.

Nobody assumed you were a guy

Well, it was suggested I might be, "ninety and/or Edward Cullen." now THAT'S insulting. If I'm going to be compared to a vampire, at least don't make it a sparkly, Twilight vampire! Yuck.
posted by misha at 1:48 AM on March 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hmm, I think you are misreading the Ada Initiative kerfuffle. Shanley is asking for access to the list, i.e. she isn't a member of the list (which is a closed list). I think that someone who is on the list tipped her off that it came up on the Ada Initiative's supporter list that geeklist was now their consulting client and one of the Ada Initiative founders was spitballing ways to help them with their optics. She couldn't believe that that was the Ada Initiative's response to the situation and she threatened to out them as being engaged in helping geeklist to make this go away rather than, I don't know, supporting a woman in technology who had her technology job threatened for identifying something as being harmful to women in technology as a group.

I'm very glad that Shanley threatened them, because apparently it's the only thing that shed some daylight. I give money to the Ada Initiative and I want to know if they are using it to make life easier, pro bono, for the kind of people who make my life and Shanley's life more difficult. In my opinion there is no way on earth that it makes sense for the priority of the Ada Initiative to be geeklist, even more so the way that geeklist is perceived. OK, in a month let them pay you to go over there and give them some consulting time on how to actually be less sexist, but no, there should be no Ada Initiative rapid response team for giving free image-related consulting to sexist twits within 24 hours of them ganging up on a woman in tech for telling them they are acting like sexists.

Shanley is 100% right to call it a betrayal and draw attention to it since there are no signs at all that the Ada Initiative was planning to be transparent about it themselves. I think it is consistent, and not trollish at all, that Shanley called out geeklist in public and threatened to make the Ada Initiative story public as well. Apparently she isn't afraid of blowback and she doesn't value circumspection where people are behaving like idiots. When this manifests in men we call it being a hardass.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 1:50 AM on March 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


Wow this thread is poison. From what I can tell the pro-shanlon (for want of a better word) brigade have continued to turn against anyone who shows any disagreement with the allowed narrative. How's that Jihad working for you people? Feel good up in your little McCarthy judging booths.

I've had the night to think about this, and the rank hypocrisy in this thread is awesome. I can't even begin to describe how frustrating it is to see people have an expectation of how people they don't agree with behave & then see them burn every one of those bridges of behaviour in a contemptuous display to prove that the non-believers are stupid, evil people.

I can only believe that the aggression in evidence in this thread is a symptom of the fact that you suspect that you're wrong. That you've picked the wrong hill to die on and you're fighting tooth and nail in order to preserve the illusion that you're always correct about everything.

Here is the thing - once again - because apparently it's now OK to call people stupid if they haven't read the entire the thread or they're repeating something that has already been addressed.

If you still think that @shanlon is completely and utterly OK to act in the way she acted, then you're a fucking idiot. She *was* aggressive. She *was* looking for a fight*. She *did* seek to make the situation worse. She *hasn't* done any good for women in IT.
posted by zoo at 2:11 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's a good instance of a tone argument, and also a good instance of the fallacy that someone doing something sexist or bad implies that they are a sexist or bad person.

I personally believe everyone is sexist. Everyone. Every man, woman, child, squirrel, inanimate object, everyone who has grown up in human society. Some of us are just more aware of it than others, know how insidious it is and know the harm it does to gender relations and the personal happiness of both men and women.

Most of the time, women just let it flow, because they know that what happens when they don't is unpleasant little skirmishes like this, where anything except the point at hand becomes the argument, and they simply don't have the time, energy or (often) confidence to fight the fight. It's like fighting the sea. For every Shanley Kane there are a thousand women don't rock the boat because they know what they're going to get in return, and no one likes a hysterical harridan.

GL commissioned the video. Yes they are sexist. So sue me.
posted by Summer at 2:12 AM on March 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


free image-related consulting to sexist twits

Some good points about ADA, but at least we finally have someone explicitly calling them sexist.
posted by ShutterBun at 2:20 AM on March 24, 2012


Has there been a lack of that?
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 2:34 AM on March 24, 2012


Zoo, I am amazed at your interpretation of the original twitter exchange, and how different it is from mine. I saw a woman calmly, assertively, even amusingly question someone as to why they would want to associate their organisation with a distasteful and sexist video. Given how fucking gross the video in question is, Kane's measured and calm expression of displeasure seems perfectly appropriate, and the response she got out of all proportion.

Apparently I'm a fucking idiot.
posted by misfish at 2:38 AM on March 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


misfish - I don't think you're a fucking idiot.

We took different interpretations of the same event, and that's fine. My comment was a response to the poor time that those people who have interpreted the exchange differently have received.

Frustration probably. Apologies if you felt the insult was aimed at you. It wasn't.
posted by zoo at 2:48 AM on March 24, 2012


I've had the night to think about this, and the rank hypocrisy in this thread is awesome. I can't even begin to describe how frustrating it is to see people have an expectation of how people they don't agree with behave & then see them burn every one of those bridges of behaviour in a contemptuous display to prove that the non-believers are stupid, evil people.

zoo, what would be genuinely awesome is if you'd chosen to address any of the polite replies to you by all the people who patiently explained why we weren't calling you or anyone 'stupid, evil people', instead of ignoring them all in favour of calling us McCarthyists and jihadists who weren't interested in civilized discussion.

I get that it's a long thread. I get that people don't always want to read 400+ comments. But part of the reason it's got so long is because people think "well, I don't have time to read over or engage with the conversation in progress, but I bet nobody's thought of THIS insightful perspective before!", and then bring up a point that has already been dissected over and over again upthread. Not that people shouldn't continue to discuss something that's been discussed a lot, of course, but.... can you see why people maybe get a bit frustrated in that case?
posted by Catseye at 2:56 AM on March 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


koeselitz: You're still banging on about the "sexist prick" thing. You still think that nobody got called a sexist prick or nobody assumed that any guy who disagrees is a sexist prick

Here's the sexist prick comment stream, plucked out of context for your listening pleasure.

terrapin: (42 bookmarks) "I am absolutely disgusted by the sexist pricks that make up a portion of this community."

me: (0 bookmarks) "I guess that makes me a sexist prick."

you: (three bookmarks) "Nobody called you a sexist prick, zoo. As far as I can tell, nobody's called anybody else a sexist prick in this thread"

me: (bookmarked by you) "ctrl-f is your friend"

you (later): "nobody assumed that any guy who disagrees is a sexist prick."

Here's the thing. They do. There's about three comments in this thread about how disgusting the community is. How the community is super sexist. How people want to walk away from metafilter because they can't take it anymore.

This in a thread where the consensus opinion is that @shanlon was absolutely in the right. Where a small number of people have voiced a counter-argument.

There's no direct link, but why were these comments made and why are they so heavily favourited if people aren't reading the counter-arguments and agreeing with the assumption that the people who make them are sexist. (So sexist in fact that some people seem to believe the community isn't worth it).
posted by zoo at 3:04 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Has there been a lack of that?

(there had previously been a lot of "nobody ever called them sexist!" declarations previously)
posted by ShutterBun at 3:04 AM on March 24, 2012


zoo, I'm still waiting for you to reply to anything substantive. Why does your last post matter? Guess what, I think they were being sexist. Metafilter is totally sexist. This thread was filled with appalling sexism, and there are more than several usernames I now associate strongly with the flavor of sexism. Not all threads are as bad as this one, but sexism is alive and well. There, can we move on? What's your point?

Trying to make a thread about a sexist issue all about your hurt feelings = kind of sexist! Calling women trying to address a sexist issue jihadists and McCarthyists = pretty sexist! All of this:

She *was* aggressive. She *was* looking for a fight*. She *did* seek to make the situation worse. She *hasn't* done any good for women in IT.

Definitely sexist, and false! You might even be a prick, but I don't want my post to get deleted.

If Metafilter is a place where women can't talk about sexism without having to defend that it even exists for 400 comments, it's not a place to build bridges, it's a place to wear kid gloves for a bunch of sexist posters when you want to talk about the grown-up world. Seriously, why would I give a fuck if you're a sexist or just a guy who started saying sexist things today? You're acting exactly like Sanz and Katz, maybe you should think about why you're emulating the behavior of petulant assholes.

misha, I said "you guys," referring rhetorically to the thread and/or the people accusing Kane of trolling/bitchery/insults/threats/whatever. I call my sisters "you guys," I call my mixed gender group of friends "you guys." It's a versatile phrase, I think almost anyone would back me up here. Though if people still want to derail the last embers of this thread we could argue about it for awhile.
posted by stoneandstar at 3:28 AM on March 24, 2012 [13 favorites]


I thought that people were just pointing out that Shanley herself did not accuse them personally of being sexists but instead kept to identifying their video as being sexist; did I miss something? Plenty of other people have called them sexist as far as I can see.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 3:31 AM on March 24, 2012


Catseye: I'd be happy to be more pleasant about this if it wasn't for the utter contempt shown by a large plauded minority to anyone who disagrees with majority opinion.

There's an underlying point in this whole thread about why women shouldn't have to be nice when they're expressing their opinions. I agree with this point. I can't find it, but there was a comment stating heavily that civility should not be an option when discussing this issue.

I guess this only cuts one way?

You're assuming that I haven't read this thread and you're (mostly) wrong. You're assuming (as have other people) that I haven't tried to reply to the comments that were thrown my way.

The comment you're most probably referring to is your detailed step by step discussion of how these things can escalate and what the male thought process is. For the record, I kinda agreed with it, but don't think it's 100% accurate in this situation.

But, I should have responded to you rather than respond to the comment addressed directly to me after I stated I'd changed my mind and did now agree that the video was sexist.

I'll quote that comment for you:

It's something that you wouldn't have missed if you'd ever thought about these issues before, even a tiny bit. You're clearly an absolute newbie at thinking about gender issues. But instead of approaching these issues with even an ounce of humility, because you've literally never considered them before for even two seconds, you proceeded to lecture the little ladies about how wrong we are and how you understand things better than we do.

If you're not too fatigued to slowly go over it all again, I'm happy to take it up with you in MeMail. I mean that.

But here and now, I'm spitting teeth pissed at how badly some people have behaved.
posted by zoo at 3:32 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seriously, what are any of you getting out of nagging people about calling anyone sexist? What purpose does that serve except drawing all the attention to yourselves and away from the issues in the thread? No one cares about you personally.

If someone calls you a sexist your reaction shouldn't be to get angry and dominate the conversation. If you do, you look like a baby.
posted by stoneandstar at 3:32 AM on March 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


civility should not be an option

Willful misrepresentation. If someone is being contemptuous of me based on my sex, I am under no obligation of any kind to curtsey to them. I don't have to teach them or explain myself. I'm a human being living my life and caring about more things than the feelings of a guy who doesn't bother thinking about how his behavior hurts half of society. Women are not all your mommy. (Oh, snap.) Read a book, learn without me wasting my time. Idgaf.

You're assuming (as have other people) that I haven't tried to reply to the comments that were thrown my way

You haven't, unless they were "you are sexist."

For the record, I kinda agreed with it, but don't think it's 100% accurate in this situation

Wow, mindblowing discussion.

I'm spitting teeth pissed at how badly some people have behaved

Congratulations, the rest of us were fucking pissed 300 comments ago.
posted by stoneandstar at 3:36 AM on March 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


stoneandstar: If I could draw a big fucking graph as to how you upset me, I'd do it. Doesn't matter. You don't give a shit. I'm a big fucking crybaby. That's fine. Empathy is lost down the well with this entire thread, and there's no-one to hear it's plaintive little mewling cries.

You want to talk like a fucking adult, you go ahead. When you're ready to get started tell me, and I'll catch you the fuck up.

Until then - I'll leave you to your horrible little world where all disagreement over gender in society is sexism.

I mean really. The word Jihad, used in the context I used it in is sexist?

I'm not a perfect man, by any means. I'm pretty much in agreement with summer's point. As it applies to me, and as it applies to squirrels. But when you make the suggestion that you're going about this like frigging McCarthy is sexist too, I'm at a total loss for words.
posted by zoo at 3:41 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


zoo, I just read all your comments, and almost all you've talked about is how "you don't think this is sexist" and you "kind of disagree" and "everyone was equally bad" and you "don't think it's 100% accurate." Where did you actually lay out any kind of argument? You discussed nothing. You came in with vague dismissive generalities. If you want to come into a thread, vocally disagree, refuse to defend your opinions or address any of the pre-existing arguments, and then complain that we're not building bridges with you... ? Why would I want to build a bridge with you? Based on the fact that you're a guy and you're NOT A SEXIST?
posted by stoneandstar at 3:41 AM on March 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


One last task for you stoneandstar, because you're big on accusations. Please show me the exact point in this conversation I got upset about being called sexist. Because for the life of me, I can't remember doing it. And I suspect strongly that it's a figment of your fucking imagination.
posted by zoo at 3:43 AM on March 24, 2012


but why were these comments made and why are they so heavily favourited if people aren't reading the counter-arguments and agreeing with the assumption that the people who make them are sexist.

Because someone can do/say/believe a sexist thing and not be a bad person.

Because people (me included!) can be absolutely opposed to sexism, but still do/say/believe a sexist thing sometimes, because all of us who were not raised on the moon have ingrained habits and beliefs from the low-level cultural sexism with which we're surrounded.

Because the way to deal with low-level cultural sexism is to challenge it, and don't let its assumptions pass unquestioned.

Because when low-level cultural sexism takes root, it becomes indistinguishable from the overt and aggressive sexism that nobody here thinks they're capable of.

Because when the above happens, sexist assumptions start looking so much like common sense to the people making them that said people can't understand why people would react so vehemently. After all, they're not sexists - they're just expressing a different view! What kind of Thought Police-run gulag of a community would have a problem with that?

Because however those sexist assumptions look to the people making them, they look like bog-standard sexism to everyone else.

Because sexism has real-world effects on people. "What if the tech industry had issues with sexism?" isn't a hypothetical thought-experiment. "What if women got shut down for objecting to sxism on the pretence that they didnt sound polite enough?", ditto. "What if women faced serious real-world consequences for objecting to sexism", ditto.

Because people actually feel very, very strongly about that.

So when people object to sexism, that doesn't mean they're out to rudely insult others by calling them sexists - it means that they really don't like sexism, and think its a bad thing for all of us. When people get upset and frustrated at sexist opinions on MeFi, that doesn't mean they're out to rudely insult others by calling them sexists - it means that they really don't like sexism, and are disappointed because MeFi's usually better than a lot of the Internet in that area.
posted by Catseye at 3:44 AM on March 24, 2012 [17 favorites]


all disagreement over gender in society is sexism

Uh. What are your opinions on racism? I'm starting to get curious.

And you're right, I don't care about your feelings. Calling some women jihadists because they are asking you to respond to what they've said instead of dropping non-arguments everywhere is at the very very least and most literal an unflattering characterization of the desire to address sexism as a problem, and a deflection of the discussion because it's not "nice enough." Which, again, is exactly what Sanz and Katz did. Observe how, once again, Kane's initial "nice" comment got nothing done, and the "nice" email sent to Sanz by another woman was ignored.
posted by stoneandstar at 3:45 AM on March 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


PS: The thing that you're doing that's sexist is not listening. You're plugging your ears with wax and saying it's our fault. Catseye's post is way nicer than mine, so it'd be awesome if you grew up and read it.
posted by stoneandstar at 3:49 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I thought that people were just pointing out that Shanley herself did not accuse them personally of being sexists but instead kept to identifying their video as being sexist; did I miss something? Plenty of other people have called them sexist as far as I can see.

I may have mentally cherry-picked this issue, but there's been things like this:

"nobody here (or in the Twitter threads) has called these guys sexists"
posted by ShutterBun at 3:51 AM on March 24, 2012


Great terrapin - I guess that makes me a sexist prick.

Which is weird, because I'm trying hard not to be sexist

Metafilter has some way to go until everyone agrees with everyone else, but painting the site as being overpopulated with male pricks spits on what is actually a very accommodating place.

Here's the thing. They do. There's about three comments in this thread about how disgusting the community is. How the community is super sexist.

why were these comments made and why are they so heavily favourited if people aren't reading the counter-arguments and agreeing with the assumption that the people who make them are sexist


Voila. Not to mention the fact that you talk about yourself and your feelings constantly instead of any substantial analysis of how the issues in the post operate affect the rest of society.
posted by stoneandstar at 3:58 AM on March 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Catseye: There's a marked difference between saying :

"What you said is sexist" and
"I am absolutely disgusted by the sexist pricks that make up a portion of this community"

Yeah - Anger goes some way on this, and I'd be a fool to suggest we don't say stupid things in anger.

I'm not against thinking that people (including myself) are naturally and societally sexist. It's something I address in my own life. I think though that some of the commentary here has moved away from this and towards an interpretation that people are almost sociopathic in their sexism. That they're like some 1940's version of sexism.

I'm less upset about being labelled sexist than I am about the assumption that I'd call a woman "the little lady". Not because I don't wanted to be branded a sexist, but because this is categorically untrue.

There's an accusation that people who are not deeply aware of gender issues too easily conflate deliberate sexism and societal sexism (for lack of better words). My feeling from the currently ongoing argument is that this conflation is occurring across the board.
posted by zoo at 4:03 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think though that some of the commentary here has moved away from this and towards an interpretation that people are almost sociopathic in their sexism. That they're like some 1940's version of sexism.

I'm less upset about being labelled sexist than I am about the assumption that I'd call a woman "the little lady". Not because I don't wanted to be branded a sexist, but because this is categorically untrue.

I'm adding these to your list, zoo.

sexism and societal sexism (for lack of better words)

You're gonna need better words.
posted by stoneandstar at 4:05 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm adding these to your list, zoo.

There's a list now?
posted by ShutterBun at 4:07 AM on March 24, 2012


You know what, I just ctrl+f'd the phrase "a sexist," as a noun, rather than "sexist" as a modifier, and found surprisingly few results until the bottom of the page, where it became a bfd who called who "a sexist."

If someone calls you "a sexist" that has no static, 1940's era meaning. You are making a huge assumption that "real" sexism died in the 40's and 50's and nothing that continues to happen today can be sexist unless it's on Mad Men. If I say "zoo, you're a sexist," that could mean plenty of things, but whether or not you'd call me "little lady" is almost definitely not one of them.
posted by stoneandstar at 4:07 AM on March 24, 2012


There's a list now?

He asked me to show him where he was concern trolling about sexism. I made a list, above.

ShutterBun, are you also here to avoid having any real discussions and to seize onto trivial questions?
posted by stoneandstar at 4:08 AM on March 24, 2012


bravo stoneandstar: You get the gold for misrepresentation once again.

Great terrapin - I guess that makes me a sexist prick.
A direct reply to a comment which probably wasn't aimed at me, but was aimed at implied deliberate sexism. It's not so much "You're a sexist", but "You're a sexist prick"

Which is weird, because I'm trying hard not to be sexist
More of a confession that I have some way to go and I'm trying than an actual complaint about being called sexist.

Metafilter has some way to go until everyone agrees with everyone else, but painting the site as being overpopulated with male pricks spits on what is actually a very accommodating place.
No mention of being upset about being called sexist at all. Merely an observation that men are being stereotypes as "male pricks". Again aimed at terrapin.

Here's the thing. They do. There's about three comments in this thread about how disgusting the community is. How the community is super sexist.
My worry here isn't that we're sexist, but that we're painted as being more sexist than the norm. I actually elaborate on this. Metafilter is an accommodating community. Doesn't mean it doesn't have some way to go, but that it should be recognised as a relatively safe place for all.

why were these comments made and why are they so heavily favourited if people aren't reading the counter-arguments and agreeing with the assumption that the people who make them are sexist
Yeah - There's me conflating the sexism I have inside of myself and the stereotyped sexism that I've previously addressed. That's bad writing from me, and both you and Catseye were right to pull me up on it.
posted by zoo at 4:11 AM on March 24, 2012


More misrepresentation:

Calling some women jihadists because they are asking you to respond to what they've said

I called some *people* jihadists because they're fighting this like it's a holy war where anybody deviating from the allowed narrative is treated as the enemy. FWIW, I had some misgivings about using the word in a way which may be racist.

In actuality, women are jihadists when they ask me to respond to what they've said in regard to gender politics.
posted by zoo at 4:16 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, you wrote an entire post refuting whether or not you're worried about being a sexist, instead of addressing anything interesting from anyone else's posts? Including some ill-defined distinctions between "sexism" and "stereotypical sexism" (<--where is this Don Draper bs anywhere in this thread) which demonstrate that you haven't thought about this for more than five minutes? Color me shocked.

If I had to judge based on this thread, I'd say Metafilter kind of sucks.

The only reason I'm still here is because I'd love to see an argument about sexism where all the women weren't eventually shouted down, but I'm started to get tired, and I feel like my volume of posts is breaking some community rules. Also I feel indecent and self-righteous, which happen to be some of the first things Shanley Kane was accused of! This feels like a séance.
posted by stoneandstar at 4:18 AM on March 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, I'm not making any assumptions about "real" sexism.

Firstly, If you're unwilling to differentiate between the people in the world who expect women to be subservient baby machines and the people who're struggling for equality with the context of their own sexism, then you're doing the field a disservice.

Of course both are important, and it's debatable which is (for westerners) the most damaging. But they're different things.

I didn't make the little lady comment. Someone else did. Directly as me. Their representation of my perceived attitude towards women. I'm surely allowed the nuance of being upset at being labelled as being so sexist that I'd say that, whilst still knowing my own fucking mind to my own blind spots.

As you're so super-up on this, you could maybe tell me which words I can use to differentiate.
posted by zoo at 4:23 AM on March 24, 2012


are you also here to avoid having any real discussions and to seize onto trivial questions?

If I wanted to avoid having real discussions, I would have quit with my Dubstep joke.

Just seemed like we had entered the "show me exactly where X said Y" part of the thread, and the notion of "keeping a list" on another Mefite struck me (without groking the exact context) as somewhat inflammatory.
posted by ShutterBun at 4:29 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you're unwilling to differentiate between the people in the world who expect women to be subservient baby machines and the people who're struggling for equality with the context of their own sexism

I'm obviously not. If you do something sexist, I say it's sexist, and your first concern is clearing your name of any additional connotations before dealing with the sexism... ? You're a terrible ally.

you proceeded to lecture the little ladies about how wrong we are and how you understand things better than we do

I found it. She's NOT saying that you'd literally call anyone a "little lady," as one would in 1953, she's saying that your attitude with regard to this issue is condescending. Do you think you're being condescending? Quit it. Do you think you're not being condescending? Explain your position. This is just advice about how to argue in general, really, it has nothing to do with the bad habit of talking over women, which is solved by maybe reading and responding to the reasons men and women have given that they think this incident is sexist. Instead of acting like your handwave over the thread disarmed the labor of everyone else's reasoning.
posted by stoneandstar at 4:30 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Wow stoneandstar. You wrote a whole post refuting my anxieties about being a sexist instead of addressing anything interesting from anyone else's posts?"

See how useless & hypocritical that particular kind of statement is.

You think metafilter kind of sucks why? Because you and I had a falling out. Because only 80% of the people in the thread agreed with you? Because people namechecked you to thank you for being so awesome? Because you couldn't bully your way into a win? Because you and me made this about me and you?

The only reason I'm still here is because I'd love to see an argument about sexism where all the women weren't eventually shouted down
This isn't an argument about sexism where the women weren't eventually shouted down. There's men and women on both sides of this argument. On top of that, from most peoples perspectives, the "female" side of the argument was won some time ago.

You think I'm shouting you down? Grow up. We're shouting at each other like a pair of fucking teenagers.
posted by zoo at 4:32 AM on March 24, 2012


She's NOT saying that you'd literally call anyone a "little lady," as one would in 1953, she's saying that your attitude with regard to this issue is condescending

Because the English language is so utterly logical.
Kanz was not literally saying that if @shanlon didn't go away they'd have her fired either, but we're human being. We infer shit. We understand the meaning behind words.

Plus, if you're going to call me condescending, try not to follow it up with shitty condescending statements like "This is just advice about how to argue in general, really, it has nothing to do with the bad habit of talking over women, which is solved by maybe reading and responding to the reasons men and women have given that they think this incident is sexist. "
posted by zoo at 4:35 AM on March 24, 2012


If you're not too fatigued to slowly go over it all again, I'm happy to take it up with you in MeMail. I mean that.

I'd really rather have conversations about this thread in this thread, so that they can (hopefully) go some way to advancing the conversation. If you're not planning to stick around here then that's cool, but if you are then yes, happy to go over it. (I get that you're 'spitting teeth pissed at how badly some people have behaved', but in fairness, you also say that anyone who agrees with what Shanley did is a 'fucking idiot' and compare the 'pro-Shanley brigade' to Jihadists and McCarthyists, so how about we both just draw a line under that.)

You're assuming that I haven't read this thread and you're (mostly) wrong.

I'm responding to your comment that "apparently it's now OK to call people stupid if they haven't read the entire the thread", and trying to explain why, given a pattern that tends to happen in this kind of thread, people get really frustrated.

The comment you're most probably referring to is your detailed step by step discussion of how these things can escalate and what the male thought process is.

To clarify, I don't think that's 'the male thought process' - I think that's the thought process that some people, male and female, go through when this kind of conversation comes up. I don't see sexism as a men-vs-women thing at all.

For the record, I kinda agreed with it, but don't think it's 100% accurate in this situation.

Well... okay? I'd be happy to talk about it more if you like, though, because it still looks like exactly what's happening at this point in the thread. We're all now arguing about who called who a sexist, and where, and how much of a grievous insult it is, rather than discussing the actual thing that happened. And I get that you're annoyed and upset about anyone thinking you're a sexist, I really do, but... do you see how turning the conversation from the substance of the Geeklist issue to condemning people because you think they're insulting you is exactly what Katz and Sanz did?

I think though that some of the commentary here has moved away from this and towards an interpretation that people are almost sociopathic in their sexism. That they're like some 1940's version of sexism

And most people in the 1940s, they wouldn't have seen themselves as sexist either, especially not compared to the 1890s. And most people in the 1890s wouldn't have done either, especially compared to the 1840s. Hell, even the very conservative religious communities who do expect women to be subservient to their husbands and see their main job as producing and raising babies, they don't think they're evil sexists; they think they respect the essential nature of women. And so on, and so on, back through all of human culture and history.

If people feel like "X is sexist" means "you are sexist" means "you believe that women should be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen", then that is unfortunate, but it's really something those people need to dissect themselves. Because the alternative is that we can't have any conversations about sexism unless we're talking about ancient history, and it's not fair to people who are directly affected by sexism to say, effectively, "sorry, but you're not allowed to get upset or angry about it unless you devote an equal amount of time to making sure people who hold sexist assumptions don't feel uncomfortable about it."
posted by Catseye at 4:39 AM on March 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


Wow stoneandstar. You wrote a whole post refuting my anxieties about being a sexist instead of addressing anything interesting from anyone else's posts?

But I did address many people's posts, many times, at the risk of high blood pressure, earlier in the thread. So it doesn't really make sense.

You think metafilter kind of sucks why? Because you and I had a falling out. Because only 80% of the people in the thread agreed with you? Because people namechecked you to thank you for being so awesome? Because you couldn't bully your way into a win? Because you and me made this about me and you?

lol, you're giving yourself a lot of credit. Metafilter sucks because this thread became a sexist minefield from *checks* the fourth post. After reading the first five posts, I realized (with my feminine intuition) that a critical mass of MeFi's think that pointing out sexism in a mildly crude manner is self-righteous trolling and/or worthy of being outright dismissed, to use their language. And according to you, I did bully myself into a win, so I'm quite happy.
posted by stoneandstar at 4:42 AM on March 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yay!
posted by ShutterBun at 4:47 AM on March 24, 2012


Catseye: I'm not upset people may think that I'm sexist. I'm upset about how deeply they wish to mischaracterise that sexism. I'm upset because me saying "I try not to be sexist" is worthy of a battering. I'm upset because most everything I've said has been misinterpreted.

I don't see that I'm turning the conversation away from anything. I see more that I'm responding to commentary that's aimed directly at me. I'm basically trying to say "I didn't say what you think I said."

You're right though. There should be a line drawn under this.
posted by zoo at 4:49 AM on March 24, 2012


You think I'm shouting you down? Grow up. We're shouting at each other like a pair of fucking teenagers.

Sorry guy, from the outside it looks like you are the only one showing your ass in that interaction. You're very sarcastic and self-righteous but if your point is anything other that "I like to argue but I do not care to be argued with" it's hard to find in there.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 4:50 AM on March 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


You're not upset that people think you're sexist, you're upset about how hard they think it?
posted by misfish at 4:52 AM on March 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


The big thing I have learned from this thread is that when a tech start up is associated with a fucking gross video, the most terrible thing one can do is point that out on the internet using the word fucking. And ask them publicly to do something about it. That is true even if it turns out other people have already privately emailed about said video, and this is a gross video in this particular context.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 4:57 AM on March 24, 2012 [11 favorites]


The only reason I'm still here is because I'd love to see an argument about sexism where all the women weren't eventually shouted down, but I'm started to get tired, and I feel like my volume of posts is breaking some community rules.

Well, yeah, with 60+ comments in a thread you can be pretty confident you haven't been silenced.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:59 AM on March 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


You think metafilter kind of sucks why? Because you and I had a falling out. Because only 80% of the people in the thread agreed with you? Because people namechecked you to thank you for being so awesome? Because you couldn't bully your way into a win?

Seriously. People disagreeing with you (even if they're really really really wrong) is not shouting down or injustice of any kind. You can find tons of places on the internet where rules are, people just aren't allowed to express opinions that aren't feminist enough. Here, as much as possible, we get people to say things we approve of by actually convincing them to believe them.

Metafilter is certainly not perfect (I still remember that Chinese mothers thing), but shaming has to be applied thoughtfully and justly. I didn't see anything particularly heartbreaking in this thread, and disagreement doesn't count.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 7:02 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks, stoneandstar, for making substantial rebuttals to the multiple misreadings of the original Twitter exchange. Ignore the people making snide comments about your participation, which has been thoughtful and clearly in good faith - feminist MeFites often end up taking turns at bearing the brunt of the repetitive task of explaining sexism to people who've never thought about it before or even read the thread, yet think they've got some insight the rest of us should read right away.
posted by harriet vane at 7:12 AM on March 24, 2012 [17 favorites]


Yes, it's strange to read a thread where the people whose point of view is by far the majority one are complaining about being "shouted down," "Metafilter sucks," etc. People are allowed to disagree with your point of view, and respectful disagreement should not be a personal affront. One of the great things about MetaFilter is that it's not (entirely) an echo chamber where everyone congratulates each other on how right they are.
posted by myeviltwin at 7:12 AM on March 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


The thing about sexism discussions on Metafilter is that they're endless, exhausting, and totally repetitious. You feel like you've gotten through, you've made your point, people understand, and then a bunch of new clueless newbies show up and you have to start all over again. Every time, you have to put immense effort into policing your tone, so that it's sufficiently gentle and soothing and polite, yet still forceful and convincing. Don't be humorless, you shrill harridan, but be really careful that your humor can't be construed as mean or negative! And if you fall of that tone tightrope even the slightest bit, then it's your fault that anti-feminists continue to treat women badly. Because how can they be expected to learn if you aren't perfectly polite yet highly assertive, while being funny but not in an even mildly chiding way? And that means that every couple of months, you feel like you have to expend a huge amount of time, not to mention emotional and intellectual energy, fighting the same damn fight you did last time, just to stay where you already were and not lose ground.

It just seems like a total exercise in futility. And yeah, I'm not sure whether I want to stick around here if that's the price of admission.
posted by craichead at 7:31 AM on March 24, 2012 [30 favorites]


People are allowed to disagree with your point of view, and respectful disagreement should not be a personal affront.

I would take issue with the idea that 'respectful disagreement' is the only thing that's happened here, but it's sunny and it's Saturday and I'm planning to have a really nice peaceful day, so let's move on from that...

The issue here isn't whether people are allowed to disagree with my/anybody's point of view. Nobody, at any stage in this conversation, has said that nobody's ever allowed to disagree with them on anything.

But there's a difference between "it's disappointing to see disagreement in this ice-cream thread, since everyone should agree with me about the supremacy of vanilla ice-cream, you fools!" and "it's disappointing to see repetition of sexist tropes in this sexism thread, because we can do better than this as a community". When we're dealing with that second one, it's not really very useful to say "Well, only 25% of the community are coming out with sexist tropes, so what are you complaining about? You're in the majority!", like sexism is one of those things we should all just agree to disagree on because variety is the spice of life.
posted by Catseye at 7:38 AM on March 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Hm, well, I think it begs the question to label the disagreement in this thread sexism by definition. It seems to me that most of the substantive disagreement (leaving out the "you called me sexist"/"no I didn't" stuff) was about Shanley's approach (hostile and inappropriate vs. justified anger?). I don't think it's per se sexist to take the "hostile and inappropriate" view. But people's responses to those (men and women) who did take that view seemed to reflect personal offense--like that point of view was illegitimate on its face. And I think that will naturally get under a person's skin.

It's a lovely Saturday here too. Hooray, Spring!
posted by myeviltwin at 7:51 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


The conversation has moved on but I wanted to confess that up above yesterday I did actually assume that misha was a guy. In my defense this was because Misha is a guy's name in my experience, the nickname for Mikhail in Russian. But I apologize; it didn't occur to me until a little while later when I was afk that misha might be a she and in fact it says so right there on her MeFi user page.
posted by XMLicious at 7:53 AM on March 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've met Misha at a meetup. So I'm well aware she's not a guy. (But there was a point where I'd assumed Misha was a guy for the Mikhail thing.) If Misha were running a startup, and I had a beef with an ad that had her startup's logo in it, I might well address @Misha directly, rather than @Misha's startup, because we've met. The same way Shanley and the Geeklist partners have met. So I don't think that's a good reason for calling someone a troll, because I could see myself doing the exact same thing with good intentions, not trollish ones. I just don't buy the notion that Shanley should have limited herself to @Gklist. In her shoes, I wouldn't have.
posted by ambrosia at 8:01 AM on March 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


But it's not Metafilter's fault that clueless people don't show up here knowing things no one has told them or agreeing with things no one has yet convinced them of. I'm grateful to the people (and especially the women) of Metafilter for the work they've done transforming this community into a place that's much more hospitable to us, but participating in discussions like these is a choice, and if it's that painful and wearying to do so, it's better to take a break than come in here lamenting the fact that people still think things they shouldn't and that changing their minds still involves expending effort. That's not a problem with Metafilter, it's the nature of life. Metafilter is more sexist than certain (generally strict and single-minded) communities I've encountered online, but it's still much less sexist than the real world. I'm not saying that's enough and we can rest easy, but given all that, some people in this thread are coming off as kind of greedy for agreement with their ideals. That's something we all have to fight for. And we all get tired.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 8:16 AM on March 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


One last task for you stoneandstar, because you're big on accusations. Please show me the exact point in this conversation I got upset about being called sexist. Because for the life of me, I can't remember doing it. And I suspect strongly that it's a figment of your fucking imagination.
Ugh, this kind of thing really needs to go in MetaTalk. The topic of the thread is not "Zoo's feelings". There are like 50 comments. About this now. What all the people coming back to see if there's been any new twitter drama? Because, seriously, this "thread drama" is really boring.

--
What this really is is a bunch of young people behaving badly. Each and every one of them played a fool's role. I'm embarrassed for them.
Yeah, except the thing is Shanz joined the navy in 1994, so I don't think he's that young, my guess would be he's 36 now? He could be older, though. He's not some kid just out of Harvard/MIT. Kane started school in 2004, so I'm guessing around 26.
Hmm, I think you are misreading the Ada Initiative kerfuffle. Shanley is asking for access to the list, i.e. she isn't a member of the list (which is a closed list). I think that someone who is on the list tipped her off that it came up on the Ada Initiative's supporter list that geeklist was now their consulting client and one of the Ada Initiative founders was spitballing ways to help them with their optics. She couldn't believe that that was the Ada Initiative's response to the situation and she threatened to out them as being engaged in helping geeklist to make this go away rather than, I don't know, supporting a woman in technology who had her technology job threatened for identifying something as being harmful to women in technology as a group.
Yeah, that's something I was thinking too. It could be that she was leaked the email. I can understand getting pissed about it. But still, publicly threatening people doesn't make you look good. At the very least it makes you look like someone who causes unnecessary drama.
How's that Jihad working for you people? Feel good up in your little McCarthy judging booths.

I've had the night to think about this, and the rank hypocrisy in this thread is awesome. I can't even begin to describe how frustrating it is to see people have an expectation of how people they don't agree with behave & then see them burn every one of those bridges of behaviour in a contemptuous display to prove that the non-believers are stupid, evil people.

I can only believe that the aggression in evidence in this thread is a symptom of the fact that you suspect that you're wrong.
Lol. Do you think, maybe it's possible for both Geeklist to have been ridiculously oversensitive and obnoxious in response to criticism in the first place, and also for Kane to have been wrong in her Dealings with the Ada initiative?

What happened with Kane and the Ada initiative doesn't change Shanz' behavior. It's not like you can just say ah hah! It turns out Kane was a bitch after all. We have a complete record of their interaction on twitter. Nothing she said was out of line up to the point where Shanz tied to tattle on her boss.

On the other hand, yeah Kane's behavior was inappropriate in dealing with the Ada Initiative.

yeah, but you're still comparing an external circumstance to something that's inherent to a person's being. Put it this way. All other things being equal, does one person have an inherent advantage or disadvantage that they can't do anything about?

If people could "do something about" being poor, don't you think they would? No one wants to be poor, and sure, some people can become rich but it's very rare. People can change their gender if they want, it happens all the time.

The idea that "People can chose not to be poor" Is the basis of the republican ideology. It's ridiculous. A poor kid who's born smart (as not everyone is), has access to a good public school, and who's parents model the right behavior has a good chance Depending on how the economy's doing when the graduate college.

Bringing it back around to the topic of the FPP *ahem* Looking at Shanz's resume again, for example. The fact that this guy left the navy with an IT specialty right on the cusp of the dot-com boom probably played a big roll in his ability to advance the way he did. He got a job as a web developer at Belkin in 1999 with no college degree, a year out of being in the navy after being a hospital IT guy for a year. A year later he got a job as an Software Engineer at Disney. All on the basis of being a JavaScript programmer, from what I can tell.

Do you think a kid today, after being in the navy for a year could move to Silicon Valley and get a web design job? (I suppose there is one nice thing about web design, which is that if you're good, everyone can see it with their own eyes at least) Would Disney higher a javascript programmer with no degree to be a Software Engineer today?

In fact, someone like him today would have trouble just finding something like the hospital IT job.

The other problem though - Most people just aren't smart. And in fact, going to a bad school stunts people's intelligence too. So they're double fucked, in that respect. People can also stop being poor by being actors, musicians, athletes. But not everyone can be in the NBA. Not everyone can get out of poverty by being Eminem or Jay-Z. Most people are just average people with average talents.
I still cannot read what you wrote and see how it makes sense if you aren't making that assumption. Who are "the guys", then? You say you meant Sanz, but why the plural? Why would you switch from "an 80 year-old man" to "you guys" if you are still talking about the same person?
In my experience, people use "guys" to refer to "group of people, of any gender" all the time. Even if the group is mostly (or all?) women.
Poor white kids have it bad, but poor black kids born into the same situation have it worse.
Right, but we are looking at people who are not born into identical circumstances, with only one different variable. One thing that annoys me about this "privilege" assumption is the idea that one person of one race automatically "has it worse" then someone of a different race. It seems like it's just a back-door way of stereotyping people. Kind of annoying.
posted by delmoi at 8:29 AM on March 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't think it's per se sexist to take the "hostile and inappropriate" view

Well, no, saying "[person], your response was hostile and inappropriate" is not sexist by itself.

But. There is a long and well-established tradition of dismissing women's complaints about sexism because they're complaining in the wrong way. Like: "well, we would have taken you seriously, but you weren't polite/assertive/detailed/friendly/formal/informal enough, so oh well!". It is a thing, and a common thing, and it's exactly what Katz and Sanz did. craichead's post above about the 'tone tightrope' describes it exactly.

Is 'please take it down, it's fucking gross' the politest way to put something? Well, no, no it's not. Is it so horrendously offensive that it overrides any possible complaint about the thing she was complaining about, and justifies turning the conversation about that complaint into CCing her boss, claiming she's 'attacking' them personally, and telling her 'you clearly have no shame'? Er... no, not really. They're acting like that because she complained, not because she complained about it in the wrong way. Whether or not they were doing it consciously, the effect is a combination of "I'm going to perceive any complaint about sexism from a woman as a personal and egregious attack, no matter what she actually says" and "it's her fault we didn't listen to her complaint".

And on MeFi? Here are some of the responses to Kane's "please take it down, it's fucking gross" in response to that video:

"Kane's actually hurting the feminist cause..."
"Women acting like the world owes them obedience by virtue of their ladyparts is also sexism in action..."
"She was issuing orders..."
"She was acting rude and fighty..."
"She was mean, then started shouting YOU CAN'T SILENCE THE PROLETARIAT etc. etc...."
"Kane was straight-up trolling, defined as talking really rudely to someone so you can get a thrill when they're rude back."
"...the overly-aggressive iniital, bitchy twitterer..."
"...Kane keeps making demands and refusing to talk like a person..."
"...she was in a pissy mood and felt that lashing out at someone was the best way to get what she wanted."
"It was a childish and emotional way to handle the situation and not something that anyone should be defending."
"OMG! MEN HAVE SEXUALITY! FUCKING GROSS!"
"...while Sanz may have been unwise to get upset, I can't blame a person getting trolled for reacting badly."
"...she is a troll..."
"...some hypersensitive harridan on the Internet..."
"If you still think that @shanlon is completely and utterly OK to act in the way she acted, then you're a fucking idiot."

As stoneandstar put it earlier:
what's actually hilarious about this is that the sexism in the original incident lies in the fact that Sanz & What's-His-Name overreacted and invented gross distortions of Kane's behavior because 1) it's hysterical and out of line to get mad about sexism, and 2) it is a grave and incomprehensible insult to be (rightfully accused) of sexism.
Yeah.
posted by Catseye at 9:04 AM on March 24, 2012 [18 favorites]


Catseye, brilliant, thank you.

At this point I have to point to my manparts and say, "Please don't assume that I agree with the folks around here who are being sexist, privileged, entitled and insensitive when they talk about this incident, Kane's "behavior" and other problems they have that seem to stem from their basic insecurity in the world."

I am one of those rare (apparently) men who believe that it's appropriate for women to have feelings, to articulate them and expect to be heard. I do not use silencing arguments, tone arguments or other methods to shut down dialog and to the extent that I have time to pursue conversation, discussion and even arguments that question my own commitment to dismantling sexism.

I do not resort to those tactics, to insulting folks or threatening their jobs or complaining to their bosses. I do not resort to character assassination. I do not resort to stonewalling when a woman criticizes me for something I've done or not done that she may find insensitive or that she fears other may find insensitive. Instead, I listen, ask questions, discuss, and take action.

I expect my brothers and compatriots to do the same, but apparently my expectations are terribly wrong and inaccurate, for which I am sad.

But I do not wish to be associated with these compatriots if possible, so please keep this in mind if I accidentally cross you.
posted by kalessin at 9:28 AM on March 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Is 'please take it down, it's fucking gross' the politest way to put something? Well, no, no it's not. Is it so horrendously offensive that it overrides any possible complaint about the thing she was complaining about, and justifies turning the conversation about that complaint into CCing her boss, claiming she's 'attacking' them personally, and telling her 'you clearly have no shame'? Er... no, not really.

I didn't see anyone defending the way in which the Geeklist guys handled this (but it's a long thread, so I may have missed it). What seems to have caused disagreement is whether it was right for Kane to handle things as she did. Everyone agrees that there are some responses to perceived sexism that are not OK, no matter how offended you are. The question then is whether this falls into the "OK" or "not OK" category, given the severity of the offense. The tone of the thread here seemed to be that anyone thinking the latter was by definition being sexist--and by extension that it was a problem that anyone here would defend that position. In your list, many of the examples are people saying, essentially, "that's not OK," which I think is a valid point of view ("rude and fighty," "mean," "overly-aggressive" etc.). Nor do I think that accusing her of trolling is over the line (though I'd say it's pretty tenuous). Finally, much of the worst ("harridan" for example) comes at the end of the thread when tempers on both sides had frayed.
posted by myeviltwin at 9:47 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


"How's that Jihad working for you people? Feel good up in your little McCarthy judging booths. "

Seriously? The fuck? Climb down offa the cross.
posted by klangklangston at 9:47 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I didn't see anything particularly heartbreaking in this thread

Then clearly you are not a female programmer.
posted by kelseyq at 9:53 AM on March 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


myeviltwin: Finally, much of the worst ("harridan" for example) comes at the end of the thread when tempers on both sides had frayed.

Ah, their tempers wore thin. Sure. Understandable.

Wait... but it isn't understandable that Kane's temper wore thin, which maybe is why she came across as just a little abrasive, for one line, before trying to calmly explain her position? I mean, her Twitter posts from just before the initial argument were how she was fed up dealing with sexism in tech. Then she saw the video and responded. Her temper was probably a little frayed, and she still handled it rather well in my opinion. She didn't even insult anyone directly; she only insulted their video.

But out-and-out calling her a harridan and other things is understandable, of course, because people's tempers have frayed. Hm.
posted by gilrain at 10:29 AM on March 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also, my first line above isn't entirely serious. While some anger is understandable after a long argument, calling a woman a "harridan" never is. It's a exclusively gendered insult, much like the "n" word is an exclusively racial insult. There are plenty of good, crude, offensive insults that could be used which are not exclusively gendered.
posted by gilrain at 10:41 AM on March 24, 2012


Gilrain, you seem to have confused me with someone who's condemning her behavior.
posted by myeviltwin at 11:07 AM on March 24, 2012


myeviltwin: Gilrain, you seem to have confused me with someone who's condemning her behavior.

No, not really. It would have been more accurate for me to go back and quote the original "harridan" comment. I was responding more to it than to you, although the "frayed tempers" thing is what got me started on the tangent. I just wanted to point out that if we can excuse tempers being frayed enough to call someone a harridan (which hm), we can probably excuse them being frayed enough to say a video is fucking gross.

Probably I shouldn't have quoted at all. It was meant as a general observation.
posted by gilrain at 11:14 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


myeviltwin, I think you didn't see anyone explicitly defending the way in which the Geeklist guys handled it because there's no way their response could be defended and people are smart enough to know that.

Instead, what we've seen is people taking the exact same approach they did which to me is effectively some degree of an endorsement: to mostly avoid the discussion of whether or not the video in question is objectifying and sexualizing women in Geeklist's domain and instead try to come up with every possible way to impugn Kane's character and behavior even to the point of completely making things up. Perhaps in that light you can see why proposing reasons to give a pass to calling her a "troll" or "harridan" isn't something that everyone is going to view as balanced or impartial.
posted by XMLicious at 11:38 AM on March 24, 2012


My takeaway from this is that if you're respectful, you'll be ignored, as happened with the first email that was sent privately. If you're the slightest bit irritated, you'll be the subject of endless discussion about tone.

And that's how a woman's point gets beaten down. Yes, its sexist. And yes, it happened here.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:41 AM on March 24, 2012 [23 favorites]


The low standards of behaviour in the Twitter exchange migrated to MetaFilter.

We could have been more progressive than those we criticise.

Social equality-wise, things are getting better. Push positively before you push angrily.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:14 PM on March 24, 2012


Push positively before you push angrily.

Out of curosity, had she sent a polite private email, as somebody else did, and been ignored, as the email was, what would you recommend?

Angrily calling them out in a public forum got results. But people in power always insist on a politeness from others they don't demand from themselves, and it gets nothing done. Puclic outrage is a legitimate tactic, made more legitimate by the fact that it works, although it also means that we have to slog through a million bullshit tone arguments.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:22 PM on March 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think she was perfectly justified in contacting them via twitter and rudely calling them out on it.

Some of the rudeness in this thread, not so much. From both sides.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:31 PM on March 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Social equality-wise, things are getting better. Push positively before you push angrily.

Things are getting worse for women in tech, not better, as pharm pointed out earlier in this thread and as this New York Times article explains in depth.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 1:51 PM on March 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Some of the rudeness in this thread, not so much. From both sides.

Like, really, no one cares. Guess how much of the sexism I thought was justified in this thread? None.

Finally, much of the worst ("harridan" for example) comes at the end of the thread when tempers on both sides had frayed.

This is false. "Bitch" and someone indirectly calling other posters catty ("rrrreoooww!" or whatever) happened relatively early. Not to mention "men with vaginas" and the "self-righteous" comments which happened right away, which Jesus Christ, a man could be stealing my car and as long as he were white I'd be called self-righteous for calling the police.

I didn't see anyone defending the way in which the Geeklist guys handled this (but it's a long thread, so I may have missed it).

Yes, you did, and I don't know how, because it was the bulk of the thread.

Everyone agrees that there are some responses to perceived sexism that are not OK, no matter how offended you are.

No, this is a really boring conversation to have, and coincidentally the only one that anyone seems capable of having. Even if I thought Kane misbehaved, I'm capable of shutting the fuck up about it in service of a more interesting point. Or at LEAST discussing what happened as well as her behavior. But people who don't care always think that "hum, is this worthy of my discussion?" is the "point" of any thread about gender issues. They ignore the sad reality of sexism in favor of a huge fucking argument about tone or their own personal feelings. And you know why this is? Because they can much more readily sympathize with someone who "accidentally" shouted down someone who pointed out their sexism than someone who pointed out sexism.

I don't think most people who support Kane's actions in this thread need a lesson on how to play nice, or what's "OK"-- I don't even want to talk about it. But that didn't stop other people from posting videos about how you "should" talk about it, or a bunch of "suggestions" which I already know but which do not guide me like a star in the heavens, because my life isn't a project of "working with" sexists.

the effect is a combination of "I'm going to perceive any complaint about sexism from a woman as a personal and egregious attack, no matter what she actually says" and "it's her fault we didn't listen to her complaint".

Exactly.

Metafilter is more sexist than certain (generally strict and single-minded) communities I've encountered online, but it's still much less sexist than the real world.

You missed the part where the online community in question actually appropriately reacted to the bullshit in the OP and shamed Sanz and Katz, right? Metafilter certainly can't catch up. And don't bothering telling me how to spend my time and energy. Dealing with sexism is ALWAYS "painful and wearying" and I don't need you to tell me when to go home.

And if you're implying that most places on the internet that are less sexist than Metafilter are "strict and singleminded," you probably don't know what you're talking about, and have an caricatured opinion of feminist communities. They seem "strict" if you want to talk about things in ways which have proven again and again to be harmful to women. And they seem "singleminded" if you think that "female experience" is one small aspect of reality which women can just put to the side when they're not talking about vaginas.

Metafilter is certainly not perfect (I still remember that Chinese mothers thing), but shaming has to be applied thoughtfully and justly. I didn't see anything particularly heartbreaking in this thread, and disagreement doesn't count.

For the record, I've seen several threads where Asian women were a target of ridicule. If after any of those threads, an Asian woman had said "fuck this place," I would have understood. Not told her to be "careful" about how she "shames" people. You guys seem to think shaming is just so easy, like we do it if we cross our eyes wrong.







If people could "do something about" being poor, don't you think they would? No one wants to be poor, and sure, some people can become rich but it's very rare. People can change their gender if they want, it happens all the time.

delmoi, I agree with a lot of what you're saying, but were you born into poverty? If so I think our experiences were different. What you said above is a mischaracterization of what it's like both to be poor (for me) and transgender. I see where you're coming from, but I think the examples about domestic abuse and rape at least make the point that rich women can be horribly mistreated as women. And most people of color I talk to about racism don't feel "stereotyped" by the admission that they would be more criminalized than I in similar economic straits-- it's a factual reality. That doesn't mean that I think their communities are less valuable than mine, it means that they deal with tangible obstacles. Also, the divide isn't between poor and rich. And if Sanz didn't have male privilege over Kane, why would people people be vociferously defending him here?
posted by stoneandstar at 3:02 PM on March 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


stoneandstar: “You missed the part where the online community in question actually appropriately reacted to the bullshit in the OP and shamed Sanz and Katz, right?”

Yes, the Geeklist part of the community seems to have taken good things from this; and thanks for that to those who helped make it happen. But I have to say that the larger tech community was not happy in the slightest about this, and will continue to fervently ignore and privately (or sometimes publicly) disdain any woman who speaks up like Shanley did. Metafilter didn't do great here, but we still did better than Hacker News, which deleted and buried that thread immediately, probably because it got too many flags (they have an automatic deletion-by-flag 'feature' over there) which in turn was probably because most people in tech just flatly don't want to hear about it.

I agree about everything else. Just saying that the people here who spoke up for Shanley are pretty heartening to me, and even that vocal minority is an incredible haven in the face of other tech audiences that have a hard time caring at all.
posted by koeselitz at 3:33 PM on March 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Agreed, it's been horrible to read about this in a lot of places.
posted by stoneandstar at 3:37 PM on March 24, 2012


"And if you're implying that most places on the internet that are less sexist than Metafilter are "strict and singleminded," you probably don't know what you're talking about, and have an caricatured opinion of feminist communities. They seem "strict" if you want to talk about things in ways which have proven again and again to be harmful to women. And they seem "singleminded" if you think that "female experience" is one small aspect of reality which women can just put to the side when they're not talking about vaginas."

No, I think they're making the point that it's easier to keep a tight rein on sexism etc. in a community that's not as broad as MeFi is in focus. E.g., I've been to some retro camera forums where sexism is actively policed by the members, but they have a small, cohesive member base that polices a lot of stuff more tightly. The more MeFi scales up, the more we pull our new members from the mean of the internet (though I will say that MeFi is wildly less sexist and offensive than when I started here).
posted by klangklangston at 3:40 PM on March 24, 2012


I'm not sure how gender skews on MeFi now compared to the early days, but there seem to be lots more assertive, articulate women here now than there were then. That keeps the worst of 'boyzone' MeFi in check to some extent.
posted by Summer at 3:47 PM on March 24, 2012


I'm just delighted that as part of their women in tech whatever; that step one is to make a thing in their web app which declares "I used (a bunch of classes of woman)".

This lady coder doesn't much like being labelled as something to be used.

(Gross.)
posted by ambilevous at 3:47 PM on March 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


"I'm not sure how gender skews on MeFi now compared to the early days, but there seem to be lots more assertive, articulate women here now than there were then. That keeps the worst of 'boyzone' MeFi in check to some extent."

As a veteran of the sexism wars of '07, I think there's much less boyzone behavior and less sexism. There are possibly more women (though women kept coming to mefi back then but many would feel it an unfriendly place), but there are certainly more women who are outspoken on feminism and in calling-out sexism.

Even so, threads like this one take my starry-eyed idealism about the current state of MetaFilter and beat it out of my head with a brick. Someone said that there's always a new group of clueless people who come along, and that's certainly true, but I note that most of those represented in this thread are what I've noticed are the usual suspects taking an anti-anti-sexist position in the last seven months since I've been back here. So these members are not new to the discussion, you can go to their history and see that they've been in numerous discussions like this. They're not learning anything, nor are they interested in learning anything. They're the kind of people who think feminists are out to get them and are making the world suck. They show up in relevant threads to reiterate this sentiment. I'd like to think something could be done about this, but I'm not sure what it could be.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:08 PM on March 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think it comes down to a difference in perspective. Some people have really knee jerk reactions to what they consider to be anti-free speech gestures, such as requesting that an offensive video be removed.

But here's how privilege asserts itself: Requesting a video be taken down is not a violation of free speech, its an expression of free speech. Boycotting a product that is sexist is not a violation of free speech, it's an expression of free speech. Being rude is not a violation of free speech -- as much as people may dislike it, it's an expression of free speech.

Silencing tactics, such as actively attempting to bring in somebody's boss because they won't shut up, is a violation of free speech.

If you find your concerns about free speech skew toward making sure men get to say whatever they want to, but stop short of allowing that for women, you're exercising privilege, even if you're blind to the fact that you're doing so. And if you want to be a part of a community that consists of both men and women, and want to be sure that community is fair and welcoming, you would do well to open your eyes to how you express your privilege. Because this site has repeatedly lost female members as a result of threads like this, and that's bullshit, and if your inability to be sensitive to when you are asserting privilege is the cause of that --

Well, congratulations. You just benefited from privilege.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:47 PM on March 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


Privilege really is key to much of this and, because of this, it's very strongly explanatory. As you just demonstrated.

What's unfortunate about it, though, is that one of the most uncomfortable things anyone can experience is having their privilege exposed. Or, for that matter, being subject to claims that they're exploiting their privilege. In short, it's highly provocative of extreme defensiveness. I've found that it is almost never helpful with regard to getting something across to anyone who is demonstrating that privilege.

That said, there's some question here about whether, really, there's any realistic expectation that arguing with such people will be productive. And perhaps discussions of how privilege is involved and operative can be very illuminating to onlookers who aren't directly threatened by the discussion.

But I think we should be realistic that mentions of privilege in contexts like this will often just harden opposing positions badly, even when what's happening in the discussion is all about privilege.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:59 PM on March 24, 2012


If it's not exposed, people can't be made aware of it. If they are not made aware of it, they can't change.

Just about any time you point out troubling behavior, people will react badly. People don't like to be called out. It's the way of the world. I still think it is absolutely essential to discuss privilege. I didn't become aware of it by osmosis, but by discussions like this.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:02 PM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


klangklangston, you're right, I had just woken up and got part of two or three cars... post mixed up with someone else's, thinking it was making a different point. Sorry, two or three cars!
posted by stoneandstar at 5:53 PM on March 24, 2012


You know, I really think that at the core it comes down to what one thinks of the video. You can imagine a range of reactions from "Harmless fun" to "Inappropriate/Unprofessional" to "Offensive" to "Wildly Offensive." Those who think of it as somewhere around "Inappropriate/Unprofessional" would probably see "it's fucking gross" as an overreaction (at minimum). Those who come down on the "Wildly Offensive" side would see that as a restrained understatement.

The question is, what range of reactions do we consider to be OK? I'd really strongly prefer that we don't pre-ordain some evaluations as not OK, immoral, etc. This is not an obvious question, much as some of us would like it to be so. Making it a moral litmus test--and gnashing our teeth when people fail it--doesn't make this a better place and doesn't make us better people (comforting though it may be).
posted by myeviltwin at 7:20 PM on March 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Case in point. Suddenly the subject is just a matter of taste, and all other concerns are secondary, and discussing it in terms of sexism is declaring people who don't agree with your opinion "immoral."

Well played.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:24 PM on March 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


You're making exactly my point--you clearly don't believe that disagreement with your reaction is legitimate.
posted by myeviltwin at 10:58 PM on March 24, 2012


Actually, that's neither what I said nor what I believe. But continue to recast my, and others, comments into the least charitable reading possible. It really demonstrates your willingness to engage a discussion.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:00 PM on March 24, 2012


OK then, maybe you'd like to expand on what you do believe?
posted by myeviltwin at 11:41 PM on March 24, 2012


myeviltwin: “The question is, what range of reactions do we consider to be OK? I'd really strongly prefer that we don't pre-ordain some evaluations as not OK, immoral, etc. This is not an obvious question, much as some of us would like it to be so. Making it a moral litmus test--and gnashing our teeth when people fail it--doesn't make this a better place and doesn't make us better people (comforting though it may be).”

Bunny Ultramod: “Case in point. Suddenly the subject is just a matter of taste, and all other concerns are secondary, and discussing it in terms of sexism is declaring people who don't agree with your opinion 'immoral.' Well played.”

myeviltwin: “You're making exactly my point--you clearly don't believe that disagreement with your reaction is legitimate.”

That doesn't even make much sense. Of course Bunny doesn't think disagreement with his position is 'legitimate.' Nobody thinks disagreeing with their opinion is 'legitimate.' That's what disagreeing means.

I guess maybe you mean 'legitimate' as 'moral,' and are saying that Bunny is claiming you're immoral because you disagree with him. But since Bunny just told you that he doesn't think you're immoral just because you disagree with him, I'm not sure what to do with that.
posted by koeselitz at 11:42 PM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


myeviltwin: “The question is, what range of reactions do we consider to be OK? I'd really strongly prefer that we don't pre-ordain some evaluations as not OK, immoral, etc. This is not an obvious question, much as some of us would like it to be so. Making it a moral litmus test--and gnashing our teeth when people fail it--doesn't make this a better place and doesn't make us better people (comforting though it may be).”

Thinking about this a bit, I guess I'll say this:

I think this is an extremely important topic, and I have a feeling a lot of people (even among those who disagree with me on specifics) probably think so too. So it's important for us to discuss it, even when we disagree – maybe even especially when we disagree.

Discussing things with other people is not the same thing as evaluating them as morally acceptable or unacceptable based on their reactions. We can disagree strongly with each other without making it personal, without involving moral judgements about each other.

I guess I can't really speak for everyone else here, but I've worked really hard to do that in this thread. And it seems to me that a lot of other people – Bunny Ultramod, stoneandstar, gilrain, and others – have done the same thing. I'm kind of proud, actually, of the fact that we haven't turned this into a situation where people are being morally torn down and told that they're evil sexists or whatever, even though it has at a few moments been a little tense.

So when you warn us not to fall into morally judging people for their reactions – when as far as I can tell we've been working hard not to fall into that trap all along – I kind of wonder if you're reading something into our position that just isn't there.

I know I've been the "this hasn't happened here!" guy a few times in this thread, and I've been wrong about it once or twice, too. So maybe if you can give an example of a moral judgement being passed on someone in this thread based on their reaction to the video, we can talk about that and try to work on it and consider what to do about it.

Until then, it's a little annoying to hear this, frankly. It's as though I spent all day scrubbing the bathroom, and then my roommate came home and asked me to please make sure I don't mess up the bathroom at all.
posted by koeselitz at 11:56 PM on March 24, 2012


OK then, maybe you'd like to expand on what you do believe?

Do you have specific questions? I haven't been unforthright. I'm just not keen on being paraphrased badly.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:01 AM on March 25, 2012


Koeselitz, what I mean by "legitimate" isn't "correct." There's a famous quote from Anscombe where she says (about consequentialists):

"if someone really thinks, in advance, that it is open to question whether such an action as procuring the judicial execution of the innocent should be quite excluded from consideration - I do not want to argue with him: he shows a corrupt mind."

That is the sense in which I meant "illegitimate"--advancing such a view means by definition that you are not worth arguing with.

As to who's doing it: there were I think a few comments about "Metafilter sucks because of this thread." There were several about "shouting down" or "silencing" women. And then there was the extremely hostile reaction to those who disagreed with the majority opinion. I think all those reflect a belief that disagreement is not legitimate.
posted by myeviltwin at 12:37 AM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


"That doesn't even make much sense. Of course Bunny doesn't think disagreement with his position is 'legitimate.' Nobody thinks disagreeing with their opinion is 'legitimate.' That's what disagreeing means."

I don't agree with that. I read "legitimate" in that usage as synonymous with "valid", and I distinguish valid from true. There are quite a few opinions and beliefs with which I disagree but I nevertheless believe are valid, while there are others I disagree with and think are invalid. Both I think are false. Occasionally, people have opinions or beliefs that I think are true but which are invalid — in those cases, it's usually the result of arriving at the right conclusion with a flawed argument. I suppose there's a third category of arriving at a true conclusion with a valid argument but from assumptions I don't share; I'm not sure what I'd call that.

I can imagine different reactions to the video which I would agree are "legitimate". I think most would start from assumptions I don't share. This probably describes myeviltwin's opinion about it.

However, I feel that it's possible that myeviltwin thinks that people who find the video offensive are doing so on the basis of it being salacious, where that is prima facie offensive. That is certainly not true in my case. Indeed, I made an attempt earlier to stake out a distinct position from either the one that thinks that all sexy videos which objectify women are necessarily offensive, and also the one that thinks that all objectification is offensive. Rather, my opinion is that there's a specific context that makes the sexual objectification of women offensive that need not exist (but does). It's not specifically about sex in my view, any more than sexual violence is specifically about sex. What's wrong with it is that something wrong is being done that happens to utilize sexuality to do it.

"Fucking gross" has a strong connotation that, nevertheless, shouldn't necessarily be inferred because people can have a visceral disgust reaction that they would naturally, in our culture and being of a certain age, describe in that fashion that doesn't, in fact, have to involve taste or revulsion about bodily things or whatever is closely connoted to "gross". Rather, this visceral disgust can be triggered by a strong moral digust, which is how I think Shanley Kane was using the word. She felt that this use of the sexual objectification of a woman in the context of what is effectively an advertisement for a tech industry networking concern was egregiously morally wrong. I don't think that it's necessarily true that she would respond that way to every single or possible video of a woman in her underwear. Maybe so, but not necessarily so. And even if she does, I think a lot of us who don't take such a strong position will, and do, take a strong position on this particular video.

But the thing is, if one just doesn't see at all how the sexual objectification of women is and has been used to perpetuate sexism and misogyny, and particularly if one doesn't see how this is especially egregious in an industry where women have dropped from 40% of the portion of software engineers to 12% over the last thirty years, then one would wrongly think that people are finding this "fucking gross" on the basis of prudishness. Well, you know, I'm about the farthest thing from a prude as someone can be. But I agree the video is fucking gross. It's fucking gross because it exists in a particular context.

What I don't understand is how people who are critical of Kane and think she's overreacting can in good conscience hold this opinion given the testimony here and elsewhere of women who are actually in the tech industry and the discrimination they have to deal with on a daily basis. In order to say this is a huge overreaction, or "trolling", you have to completely discount all those women who have attested to how much a boyzone is the tech industry, how much women are made to feel unwelcome. That video says an awful lot about how the people in the tech industry view themselves, and how they view themselves is as horny teenage boys. That is a very unfriendly atmosphere for women to attempt to work within.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:30 AM on March 25, 2012 [9 favorites]


Kanz was not literally saying that if @shanlon didn't go away they'd have her fired either

Katz actually drew attention by @ing her employer while saying: “@shanley @csanz email. Not twitter Shanley. You're representing a brand too, @basho so take it offline."

In other words "Take it out of public, your boss can see you."

They certainly tried to get her fired, or at least in trouble with her employer. That her boss didn't bite is a credit to her employer, not to the individual who brought her employer into it while explicitly ordering her to "take it offline".

And I fucking LOVE how "we don't like how she's behaving in this other related thing - what a harridan/bitch" is being used to further delegitimize her points on the fucking gross video which started this whole thing.


As for trying to silence women, I've apparently become not only a bitch and a harridan, but also a Muslin who wants to kill people and an agent of John McCarthy who spent time trying to get people fired for being involved in the communist party, but apparently I'm the one over-reacting and being rude and offensive, not the people who are (very confusingly) calling me BOTH a fundamentalist Muslim AND liberal AND anti-Communist AND lacking empathy as well as a shrill women who doesn't know her place.

I've been so busy while I tried to get Second Life to not crash.
posted by Deoridhe at 1:49 AM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is a side issue, but, well, after over 600 comments making a point I find as clear as "water sure is wet", why not a tiny digression? The word that leaps to my mind when someone calls another person a "Jihadist" during an Internet fight is not "sexist". It's "bigot".I It's no skin off my nose - I'm an atheist - but I try to avoid going around invoking other people's sacred religious duties to indicate irrationally dogmatic and possibly violent pursuit of a point of argument. I think it's especially counterproductive when the person using the term is trying to make the point he's open-minded and reasonable and all these people are just crushing the fuck out of his reasonable, open-minded dissenting opinion.
posted by gingerest at 1:55 AM on March 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


I do regret the use of the word Jihadist. I was reaching for a word to explain the impression given by some people in this thread that there's no discussion to be had here, that this is a cut and dried case of bad behaviour on the part of geeklist. I was aiming more for dogmatic and less for violent, but it was the wrong word to use, and you're right - it highlights a degree of bigotry.
posted by zoo at 2:45 AM on March 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


And with that, zoo neatly illustrates how to react rationally and graciously to a call-out, even when the challenge is made in a rather heated and definitely vulgar way. Messrs. Sanz and Katz should take notes.
posted by gingerest at 3:21 AM on March 25, 2012


Deoridhe: I think it gets to the core of the issue as to whether it was a deliberate threat or an accidental threat. I don't believe they *tried* to get her fired at all. I think they reacted badly to @shanley's anger (and they were trying to shut her up) and the argument went downhill from there.

BTW: I don't think anyone on metafilter called anyone a bitch. The harridan comment was out of order and has been rightly condemned. Personal apologies once again to the Muslims in the house.

That McCarthy jibe. This all still feels a little bit like that.

One thing that stands out in all this is there's so many assumptions on all sides that the worst possible interpretation is the correct one. I'm calling people murderous muslims. Geeklist are trying to get @shanley fired. @shanley is doing this for the attention. The feminists are only angry because the girl is wearing tiny knickers. If you mention class, you're deliberately derailing.

It's dogmatic is what it is. It's judgemental bollocks.
Anyway - I'm out. I just wanted the Islamic contingent that it's not them I hate, that it's just women.
posted by zoo at 3:25 AM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


You know, I really think that at the core it comes down to what one thinks of the video.

No. No, it really doesn't.

There are two separate things at play here: a) the video itself, and b) how Katz and Sanz reacted to Kane's complaint about the video. a) is bad. b) is worse. b) is why people are talking about silencing tactics. b) would still be awful even if there was no problem with a). That there is indeed a problem with a), and that the problem with a) is that it reinforces a particularly ugly idea about women in tech, is just the icing on the cake of awfulness.

What would have happened if she'd said "please take it down, it's fucking gross" and they'd said "wow, harsh! Sorry you don't like it, but we disagree - we think it's harmless fun and we're happy with it representing our brand"? Well, we'll never know, because that's not what happened here. (We can pretty much guarantee it wouldn't have become this big of a story, though, because that exact scenario plays out with advertising and/or tech all the time.)

But they didn't. She said "please take it down, it's fucking gross" and they said "your tone is really aggressive. Why are you being so mean to us? We might have listened to you if you'd been nicer about it. We didn't even make the video and anyway a woman made the video so THERE and anyway we're cool with the video and anyway look at the eye-candy on this Pinterest account we think is yours, you hypocrite! We have families, you know! You're attacking our brand. You're attacking us personally. You have no shame. We're CCing your boss just to make sure he knows about this. How could you do this to us after we bought you a drink that one time? And we're also going to pretend that you said much worse but conveniently deleted it!"

I would go into detail about why that tactic is not the same as 'disagreement over the video', but since that point's been made literally several hundred times already in this conversation, you'll forgive me if I just gesture wearily upthread by this point.
posted by Catseye at 3:49 AM on March 25, 2012 [11 favorites]


That McCarthy jibe. This all still feels a little bit like that.

You feel like you're going to be investigated by your employer and/or the government and punished for holding the wrong opinions? My, that must feel terrible.

(On preview, Deoridhe already pointed this out.)
posted by XMLicious at 4:15 AM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ivan Fyodorovich, thank you! Your comment is a perfect example of how I would like our discussions here to go. I think it's really important to make a good-faith effort to understand why the people who disagree with us hold those views, and to at least start from a presumption of good faith on their parts, to look for the different premises that they are starting from rather than suggesting that they have unsavory motives. I think this is how we learn from each other, and I would much rather have Metafilter be a place where this kind of exchange can happen, rather than one where we make an effort to drum out those who don't believe what the majority does.

Catseye, if you really think the video is innocuous Shanley's response seems like an aggressive over-reaction, and therefore Katz and Sanz's responses (while unwise from a PR point of view) seem much more justifiable. That's why it does all depend on what you think of the video.
posted by myeviltwin at 4:43 AM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


The feminists are only angry because the girl is wearing tiny knickers.

Oh dear.
posted by Summer at 4:52 AM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


if you really think the video is innocuous Shanley's response seems like an aggressive over-reaction, and therefore Katz and Sanz's responses (while unwise from a PR point of view) seem much more justifiable.

When I said above "that point's been made literally several hundred times already in this conversation", I was not exaggerating. Several hundred times, people have explained and repeated and re-explained why, exactly, people have a problem with Katz and Sanz's response, why it's not the same as disagreement, why it's playing into a much broader narrative about perpetuating sexism, and why it is hugely objectionable regardless of the video.

Now, I'm not going to hold a gun to your head and demand you agree or anything. Nobody here is doing that. But if you disagree with the points already made so many times above, then the only effective way to have a conversation about that with the people making them is if you want to address said points, rather than dismiss them out of hand when we're already at comment 659.
posted by Catseye at 5:13 AM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Catseye, I feel we may be talking past each other here, but those responses are dependent on the assumption that the video is morally objectionable. If one doesn't believe that, then Shanley's reaction is inappropriate and Katz and Sanz's responses are, if not warranted, understandable.
posted by myeviltwin at 5:26 AM on March 25, 2012


but those responses are dependent on the assumption that the video is morally objectionable

No. They're not. They're really not. I don't know how else I can phrase this. Perhaps you could address the part of my last two comments when I explained that my responses, and those of many others, were not dependent on the assumption that the video was morally objectionable, and explain to me why I'm wrong?
posted by Catseye at 5:39 AM on March 25, 2012


those responses are dependent on the assumption that the video is morally objectionable.

met - this isn't true. If Katz and Sanz didn't think the video was morally objectionable they presumably would have engaged with that instead of using silencing tactics. They would have said 'no, I think it's perfectly fine, it's just a bit of fun' instead of going into a bullshit diversionary tone argument.

Do you think the video was objectionable? (I'm leaving out the contentious word 'morally' here - which is in itself a derail). Do you think it's sexist? Do you think it's objectifying? Do you think the attitudes contained within it are damaging to women in tech?

Because if at this point we're arguing about whether a video showing a woman wriggling around in skanty clothes while a man jizzes in his pants to advertise a professional service is sexist or not then I think we're much less advanced on this site than we think we are.
posted by Summer at 5:46 AM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


> The feminists are only angry because the girl is wearing tiny knickers.

Oh dear.

That caught me up short at first too but if you look at the context he said it in, he's presenting that as a "worst possible interpretation" that some people are making (like this) rather than something he's stating himself.
posted by XMLicious at 5:56 AM on March 25, 2012


Oh I see. What's the class one about? Has anyone even mentioned class? Is that referring to the 'privilege' debate?
posted by Summer at 6:11 AM on March 25, 2012


Catseye, I'm going to take one more try at this, because I'm curious (and, admittedly, puzzled) about where exactly our disagreement comes from. Imagine that Shanley was complaining about something that you personally think is totally morally innocuous. Let's say for the sake of the thought experiment that it's the color scheme of their website. Keep everything else the same. Do you still think Shanley's approach would be justified, and Katz and Shanz's response objectionable? Or would your answer change in this case? And why?
posted by myeviltwin at 6:19 AM on March 25, 2012


It's bizarre to me that you even have to ask that question. I'll leave it to Catseye to speak for herself but yeah, in my estimation just about everyone would agree that if Katz and Sanz tried to get someone to stop publicly discussing the color scheme of their web site by trying out all of these pressuring tactics, like claiming she had deleted tweets or trying to bring in her employer to the discussion, while at the same time obviously and carefully avoiding actually disagreeing with the statements she was making about the topic (which I guess would be about color theory or maybe colorblindness or something?) that would be pretty reprehensible too.
posted by XMLicious at 6:32 AM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, and I'm not sure why my personal opinion is important but I think the video is in incredibly poor taste for a jobs site, sends a bad message to women who work in tech, and generally objectionable.
posted by myeviltwin at 6:33 AM on March 25, 2012


"is generally objectionable," rather.
posted by myeviltwin at 6:36 AM on March 25, 2012


That seems to be some sort of gotcha game, myeviltwin, where we point out that sexism in tech is not actually akin to the color scheme of their website, and you somehow use that to prove that we're shrieking McCarthyite harridans.

I suspect that if she'd said the color scheme of their website was "fucking gross," they'd have laughed it off instead of trying to get her in trouble with her employer.
posted by craichead at 6:37 AM on March 25, 2012


the color scheme of their website. Keep everything else the same

The colour scheme of their website wouldn't work as an analogy, because it's got to be something that somebody - Shanley Kane, in this case - actually did find objectionable. So let's say it was a project of mine that somebody was criticising as sexist/racist/whatever, and I really really didn't agree with them that it was.

Do you still think Shanley's approach would be justified

Yes. I might have been, at most, a bit taken aback by it, and I would probably have said something like "well i disagree, here's why", but I would not have thought she was unjustified in objecting to something she found objectionable.

and Katz and Shanz's response objectionable? Or would your answer change in this case?

No, my answer would not change in this case. Their response was deeply objectionable, regardless of whether or not she was 'justified' in finding the video offensive. If I'd reacted like they did in some moment of temporary madness, I would fully expect and deserve to get called out for it, even by people who didn't have a problem with my project.
posted by Catseye at 6:41 AM on March 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


OK, interesting. Thanks for clarifying. I guess my intuitions are just different than yours. Keep in mind they knew each other socially. She had interviewed for a job there. Their companies had a business relationship. Imagining myself in their place (and assuming that they thought the video was unobjectionable) my first reaction to being publicly and rudely called out would have been "what is wrong with you." Then of course I would have taken it off of twitter instead of escalating. That's where their response was stupid and clumsy. But being taken aback, being offended or angry that an acquaintance who worked for a company you did business with was publicly and rudely denouncing you? I certainly don't find that admirable, but I can understand it.
posted by myeviltwin at 6:57 AM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Threatening to get someone fired for speaking out is not really on the same level as being "taken aback" or "stupid and clumsy".

Anyone's personal feelings on whether the video is gross, innocuous, or a holy messianic message don't alter that fact in any way.
posted by kyrademon at 7:19 AM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ok, so I just want to get this straight. First of all, the actual substance of Kane's objection is wholly irrelevant. We have to start from the assumption that she was complaining about something illegitimate and silly, and we must proceed to analyze the situation from that premise. Second of all, while Sanz and Katz behaved badly, their behavior is understandable, because they were reacting to rudeness over something they believed to be silly. Meanwhile, Kane, who behaved much less badly (if she behaved badly at all), doesn't get similar consideration. Because we aren't allowed to consider why she was upset, we have to assume that her rudeness was just her fault, and she doesn't get the pass that the guys do. After all, the guys were reacting to provocation, and in your version of things we aren't allowed to consider whether Kane was also provoked.

Is that about right?
posted by craichead at 7:33 AM on March 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


So myeviltwin, just keeping track of this: you find it understandable for Sanz and Katz to accuse Kane of deleting tweets and to try to influence her through her employer (and in fact just a little ways above you used the word "justifiable"), and you find it understandable for people in this thread to have called Kane a "troll" or a "harridan", and you find that compatible with also thinking that Kane's statements were "aggressive over-reaction"?

Do you find it understandable that some people might perceive these sorts of combinations of attitudes as a prejudiced double standard in and of itself, regardless of any disagreement about the nature of the video, especially in the absence of actual discussion of the content of the video?
posted by XMLicious at 7:34 AM on March 25, 2012


I just wanted the Islamic contingent that it's not them I hate, that it's just women.

What the fu...?
posted by five fresh fish at 7:37 AM on March 25, 2012


Sarcasm fff. Clumsy sarcasm, but sarcasm nonetheless.
posted by Summer at 7:40 AM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


XMLicious, see, this is what I'm talking about when I say that disagreement is met with hostility. I didn't say any of those things:

1. I said that if you think that the video is innocuous the GL response seems "more justifiable." Note the conditional! This is not the same as saying "their response was justifiable" (which I don't think it was).

2. I never said it was "understandable" to call her a harridan (or any other gendered insult). Seriously. I just don't say that.

3. Again, if you think that the video is innocuous Shanley's approach seems like an "aggressive-over reaction." Again note the conditional!

4. Finally, I did say the content of the video was objectionable (see a few posts above).

My point is that we need to be able to have this sort of discussion without hostility, distortion, and aspersions about the motives/sincerity of other people here.
posted by myeviltwin at 8:12 AM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I guess my intuitions are just different than yours.

myeviltwin, let me respectfully submit that it's not your intuition, but your perspective that is different.

A lot of your posts seem to hinge on the idea that Shanley's objection was unnecessarily rude.

Looking at your profile, I believe you're from (and currently in) the Netherlands, although you've clearly spent a lot of time in the U.S. So maybe part of this is cultural differences about what is considered "unnecessarily rude."

But . . . . . PRIVILEGE. We have it, you and I. Over the course of our lifetimes, there are hundreds of thousands of minor incidents and interactions with people that all reinforce the idea that we don't have to be rude because people will listen to us. Because we're males. Even better, we're white males. Even more better, we're straight white males. Even if that's not the explicit, obvious reason people are listening to us, that dynamic is at work.

So if you or I had tweeted, "that's fucking gross," that COULD be considered unnecessarily rude. Because all of our experience has taught us that we could have tweeted, "Hey dude, Not Cool," or, "I don't really think that's appropriate," or almost any other calmer objection, and we would have gotten a response directly addressing our objection.

And the thing is, because our personal male experiences teach us, "you don't have to be rude", and because we try to Not Be Sexist, and we like to consider ourselves Good People, and because we don't live in grotesquely, blatantly sexist "pinch your secretary on the butt" 1950's America, it's really really really easy to kid ourselves into thinking that we live in a more egalitarian society than we really do.

If we lived in a truly non-sexist world, sure, "fucking gross" from anybody could be considered inappropriately hostile.

But we don't.

And because we're guys, there's an awful lot of sexism that's basically invisible to us. Or maybe it hits our radar for a moment, but we shrug it off and go on about our daily lives. Because we are privileged - it doesn't really directly affect us.

So your perspective is that Shanley was being inappropriately hostile and rude. But you have to consider whether a large part of the reason you HAVE that perspective is because you're a guy.
posted by soundguy99 at 9:01 AM on March 25, 2012 [10 favorites]


myeviltwin - Okay, to quote the bit involving "harridan":

Nor do I think that accusing her of trolling is over the line (though I'd say it's pretty tenuous). Finally, much of the worst ("harridan" for example) comes at the end of the thread when tempers on both sides had frayed.

So, that translates to you finding the use of the term "harridan" not understandable as opposed to the way that Katz and Sanz doing all the stuff that they did is understandable? I guess I don't understand why you would find an action like contacting someone's employer in anger or worry or some other emotional impetus understandable but you'd mention that a word was used when tempers were frayed as a way of conveying that it's not understandable right after explaining that calling her a "troll" is not over the line.

I'm not ignoring any conditionals and I am not saying that you yourself haven't called the video objectionable. I'm saying that the combination of views you and others have expressed which appears to accept Kane's critics focusing entirely on discussing her character and behavior as somehow problematic, while minimizing the considerably more problematic and aggressive behavior of the Geeklist guys as within the realm of what anyone else might do if they were irked and had disagreements with her about the nature of the video which for whatever reason they did not express, is in itself a double standard rather than some balanced and impartial approach to this discussion and issue.

This seems to me like a pretty reasonable description of the things you have said and the way you have reacted to other people's points; I'm not seeing the distortion and aspersions you're saying are involved with interpreting your statements here in this way.

Nor do I see how describing a double standard you appear to be applying in evaluating the positions taken on Twitter and in this thread is hostility to you disagreeing. (Unless you're saying that I should anticipate you disagreeing with any criticism of how you're evaluating the situation and that to do anything other than refraining from making that criticism in the first place is hostility.)
posted by XMLicious at 9:13 AM on March 25, 2012


Hence, proving my point. Natch.
posted by Jeremy at 10:14 AM on March 25, 2012


They are all douchebags - the overly-aggressive iniital [sic], bitchy twitterer

Just for zoo. Note that he defends the word choice later.
posted by stoneandstar at 11:51 AM on March 25, 2012


Zoo: One thing that stands out in all this is there's so many assumptions on all sides that the worst possible interpretation is the correct one

This, absolutely, is my frustration with this thread, and I agree with zoo that dogmatism is the problem. I also want to thank ambrosia (hi, ambrosia!) and koeselitz in particular for NOT doing this even though we disagree on this particular issue, and myeviltwin for further expounding on the frustration some of us are feeling.

We've had complaints about how HARD it is, having to explain sexism and what women have to go through over and over again. A number of you also have this little self-congratulatory thing going on, where the attitude seems to be,"Gosh, aren't we great crusaders for continuing to fight the good fight against sexism here on boyzone Metafilter?!

Let me explain my issue with you, hopefully for the last time, because I, and I know many others, are getting tired of explaining this too:

So, you who complain about repeating yourselves in sexist threads, the reason you do so is often NOT because ANYONE denies sexism exists, or even denies it is a HUGE problem. It is because, if anyone disagrees with ANY aspect of your take on a situation that you personally have DECREED is sexism in action, you SHUT THEM DOWN by giving a mini-lecture on sexism, insist that they just don't get it because they are either mentally deficient or have not experienced sexism themselves, and/or accuse them of sexism, too.

posted by misha at 12:06 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


misha: “A number of you also have this little self-congratulatory thing going on, where the attitude seems to be,‘Gosh, aren't we great crusaders for continuing to fight the good fight against sexism here on boyzone Metafilter?!’”

In the interest of honesty, I agree that this is something that we need to avoid. And I say this mostly because of my personal experience with sexism, which I have to admit is not great. What I mean is that I guess I've made a lot of comments in this thread, but that means nothing when it comes to my own personal standing with women in general, although I wish I could say it made me a tremendously virtuous person. I said something above:

“I can be a perfectly nice guy who is nice to women and all that and still let my girlfriend do all the housework; sorry, but that's sexism in action.”

That wasn't a hypothetical example. It's something that I guess I could say is a habit with lots of guys, but – well, it's been a habit with me. And it's something I'm still working on, and that's just one example, probably the most innocuous one in fact. Talking big on the internet, it turns out, is a fantastic way to mask all kinds of things that one does in real life, to make it seem as though one is a very enlightened guy when in actuality one is pretty much the same as everybody else.

I'm not laying this on anybody else here – as far as I can tell, most of the people talking about this are women, so I'm not sure how this applies to them. All I know is that I really don't talk about this stuff because I fancy myself a grand authority on the subject; I like to have good conversations about sexism because it's educational to me, and because I really frankly need to learn more about it. It's very much for my own benefit, because I recognize that I really have a lot of room for improvement.

I guess this is kind of off-topic, but I just wanted to acknowledge that this conversation doesn't make me (at least) an authority or a 'great crusader' or even (more to the point) an enlightened and utterly non-sexist wonderful person. It's really easy to fall into being self-congratulatory about this, but I want to try to avoid that, because if I do that there's no way I can acknowledge my own faults and hopefully make some improvements.
posted by koeselitz at 12:46 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I definitely agree with the bit about self-congratulatoryness. It has a weird synergy with the people who, unprompted, spend paragraphs detailing what they see as proof that they can't personally be sexists, which individuals speaking from a variety of different positions have done IIRC.

I also have to say that although I disagreed with many of the things zoo put in his comments and he seemed to have gradually revised his position as the thread went on, the amount of sharp criticism directed at him didn't seem proportionate to the specific things I remember him saying. (Though I could have missed some of his comments or not read closely enough.)
posted by XMLicious at 12:50 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's a constant struggle not to be self-congratulatory, but I think we all deserve a round of applause for our efforts here not to do so.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:06 PM on March 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think misha puts it really well--there is a set of moral/political beliefs around this issue that constitute the majority opinion on this site. People like koeselitz, soundguy99, and Catseye have done an impressive job of articulating those beliefs in a calm and measured way, and I think that's really admirable. But there can be a tendency towards self-righteousness around those beliefs that is off-putting and alienating to people (men and women both) who don't share them (and I say that as someone who personally shares most of them!). Even the term "educating" that's been tossed around here can be arrogant and condescending, as it presumes there's nothing we can learn from those who disagree with us. That our job is to teach them, not talk to them. (This is, by the way, particularly ironic when it's applied to women in a thread about sexism!)

We really need to be wary of becoming an echo chamber, and we need to keep in mind that the ideology that's the majority consensus here is something that many people may legitimately disagree with. Otherwise it does become more about symbolic posturing than actual dialogue.

Anyway, this thread is turning out much better than I had expected. Thank you all for making that happen.
posted by myeviltwin at 1:12 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've been baffled by those that have been saying the behaviour in here has been gross and have threatened to leave Metafilter as a result of it. I've been following it obsessively since Friday and (to me at least) its been one of the better sexism threads I've seen. There have been some shocking ones in the past that have had me staring at the screen thinking 'DUDE! Do you honestly think that? Listen to what these people are saying!' But this one? It was good. I've learnt and everyone has been reasonably civil.

I dunno, maybe I'm just thinking that because I've been paying attention to the awful shit thats spouted on Reddit. But this thread has been a shining example of why I love Metafilter. (and also why it makes me want to tear my hair out in frustration, but mostly love)
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 1:20 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd like to congratulate you all on your self congratulatoriness at not being self congratulatory.
posted by Summer at 1:30 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


We really need to be wary of becoming an echo chamber, and we need to keep in mind that the ideology that's the majority consensus here is something that many people may legitimately disagree with.

If this is actually something that happened much in this thread - which I really am not convinced of - it also would have helped for more people who had some point about the nature of sexism, or who thought that the video in question wasn't sexualizing, objectifying, sexist, etc. or that those aren't bad / weren't bad enough in this case to actually articulate disagreement with those things instead of primarily criticizing Kane's behavior and character as a sort of proxy or whatever.

But besides that, I agree it's bad for words like "educating" to be used when we get on topics like this or for example "teachable moment". I always cringe when people say stuff like that in a discussion like this because it has so much potential to sound (or actually be) so, so, patronizing. I suppose it's slightly better than "training" which I've heard used in the same context, ugh.
posted by XMLicious at 2:22 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


The colour scheme of their website wouldn't work as an analogy, because it's got to be something that somebody - Shanley Kane, in this case - actually did find objectionable. So let's say it was a project of mine that somebody was criticising as sexist/racist/whatever, and I really really didn't agree with them that it was.
You have to read more carefully. She didn't say sexist/racist/whatever. She just said "fucking gross". People can be grossed out by "pornographic" or overly sexual content without it being sexist/racist. Sometimes it's just gross. They really had no reason to react that way. I mean, what if it were two gay dudes in the video? And suppose someone (who was known not to be a homophobe) said it was gross?

Interpreting her reaction as being necessarily about sexism, and therefore offensive is, ironically, somewhat sexist itself. The overreaction to criticism by a woman is part of the problem here.
delmoi, I agree with a lot of what you're saying, but were you born into poverty? If so I think our experiences were different. What you said above is a mischaracterization of what it's like both to be poor (for me) and transgender.
Okay, rather then 'privilage' or lackthereof, lets use the term "bad things that happen to you because..." My point is that the saying "bad things that happen to you because" you are poor are unimportant because poor people can become rich is like saying "bad things that happen to you because" you are a women are unimportant because you can become male.

In fact, it's actually less realistic/helpful. Every single poor person already wants to be rich, and if they could chose to be they would.
I do regret the use of the word Jihadist. I was reaching for a word to explain the impression given by some people in this thread that there's no discussion to be had here, that this is a cut and dried case of bad behaviour on the part of geeklist.
Well, maybe they think it is? What's wrong with that? I think the decision to try to tattle on her boss is basically an open and shut case of jerkyness. Sometimes you have to deal with people who think they're right (sometimes as in 'almost always')
posted by delmoi at 2:44 PM on March 25, 2012


Kane actually does eventually call it sexist but only after initially saying it's gross, then calling it "a video that objectifies and sexualizes women in the context of “geek culture”" and mentioning objectification once or twice more, then after they refuse to engage on that, start pushing her to not discuss it in public, tell her that she's being unprofessional etc., and tell her that she shouldn't be saying things like this as an employee of Basho she says, "Not speaking as a Basho employee. I am speaking as a person in tech who is angered by a sexist video associated w your brand" and readily calls it sexist after that. (According to the Storify chronology, at least.)
posted by XMLicious at 3:02 PM on March 25, 2012


You have to read more carefully. She didn't say sexist/racist/whatever. She just said "fucking gross". People can be grossed out by "pornographic" or overly sexual content without it being sexist/racist.

Why, yes, yes they can. So add /pornographic/overly sexual/anything-else-that-someone-might-find-offensive to that line if you like. I wasn't trying to encompass all possible spheres of offence there, just to point out that 'objecting to the colour scheme on their website' doesn't work as an analogy.

But, honestly... if we're at the stage where we're debating whether 'a project of mine that someone objected to' is a good analogy for 'colour schemes on the website' is a good analogy for the GeekList video, we have drifted somewhat, to say the least.

Part of the issue here - from Katz and Sanz, and in this discussion - has been this detachment of 'it's fucking gross' from the wider context of the video, of everything else she said, of their reaction to her, and so on and so on and so on. And yet I find it very, very difficult to believe that the conversation would have gone totally differently if she'd just said 'goshdarned gross' instead.
posted by Catseye at 3:07 PM on March 25, 2012


To me, 'my name is not yo' was the most aggressive thing said in the thread. And it didn't even have a swear word in it.
posted by Summer at 3:14 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


And made even classier by the fact that it was a reply to "Because [the video's] aggressively offensive, yo". Like they would absolutely have addressed her point that the video was aggressively offensive, but my God, not after she'd stooped so low as to say "yo"!
posted by Catseye at 3:26 PM on March 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I would never end a sentence with yo, very aggressive to do that, you should start your sentence with yo.

"Yo, because the video is aggressively offensive." and this whole thing never happens.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:30 PM on March 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm glad we finally found the answer. You win the thread fxg.
posted by Summer at 3:37 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


zoo
I think they reacted badly to @shanley's anger (and they were trying to shut her up) and the argument went downhill from there.

Yes, they tried to shut her up - by bringing her BOSS into it. The implication of loss of job is there the second they bring her EMPLOYER into it. I agree they were trying to shut her up, but they were specifically doing it with a threat that her employer would disagree with her (which ties into tech being considered a place where someone can be sexist without cosequences).

That McCarthy jibe. This all still feels a little bit like that.

Critiquing someone for behaving in a sexist manner by saying something is fucking gross strikes me as very not similar to making lists of people believed to be associated with Communism and then not hiring them. The geek-whatever gentlemen did try a McCarthy-esque move by bringing in shanley's employers (keep in mind McCarthy specifically didn't want Communists to have jobs - that's what a blacklist was), but for some reason that doesn't feel McCarthyish to you - which frankly baffles me. Person objecting = McCarthy. Person bringing in employer with implications person should shut up = Not McCarthy.


misha:
A number of you also have this little self-congratulatory thing going on, where the attitude seems to be,"Gosh, aren't we great crusaders for continuing to fight the good fight against sexism here on boyzone Metafilter?!

That is a fucking gross statement to make.
posted by Deoridhe at 6:10 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


"That is a fucking gross statement to make."

It certainly is problematic.

I won't deny that people — all kinds of people — can be annoyingly self-righteous and self-congratulatory in their self-righteousness.

What I think is problematic and revealing is that it's only in the cases of certain issues (those who are anti-sexist or anti-racist and some others) that the accusation of this comes up so very often and is used as a...silencing tactic...and where those accused are placed into the position of justifying their views and proving that they're in earnest and well-intentioned. As a male feminist, I can say that this pretty much happens to every male feminist who ever opens his mouth on feminism, ever, and pretty much every time. And why is that? Well, those who are critical would likely say that this follows because, obviously, men are much less likely, or even not possibly, capable of being truly in earnest in protesting sexism and thus therefore must have ulterior motives. Usually, the presumption is that it's social posturing, self-congratulations, and all this stuff that's being accused.

But, again, outspoken female feminists face the same criticism.

Really, it's an ugly accusation. And it's ironic because it sometimes occurs in discussions exactly like these where the people making this accusation are also accusing those criticized as...wait for it...assuming the worst of those with whom they disagree. So here we have a plea for not assuming the worst about the geeklist guys and those defending them coupled with an assumption of the worst about the people critical of the geeklist guys.

A salient thing about all these various diversionary tactics is that they don't exist in a vacuum and they aren't usually used with self-awareness. When you're in an argument with your SO, and they say something critical, you very well may utilize all sorts of defensive and diversionary tactics rather than respond to the criticism completely without being aware of what you're doing. It's instinct, learned behavior, and habit. And it's not as if there are no actual hurt feelings involve and actual, honestly held perceptions that are driving those behaviors. It's not as if most people do these things dishonestly (though a small minority undoubtedly do). When you come into a discussion where the majority opinion is contrary to your own and you try to defend your view and you are challenged and, likely, attacked (people being people, no one has a monopoly on behaving poorly), it's almost inevitable that you'll quickly feel that the majority in agreement is acting in some combination of echo-chamer and circle-jerk where everyone is self-congratulatory and such. And you'll likely be very certain this is true.

But it's interesting and telling that while this sometimes is certainly true, it cannot always be true in every instance where someone thinks it's true.

Anyway, if it's wrong for people to presume ill-motives of those who are defending the geeklist guys, then I think it must be equally wrong to presume ill-motives of those who are criticizing them. And if you think that saying or implying that the defenders are sexist is ugly, then you ought to be considering the possibility that saying or implying the the critics are self-righteous, posturing, self-congratulatory jerks is also ugly.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:38 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


They are all douchebags - the overly-aggressive iniital [sic], bitchy twitterer
Just for zoo. Note that he defends the word choice later.


Hiya. Here to defend the word choice. As requested.

You can have a problem with the word bitchy (I don't), and you can have a problem with the word bitch (In this context, I do) but they're not the same word. They don't have the same connotations.

- zoo is a bitch
- zoo is a bitchy commentator

I'm not entirely comfortable with the quoted phrase. I would have preferred if the conversation had been flagged as being bitchy instead of the person. Still, I can't believe you think saying someone is bitchy is the same as saying that they're a bitch.

Nobody was called a bitch by anybody in this thread. That's all I wanted to say.

summer: On a side note. It wasn't sarcasm. I haven't got a word to describe it, (self parody maybe), but it didn't come from the place a sarcastic comment would have. *Damn this language*
posted by zoo at 11:47 PM on March 25, 2012


Bitchy or bitch it's an insult with gendered connotations, no justification for breaking it out in a thread talking about sexism if you are trying to be civil.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:50 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


The adjective "bitchy" comes from "bitch", which is a gendered insult. I can't actually address your perception of its connotations because connotation is by its very definition uncodified. But I hear gender right there in it - to me "bitchy" connotes qualities of feminine irritability and touchiness, and the primary non-female people I hear it applied to, in North America, anyway, are gay men. (In Australia, well, gosh, Australians have some mouths on them.)
posted by gingerest at 12:04 AM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I spent a little more time this morning thinking about what I think of the original Twitter incident. First, the video seems clearly inappropriate and objectionable. Second, the Geeklist guys' reaction was undeniably over the top and assholish. However, it seems equally clear to me that Shanley acted in a way that was grossly unprofessional and arguably damaging to women in tech. Keep in mind she's not a low level coder, she's a product marketing manager (this according to her LinkedIn profile). Part of her job is to speak for her company publicly, and her company info is in her twitter profile. Also keep in mind that Geeklist are clients of her employer. Do people really think that it is appropriate professional behavior to publicly and rudely call out your clients? To get into an extended twitter fight with them? And to do this without any warning to your employer? Now, luckily for her Basho was OK with it. But would most employers be OK with it? And might even the people at Basho be thinking "what if there's a next time?"

I'm sensitive to the argument outlined above re: privilege. Certainly it makes her actions more understandable. But it also can easily shade into (or be read as): you can't expect any better from women. They can't help acting that way. You have to expect that they can't handle themselves the way men do. And that really is sexist, and harmful to women in tech. 
posted by myeviltwin at 12:46 AM on March 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


My mind, it boggles. What?

How is it damaging to women in tech? Because you think less of them now? If you do, I highly doubt you thought very much of them before.

Look, the original twitter exchange was, in my view, mild and measured, given the context. And ultimately, the video is gone now, whereas it mysteriously remained after other private, "professional" complaints were lodged.

If women in tech have to kick up a stink and make a big fucking deal about sexism before anyone notices, I think it a bit harsh to then claim that they have damaged the cause of non-sexism in tech by successfully getting someone to pay attention.
posted by misfish at 1:18 AM on March 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Look, the original twitter exchange was, in my view, mild and measured, given the context.

Let me ask you one more time: do you think that it's appropriate professional behavior to publicly call out clients of the company you work for in the way that she did?
posted by myeviltwin at 1:35 AM on March 26, 2012


As Shanley and her employer make clear in the exchange, more than once, her twitter represents her own thoughts, not those of her employer. Basho is clearly cool with their employees having their own opinions on the interwebs, and Shanley clearly knows that. It even says so in her twitter bio.

Given that she has established her twitter persona as her own personal thoughts and opinions, I think it is acceptable for her to call out an aggressively offensive video in the assertive, amusing way that she did. Yes.
posted by misfish at 2:04 AM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's interesting what we give the most thought to in these sorts of conversations. The things that are tugging at me are:

Was the "Please take this down, it's fucking gross" comment a request or an order?

When a moderator on metafilter says Please don't do this, that's not a request. Do some people assume that because @shanley doesn't have privilege, it couldn't be anything other than a request? Do other people assume the opposite because she's an important person in the tech world?

Is there a difference in how women are treated in tech between the Netherlands and the US, and if so - what are they?
I've no idea about this, and would love to hear someone in Holland talk about women in tech. The numbers quoted about the numbers of women in tech declining were for the US.

For that matter, why are the numbers of women in tech dropping? There's an implication that it's because of sexism in tech, but a cursory glance round wikipedia seems to suggest that it's primarily for other reasons.

from Here...
According to a 1998–2000 ethnographic study by Jane Margolis and Allan Fisher at Carnegie Mellon University, men and women viewed computers very differently. Women interviewees were more likely to state that they saw the computer as a tool for use within a societal and/or interdisciplinary context than did the men interviewed. On the other hand, men were more likely to express an interest in the computer as a machine. Moreover, women interviewed in the Margolis et al. study perceived that many of their male peers were "geeks," with limited social skills. Females often disliked the idea that computers "become their life."

There's a bunch of meta stuff as well about arguments concerning privilege (If it's invisible to us, which of the many conflicting messages we're given about that privilege do we trust) , and finally,

How should we discuss things in a mixed context like metafilter where the opposing position is often unknowingly in conflict with itself. (The video is gross because it objectifies / the video is gross because it assumes only men work in tech / the video is gross because it reinforces the current situation where mostly men work in tech / all or some of the above)


I'm not entirely sure we'll ever be able to discuss these things without beligerance. I don't seem to be able to do it. But even when we're shouting at each other things get learnt. Not always for the "better" though. I've now got a whole frustrating-as-fuck rant lined up about the religiosity of conversations about privilege.
posted by zoo at 2:12 AM on March 26, 2012


Given that she has established her twitter persona as her own personal thoughts and opinions, I think it is acceptable for her to call out an aggressively offensive video in the assertive, amusing way that she did. Yes.

OK, fair enough. I entirely disagree--I think at her level (management) and given her role (marketing/client relations) and given the fact that her employer's name is in her profile, she should be mindful of how her public fight with a client could affect her employer. I don't think putting "Opinions my own" in your profile absolves you of that. I also think that would be the case for most employers. Certainly, when I worked for a tech startup, publicly fighting with a client (over any issue) would have been seen as completely out of line.
posted by myeviltwin at 2:14 AM on March 26, 2012


Wait what Holland what? And also "Please don't do this" is still a request even when it's Jessamyn.
posted by gingerest at 2:15 AM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, privilege isn't invisible. It's just hard to see your own if you're not looking for it. And it dawns on me "Wait what Holland what?" is completely incoherent: what I mean is, "Where does the Netherlands come into this, please, I missed a step."
posted by gingerest at 2:16 AM on March 26, 2012


zoo - I've disagreed with pretty much everything you've said in this thread, but I do actually agree with you about the over use of the word privilege.

I think it has it's uses and it describes something real, but it's now used too often to give a blunt, binary interpretation to situations that are far more fluid and complicated than that word gives them credit for.

I think it's a fad word and it will pass.
posted by Summer at 2:19 AM on March 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Myeviltwin, I'm saying that there was a pre-existing agreement between her and her employer (it appears, from the interaction in the thread and her twitter bio) that her twitter feed was her own. And therefore, she and her employer knew that she was not representing them in this interaction.
Maybe your job was different, but she is her, and you are you.
posted by misfish at 2:21 AM on March 26, 2012


given the fact that her employer's name is in her profile, she should be mindful of how her public fight with a client could affect her employer.

Yes, but you don't know Basho's social media policy and you don't know what kind of relationship Basho has with Geeklist. Considering Basho publicly came out in favour of her, and not just by saying she had a right to an opinion but they actually agreed with her argument, it suggests she knew she was within what was considered acceptable by her employer.
posted by Summer at 2:22 AM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe because I'm living in the Netherlands? I'm not Dutch though, I'm an expat, so I'm hardly an authority. Especially as I no longer work in tech. My impression though is that the Dutch are structurally much less sexist (in terms of access to health care, equal pay, family leave, etc.) but can be much less concerned about avoiding offense and thus "locker room" kinds of attitudes are more prevalent than they would be in equivalent places in the U.S.
posted by myeviltwin at 2:24 AM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do some people assume that because @shanley doesn't have privilege, it couldn't be anything other than a request?

Yes, "please don't do this" is a request. Further, Shanley isn't a moderator of Twitter, and can't remove their tweets or ban their accounts if they don't do something she wants them to do.

According to a 1998–2000 ethnographic study by Jane Margolis and Allan Fisher at Carnegie Mellon University, men and women viewed computers very differently. Women interviewees were more likely to state that they saw the computer as a tool for use within a societal and/or interdisciplinary context than did the men interviewed.

This is all part of the same thing.

Sexism in tech (and in anything, really) isn't just about unpleasant men instructing women to stay out of their playground. In fact it's very rarely that overt or intentional. It's more about creating a wider atmosphere in which it's just assumed that computers are a male thing, that tech is a male industry, that women's role in tech is to be eye candy (see: the GeekList video, the Sqoot thing linked in the OP) and so on and so forth.

When the (for example) the assumption that "being interested in computers is a guy thing" becomes the norm, it's not an argument against the existence of sexism when women say things like "I'm not really interested in computers as machines, that's more of a guy thing."
posted by Catseye at 2:28 AM on March 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thanks myeviltwin. That's exactly what I wanted to know.

On preview, I actually read a comment from soundguy99 as meaning the guy from Geeklist was from the Netherlands, but it was about myeviltwin.
posted by zoo at 2:31 AM on March 26, 2012


Catseye. There's nothing you've said that I don't already know. "This is all part of the same thing."??? WTF

I can't speak for the people who say it, but it seems abundantly clear that "please don't do this" is not a request. It's couched as a request (It has please at the front), but it's not. It's "I'm telling you nicely not to do this thing. I can't stop you doing it, but you need to stop doing it"

At best, it's a warning.
posted by zoo at 2:35 AM on March 26, 2012


OK, fair enough. We don't know--Basho and Shanley may have explicitly had an "OK to fight with clients on Twitter" policy. I would argue that such a policy is pretty uncommon and that it was unwise of Shanley to take advantage of it if it existed--future employers might not be as OK with it.
posted by myeviltwin at 2:36 AM on March 26, 2012


On the "Your twitter feed is your own" dynamic.

This is true to a point. If I had an employee and they had a twitter feed that said they were product manager for my company, then it would very much depend on what they said, and how offensive they were as to whether I'd consider sanctions.

Little bit offensive: Not a problem.
Offensive: You may want to take my company name off that.
Really Fucking Offensive: You're on a warning and I'm currently chatting to HR about your position.

I find it impossible to believe that people don't think the same way.
posted by zoo at 2:39 AM on March 26, 2012


There's nothing you've said that I don't already know. "This is all part of the same thing."??? WTF

Perhaps I misread you? Your quote from Wikipedia was preceded by this:

For that matter, why are the numbers of women in tech dropping? There's an implication that it's because of sexism in tech, but a cursory glance round wikipedia seems to suggest that it's primarily for other reasons.

So, you were saying: the dropping numbers of women in tech might be because of reasons other than sexism, such as those things outlined in the Wikipedia quote.

And I was saying: those things outlined in the Wikipedia quote are part of 'sexism in tech', not 'other reasons' separate from sexism.
posted by Catseye at 2:39 AM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also keep in mind that Geeklist are clients of her employer. Do people really think that it is appropriate professional behavior to publicly and rudely call out your clients? To get into an extended twitter fight with them? And to do this without any warning to your employer?

1: You were apparently in tech. You can see that riak is OSS. If geeklist were in fact riak users, you should be aware of what a truth-abusing exaggeration it would be to describe them as basho's clients. 2. Re-read the exchange. basho is a client of geeklist, not the other way around. If your argument is honestly and sincerely "Do people really think that it is appropriate professional behavior to publicly and rudely call out your clients?", you must think that geeklist's behavior is worse than I do, because I only thought they were assholes for being sexist, ganging up, being untruthful, and trying to get Shanley fired. You have the additional issue with them that they publicly and rudely called out their client.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 2:48 AM on March 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


"I find it impossible to believe that people don't think the same way."

Apparently I am an impossibility in your world.
posted by kyrademon at 3:27 AM on March 26, 2012


basho is a client of geeklist

Which undoubtedly explains their eventual (rather clumsy) suck-up strategy.
posted by Summer at 3:38 AM on March 26, 2012


Catseye: No. I'm saying that it's for reasons other than sexism in tech.
Specifically sexism in wider society.

Girls are saying they don't want to be geeky, and they don't like computers because they're viewed as toys and girls don't play with toys.

This is sexist society at work, It's not sexism in the technology industry.
posted by zoo at 3:41 AM on March 26, 2012


This is sexist society at work, It's not sexism in the technology industry.

You don't make a connection between 'sexism in society as a whole re: technology' and 'sexism in the tech industry re: technology'? Even when the attitudes you're ascribing to a wider sexist society ('computers are a guy thing') are repeated in the tech industry (see: the Squoot screwup in the FPP)?
posted by Catseye at 3:45 AM on March 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


kyrademon: Really? You're telling me that there's absolutely nothing someone identifying as your product manager could write on twitter which would make you ask them to drop the association with your company name.

I'm not speaking to this incident here. I'm speaking to the frankly baffling idea that high level employees are completely divorced from your brand.
posted by zoo at 3:47 AM on March 26, 2012


Catseye: There's a connection, but I think it's a bit too tenuous to ascribe as a causal link.

The squoot incident was sickening and (as a programmer) deeply embarrassing, but I wouldn't say that it's the cause of young children being turned on or off tech. When metafilter was discussing lego for girls, I don't recall anyone saying "The sexist attitudes of Web 2.0 companies are responsible for turning 11 year old girls away from roles in the technology sector."

As I said though, there is a connection. I wasn't particularly happy about the reinvention of Starfire (for example). If you want to see fucking gross things that are driving our girls away from technology then you don't have to look very far.
posted by zoo at 3:55 AM on March 26, 2012


zoo -- Yep, that's exactly what I'm saying.

But it's really a complete side-issue and I don't want to pursue the derail. I've discussed my views about employer/employee relationships on other, more appropriate threads. But since you declared my viewpoint an "impossibility" I just wanted to say ... no, not really.
posted by kyrademon at 4:18 AM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


("No, not really" = "No, not really an impossibility", just to be absolutely clear since there's been enough confusion about what people have been trying to say already.)
posted by kyrademon at 4:20 AM on March 26, 2012


Yeah, I totally agree that there are wider problems re: sexism here that go way beyond the tech industry, and I don't think the tech industry is responsible for causing these. If girls are discouraged from studying computer-related subjects at school, then that's going to have a wider effect on gender ratios in the tech industry that might have very little to do with actual tech-industry hiring, for instance.

That said, though, the tech industry exists within wider society, and is made up of people and attitudes and advertising campaigns that influence (and are influenced by) wider society. So, sexism-in-tech might only be contributing some of the voices in the wider chorus of sexism-and-technology, but a) it wouldn't be such a big chorus without them, and b) because the tech industry plays a pretty important role in how people interact with technology, they're loud voices in that choir.

So I don't think it's as simple as saying "The sexist attitudes of Web 2.0 companies are responsible for turning 11 year old girls away from roles in the technology sector", but I do think it's accurate to say "the attitude of [sqoot, GeekList, GoDaddy, Dell, ITA Software, Linux Journal, Sony, etc, etc, etc] in [whatever thing they did] is contributing towards a broader culture of sexism, and that culture of sexism is turning 11-year-old girls away from roles in the technology sector".
posted by Catseye at 4:43 AM on March 26, 2012


myeviltwin, I have to say that I was even a little surprised, after your talk yesterday about legitimately disagreeing with the majority ideology, to come back today and find that instead of discussing ideology you again went back to exploring ways to criticize Kane.

Not so surprised that it turns out that you've formulated a standard you're applying to Kane but not Sanz and Katz. I haven't been able to confirm that Basho is a client of Geeklist rather that the other way around as YTMS says, but at the very least the Basho name shows up all over Geeklist's site while Geeklist doesn't show up on Basho's site at all.
posted by XMLicious at 4:45 AM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


1: You were apparently in tech. You can see that riak is OSS. If geeklist were in fact riak users, you should be aware of what a truth-abusing exaggeration it would be to describe them as basho's clients.

I haven't been in tech for years and didn't know what riak was before this thread. I assumed that it was a commercial DB and that when GL said "we use riak" that this meant they paid for it. Looking at the product page, I see that you're right, it is OSS. However, I'm not sure it makes much difference because a) Twitter fights with your suppliers aren't any more professional than Twitter fights with your clients; b) certainly GL were potential clients, in that Basho makes money by upselling OSS riak users to the "Enterprise" version.

But thanks for accusing me of being a truth-abusing exaggerator! That's always fun.
posted by myeviltwin at 4:47 AM on March 26, 2012


Oh, also, XMLicious--above I say that:

1. "The video seems clearly inappropriate and objectionable."
2. "[T]he Geeklist guys' reaction was undeniably over the top and assholish."

Not sure how that's a double standard. I think it's pretty clear what I think of the video, and the GL people. That doesn't mean I can't also believe that Kane's behavior was unprofessional and inappropriate.
posted by myeviltwin at 4:52 AM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Catseye: I think we're roughly in agreement then. On this point.
posted by zoo at 4:58 AM on March 26, 2012


But thanks for accusing me of being a truth-abusing exaggerator! That's always fun.

Yeah, the reason I think you're arguing in completely bad faith is that you just claimed that what was bad about Shanley's approach was that she fought with a client, and when it was pointed out to you that she didn't fight with a client, but that geeklist fought with a client, your response isn't "That makes what geeklist did worse and what Shanley did better by the rules I myself laid out", your response is "it just came to my attention that fighting with someone you are a client of is as bad as fighting with one of your clients." If you always thought that, why didn't you say it when you thought that that was what geeklist was doing?
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 5:08 AM on March 26, 2012


YTMS, see my comment just above. I am certainly not giving the Geeklist guys a pass here.
posted by myeviltwin at 5:14 AM on March 26, 2012


So you thought myeviltwin was arguing in good faith before that most recent comment? Because I suspect otherwise & if so, then your latest comment was made in bad faith too.

See what I did there.

Why don't we all try and assume that we're arguing in good faith and go from there. Cognitive dissonance is enough of a bitch without us all assuming that our opponents are hyper-rational logic machines who only contradict themselves when they're trying to trick us.
posted by zoo at 5:17 AM on March 26, 2012


certainly GL were potential clients

Everyone in the world who uses a database is basho's potential client. Basho is geeklist's actual client, in geeklist's words, and geeklist are the initial parties who viewed that as a provider-client interaction since Shanley clearly did not and her boss didn't either. Your point was that what is really important here is how a client was spoken to in a B2B interaction. I just want you to stick to your guns on that assertion.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 5:17 AM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have not thought myeviltwin was arguing in good faith for quite some time. If you think that my observation about the particular fact that he got wrong is just semantics, I can't help you with that.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 5:25 AM on March 26, 2012


And to be clear, as a maintainer of an OSS framework, I have absolutely no idea who downloads it. I occasionally find out when they need support or they buy an enterprise product. geeklist knew basho was their client; they are the ones who said so.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 5:29 AM on March 26, 2012


YTMS, I've tried to be clear about my evaluation of the GL guys ("over the top and assholish") and of publicly fighting with people you do business with (bad idea, unprofessional). If you really don't think I'm arguing in good faith then there's no point in continuing to discuss this here; feel free to take it to MeMail.
posted by myeviltwin at 5:40 AM on March 26, 2012


[Speaking of taking it to email, a couple of comments deleted; zoo and craichead, you two can do the same with your spat if you feel compelled to pursue it.]
posted by taz at 6:17 AM on March 26, 2012


myeviltwin, this whole thing started with the Geeklist guys paying lip service to what Kane was saying - "oh shucks, too much skin, totally on our to-do list to change that smiley" - and going on to demonstrate that acting respectfully and dealing straight and openly about things like objectification and sexism were not at all on their agenda.

This thread has gone the same way - with various people starting off making noises that amount to "I'm all about equal treatment, Geeklist guys were jerks, put me in that category" and subsequently revealing that they actually give the Geeklist guys a pass for a whole lot of things they aren't excusing Kane for and have quite alot of criticism for her not applied to Sanz and Katz, in some cases were willing to completely make things up out of thin air in the course of seeking some way to fault her.

So I don't know why you expect to be able to make some blanket negative statement about the Geeklist guys, point at it as evidence of "Hey, guys, I'm totally certified as equally critical of all parties! Checked that one off the list!", and have everyone just accept it when you go in a blink from discussing the supposed terrible and unjust hostility that's purely about simple legitimate disagreements over ideology right back to focusing on Kane personally and her behavior, or accept that this means you can't possibly be displaying double standards. No one else has gotten away with making handwavey boilerplate statements like that and continuing on to demonstrate that they aren't anywhere near as impartial and evenhanded as they want to be given credit for.

So yeah, having vaguely said that the video was objectionable or that the Geeklist guys were assholish does nothing to counterbalance the fact that you just formulated a standard for professionalism, in search of another way to criticize Kane personally, and in examining it applied it only to her.

It's made especially unimpressive in light of the fact that you're now extending it to "Oh, hey, Geeklist were potential clients of Basho, that's what makes her unprofessional for voicing these opinions in public and not backing down when pressured to stop." This is an extremely thin branch to tread out on in the interest of sifting for something, anything to condemn her with. Not to mention that even under your re-articulated standard of professionalism, commissioning and publicly releasing a video that casually objectifies and sexualizes a whole bunch of potential clients, apparently lying about doing so (?), and doing all this stuff to an actual client who complains about it would appear way, way more unprofessional than what Kane has done.
posted by XMLicious at 7:07 AM on March 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


I can't control what other people write. I do know that I've been quite clear, repeatedly, on what I think of the video ("in incredibly poor taste for a jobs site, sends a bad message to women who work in tech, and generally objectionable") and the behavior of the Geeklist guys. In addition, I think it's egregiously unprofessional to have a public twitter fight with people with whom your company has a business relationship when you are at Shanley's level (obviously this applies equally to the GL guys). So I'm not sure what here is boilerplate or handwavy.

In addition, I find the continuing insinuations of bad faith, from you and others, to be somewhat baffling. What reason do you have to think that I have sinister motives? The only reason I can see is that I don't 100% agree with you.
posted by myeviltwin at 7:47 AM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


In my case I am directly commenting on what you are actually saying, the standards you are actually articulating and applying. Not some insinuation - I am literally saying that you are applying different standards, or at least for some reason you're massively focused on assessing Kane's compliance with these standards over assessment of the Geeklist guys' and appear to specifically be searching for a standard under which she can be found at fault.

It's the way you appear to be putting forward your comments about the taste of the video and your general statements about the GL guys being assholes as proof that you are applying the specific standard of professionalism you've just articulated objectively and even-handedly that makes it appear to me that you consider those statements to serve as some sort of boilerplate and are using them in a handwavey fashion. Not sure why that wasn't clear or why you would think I'm somehow requiring you to control things that other people write. (Note, by the way, that you yourself have spent quite a bit of time talking about patterns in the way other people write in this thread and connecting those patterns to specific commenters.)

Your motives don't seem sinister to me, I just don't think your statements demonstrate the impartiality and objectivity you seem to want me to think that they do. You seem to be frustrated that there isn't something you can just say that will result in everyone unreflectively treating your subsequent statements as fair, reasoned, and impartial opinions.

Yeah, I disagree with you that someone in Shanley's place is acting unprofessional if they have a Twitter fight on any subject if it's with the wrong person. We can have a discussion about standards of professionalism, but if you want to do that in this thread and expect to do so without reference to sexism, or expect that if you make the right caveats and disclaimers then bringing up questions of sexism or bias in regards to the standards you propose will be out of bounds, then sorry, not gonna happen. (And obviously that wouldn't be out of bounds for anyone in any thread really, but this thread specifically concerns sexism.)
posted by XMLicious at 8:39 AM on March 26, 2012


I don't quite understand why one party has to be right and the other wrong.

Can't they both be in the wrong? Can't they both have behaved badly?
posted by five fresh fish at 8:50 AM on March 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, they could, in theory.

But for some reason no one actually tries to make the case that Kane's description of the video being inappropriately sexualizing, objectifying, and sexist was wrong. There's lots of complaint that this viewpoint is being oppressed without anyone arguing for it.

And even the individuals who are fixated on finding fault in her behavior or character for some reason seem to have to resort to completely making up things she said - as the guys at Geeklist did originally - or coming up with things like "it's egregiously unprofessional for someone to publicly argue too much with a potential client" in pursuit of casting the situation as "well it's just a thing where everybody was wrong and behaved poorly."
posted by XMLicious at 9:20 AM on March 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


XMLicious, the implication (or at this point, assertion) is that I'm not representing my views honestly. That when I say that the video is harmful and objectionable, or that the GL guys acted like assholes, I don't really believe that. That I'm only saying that as a fig leaf to justify my real ends, which are to unfairly bash Shanley Kane. If you really think that's true--if you really think that I'm, to be blunt, lying--then there's no point in continuing this here. (Although I'm happy to do so over MeMail if you like.)
posted by myeviltwin at 9:23 AM on March 26, 2012


Can't they both have behaved badly?

Well, to recap what they actually did:

Party A:
- commissioned a pretty egregiously offensive video for their company, in which a woman wearing a t-shirt and underwear danced around while a man faked ejaculating;
- ignored an earlier email in which someone complained about said ad;
- refused to engage with Party B's criticisms of the video at all, in favour of endlessly complaining that Party B was taking the wrong tone;
- disclaimed responsibility for the video which, it later turned out, they actually had commissioned;
- complained that Party A had once bought Party B a drink, therefore Party B was wrong to criticise their video;
- complained that Party B had no right to criticise them on Twitter;
- accused Party B of 'attacking' both their brand and them personally;
- made a point out of saying that Party B worked for a client of theirs, and CCed Party B's company while telling Party B she had no right to complain to them;
- told Party B she had 'no shame';
- triumphantly produced a Pinterest account they thought was Party B's, in order to call her a hypocrite for complaining about sexism;
- actively made stuff up about what Party B had said, to condemn her further.

Party B:
- complained about said egregiously offensive video on Twitter;
- used the word 'fucking'.

So while there are indeed many situations in this life in which both parties have behaved equally badly, this really does not look like one of them. Turning the conversation into that not only misrepresents what happened, but also does exactly what Sanz and Katz were doing in the first place, which is to make the whole discussion about their massive overreaction to Kane's 'tone' rather than what she was actually saying. Hence why people are reluctant to go down the "hey now, everyone was in the wrong here, let's just move past it!" route.
posted by Catseye at 9:33 AM on March 26, 2012 [20 favorites]


(And to clarify: I don't think that either complaining about the video on Twitter, or using the word 'fucking', at all constitute Behaving Badly in this situation. That's just what she's been criticised for here.)
posted by Catseye at 9:35 AM on March 26, 2012


Yes. I think that it looks more like huffing about and grabbing their own dicks in fear and anguish than actually engaging with the criticism respectfully and actually fixing it.
posted by kalessin at 9:39 AM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Party B:
- complained about said egregiously offensive video on Twitter;
- used the word 'fucking'.


You forgot about the use of "yo" to address the purveyors of said offensive video.
posted by grouse at 9:40 AM on March 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


myeviltwin, I do not think that you would have to be dishonest for the discrepancies I'm pointing out to show up. You simply may not be accurate in assessing your own impartiality and objectivity towards the situation. It's something that isn't entirely uncommon in connection with topics like this one. (I don't mean for that last sentence to sound sarcastic, it's just true.)

Also, you were entirely willing to say that opposition directed towards you and others was due to hostility simply over ideological disagreement. Like I said, I don't think you have to have some conscious overall intent to make biased assessments of this stuff but even if someone was saying that it kind of seems like you're complaining of rhetorical behavior not markedly different from your own.
posted by XMLicious at 9:40 AM on March 26, 2012


Oh, I should explicitly point out, I don't think that I'm completely unbiased myself, or probably that anyone at all is. I actually do think it was good to bring up the question of whether opposition or hostility to some peoples' comments has been based just on objection to just any disagreement at all; but I don't think that bears out. It appears to me that the opposition and/or hostility is primarily a reaction to bias or discrepancies that look an awfully lot like bias, conscious or not.
posted by XMLicious at 9:58 AM on March 26, 2012


XMLicious, no sarcasm assumed. I take your point that it's hard (probably impossible) to be fully objective, and I don't think that I'm impartial and objective at all. I definitely have specific beliefs, and I've articulated them! I don't really know how to make those beliefs any clearer. And at some point we have to assume that the people we're talking to actually mean what they say, or else go home. When I talked about ideology in this thread, and Metafilter more generally, creating a hostile environment, I was talking about specific aggressive/dismissive/insulting comments directed at those who disagreed. I wasn't reading between the lines or making any inferences. I was responding to the literal content of people's statements--taking them at face value. Just in the same way that I would hope people would take my statements at face value.

Just to be clear, I think the video is objectionable, I think the GL guys acted like assholes, and I think Kane behaved totally unprofessionally and inappropriately. Did they act worse than she did? Sure! But that doesn't mean she acted admirably.
posted by myeviltwin at 12:35 PM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I appreciate that you are earnest and that you believe what you're saying. But I do not think that you have to take someone's statements at face value to have a discussion with them. I've just been through too many discussions where someone makes claims that later, upon examination, turn out to be glaringly inconsistent with other things they say or do or just with reality in general or have unrevealed flaws or qualifications.

Heck, I've made such claims myself. But it doesn't make the discussion useless and mean that we should all go home, some times it actually makes the discussion more productive. I do not think that there is any good reason to absolutely abstain from reading between the lines and making inferences.

Some of what you're seeing may just be people who are flabbergasted and in complete disbelief that you genuinely consider some of these things consistent with the facts that are available and the other things you've said. Like, I am still kind of amazed that at one point you reached the conclusion that of the parties involved Kane's actions were "arguably damaging to women in tech" or even just that you were ready to propose that here. Even given that you genuinely believed/believe that.

As others have expressed - the stuff that Kane said, while not demure or anything, is pretty mild to me. It seems like you have to try very hard and stretch credulity to characterize it as rude or offensive, especially next to the behavior and actions of the Geeklist guys. What she said has also already been gone over in fairly minute detail here. So, maybe you could be more specific about what she said that is inappropriate.

I'm also not clear what aspect of her profession would make doing something like this "totally unprofessional". It certainly isn't part of her professional duties to care for Geeklist's public image, and if I understand marketing roles correctly being a product manager wouldn't even make it her responsibility to manage Basho's public image, it's not PR or anything, so this doesn't appear to me to conflict with her job duties or responsibilities. Nor is it something that looks like a marketing consultant would need to avoid doing; I just don't see anything inherent in her profession that conflicts with this.

How about this: what if she had said all of the exact same things, making these kind of statements and standing her ground on Twitter, but the issue she was complaining about were racism? Would that still be a place someone of her station and profession ought not to tread in public?

Or conversely, what if it was a much less important issue? I'm in the tech industry too and it actually seems pretty common for people, including marketers and executives, to publicly take pretty strongly-worded positions like this in mailing lists or forums, blogs, etc. on industry issues. I would actually think that were someone behaving the exactly same way but in defense of their own company or their company's products this might be seen as laudable conduct - admirable, as you say.
posted by XMLicious at 2:21 PM on March 26, 2012


Metafilter: assuming that our opponents are hyper-rational logic machines who only contradict themselves when they're trying to trick us.
posted by soundguy99 at 3:19 PM on March 26, 2012


Sorry, sorry, just had to get the above out of my system. . . .

myeviltwin,

First, I'm really honestly unclear about how you got to "But it also can easily shade into (or be read as): you can't expect any better from women. They can't help acting that way. You have to expect that they can't handle themselves the way men do." from my post about privilege and how it affects us (i.e. guys.) Could you explain your thought process?

Second, "I think the GL guys acted like assholes, and I think Kane behaved totally unprofessionally and inappropriately. Did they act worse than she did? Sure! But that doesn't mean she acted admirably."

Well, the "acted admirably" part might just have to be an "agree to disagree" situation - there have been lots of posts in this thread from people who think her behavior was fine, or who think it was acceptable in the context of young brash tech people, or separation of personal Twitter/life and business Twitter/life or etc etc. If you still feel that she was acting unprofessionally, well, that's how you feel.

But I think you're missing the bigger picture. Which is that (both here in this thread and in the initial Twitter exchange), when the focus of the discussion becomes Kane's behavior, it's a derail - it completely diverts everyone's attention away from the serious questions of:
1) IS the video sexist?
2) If it is, what are you going to do about it?
3) Why, in the 21st century, is it still SOP to advertise things with a girl in her underwear?
4) Especially a tech company?

It's like a magic trick - while you're watching the magician's left hand waving around in the air, he stuffs the rabbit into the top hat with his right hand. Misdirection.

And while neither you nor the GL guys may have been doing that intentionally, this tactic certainly HAS been used absolutely intentionally in the past as a way to ignore claims of sexism, or to blow off any need to do anything about it. So maybe you can see how some people will get really worked up when they see this scenario happen again.
posted by soundguy99 at 4:11 PM on March 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


misfish: Basho is clearly cool with their employees having their own opinions on the interwebs, and Shanley clearly knows that. It even says so in her twitter bio.

It says that NOW. Her Twitter bio was recently updated to include "my own thoughts". I don't have a Google cahce of the page before the geeklist debacle, but I know that as late as March 22 it wasn't there. If you look in that Storify piece, the author quotes her bio in full right in his first paragraph, if I remember correctly, so you can verify that way if you want.

But for some reason no one actually tries to make the case that Kane's description of the video being inappropriately sexualizing, objectifying, and sexist was wrong.

Actually, her original description was just that "fucking gross" that's causing so much dissension (which could have been easily avoided if shanley, who presumably is aware of this "women have to be rude to get attention but then sexists use that as the excuse not to listen to them", had just used politeness first on Twitter to avoid that happening and then escalated).

I just wanted to point out that I actually did take issue with the case that the video is all those things in my original comment, because I have no problem with the girl in the tee dancing by herself, and it is only the end of the video where the skeevy guy, completely dressed and making offensive comments, is brought into the equation that I personally find problematic. You can disagree, of course, I'm just saying I did in fact address that issue, way back in the thread.
posted by misha at 4:19 PM on March 26, 2012


Misha, you may be right about the twitter bio. I am certainly willing to stipulate that you are. Nonetheless, I think it is clear from the interaction that Kane was aware of the conditions of her own employment, and that her awareness was shared by her employer. Which is nice for everyone.

We are still talking about Kane's behaviour, when the behaviour that precipitated the incident, and escalated it into a shit fight, was not hers. The douchebags here are Sanz and Katz. I note again that the video is now taken down, and had not been after more polite, less profane requests were made.
posted by misfish at 5:04 PM on March 26, 2012


misha, are you talking about the bit where you say, "the only objectionable part..."? If I'm referring to the correct bit of your original comment I guess I didn't interpret that as "making the case" for her being wrong about all those things.

Several people have said in passing that they didn't think it was sexist, but without addressing the issues of whether she was right that it "objectifies and sexualizes women in the context of "geek culture"" or getting into why it wouldn't qualify as sexist. There was one "Objectifying, sure, but what specifically made it sexist?" that I don't think got defended once it was responded to and I couldn't find it but I remember a comment that actually said something like "I don't think it's sexist but let's put that aside for now, here's what I think about Shanley Kane..." She said quite a bit about specifically why she found it offensive, later wrapping it up into simply calling it sexist once it was clear the GL guys weren't going to respond to any of what she was saying. I didn't see anyone in this thread who went through what she said and explained why she was wrong about that or otherwise constructed an argument about it.

To get technical, her original original description was that the video was "a woman in her underwear dancing around to dupstep" and when Sanz interpolated that as being something that needs "less skin (smiley)" that's when she asked him to take it down and said it was fucking gross.

You say that last thing is the cause of all the dissension but do you really mean that you think if she had simply said "pretty damn gross" or "pretty gosh-darn gross" or just "gross" or put it another way, that the GL guys would have actually responded to what she was saying?

It seems likely to me that Sanz was already gearing up to deflect criticism before she even asked him to take it down because as someone pointed out way up above he actually started talking about needing a new ad with "less skin" without any prompting or complaint from her.
posted by XMLicious at 5:54 PM on March 26, 2012


You say that last thing is the cause of all the dissension but do you really mean that you think if she had simply said "pretty damn gross" or "pretty gosh-darn gross" or just "gross" or put it another way, that the GL guys would have actually responded to what she was saying?

I think this gets to the heart of my disagreement with some people here. XMLicious, for example, described it as "not demure or anything, [but] pretty mild." (I know other people have said the same, I'm just quoting him because that comment is closest.) I think it's far from mild and pretty much guaranteed to offend, not because of "fuck" (that's a bit of a red herring) but because it suggests strong disgust. Disgust is pretty much the strongest moral emotion there is, and it's totalizing in the way that other strong moral emotions aren't ("she makes me so angry, but I still love her" seems coherent, "she disgusts me, but I still love her" does not). Calling someone "disgusting" is one of the worst things you can say to them, in my opinion. If someone close to me called me that, I would be very upset.

I know she didn't say that they were gross, she said the video was. That's true. I think when you're on the receiving end, though, you don't really distinguish the two. Imagine someone saying to you "You should wash your hair more, that's fucking gross," "You shouldn't wear that shirt, it's fucking gross," or "You shouldn't read Lolita, that book is fucking gross." I know my reaction would be to be personally insulted and hurt, because such a strong evaluation of something associated with you is implicitly an evaluation of you as well.

Anyway, my contention is that those words are extremely likely to give offense, that Shanley Kane should have known that, and that it was wrong of her to use them, especially publicly, and especially given her prominent role in her company and the business relationship between the two. It's especially inexcusable given her Masters in communications and that she works (or worked, not clear on what her current role at Basho is) in marketing/communications/outreach.

It's true, as people have pointed out above, that focusing on her rather than the video means that we spend a lot of time talking about what seems like a side issue rather than the thing that caused the problem. But I think it's an interesting question because it raises an important point: how should we handle something that has sexist effects without (necessarily) demonstrating intent to discriminate ("mens rea," if you will)? I think that a lot of modern sexism takes this "unintended" form. When we raise the issue with the people responsible, how should we do so? I would argue that it's much more productive to explain the negative effects in a non-accusatory way, rather than leading with an insult. I think that's our job whenever we're trying to convince someone that what they're doing is harmful (unless, of course, it's obvious that their intent is to harm).

Yes, she won the battle here in that they took down the video and apologized. But the larger effects may well be net negative (and this is what I meant by "arguably harmful to women in tech"). If this promotes an impression among male tech people that female colleagues are likely to fly off the handle and yell at people on twitter that's not a good thing (just to be clear, this is not something I personally believe, but it may well be what many take away from it). It's especially not a good thing if the "privilege" argument is interpreted to mean that they are likely to do so for reasons out of their control (i.e., male privilege means that you can be reasonable when you're making your points, women don't have that luxury). Regardless of the soundness of the rationale, the end effect is to promote a picture of women as less able to control themselves than men. I don't think that's what we want.
posted by myeviltwin at 1:07 AM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it is appropriate for people, even women, to express disgust at disgusting things.

Also, that reading of privilege you propose, the one that you certainly would never take, oh no, but other men, sexist tech men, may be at risk of, is a gross and ridiculous misreading of the concept. Privilege is not a special access to reason, it is a critique of the idea that the in-group (men, white people etc.) , have special access to reason and rationality the Other (women, poc, etc) does not. It's a blind spot, not an extra helping of perspicacity.

So basically, it would be a moronic reading, and I'm sure the men in tech are not morons.
posted by misfish at 1:54 AM on March 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


But the larger effects may well be net negative (and this is what I meant by "arguably harmful to women in tech"). If this promotes an impression among male tech people that female colleagues are likely to fly off the handle and yell at people on twitter that's not a good thing.

That seems pretty unlikely. I haven't seen many people talking about the conclusion "all women are hysterical" except for you. And unsubstantiated and unlikely speculation like yours (using words like "fly off the handle") acts as a silencing technique. I know you think Metafilter is being hostile, but the hostility is a response to claims that, while presented as calm and rational, are actually a form of violence.
posted by painquale at 2:00 AM on March 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also, that reading of privilege you propose, the one that you certainly would never take, oh no, but other men, sexist tech men, may be at risk of, is a gross and ridiculous misreading of the concept. Privilege is not a special access to reason, it is a critique of the idea that the in-group (men, white people etc.) , have special access to reason and rationality the Other (women, poc, etc) does not. It's a blind spot, not an extra helping of perspicacity.

From soundguy99's comment above:

But . . . . . PRIVILEGE. We have it, you and I. Over the course of our lifetimes, there are hundreds of thousands of minor incidents and interactions with people that all reinforce the idea that we don't have to be rude because people will listen to us.
[...]
So if you or I had tweeted, "that's fucking gross," that COULD be considered unnecessarily rude. Because all of our experience has taught us that we could have tweeted, "Hey dude, Not Cool," or, "I don't really think that's appropriate," or almost any other calmer objection, and we would have gotten a response directly addressing our objection.
[...]
So your perspective is that Shanley was being inappropriately hostile and rude. But you have to consider whether a large part of the reason you HAVE that perspective is because you're a guy.

I read that as:
1. Due to privilege, men do not have to be rude to get people to listen to us.
2. If a man had done what Shanley did, that could be rude.
3. From Shanley, it is not rude, because of her personal experience as a woman.

In other words, "male privilege means that you can be reasonable when you're making your points, women don't have that luxury." Is this a misreading of the argument?

And, painquale, one of the problems with Metafilter is that you don't get a diverse set of views. If you're trying to gauge the impact of a behavior on the world at large that is a problem. Try reading about this incident on other sites and I think you'll be surprised.
posted by myeviltwin at 2:54 AM on March 27, 2012


Yes, in some communities, everyone will have already believed before this incident that all women fly off the handle. They don't matter for your case. The tweets are only harmful if they actually changed someone's mind about the nature of woman. That's hugely unlikely... these are just a couple of insignificant tweets. I think you are overstating any potential harm these tweets could result in. Sure, all the tech industry bigots are going to complain and laugh, but they were bigots to start with. Anyone who actually did have their mind changed is someone with such arbitrary and capricious belief-forming strategies that we can't reasonably expect to worry about what they'll think in response to our tweets.
posted by painquale at 3:40 AM on March 27, 2012


That's so meta my mind feels like a klein bottle now. Thanks for that interesting sensation, myeviltwin.

No. It's a pretty audacious argument, I admit, but actually it's just a recapitulation of male privilege using the existence of male privilege as a justification.

The reasonableness of the privileged position is an illusion, which is possible because that position is thought of as the default, neutral position, from which others are deviations.

The privileged person is operating from incomplete information, and that incompleteness is invisible to them. Their calm, reasonable response might look cruel, callous and oppressive to a less-privileged observer, who has the information they can't see.

I suppose you could cultivate an awareness of your own privilege as a tool for maintaining it at the expense of the less privileged, if you wanted to. It seems like a bit of a dick move, though.
posted by misfish at 4:10 AM on March 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


> If this promotes an impression among male tech people that female colleagues are likely to fly off the handle and yell at people on twitter that's not a good thing

The problem is not that Kane has created this impression. The problem is that this impression is, alas, already well-established when it comes to women complaining about sexism, to the point where any complaint whatsoever that sounds even the slightest bit annoyed gets viewed as 'flying off the handle' and 'yelling'.

The other problem, which is related to that, is that blaming Kane for causing the problem here suggests that there exists some effective and appropriate way of addressing sexism that will make people listen to you, and this isn't it. But this is not the case. As Bunny Ultramod put it above -
My takeaway from this is that if you're respectful, you'll be ignored, as happened with the first email that was sent privately. If you're the slightest bit irritated, you'll be the subject of endless discussion about tone.
And this happens all the time in discussions like this. "We don't have to listen to you, because you didn't complain in the right way! You should have complained this other way. Except when people did complain that other way, we ignored them too. But there totally exists a way that you could have complained and got listened to, honestly, even though nobody's ever managed to find it and we won't tell you what it is. So when we don't listen to your complaint, it's your own fault."

I think that a lot of modern sexism takes this "unintended" form. When we raise the issue with the people responsible, how should we do so? I would argue that it's much more productive to explain the negative effects in a non-accusatory way, rather than leading with an insult.

Yes, a lot of sexism is 'unintended' in that sense, but unintended is not the same as accidental.

If this was a situation in which they'd caused offense accidentally (I dunno, by using a word which they thought was totally innocuous but which turned out to have really offensive connotations they were totally unaware of in another community/culture), I could get behind explaining the negative effects in a non-accusatory way.

But, this is not that. This is a video in which their tech startup is promoted by a half-dressed woman dancing around and flicking up her T-shirt while a man jokily pretends to ejaculate - objectifies and sexualises women in the name of geek culture. I'm sure the Geeklist guys didn't set out to commission that video with "Let's objectify and sexualise women in the name of geek culture!" as some deliberate malicious game plan, but it's unrealistic to claim that they couldn't have been aware it would do that, had they thought about it for more than two seconds.

The idea that we can't just outright criticise sexism, that we have to ask nicely and politely for people to maybe perhaps consider not doing it, minimises sexism as an actual problem. It makes 'don't be sexist' sound like a special favour to ask of people, rather than a basic requirement for acting like a decent human being. And if we're seriously going to argue that anyone offended/disgusted by something like that video shouldn't say so in those words lest they bruise the fragile egos of the people behind it, then we're placing the entire burden for dealing with sexism on the people it affects rather than the people perpetuating the problem.
posted by Catseye at 4:37 AM on March 27, 2012 [13 favorites]


Anyone who actually did have their mind changed is someone with such arbitrary and capricious belief-forming strategies that we can't reasonably expect to worry about what they'll think in response to our tweets.

painquale, with respect, that's more of an assertion than an argument. And it's an assertion that is contradicted by a lot of research on stereotype formation showing that people (over) generalize perceived unusual characteristics of salient group exemplars to other group members, especially when pre-existing attitudes toward that group are weak (and it may well be the case that many people do not have strong pre-existing attitudes towards "women in tech"). I'm happy to provide you cites if you like--Hamilton & Gifford (1976) is a good place to start.
posted by myeviltwin at 4:40 AM on March 27, 2012


Catseye, I'm totally sympathetic to that point. Absolutely, the GL guys should have known how people would react to that video. But there's a good chance they didn't. If you like, their privileged position--their freedom from the negative atmosphere towards women in tech--blinded them to what was objectionable about it. Given that, what would have happened had Shanley initially tweeted something less provocative, rather than "fucking gross"? Maybe started with "This sends a message to women that tech is a boys' club and that's surely not what you want?" Well, no way to know for sure. Maybe they would still have dug in. But doesn't it seem less likely?

And yes, I know it's unfair that the victimized bear an extra burden here of putting their views forward "politely." But "fair" and "effective" are sometimes different things.
posted by myeviltwin at 5:04 AM on March 27, 2012


What if the GL guys had tweeted 'OK, let's talk about it?' instead of 'my name is not yo'? But then, she made them do it didn't she?
posted by Summer at 5:15 AM on March 27, 2012


Summer, yes, they acted like assholes. Everyone agrees about that.
posted by myeviltwin at 5:17 AM on March 27, 2012


Well, if by effective, you mean she achieved her stated goal, I'd say she was pretty effective, your tortured logic about how she secretly set back the cause of feminism notwithstanding.
posted by misfish at 5:27 AM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really don't know where you're going with this met.

What response do you think Kane would have got with "This sends a message to women that tech is a boys' club and that's surely not what you want?"

Because my guess is something equally as childish and defensive as 'my name is not yo'. Why? Because IMO their problem was not with the swearing, it was with being told bluntly and publicly that what they were doing was wrong and giving them no wriggle room about it. And that's what your statement does too.

People would still have been claiming she was inappropriate, unprofessional, shrill and overreacting, that she shouldn't be calling out a 'client' in a public thread, that it's none of her business, that she's making demands etc. They just wouldn't have had the swear word to hang it all on.
posted by Summer at 5:27 AM on March 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Summer, there's really no way to prove or disprove your hypothetical about that particular case. All one can say is that in general people respond better on threatening or unpleasant topics when the conversation does not start with an insult. Or do you disagree?
posted by myeviltwin at 5:41 AM on March 27, 2012


And yes, I know it's unfair that the victimized bear an extra burden here of putting their views forward "politely." But "fair" and "effective" are sometimes different things.

But . . . but . . .but . . . dude, c'mon.

Catseye's post above and many many others have made the point that:

Being Polite Is Very Very Often NOT Effective.

Really, they simply could not have made that any plainer.

And when women have seen again and again and again and again and again that when they say, politely, "Excuse me, but I think that your video contains some elements that could be construed as sexist, and I think it's inappropriate that you are promoting your company using this video", and the reply is, "Oh, sure, maybe one of these days we might get around to putting up another video with a hot chick dancing around in slightly more clothing and we'll edit out the part at the end where the guy pretends to jizz in his pants" . . . . . .

You can't see how they would get angry and frustrated and decide, "FUCK politeness, FUCK respectful, fucking take down the fucking gross video" is a better response ???

You keep, well, not listening to people in this thread telling you that "polite" has been tried over and over and over and gotten nothing.

So it's "unfair" that women feel the NEED to be rude in order to be effective.
posted by soundguy99 at 5:46 AM on March 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


it may well be the case that many people do not have strong pre-existing attitudes towards "women in tech"

I doubt that people will see her as a representative of "woman in tech" (rather than, say, women who tweet) unless they already parse the world in those terms and hence already have attitudes toward women in tech.

But to be honest, I don't think this is worth speculating about. We are in profound epistemic ignorance. Yeah, maybe her words caused some dangerous anti-feminist backlash, but maybe that backlash is pretty much negligible in the long run, as I suspect. You can cite some stereotype studies, sure, but we have very little idea about whether they are applicable in this case, whether this stereotype is actually harmful or practically benign, whether the stereotype effects in this particular case are lasting, whether the people in a position to think negatively of Kane actually covert their lights to harmful action, whether it's counterbalanced by the good effects, and so on. Citing basic papers like Hamilton and Gifford isn't doing anything more than saying that stereotype effects exist, and that is too coarse a claim to be of any practical relevance here. Even worse, the veneer of scientific objectivity cloaks the fact all the "maybe it's harmful!" talk is all idle speculation that is a poisonous silencing technique.
posted by painquale at 6:11 AM on March 27, 2012


Maybe they would still have dug in. But doesn't it seem less likely?

No. For all the reasons that Summer said.

We know, pretty much, what would have happened if she'd contacted them privately to express her concerns about the video. And we know that because someone did exactly that a month earlier. The video stayed up, the email went unanswered.

We also know that the things they were accusing her of were, in large part, things that she had not done. (Remember, they claimed she'd deleted the tweets in which she'd done those things). So we can't really say "What if she hadn't done the things that they said made them so mad with her?" as if it's a hypothetical question - she in fact hadn't done those things, and they reacted that way anyway.

I appreciate that you, being (I'm guessing) a reasonable, decent person, might find it difficult to conceive of any situation like this in which there just isn't a reasonable middle ground, where being openly annoyed gets you excoriated for not being polite enough and where being polite enough gets you ignored. But I promise you, it happens.
posted by Catseye at 6:12 AM on March 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


painquale, there's plenty of evidence show that stereotypes are lasting (and self-reinforcing) once established, that they affect people's behavior, that they affect their interpretation of new information, and so on (the chapter in the handbook of social psychology on stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination by Susan Fiske reviews a lot of it). Of course, like most social science these studies cannot tell us what will happen in a particular case, but they can tell us what is likely to. And I'd say the weight of the evidence suggests that exposure to this incident could affect people's attitudes negatively. (Actually, this is a study that could be run easily.)

Catseye, I appreciate your presumption of reasonableness. I guess we'll just have to differ on this. I believe that if she had opened with something clear, direct, but not insulting, the reaction could have been very different. But of course there's no way to know for sure (although again I'd suggest that the idea that people respond better on threatening or unpleasant topics when the conversation does not start with an insult seems pretty likely to be true).
posted by myeviltwin at 6:36 AM on March 27, 2012


All one can say is that in general people respond better on threatening or unpleasant topics when the conversation does not start with an insult. Or do you disagree?

She didn't insult them.
posted by Summer at 6:45 AM on March 27, 2012


myeviltwin,

Quoting you, "a picture of women as less able to control themselves than men."

Quoting Catseye, "The problem is that this impression is, alas, already well-established when it comes to women complaining about sexism, to the point where any complaint whatsoever that sounds even the slightest bit annoyed gets viewed as 'flying off the handle' and 'yelling'."

Yup. This is why I find your latest thesis about how Kane's rude response will damage the perception of women in tech kind of baffling - millions upon millions of people (men and women) already think that women are less able to control themselves.

Really. That's the background radiation of our culture. We're fish, and the perception of women as flighty and irrational and ruled by their emotions is the ocean we swim in every day of our lives.

So when you raise the question, "Won't Kane's rudeness make people think that women are irrational?", my honest response is, "Ummmm . . . . . you mean they'll think of women the way they already think of women ??? What's your point ?"
posted by soundguy99 at 6:48 AM on March 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Summer, see above on "fucking gross"--you really would not call that an insult?

soundguy99--that is a fair point. There is some reason to think not, because we know that stereotypes are often subtyped--for example people's stereotype of "black professional" is very different from their stereotype of "low-SES black teenager." This may be the case for "tech women" (after all, aren't geeks seen as hyper-logical and unemotional)? Of course I'm just speculating here. But even if this just reinforces the existing stereotype of women as overly-emotional, isn't that also a bad outcome?
posted by myeviltwin at 6:57 AM on March 27, 2012


She didn't insult them.

And further: what they interpreted as an insult to them personally was her criticism of the video.

From Kane: "Not speaking as a Basho employee. I am speaking as a person in tech who is angered by a sexist video associated w your brand"

From Sanz, several tweets later: "I don't even know you and you are attacking me, calling us sexist & atacking our brand. I have a family & don't like this"

So in order to 'effectively' complain about their video without them throwing a fit over being called sexists, she'd have had to... explain that the video was sexist, while simultaneously not implying that the video was sexist.
posted by Catseye at 7:06 AM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


met - no, I really wouldn't. Honestly truly wouldn't. Not to them. She said the VIDEO is 'fucking gross', not them.

Would you consider it an insult if she'd said 'it's sexist'? Because earlier you seemed to think she was well within her rights to say something like that. Or is it just the swear word you object to?

If, on the other hand, she'd said 'please take it down you bunch of sexist idiots' then that WOULD have been an insult. Note however that it doesn't have a swear word in it, therefore according to some is milder than what she actually did say.
posted by Summer at 7:27 AM on March 27, 2012


This may be the case for "tech women" (after all, aren't geeks seen as hyper-logical and unemotional)? Of course I'm just speculating here.

Myeviltwin, do you think it's possible that this kind of public speculation is harmful and silencing? When a minority complains, it's usually not helpful to tell them that their complaints are harmful, especially when you don't have a ton of evidence that they are harmful and admit that you're just openly speculating.
posted by painquale at 7:28 AM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have a family & don't like this

This one will always stay with me.
posted by Summer at 7:29 AM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Summer, I don't think "it's sexist" is insulting. As I said above, I think the explicit statement of disgust is pretty much guaranteed to offend. Could I tell you your shirt is "fucking gross" without you seeing it as an insult? After all, I didn't insult you, just your shirt, right?
posted by myeviltwin at 7:47 AM on March 27, 2012


And yet, the 'explicit statement of disgust' wasn't what they thought insulted them. Again: "I don't even know you and you are attacking me, calling us sexist & atacking our brand. I have a family & don't like this".

In fact, when Kane said that she 100% stood by her description of the video as "fucking gross", Sanz didn't reply by taking issue with the words "fucking gross", but by replying "that's just one thing u said, you attacked us personally and the company.. you clearly have no shame".
posted by Catseye at 8:02 AM on March 27, 2012


met,

But even if this just reinforces the existing stereotype of women as overly-emotional, isn't that also a bad outcome?

In the abstract, thought-experiment kind of way, sure.

But given that women are "damned if they do, damned if they don't," I can see how some women would rather be damned for doing (being rude), because it can produce actual, practical, real-world results -- a sexist video gets taken down, a couple of company owners are made aware that the video was not as innocuous as they thought, made aware that the video is contributing to a culture of sexism (both in general and in the tech sector), made aware that their responses were (however unintentionally) following a pattern of dismissing complaints of sexism.
posted by soundguy99 at 8:04 AM on March 27, 2012


Or to put it another way:

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." -- Frederick Douglass
posted by soundguy99 at 8:10 AM on March 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't know met - is this hypothetical shirt carrying a picture of a woman in pants with a man faking ejaculation, accompanied by the logo of a professional service? If so yes, I'd call it 'fucking gross' and expect you to take it as a statement of mere fact rather than an insult. This is a little different than if I just happened to dislike your taste in shirts.
posted by Summer at 8:17 AM on March 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hypothetical me has interesting taste in hypothetical shirts :)

The GL guys presumably didn't see the problems with the video (although they should have, of course), or else they would have had it taken down already. So to them it wouldn't seem like a statement of fact. To them it would seem like an insult.

Try another example: say your roommate was leaving his dishes in the sink. Objectively, kind of gross. Would you start a conversation about it with "Please don't leave your dishes in the sink, it's fucking gross," or would you choose a different approach?

soundguy99, I absolutely see your point. I don't think what I'm saying is incompatible with the Douglass quote--I think the most successful movements for social change make firm demands, but from a position of moral clarity.
posted by myeviltwin at 8:50 AM on March 27, 2012


The idea that we can't just outright criticise sexism, that we have to ask nicely and politely for people to maybe perhaps consider not doing it, minimises sexism as an actual problem. It makes 'don't be sexist' sound like a special favour to ask of people, rather than a basic requirement for acting like a decent human being. And if we're seriously going to argue that anyone offended/disgusted by something like that video shouldn't say so in those words lest they bruise the fragile egos of the people behind it, then we're placing the entire burden for dealing with sexism on the people it affects rather than the people perpetuating the problem.

I would favorite this a bajillion times if I could.

The GL guys presumably didn't see the problems with the video

Except the very first response, when Shanley asked "what's up with that video?" was to say "oh, super old, we should get a new one with less skin" and that stupid smiley face that implied "oops you caught us being bad boys LOL". They already knew what was wrong with the video. They knew it, and they were super-defensive on being called out on it.
posted by ambrosia at 8:56 AM on March 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


Correction: They were super-defensive on being called out on it, yo.
posted by ODiV at 9:02 AM on March 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Actually met, "could you please wash up, it's fucking disgusting" is exactly what I would say to someone who habitually left dishes in the sink. And no doubt that person, if he/she was someone of the GL persuasion, would whisper 'bitch' as I left the room.
posted by Summer at 9:41 AM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


myeviltwin... okay, dude, up above yesterday I asked for some specifics on what Kane said that was inappropriate and how what she did was unprofessional.

You appear to have responded this morning, and maintained, that merely the fact that she expressed disgust - disgust about sexism - is what qualifies her behavior as inappropriate and totally unprofessional (and rude, as you'd previously characterized it.)

To reiterate some rather key questions I'd also asked: if someone expressed disgust at racist content, would they be inappropriate, totally unprofessional, and rude? If someone in the tech industry expressed disgust at an exceedingly badly-engineered software or hardware product or at the technical incompetence of a company or person, which is a pretty common occurrence, does that by itself qualify them as having behaved inappropriately, totally unprofessionally, and rudely?

I am having a really hard time believing that you actually hold any expression of digust as beyond the pale of acceptable behavior in public. This is yet again looking to me like you have come up with a special standard particularly for criticizing Kane or anyone who complains about sexism the wrong way. Which by the way is in itself sexist, in case that's not clear.
posted by XMLicious at 3:28 PM on March 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Could I tell you your shirt is "fucking gross" without you seeing it as an insult? After all, I didn't insult you, just your shirt, right?

Let's imagine, instead, that I see you in public, professionally dressed, and I notice that your dick is completely hanging out of your n
posted by misfish at 3:45 PM on March 27, 2012


Pants. It would be appropriate for me to ask you about that. And if you giggled and said you should really get around to putting it away, it would be appropriate for me to tell you to put it away, it's fucking gross.
posted by misfish at 3:47 PM on March 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you didn't put your dick away then, it would not be my fault for not asking you right.

It would certainly not be my fault if you did put it away, but complained about what an unreasonable bitch I am.

(sorry about the broken up comments, i'm new and clumsy)
posted by misfish at 3:58 PM on March 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Even apart from an example involving dirt or sexuality, to my chagrin I worked for a company that released a half-finished product to meet marketing deadlines. I would not have considered it inappropriate or unprofessional for one of our customers to have publicly said that it was "fucking gross", particularly if accompanied by details and rationale of why it was so. Because it genuinely rose to that level for us to have released a product like that, with all of the repercussions it had for the tech people on our customers' projects who had to go to absolutely Herculean lengths to get it working properly and the resultant business consequences for the customer organizations themselves.

I find that disgusting but something with a considerably more minor impact on the world than sexism.
posted by XMLicious at 5:22 PM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Let's not forget about the root problem: it's 2012 and we still have young, business-minded guys who are blatantly sexist.

WTF? It's time for us to be blunt about this shit. Call these idiots out by name and make their -ism famous. Let us know who they are, so that we may shun them, boycott them. Raise an educational uproar. Shine the light on them. Let them come back humbled, better informed, and silent about their perversion.

I read an analogy about a racist apple tree. Need to go find it again. Sums it up nicely. Maybe the two jackasses hosting this fucking stupid video will continue to be sexist — but, hey, at least they'll try to keep it a secret. Works for me.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:48 PM on March 27, 2012 [8 favorites]


XMLicious, sorry, I meant to respond but got distracted by later comments:

To reiterate some rather key questions I'd also asked: if someone expressed disgust at racist content, would they be inappropriate, totally unprofessional, and rude?

Like, if the video featured the GeekList guys in blackface or something? In that case "fucking racist" would not be out of line.

If someone in the tech industry expressed disgust at an exceedingly badly-engineered software or hardware product or at the technical incompetence of a company or person, which is a pretty common occurrence, does that by itself qualify them as having behaved inappropriately, totally unprofessionally, and rudely?

Like if she tweeted to them, "please change your website's color scheme, it's fucking ugly"? Yes, given her position at Basho and the relationship between the two companies, totally would be out of line.

As should be evident, I think the appropriate response depends on the severity of the offense. And with this video, I'm not convinced it displays malice, or intent to harm. It might, of course--but I think it's just as likely it displays ignorance and cluelessness. That doesn't make it less harmful, but it changes how we should respond to those responsible.

Let's not forget about the root problem: it's 2012 and we still have young, business-minded guys who are blatantly sexist.

I totally agree with the spirit of this. And I'd be more specific than that--what does this say about tech in particular? It's not necessary to view the GL guys as malicious to see this video as a reflection of a really harmful and exclusionary culture in tech. I think that broader problem, and how to address it, is really important.

So why so much about Shanley? I think that has more to do with my feelings about what this thread says about Metafilter than what's important in tech culture at large. When I see people responding to dissenting opinions with insults ("sexist pricks") and claims that the disagreement means "Metafilter sucks" that bothers me. When good-faith, respectful disagreement is seen as "violence" and "poisonous silencing," that bothers me. When people justify their views with what I see as outlandish claims ("fucking gross is not an insult," "senior employees should be able to post absolutely anything on their company-linked twitter account," "there is no chance things would have gone better had she approached things differently"), it draws my attention (as John Searle wrote, "it is one thing to bite the occasional bullet here and there, but this consumes an entire arsenal"). It motivates me to push back on those claims. Because I really like this site, and when I see what looks to me like a drift towards dogmatic rigidity, where disagreement is a prima facie indication of bad motives and bad faith, it bothers me. This is what we accuse political conservatives of all the time. Let's not do it ourselves.
posted by myeviltwin at 4:22 AM on March 28, 2012


Ok, since I am now being quoted out of context, I'll chime back in. I have been here a long time, long enough to remember when great people of the female gender roamed the threads. I called the people using terms such as "bitchy" and "uppity" waaaaaaay up near the top of the thread "sexist pricks" because I loathed the boyzone MetaFilter had become when those previously mentioned awesome female people fled. I wasn't threatening to leave over such comments, as I only recently returned from a haitus, I was stating that this place isn't as great as many make out, especially to the women who make up the community. And that if people don't stand up and be heard, MetaFilter will return to those darker days when, despite it apparent liberal bent, male members of the community helped drive away many wonderful voices.

Early on this thread was filled with voices that were saying things tantamount to "she asked for it" because she had the audacity to use a public forum to call out people who still don't get it by *GASP* using potty words! I don't have the time that some people have to sit in front of their computers all day monitoring a thread, but I wanted to be damned sure I didn't sit on my hands an allow others to speak in favour of sexist attitudes in 2012 and allow my silence to be equated with approval.
posted by terrapin at 6:42 AM on March 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


met - all anyone's done is disagree with you. "Fucking gross" is not an insult to them, "senior employees should be able to post absolutely anything on their Twitter account" if their employer thinks that's OK, it's unlikely things would have gone any better had she approached things differently - because they already lied about her approach.

Push back all you like, but if people disagree with you they'll push back as well. It's called discussion. No one's had a paddy, no one's walked out in a huff, no one's gone to MeTa. What do you think's happening here?
posted by Summer at 7:01 AM on March 28, 2012


I have no problem with disagreement! I like disagreement. (I could have been clearer about that.) I saw things that I disagreed with and said so. I have no problem with people disagreeing back (other than that I think they are wrong, of course).

I do have a problem with statements like: For the first time in a long while I read an entire MetaFilter thread, and I am absolutely disgusted by the sexist pricks that make up a portion of this community. For all the times we see the rah-rah MetaFilter is so great, it is threads like this that make me want to walk away. (quoting terrapin in context, not sure how the context makes it any better)

Yes, one person used the word "bitchy" and should not have. No one that I can see called her "uppity." The rest was normal, healthy disagreement. Personal insults in response to that are poor form at best.
posted by myeviltwin at 7:55 AM on March 28, 2012


As should be evident, I think the appropriate response depends on the severity of the offense. And with this video, I'm not convinced it displays malice, or intent to harm. It might, of course--but I think it's just as likely it displays ignorance and cluelessness. That doesn't make it less harmful, but it changes how we should respond to those responsible.

I think this is pretty much what everyone has suspected all along. That despite all of the things you have said on completely different topics, like talking about standards of professionalism and decorum, that and the pursuit of criticizing Kane's character and behavior or persistently theorizing about how she has set back the cause of opposing sexism was actually motivated by a belief that "objectifying and sexualizing women in the context of geek culture" just isn't such a bad thing in this case, an argument you just weren't getting around to actually making for some reason. I think that the attitude you are describing on Metafilter of zero tolerance even towards the supposedly accidental appearance of sexism has gone a long way to ferret out this underlying opinion that you refrained from elucidating.

You aren't convinced that the video expresses or provides evidence of malice or an intent to harm because no one has tried to convince you of that. And I would wager that no one thinks it's especially important to make that case.

Notice by the way that you aren't simply arguing that the (alleged possibility of) absence of malice means that Kane should have approached them differently, you're saying that she was obligated to have made more demure criticism of them with some hand-holding to help them out on the chance that they were ingénues absolutely stunned to find out they'd been promoting sexism. (So innocent and shocked by this idea that Sanz readily said the video had too much skin and they lied in the effort to conceal their responsibility for the video being made and had no problem trying to pressure someone to stop talking about it in public through their employer without considering it important enough to actually respond to the criticisms of the video she was making.)

And by failing in this obligation, Kane was inappropriate and unprofessional and out of line. This is a standard that again creates an obligation for her to attenuate and tune her message for her audience while coincidentally not creating much of a similar obligation on their part, at least not any obligation that could justify someone publicly saying that they're out of line for having failed in it and that the message they produced is disgusting.

Seriously, dude, if you can't help coming up with ways to articulate your opinion that exemplify sexism again and again and again, maybe it's not simply your disagreement that people are opposed to and hostile to. And maybe the persistent focus on finding fault in Kane's character or behavior that characterizes this thread is not normal, healthy disagreement but is evidence of sexism the way we've been saying it is along with the many other specifically sexist statements and claims that have been pointed out. You're almost acting in this last comment like someone using the word "bitchy" was the only example of sexism in the discussion.
posted by XMLicious at 8:28 AM on March 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't see why you think you've suddenly caught me out in something. Yesterday I said that:

...how should we handle something that has sexist effects without (necessarily) demonstrating intent to discriminate ("mens rea," if you will)? I think that a lot of modern sexism takes this "unintended" form.

A few comments later:

I'm totally sympathetic to that point. Absolutely, the GL guys should have known how people would react to that video. But there's a good chance they didn't. If you like, their privileged position--their freedom from the negative atmosphere towards women in tech--blinded them to what was objectionable about it.

Once again: something can have bad effects without being the result of bad intent. We should respond accordingly. The difficulty people have comprehending this distinction is, I think, revealing.
posted by myeviltwin at 8:44 AM on March 28, 2012


I think this is pretty much what everyone has suspected all along. That despite all of the things you have said on completely different topics, like talking about standards of professionalism and decorum, that and the pursuit of criticizing Kane's character and behavior or persistently theorizing about how she has set back the cause of opposing sexism was actually motivated by a belief that "objectifying and sexualizing women in the context of geek culture" just isn't such a bad thing in this case, an argument you just weren't getting around to actually making for some reason.

She wasn't the one that ended up backtracking and apologizing, they were. I don't even get why you guys are even still arguing about this. She was so clearly in the right that I literally can't fathom the kind of mental gymnastics someone has to put themselves through to see things from any other perspective.

I can kind of get why they were taken aback by her being publicly shitty about the video if they knew her personally, had invited her in for an interview and worked with her boss, because you're getting into office politics bullshit which can get really petty, and maybe they were seeing it from a personal standpoint instead of as part of a larger issue in the tech industry. If she wanted to work with those guys in the future, that bridge has clearly been burned, and if that had been a consideration, she clearly could have picked a better way to bring up the topic with them.

Why anybody who isn't personally involved with the people in question are taking anybody's side but hers, though, I can't possibly fathom.
posted by empath at 8:46 AM on March 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


BTW, summer: I think it's clear that we have differing intuitions about whether "fucking gross" is an insult. However, happily, this is a question that's resolvable empirically. How about we co-write a scenario in which A says to B, "Your _____ is fucking gross." We then simply ask 100 Mturk respondents, "Did A insult B?" If my intuition is (statistically significantly) the majority view, you pay me $20. If yours is, I pay you. What do you say?
posted by myeviltwin at 9:49 AM on March 28, 2012


I don't see why you think you've suddenly caught me out in something.

Because you have repeatedly tried to point at generic negative statements you've made about the GL guys or the video and convince the rest of us that those statements mean you think just as badly of their behavior as everyone else does and are equally condemning of the sexism in the video as everyone else is, so there's no point in or it's somehow unfair to point out things you've said which aren't consistent with that, or to push on discussing what you're actually saying about sexism rather than just go along with the continued pursuit of finding fault in Kane's character or behavior.

But you aren't equally condemning of the GL guys' behavior as everyone else. You think that it's excusable, at least to the point where someone is out of line merely to express disgust at it in public. And you think that repeatedly coming up with and presenting sexist standards to criticize just Kane's behavior out of a desire to find some way, any way to fault her is just "normal, healthy disagreement" and the rest of us are inhibiting real discussion or something unless we just go along with it and don't insist on examining what it indicates about how you really, internally regard this situation whether it's conscious or not

Once again: something can have bad effects without being the result of bad intent. We should respond accordingly. The difficulty people have comprehending this distinction is, I think, revealing.

Yeah, no one is having any trouble at all comprehending that. We just don't agree with you that this means there has to be evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that there was bad intent to specifically and intentionally promote sexism before anyone can even express disgust. Nor does anyone have to pretend to ignore the patterns in the things you are saying and the things you're omitting, and act as though you're making impartial non-sexist observations with no rhetorical strategy behind them, just because of the possibility it may be the product of a complete lack of self-awareness.
posted by XMLicious at 9:50 AM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


XMLicious, I don't know where you're getting this. I've been 100% clear and consistent on what I think of the GL guys and the video. I never said "just as" or "equally"--you, to be blunt, are making that up--because I don't know how you would even meaningfully make that comparison. I've been equally clear that I think intent matters for our moral evaluation of an action (not a controversial position, I should note). In response you insinuate that I'm a closet sexist. This is what I mean by rigidity and dogmatism.
posted by myeviltwin at 10:15 AM on March 28, 2012


There are lots of college students (for example) who dress in blackface for Halloween. They don't mean any harm (in some cases), but it's still gross.

myeviltwin, you said: if the video featured the GeekList guys in blackface or something? In that case "fucking racist" would not be out of line.

It should be just as obvious -- to the GL guys and to the community at large -- that that video is unacceptable, and in that case, Kane's anger/reaction is justified. The fact that sexist ads like that one (especially in technology) are "fucking gross" should not be a controversial statement. When people treat it like one (and act like Kane was maybe in the wrong for being so blunt about it) it seems like either they haven't thought much about issues of sexism and technology, or they have thought about these issues and decided that they're not important.
posted by cider at 11:08 AM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


met - No, again, I have not said anything like you're a closet sexist. I have repeatedly pointed out that you have actually articulated sexist and/or biased standards in assessing Kane's behavior and I have repeatedly said that you could be doing this because you aren't accurately assessing your own attitudes and motivation rather than because of conscious intent on your part.

But honestly, the fact that you do it again and again and seem to just ignore it or brush past it every time it's observed that you have articulated something you're exclusively applying to Kane and hence appears pretty sexist is kind of wearing down my credence that this is completely innocent and unintentional behavior on your part. Which isn't to say that you would have to have some conscious and developed plan to promote sexism; all I'm saying is that it makes me wonder if you come up with one of these things, are aware on some level that it's a biased assessment, and throw it out anyways to see if it sticks.

To be perfectly clear, I wouldn't describe myself as "not sexist at all" either.

Maybe I'm missing something but skimming back over what you've said I see you proposing that there should be a range of possible responses to sexism that vary in severity and I see you making "what if" statements about the possibility of someone finding the video completely innocuous and therefore seeing the GL guys' response as justified. When I pressed on this you emphasized the "if" conditional that this was all very theoretical musing about what some unspecified person might possibly think.

I recall later on somewhat pointedly and repeatedly saying that if anyone wanted to make the case for this sort of thing they were welcome to. But rather than anyone actually making any points about the degree or severity of sexism in the video or justifiability of the GL guys' actions, the discussion always reverted back to discussing Kane's character and behavior and professionalism, etc.

So now saying that it's specifically you who has an issue with the severity level of the video and that in calculating which possible responses to it are "out of line" we need to take into account whether the GL guys who were aware it should have "less skin" were still in such a state of vulnerable innocence about sexism that going the slight step further of suggesting it's disgusting was an inappropriate totally unprofessional grievous insult to them, those things don't appear 100% clear and consistent to me, no.

Nor does proposing a string of standards for professionalism that got specifically and exclusively applied to Kane appear 100% clearly consistent with the other stuff you've said, btw. And I have previously described these kinds of things, way up above, as "discrepancies" in your viewpoint.
posted by XMLicious at 11:30 AM on March 28, 2012


How about we co-write a scenario in which A says to B, "Your _____ is fucking gross." We then simply ask 100 Mturk respondents, "Did A insult B?"

here's the thing: Shanley didn't say "your". She said "it's". If you start a statement with "Your X, it's fucking gross" well yes people may be inclined to see an insult. More importantly, it really hinges on what fills in that blank. But let me propose some alternatives:

-Please stop picking your nose on the subway. It's fucking gross.
-Please don't spit on the floor. It's fucking gross.
-Please don't pee all over the bathroom floor. It's fucking gross.
-Please put your dick back in your pants. It's fucking gross.
-That tubgirl t-shirt, please take it off. It's fucking gross.

When people do something that they should not do, and they know better, but they do it anyway, being told that said thing is "fucking gross" cannot be the larger of the insults.
posted by ambrosia at 11:44 AM on March 28, 2012


I've got one!

- Please take down that video of a woman squirming in her pants with a man faking ejaculation. It's fucking gross.

I'm happy to do a random test with that one.
posted by Summer at 12:02 PM on March 28, 2012


There are lots of college students (for example) who dress in blackface for Halloween. They don't mean any harm (in some cases), but it's still gross.

No it isn't. It's fucking gross.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:17 PM on March 28, 2012


Good call: fucking gross. Should have put that in my initial comment.
posted by cider at 12:27 PM on March 28, 2012


Please take down that video of a woman squirming in her pants with a man faking ejaculation. It's fucking gross.

OK, we'd have to tweak it a bit, so we don't have to give all the backstory, but how about the following:
Alan likes to shoot his own music videos. He makes one with two friends, Sarah and Tom. In this video, Sarah is wearing a t-shirt, underwear, and nothing else. Tom is fully clothed. While a pop song plays, Sarah dances around Tom, and at the end of the video, Tom pretends to have an orgasm.

With Tom and Sarah's permission, Alan uploads the video to YouTube, where anyone can see it. An acquaintance of Alan's, Cindy, sees the video and doesn't like it. She writes Alan an email saying, "I saw your video. Please take it down, it's fucking gross."

Did Cindy insult Alan by sending him the email?
What do you think?
posted by myeviltwin at 12:27 PM on March 28, 2012


XMLicious--there is no double standard. I've always said the GL guys acted poorly (well, I said worse than that). I've always said the video was offensive. I've also said that one could make the video without intending offense. This is not complicated. It is also probably not fun for others to read, so if you want to continue let's do it offline please.
posted by myeviltwin at 12:30 PM on March 28, 2012


No, it's not complicated, but if you again propose things like how terribly unprofessional it is to publicly offend potential customers and focus on Kane doing that I am going to again point out that this is sexist.

I'm glad that after more than eight hundred comments we seem to finally be talking about the nature of the sexism in the video, though.
posted by XMLicious at 12:38 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


What do you think?

If you need to invent a whole new hypothetical scenario which still ignores important context, then you've lost your argument.
posted by empath at 12:38 PM on March 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


OK, we'd have to tweak it a bit, so we don't have to give all the backstory, but how about the following

Except the backstory you leave out is critical. The video is a commercial. It was commissioned to promote their company. A company that theoretically would like to attract women as well as men. A company in an industry that is notorious for being a boyzone.

And the "it's fucking gross" doesn't come out until *after* the video is acknowledged to be less than entirely appropriate, but that acknowledgement is minimized by the wink-wink-nudge-nudge smiley.

The context is critical. There are all kinds of videos of nasty disgusting shit on YouTube, and I don't go around emailing their creators to say "please take it down, it's fucking gross" but if one of those videos was a promoting a company in my industry, and the video promoted an attitude that I bump up against at work, to my professional detriment, and I knew the creators personally, and I knew they knew better, then yes I may very well email them saying "please take it down, it's fucking gross."
posted by ambrosia at 12:39 PM on March 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


OK, the thing is that on MTURK you need to keep it short and simple in order to have people get the scenario. If you put in too much complicated backstory they tune out and you just get noise. Can you boil it down to the crucial elements and propose changes? I'm 100% serious about running this. Subject payment is on me.
posted by myeviltwin at 12:42 PM on March 28, 2012


Another thing is - we have kind of slid sideways into the assumption here that for Kane to say anything that the GL guys might find insulting is out of line and hence the investigation of hypothetical parallel situations and whether or not they're insulting. But "no one must be insulted by complaints about unintended sexism" doesn't seem any more valid to me than many of the other assumptions that have been made.
posted by XMLicious at 12:46 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I should add that not only would I say "please take it down, it's fucking gross" I would be all kinds of pissed off that in 2012 I would even have to do that. And that people in their thirties, who ought to know better, were pulling that kind of crap. And if someone got upset about having an f-bomb hurled their direction, I would have zero sympathy. None. Shanley handled herself really much better than I would have, I must say.
posted by ambrosia at 1:10 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


This thread is fucking gross. Still with the focus on Kane's phrasing? FFS.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:14 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


There are lots of college students (for example) who dress in blackface for Halloween.

(a) I don't believe this is at all true.

(b) If it is, it's fucking gross, and the shit should hit the fan.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:15 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't believe this is at all true.

Believe it. It's well documented. Also here. Here. Here. Although that last one is a football player, not a college student.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:45 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


And now I hate people a little bit more.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:53 PM on March 28, 2012


And now I hate people a little bit more.

Well, always glad to help.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:36 PM on March 28, 2012


I don't think Shanley Kane's focus is on being super duper polite. I've been looking at a few of her past tweets from just before this incident...

On Sqoot:
Totally appalled at @sqoot sexist marketing http://apijam-boston.eventbrite.com/
8:35 PM - 20 Mar 12

Copy for @sqoot hackathon: "Women: Need another beer? Let one of our friendly (female) event staff get that for you."
8:35 PM - 20 Mar 12

Suggestion that you would both "supply" women and have them serve your "male" developers beer is fucking disgusting.
8:37 PM - 20 Mar 12
Commenting on this video about a couple of app developers (brothers) pitching their product
@ShuChowdhury you and your brother come off like complete assholes in "The Pitch". Are you serious? Get hosed.
8:43 PM - 21 Mar 12
(The jawdropper begins at 2:16.) So, no, not really being polite at all. The thing with Geeklist happens the very next day.

Also, about a week earlier:
Women not posting in #ididnotreport because their careers will not be safe if they talk about sex and abuse in the technology industry.
12:19 AM - 14 Mar
(Info about that Twitter campaign here)

All that stuff in just one month... Half a month, actually. And if you look at her stream, she's not even tweeting mostly about feminism or women-in-tech issues – just noting stuff she sees when it comes up. It's not at all hard for me to see why she's fucking disgusted, and doesn't mind saying so in totally concrete terms.
posted by taz at 11:43 PM on March 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


how should we handle something that has sexist effects without (necessarily) demonstrating intent to discriminate ("mens rea," if you will)?

It really doesn't matter. If they had taken the video down (maybe the first time they were asked, by email), it would have demonstrated that they had no tolerance for sexism once they realized it was taking place. That would have been a testament to their character. It would have demonstrated lack of desire to discriminate, and either some degree of ignorance or a sense of true apology for offense they might have semi-cognizantly caused. Fiddling around and complaining about "what people might think of them" means they think the actual sexism is waaaaayyy down on their priority list, and their desire to not think of themselves as having been sexist, ever, is pretty much #1. Ignoring charges of sexism because you can't possibly be sexist is ridiculous behavior, especially when you admit that they could have been acting from a place of confusion, ignorance, &c., a variety of states where they don't have the knowledge to KNOW that they do not deserve ever to be accused of sexism.

So, in sum: The way to react is to just take down the offending content and apologize. If they thought it wasn't offensive, they could have engaged in a dialogue-- but that was never the problem. They admitted it was inappropriate from square one.

met, you have admitted that calling racism "fucking gross" would be appropriate. Why is calling sexism fucking gross inappropriate? Furthermore, why does it matter if the developers were insulted or not? Would you argue that calling racism fucking gross is appropriate but ineffective? Do you think that means it should never be said? Never be said in public? That if it insults someone, it's over the line? What if it's just a "little" racist, like blackface compared to a violent crime? Is it worthwhile to make that distinction just to focus exclusively on how to police their reaction? (You've stated your answer would be "no" to several of these questions, but they're all interrelated and in play in the discussion of sexism as well.)

They released an insulting video. They got called out on it. They acted like babies but eventually took it down. A stand was taken against sexism, and it was effective. Yay, right? If we've reached a point where women in some situations don't have to curtsey in order to make their professional environment less hostile, why would we want to shut that down? The stereotypes are alive and well on their own. If I lived every day trying not to embody a stereotype, I would rarely ever get to discuss sex-based discrimination and I would not be able to be authentically me. On the other hand, I can refrain from perpetuating stereotypes about other groups without this double-bind problem. That's why it's important for the people with privilege to change their behavior, not the ones without.

If the video were racist or racially insensitive, there would be people complaining that its critics were oversensitive, composing "arguments" replete with racial stereotypes. (Not saying you'd be one of them, but it's the reason this kind of conversation is tedious.)

What's at stake here really is whether or not the video is offensive in a way that further ingrains harmful behavior: stereotypes that prevent women from rising in a profession, being treated civilly, and sometimes cultivating an interest in the industry at all. It's an attitude prevalent in the larger culture which leads to real-life violence and abuse. It's a systemic problem with roots in basically every community on the face of the planet. It's a problem which defends itself by preying on conscious and unconscious attitudes of discrimination, nearly reflexively. And, it is fucking gross. Do you really think one woman's tone in this labyrinth is the problem here?
posted by stoneandstar at 1:01 AM on March 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


To reiterate my argument more succinctly, if anyone is still around: met, you have admitted that the degree of offense can make the expression of disgust acceptable (the example of racism). Why does this particular incident not merit that degree of understanding?
posted by stoneandstar at 1:12 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Stoneandstar: well said. My opinion about how Kane expressed her beliefs aside, I totally agree with this:

What's at stake here really is whether or not the video is offensive in a way that further ingrains harmful behavior: stereotypes that prevent women from rising in a profession, being treated civilly, and sometimes cultivating an interest in the industry at all. It's an attitude prevalent in the larger culture which leads to real-life violence and abuse. It's a systemic problem with roots in basically every community on the face of the planet. It's a problem which defends itself by preying on conscious and unconscious attitudes of discrimination, nearly reflexively.

That is the real problem, absolutely. I couldn't agree more.
posted by myeviltwin at 2:40 AM on March 29, 2012


Just for the record, what met specifically said in response to a question about whether or not it would be out of line to express disgust at racism was that calling a video of people in blackface "fucking racist" would not be out of line.
posted by XMLicious at 8:25 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


That was not exactly what I was trying to pin down, but I'm glad we agree.
posted by stoneandstar at 9:33 AM on March 29, 2012


Thanks XMLicious, for some reason I remembered "fucking gross," but I suppose the question is still relevant as I wonder if Kane calling the video "fucking sexist" would be appropriate. (This is an actual question, I am interested in the answer.)
posted by stoneandstar at 9:47 AM on March 29, 2012


I'm still reading.

And apparently it is all my fault and I am ruining MetaFilter ;)
posted by terrapin at 1:21 PM on March 29, 2012


Also, the reason for myeviltwin's persistent focus on Shanley's professionalism and behavior in amongst all the impropriety and discussions of the nature of sexism and the video is because of his "feelings about what this thread says about Metafilter".

This makes me wonder, as I and others have frequently inquired, why other people in the thread started with the fixation on Shanley's character and behavior in the first place, as no one else has mentioned their feelings about Metafilter as cause for it.
posted by XMLicious at 1:48 PM on March 29, 2012


...whether or not it would be out of line to express disgust at racism was that calling a video of people in blackface "fucking racist" would not be out of line.

Dear Fox Television, circa 1991: please remove your television show "In Living Color." It's fucking racist, yo.

(awaits ticker-tape parade)
posted by ShutterBun at 3:54 AM on March 30, 2012


why other people in the thread started with the fixation on Shanley's character and behavior in the first place.

I don't know about her character, as I didn't see anything about that. But her behavior became an issue almost immediately. And I'll tell you my theory on why that happened: because it was set up early in the thread to happen that way.

People were originally saying that the Geeklist guys really looked bad for their handling of the whole issue. And then Bunny Ultramod said,

/I know people are going to say Shanley Kane was somehow unpleasant in how she approached with her complaint, but the truth is most complaints take forms we do not like.

At that point, no one had said anything about shanley's tone. Bunny Ultramod brought it up.

Then, a few comments down, FuzzyBastard takes the bait and says,

Judging from Sanz's initially-polite-but-increasingly-annoyed tone, I think this is neither sexist objectification nor silencing of an uppity female, but rather a perfectly sensible resistance to being handed rudely-worded demands by anonymous internet person.

Not everyone agrees, either. Some people really want to see the video to judge if it is really sexist.

koeselitz makes an eloquent plea that the issue isn't actually the video but how shanley's complaint was handled.

Cjorgensen says that the video might well be sexist, and he understands anger because he gets angry all the time, but polite requests, in his experience, get better results.

FuzzyBastard says what bothers him is that he feels like shanley is demanding that the video be taken down.

Bunny Ultramod disagrees. If anything, she feels it is a request. She quotes "Please take it down," as literally all that shanley said, and gets called on it..

This is Mefi, after all, and the language police are not going to let that stand.

They rightly point out that that wasn't literally all shanley said.

That's when the argument again turns to tone, as they argue that, "It's fucking gross," changes the tone.

This is where it goes crazy to me. Instead of saying, okay, that wasn't all she said, you're right, but let's talk about the video, we get this from Bunny Ultramod:

It still doesn't turn it into a "drop everything and do what I say right now."

She has been misrepresented throughout this thread. It's anther fucking silencing tactic, and I would ask that we stop it.


That, to me, is when the thread jumped the shark.

Others in the thread correct another Mefite, and because of that they are accused of employing silencing tactics against shanley and misrepresenting her.

That's how the thread became all about tone, and misrepresenting others words and/or intentions, right there. And it came from someone defending shanley.
posted by misha at 8:38 PM on March 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


FFS, it's a soft porn video. Shanley didn't set the tone.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:13 PM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Dear Fox Television, circa 1991: please remove your television show 'In Living Color.' It's fucking racist, yo."

I really hate this kind of shit. These clumsy attempts at asserting equivalency for rhetorical purposes usually say far more about the mistaken assumptions of the person making the attempt than they serve the rhetorical purpose for which they were intended.

A) Racism and sexism are institutionalized and endemic forms of bigotry. Without the institutionalization, they are bigotry, but not racism or sexism. Women can be bigoted against men, and non-whites can be bigoted against whites, but the former isn't sexism and the latter isn't racism. (Although in a different social context they might be!)

B) "The other person/group did it too" is not a valid rebuttal argument which invalidates an assertion of wrong acting.

Corollary: Even if examples of bigotry committed by non-whites against whites or women against men were racist or sexist, which they're not, that wouldn't in any way constitute an argument that bigotry committed by whites against non-whites or by men against women weren't racist or sexist or worthy of outrage.

C) Arguments of class hypocrisy are invalid and are diversionary tactics. That is to say, asserting that a class of people are hypocritical is almost always either unproven or simply fallacious. Unless you can show that a preponderance of people in a given class hold the two referenced inconsistent views as individuals, then arguments of class hypocrisy are disingenuous. It may be fair to characterize, for example, the view on one issue by most mefites as X, and on another issue as Y, and show that X and Y are inconsistent, but unless you can show that the number of people who hold both X and Y views constitute a majority of mefites, it's not fair to characterize mefites as a class to be inconsistent in this way. It's entirely possible for a majority to hold X and a majority to hold Y, and yet it only be a minority who hold both X and Y.

This is a tactic that's used constantly by all political partisans in US political discourse. (I assume this is true elsewhere, but I'm most familiar with it in the US.) People formulate caricatured views of their political enemies and find it very satisfying every time they can find an example of an individual member of that class who expresses a view that is inconsistent with that caricatured, abstracted view. An individual pro-lifer, for example, is held to the standard of a caricatured, abstracted cultural conservative and if there's an inconsistency between what that individual says and the views attributed to that class, then hypocrisy is alleged. Looking for such opportunities forms about one-fifth of all activity of politically oriented bloggers of all varieties. When members of one's own partisan class says something that is inconsistent with one's own beliefs, or what a majority of the class believes, then it's attributed to diversity of opinion, and never hypocrisy.

D) Racist and sexist acts are determined neither by intent nor by the affiliation of the actor. A non-white person can commit a racist act against another non-white person, knowingly or unknowingly, and a woman can commit a sexist act against another woman, knowingly or unknowingly.

E) However, the context is different within the class and that context matters a great deal. What determines racism and sexism is how these acts function within the context of racism and sexism. An act that occurs within a class that is apparently identical to one that crosses those boundaries may or may not be racist or sexist. It depends upon how it functions.

Corollary: Examples of an act X done by one member to another member of an oppressed class may or may not be institutionalized bigotry but, either way, that such acts occur does not in any way delegitimize any other claims about racism or sexism.

A through E are all true, I believe. But, more to the point, arguments which implicity deny these things are typical arguments used by anti-anti-racists and anti-anti-sexists. Sometimes they're utilized with full awareness and dishonesty as pure tactics, often they're utilized by otherwise well-meaning people who have been misled by others into believing that such arguments are valid — usually they've been unconsciously willingly misled because the conclusions of these arguments appeal to them emotionally.

For example, there is no doubt that there is some bigotry against whites by non-whites in some non-white populations, and some bigotry against men by women in some female populations. No one enjoys being the victim of bigotry. If one is uncomfortable with the implications of claims made about racism and/or sexism, and one is aware of examples of bigotry against whites and/or men, then those claims can be extremely attractive as a means of discrediting claims of racism or sexism by arguing for moral equivalency, or by calling into question the motivations of those making claims of racism/sexism, and similar.

Furthermore, any bigotry that one has experienced against oneself personally will naturally weigh much, much more heavily than will claims of bigotry that one has not and cannot experience and can consequently only understand distantly, at best. At worst, such bigotry can be in many cases entirely invisible to someone at whom it's not directed, especially when it's institutionalized and diffused and so endemic as to be built into beliefs about reality that formed when one was a young child (and the institutionalization of these things is often quite invisible, except in egregious cases).

If one is in a privileged class, then one is likely going to feel either guilt by association, or an accusation of guilt by association. This naturally provokes strong defensiveness. When you sum all these things together, there's huge incentive for whites to place grossly disproportionate emphasis on bigotry exhibited by non-whites toward whites and by men on bigotry exhibited by women toward men. How is this overcome? It can't be unless the person in question is motivated to be empathic and self-critical. That doesn't come easily to anyone, and often only by serendipity.

Finally, merely by virtue of membership in an oppressed class, one's opinion on what is and isn't institutionalized bigotry with regard to that class isn't necessarily valid. Members of oppressed classes often act as apologists for oppression and this fact alone shows that privileging class membership over all other considerations is fallacious and counterproductive. It does matter, of course. A woman's opinion about sexism and a non-white's opinion about racism should be considered within the context of their class affiliation, giving those opinions more weight than they otherwise would have. But the class affiliation is not determinative. Again, sexism and racism are determined by how they function, the status of individual acts are determined by how those acts function within the context of institutionalized bigotry. An individual's subjective opinion has some validity, but it's not determinative. Being born or not born into an oppressed class weighs heavily on how well one can understand the experience of being a member of that oppressed class, but it does not magically engender, nor disallow, a comprehension of that form of institutionalized bigotry as an institutionalized bigotry.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:19 AM on March 31, 2012


All true, Ivan. None of it is determinative, except for the part where pretty much everyone here has determined that the video (made by a woman) is sexist and/or objectifying to women, so I'm left wondering what the current feeling might be about "In Living Color," insofar as how it might be accused of racism and/or perpetuating racial stereotypes.

I'm not saying "A is equal to B, therefore they both get a pass." I'm, in essence, asking "If A is bad, how about B? Is it just as bad? If not, why not?" Certainly the circumstances are different. In what substantive ways are they different, and how does that affect how we should judge them?

It might have felt combative, but I meant it more as food for thought than simple gainsaying or apples-to-oranges.
posted by ShutterBun at 2:36 AM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Comedy is difficult because it can be, and often is, satirical or otherwise subversive. On the other hand, it also often reinforces while it attempts to shield itself from criticism because "of the nature of humor". So it's often very difficult to evaluate.

But the video had none of that character. It unambiguously reinforces sexism within the context of an especially sexist industry, is clearly aimed at a sexist audience, and has not a shred of self-awareness with regard to sexism. That a woman made the video gives us reason to stop and consider the possibility that it might be other than it appears; but after even a cursory evaluation, it's clear that it's not.

I'd be happy to be critical of ILC, that it was largely a product of non-whites shouldn't shield it from criticism. Indeed, to the degree to which it was a product of non-whites aimed at primarily a white audience and the production was financed and controlled by whites, is the degree to which we ought to be suspicious because there's a long, long history of non-whites being co-opted into producing racist entertainment. I think you'll find that a deeper look into the history of blackface would be revealing in this regard.

Again, racism and sexism are as they function. When a member of an oppressed class does something racist/sexist against their own class, that does not make the act less racist. The act and how it functions as part of institutionalized bigotry is one thing, and how that institutionalized bigotry co-opted a member of an oppressed class to acts of oppression is another thing. The latter should be looked at, and dealt with, carefully. But it doesn't lessen the importance or wrongness of the former.

Women have been particularly co-opted into sexism and enforcing the patriarchy. Indeed, if, as a man, you actually talk to women about their experiences being subject to sexism, you'll find that a very large portion of what they've experienced has originated from other women. This happens most especially with regard to things involving sexual attractiveness, but it happens with pretty much everything. Some of the loudest and angriest critics of a woman who speaks out against sexism are often other women. The most persistent, often angriest critics of women who don't conform to traditional gender roles are other women.

One of the very sad facts about institutionalized bigotry is that it almost always recruits the oppressed class as front-line actors and agents. I don't want to godwin the thread, but how the nazis organized the ghettos are just microcosms and very explicit examples of how pretty much all examples of powerful institutionalized bigotry organizes a society with regard to the perpetuation of that bigotry. That individuals of the oppressed class participate in acts of oppression is a big part of the whole point. It confuses the issue, it inculcates guilt and shame into the oppressed class, it acts as a shield against criticism of the oppressing class.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:24 PM on March 31, 2012


What are the accusations against In Living Color? I was a little bb when it was on the air, and googling isn't turning up much, except Chris Rock saying that it provided a context for racial humor, rather than shoehorning in some very limited black characters like SNL.

They do seem like two separate issues though, since "sex sells" as an advertising maxim will never die, whereas how to depict women/poc/gay characters in general entertainment is a slightly freer discourse. Even sitcoms (Roseanne, for instance). But no one's like, pushing the boundaries of advertising for art's sake. Advertising is just supposed to get under your skin.
posted by stoneandstar at 9:56 PM on March 31, 2012


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