Whenever anyone asks me why I think that there are so few women at major tech events, like Le Web, I always try to make a big point of mentioning that "men are not the problem".
Men are not the reason that there is not a higher number of female speakers at these things. Surely it's not the men in charge's fault that there are so few women turning up to male dominated tech events. It's not their fault we don't feel more entitled to go. It's not their problem; it's our problem and our responsibility to change all this...
Well, that's how I did feel up until this weekend. And maybe once I've calmed down and taken a breather and accepted that two men with apparently sexist views of the world do not rule the world, I won't feel so angry.
But, ladies, here are two gigantic reasons why it is so fucking hard for us to not only be taken seriously, but to feel entitled in the tech industry:
1. Proof That There Were "Girls" At Le Web
On it's own, this photo is fine. She's a beautiful woman wearing a nice outfit. She's working at Le Web.
Now add into the equation the tags. Then the comment at the bottom.
Then take this tweet from the conference's organizer using this photo as "proof" that there were "girls" at this year's Le Web.
Why not use a photo of a woman in jeans working hard on her laptop, to show that there were women there? Not "girly" enough? Not as "H O T"?
I really hate going off on traditional feminist rants, but for the love of god. I suppose, "my problem", sir, is that, once again, even at a tech conference, women are being objectified. Sexualized. Plain and simple.
How can you not see that?
2. "Quite Simply The Best Commercial Ever Made"
While I absolutely appreciate the naked body, breasts, and a beautiful woman as much as the next person - there comes a time when you have to draw the line between offensive and tasteful nudity.
A commercial with a one fully dressed man, and a pack of women dressed in Lycra thongs who end up sky diving topless for no other reason than to give a bunch of dweebs hard-ons is offensive. Offensive because it's just plain stupid. Brainless, if you will...
It's fucking pointless, even for a TV commercial...but that's not what bothers me.
What bothers me, is TechCrunch's Michael Arrington declaring this commercial to be "quite simply the best commercial ever made".
What bothers me even more, is the TechCrunch commenters who say that the people who have a problem with this commercial are simply "prudes", or "feminazis". Or gay.
"It’s all the feminazis in the workplace. Can’t do anything any more without fear of it being sexual harassment."
However, a lot of people defended all the "homos" and "feminzzis" who hated this commercial, and said things like:
"Did someone hack TechCrunch and posted this as Michael? It is the only explanation I can imagine at the moment."
To have two of the top male entrepreneurs in both the US and European tech scene, post two, blatantly sexist items within a week of each other is just depressing. And infuriating.
They don't see or care that what they've done is completely sexist, and for them to not understand how this makes it 100x harder for women in tech and just women in general to do their job and to be taken seriously - what the hell does that say about the state of the society? The state of the tech industry?
They've just proved that sexist attitudes still exist in male CEOs and Editors of websites and web services and web conferences that millions and millions of women use, read, and participate in.
You'd think they'd be a bit more progressive and liberal in their thinking and in their actions. That they wouldn't be cool with their commenters calling people who had a problem with what they've posted "homos" or "femizazis".
You'd think that two people who pay millions of dollars into promoting their products and into maintaining their readerships would care more about alienating and offending a huge chunk of their supporters and product users with one thoughtless comment or post...
You'd think that when you asked these guys about why they chose that photo as proof that there were women at a conference you wouldn't be met with "take it easy" and "what's your problem?"...
But, there you have it.
Thanks for the support, guys.