Misogyny and Sexual Harassment: How “Small Jokes” Cause Big Problems

misogyny in the workplace

The tweet read round the world.

What happens when men make boyish jokes at a tech conference and their picture gets tweeted? People get fired. At least that’s what happened this past week. The smoke’s still billowing from the internet inferno that followed the aforementioned. Let me tell you what happened in case you missed the hoopla.

Adria Richards, a developer and Tech Evangelist for Sendgrid, attended the Pycon tech conference last week. During one of the sessions, a couple men seated behind her made sophomorically lewd jokes about “big” dongles and forking. Yeah, you read right. If you’re not close to the tech world, you probably have no idea what a dongle is and forking is just a PC way of saying what happens when spooning escalates.

Anyway, she got fed up with the jokes, turned and snapped a picture of them, then tweeted the picture with a message that they were being inappropriate — hence the picture above. Conference staff saw the tweet, removed the two men from the room, and one of them was eventually fired by his employer (Haven’t been able to confirm the second man was fired). She also wrote a detailed blog post about the incident and why she took this approach.

Once the internet and developer world found out, Adria was harassed and threatened with gruesome images, the release of her personal information, reckless name-calling, and petitions for her to be fired. Hackers then attacked her site as well as Sendgrid’s, leading to the capitulation of her employer and her public termination. As an HR person, this is a PR, policy, and legal nightmare. Godspeed to whoever is processing all the paperwork.

The good things that emerged from this debacle were the mobilization of Adria’s supporters (check out the #TeamAdria hashtag) and the discussion about misogyny and sexual harassment in a male-dominated field. The bad things that came from this situation were fired employees, PR oil spills, and proof that where accountability is absent, savage tendencies prevail.

And as I watched all this play out, I felt torn. I know Adria and I’m friends with people close to her. I know that she meant well. I know that the people supporting her mean well. I don’t believe that she nor the developers in question should’ve been fired. I do believe she was the victim of both sexual harassment and misogynistic comments after this story broke — exposing the ill effects of anonymity and confirming that the devil does indeed wear internet. I also think this whole mess could’ve been avoided had she just turned around and told the guys to knock it off, or just alerted conference staff that the men seated behind her were making her uncomfortable. However, none of this is why I’m torn.

I’d like to pivot and talk about the the use of the terms “misogyny” and “sexual harassment.”

I mentioned earlier that it was great to see the mobilization of Adria supporters. In fact, as someone that’s benefitted from her tech advice, I consider myself one of them. However, I’ve seen far too many headlines, tweets, and Facebook messages claiming that she was fired for outing misogynists and sexual harassers, when it appears she was fired for putting her company and herself in a tough spot with regard to their business and her role as a developer relationship specialist (not her official title).

Misogyny has become an overused term to describe anything said by a man that a woman finds disagreeable. Of course ALL women don’t define it this way, but there are enough that it makes me wince and cry aloud. The response to Adria’s story was yet another example of how the term is misused.

When I look up the definition of misogyny, I see the hatred, strong dislike, denigration, and/or sexual objectification of women. I don’t see guys making sophomoric jokes that aren’t geared toward or at women. Remember, these guys were talking amongst themselves and irresponsibly loud about technological double entendres. Though you’re most likely not a geek, you’ve probably made or laughed at a double entendre at some point in your life. Jokes are usually harmless until someone tells you they’re not; at which point if you’re the jokester, you feel embarrassed, apologize, and keep it moving. This is where sexual harassment comes into play.

In the workplace, there are primarily two types of sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile work environment. The most applicable version here is the latter, which is essentially defined as subjecting someone to unwanted sexual behavior including, but not limited to, the posting of raunchy pictures, and the consistent telling of dirty jokes and/or sexually suggestive remarks. One joke or a series of jokes does not hostile work environment make. When it gets to that level, it means the offended has voiced his or her discomfort and the jokes or comments continued. Otherwise, it’s just misconduct.

My goal in defining this isn’t to make it a legal issue. It’s to point out how terms are being thrown around without the knowledge or implications of their meanings. And as someone that’s spent a few years in sales, a male-dominated field, and HR, a woman-dominated field, I can tell you that it’s easy to drop your guard and say something off the cuff that you think is funny or status quo. It may seem innocuous to you and 90% of the people around you, but if one person expresses discomfort, you apologize and watch your mouth because you don’t want a sexual harassment claim on your record. I think this is something many men fear, which makes us filter more than most women realize. I’m not saying that we’re all heathens. I’m also not saying that all guy talk is inherently misogynistic. Jokes aside, it sucks not being able to voice an opinion or make what may seem like a harmless comment without worry of being labeled a misogynist or sexual harasser, but you gotta play by the rules. That’s life. But let’s not assign meaning where there is none.

And that’s why this is so bothersome. I’m all about supporting open discussion on workplace inequality and communication between the sexes on hot topics. I’m all about standing against the onslaught that Adria faced once this story broke. I just can’t get behind the free-throwing of the terms misogyny and sexual harassment when it comes to the incident that started this all. And the fact I had to read the previous sentence three times to ensure it couldn’t be misinterpreted is a problem in itself. If you’re going to throw around those terms regardless of their real meaning, you’re no better than the people you’re accusing. Do your part, and I’ll do my best to do mine. Reach one. Teach one. Just don’t tweet about them first.

SBM Fam, what do you think?

Live, from the egg shell,

slim jackson

Twitter: @slimjackson

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  • AfroPetite

    Twitter and Facebook are probably the best/worst things to ever happen to the general public. While making the world a little bit smaller, it's also made us much bolder and brought out the inner narcissist in countless individuals. When in doubt, don't tweet it, especially if you're tweeting a photo of a stranger. Employers are not playing games with technology and they have every right to protect themselves from possible lawsuits due to the negligence of their employees.

    I hope the best for all those involved in this, losing a job over a tweet is not what's hot in the streets.

  • hollyw

    Eh…I think think this author’s perspective is lacking, both in his knowledge of definitions and their realworld examples, and a passive-aggressive blame-the-victim stance.

    • http://twitter.com/SeattlexWA @SeattlexWA

      I don't think so. The author seems to have a firm grasp on the definitions and is just trying to figure out when they're appropriate to use and when we're going on a witch hunt.

      • Dr. J

        Yo what up Seattle?!

  • Young Heaux

    Why would you worry about the "throwing around" of these terms? I can't believe that I read this entire article and that was your conclusion…

    It's just…this is the kind of thing that pisses me off. Sexual harassment is embedded in a woman's life from the time she starts to form breasts and hips. There is never going to be a clearly defined way of measuring what is misogynistic or not. All you're doing by challenging it's "frequency" of use, is: challenging it's use, period which doesn't help women who actually experience these type of problems. Perhaps you'd like for women to just never use the terms…

    As far as this incident, the girl shouldn't have tweeted that pic. It was messed up, but this is the digital age and folks seem to have little respect for others' privacy. We're all guilty of sharing memes, for instance, that often use pictures of unsuspecting strangers and cost them their reputations, and possibly more as well.

    • Smilez_920

      “ Why would you worry about the "throwing around" of these terms? I can't believe that I read this entire article and that was your conclusion…”

      Umm you can’t just throw around a term when you feel like it. We can’t have an honest open and helpful conversation about ism’s if we don’t give examples and definition of what is considered racist, sexist, offensive… How do we expect men to change their behavior if we don’t even give them an example or clear definition of what the issue is? For example lately on twitter one of the major discussions has been rape and how we define that gray area. Seeing some peoples you would be shocked that a lot of men and women didn’t know that certain examples or situations could be considered r@pe. Yes most people know the blatant definitions of these offenses. But what about the gray area in chexual harassment, that gray area is were a lot of women even the one in this area fall and how do we teach men what the gray area is and not to cross it. (Also when you loosely through around terms, it makes it hard for people who those terms actually fit to get any type of justice)

      • Slim Jackson
      • Young Heaux

        I’m challenging the notion that it supposedly gets “thrown around whenever people feel like it.” I think that it very rarely gets used unless actually felt by the person using those terms. We can talk about what misogyny is just don’t tell me I’m using it “unnecessarily” cuz I highly doubt this is an actual issue. I’ve never once witnessed throwing this around.

  • AfterMath

    This is my first time hearing about the story and of Adria Richards.

    That said, I think she made the right decision in tweeting the pic because simply following the chain of command does little to change the circumstances and often only places the victim in a position of discomfort as it is generally known that she is the one who complains, but the aggressors are allowed to go unpunished and continue their behavior…and even if they don't do it again, the fact that they don't get punished makes it all the more likely that somebody else is going to test the envelope just a little more.

    As a guy in the IT field, I know these jokes and I also know about the complaints about there not being enough women in the field(s). And I also know as a Black guy that these jokes aren't always strictly sexist. I can remember the Kramer incident and the "jokes" that went on during that time period. Lost a lot of "friends" over those jokes. So it doesn't balance to me when people talk about diversifying these fields and then allow this type of stuff to happen.

    Going back to the pic, I think it was a GREAT idea. A conference room is not a place where individuals should expect privacy. Its not like she tweeted a pic of their bedroom. These jokes were being made right behind her in a public space and I really hope this becomes a trend the way the Harlem Shake videos was (I'm not encouraging the jokes, but they're already there. What I'd like to see is a different response to the jokes).

    • Southerngyrl_

      This right here. I work in IT as well. I honestly would have turned around and told them about themselves, just like some of you are suggesting, but guess what is on the other end of that sword? "BITCH". "She's uptight". "She can't take a joke". Would that have stopped the behavior? There is a good chance that it would not have. It may have even escalated.

      The comments to get a "thick skin" or it is a "gray area" are subjective. You should always err on the side of caution. You aren't at a frat party. You are working. You are representing your company.

      Also, we just had a seminar last week and a very similar example was used. Sexual harassment is not just when a statement or joke is aimed at you. When you are in common area at work (lets say cafeteria) and you make a sexual/racial/some offensive joke and someone overhears, it is still harassment and can be written up. Methinks people take the harassment part in its literal sense. It does not have to be mean, violent, or have malicious intent. It is usually based on the perception of the "victim" and an investigation will ensue.

      In the club, a guy keeps coming around to ask you for your number and you keep refusing. Irritating, right? Switch the setting to an office. In both cases the guy is annoying, but in the workplace a grievance can be filed and it could be considered sexual harassment.

      • Slim Jackson

        Don't want to get too granular, but I think something can be inappropriate conduct of a sexual nature before it becomes sexual harassment. I've had to document this stuff and have seen it go to the courts. Though subtle, there's a difference.
        My recent post slimjackson: Misogyny in the Workplace: Why You Need to Watch Your Mouth http://t.co/4NVCudf6X8 via @singleblackmale

        • Southerngyrl_

          True, but the different definitions will differ based on industry as well. I am not going to go into detail, because my pic is right up there, but certain industries are most definitely less tolerant than most think. It is like that because they have to be. I won't say zero tolerance, but I will say much less willing to take a chance on it.

  • AfterMath

    As far as the term "mysogyny". I'd counter with a question of what is racist.

    I don't know how you'd answer that, but I know that generally what's racist to me isn't racist to others. I remember one guy (a Black guy) who was telling a story about a professor who asked him, "so, how long you been in the program, 10 years?". Is that a racist question? Some may say nah, but this guy felt like that was a racist assumption based on zero facts and refused to work with the person asking the question again. I can give the example of my White friends asking me "is it ok if we say the n-word if ____" and the first question like that didn't bother me, but after like 20 straight you might start to notice a trend and just might call it racist.

    As a man though, I don't think I'm in the position to declare what's offensive to a woman. I mean, in general, I'll say that I can't tell you what hurts you. How's that line go? What you eat don't make me ****.
    My recent post Triangle Trigonometry

  • AfterMath

    Here's another article that I think is important because so much attention is being paid to what Adria did, and that just makes me uncomfortable.
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/deannazandt/2013/03/2

    "Is it possible that by asking this question, that we’re digitally asking if maybe Adria shouldn’t have been drinking or wearing that short skirt, shouldn’t have been walking home from the subway stop by herself, shouldn’t have walked by that proverbial construction site where she knew she was going to get catcalled and harassed?"
    My recent post Triangle Trigonometry

  • J.Crawford

    In complete honesty, Miss Richards should have just turned around and as loud as the Guys were in joking, said Cut the Crap- like an Adult, not going Middle School and Tweeting pictures. That said, those Guys WERE JERKS, Period. I don't think Anybody should have been fired, not theGuys and especially not Miss Richards.

    I see that that there just isn't any motivation to teach Having Tough Skin anymore, both as Persons and in Business atmosphere, as Trolls on blogs and websites can cause employers headaches and lead to Terminations, as is in this case. Someone who is being Disrespectful SHOULD be Told that they a so they can either Cease & Desist OR Continue and have more Consequences, rather than Not Know they are being Disrespectfu land end up getting Blasted. There's more Zero- Tolerance going on and Anybody/Everybody can be Fired at any moment, whether you are a Geek or Cool Joe, whether it is the Indie Store, Corporate Offices, or anywhere else

    • AfroPetite

      It's become far easier to take a picture/record a video and post it online somewhere though. I can see why her first instinct was to do this, although I don't agree with her action. I'll admit to having snapped a picture of a random stranger and post it on Instagram but I never include faces and if I do I purposely blur them. Not that I'm any better lol but at least I attempted to protect the identity of those involved.

      I don't think there is a "common sense" mindset as it involves the internet. Everyone assumes everything is fair game until they get served. Similar to the Pastor who didn't pay a tip at a restaurant and wrote on the receipt "I give God 10% what makes you think you deserve 18%" [paraphrasing here]. Another waitress posted the receipt online which led to the firing of the original waitress who actually received the tip with the silly note.

      • J.Crawford

        Yes, THAT was so messed up, both on the Pastor- who is Supposed to speak on how Jesus took even the Little Bit of Fish and Bread and ended up feeding thousands, and the Waitress who thought to rip somebody as highly regarded as a Pastor in the first place….

    • http://inanimatethoughts.blogspot.com Animate

      I agree that she could/should have said something to them. That "Tough Skin" only goes so far. It's that train of thought that doesn't change anything. It makes anyone that complains about anything a whiner. We shouldn't have to sit back and allow people to just say things that we find offensive.
      My recent post My 2012 gaming year in review

  • Smilez_920

    work place edict. In most male dominated fields this type of humor is present simply because there are no women present. Think about how we say are men talk when were not around v.s. when women are present. With that being said, I think people tend to get to laxed in their place of business and forget that while casual conversation with co-workers is healthy, that it is still work so the jokes should stay PG.

    I can see the discreet sexual harassment argument from both sides. I mean for every woman who takes offense to a joke like that there’s another woman in the office that either ignores it or laughs or makes it seem like it’s not a big deal. I think offices need to create departments that specifically focus on discreet/ indirect sexual harassment. While it sucks she lost her job, just like those men didn’t follow the code of conduct, when she signed her paper work I’m sure there was a clause she signed about slandering the company’s name or putting information like that on the internet. People get fired everyday for writing on social media about work conflicts for example: not getting along with a manager etc…

    • Slim Jackson

      I think the training around sexual harassment and usage of social media needs to be stepped up in general. I'm seeing more employee handbooks make reference to social media, but people are still taking to the internet and paying the price. The situation with Adria may be the precedent that puts a real focus on how stuff like this is handled. Policies are still too murky, and until then, this will continue to happen.
      My recent post slimjackson: Back to work today. At like 75% health. Just need one more day of rest. Too much to do though.

      • Smilez_920

        True. While most places don't directly refer to social media, they do talk about work place privacy / information, any incident in regards to the office environment is considered confidential information and can't be posted online in any medium. But Now offices are def going to outline Twitter FB, Instagram as examples.

        It sucks that she lost her job. But buisness is buisness and she did'nt take all the proper avenues before she went public. Workplaces need to having better polices that protect victims of workplace harssment. Sometimes when women report this type of behavior they get shamed, or shuned by co-workers

  • Guest

    I honestly feel like adults are a tad bit irresponsible when it comes to their use of social media, yes she took a stand and she handled it her way, but I understand why the outcome of it was so messy. People forget that they are also a brand ambassador for the company they work for and do things quickly, without much thought about what the repercussions will be.

    Our use of the internet is reckless, we're like children with a new toy. Sadly, for many their use or "freedom of speech" will be used against them.

  • Streetz

    I definitely cosign with Slims point of view, but unfortunately articles like these will fall on deaf ears because people will read this with pre conceived notions and not even hear what you are saying.

    I saw someone make a similar comment about the use of the word misogynist can be juxtaposed to the use of the term racist. The definition is in the eye of the offended. however, just with the race card, I will call out when certain terms are used as a crutch and are not applicable. I think its fair to do the same with ANY generalization.

    I'm sure that she didn't think it would go this far, but in 2013 technology has to be used carefully. I wouldnt want to put someone out there unless their comments were 1000% unbearable. maybe she did know they would get fired and maybe she didn't care.

    I just dont like anyone gettin put on blast for something that couldve been nipped in the bud with words. Now if she tried and they still were disresecting, then they get what they deserved.

    The backlash against her was laced with misoginy (sp). I dont think her firing was.

    • http://SingleBlackMale.org WisdomIsMisery

      I'll add my +1 here.
      My recent post Women Don’t Have a Monopoly on Heartbreak

      • Smilez_920

        But she put the company hash tag that's where she messed up. I mean people complain on SM about their jobs all the time, but they don't drop names. Most companies have social media teams that follow and report on these hash tags,so IDK especailly being in the tech field that she think this would just slide by. I get why she did it, but she pull a good bard at the wrong time.

    • AfterMath

      "I just dont like anyone gettin put on blast for something that couldve been nipped in the bud with words. Now if she tried and they still were disresecting, then they get what they deserved. "

      See, this is what I disagree with. I think its easy to say this from the male point of view and I think the easiest point of view that I (as a man) can understand it is from a race perspective. I can think of many times when I've tried to have the conversation and nip it in the bud and its gone nowhere. Sometimes, its actually gotten worse because me talking about it let them know that it gets under my skin. I've gone to higher authorities, but generally I've gotten some PC type of reaction like "now Billy, you apologize", meanwhile I'm sitting there like "really this is all he gets".

      I can't say that this is how they would have reacted had she complained, but these conferences are full of horror stories that talk of what happens when women speak up. So I'm glad she tweeted that pic and I hope other women do the same. I don't know how she takes losing her job (over a hacker threat) because other companies have been reported to be looking to hire her, but she also has (15 minutes of ) fame as a hero and hopefully she will hold her head high knowing that she's an inspiration.
      My recent post Triangle Trigonometry

      • Smilez_920

        True Aftermath… But the way she went about it didn’t help either. I don't really care about the two guys, because they were being inappropriate, this is about what happens after women end up in this kind of situation.

        I mean now instead of getting an apology, letting the offender know you won’t stand for it, depending on the company a mark on the offenders file and having a job to go back to. Now she's unemployed still tweeting. Yes maybe other people want to hire her, but her story will follow her where ever she goes, and her use of social networking won’t be taken lightly (unless she ends up at a woman owned and ran company). And other women who try to pull this probably won’t get the same publicity. They’ll just be jobless, wishing they kept their tweet to themselves or went to a manager. Overall I think we need more diversity in the HR departments, in these companies if you want to start seeing training and policies that help create a comfortable environment for all employees.

        • AfterMath

          The only real difference between the actions taken against Richards and the future actions against the women who follow her lead is that they will have tweeted the data as well. Otherwise, as generally happens, people who complain of sexual harassment are often harassed even more afterwards, labeled certain ways by their peers, and dismissed for what the company says are unrelated reasons. So all that really changes is that she came up with a new avenue and I commend her for it.
          My recent post Triangle Trigonometry

      • Streetz

        Inspiration for what tho? For tweeting a pic of dudes making juvenile comments that she didnt like? The commentgs werent directed at her, and they werent even TALKING to her, so how is that standing up for herself?

        She basically was the kid in the classroom who heard billy say a bad word and ran and told the teacher because "people shouldnt say bad words".

        Ive been in situations where I made comments that ppl could take offense to and id disclaimer it or apologize if I didnt realize ppl would be offended beforew they even spoke up. This is usually when im talking to a group. if im talking to my peoples and someone overhears, thats a different situation. Im not really obligated to change my convo if you can hear it. im not TALKING to you!

        Am I missing something? Do I have the story unlear? She was fed up with the jokes and took pics to say "look at these assholes". Maybe they didnt even kno that she was offended or thought the pic was her way of saying "yall stupid".

        Had there been a dialogue before the picture then by all means call her a "hero" for standing up for herself. In this case, she just reported behaviour that pissed her off because she heard it.

        In terms of HR (im sure slim can expound), they would still be wrong because a employee was offended and they created a hostile working environment. In terms of procedure, Id respect it more if she went ot a superior with the pic and told them. Posting that pic to twitter was her way of using social media to tell ppl that im sitting behind assholes. Doesnt take :courage" we do that sh*t everyday!

        disclaimer: doesnt make what they said less assholish or dimish Adrias feelings towards them if she was offended. I understand the impact of words so please dont use that as a talking point if you want to discredit this comment. lol

        • AfterMath

          "Ive been in situations where I made comments that ppl could take offense to and id disclaimer it or apologize if I didnt realize ppl would be offended beforew they even spoke up. This is usually when im talking to a group. if im talking to my peoples and someone overhears, thats a different situation. Im not really obligated to change my convo if you can hear it. im not TALKING to you!"

          Lets not act like these comments were made in a private bedroom, or even at a table in a restaurant. They were made in an open setting at a conference, from what I understand during a presentation when people are supposed to be quiet. How do people expect privacy in that setting? Would you change your clothes in that setting? Would you say your ATM pin number? What about your SSN? I wouldn't.

          As far as talking to your boys, I'm of the opinion that I try not to offend anybody with any of my comments. That may be naive or just too optimistic, but I don't go around thinking like "I'm not around group X so I'm going to offend them today". But if you're in a private setting and somebody hears you, its different. A conference is not a place to have the convo with your boys though. And that's something that people realize on certain levels but not others.
          My recent post Triangle Trigonometry

      • J.Crawford

        See, this is what I disagree with. I think its easy to say this from the male point of view and I think the easiest point of view that I (as a man) can understand it is from a race perspective. I can think of many times when I've tried to have the conversation and nip it in the bud and its gone nowhere. Sometimes, its actually gotten worse because me talking about it let them know that it gets under my skin. I've gone to higher authorities, but generally I've gotten some PC type of reaction like "now Billy, you apologize", meanwhile I'm sitting there like "really this is all he gets

        At least at the end of the day you Know that they Hanged Themselves (not literally) and you gave them Some Decency to Change, rather than go from 0 to 100 and all the while Not Addressing THEM. Chains of Command are there for a Reason, but if something or someone is Beyond that I can see Going Over that. Ms. Richards Didn't Do That, nor did she infer to the Character of those Guys- maybe they are Cool Men and just had a Moment of Supidity; it doesn't matter now or then because One-or Both- of them got Fired for it…..

  • FlyyLibrarian

    Just as people who post pictures of unsuspecting people on instagram for a cheap laugh, what she did was childish and it backfired. She could have very easily turned around and told them that what they were saying was "Not cool." Dudes job wouldn't have been lost, and neither would hers.

    As the saying goes, Karmas a b!tch.

    • Uncle Hugh, BP

      I'll add my cosign here.

  • SMilez_920

    A society we have to have an open and honest conversation about all of the ism’s if we don’t want instances like this to occur. Sexism/misogyny is real and has a detrimental effect on women’s lives, but I will say lately with all of the attacks being made on women, sometimes the word is thrown around loosely. It’s like anytime something overtly racist happens, the media goes on a PC or racism watch to see what else they can shine a light on that might fall on the line.

  • Tiffany In Houston

    I don't disagree that the comments and/or behavior of the developers at the conference were inappropriate at all. The dudes were probably being douchey, as dudes sometimes can be. I don't disagree that Adria Richards was rightfully annoyed and offended when said comments were being made.

    However there are systems and processes and place for a reason and she didn't follow the process. She should have 1) told the dudes to knock out the commentary and if that didn't work then she needed to 2) get off her phone and get on her feet and go tell the proper officials at that conference.

    Honestly, tweeting the picture was passive aggressive. Taking a stand about this issue means opening your mouth in person and not digitally (although that may have been a necessary 3rd step if her complaints were ignored). I don't doubt for a minute that that there is workplace inequality in her industry just like it is in mine (oil/gas). But there was a better way to handle it that would have perhaps spared 3 very talented people (Adria and the developers) from losing their livelihoods.

  • http://twitter.com/SeattlexWA @SeattlexWA

    This whole situation could've been avoided if she just turned around and spoke her mind like an adult instead of tweeting it. But social media etiquette is a topic for another day.

    I do agree with Slim – misogyny and sexual harassment, as well as standard harassment and racism are all terms thrown about a bit recklessly today. That's my opinion, I'm less sensitive about things than most. However, as social media grows and more eyes are on a topic, you get more opinions. Including those who may be more "sensitive" than you.

    We all know when things are blatantly offensive, but the grey area is always where things get interesting. While the comments that Adria received after the incident were obviously horrible, the double entendres and juvenile jokes are, to me, grey.

    • AfterMath

      "This whole situation could've been avoided if she just turned around and spoke her mind like an adult instead of tweeting it. But social media etiquette is a topic for another day. "

      I agree with your comment for the most part – except for this part in the beginning. Why do we live in a blame the victim society? People who are saying it's OK if she would have just gone to the authorities, or asked them to be nice, then what? Is she supposed to sit around wondering if things will really change? Is she supposed to be an adult and just live with it because that's what she should expect in a room dominated by men? I mean? I really don't get the partial blame on her. I mean, if anything, I wish she had done more. I kinda wish she'd have recorded the actual incident so there was no denying what happened.

      What if she had been raped and tweeted a pic of her rapist. Now rape is illegal, so its certainly against the code of conduct of the conference. Would we still be saying "well she deserves to be fired because she violated the code of conduct"? I hope not. Thank God she wasn't raped, but this is not a nice precedent.

      The way I see it, comments saying that the way a victim reports being a victim only leads to victims not wanting to report on being a victim. So if you think she handled this situation inappropriately, then what's next. Are you really thinking about correcting the problem?
      My recent post Triangle Trigonometry

      • Slim Jackson

        At what point does accountability supersede victim blaming? I'm having trouble with this particular situation because I think it's clear the situation could've been handled differently. Nobody's saying she deserved being fired or the onslaught that followed. But in the context of what happened, there was a more direct way to handle this that would've kept this from becoming a national firestorm.
        My recent post slimjackson: Misogyny in the Workplace: Why You Need to Watch Your Mouth http://t.co/4NVCudf6X8 via @singleblackmale

        • AfterMath

          "At what point does accountability supersede victim blaming?"

          Accountability on whose end? I'm not a fan of anybody getting fired, but people seem to be throwing out there that these guys were fathers and acting like Adria Richards is the devil or something. Richard's point of view (the way I see it at least) was that the standard chain of command doesn't work so lets try something that will at least get a reaction. Did she know it'd become a national firestorm? I don't know, but the general standards of sexual harassment in the workplace are in general way too low with many men generally being valued as too valuable to the workforce for their behavior to be addressed in a reasonable manner.

          So yeah I'm in favor of accountability and I think Richards is too. The problem is that we live in a society that doesn't though.
          My recent post Triangle Trigonometry

        • Uncle Hugh, BP

          AfterMath: "Richard's point of view (the way I see it at least) was that the standard chain of command doesn't work so lets try something that will at least get a reaction."

          I feel that's the problem in this case. This wasn't to time or place to make a stand (for whatever she thought she was making a stand for).

          It would be one thing to make the tweet about their childish comments (that wasn't even about her anyway), and kept it anonymous . She took the next step of taking their pictures and posting it, knowing they could be fired. She probably didn't know it would cause a national firestorm, but she was clearly looking for a huge reaction. The problem is she was hoping the huge reaction would be in her favor, and it backfired.

        • Uncle Hugh, BP

          This wasn't to time or place = This wasn't the time or place

        • AfterMath

          But then when is? Would her actions have been justified if it were more aggressive sexual harassment? What if it was violence? What if it was rape? What about another crime like robbery? Police have been sending photos of (Black) "criminals" across our television systems for longer than I've been alive. Is it ok for then because its in their code of conduct and not in hers? What part did she have in making up this code of conduct?

          I really feel like when we blame the victim, we get into a slippery slope argument where the the victim is a snitch, and we're living in a no snitch society. Is that really what we're talking about here?
          My recent post Triangle Trigonometry

        • Uncle Hugh, BP

          "Would her actions have been justified if it were more aggressive sexual harassment? What if it was violence? What if it was rape? What about another crime like robbery?"

          Yes, her actions would have been justified if it were more aggressive $exual harassment/v!olence/r@pe/robbery. But it wasn't those things, therefore she overreacted and she wasn't justified.

          There is no victim blaming because she wasn't a victim. She overreacted to childish comments.

        • AfterMath

          Then where's the line and who decides?

          You can say that she's not a victim and that's your opinion and you're entitled to it, but she doesn't feel that way. And if the choice of who the actual victim of sexual harassment is vs who's overreacting is left up to men, then I guess nobody will ever be coming forward.

          Like I said, its a slippery slope where we are really showing the type of society we are. We can talk about all the progressivism and liberties and stuff but incidents like these say a lot about how far we've got to go.
          My recent post Triangle Trigonometry

        • Uncle Hugh, BP

          You can say that she's not a victim and that's your opinion and you're entitled to it, but she doesn't feel that way.

          That's true. But it was the opinion of everyone else that she crossed the line and she got fired herself for making a mountain out of a molehill.

          The lesson: Pick your battles. This one wasn't worth it. She should have saved it for an actual harassment case.

        • AfterMath

          She still may make this a case. The ink isn't dry just yet. The fact that we're talking about this is a positive thing from my point of view because this is a learning experience. But I'd really question if I really wanted to be there if I knew I could be fired for voicing my opinion.

          I remember in school having a racist teacher and luckily finding out he was racist before doing a project with him because then I'd have my fate in his hands. I wouldn't want to work for a company that's going to fire me for reporting racism. If that's their policy then eff their policy. And if I know that me reporting racism isn't going to get anything accomplished then I wouldn't be too proactive about going through that means of reporting stuff.
          My recent post Triangle Trigonometry

        • Uncle Hugh, BP

          The conversation is definitely a good thing.

          As Slim mentioned, I'm a butcher pimp (BP) but I'm not a misogynist or a $exist. Comments that are genuinely $exist or r@cist needs to be taken seriously, up to and including dismissal. But I'm looking at this as impartial as I can. These are the facts:

          1. The comments weren't towards her (although as Southerngyrl pointed out, they don't necessarily have to be).
          2. The comments weren't about her.
          3. The comments weren't $exist (although some would find them offensive).
          4. She never voiced her disapproval.
          5. There was no reason to post their pictures so they could be identified.

          If they were talking about her, or talking about using women, or something on those lines, I'd agree. But her reaction was over the top, and no one should have lost their job over this.

        • Streetz

          Cosign all of Hugh's comments

        • J.Crawford

          I get what Hugh meant by her not being a Victim- those comments were said Between them and Not @ Her. Miss Richards never even Asked to confirm/deny that they were Towards her, either.

  • http://inanimatethoughts.blogspot.com Animate

    "When I look up the definition of misogyny, I see the hatred, strong dislike, denigration, and/or sexual objectification of women. I don’t see guys making sophomoric jokes that aren’t geared toward or at women."

    I think it can be argued that their comments could fall under denigration and/or sexual harassment.

    I think potentially telling people not to call someone those terms is a problem in itself. It takes the attention off of the offender and puts it on the offendee (is that a word?). I'm all for not throwing around terms all williy nilly but if someone is offended they should speak up.
    My recent post My 2012 gaming year in review

  • Dr. J

    I just find it quite ridiculous that women can dictate when social media sharing is appropriate and when it's not. Why would she think it's cool to snap a pic of two dudes and post it on the Internet with accusations? What if she had been lying? Because she felt sexually harassed, it suddenly becomes okay to violate someone's privacy and put them on social media. That's just not right.

    I had an example that i'm going to redact and change because I know how sensitive this bunch can be.

    Let's say she was drunk as a skunk later at happy hour and misrepresenting the company's image and they took a picture of her and posted it on the Internet. Then the people who support her would be yelling foul that it was inappropriate.

    I don't want to be insensitive but I felt like she was eavesdropping more than being sexually harassed, I also think she crossed the line by tweeting those guys' picture.

    A part of me believes that when things like this happen the other way around most men are told their feelings aren't valid.

    • The Guy

      Word, if I see a drunk girl getting finger popped in a party and take a pic and share it on social media it's sexual assault. But if a chick want to screenshot your text messages and your peen pics, it's fair game. Miss me with all that….

      • amaris79

        WTF??? The difference is CONSENT. I can't even explain how wrong that comparison was. Christ.

        • Dr. J

          Along those lines… Adria didn't have consent.

          And nobody consents to having their text messages and peen pics sent out on social media. That's BS.

        • amaris79

          Ok, thn let me rephrase..

          WTF???? The difference is you are taking pictures of a crime. That makes you an accessory.
          And as far as sending intimate pics on social media, wrong is wrong…BUT I'd like to also mention this isn't isolated to women towards men. They have entire websites and tumblrs for men to post nekkid pics of their exes.
          But again, I'm in the minority. I don't screenshoot, don't know HOW to screenshoot, and don't know anyone who does it, either. My friends know posting that stuff says as much about the person posting it as it does their victim.

        • Dr. J

          I'm only going to go but so far here because the entire situation that you're referring to (Steubenville) is a hot ass mess but…

          Women never want to believe that there are women out there who are not getting paid but will have sex with multiple men and allow them to tape it. I'm not sure I know when the crime occurred in that case. I mean, of course, distributing porn to minors was there but none of us was really in a position to say whether she consented to that or not. Some of the sh*t I've seen on WorldStar in the last year makes me wonder…

          I don't know… a part of me who doesn't like to see Black boys in the system wonders if they really thought they were doing anything wrong. These are the differences between mistakes and crimes.

          And i'm totally off this topic because i'm not finna end up dead.

        • amaris79

          Well, technically the Black boy didn't do the taping and distributing, so I'll save my thoughts save that there is a lot of work that needs to be done in terms of education on those matters. I'm off the topic, too.

  • Smilez_920

    Something I notice when these conversations come up
    1)Both men and women discuss try to discuss these topics or situations from the extreme side of each end of the spectrum, when the situation itself lies in a very gray area.
    2)When most work place do chexual harassment training, the use examples were the offended is refereed to directly. Very often do they talk about how your job as employee is too make sure your actions and comments create a safe and friendly work environment, and even if inappropriate actions or comments aren’t directed at a specific person, that if they are deemed inappropriate they shouldn’t be used. We assume that every one who is an offered can even recognize their actions as offensive. Think of twitter.

  • amaris79

    Honestly, I have really avoided commenting on the situation, mostly because I've spent the better part of my career in some form of sales and know what it is like when you reach your breaking point. For example, it is common knowledge that the entire term "sexual harassment" has an entirely different meaning in sales, and there's a LOT of gray. I'd give examples…but my actual name is on here, lol. I will say that the woman in question has a history of that form of whistleblowing, and I'm assuming she felt that way because she has been at the end of her rope about how to deal with it for some time after quite a few futile attempts and being told to "lighten up". I don't excuse it, but I understand it.
    As far as misappropriated terms….I'm going to take a page out the book and say "lighten up". You hear people comment on your d*ckprint in meetings for years and come back and tell ME if you believe women "hate" you or not. The problem isn't that women are over-reacting, it's that years of buildup have caused an over-response. The rubber band will snap back, but for now this stuff HAS to come out so that people understand that "harmless" jokes may not be harmless to everyone.

    • Smilez_920

      HAS to come out so that people understand that "harmless" jokes may not be harmless to everyone. <—— basically this is the stance that has been taken in schools and with this situation; I think more offices will add that line into their code of conduct. Again when ppl hear “chexually harassment” we automatically think of a situation where the offended is being directly spoken to.

  • http://twitter.com/MrSpradley @MrSpradley

    I don't think the issue here is women misunderstanding misogyny, Adria never used that term. If idiots on the internet picked up her putting those dudes on blast as her insinuating they were being misogynists – that's on them.

    What I took from all of this is how backward the techworld is in its understanding of male privilege. Think about what we're saying. We're basically saying that our life sucks a little bit more than it should because we have to worry about whether or not a woman is offended by a joke we're making.

    It's not that disimilar for white privilege. Flip the script. Imagine if the joke made was something racial in nature. "Something like, yeah I partitioned my harddrive … it's not separate but equal." Not super offensive, but if someone said that at a tech convention, I'd be offended. To me this is like that.

    That she was fired over tweeting their picture is crazy to me.

    • Smielz_920

      Agreed. At the end of the day they were at work a place of business, where you have to be respectful and mindful of your coworkers. While you can control what you say, you can’t control how others will respond, so you have to be mindful.

      I don't think she was wrong for being offended and wanting to take action. But unfortunately, companies worry about $$$ and reputation first. I guess the fact that their PR team couldn’t get it under control in time, I'm sure it lead to other issues, and working for a tech company I'm sure there's some type of paper work she signed in regards to what company information she could put online. It think that's what sealed the deal on the firing part, I mean they fired all 3 of them to make sure the covered their behinds form all ends.

      • AfroPetite

        The company hashtag threw me completely. I'm sure had she not included it, her job might still be intact. When you as an employee start linking the things you say with your company's name, you're setting yourself up for failure. I understand she wanted people to know where she was but hash tagging the company was probably the biggest mistake of this whole debacle.

    • Dr. J

      The only thing I would add to this comment is that it's sort of a wash on both sides. Men have to worry about whether or not a woman is offended by a joke they make, but at the same time, most men have experienced times when women make jokes that are offensive and we're made to absorb them because we're men. The privilege argument is always a tough discussion because you can always rebut with the same argument.

    • amaris79

      "Think about what we're saying. We're basically saying that our life sucks a little bit more than it should because we have to worry about whether or not a woman is offended by a joke we're making. "

      Say it again for the people in the back row, please!!!

    • Streetz

      Personally, Im speaking to the situation not taking offense. Once again thats in the eye of the offended

  • Uncle Hugh, BP

    This isn't harassment. They made puerile jokes comparing dongles to pen!$es and forking to $ex. Yes it's juvenile in a Beavis and Butthead kind of way, but how is it harassment, when it wasn't even directed to her? A simple, "knock it off, guys" would have sufficed if she was offended.

    While the HR people may be happy, I'm sure the CEO is saying, "we lost a developer and killed worker morale because now everyone is looking over their shoulders and carefully watching what they say. And for what, because someone's feelings were hurt, and she couldn't even say anything to them directly?"

    It wasn't directed at her. It wasn't demeaning to women. It was just lewd in general, and she was uncomfortable with the conversation. Now what some people did afterwards, like hacking her account, sending her threatening messages, some implying raping and killing her? That's what harassment looks like.

    • Slim Jackson

      Butcher Pimp! But not a misogynist.
      My recent post slimjackson: @princededwards bk

    • SMielz_920

      hug, when I first read it I took it in the context as you did, but think about it. If it was you and two white guys were behind you comparing Computer Viruses to black people and aids (or whatever) I'm sure you would have been offended. Now should ppl have been fired over the comment those men made, no but companies are'nt losing money or sleep over bad PR so both parties had to go.

      • Uncle Hugh, BP

        That's the point, that's a false equivalency. Although the comments were about $ex, they weren't $exist (meaning demeaning to women).

        Dongle: reference to a male body part.
        Forking: reference to $ex.

        Lewd? Childish? Inappropriate? Yes. You are toeing a line when you talk about $ex in the workplace or anywhere in mixed company. But there was absolutely no references to demeaning women, r@pe, or anything of that nature. Then to take that to the internet, complete with pictures, knowing that could cost them their jobs, without even saying anything to them? Or at least giving them a disapproving glare?

        • h.h.h.

          "Dongle: reference to a male body part.
          Forking: reference to $ex. "

          Apparently that's not the case:
          "However, there is another side to this story. While I did make a big dongle joke about a fictional piece hardware that identified as male, no sexual jokes were made about forking. My friends and I had decided forking someone's repo is a new form of flattery (the highest form being implementation) and we were excited about one of the presenters projects; a friend said "I would fork that guys repo" The sexual context was applied by Adria, and not us." – the guy that was fired https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5398681

    • http://SingleBlackMale.org WisdomIsMisery
    • Southerngyrl_

      So who determines what someone should be offended by and what they shouldn't? You say it isn't harassment, but it isn't up to you to make that determination. The policies can be very specific and what may just be "lewd" to you could be offensive to someone else. Who are you to say it wasn't demeaning to her or any other woman? Basically, what people should do is err on the side of caution. If you aren't sure about it, don't say it.

      Also, harassment does not need to be directed at the person. There is such a thing as 3rd party harassment. Example of one such case: http://www2.law.ucla.edu/volokh/harass/breadth.ht

      • Uncle Hugh, BP

        Southerngyrl_: "So who determines what someone should be offended by and what they shouldn't? You say it isn't harassment, but it isn't up to you to make that determination."

        You're absolutely correct. But as with my conversation with AfterMath, "the offended" doesn't make the determination of what's going too far. In this case, many people felt "the offended" took it too far (and she did), and she in turn lost her job. So it's best to stop and ask, "is this even worth it? Is this a genuine case, or am I just in my feelings?" Most people are against $exism and r@cism. But most people are also against overly sensitive people causing others who meant no harm to lose their job.

        I'm also aware of different harassment laws. And I'm aware many of them are just stupid.

        • Southerngyrl_

          The offended actually DOES make the determination. That is usually how many claims get filed. Usually from there, an investigation takes place. I made the 3rd party harassment point, because like you said in you said your original post, "it wasn't even directed to her". I just made a point of showing that it doesn't matter one bit if she wasn't the target of the joke.

          Some harassment laws (policies?)are stupid? Yeah….that is your opinion. You are speaking from a place where you assume you'll never have to use it. For your sake, I hope that is the case.

        • Uncle Hugh, BP

          "The offended actually DOES make the determination. That is usually how many claims get filed."

          And in turn, everyone else made the determination that the offended should be fired.

          Here's the problem: when things like this happens over something that wasn't even $exist, it diminishes it when genuine harassment happens. It's counterproductive. Even according to the link, a woman that seems to know Adria even tweeted, "Honestly, I feel like this kind of crazy sh!t makes it harder for women to manage it tech."

          (1/2)

        • Uncle Hugh, BP

          (2/2)

          And it does. Do you know what the CEO, IT manager, and everyone else who isn't in HR (in other words, people that actually know programming and the operations of the company) will do after stuff like this happens? They scrutinize the resume of every woman that comes across their desk. They stop and say, "do we want to take the chance of her getting in her feelings over nothing, making us lose one of our best programmers or engineers, and having them go to our competitors?" Current employees avoid other female employees based on one woman and the slight that existed only in her head.

          When doing something as serious as what she did, with literal life-changing ramifications for other people, stop and use the thinking portion of your brain instead of the feeling portion before you react.

        • AfterMath

          "Do you know what the CEO, IT manager, and everyone else who isn't in HR (in other words, people that actually know programming and the operations of the company) will do after stuff like this happens? They scrutinize the resume of every woman that comes across their desk. They stop and say, "do we want to take the chance of her getting in her feelings over nothing, making us lose one of our best programmers or engineers, and having them go to our competitors?" Current employees avoid other female employees based on one woman and the slight that existed only in her head. "

          This. Right here. This is a problem. This is a serious problem.

          That's like an unfair burden you (or your fictional CEO) is placing onto the burdens of these women. And its an unfair judgement. I mean you just compared a woman "getting her feelings over noting" to "making us lose one of our best programmers or engineers". Totally avoiding the fact that the woman could be that best programmer/engineer. Also avoiding the fact that, like say a Randy Moss, sometimes the best player is a cancer in the locker room and its addition by subtraction.

          So basically what you're saying is that you're willing to have "Jordan rules" for your best talent and the women just have to deal with it. I hope that's not what you're saying, so please let me know where I'm misreading you.
          My recent post Triangle Trigonometry

        • Uncle Hugh, BP

          It has nothing to do with "Jordan Rules" or best talent. It has to deal with the comments not being $exist! And on top of that, going to her Twitter account, with thousands of followers, to out them before even saying anything to them.

          As I stated, if it was genuine harassment, I'd agree with you. If they were saying something like, "after this presentation, let's go to the bar, grab some of these female programmers and put our dongles in their ports!", then I'd agree with you. I'm not seeing it here.

        • Southerngyrl_

          Take your entire scenario and change it to a racial issue. Would you still feel the same? On here you'd probably say, oh yeah, sure. I doubt it though.

          Lets also be clear. Your determination that it wasn't sexual harassment is your own opinion and just that. Lets not state as a fact. Some people may say it was and some say it was not.

          Male privilege is an interesting thing. Must be nice to go through life with that mindset.

        • Uncle Hugh, BP

          "Take your entire scenario and change it to a racial issue. Would you still feel the same?"

          Yes, because it wouldn't be a racist issue, just as this wasn't a $exist issue. I can't even think of a equal race-based scenario. I guess it would be close if someone said, "you got a dark tan from going to that conference in Cali, you look like a black guy!" I wouldn't think that is r@cist. Even if I did, I would first say, "dude, not cool", before taking to the interwebs.

          Again, Show me how this is $exist, in which I'm assuming $exist means derogatory towards women in a $exual nature. How is big d!cks/big dongles $exist? How is the mere concept of having $ex $exist? It is lewd, as I said from the beginning, but show me $exist. That's why this talk of being $exist doesn't make sense, and stretching it to include r@pe is just nutty.

          "Your determination that it wasn't sexual harassment is your own opinion and just that. Lets not state as a fact."

          It is my opinion. Just as your opinion that she was harassed is your "own opinion and just that." Just as her opinion that she was being harassed was her's and she did something about it. Just as everyone else's opinion that thought she was inane and did something about it.

  • Smilez_920

    This incident is kind of like the whole Tracy Morgan “gay joke” incident. Half the groups of people were offended the other though people should just toughen up. Lucky for Tracy Morgan he get’s paid to tell jokes that cross or tip toe on the line, these men however do not. I think people get comfortable in their surroundings and forget were they are. It’s not like they were standing outside of the building smoking a cig and she walked by and over heard them, they were in the middle of the auditorium right behind her being rude. It’s like as a black man if two white guys were sitting behind you making racist jokes even if it wasn’t directed towards you, there would be an issue. I don’t know it just seems like some men get very up in arms when asked to be mindful of women and how their actions affect women. I think some men are confusing walking on eggshells with simple just being mindful at times.

    • Smilez_920

      I think that the word Misogyny at least on Twitter is thrown around like hot cakes at times. Not because there aren’t issues that definitely fall under the category, just because you know how the twittersphere goes and the discussion never turns out informal, just name calling, bashing etc…

      Idk if anyone should have been fired. They all basically got fired not because of the comment itself but the publicity around the comment. I’m sure both companies didn’t want to deal with any civil lawsuits.

  • Slim Jackson

    I love civil discourse.
    My recent post slimjackson: @princededwards bk

  • Young Heaux

    http://www.nwpublicemployeesdiversityconference.o

    If you haven't already read (skimmed through) "Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life," you need to. I bring it up here because it is pretty much perfectly applicable to what is goes on in male-female interactions on a regular basis as well, even in this conversation right now. You could read it and just switch out the black-white with women-men, and it is still true. This, as opposed to the "proper use" of the term misogyny, is what you and a lot of men need to be pondering–whether you are knowingly or unknowingly committing microaggressions towards women.

  • Disgusted

    Yeah…Forking a repo isnt sexual . its a term used in the popular social code sharing site Github. She decided in her ignorance to apply sexual meaning towards their words. A man lost his job. Uncool.

  • JustTheFacts

    The two guys were sitting next to each other having a private conversation. Granted she did manage to overhear what they were saying, but it wasn't directed towards her. They weren't even aware she could hear their PRIVATE conversation. Anyone who thinks that publicly humiliating these two men to incite "change" for women in the IT industry is deluded. A better course of action would be for her to turn around and tell them that she can hear their convo, and they might want to have those kind of conversations at another venue. Problem Solved. She has set back the advancement of women in the IT industry (which I am a part of). Most men won't admit this, but we probably wouldnt hire her. I think about the things most men say on any given day about myriad topics and any of them could be the catalyst for them to be victims of a situation like this. Men would rather have the peace of knowing they dont have to conform. Any guy that says otherwise is simply being PC for public appearances. That's not to say I don't want to see more women in our industry, it's just that people make decisions based on fear. The fear of saying the wrong thing around a woman in a professional setting is enough to make them hesitant to hire them. Adria Richards is NOT a victim. No one knowingly created a sexually tense hostile environment NOR were they informed that they were inadvertently doing so and given an opportunity to right their wrong. Instead she decided to make "examples" out of men…one who has a wife and three kids he can't provide for. I enjoy Slim Jackson as a writer, but your acquaintance with Ms. Richards has clouded you. This situation was handled poorly by her, she made a hasty emotional decision and this is the result. I also have to wonder….if it were two WOMEN behind her making lewd jokes that she "overheard" would we even be discussing this matter right now? Probably not. Nonetheless, the people targeting her, threatening her are sick. It doesn't take violence to get a point across.

  • JustTheFacts

    Also, people should check out some of the previous tweets by Ms. Richards which were in the exact same vein that she vilified these men for.

  • JustTheFacts

    I see alot of women talk about how they want "equality" in the workplace and other aspects of life. But I tend to see a number of situations where the motivation is to "get even" for past injustices rather than approaching the situation as the equal they wish to be seen as. Women get mad and say that were trying to make them conform, but I dont see it that way. Men as equals deal with situations a certain way, if you're looking for equality we somewhat assume you'll approach a situation in a similar manner that a male would (in a profession sense). These actions are purely based on emotion, particularly those of someone who sees themselves as some sort of freedom fighter for womens rights.

  • JustTheFacts

    Also, I wish the guys on this comment board would stop demeaning themselves. I'm assuming the majority of men on this board are grown. We all know good and well me make jokes like this on a regular basis with our friends. We'll probably keep making them until the day we die…any guy who has been privy to the conversations of women are aware that they make similar statements.

  • Jay

    You presume that she felt she could say 'knock it off guys, not cool' without the pair of them being totally offensive and lewd to her.

    The conversations weren't directly sexist but when blokes create a sexual context around women, there is always the subtext 'and we could force you to, if we wanted to' and it's a really uneasy situation.

    She was an idiot to post their photos.

    But saying she should have dealt as an equal, by telling them they were offensive, totally ignores the unequal situation she was in.

    Oh, and while I'm commenting – poor bloke for having to worry about what you say at work. Try worrying about what you wear, if you come across as too ball busting or too sweet and passive, the assumption that if you are promoted you must be sleeping with someone in management, misogynist attitudes that if you call people on you're told to grow a thicker skin, trying to manage caring for kids/aged parents with being committed to your job,,,,,,,,,,,,

  • https://www.facebook.com/sid.smith.1293 Sid Smith

    This is what bothers me about our current, murky sexual harassment rules for the workplace:

    • They are interpreted in a way that enables many people to OVERreact, as in the case of the "big dongle" joke, and they quash co-worker camaraderie and enjoyment.

    • When institutional gender-based discrimination and harassment occurs, people are permitted to ignore it, partially because the definition of harassment has been so watered down as to be almost meaningless, and partially because examples like the "big dongle" case paint all women with the "humorless asshole who we'd rather not hire or, if she's in trouble, keep on the team" brush.

    A couple quick examples of the latter:

    a) I have worked at several companies where, despite being management, I was paid less than men (whose skill levels and education were lower than mine), and was also treated as the garbage receptacle/janitor for tasks that no one wanted to do, especially administrative or low-level tasks inappropriate for a department director.

    b) I currently work at a company where no women are hired for positions beyond "senior developer." Currently I work under male bosses who are patently unqualified for their positions, skill-wise, but since my tech company dates back to the mid-20th century, an era when women were encouraged to stay home or at least forego rigorous STEM education, I and many other highly qualified female senior developers are reporting to male technical directors who could not write a line of code if their life depended on it.

    c) I started my career at a family owned software shop where the owner repeatedly encouraged me to quit and become a stripper. He also commented on my appearance, compared his wife unfavorably to me, and made repeated sexual overtures which I ignored. His brother got a female developer pregnant and SHE lost her job. He also used the f-word (slur for gay men) and called the grocery store most of you know as "Giant" by the name "Giant N-er" (slur for blacks).

    A year after hire, I lost my job, largely because I did not go along with his "humor" and make misogynistic, homophobic, and racist jokes. Unsurprisingly, the white men and small handful of white women who enjoyed the nasty jokes and repeated them kept their jobs despite error rates that were REMARKABLE in size and scope!

    So thanks, Adria Richards, for continuing the fine tradition among oppressed groups of calling out the most silly, non-offensive, non-institutional power-grabbing remarks possible, and turning them into national spectacles. In doing so, you have also helped the traditions of institutional racism, sexism, and misogyny continue, because your actions have helped convince managers and business owners that when a member of a minority group complains about real institutional discrimination, they are regarded as hypersensitive and frivolous.

  • https://www.facebook.com/sid.smith.1293 Sid Smith

    Sorry folks, this:

    "..your actions have helped convince managers and business owners that when a member of a minority group complains about real institutional discrimination, they are regarded as hypersensitive and frivolous."

    Should be this:

    "your actions have helped convince managers and business owners that when a member of a minority group complains about real institutional discrimination, their complaints should be ignored and ideally, they should be treated as hypersensitive and frivolous malcontents."