denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
Denise ([staff profile] denise) wrote2012-03-23 09:34 am

A heartening example of the status quo being challenged

Readers of the Geek Feminism blog will have already seen that this week was a disheartening week to be a woman in tech, with not one but at least three instances of being reminded that to a nonzero number of people in the tech world, I am valued more for my bra size than for my brain size. This is not, sadly, unusual, but this time on the Sexism Merry-Go-Round, I was pleased to see the script play out a little differently in one of those cases.

Long story short, the company Sqoot advertised a hackathon in extremely sexist terms, and a number of the hackathon's sponsors acted swiftly and decisively to express their displeasure. When the issue was not resolved to their satisfaction, they then pulled their sponsorship, with statements denouncing Sqoot's actions. Examples include:

* Cloudmine, a company providing backend for mobile apps, pulled their sponsorship and posted About Sexism in Tech (which I felt was an excellent post, and could probably be used as a textbook example of how to write an apology post);

* Heroku, a cloud application platform, investigated and pulled their sponsorship;

* Apigee, a data platform for mobile apps, pulled their sponsorship;

* MongoHQ, a hosted platform for using MongoDB, began with discussion and moved to pulling their sponsorship

Local area user groups also made strong statements against Sqoot's actions, which were also great to hear.

It seems like every time this happens -- and shit like this keeps fucking happening -- the discussion gets derailed into an endless series of explanations about why shit like this really is a problem and why exhortations for women to lighten up are never an appropriate response. Today, I am pleased to see so many voices challenging "brogrammer" culture and speaking up to say that casual sexism and the marketing of women as a "perk" of a hackathon is Not Okay.

I'm also really, really encouraged at how many of those comments are coming from men. It's easy, sometimes, for me to forget that there are so many male allies out there who are just as frustrated by this crap as I am. Thank you to all the awesome men out there who have my back, and thank you to the companies who refused to even passively support this kind of behavior.
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[personal profile] green_grrl 2012-03-23 02:38 pm (UTC)(link)
Thanks for sharing the Cloudmine post! Wonderfully said.
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[personal profile] green_grrl 2012-03-23 02:52 pm (UTC)(link)
It even creates, in the comments thread, a safe space for saying Yes This with a minimum of ignorant comments, where comment space elsewhere are full of Women Are Too Sensitive. That just gets ... exhausting.
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[personal profile] jjhunter 2012-03-23 02:53 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you for covering this -- heartening indeed!

(And on a side note, when I went to Geek Feminism I also ran into a post about a very creative solution to the problem of a workplace IRC channel bot that inserted 'that's what she said' randomly into conversation: What she really said: Fighting sexist jokes the geeky way! The post absolutely made my day.)
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[personal profile] sophie 2012-03-23 04:19 pm (UTC)(link)
That article link doesn't go to the right place for me, but it's not your fault - I think something must be weird with the site. I managed to read it by looking at Google's cache, but that's not going to be around forever and I can't see where else the article might be mirrored.
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[personal profile] dharma_slut 2012-03-23 07:27 pm (UTC)(link)
I think that LImbaugh did us all a favor, in a way. Right now, there is a very cohesive and enormous network of women who are so sensitised to this shit and so ready to speak up about it.
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[personal profile] owl 2012-03-23 08:06 pm (UTC)(link)
I've been pleased to notice that a lot of guys I know in the tech industry in real life have been noticing "brogrammer" culture and going, wow, that's kind of immature and sexist. And I do work at a "work hard, play hard" shop, which you might expect to slant that way.
owl: (smudgey)

[personal profile] owl 2012-03-23 08:08 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, and if you read the original flyer, it uses ablist language as well ("Nothing lame"). Just generally ick.
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[personal profile] asciident 2012-03-23 09:07 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, geek industries. Geeklist went on feminism fail this week, too.

Thanks for the links, though; hadn't heard about this one.

[personal profile] rho 2012-03-23 10:44 pm (UTC)(link)
I like how in the comments of the Cloudmine post, the most egregious troll ("Dmitry") is getting soundly and completely ignored.
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[personal profile] lassarina 2012-03-24 10:37 pm (UTC)(link)
That is fantastic. Well done on the former sponsors' part.

don't make fun of brogrammers

(Anonymous) 2014-04-21 09:03 pm (UTC)(link)
You should not make fun of "brogrammers" because not everyone knows the meaning of the word and you find yourself insulting an indian who could consider it an ironisation of his spelling (saying "b" instead of "p").. and then YOU might be the next person doing the sexism. Cheers.