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PyCon 'Sexist Joke' Furore  
User currently offlineRussianJet From Belgium, joined Jul 2007, 7714 posts, RR: 21
Posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 1844 times:

I came across this news item on the BBC. Basically, one Adria Richards was at the PyCon developer conference, and took grave offence at allegedly sexist jokes about 'big dongles' and 'forking repos' by two guys behind her. Instead of turning round and letting them know she wasn't happy, she decided to tweet their photograph with a request to PyCon to come and deal with them.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21896442

Long story made short, one of the guys got fired. A guy with three kids to support got fired for making a pretty childish joke, because someone on an uber-precious moral crusade decided to plaster him all over the web instead of asking him to pack it in. Since then, her twitter account has gone bananas, and there is a lot of discussion going on in various corners of the web about what both sides of this silly story did.

Here is her blog, where she (selectively) has been allowing people to discuss events. Also her twitter:

http://butyoureagirl.com/14015/forki...s-dont-belong-at-tech-conferences/

https://twitter.com/adriarichards

From reading much of the debate, it seems that anyone who disagrees with her is a troll or a bully. Having read more, and also having read her twitter feed, I can quite honestly say that I've rarely if ever encountered such an unbelievably sanctimonious view of the world. I am thinking that people like her really shouldn't be allowed out on their own, as her skin is clearly about 0.5 of a micron thick.

She has subsequently been released by her company also, following the huge backlash. I guess there is some justice then, and maybe she'll think twice next time. I saw somewhere that she was previously happy to post a reply to someone's joke about the TSA fondling his nuts, stating that he should stuff socks in his pants or something.....anyway, it demonstrated rather huge hypocrisy.

I am also pretty amazed that the guy's company would fire him for such a stupid joke. I mean, there's a time and a place sure, but 'big dongles'?? You seriously want to fire someone for something as childish as that? I note that most of her defenders are claiming that if anyone is to blame for his firing it's his company, rather than the complainant. I'm inclined to disagree, as they were put in position by her overtly public method of complaint.

What say you, people?

[Edited 2013-03-22 07:44:53]


✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
35 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAesma From France, joined Nov 2009, 6844 posts, RR: 12
Reply 1, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 1821 times:

Pretty ridiculous story. Their jokes don't even warrant notice and I wouldn't call them sexist but sexual, unless I'm missing something. And if you're offended, say it then and there, especially in such a setting where there is no risk involved.

In the French senate a female senator felt offended the other day (rightly so) because while she was making a speech a male senator said "who's that chick ?", she put him in his place right away : "I give you the price of macho of the day".



New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20784 posts, RR: 62
Reply 2, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 1796 times:

She overreacted after a long month being a developer evangelist. (Poor her.) I've more of a problem with her violating the space of the two men in question by tweeting their photo with disparaging remarks about them, more than I am about them making a childish joke. If it made that much of a difference to her, she should have sent it as a private message to PyCon, instead of making a reputation-ruining federal case out of it. That her employer decided to can her for this episode says as much.

Now she has the pleasure of living with her name being identified with over-the-top reactionary views for the rest of her life. Any future employer will google her name and see her story pop up.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineRussianJet From Belgium, joined Jul 2007, 7714 posts, RR: 21
Reply 3, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 1783 times:

I really just can't get over her unebelievable sense of self-importance, and her absurd self-righteousness. From the end of her blog entry:

Quote:
Yesterday the future of programming was on the line and I made myself heard

Really? Because a couple of guys were being a bit puerile? Seriously??



✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
User currently offlinezckls04 From United States of America, joined Dec 2011, 1444 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 1764 times:

Quoting RussianJet (Reply 3):
I really just can't get over her unebelievable sense of self-importance, and her absurd self-righteousness. From the end of her blog entry:

Those are exactly the two adjectives that popped into my head. The comments below the article are even worse. It's telling that she doesn't actually quote the jokes in question but instead vaguely alludes to them to avoid anybody being able to criticize her actions. She can just say "you weren't there!".



If you're not sure whether to use a piece of punctuation, it's best not to.
User currently offlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17784 posts, RR: 46
Reply 5, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 1672 times:

[quote=RussianJet,reply=3][Really? Because a couple of guys were being a bit puerile? Seriously??/quote]
She has 10,000 followers and she's an evangelist  This is why I don't trust anyone that calls them-self an evangelist. Good on whomever fired her.



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10254 posts, RR: 26
Reply 6, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 1654 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

I saw a photo on main stage of a little girl who had been in the Young Coders workshop.

I realized I had to do something or she would never have the chance to learn and love programming because the ass clowns behind me would make it impossible for her to do so.


Um.

WHAT?



How can I be an admiral without my cap??!
User currently offlineRussianJet From Belgium, joined Jul 2007, 7714 posts, RR: 21
Reply 7, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 1646 times:

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 6):
Um.

WHAT?

   Quite. She seems so full of it, it's just incredible.



✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
User currently offlineseb146 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 11764 posts, RR: 15
Reply 8, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 1639 times:

Women go around talking about how they want to stand up for themselves and be independent and so forth which I am all for. But, what does this woman do? She tries to get the backing of the internet instead of standing up for herself. If two adults are having a private conversation before the meeting has started, what's the big deal? Tell them how you feel. Otherwise, be quiet. I hear plenty of conversations at school. I don't say anything because I only hear like two lines. I don't know the context.


Life in the wall is a drag.
User currently offlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10254 posts, RR: 26
Reply 9, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 1637 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

I honestly can't believe some of the stuff she wrote in that blog post. Here are some gems:

Well, that just happened this week but instead of shrinking down in my seat, I did something about it

Um. Actually you got other people to do something about it.

I know I don’t have to be a hero in every situation.

Hah!

Three things came to me: act, speak and confront in the moment.

I decided to do things differently this time and didn’t say anything to them directly.


OK then. Probably should have followed your first instinct.

Accountability was important. These guys sitting right behind me felt safe in the crowd. I got that and realized that being anonymous was fueling their behaviour. This is known as Deindividualization:

Deindividuation is a concept in social psychology that is generally thought of as the losing of self-awareness in groups. Theories of deindividuation propose that it is a psychological state of decreased self-evaluation and decreased evaluation apprehension causing antinormative and disinhibited behavior.

Deindividuation theory seeks to provide an explanation for a variety of antinormative collective behavior, such as violent crowds, lynch mobs, etc. Deindividuation theory has also been applied to genocide and been posited as an explanation for antinormative behavior online and in computer-mediated communications.


So this is a recognized psychological phenomenon, for which you got a guy fired.

For context, I’m a developer evangelist at a successful startup.

That means I’m an advocate for developers, male and female. I hear about demanding bosses with impossible deadlines for product launches and the overall experience of working at other startups firsthand.

I listen and offer suggestions, ideas and mentoring to help developers become problems solvers.


Hmmm. Not sure anyone would say you went about solving this problem in a constructive way.

There is something about crushing a little kid’s dream that gets me really angry.

Delusions of grandeur.

What has to change is that everyone must take personal accountability and speak up when they hear something that isn’t ok. It takes three words to make a difference:

“That’s not cool.”


Three words you failed to say.

Yesterday the future of programming was on the line and I made myself heard.

My lord. I'm just speechless.



How can I be an admiral without my cap??!
User currently offlineDoona From Sweden, joined Feb 2005, 3771 posts, RR: 13
Reply 10, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 1605 times:

Quote:
because the ass clowns behind me would make it impossible for her to do so.

Should somebody point out that "ass clown" is also derogatory slang for "homosexual"?

Cheers
Mats



Sure, we're concerned for our lives. Just not as concerned as saving 9 bucks on a roundtrip to Ft. Myers.
User currently offlineajd1992 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 1552 times:

Quoting Doona (Reply 10):
Should somebody point out that "ass clown" is also derogatory slang for "homosexual"?

Cheers
Mats

Is it?  


User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20784 posts, RR: 62
Reply 12, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 1541 times:

Quoting Doona (Reply 10):
Should somebody point out that "ass clown" is also derogatory slang for "homosexual"?

Good idea! It's scary that there are people out there getting paid to do some of the stuff she comes up with.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12855 posts, RR: 25
Reply 13, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 22 hours ago) and read 1533 times:

I'm not at all sure why a reference to genitalia and to sex acts in what was meant to be a private conversation are considered sexist.

To me sexism would be males saying females can't program well because they are females. BTW that isn't a hypothetical. Early in my career (mid-80s) a male was in a code review of code written by a woman and he said it was good work "for a woman". He was walked out the door within hours. The man was amazed that anyone found offense at the statement, but IMHO it was a textbook case of gender bias.

There are a lot of things my co-workers say that I overhear (and am forced to hear due to open-air cubicles) that upset me but they aren't meant to be public comments and they aren't relevant to work or co-workers so to me there's no basis for complaint. We're supposed to have the freedom of speech, aren't we?

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 9):
There is something about crushing a little kid’s dream that gets me really angry.

Of course that little kid had no idea any of this was going on, probably does now, and probably feels more self conscious now than before. Thanks, Adria!



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlineRussianJet From Belgium, joined Jul 2007, 7714 posts, RR: 21
Reply 14, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 1507 times:

Just as I thought it would be - not a single person so far coming down on her side.


✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
User currently offlineAirstud From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 2732 posts, RR: 3
Reply 15, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 13 hours ago) and read 1456 times:

"Women in technology need consistent messaging from birth through retirement they are welcome, competent and valued in the industry," she wrote on her blog.

Women who want to succeed in technology need to shut up and do the @!#&% work that shows they are capable of doing the job. (They have that in common with men who want to succeed in technology.)

What women very much need to not do is to stand up and whine, making a federal case out of things like this, and saying things like "Women need constant messaging that they are welcome, competent, and valued."

The ones who really are competent are the ones who will be valued; the ones who demand "constant messaging that they are welcome" while everyone else is actually working are the ones no one wants around.

End of telegram.



Pancakes are delicious.
User currently onlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15812 posts, RR: 27
Reply 16, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 13 hours ago) and read 1449 times:

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 6):
I saw a photo on main stage of a little girl who had been in the Young Coders workshop.

I realized I had to do something or she would never have the chance to learn and love programming because the ass clowns behind me would make it impossible for her to do so.

Ok so she's fighting the battle of gender equality by assuming that young women will need help to succeed in the industry and can't overcome any potential obstacles on their own?

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 9):
Accountability was important. These guys sitting right behind me felt safe in the crowd. I got that and realized that being anonymous was fueling their behaviour. This is known as Deindividualization:

Deindividuation is a concept in social psychology that is generally thought of as the losing of self-awareness in groups. Theories of deindividuation propose that it is a psychological state of decreased self-evaluation and decreased evaluation apprehension causing antinormative and disinhibited behavior.

Deindividuation theory seeks to provide an explanation for a variety of antinormative collective behavior, such as violent crowds, lynch mobs, etc. Deindividuation theory has also been applied to genocide and been posited as an explanation for antinormative behavior online and in computer-mediated communications.

Sort of like how this woman thought her abuse of social media would somehow get lost in a sea of people getting outraged over a joke. Slight miscalculation there.

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 9):
There is something about crushing a little kid’s dream that gets me really angry.

Translation: "Although I believe that women are just as good as men, young girls cannot make it without my help."

Quoting Doona (Reply 10):
Should somebody point out that "ass clown" is also derogatory slang for "homosexual"?

You're thinking of "ass ranger." Ass clown or ass hat is basically just a lighter, more humorous variant of asshole.
http://deadspin.com/5912832/ass-rang...e-athletes-shouldnt-say-on-twitter



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20784 posts, RR: 62
Reply 17, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 13 hours ago) and read 1447 times:

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 16):
You're thinking of "ass ranger."

  

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=ass%20clown

See definition #2 at the above link.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlinen229nw From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 1970 posts, RR: 32
Reply 18, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 1437 times:

Quoting Airstud (Reply 15):
Women who want to succeed in technology need to shut up and do the @!#&% work that shows they are capable of doing the job. (They have that in common with men who want to succeed in technology.)

What women very much need to not do is to stand up and whine, making a federal case out of things like this, and saying things like "Women need constant messaging that they are welcome, competent, and valued."

The ones who really are competent are the ones who will be valued; the ones who demand "constant messaging that they are welcome" while everyone else is actually working are the ones no one wants around.

End of telegram.

While I completely agree that what this woman did was beyond the pale, I do think that it should not be dismissed that

1.) girls get constant messages about what jobs and study subjects aren't expected of them from birth on through adulthood

and

2.) if they choose to work in some of these professions, subjects and environments, they will most often be subjected to constant assumptions that they are less competent (or got the job by sleeping with someone, or are the secretary, etc.), constant snide jokes, and they will generally need to work harder than their male colleagues for the same recognition, promotions, etc.

Now, there are more and less productive and constructive ways to help rectify these situations, and she chose a really stupid one. Nonetheless, it is important not to dismiss in blanket terms people who point out these things as whiners, etc.



It's people like you what cause unrest!
User currently offlineseb146 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 11764 posts, RR: 15
Reply 19, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 1415 times:

I bet this same woman would "report" any man in the produce section talking about how big the melons are or at Home Depot talking about a long hose.


Life in the wall is a drag.
User currently offlineBestWestern From Hong Kong, joined Sep 2000, 7264 posts, RR: 57
Reply 20, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 1 hour ago) and read 1382 times:

The ultimate example of a Keyboard warrior.


The world is really getting smaller these days
User currently offlineQuokkas From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (1 year 8 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 1365 times:

Quoting RussianJet (Reply 14):
Just as I thought it would be - not a single person so far coming down on her side.

Perhaps you posted in the wrong forum. Try http://geekfeminism.org/2013/03/22/s...ent-of-support-for-adria-richards/   

Let's face it, it is highly probable that the majority of posters on A.net are male. Very few indicate in their profiles that they are female. Do members of one sex ever fully understand what is going on in the minds of the other, given thousands of years of social conditioning?

Not that I think she has a case. I wasn't here and whatever is posted in any personal blog is one-sided. She may have been over-reacting but equally the guys may have been creeps. Who knows?

I did read one of the "quality" on-line newspapers and they posted a photo, presumably taken at the event, showing a sea of men. It was impossible to see a woman in the crowd. Even if we assume the photo was carefully selected, it does show how few women were present. In such an environment, evangelist or not, someone may feel uncomfortable with raising the issue in person. Tweeting so that the organisers can see a possible problem is one thing: publishing photographs when claims have not been substantiated is tantamount to libel.

The reality is that "sexism" is alive and well. Not only do you hear derogatory remarks and jokes made about men, but women are just of capable of making assumptions about men simply because they are men.

It is a shame that some careers have been adversely affected by possible ill-considered remarks and an equally ill-considered response. Perhaps the lesson to be learnt is that just because "social networking" is immediate, we should not immediately use it in every situation. Perhaps it is better to reflect before keying something and clicking submit.

[Edited 2013-03-24 08:29:42]

User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12855 posts, RR: 25
Reply 22, posted (1 year 8 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 1365 times:

Quoting Airstud (Reply 15):
Women who want to succeed in technology need to shut up and do the @!#&% work that shows they are capable of doing the job. (They have that in common with men who want to succeed in technology.)

One thing I like about the tech sector is that it is almost completely a meritocracy, and so the men and women I work with are excellent. The career path expects a lot from a person, and over time only the most committed of both genders remain in it.



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlineRussianJet From Belgium, joined Jul 2007, 7714 posts, RR: 21
Reply 23, posted (1 year 8 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 1351 times:

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 21):
Perhaps you posted in the wrong forum.

 

  

To be fair, their statement was nowhere near as enraging as I thought it would be. They are certainly correct that those who have been lobbing racist comments and threats of violence at her are an utterly reprehensible bunch - there's certainly no excuse for that sort of behaviour.

Their support and solidarity is rather predictable, and I can get the fact that they support her speaking up about what they think to be inappropriate behaviour, but the thing is that they have chosen to totally ignore the fact that the manner in which she did so was so completely inappropriate and over the top.

All in all though, more balanced than I feared.



✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
User currently offlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17784 posts, RR: 46
Reply 24, posted (1 year 8 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 1342 times:

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 21):
Even if we assume the photo was carefully selected, it does show how few women were present. In such an environment, evangelist or not, someone may feel uncomfortable with raising the issue in person

These aren't MMA fighters, or a sausage party at Hooters--I can't imagine who would feel uncomfortable around them. They're more scared of woman than vice versa 



E pur si muove -Galileo
25 RussianJet : No, probably not. I do know one thing though - I know plenty of females who probably have a far dirtier sense of humour than me, and who according to
26 Post contains links and images Acheron : I wonder if people like her who like to label everything as "sexism" realize they only cheapen the term and do a disservice to those who are actually
27 RussianJet : If she really did right that then she is more stupid than I initially thought. In fact, that is actually pretty offensive. Racism is racism, whoever
28 Post contains images MaverickM11 : What would I do without twitter
29 BMI727 : I wonder what would happen if someone punched her in the face and claimed they were just treating here like they would treat a man...
30 RussianJet : It's a real shame she doesn't have the guts to even answer a couple of tricky questions on her blog. I left a long post in the discussion there which
31 dl021 : If men are going to be castigated and exiled for making jokes of a sexual and childish nature then I'm going to start practicing counting trees.
32 Post contains images yowza : What a total mess over nothing. I work in technology and I know that women can feel out of place and certain men don't make things easier but this has
33 Maverick623 : Nah, he probably got fired because his boss didn't like him anyways. It would take a lot more than the word of some lunatic feminazi to fire a comput
34 Flighty : What planet do you live on? If you get called a sexist or a racist, and your company is seen to condone actual behaviors that gave rise to a complain
35 RussianJet : What, like a world-wide internet shit storm perhaps?
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