Saturday, May 20, 2006

Sexism is still rampant

As if those of us on the receiving end didn't know that. This last week, I've had several encounters with sexism that have driven me crazy. I have yelled at my iPod and turned red at an event out of anger and had all manner of other reactions. I think my frustration and anger come not just from the specific incident, but also from the fact that the specific incident happened at all. I can't believe that there are still people who believe that women are lesser being and who directly express that view.

I wrote before about the Diggnation podcast and how sexist it was. I started listening to another podcast, based in part on a friend's recommendation and on my own knowledge of the show's hosts, people I'd seen on tv back when there was TechTV. Well, no more. The last two shows have both had moments of such horrid sexism, I refuse to listen to them. The first incident happened a couple of weeks ago. The show began with a discussion of some women gamers who were being sponsored and put up in a house in Sweden. The show's hosts and guests (all men) very quickly lapsed into a whole fantasy thing where they wondered if the women were hot and if they would have pillow fights. I was listening to this on the road and was yelling at the dashboard, not a pretty sight. I was so mad, I went and made a comment on their blog, which of course, no one noticed or commented on and I believe I was the only woman to comment.

Then, a colleague suggested that we don't need any more women in tech and me and another woman and a guy across the table went on the offensive. When only 20% of our staff is women, I don't think I'd be saying we don't need any more women. That whole conversation just added fuel to my fire. For more about the lack of women in science and tech, go read Zuska.

Just the other day, I was giving the podcast another chance and it was going swimmingly. They even had a woman on the show. Then, they were discussing the MIT $100 laptop initiative. They couldn't understand what they might be used for. I meant, what point was a laptop without the internet. They completely failed to understand that the initiative was for 3rd world countries where they have nothing and any equipment is a good thing. Then they went on about getting the internet on these things and what would they be using it for. And then they said it. They (mostly schoolchildren, which they didn't get) would be using it for porn. Ugh. I stopped listening right then. And I will never listen again. Their spoiled silicon valley frat boy routine is not for me and it pisses me off that this is what passes for "tech news" these days.

This is why we need more women in tech. They provide a perspective that is obviously missing from these shows.