I knew this post was coming…someone who did not appreciate the views that were expressed in the outside circle session on the lack of women speakers at Pod Camp Boston. I knew it was coming because she posted earlier that “self hate is not sexy”. In her post about the circle she said:
Basically, I feel that by considering some aspect of who you are a hindrance to progress, you are committing self-hate, and really, that’s #notagoodlook.
So, a different viewpoint on that session. From first read, I’d say that this different viewpoint is from someone who has been fortunate enough not to have experienced what some of us have in our careers. I hope for her sake that she never does experience this wall, that she is able to get by on her self-confidence alone.
Problem is, that probably won’t happen. And because she refuses to acknowledge that there is a high statistical probability that people will marginalize her because of her gender and her race, she won’t recognize when it happens to her. And she won’t have the tools and skills to counteract those artificial barriers.
My colleague Dave blogged about this yesterday. He has a really good post about stereotyping. We all do it, its part of how we build our world view. The key in a global society is to recognize that our world view is not everyone’s world view. Figuring out how other cultures act and think is vital to building a truly connected world. And isn’t that what social media is all about?
I do think that the blogger brings up a good point. You can’t move forward if all you can see is the negative. Very true. Also, the comment about white boys being the minority now was ridiculous, and that should have been addressed. However, discounting the negative is also a zero sum game. It makes you an unintentional partner in that marginalization of the “other”. Just because you have been able to get by on your talent alone does not mean everyone else has been as fortunate.
Also, what is sexy? I never want to be considered sexy at work. It is a hindrance to me, just as my Southern accent is. I just want to be the smartest and most technical. I am the happiest at work when I can geek out and forget all about my gender. Fortunately that happens a lot where I am now. But the idea that speaking about hard issues or sharing stories about negative things we have experienced could be sexy or non-sexy just baffles me. What is sexy? What is attractive? As women, are we “supposed” to only be attractive or sexy?
For me, culturally women are the ones that do all the hard, dirty work. And I’m fortunate to be with a man who thinks a smart, techie, passionate, controversial woman is sexy.
How can we move this to neutral? Maybe we need to find a way to capture that self-confidence, while at the same time building networks so when the inevitable happens there are tools available to help.
I’m still thinking about the language part of this, because I am certain that word – sexy- means different things to women depending on their age, nationality, culture, professinal field, etc. How do we get to neutral if we use the same word but it means something different to all of us? And that’s just women, do men have different connotations for sexy? They must, they call software sexy and I will NEVER understand that.
One thing for sure, the conversation has to keep happening. That’s part of why The Working Mother Experience book was written at EMC, to open the conversation of what its like to be a working mother in a high stress high tech company. I don’t want to live in a flat world where we all see the same view. I want to be in a connected, messy world. One where I can learn from everyone’s point of view.