Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Frustration

I'm not really an open-sourcer myself, so I am really far removed from this brouhaha that's going on in the Ruby coding community. But I'm plugged in to the happenings on the inter-tubes, and apparently there was a big thing recently over a talk given at the Golden Gate Ruby Conference, which is a conference held in the Bay Area about a development platform called Ruby which is really useful and rapidly increasing in popularity.

This dude gave a talk where an analogy of databases:porn was made through the entire presentation, be-thonged women in numerous pictures included.

The kicker is, when some people (not all women) objected to the nature of the presentation....entire hordes of people said, "get over yourselves and get some sense of humor."

Since I'm really not involved in this community at all, I'm not going to say much more because I don't know anything about the players involved, but just reading about this from the sidelines makes me really sad.

Really? Really? This is your title page? Is this for real?

This wasn't even the only bare ass in this presentation. I think, given that I *do* have a good sense of humor, I might have been able to handle this title page, maybe, if I were at a journal club with a bunch of my friends only. MAYBE. Now that I think about it, actually probably not. But I know I would not be ok with seeing this at a conference, however edgy it is supposed to be. Sigh. Sigh Sigh. Imagine being in a room with a few hundred men, and a handful of women, and watching this talk. Wtf. I'm sad. So sad.

25 comments:

PhysioProf said...

That's fucking horrible.

PhizzleDizzle said...

I know, right? WTF.

ScienceGirl said...

It would be so tempting to leave the room, slamming the door. Gah! What can possibly be the appropriate response to shit like that?

GirlPostdoc said...

Oh my god. I can't believe that. I'm so sorry that you have to endure this shit. But can you make an official complaint to the conference organizers. This is no way to attract women into the field.

Amanda@Lady Scientist said...

What in the world would ever give people the idea that it's ok to have this as their title slide at professional conference?!? That's just totally inappropriate. This is offensive. This isn't someone's rowdy party; it's a professional meeting.

PhizzleDizzle said...

SG, I don't know what I would have done if I were there. It certainly would leave a bad taste in my mouth, particularly if there not universal discomfort on the part of my female AND male colleagues.

GP, Fortunately I was not at this conference, I am just plugged into the happenings of this community and have been reading about it online. It still appalls me.

Amanda, open-sourcers are kind of on the edge and some of them will tell you that it's not supposed to be a totally professional conference and they want to be edgy and out there, and that's why this is ok. They're still wrong.

chall said...

Seriously?

that is just yet another way of telling everyone that we shouldn't take them seriously.... (the whole "no humour thing is just really offensive" and that title slide doesn't even have a proper ass on it.)

One would be tempted to draw an analogy between porn and fake - maybe it never occurred to them that if their lovely thing is like porn; it means it is a fantasy, not real and just fake. how's that for an analogy?

Toaster Sunshine said...

Solution:

New law mandates each registered attendee at any conference anywhere in the United States will be given 1 Official Throwing Tomato. Male presenters are advised to wear cups.

Psych Post Doc said...

Ugh, so enraging. How can people still think that objectifying women = edgy and cool. It's so not!

ScientistMother said...

That is fucking pathetic. Sadly I am not surprised. There have been numerous articles about rampant sexual harassment etc in the computing world primarily due to the small percentage of women.. I have no idea how to deal with this, other than lodging an official complaint. the conference organizors could be charged with harassment or creating an unwelcome environment?

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

Ewww, ick

One of the techs in my PhD lab once put slides of scantily clad ladies into his lab talk, to make the male postdocs laugh. The (male) PI laughed too the first time, then at the second slide he looked at the women's faces, and after the talk he told the guy (in private) never to do it again.

Nicky said...

Holy crap. How did I miss hearing about this?

One bawdy joke among colleagues that you know very well is totally fine with me. But this sort of presentation, in public, is definitely not okay. It has nothing to do with humor and everything to do with large audiences and societal norms. This is the problem with working in an industry with a bunch of the least socially-aware men in the universe.

I guess "sad" would be one word for how I feel about it. "Pissed" would be another word. Unfortunately, "not surprised" also applies....

Nicky said...

... and now I've gone and read a bunch more about it, and I'm even MORE angry. Did you see the presenter's weak-ass post-presentation "apology," where he says that if you didn't want to see porn, you shouldn't have attended his technical talk, and where he blames women for "choosing" to be offended? WTF?

Honestly, there are days where I wonder what the hell is wrong with the CS community, which seems to have made no progress at all on gender issues over the last 50 years.

PhizzleDizzle said...

Nicky, I know, isn't it terrible? I waver between reading all I can about it and getting pissed and trying to leave it alone so I can concentrate on what I'm working on. But it's sooooo depressing. I have been fortunate in my career so far to not have to deal with this type of behavior very much, but this is overwhelming me with sadness that this even exists. I mean, wtf. Why is CS lagging so far behind? Why would ANYONE think this is ok to present to an audience of 200 people assembled from all over? And why would you not be chastened when you realize you've made a mistake, and say something like, "I'm sorry you chose to be offended by this?" I don't get it. I really don't...

Ohhhhh, getting worked up.

The positive result of this is apparently there is a new inititiative/community coming out meant to be friendly to newbies and to a diverse community, that doesn't have nerd pissing contests, and is generally not trying to be "edgy" (i.e. jerky) as a direct result of this fiasco.

JLK said...

Ya know, I think I would have been okay with it had the title page also included a naked guy with a hand over his you-know-what.

Sex takes 2. If you're going to use sex to be edgy, let's at least use equal-opportunity exploitation. Using a title page that implies using this program or whatever it is is akin to fucking someone in the ass really doesn't make any sense to me.

But beyond that, using only objectified women alienates the women in the field and in the audience. It implies that they don't belong there.

I wonder if this guy had used some Thunder from Down Under men in his presentation as well if the reaction would still be the same. If it were me, I think I would have seen it as humor in that case and not as offensive.

Frozone said...

Hey Phizzle, I agree with you. I am pretty easy-going and a forgiving person and can see how this was supposed to be funny, but, given widely accepted fact that women are a minority in computer science, this guy made a decision that was in really poor taste. If you are going to demean someone for the purposes of humour, use yourself as the victim, not a minority group!!!!

Gail Carmichael said...

Agree. Frig.

Mrs. CH said...

Wow. First, for some reason I missed this, so sorry if I repeat anything others have said.

I guess they're going with the idea that sex sells - and maybe stereotypical computer geeks (who are of course male :P) would eat that shit up?

That's really really poor form, and at a conference no less?? Damn. I think I have a good "sense of humour" about things like this, but this is WAY over the top and out of line.

Mrs. CH said...

I want to add that I agree with JLK - if they wanted to go for "humor" then adding sexual images of men would have gotten that point across. The fact that they ONLY had women in the presentation is the problem. Sigh.

Ambivalent Academic said...

Gag.

Everyone else already made the relevant points so I'm only going to add that that guy is a total douchebag if he then followed it with a back-handed "apology".

Ambivalent Academic said...

Does anyone else find it ironic that on slide 8 he uses an image of a guy in bed with several scantily clad women to illustrate that the software can interact with "multiple partners" (I think), but then underscores that with a bullet that reads "no discrimination"?

PhizzleDizzle said...

AA, that picture was my least favorite of the whole presentation. I didn't even think of the irony aspect, I was so disgusted!

Rebecca said...

I was horrified when I read about this, and I'm still horrified just thinking about it. The thing is, there is so much actual humor out there in the world without even having to go in a direction that is so inappropriate.

Off the top of my head I can think of several better analogies: What about superheroes? What about athletes? Either of those could have been quite clever and humorous and carried the same points, without devaluing 50% of the population.

Feminist Chemists said...

This is outrageous and totally sick. These dudes are such tools. And the ironic truth is that most of them probably haven't had sex in the last 10 years.

Gee, I wonder why there are so few women in computer science? I am a chemist, but had heard that the open source community was dominated by sexist tools like this guy here. It makes me so mad that I really want to find this Matt guy and punch him in the face repeatedly.

PhizzleDizzle said...

Rebecca - I know. It's times like this I am depressed about being in this field - will it ever get better?

FemChem - wait til you see his "apology". it makes the whole thing even worse!