I started a Tumblr blog to collect stories of violence committed against women who refused men’s advances (full background story here), and 24 hours into this project, we’ve received some incredible sets of traffic and engagement numbers. Put your nerd pants on, kids, we’re going for a ride.
Really don’t think I’ve ever participated in a project that got this sheer kind of volume right away. Read more →
So many powerful pieces to cover in the wake of the horrifying shootings in Santa Barbara on Friday night–to me, the most critical issue here is not to call this event a lone-gunman kind of tragedy, but rather the shocking result of a blend of cultures that glorify both violence and a horrendous version of American masculinity that is impossible for men and people on the masculine spectrum to uphold. They are breaking apart–not because feminism is pulling them down, but because our collective cultural response to a feminist worldview that celebrates all genders is to blame things like this on the “feminizing” of our culture.
I ache, deeply, for a world where men, boys and masculine folk are released from the cultural constructs that are tearing them up, as much as I wish the same for women, girls, feminine and androgynous folk. Elevating the status of women is not a zero-sum game: everyone does better, when everyone does better, as Jim Hightower’s dad has said.
Now, your required reading: Read more →
If you’ve not been following along in the latest brouhaha concerning sexism and the tech industry, this week saw a monster of a flame war spring up around conduct at a tech conference. Many other terrific bloggers have summed up what’s been happening, but let me offer a set of bullet points and links to bring everyone up to speed…
There’s a lot of chatter about Sheryl Sandberg‘s new book and effort, Lean In, going around the Interwebs this weekend. The premise of Sandberg’s work seems to be that women currently don’t have all that they need to be ultimately successful in their professional lives: we don’t speak up enough, we have biological clocks and workplaces that don’t deal well with those, and a variety of other gender barriers. Sandberg wants to build women up to places where they can overcome those barriers, and build a social movement along the way. The book won’t come out til March 10th, and review copies have been hard to come by. (I haven’t tried, for the record, that’s just the word in the backchannels where I hang out.) Thus, it’s difficult to make deep commentary, so my thoughts here are based primarily on the article in the New York Times, a few other other blog posts online, and private conversations with colleagues over email.
Trouble’s brewing in Germany. No, it’s not the euro crisis; it’s the good kind of trouble: Feminism is finding new life in networked voices online. Last week, a German blogger named Maike Hank put out a simple, defiant call to end harassment and daily sexism with her post, “This Is Not Normal.” It resonated deeply with many on Twitter, and people like Nicole von Horst started sharing their own stories: “The doctor that patted my ass, as I lay in the hospital after an attempted suicide.” That’s when Anne Wizorek, founder of the blogkleinerdrei and digital media consultant (and, disclaimer, a very good friend of mine), recognized what was happening, and suggested a hashtag to capture the stories: #aufschrei (#outcry). And then all hell broke loose when an article came out in the magazine Stern stating that Rainer Brüderle, Germany’s minister for economics and technology, had allegedly sexually harassed a journalist.
What happens when creeps post creepy sexual pictures publicly on social websites, link to their real identities, and then someone decides to collect those real identities all in one place? All internet hell breaks loose, apparently.
Anyone, especially a prominent guy in tech and investing, who makes a call for newly-minted Yahoo! CEOMarissa Mayer to “beat the living crap out of the Old Boy Network” is both going to get my attention and likely win my heart. It’s exciting when women working in information industries, who are on the front lines daily fighting for gender equity in tech and media, see a dude jump in feet-first with ideas on making women’s visibility and contributions primary issues. And, to boot, Dave McClure is well-known for supporting numerous women-led startups in entrepreneurship circles where women are leaders and primary participants. All of these pieces are Very Good Things.
That’s right! Me, who never wins anything! Planned Parenthood awards all kinds of designations each year, and for my work on Planned Parenthood Saved Me, they’ve given me their first-ever 2012 Social Media award. I’m honored!
Here are the remarks I shared at the award luncheon today:
First, thank you Planned Parenthood, not only for your health care and advocacy, but for championing women without fail, with what seems like without compromise. That’s rare in our political climate. Planned Parenthood has successfully negotiated that emotional connection we all feel to the work they do, whether that’s through their clinics or their advocacy, and turned it into a relationship. They’ve embraced social media, both their own properties and the wider world’s conversations.
But also, I’m sharing this award with all the women who shared their stories on Planned Parenthood Saved Me. It’s a crying shame that we live in a world where this is an act of bravery, but that’s what it was. The women that said, “I would have bled to death if it weren’t Planned Parenthood,” or “Planned Parenthood’s staff were the only people who understood me after I was assaulted,” or “Planned Parenthood found my cancer.” That’s what you do. That is your work, and we thank you.
Which is the last thing I want to share– I really want people to understand that PP Saved Me blew up not because Rachel Maddow read from it on her show, or that it was in the Washington Post and a dozen other major major outlets. More than half the traffic to the site came before any major media mention, and that traffic came from Facebook, Twitter & Tumblr.
Women sharing their stories with one another made the difference her. Our stories matter, more than ever.
If you want to learn more about how the Planned Parenthood Saved me campaign worked, check out this 10-minute talk I gave at Personal Democracy Forum: “Don’t Mess with Our Boobs: Ad-Hoc Networks and Online Power.“