By now, you may have seen the street harassment video that Rob Bliss Creative published this week, showing a young white woman walking around New York City for 10 hours, while the filmmaker walks secretly in front of her with a camera shooting the oodles of harassment she receives on the street. It’s important to note that a lot of folks think that the (wonderful) organization, Hollaback!, created the video—to clarify, Hollaback! was approached by Rob, who had full creative control.
A lot of women, myself included, shuddered and felt nauseous watching at least parts of the video, if not the whole thing. There are plenty of others who don’t see what the big deal is with the simple “hello, beautiful” kind of approaches. And then, there are folks—again, myself included— upset with the racial and ethnic under- and overtones that get sort of glossed over in both mainstream discussions, and mainstream feminist discussions, when we talk about street harassment. There’s a lot to unpack, here.
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.
At my latest digital-tools-for-social-good workshop in New York yesterday, everyone wanted to know the ins and outs of metrics and measurement. I interviewed social media metrics Beth Kanter recently, and that interview provides a great intro to the concepts of measurement. (I highly recommend her book, Measuring the Networked Nonprofit.) But, I also realized it might be useful to walk through setting up some simple measurements with a free/low-cost tool that I love,Rowfeeder.
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.
While I was attending the Awesome Summit in Boston, I met a young woman,Arikia Millikan, an editor at Wired and a budding entrepreneur who’s dreaming up ways to connect people with new platforms to make their voices heard. We started talking about how the journey of doing work that makes us feel passionate is not always the easiest one. I let her in on a secret of my nearly ten years in consulting for the do-gooders of the world: “I got a dog. Saved my sanity.”
BlogHer, that fabulous and conveniently named network and conference of women who are bloggers, hosts a yearly day long career development day called Pathfinder Day. This year, on August 2nd, I’m leading the Change Agent track with Cheryl Contee. We promise, one way or another, your life will be changed if you come spend a day with us. Hee.
Normally the registration is $79 ($79!! What a bargain!), but BlogHer knows that that’s steep for many women who could really use this time to figure out their next steps in their online careers. So, they’ve given us each 2 passes to give away– if you’re interested, leave a comment on this post below, and I’ll pick 2 women at random. You don’t have to leave your life story or anything, but if you’re not someone I normally travel with in my circles, it’d be great to learn a little about why you’d like to attend, and why a free pass would be extra useful for you.
Otherwise, if you can swing it, and you’re ready, join us on August 2nd.
It was a banner weekend for gender-washing on the Internet. First up: anotherwise decent article in the New York Times on Ellen Pao’s discrimination suit — a lawsuit that’s threatening to shake up Silicon Valley bro culture, thankfully — started out by erasing women’s contributions to the birth of the Internet. “Men invented the Internet.” Line 1, paragraph 1. Men.