Tag Archives: Collaboration

Men, Women, Tech: Building structure that acknowledges how things are + how they could be

I have a hard time watching women cut other women down to size.

For me it’s painful because I recognize that the hardest thing to overcome in any group of humans is when an insider or influencer calls out someone else as “not a real [line in the sand of your choosing].”

I wrote a more personal piece about this back in April when I addressed my discomfort with Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign.

In that model the very thing that’s supposed to ensure legitimacy — hey, this is someone who’s been there and done that, truly one of us — is used as a weapon against or seperator of other people in the group.

For women in American culture this is a constant problem and it’s embedded in a variety of forums, including the workplace.

As a member of the startup / tech ecosystem, I think about these things a lot. Even in a very far forward part of the economy the concepts of access + “how it’s done / what’s normal” are still strong currents, and instutionalized “isms” are at play. I won’t get into a huge discussion of how that works here, since there are other people doing it better (for a thought provoking, but NSFW [language + trigger warning] run down, check out @Shanley’s piece on how women in tech end up reinforcing patriarchy. I don’t agree with everything she has to say, but there are some indictments there that are hard to refute.

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Collaborating not dividing

Wow I’m really rocking this whole blogging thing, huh?

 

I’ve been working on a bunch of stuff on the side which has been exhausting, but here are a few things that have been bouncing around my head lately:

1. I’m voting for President Obama.

There’s plenty of talk about what he’s doing wrong, but if you grade him across a wide variety of issues he’s working hard and succeeding at things that matter. For example, in my book he gets: a B+ on the economy/jobs, D+ on civil liberties, B- on civil rights (including marriage equality), C on welfare (the corporate kind), an F on campaign finance reform.

He’s far from perfect, and for those people who accuse him of going back on ’08 campaign promises…well, he doesn’t work in a vacuum and if you’re going to hold him accountable for, let’s say, escalating national debt, then hold your  congressional rep or U.S. Senator’s feet to the fire too, not to mention all those private interests that are constantly advocating mind numbingly stupid ideas like getting involved in regional conflicts in the Middle East (which has NEVER EVER been a simple win/loss kind of idea). No president in the history of this country has been good or evil, or right or wrong about everything. Think: Nixon and Watergate, Nixon and China.

2. We owe it to ourselves to listen to each other more often, no matter our cultural or political views….as long as we agree to say why we believe what we believe. “I love Obama” is the same phrase as “Obama is a commie” unless you can say why you believe it to be true. And for the record, I, like a lot of people, am sick of one of the most pro-capitalism pro-business presidents in the modern era being called a communist.

3. Positive change comes from our own communities and it comes from working on NOW and not waiting for a perfect opportunity/situation to occur. Build joy in your own life and the life of those around you.

4. If the apocalypse is coming (and who knows, some days it feels closer than others) than we might as well go out with a smile on our lips and kindness in our hearts.