A Diversity Follow Friday Challenge

Yesterday I got excited to try the newest version of the Codekit text editor, only to get to the bottom of the product page and see a bunch of quotes about the app, some fake, all but two from men (or cats). The only two women were represented like so:

Women once again represented at non-technical accessories

All my excitement left and I was once again annoyed that the only representations of women was as non-technical accessories. Especially after attending a conference full of 800 technical women the weekend before.

So I went on a little Twitter crusade:

It turned out I wasn’t the only one who had noticed the problem, but I was the first to say something.

After a few hours, Bryan added two more women to the line up but he seemed a little put out about it. I give him points for responding quickly, but demerits for 1) not taking down the offensive quotes and 2) he doesn’t seem to understand why it was a problem in the first place. 

It felt like he was just appeasing the masses to avoid bad publicity. But hey, you gotta start somewhere. A while later, another guy chimed in on the ‘character assassination train:

Interesting that Guy thinks empathy is ‘in no way related’ to his statement. Empathy is EXACTLY related. (That post also directly addresses the ‘shaming is bad‘ issue).

Because Guy and Bryan don’t have to spend time out of every day just proving their right to exist in the tech space, or any space for that matter, they have no idea how their actions relate to the larger context of the bullshit patriarchy we live in. And they won’t, until they decide to actually listen to people with experiences that are different from theirs.

Today is Friday, also known on Twitter as ‘Follow Friday’ when some people like to promote accounts they like and say why.

So here is my Follow Friday challenge, directed especially toward cis, white, straight men. Of course anyone can do this challenge, but those are the people in U.S. culture with the most privilege.

I challenge you to get out of your bubble for one month and follow the people on this Twitter list I made especially for you. I’m not suggesting you unfollow all your peeps. But I am suggesting that you ignore them for a while and instead subscribe to this list and listen to some different voices. Spend 90% of your Twitter time reading that list.

Then comment back here in a month and tell me how it was and if you learned anything.

That’s it. Spread the word. The only way we change minds is to change hearts. The only way to change hearts is for people to get to know one another.

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28 Comments


  1. The sad thing is, he didn’t realize that you were actually doing him a favor, by pointing out how his fake quote section might alienate part of his potential market.

    Reply

  2. Hi Kronda,

    Bryan here. Generally, I don’t engage people in debates about my copywriting because there are 7 billion people on the planet and no matter what I write, I’m bound to piss off some of them. But in this case, I feel a response is warranted.

    First, you “give me points” for my “quick response time” instead of acknowledging that I did exactly what you wanted:

    1) You raised a point that no technical reviews were by women.
    2) I acknowledged that point as valid.
    3) I added technical reviews by women.

    If I were the sexist pig that you and Henry make me out to be, here is how my response would have gone:

    1) You whined that no reviews were by women.
    2) 95% of the tech world is men.
    3) Deal with it.

    Obviously, I didn’t choose that road. Instead, I considered your point, saw the merit in it and responded appropriately. Then I come here, however, and see that you’re bending over backwards to continue painting me as a terrible, woman-hating man. You’ll thank me for a quick response time but not for rationally considering your feedback and responding.

    Now, you’re still upset about this Kate Upton joke. There are two ways to interpret the review by Kate Upton on my website:

    1) Kate Upton & my girlfriend do not know anything about my app because they are not web developers and therefore have no cause to know anything about my app, just as you and I know nothing about flying the space shuttle because we are not astronauts.

    2) Kate Upton & my girlfriend do not know anything about my app because they are women.

    You and Henry are gleefully excited to jump to the second interpretation. “LOOK AT THIS PERSON DEMEANING WOMEN ON THE INTERNET!” No. You have assigned that meaning to the testimonial; I have not.

    Had this review featured two men you would have automatically jumped to conclusion #1. But because it featured two women and because you were primed to WANT to find a discriminatory motive, you jumped straight to #2.

    The real issue, however, is that you got on Twitter and accused ME of believing conclusion #2. Then, when I provided evidence that I do not think that way (by posting real reviews by women, as you requested), you casually dismiss that evidence and state that I “seem to not understand why it was a problem”.

    At this point, you’re contorting the situation to continue painting me as a bad person.

    And finally, I showed my girlfriend the review long before I took the site live. She laughed.

    Reply
  3. Elly

    Hi, I’m Elly (yep the girlfriend).
    And yes, I laughed.

    Bryan probably should have included a female review that actually talked about developing initially (even though all the reviews are made up as part of his marketing). But he acknowledged that and corrected it.

    And for the record, I still think the reviews are quite entertaining.

    Reply

  4. I’m a man, and I agree with Kronda on this.

    Bryan: I don’t think it’s fair to define two possible ways a man can be–either completely sexist or totally not sexist at all. I think by the sheer fact that we’re men in the U.S., we act out sexist behavior without realizing it. It’s not entirely our faults, and it doesn’t make us bad people. But we do need to acknowledge the criticisms we get, respect the fact that can’t think about these things as well as women, and learn from other perspectives.

    Yes, some will disagree with Kronda, and some will disagree with you. No matter how many folks agree with you, that doesn’t invalidate our opinions. There are folks who can speak better than me about what was wrong with the language that Kronda brought up, so if you’re interested, you can look up some of those people for a wider-eyed view: Jackson Katz, bell hooks, Paul Kivel to name a few. Otherwise, please know that I don’t think you’re a bad person. We do ourselves justice by taking these moments as opportunities to grow.

    Reply

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