Friday Night Lights and Women in Tech

BlogHer Original Post

Are you a fan of "Friday Night Lights?" Great show, in my opinion. Remember the episode called "Blinders?" That was the episode in which Coach Mac McGill, played by Blue Deckert, made some racist remarks to a reporter. His apology was lame and all the African American players marched off the field and refused to play.

Friday Night Lights Cast Members
Photo by Peter A. Silva/ZUMA Press. (©) Copyright 2007 by Peter A. Silva

None of the white people on the team, in the town, in the media, and nearly none of the white people on the coaching staff even understand what the black team members were upset about. They just didn't get it – couldn't see it, couldn't hear it, couldn't recognize why it was offensive.

That's the same situation we have right now with women in tech who are complaining about harassment and sexist behavior from men (both online and in person at conferences). I wrote about a couple of recent examples of this at It's Time to Speak Up about Online Harassment.

Last week BlogHer posted an article by Becky Chambers, For the Gentleman Who Doesn't Care About Women Gamers. Since the gentleman involved obviously wasn't interested in treating women as equals in human terms, Becky made a case for doing it because it makes financial sense. Writing the Editor's introduction to that post got my brain going on the Friday Night Lights idea and women.

No matter how many times we talk about the situation with women in tech, nothing much changes.

Men in tech aren't doing much of anything to change the situation, because they just don't get it – can't see it, can't hear it, can't recognize why it's offensive.

What if the men who are online or speaking in public at conferences had to endure vile comments about their appearance, their penis size, their sex partners, their body, who they slept with to get their job, and their gender? Would they get it then? To change, it has to matter to men.

I think they would. I think if men would stop and think about that for a few minutes – how they would feel if the situation was reversed and aimed at them – they would get it. And they would help change it. If you don't see it, can't hear it, and can't recognize it, you can't change it.

It's time to change it.

BlogHer is participating in the Stop Bullying. Speak Up campaign. Here's a chance for you to pledge to do what you can to help change the situation. Personally, I think one important step in creating change with this campaign is in getting lots of men to take the pledge along with the women of BlogHer and elsewhere who are. Maybe you can encourage the men in your life to help.

Virginia DeBolt, BlogHer Section Editor for Tech
Virginia blogs at Web Teacher and First 50 Words.


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