Why Journalists Shouldn’t Add “Tech” to Their Media Blog Posts

This morning I read: “Why Women Shouldn’t Go To Tech Conferences” written last week on Forbes. I found it via Jean Hsu’s great response - “Why Start-ups Should Hire Women.” Jean also respond to another post- Penelope Trunk’s “Are Start-Ups Better As Single Gender Affairs?”. OK, go read those then come back.

Done? Alright. My response to both of them were- WTF? I guess I should be happy that reactionary anti-feminist articles are considered controversial. So, we’ve won? I mean, more women are at conferences, women are earning equitable pay, men get equitable paternity leave, etc.? Sadly, no.

Should Women Go to Tech Conferences?
BTW, Susannah is a blogger and journalist for some insanely well-read magazines.

OK, so in writing that title, I just assumed she was being obtuse and attention-grabbing. That’s a common online forum technique. I dare her to present a talk in person called “Women shouldn’t go to tech conferences,” or, actually say that in public on one of her panels, facing hundreds of women.

OK, yeah, maybe she means… “women shouldn’t go to tech conferences and just talk about media/be on all-women-panels/talk about writing/talk about feelings, … etc.” Basically take her title and pile on a whole crapload of caveats and modifiers. But let’s be honest, she didn’t write that. And it’s funny to me that in her comment stream she never, ever apologizes for the obviously wrong title. Oh the tricks of published journalists.

Speaking of journalists…

Should Start-Ups Hire Women?
Wow, it’s the season of dumb rhetorical questions. The answer: No! Because… they cry. Or, because, their cofounders will be attracted to them (of course it’s the woman’s fault that the guy is “distracted”).

To those who don’t know Penelope Trunk, she was a very popular Business 2.0 journalist, known more for her retro, reactionist advice. So this article is her bread and butter.

I just want to comment here on the homophobia going on. The women are always straight, the men are always straight. Oh, and the men are “men” and the women are “women”. Drop Penelope in San Francisco during Fulsom Street Fair (famous BDSM gay parade), and then write the post. I would definitely read that.

So Who Cares?
It’s rabble-rousing on purpose. These are journalists writing these articles. They crave the high comment count. They wrote those annoying titles because they want the reads. They’re fighting tooth and nail to get read.

Now this may sound harsh, but essentially they are not qualified to have really insightful opinions about my experiences. It’s like me saying “What it’s like to buy a house as an Eskimo.” Hm. I’m not quite qualified to write that.
So I treat them that way. “So, that’s what a media person thinks of a tech conference.” Trunk probably means: “Two Sexually-Attracted People of Opposite Sexes Shouldn’t Start Co-ed Media Companies.”

Would those articles get the high comment count? Well, Maybe Penelope’s because of the “sex” keyword. Those are somewhat interesting topics, but don’t get on the filter of us tech folks. To get on the tech side, they must have an Opinion (about something they have little experience in). And therefore, they throw in a few “tech” words, and voila. Still waiting for Susannah to remove “tech” from her title. I won’t hold my breath.

  • Melanie Archer

    Replace their every mention of gender or "sex" with race to reveal how offensive this essentialist twaddle is.  

    And Trunk's assertion that startups necessarily "create a crazy lifestyle" is bullshit. *Well-run* businesses--especially self-funded ones--don't rely on near-slavery. I know this because I work with them.

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