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Tue Mar 20, 2012, 06:06 PM

How Casual Sexism Put Sqoot in the Hotseat

http://www.readwriteweb.com/enterprise/2012/03/how-casual-sexism-put-sqoot-in.php

Sqoot is really, sorry for sticking its foot firmly in mouth when advertising its API Jam. Or so it says on Twitter, though the apology lacks sincerity. The event has already lost sponsors for assuming that treating its audience like "brogrammers" is a good idea.

The offense? Sqoot's original note for the API Jam included a section on "perks" for the event, including this gem: "Women: Need another beer? Let one of our friendly (female) event staff get that for you."

... This isn't "harmless," not by a long chalk. The message, loud and clear, is that women are just there to serve the menfolk who do the hard work of coding. They're a "perk" right along with massages, top shelf booze, and gym access.

... It has been damaging for the company, and in record time. Since this morning, several companies have pulled sponsorship from the company's event. Heroku, Apigee, and MongoHQ have pulled sponsorship from the event. Update: also CloudMine, which has a strong statement about pulling its support from the event.

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Arrow 21 replies Author Time Post
Reply How Casual Sexism Put Sqoot in the Hotseat (Original post)
Newsjock Mar 2012 OP
wryter2000 Mar 2012 #1
RebelOne Mar 2012 #3
wryter2000 Mar 2012 #18
belcffub Mar 2012 #2
antigone382 Mar 2012 #4
seabeyond Mar 2012 #5
belcffub Mar 2012 #6
antigone382 Mar 2012 #10
provis99 Mar 2012 #7
Newsjock Mar 2012 #8
provis99 Mar 2012 #9
MadrasT Mar 2012 #11
Liquorice Mar 2012 #12
Iggo Mar 2012 #20
avand Mar 2012 #13
uppityperson Mar 2012 #14
SomethingFishy Mar 2012 #21
Ian David Mar 2012 #16
gratuitous Mar 2012 #19
Ian David Mar 2012 #15
lunatica Mar 2012 #17

Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 06:23 PM

1. I'd pull advertising for their spelling

"Brake" for "Break." "Strick" for "Strict."

And yes, it's sexist as all hell.

And I just noticed "A thing of the paste." That sounds like a Teabagger sign.

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Response to wryter2000 (Reply #1)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 06:31 PM

3. Saw that. Is this a joke? n/t

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Response to RebelOne (Reply #3)

Wed Mar 21, 2012, 11:20 AM

18. I have no idea

I'm an old fart and may have missed the humor.

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 06:25 PM

2. they made the cardinal sin

of putting in writing what they had been doing all along...

I go to tech conferences all the time... IT being probably 75% male or more the "booth babe" is a common occurrence at our conferences... I have never had a problem respecting the women in my field due to this... and booth hunks (male promotional models) have been gaining in popularity as the mix of IT staff has shifted...

next we should get upset the the casinos drink staff wear such skimpy outfits... boycott... boycott

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Response to belcffub (Reply #2)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 07:44 PM

4. The key difference is that a casino is not a professional conference...

...which a person in that field, male or female, needs to attend in order network and keep up with the latest developments. What people do in their spare time is their business (so long as everyone involved is a consenting adult); what I have to put up with in a work setting is a different story. You may not have a problem respecting women in your field due to the presence of other women offered as a commodity (and the attitude that this is acceptable), but others almost certainly do, and I can tell you as a woman it is going to impact my own comfort level to be surrounded by that. I can avoid a casino with no consequences; a professional conference in my field, not so much.

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Response to antigone382 (Reply #4)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 07:46 PM

5. +1. nt

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Response to antigone382 (Reply #4)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 08:28 PM

6. I would the suggest that you avoid most tech conferences then

I've been to conferences for Microsoft, Oracle, IBM and others and while not as overt as the Models at car shows I can assure you that many if not most of the pretty faces (male and female) out front and center are not the techies... they're either models hired for the event or people working in the marketing department (people working in marketing, male and female, are almost universally attractive - no idea why). After handing you a flyer they bring you to the geekie techie working the center of the booth... at my first conference many years ago I thought it was funny... now I look right over the people in front as I would rather speak with the techie in the back...

now that is the trade show floor... tech sessions tend to be filled with geekie techie types... the only difference I have noticed is at conferences that cover education products, which have a greater number of women attending, the presenters dress nicer (suites vs semi-business casual)... never seen anyone present in a bathrobe or kilt (on a raised stage... avoid the front row) at any of those conferences...

like I said they broke the un-written rule and put it in writing... had they not and had the exact same conference there'd be no outrage...

At the beginning of my career I enjoyed conferences but now I actually loath them. They're a waste of time and a left over from a bygone era. Little happens there that could not be done online. The wasted money spent on these things could be put to much better use. I go because attendance is part of our performance program. Would prefer not to...

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Response to belcffub (Reply #6)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 09:14 PM

10. This wasn't talking about marketing people or spokesmodels

The ad in question specifically lists the women (not any attractive men) who will be serving beer as a primary "perk" of the conference. That isn't hiring an incidentally attractive marketing person/spokesmodel for their promotional talents; it is setting up and promoting an event with specifically female (not male) commodification and subservience as a key element. And while this may be common, it is not uncontroversial. The "booth babes" phenomenon has been receiving a good deal of attention from people in the tech industry who are uncomfortable with it. To some degree, I think you're proving the point of the people who are sick of it; you say A) these conferences themselves are outdated and unnecessary; B) the spokesmodels are an ineffective gimmick; yet C) there is some compulsion for tech professionals, even those who would prefer not to, to attend these conferences--including female tech professionals. They cannot just avoid them without consequences to their careers. I'm not a model or a marketing person (though I have served beer on occasion); I don't feel required to put up with sexism on the job.

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 08:38 PM

7. I don't get it.

 

What's sexist about telling women that they will have female staff serve beer to them?
Is it appealing to lesbianism or something?

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Response to provis99 (Reply #7)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 08:42 PM

8. I don't think it was '(Attention,) women:'

... I think it was a bullet point, as in "(We'll have) women." But yes, in isolation, it can be read as a bit ... well ... different.

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Response to Newsjock (Reply #8)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 08:55 PM

9. so at worst, it was ambiguously sexist, depending on who read it.

 

Sorry, the complainers don't pass muster on this one. It's like spinning records backwards and claiming to hear Satanic messages.

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Response to provis99 (Reply #9)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 09:24 PM

11. There is nothing ambiguous about it

If you look at the image, the word "Women" is in bold as a bulletpoint on the list of perks.

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Response to provis99 (Reply #9)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 09:31 PM

12. It's not ambiguous. One of the "perks" listed is women. And these women

will be there to serve the men. The obvious conclusion is that the ONLY women who will be there will be the servers. They are clearly advertising only to men, thereby making it an event a woman would not feel welcomed to attend (unless they are part of the wait staff).

This isn't an ad for a bachelor party, but it sounds like one. It's not like playing records backwards looking for messages. It's very obvious sexism. That's why their sponsors are dropping them.

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Response to Liquorice (Reply #12)

Wed Mar 21, 2012, 12:33 PM

20. ^^^^ This ^^^^

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Wed Mar 21, 2012, 12:55 AM

13. We Can Do Better: An Apology from Sqoot

Hey, I'm one of the co-founders of Sqoot. We're a small startup trying to do big things. Sometimes we trip and fall. This is one of those times. In hindsight, our language was reckless & immature. Please accept our apology:

http://blog.sqoot.com/we-can-do-better-an-apology-from-sqoot

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Response to avand (Reply #13)

Wed Mar 21, 2012, 01:14 AM

14. Read before you post. Check spelling also as there is a glaring misspelling there also.

"Take a brake?" Take my car brakes? Brake your car? Or do you mean take a BREAK from your busy life? Spell check can only go so far.

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Response to uppityperson (Reply #14)

Wed Mar 21, 2012, 12:51 PM

21. "Take a brake" and "Security has strick instructions"




Language problems

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Response to avand (Reply #13)

Wed Mar 21, 2012, 07:45 AM

16. You should also apologize to Strunk & White. n/t

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Response to Ian David (Reply #16)

Wed Mar 21, 2012, 12:21 PM

19. Indeed

Believe it or not, Sqootsters, people over the age of 25 can contribute something, such as proper spelling and good grammar. The sexist wording of one of your bullet points is a minor consideration compared to much of the rest of the offenses in your event announcement.

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Wed Mar 21, 2012, 07:44 AM

15. All your code are belong to us. n/t

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Wed Mar 21, 2012, 07:51 AM

17. Whoops! Their bad.

When mysoginy costs them economically they start paying attention.

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