Celebrity gossip is not the place to look for nuance or thoughtfulness. A lot of it is downright sexist. Take, for example, today’s headline on New York Post gossip page’s Page Six column, “Selena Gomez ‘To Blame For Justin Bieber’s Behavior’.”
You’re probably aware that pop stars Gomez and Bieber were, for a time, a couple. They broke up. You’re also probably aware that Bieber has been losing it a little bit lately: arguing with his neighbors, showing up late/canceling concerts, trying to fight paparazzi, running around in gas masks, abandoning his pet monkey.
Apparently, all of that is his ex-girlfriend’s fault! Keep reading »
Late last month, in the midst of several recent and prominent examples in the steady stream of stories about the challenges that women in the tech industry face, Complex.com published its list of “The 40 Hottest Women In Tech.” Tone deaf move, fellas! People were understandably upset. Maybe if it had been published a month or two earlier or later, a big website that caters explicitly to the libidos of straight dudes tossing up a list that ranks accomplished women on a scale of “hotness” would have just been another eye-rolling example of the sort of overt-yet-casual sexism that women in the industry (and many others) have to deal with on a regular basis. But the timing couldn’t have been worse. The author of the piece, Luke Winkie, went to The Daily Beast to explain why he’d taken the assignment and how, after his editors got their hands on it, it didn’t turn out the way that he’d planned.
Luke is my friend, and I know the position he was in: Dude is a young freelancer who got offered almost a month’s rent to write something that he knew was kind of shitty. He thought that he could make that shitty thing a little bit better (he wrote at the Beast that he “got the idea that maybe we could make a list called ‘The Hottest Women In Tech’ sound as earnest and empowering and good-hearted as it could possible be”), and then it didn’t work out. I’m not here to defend the guy – he can do that himself – but I can relate, because I had been in similar positions in the past. When you’re a straight, white, cisgender dude who benefits materially from living and working in a sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic society, it’s easy to overestimate the amount of power you have. Keep reading »
Yvonne Brill, 88, died last week in New Jersey. According to her New York Times obituary, which ran on Saturday, her standout accomplishments were the eight years she took off from work to raise her three children, the way she followed her husband from job to job, and her “mean beef stroganoff” recipe.
Oh, yeah, and she was also a pioneering rocket scientist for NASA who invented the jet propulsion system that keeps satellites orbiting properly. In 2011, Brill received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Obama. You know, no biggie. Keep reading »