I agree with the goal of getting rid of sexual objectification of women in the marketing and culture. I agree that the lack of diversity in tech is harming everyone involved, and especially women. I agree that, as a field becomes more inclusive and representative, including gender balance, it results in a better space for everyone
I disagree with one point
here: I disagree that policing women's bodies is the solution to the above problems
. It's just trading one problem for another. It's just lazy.
The rules and remediation here are focused squarely on the women
on the people who designed, approved, and set up the booth. All
the women involved are all
just doing their jobs whether that's the engineer or executive in the booth, or the model hired to "attract" the customers. They are the targets
of the remediation, but they
did not create the offending atmosphere, yet they now bear the brunt of the enforcement. Moreover, the rules are completely subjective and open to abuse, yet because they target women generally
that abuse is more likely to spill over onto women who aren't involved. As long as it's going to be entirely subjective, focus it on prohibiting a specific style of marketing
, not policing women's bodies.
The RSA conference failure specifically, and tech in general, keeps putting the blame on the women. The women aren't at fault here, and this policy frames them as being the problem.
The real issue here is to get rid of the sexualized environment that harms the attendees, exhibitors, and employees of the tech conference while not simultaneously
blaming and slut shaming women. Is it "hard" to solve? In an area like biology where gender representation is more equal, market forces discourage this kind of excessive bad behavior. In tech, we cannot rely on that and we're going to have to shim it until we have more equal representation. Eventually it may be more self correcting as it is in the biology field, but we're not there today.
This is going to happen. It may not happen this year, or it might, but this approach leads to crap like this:I attended OSCON for the first time last year, and had some experiences that almost completely turned me off of the idea of attending this year. I was criticized to my face for wearing low necklines and skirts of a short-yet-modest length, and told that I was “sexualizing” the conference through my attire.