So far I've read nearly all 500 comments on my last post, which disturbed some people for its "sexist" image. There was some really interesting back and forth. Some people got a little rude to each other (I think I only deleted 3 comments--not bad, actually), and in the comments, I encouraged people to try to understand why others were upset, rather than tell them why they shouldn't be.
Personally, I'd prefer to spend my time learning something new, rather than try to convince someone I'm right. That may seem counter-intuitive to you if you've been reading my posts on here -- because I'm often making points, rather than asking questions (though I tend to do both in my posts). But writing for me is actually a form of thinking, so in many ways, I write in order to arrive at something bubbling up in my own mind. So, put simply, my "pontificating" actually is "learning" for me.
This isn't the first time I've heard people debate or discuss what's sexist or what isn't. I thought it'd be worth highlight some of the interesting points here.+Justine Dolorfino
The point is to look at the woman's breasts. They're becoming the focal point in a way that overrides the woman as a person, turning her into a sexual object in a way that is demeaning.+John Weathers
In a world in which men and women were considered equal and treated equally both in surface level politically correct conversation/behavior and also in deep cultural constructs, then this picture would be harmless and visual jokes like this that play off of sexual features of either gender wouldn't necessarily carry any harmful subtext.+Sebastian Ventura:
I know that this is a joke, but if I may repeat myself, even though the joke is funny some jokes aren't worth laughing at. Imagine if it was a joke about something you hate in the world and that it endorses it in a humorous fashion...+Jane Zhang
I was disappointed with the picture, mostly because I held Tom at a higher bar due the type of leadership he had demonstrated here on google+.
Naturally, I had given some thought to the image before I posted it. I considered the fact that it would
offend some people, yet I posted it anyway.
If the girl in the picture had her shirt buttoned up, I'm not sure how those who were upset by it would have responded. She still would be a "pretty"/"sexy" girl. It would still help illustrate the point in the text, but it might have been less offensive. If I'd had the choice between those two images, I would have gone with the latter. (Maybe they'd still be upset... I think it's an interesting case worth thinking about.) Maybe I should have posted a picture of "Fabio" as a funny image of "sexy" that wouldn't offend anyone (except maybe Fabio?) I had looked for a "better" image and couldn't find one. (I wanted "Google" in the image as well.)
That said, I think if the thought came up to me again "this will offend some people" -- I probably wouldn't post again. This is not
to avoid debate. This is because I think I really learned something today. I know this lesson from other areas of life, but I didn't apply it here.
The thing I'm referring to is +Sebastian's point. Some jokes may be funny, but aren't worth laughing at. A friend of mine has often noted that when someone falls down in front of me, I'm the only one who doesn't laugh. I tend to help them up, instead. In general, I don't like humor that's made at the expense of others. I try to be respectful of others in general. I don't like
hurting people's feelings, or starting conflict. Clearly people have wildly different attitudes on this issue. Some people are just the opposite -- they thrive on conflict and making fun of others. I'm not sure where that difference comes from. It doesn't bother me -- different strokes for different folks, is my attitude.
During MySpace's run, using the word "gay" as an insult started to become commonplace. I saw it online a lot, and started hearing it on TV and in every part of society. I tried to explain to people I knew (and sometimes users) that using "gay" to mean "bad," is really an awful thing. I couldn't believe they were saying it on TV. People that didn't even have anything against gay people would use this word. I never specified my sexual preference publicly, but if it matters, I'm straight. Anyway, for the same reason I would never use the word "gay" to mean something negative, I'm going to try and be more careful not to use words / images that would make someone else feel bad.
I certainly don't think of myself as "leader" here -- I don't work for Google. The image was not endorsed by Google, and the people in the photo are not even Google employees. But I do have a lot of people who've Circled me, so I think it's important to be more careful about what kind of stereotypes I might be reinforcing, or, more important to me, who's feelings I'm hurting. I see these things on a very personal level... I like :-) not :-( . That's just me.
I think the people who were decrying the use of my image were pretty cool about it. I only got a few really angry attacks. I think that's because they were being reasonable and know that my one little post is just a droplet of water in the ocean that is this problem. Things aren't going to change over night. But I think efficient information flow, open exchange, and equality of opportunity will some day give us a societal context where the image I shared will not
be damaging to anyone. (To John Weathers point.) Of course G+ is part of all that.
Interacting respectfully with people (even one person) is very difficult if you take it seriously. When you talk to each other the way we're doing here (which only this technology makes possible), it gets even more complicated. It's like trying to keep all the balls in the air while you're juggling. I knew I'd find someway to use that image!