Dave Winer’s ongoing sexism

Mr Winer returns in the comments to "Technovia: Dave, you’re still not getting it".

You’re the one who doesn’t get it.

Do you have any women friends? You might try asking them to read the stuff written by women who were at BlogHer (esp the stuff written by Maryam and Ponzi) and then my various pieces (not just the paragraph you like so much!) and then ask them who’s right, you or the rest of us.

You’re a young man with a lot to learn about women. Almost without exception, they like to be told when they’re making a good impression, and appearance is indeed part of that, an important part. As a man I appreciate women, not just for their intellect, but also for their beauty and spirit and the ways they are different from us.

Someday, my young friend, you’ll understand, and instead of being bitter and vengeful, you’ll be happy to be alive, because you can’t really enjoy life until you learn to appreciate beauty.

Dave, I have asked women friends. And all are in unanimous agreement: your comments were fundamentally sexist and demeaning to women in general, and the women at BlogHer in particular. I have yet to find a single woman who’s defended you or claimed that your comments were anything but inappropriate, leering, and offensive.

Don’t try and pretend you haven’t read the criticism you’ve got from many, many women. You’ve even posted responses to some of it – mostly along the same "you have much to learn about women" line you’re trying to spin here. Your comments on this are so inconsistent they border on schizophrenic. On one hand, you want women to "bend over backwards to create safety for men to speak on this subject". on the other hand, when Liz Henry simply regenders your original piece so it’s a woman talking about men – showing how weird the language is you’re using – you accuse her of "not playing fair" and "playing to the mob". What is your coherent response to Liz’s substantive point? You have none – so you resort to sulking and blaming her for your predicament. When Chris Boese posts a very mild argument against you, you say "one thing comes through loud and clear, you don’t care what I think".

That, Dave, is the behaviour of a sulky child, not an adult male. As is your insistance that what Liz and Chris and others are doing is "male bashing". It’s not: It’s bashing you for your sexist comments. You made those comments, Dave – own them. No one’s telling "us" to shut up. They’re telling you that what you said was inappropriate and sexist.

What you don’t understand is that your comments were inappropriate because of both their tone and the context. You were commenting on a tech conference. You weren’t complimenting a friend. You were taking a tech conference and talking almost exclusively in a post about the physical appearance of the "babes" there.

Sorry, Dave, but your opinion is simply old-fashioned sexism. Of course, most *people* (not just women) like to have affirmation about what they’re doing. But the fact that you’re insisting that affirmation of physical appearance from *men* is something that *women* need is simply offensive to women, and to the many men who’ve struggled to learn that "babes" don’t just hang around waiting for compliments from "guys" like you, and then giggle and simper in response.

Incidentally, I’d LOVE to know what you think I’m bitter about. That I can’t get a date? Is that what you’re suggesting? Sorry – happily living with a partner, been married (and still very good friends with my ex), and been in some kind of steady relationship (and a few less steady ones) pretty much constantly since I was 16.

I seem to get on with women pretty well – perhaps because I don’t patronise them, and expect them to giggle gleefully when I tell them they’re a "babe".

  • http://meanderingpassage.com Earl

    I don’t usually comment here but I thought it’s time. While I appreciate and respect your and Dave’s comments on this subject, IMHO this has degraded to pissing contest that is starting to become boring. And the winner is……no one! The simple fact is that everyone has a right to their own opinion.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/stuartbrucepr/ Stuart Bruce – BMA PR

    “Everyone has a right to their own opinion” says Earl. Well yes, but not if it is sexist, racist etc. That goes beyond opinion. Ian was/is right to call Dave Winer out for inappropriate behaviour.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/ianbetteridge/ Ian Betteridge

    Earl, the thing is that this is a bigger issue than just a difference of opinion. Sexism of the kind that Dave’s showing affects half the population of the planet, directly. That’s worth a few spats, don’t you think?

  • http://meanderingpassage.com Earl Moore

    Stuart & Ian: I agree it was something that needed to be pointed out and that was done. But my point is that now it is degrading to a name calling event that is starting to resemble nothing more then a scramble for readership. So is this about the issue, or is this just to see who can have the last word? If it’s about the issue then it would be more productive to see the discussion on the core issues without personal attacks…IMHO the issue is that important! Oh, and I would certainly address these comments to Dave as well.

  • http://www.happenchance.co.uk Paul Livingstone

    Ian, without doubt… you are the biggest sh*t stirrer I’ve come across on the web.

  • http://technovia.typepad.com Ian Betteridge

    Paul, you can say “shit” here :)

    I don’t know how to take that, in some ways. I don’t regard it as shit-stirring to point out Winer’s sexism. In many ways, the kind of sexism that Dave’s displaying is more important than more blatant examples, because it’s this kind of low-grade, constant linguistic attack (usually not even noticed by the person doing it) that actually subliminaly hammers home the point that women are subordinate to men. I’m fairly sure that Dave really, truly, doesn’t understand what the issue is: however, that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be challenged on it.

    So if I’m shit-stirring, then it’s because some people are being shits.

  • http://www.thedragnet.org Miss K

    Of course, if you *did* happen to call me a babe, I’d certainly giggle a little.