Dear woman in tech who called men “monsters,”
If we dehumanize the “other” side, does that not justify them dehumanizing us back?
I was sitting 5 rows from the front, happy to be in a sea of women in tech, inspired by the 6-person panel in front of me. You raised your hand and asked your question to the panel (in perhaps the most convoluted way possible). You asked a bunch of questions, but what stood out to me was when you asked why men were monsters…
I always felt a sense of unease whenever social justice situations created this sense of the “other.” When the “other side” turns into the “bad guy/girl.” When men are called monsters. I don’t think it’s productive discourse to leave the other side out of the conversation and turn them into these evil doers. Yes, it’s true that women have been systematically discriminated against all these years. But the discrimination will continue if 1) we continue the discrimination by discriminating back and; 2) if we don’t allow both sides to come into the conversation. It’s still a two-way street.
The panel of women in tech was great; I hope you liked it too. (Thanks General Assembly for organizing!) Among the 6 women, (Alex Wolf Millennial Branding Strategist & Founder, Cultura Labs + Sharmeen Browarek Product Management, Twitch + Joy Ebertz Staff Software Engineer, Box + Sara Mauskopf CEO and Co-Founder, Winnie + Amanda Greenberg Co-Founder and CEO, Baloonr + Sonya Passi Founder and CEO, Freefrom), I think Alex’ answer was the most relevant to your question.
She believed in not having to compare reality to utopia, because it’s never gonna be that way, and we’ll end up always setting ourselves up for disappointment. She says not to focus on skin color or gender or anything that creates an “other” but to focus on the task at hand, on being excellent so they have no excuse to belittle you. It sucks. The burden’s on us to prove all those naysayers wrong. But we’ll eventually get to a point of triumph. I’m hopeful.
Implicitly, she was saying that she approached her work without creating these gender or color or whatever distinctions, instead treating another human being just like any other.
I hope you realize your fault- men cannot be generalized as “monsters,” in the same way we women should not be generalized as “unable to code” or “bad drivers” or [insert lies about women here]. If we continue dehumanizing the “other”, we continue dehumanizing human beings in general. Where does that really take us towards our fight for equality?
Mika, a fellow woman in tech