January 23, 2013
Eugene, OR –
Today, Katie Baker of Jezebel published a piece titled Introducing ‘Objectify a Man in Tech’ Day. Inspired by Nieman Storyboard’s category Why’s This so Good, I’m going to discuss why Baker’s piece is so striking.
Baker’s article drew me in with the initial topic “the concept [of Objectify a Man in Tech Day] stems from the well-known gaming and social media culture journalist’s frustration at constantly being judged on her appearance, whether in a positive or negative light.”
Of course, I’ve come across this issue in my own life – as I suspect many women in the workplace have – so I was immediately drawn in. Baker uses her individual experiences to highlight the broad range of effects sexism has, saying “just this week, a commenter called me a ‘fairly attractive and slightly vapid girl writer’ based on an article that didn’t even have my photo or my first-person perspective in it.”
The issue? If your body doesn’t follow today’s social norms for ‘pretty’, no one listens to what you’re saying. Instead, they comment on your physical flaws and relate your work to your unattractiveness.
Obviously a quick way to lose good workers.
However, the problem has a reverse. Women who are beautiful, and recognized by society as such, are equally ignored. Their work is praised, but comments about their appearance are still made.
The main issue is helping people realize when they are being sexist. It seems like such an old-fashioned term, but even sentences spoken with innocent intent can harbor discriminatory ideas.
Personally, I have trouble being taken seriously in the workplace. I’m not sure if it’s my southern lisp or my blue eyes, but sometimes I feel like coworkers don’t respect me for my work. In fact, sometimes it seems as if they don’t look at my work at all before telling me what a good job I did.
Baker’s article addresses all of this and helps us make a satire of the situation, ultimately promoting awareness of sexism in our daily, modern lives. When people are aware, people can change.