The Misogyny Has Got to Stop

This weekend I was startled by a tweet from Margaret Wallace, a game industry executive whom I respect in New York.

Margaret is referring to a series of unacceptable, appalling messages written to a woman in the games industry by a male reporter. He has since apologized, but that is not the point.

Susan Wu, an entrepreneur and investor whom I had the pleasure to work with at Opus360 and deeply respect, followed up with this tweet:

This was a real WTF moment for me. When it comes to gender issues, my attention has been focused on getting young women into programming, and getting more awesome female speakers at events to diversify our role models. I want my daughter inspired by what we all do. And yet *this* is the environment she might expect?

I mean seriously, WTF is wrong with our industry that our female colleagues consider this commonplace?

I’ve been blessed to work with talented women in 5 of the 6 startups I’ve helped build, and many of these women had a lasting impact on how I think about business, teams, etc. I had never seen bad behavior at those firms, nor would it have been acceptable, but I’m starting to realize that this misogynistic or aggressive behavior is a bigger problem than I thought. It is clearly deeper than idiots being assholes anonymously on the Internet (which unfortunately happens on every topic under the sun).

I’m asking myself what can be done to shut this down on a bigger scale? In another tweet, Margarent wondered out loud, “I wonder what a 1-day walkout of all females in gaming & tech would look like. The industry would shut down

Frankly, I think such a day is an interesting idea, and I would join it. It would be like a declaration of independence from assholes. I’m interested to know what else people are doing.

I am not naive enough to think that we can solve ignorance, bias, misplaced anger, and the like, but I would like every tech-related company, VC, and publication, to purge this nonsense from their ranks and keep it that way.

Our industry charts the future. It takes risks, blends creativity with action, and changes the world. It’s time to kick the cave man to the curb.

  • “I mean seriously, WTF is wrong with our industry that our female colleagues consider this commonplace?”

    Uhm…because it is commonplace. You just haven’t noticed it because you’re a guy.

  • the question isn’t whether it is commonplace but what is wrong with people that this is happening and what ideas people have to fix it

  • Isobel

    Thank you for your article, it’s great to know that a fellow male entrepreneur is aware of this problem and wants to help solve it. I have truly noticed this phenomenon myself, in my own experience and also in the experience of businesswomen around me. Before I set up my company, the attempts at bullying I experienced were from other women, but now it’s from men! I’ve had several of these men who work for me go behind my back and make key decisions without bothering to check with me first, and it felt like they were almost try to wrest control of my own company from me as if I wasn’t doing it right, and they could do it so much better. Women have not behaved this way. I’ve met the odd b*tch along the way, but they have tended to be very aggressive in their style (stereotypically masculine?) and they are far outnumbered by the men. In fact I would say that every man except one I have ever had working in my company has tried to go over my head in the way I have described, but I can only think of two women. The other woman I can think of was naïve and under the influence of one of the men.
    Oh and don’t get me started about online jerks as well, some of them are such obvious misogynists it’s almost funny.