Join 3,516 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Tags:

Who is Tammy Camp?
May 21, 2011 5:12 PM   Subscribe

Who is Tammy Camp?

I don't understand. What conference? Who is Tammy Camp? What were the other conferences? What are other women in Silicon Valley saying?

There was very little (ie, no) context with this FPP. Is Tammy Camp famous for being famous? Is her primary product herself?

A little background would be appreciated. Thank-you!
posted by KokuRyu to MetaFilter-Related at 5:12 PM (160 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tammy_Camp
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:18 PM on May 21, 2011


I can't tell if you're genuinely asking us to google her for you or if this is just a criticism of the post. It's definitely thin on the face of it but has picked up zero flags thus far and I've been reluctant to unilaterally pull it.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 5:19 PM on May 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The post is thin, her allegations are thin (yes, I have been following the excellent discussion in the thread) and seem somewhat dubious, and even after checking her out on Wikipedia I have no idea why she is notable.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:21 PM on May 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jesus, "Lara Croft of the web"? That's fucking insulting.
posted by graventy at 5:23 PM on May 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


The site now appears to be down, and between that and the flags it got as soon as everyone on MetaTalk went and looked at it, I went ahead and pulled it.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 5:26 PM on May 21, 2011


Damn sexual deviancets.
posted by buzzman at 5:27 PM on May 21, 2011


I can't tell if you're genuinely asking us to google her for you

Also, when constructing an FPP, I don't think it's reasonable to have to make people do a whole lot of connecting the dots (eg, researching Wikipedia). Part of making an FPP is providing links to a little bit of background info.

So, no, nomad, I am not asking you to "google" anything for me.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:28 PM on May 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


Who she is isn't as important as the situation she wrote about.

That said, the post was a lazily made single link post to so so blog post. It reads like something that could be found on a dozen other websites around the internet. Metafilter is at its best when it strives for something deeper, thought provoking and interesting on these sorts of subjects.

It's an imperfect post, but the link posted by immlass was quite informative and redeems the thinness.

It's definitely thin on the face of it but has picked up zero flags thus far and I've been reluctant to unilaterally pull it

It's deleted now, did it pick up a bunch of flags or something?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:28 PM on May 21, 2011


oh nevermind, nomad, I see your comment.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:29 PM on May 21, 2011


Apologies for the post; I should have put some more effort into it. I'll try to make a better post on the topic.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 5:33 PM on May 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Small article, bland article; further reading indicates Camp is probably not hurting in a big way from anything.
posted by buzzman at 5:33 PM on May 21, 2011


That wiki article is a bunch of self-promotional bullshit. So yeah, who is Tammy Camp and why should we believe her?
posted by Ardiril at 5:39 PM on May 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The site is back up.
posted by lampshade at 5:41 PM on May 21, 2011


I'm glad that link was interesting and useful to people (thanks, Brandon). Foci For Analysis, if you do another post, I'd have no objections to you using it.
posted by immlass at 5:41 PM on May 21, 2011


Re: the Lara Croft comment, here's what Forbes actually said (in an article about kiteboarding, natch):
Tammy Camp, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, or as many know her, the “Lara Croft” of social media [...]
Who knows where they got that from - I couldn't find any sort of original source; all the results are "According to Forbes, [she] is often described as..." etc.
posted by desjardins at 5:42 PM on May 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I went to Tammy Camp when I was a Tammy Scout.
posted by found missing at 5:42 PM on May 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Who she is isn't as important as the situation she wrote about."..

I don't agree with that, "who she is" was critical to the post...

Her self perceived power and money making potential being destroyed by speaking out was the point of her post. It's not like she was a maid at a hotel in New York who had nothing to lose by speaking out against the head of the IMF.

And, honestly, I'm not sure what the connection is there, but, if we're going to discuss this, we should parse that out a bit.
posted by tomswift at 5:43 PM on May 21, 2011


That wiki article is a bunch of self-promotional bullshit. So yeah, who is Tammy Camp and why should we believe her?

There's a lot of self-promotional bullshit in Wikipedia. Self-promotion is endemic to the business community. That Camp promotes herself doesn't really say anything one way or the other about whether she was sexually harassed.
posted by steambadger at 5:44 PM on May 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I bring up the self-promotion aspect as a reason why FPPs need to provide more background information rather than rely on individuals to do their own research.

*How* Camp promotes herself says tons about her credibility on any topic.
posted by Ardiril at 5:49 PM on May 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The "Lara Croft" of social media

I thought Steven Colbert was the "Lara Croft" of social media.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:50 PM on May 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


I can't really speak for her credibility, but it seems like the pull quote was the only interesting thing in the blog post, and without any specifics or background information, it seems incredibly inflammatory without being very useful.

I mean what are we supposed to do with that accusation?
posted by empath at 5:53 PM on May 21, 2011


Self-promotion is endemic to the business community.

I thought that the discussion about sexual harassment in the thread transcended the entire self-promotional angle (which is why I posted to Meta), but personally and professionally, I'm sick of self-promoters in the tech industry, and I've had to deal with a lot of them as I've organized events and, as a government employee at an agency tasked with building tech sector capacity, been asked to flow money to outrageous speaker fees.

Her website bugged me for a couple of reasons. For one thing, it was an endless succession of Hallmark quotes about this and that. It also featured a bunch of pictures of "Tammy". It all seems so bogus, especially since the people working in the trenches of the tech sector, trying to successfully commercialize a product (and often being preyed upon by self-promotional types) are focused on the product, not themselves.

Self-promotion is just another drag in an industry (tech startups) that often has to make do with very little resources.

On the other hand, I have witnessed this sort of sexual harassment in my own workplace, and so many of the comments in the thread seemed especially compelling. I still cannot believe the kind of workplace culture that was, and still is permitted where I used to work, and any sucessful woman has probably worked damn hard, and has had to put up with a lot.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:54 PM on May 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think it is an important topic, and while it was thin, I'd definitely like to see it go back up (with the additional links for context). Sexism frustrates me because of the responses to it. It is so complex. I've seen my female friends up against it and every time I get ragey and want to take all the involved parties down, and they do not want to fight it. I'm starting to get the larger picture of it, but I still think something has to be figured out. These jackasses have to get the boot.
posted by cashman at 5:55 PM on May 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I found the blog post entirely believable and relevant but it ultimately leaves me flailing because it's kind of a "this fucking sucks but I don't know how to fix it" sort of yawp. I don't know how to fix it either. I think names would help a lot, as would a whole lot of other people coming forward with their own stories including names. On the other hand, naming names basically means you're toast -- she's right: you're finished and possibly also sued if you don't manage to produce sufficient evidence to convict. How do you manage that risk and still be a part of the tech world and be human?

I think the discussion is important, though, so I'm on the fence about the deletion. It would be better if it was a collection of similar posts about the issue and not just one.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:00 PM on May 21, 2011


I think there's totally meat on the topic and if someone were to put a post together with a bigger-picture look at sexual harassment in the VC or IT worlds with some context that'd be great. There are definitely previous examples that worked.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 6:03 PM on May 21, 2011


Now that I have read her blog, this smells even worse. With her credentials and industry recognition, including contacts high in the hierarchy of the Department of State, she surely knows someone within her network who knows how to fix such things. Unless of course, she managed to get herself blacklisted for something else, and whether true or not, is now using this to save face.
posted by Ardiril at 6:07 PM on May 21, 2011


WTF is with the multiple 'you don't look asian' comments on that post?
posted by bq at 6:20 PM on May 21, 2011


What? Did you really just concoct a conspiracy theory out of thin air?

she surely knows someone within her network who knows how to fix such things.

Camp: "All the people who know about this injustice won’t speak up for me. I understand why they don’t. They don’t want to be involved because they don’t want the risk of losing funding for their deals or be an outcast in the Silicon Valley boys club. I get it."
posted by cashman at 6:21 PM on May 21, 2011


Now that I have read her blog, this smells even worse.

Why and how does it smell worse?

Are you saying the well known businesswoman is purposely kinda sorta pointing a figure at someone to save face about something else?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:22 PM on May 21, 2011


Well, she got engaged to John Gault. Who is John Gault? Who is Tammy Camp? Why are they engaged? How did they get here???

Will they be dining at the meta cafe this Saturday night?
posted by buzzman at 6:24 PM on May 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


It all has a distinct air of desperation. "All the people who know about this injustice won’t speak up for me." - she claims. So, why not? What I am saying, BB, is that this story raises far more questions than it answers.
posted by Ardiril at 6:25 PM on May 21, 2011


Now that I have read her blog, this smells even worse. With her credentials and industry recognition, including contacts high in the hierarchy of the Department of State, she surely knows someone within her network who knows how to fix such things. Unless of course, she managed to get herself blacklisted for something else, and whether true or not, is now using this to save face.

How to fix sexual harassment? I'd love to know who on earth can fix it. The Department of State is gonna stop some casting couch lech? No way.

For those who think it would be better if she named names, again, no way. Then she'd really be out there on her own. Many will come forward to defend him and his reputation. I kind of wish this kind of thing wasn't posted on Metafilter at all. A woman just wants to write about how she copes with a relatively common experience for women in her position. She doesn't need the third degree.
posted by Danila at 6:26 PM on May 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


This probably goes without saying, but reposting this will no doubt set the MeFi hounds on Ms. Camp's trail (again) to prove this one way or the other.
posted by Ardiril at 6:29 PM on May 21, 2011


I don't agree with that, "who she is" was critical to the post...

Her self perceived power and money making potential being destroyed by speaking out was the point of her post. It's not like she was a maid at a hotel in New York who had nothing to lose by speaking out against the head of the IMF.


I see your point, but point was that despite her power and fame with that circle, she still didn't feel safe or comfortable completely speaking out. The blog post wasn't even about that specific incident, but rather how she deal with those situations on an ongoing basis. Because despite who she is and whatever success and power she achieves, there's still some jackass thinking she's just a maid that they can force to have sex.

It all has a distinct air of desperation. "All the people who know about this injustice won’t speak up for me."

Where I in that situation, I'd be thinking the same thing and probably be sweating desperation.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:30 PM on May 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I kind of wish this kind of thing wasn't posted on Metafilter at all.

I disagree, because you have people who believe this is an impossible story. I used to be the same way. Ardiril, I used to react that same way. It's 2011, you'd think, there's no way this can happen. It does. It's part of the glare on that glass ceiling.

reposting this will no doubt set the MeFi hounds on Ms. Camp's trail (again) to prove this one way or the other.

Really? She seems pretty resolute in the way she is handling it, and unlikely to be forced by anybody to prove anything. It isn't the first time she (or most women) have faced these and similar situations.
posted by cashman at 6:34 PM on May 21, 2011


Wouldn't it be easy to figure out who it is by:

a.) Having a good stab at guessing which is her favourite conference
b.) Noting her absence from said conference
c.) Figuring out who has most pull in organising the event?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:35 PM on May 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not Camp proving anything, just general truth seeking, particularly identifying the conference and the purported perp. Case in point, remember how quickly Crystal Mangum was outed in Durham? Those searches inevitably unearth both relevant and irrelevant factoids and all gets posted online to assist others searching.
posted by Ardiril at 6:42 PM on May 21, 2011


Is MaiTai Kite Camp this weekend?
posted by jeanmari at 6:46 PM on May 21, 2011


Who are the Sid & Marty Krofft of social media?
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:52 PM on May 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


"It's not like she was a maid at a hotel in New York who had nothing to lose by speaking out against the head of the IMF."

I want a t-shirt that says "what" so that I can point to it when you write things like this.
posted by klangklangston at 6:57 PM on May 21, 2011 [15 favorites]


Sid & Morty Krofft of any media.
posted by jeanmari at 6:58 PM on May 21, 2011


It's likely that Tammy Camp is speaking in code in this case to a specific audience/community familiar with the situation and who are aware of who the harassers are. No more needs to be said.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:14 PM on May 21, 2011


I want a doughnut so I can eat it while waiting for you to read immlasses like.

And cause I like doughnuts. Brandon runs on Dunkin Donuts.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:17 PM on May 21, 2011


I would be so disappointed in Metafilter if people here took it upon themselves to figure out who Ms. Camp's likely harassers are. If it was successful, sure, maybe Metafilter would get some attention, but we would move and Ms. Camp would have to deal with the aftermath. Going full-on vigilante truthseeker would be ignoring the clear wishes of the victim in this situation, and ignoring the damage that would be done to the real, actual person who is the only person who can make the call to out her harasser.
posted by MadamM at 7:21 PM on May 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

I want a doughnut so I can eat it while waiting for you to read immlasses like.
I don't really understand immlass's link, to be honest. It hinges on the idea that low-status women don't care if they're fired, and I can't see any good reason that would be true. Other people have pointed out that DSK's accuser is in a union, and that might be why she felt empowered to come forward. But otherwise? She has a fair amount of seniority at a unionized job that probably pays relatively well and offers some benefits. That's not something you just throw away blithely.
posted by craichead at 7:31 PM on May 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


immlass's link is a flamewar waiting to happen. "what about women who don't care if they get fired?" is about the most demeaning original thing I have read in ages.
posted by Ardiril at 7:44 PM on May 21, 2011


Jesus, "Lara Croft of the web"? That's fucking insulting.

No shit, Lara puts out regularly.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 7:50 PM on May 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I don't really understand immlass's link, to be honest. It hinges on the idea that low-status women don't care if they're fired, and I can't see any good reason that would be true."

Something something Bobby McGee.

But the women with nothing to lose tend to be either established or heiresses, not maids.
posted by klangklangston at 7:51 PM on May 21, 2011


It's not like she was a maid at a hotel in New York who had nothing to lose by speaking out against the head of the IMF.

On the contrary, that poor woman has found her life essentially ruined. She's been blockaded in her house due to French paparazzi, her name has been published in European newspapers, she can no longer work, and very powerful lawyers are looking through her past in an effort to discredit her. She did, in fact, have everything to lose, and she has largely lost it already.
posted by jokeefe at 8:32 PM on May 21, 2011 [32 favorites]


jokeefe, yeah, when I hit post, I suspected there was a possibility that she wasn't doing well with all of this. When it first hit the news I was all "good for her, fuck him" about it... but, since, hadn't heard how it has progressed. I'm sad to hear this.
posted by tomswift at 8:42 PM on May 21, 2011


I dislike Tammy Camp. Just met her now.

She is selling herself based on her looks, and she obviously makes a lot of $$$ so she can go off and do her extreme sports, and hire professional photographers to photograph her in a bikini on beaches around the world.

Based on the way she is promoting herself I doubt she brings much to the table in a business setting aside from a cute smile and a bunch of big name contacts. Actual work and ideas are for other people, little people.

Maybe it is sour grapes, and I just resent her because she is one of those lucky people who glides through life because of her good looks and social skills, maybe this whole sexual harassment thing is totally true. I dislike Tammy Camp nevertheless.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:53 PM on May 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Based on the way she is promoting herself I doubt she brings much to the table in a business setting aside from a cute smile and a bunch of big name contacts. Actual work and ideas are for other people, little people.

Well, that just says it all doesn't it. Pretty people must be talentless, and pretty women doubly so!
posted by ch1x0r at 10:25 PM on May 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Well, that just says it all doesn't it. Pretty people must be talentless, and pretty women doubly so!

Issues.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:29 PM on May 21, 2011


I am really disappointed in a lot of the comments on this thread. I have no idea who Tammy Camp is and don't care, but the suspicion that she's making it up really sucks. Maybe she is, but no one's provided a good reason to think so yet.

Maybe it is sour grapes, and I just resent her because she is one of those lucky people who glides through life because of her good looks and social skills, maybe this whole sexual harassment thing is totally true.

Maybe the contempt that some men feel towards women who they feel have nothing to offer but their looks--regardless of whether that's a valid assessment--makes them feel more free to harass them. They're already made themselves a sex object, so why not demand actual sex?
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 10:47 PM on May 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


Maybe she does get by in the business world by being attractive and charming with no other talents. I don't know. I agree, that looking at her web site, that's not an insane impression to get. There are plenty of men who get by that way, too. They too have web sites that show them smiling and parasailing, or something. I don't like either group very much, really.

But the difference is that the men whose only talents are to be good looking and charming generally don't get shut out of conferences because they won't fuck the organizers.
posted by tyllwin at 10:50 PM on May 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


Who said she was making it up? Whether she did make it up or not, at this point, is immaterial.
posted by Ardiril at 10:52 PM on May 21, 2011


Who said she was making it up?

Ardiril, your comments on this thread have consisted mostly of reasons why you find her story fishy, e.g. "Now that I have read her blog, this smells even worse." You have also implied she might have made it up because she is a self-promoter.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 11:34 PM on May 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Fishy, yes. However, not believing her is not the same as accusing her of lying.
posted by Ardiril at 11:36 PM on May 21, 2011


So it's not that she's lying, it's just that her story is fishy and it might have something to do with her being a self-promoter.

Right.

Gotcha.

Totally different.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 12:41 AM on May 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Don't lose sight of what we are discussing here. That is, exposing a venting blogger to the ravages of the MeFi Scandal Horde. If a Wikipedia entry raises this much doubt, what will the real fact-checkers unearth? Ever witnessed the due diligence people around here put into uncovering a self-link? We are not swimming in the feminist blog pool here; we are a couple tiny steps closer to reality, where the feminist rape mythos collides with the general rape mythos. With everyone trying to prove their speculation, Ms. Camp could easily stumble across MeFi Tuesday morning to find a discussion of her entire life history.

This is why FPPs should be properly backgrounded in the first place.
posted by Ardiril at 12:58 AM on May 22, 2011


man the summer my parents sent me to tammy camp was the worst
posted by klangklangston at 1:06 AM on May 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Does anyone know if we're talking about being genuinely banned from the event, or she's simply not being offered a speakers platform that was offered if she'd do the nasty?

I mean, is it even possible to say 'Unless you fuck me, you don't stand a chance in hell of buying a ticket for X'?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:29 AM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jesus Christ. And people wonder why we need to do SlutWalk. Half the comments here prove it.

Even if she was the biggest self-promoter in the world, even if she was coasting by on looks, even if WHATEVER - she still did not deserve sexual harassment, and she should not automatically be assumed to be lying.

It's comments like these that make people reluctant to speak out openly. I nearly lost my performing career because I spoke up against racism & sexism and had most of the Brisbane burlesque scene folk turn against me. Thank goodness for other scenes that were more welcoming. And yes, just because you know people doesn't mean they'll speak out: no one else did on my behalf because they didn't want to lose their career too.

But in an era where women are still being described in comparison to their appearance, where making use of that gets you vilified even though you're expected to, where a woman says "I got sexually harassed" and their first response back is "maybe you just heard it wrong" - just being able to speak up even in vague terms is difficult and heartbreaking.
posted by divabat at 1:45 AM on May 22, 2011 [33 favorites]


"she should not automatically be assumed to be lying."

You will just have to agree to disagree with the rest of the world. Especially when the source material is from the internet. I mean, if you really want to get down to it, a case can be made that this is not sexual harassment at all.

However, before all else, shouldn't we first ask Ms. Camp if she even wants this link farm of ours discussing the merits of her issue?
posted by Ardiril at 2:13 AM on May 22, 2011


Well, that just says it all doesn't it. Pretty people must be talentless, and pretty women doubly so!

That isn't it. In my work life I do not include references to my hobbies, and do not include photos of me sitting naked playing Civ IV, smoking joints, in my business / promotional materials. I don't make sure that every photo of me has a look over the shoulder or lean against the wall flirty look. Because that is not relevant to the job, and is not the value added I am bringing to the table. Apparently it is different in Ms. Camp's case.

She can't stop being pretty, but she can tone down the sex in a business context rather than ramp it up to 11.

This has nothing to do with the validity of her complaint whatsoever! I am explaining why I think this type of person sucks and why I resent them taking juicy paychecks up at the top of the pyramid.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:02 AM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


However, before all else, shouldn't we first ask Ms. Camp if she even wants this link farm of ours discussing the merits of her issue?

Huh? She wrote about her experience on her website. She wants the issues discussed.
posted by mlis at 3:27 AM on May 22, 2011


Ardiril: Thanks for contributing to the culture that makes it difficult for assault victims to speak up. "Agree to disagree with the rest of the world", come on.

What was that thing about Mefi being a boyzone again?
posted by divabat at 4:20 AM on May 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


I mean, if you really want to get down to it, a case can be made that this is not sexual harassment at all.

This is not for you to judge. The only person who can decide if this is harassment or not is Tammy herself.
posted by divabat at 4:21 AM on May 22, 2011


I don't make sure that every photo of me has a look over the shoulder or lean against the wall flirty look. Because that is not relevant to the job, and is not the value added I am bringing to the table. Apparently it is different in Ms. Camp's case.

She can't stop being pretty, but she can tone down the sex in a business context rather than ramp it up to 11.


She's in marketing, apparently pitching companies she represents to investors as well as promoting their products. In that world, it's important to demonstrate that you can market yourself, just as it's important for a programmer to demonstrate that they can code, or for a photographer to have a portfolio of their work.

I don't have the knee-jerk contempt for marketers that some people have. To make money companies have to get people to buy their products. It helps have a good product, but also helps if people know that your product exists and if somebody explains what's so good about it in an articulate way and presents it in a positive light. I understand that this takes skill, and there's a reason why people pay marketers to do what they do.

I also understand why people are uncomfortable with it.

This has nothing to do with the validity of her complaint whatsoever!

It has nothing to do with the validity of her complaint, but it's not irrelevant either. In Camp's line of work, being a pretty girl is an advantage. I'm sure it doesn't hurt her clients one bit to have somebody like Camp 'put a pretty face' on their business plan when they're trying to get funding. It not enough just to be cute, of course, the proposal has to be solid, investors have to see a way of making money, and she has to a good job of presenting it. But I'm sure it helps them get their foot in the door, and I'm sure both her and her clients are aware of that. But obviously being a girl is also a disadvantage.

There's a lot we could talk about here about how sex, gender and attractiveness work in our society. (And we could also talk about marketing.)
posted by nangar at 4:23 AM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


So... I said in the deleted thread that she needs to name names. And then was slapped down for it. So how the fuck are women supposed to combat this kind of thing if they're not willing to out the bastards who are putting them in this kind of horrible position?

This isn't snark. It's a genuine question, because if you're being pressured to do something which is basically a secret, then what methods are there to combat it other than making it secret no longer?
posted by hippybear at 5:16 AM on May 22, 2011


Meatbomb: In my work life I do not include references to my hobbies, and do not include photos of me sitting naked playing Civ IV, smoking joints, in my business / promotional materials. I don't make sure that every photo of me has a look over the shoulder or lean against the wall flirty look.

That's a real shame because I'll bet that sexy profile photo of yours would ensure you the job of your dreams.
posted by gman at 5:21 AM on May 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


hippybear: Naming names doesn't always solve things. Often it gets the namer into even more trouble - "oh you just have a grudge!" being a light version of what can and does happen. It's even more difficult when it's someone influential or well-liked. Just look at what happened to the two women who spoke up about Julian Assange.
posted by divabat at 5:52 AM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's not like she was a maid at a hotel in New York who had nothing to lose by speaking out against the head of the IMF.

I'm still kind of reeling from this comment. A Metafilter low point, for sure.
posted by thinkpiece at 6:16 AM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I'm still kind of reeling from this comment. A Metafilter low point, for sure."

I think you missed the intent of my words, the intended sarcasm didn't come through well. I was amazed that a powerful person such as Camp was afraid to speak out and a hotel maid in New York didn't have that fear (and, in relative terms, had much more to lose).

Sorry that comment didn't come off as I intended.
posted by tomswift at 6:27 AM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's an important issue, for sure, and connects not just with the Strauss-Kahn case but also the semi-recent FPP about women in academia (in philosophy in particular, I think) addressing harassers at conferences. Ah, here it is. That kind of harassment gets deeply embedded in a professional culture, and puts people in a really impossible situation where they have a choice about speaking out (and being both disbelieved and professionally blacklisted) or shutting up (and knowing that the perpetrators will continue).
posted by Forktine at 6:39 AM on May 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I mean, if you really want to get down to it, a case can be made that this is not sexual harassment at all.

Okay, I really want to get down to it. Make a case that it's not at all sexual harassment when a woman gets banned from one of her favorite conferences because she won’t have sex with one of the organizers.

(NOTE: "I don't believe her story" does nothing to make the case that her story as described is one of sexual harassment.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:49 AM on May 22, 2011


That's a real shame because I'll bet that sexy profile photo of yours would ensure you the job of your dreams.

Totally uncalled for cock-move. Just because you disagree with someone's disagreement doesn't give you license to act in a way you claim to abhor.
posted by yerfatma at 7:12 AM on May 22, 2011


I said in the deleted thread that she needs to name names. And then was slapped down for it.

I'm not slapping you down for it, but on reflection I think her decision to talk about this the way she did makes sense. Of course the Silicon Valley gossip world is dying to know who did it. But if she did name someone, the discussion would break down into a debate over who's more credible and who likes who better: 'Tammy wouldn't lie about that!' 'Who cares, I can't stand that bitch anyway!' 'No way Bob would do something like that!' 'I know that guy, he's a sleezebag!'

Her position seems to be 'we all know that this happens, and we need to talk about it.' Getting into a debate about who and exactly what happened would detract from that, and the larger issue about how women are treated in her industry would be lost.
posted by nangar at 7:18 AM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Totally uncalled for cock-move

Apparently not. Apologies.

posted by yerfatma at 7:19 AM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


No need to apologize, it's perfectly ok to abuse Meatbomb. Ask the camels, they'll tell you.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:21 AM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I really do think gman was teasing.
posted by nangar at 7:23 AM on May 22, 2011


I guess I'm just not going to understand, then.

I mean, it's a shameful secret practice. The only way to destroy those kinds of things are through verifiable sunlight exposure.

And the response I get is that it's better for her to not really say anything direct.

Which seems to be exactly the opposite of what really needs to be done.

I'll just bow out of this discussion.
posted by hippybear at 7:46 AM on May 22, 2011


I missed that thread Forktine linked, the first time around. Malla's comment in that thread is notable here:
When my mom was a grad student, one of her professors actually attacked her in a hallway, pushing her up against a wall and squeezing her breasts. She kneed him in the nuts and filed a formal complaint in conjunction with two other women with similar experiences. It went nowhere. The admin suggested they had mental problems, but agreed this paricular professor would remove himself from their advisory committees. Years later, he raped a student on a trip to a conference. She sued him, but he died meanwhile of cancer. So she sued the university, who claimed they had no idea he was a sexual pedator. This woman found many many formal complaints about the guy when she subpoenaed his records. My mom testified at the trial. Here's the thing. My father-in-law works at the same university. His best friend works in the same department as dead asshole. He just could not believe it. He kept saying that these things were impossible, that it could not have happened. That in his experience, no one harassed like that at the university. It wasn't true. When I pointed out all the evidence, when I pointed out my own mom's experience, he was just flummoxed. For some men, good men especially, who are incapable of being other than ethical, the rotten behavior of the harrassers is just invisible.
posted by cashman at 8:09 AM on May 22, 2011 [17 favorites]


I mean, it's a shameful secret practice. The only way to destroy those kinds of things are through verifiable sunlight exposure.

That was my initial thought too, but I'm not a woman and have never been in that position, so it's to say that my thoughts are the definitive answer, you know?

From Camp's example, there are practical concerns. Does she want to get mired down and give the asshole ever more of her personal time? Or does she want to get on with her life? She's indirectly mentioned the problem and fingered the person, does she own more to the cause or to herself?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:25 AM on May 22, 2011


You don't have to bow out. I understand what you're saying. And just because some of us disagree with you doesn't mean what you have to say isn't worth hearing. (And not everybody disagrees with you.)

I think this exchange from Tammy's blog is worth quoting:
Sean: Unfortunately, it’s likely to only change when someone speaks out and names names (easy for me to say since I’m not living in the valley or eating at the tech trough).

Tammy: You could be right. I’ve received an alarming amount of emails from women in Silicon Valley who are experiencing the same thing. Wonder if stepping forward together might work?

Amy: Absolutely. It’s only when women join together and speak up that anything changes. Unfortunately, these days, women seem too anxious to compete with one another and don’t want to be seen as rocking the boat.
I think Amy and Tammy are right. The incident she's describing is inherently unverifiable (probably), and one woman's say-so and against some guy's is unlikely to accomplish much. But a group of women making specific complaints against specific repeat offenders could be much more effective, and could result in some actual house cleaning.
posted by nangar at 8:29 AM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


The sexual harassers and predators are only a part of the problem. They're a minority for the most part. The reason "naming names" or even discussing sexual abuse is such a problem are the excuse-makers, the victim-blamers, and the people who just doubt women on principle. They are the reason this is allowed to go on, not women like Tammy who talk about their experience but don't go into specifics.

All the doubters and nay-sayers whose immediate response is "she must be lying or mistaken" and who will come out of the woodwork a hundredfold if anyone does name a name, these people are the reason this activity exists. It's not about keeping secrets, as Malla's story illustrates. Lots of people know because these guys think they can act with impunity. They have the cover of a lot of other people. Revealing the secret has to penetrate through that cover, that wall of doubt and misogyny and rape culture.
posted by Danila at 9:31 AM on May 22, 2011 [12 favorites]


This thread really depresses me. I figured that people would be a bit more enlightened here, that it wouldn't be some boy's club. I am wrong about that; it seems there are a few people here whom are sticking their head in the sand when it comes to sexual harassment.

But then again, I'm a girl. WTF am I doing out of the kitchen, damnit?!
posted by kellyblah at 9:47 AM on May 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


The sexual harassers and predators are only a part of the problem. They're a minority for the most part. The reason "naming names" or even discussing sexual abuse is such a problem are the excuse-makers, the victim-blamers, and the people who just doubt women on principle. They are the reason this is allowed to go on, not women like Tammy who talk about their experience but don't go into specifics.

I've seen very little in terms of victim blaming or excuse making here. What I have seen has been requests for more information -- because it's nigh on impossible to evaluate what it is that she's saying on the basis of what she's written.

If somebody wants to talk about their experience without it being subjected to that kind of critical interrogation, they should do it in a support group. If they're going to make those kind of allegations on a high traffic blog, then people are inevitably going to ask for more information in order to evaluate what it is precisely she's saying has happened.

She's not obliged to provide any further information than she's already provided, but if she wants to win more support for her position than she's gaining at the moment, she'd be pretty dumb not to do so.

This is the internet. People claim a whole load of different things for a whole load of different reasons. Are we really just supposed to take it all at face value? Or is that just reserved for anyone claiming victim status?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:17 AM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


That isn't it. In my work life I do not include references to my hobbies, and do not include photos of me sitting naked playing Civ IV, smoking joints, in my business / promotional materials. I don't make sure that every photo of me has a look over the shoulder or lean against the wall flirty look. Because that is not relevant to the job, and is not the value added I am bringing to the table. Apparently it is different in Ms. Camp's case.

She can't stop being pretty, but she can tone down the sex in a business context rather than ramp it up to 11.


So I decided to go back one more time to her website to figure out if I just missed something that was like "Tammy's page of gratuitous bikini pics" to see if there was any meat to your complaint. I am just not seeing it. I see some pictures of her kiteboarding, a very popular sport among the tech set and something that might actually get her some cred in the right valley circles. Oh and by the way, this is apparently a bit more than a hobby since in one of her posts she talks about setting a kiteboarding world record. Watching the video I see it start with one glamor shot of her with a kiteboard (perhaps this is the picture you object to?). But for the most part, all I see is a pretty woman, who in her pictures she tends to dress in a flattering way and wear makeup.

While this may be part of her professional self-promotion, this is also her personal website. You think her personal blog is not an appropriate place to reference her "hobbies" but many people in the tech scene have hobbies on their sites. They blend the personal and professional, they have twitter accounts that talk about their dog and their company, and no one thinks anything of it. Unless it is a pretty woman, who bothers to dress nicely and be unapologetic about it. Seriously, there is NOTHING on that site to give you the idea that she is unprofessional, or has gotten to where she is through all style and no substance. And asserting she did is incredibly fucking sexist. You usually seem like a cool dude so I'm kind of surprised to see such knee-jerk bile spewed over a few pictures on a website.
posted by ch1x0r at 10:22 AM on May 22, 2011 [11 favorites]


If it happened to me, I wouldn't name names because of fear of what it would do to me financially and career wise in the longterm, especially as a minority and as a woman. I think it's really weird that most people just don't understand that. No creeper is going to out himself as a disgusting person. He's probably going to put his halo on and pretend he isn't guilty of it. I think he'll even lie to himself unless someone outs him and he immediately starts to blame her and point himself out as the innocent victim of slander or say it was a miscommunication.

We have a whole thread on ReelGirlz and Comcast, and essentially a lot of folks say that ReelGirlz shouldn't have "bitten the hands that feeds it" by criticizing an organization that funds them. That's lame, and that's what most people honestly think.

I don't know if speaking up brings much change because there will always be those creepers who justify their stupid assholery and are otherwise unaware of how to communicate with women. We had to dispose of a creepy intern who was great on paper but did not get that he can not bring his issues with women into our workplace. We didn't even know he had them until he couldn't stop "being himself" around our junior development coordinator who was five years older than he was. Great with nearly all of us except couldn't control himself around our junior development coordinator. (Actually informed her that he could tell she liked him because of her body language rather than figuring out that a)it was inappropriate and b)that she turned him down for drinks all the time for a multitude of reasons related to the fact that she did not like him. Literally argued with her that she liked him and he "could tell." It was annoying and inappropriate, and he did not get it.)

Money is power and respect in this country and in this world. As women, we just need to go ahead and unapologetically chase that paper and get it, then make things the way we want them, so future generations of women can live in a better world where they aren't demeaned, where demeaning and disrespecting women is shunned and punished. Because I get the sense that speaking up and saying anything is not working well enough yet.
posted by anniecat at 10:34 AM on May 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


She can't stop being pretty, but she can tone down the sex in a business context rather than ramp it up to 11.

Wow. I think it might be time to create a "Misogyny on Metafilter" website, a collection of the Worst Comments Ever.

Jeez Meatbomb. You realize makeup and clothes don't come with a "This will be too sexy for Meatbomb to handle" tag?
posted by anniecat at 11:01 AM on May 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


Please link me reelgirlz thread?
posted by bq at 11:46 AM on May 22, 2011


If it happened to me, I wouldn't name names because of fear of what it would do to me financially and career wise in the longterm, especially as a minority and as a woman...

Money is power and respect in this country and in this world. As women, we just need to go ahead and unapologetically chase that paper and get it, then make things the way we want them, so future generations of women can live in a better world where they aren't demeaned, where demeaning and disrespecting women is shunned and punished.


One of these things is not like the other...

You won't speak up, but women need to things the way you want them... Sorry, but unless you and Tammy are willing to talk - name names and describe specific actions you find objectionable - no one is going to bother listening to you. Sure, the media's full of the IMF guy right now, but no one equates that with Don in Accounting who gets a little touchy when he drops off the ITP reports. If you want it to change, then change it, starting with you - obviously, no one's going to do it for you.
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 11:55 AM on May 22, 2011


Does being the victim of a crime confer obligations on the victim?
posted by bq at 12:05 PM on May 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Take a look at the comments on this blog post, which is very specific about actions and names.

http://blog.nerdchic.net/archives/418/
posted by bq at 12:13 PM on May 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


Sorry, but unless you and Tammy are willing to talk - name names and describe specific actions you find objectionable - no one is going to bother listening to you. Sure, the media's full of the IMF guy right now, but no one equates that with Don in Accounting who gets a little touchy when he drops off the ITP reports. If you want it to change, then change it, starting with you - obviously, no one's going to do it for you.


So I name names and then the guy says, "Oh, it was a misunderstanding" or "She's lying" or his buddies say, "Yeah, look at how she dressed, she's a cocktease, she slept her way to where she is and now she wants to complain about it, etc." Come on. There's enough of that in this thread from people not involved. And there will be plenty of "Well, he's a perv to women but he's nice to me and can get me the job/funding/whatever I want." I have no doubt, especially in reading a lot of these comments, that the fratty "bros before hos" attitude is there and Camp is being smart when she isn't saying anything just yet.

If this guy is powerful enough, most of the industry will line up behind him and defend him. Where does this put her career, her career trajectory, and her financial ability to provide for herself? Again, she's making a good move in taking her time.
posted by anniecat at 12:15 PM on May 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


She can't stop being pretty, but she can tone down the sex in a business context rather than ramp it up to 11.

I don't mind gay people, but why do they have to flaunt it so much? Just keep it out of my face and we're cool.

yawn.
posted by rhizome at 12:16 PM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, if you guys sound like Ben Stein or Bernard-Henri Lévy, you need to rethink your reasoning.
posted by anniecat at 12:21 PM on May 22, 2011


The site seems to be back up, but I, too, was confused.

Divabat--the action is obnoxious, but not really under the legal definition of "harassment" which in the US is usually considered to refer to the workplace or school, college, etc.

But was this a "put out or you don't speak at the conference" sort of thing? What conference? Her commenters don't make anything any clearer.
posted by Ideefixe at 12:49 PM on May 22, 2011


Take a look at the comments on this blog post, which is very specific about actions and names.

...aaaand look at the most recent comment on that post, which is exactly why a lot of women don't want to talk about this stuff: "It’s a pretty simple case of cause and effect: act like a whore and you’ll be treated like a whore."
posted by desjardins at 12:55 PM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always think that shit like that has lost the power to shock me, and then I discover that I'm wrong.

I don't even understand that comment. Whores deserve to be assaulted? Drinking beer makes you a whore? Wearing a short skirt makes you a whore? Smiling at a man makes you a whore?

Apparently, for some men, being female makes you a whore and therefore someone it's okay to sexually assault.
posted by rtha at 1:06 PM on May 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


ideefixe: It doesn't matter if it's legal or not - there's a lot of types of harassment and assault that don't get written into law. Again, you don't get to decide whether this is harassment or not.

Though I'd say not being allowed into a conference unless you sleep with the organiser is pretty clear-cut.

Mefites, you disappoint me. What's the point showering heaps of praise onto me for the SlutWalk vid if you're just proving the need for it elsewhere on the site?
posted by divabat at 1:53 PM on May 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


Not to mention that I googles the guy in question - Florian Liebert, since we're naming names - and he seems to be doing juuuuust fine. As far as I can tell, he is still employed at Twitter. Has 2000+ twitter followers. Not exactly an example of ostracism in action.
posted by bq at 1:55 PM on May 22, 2011


You know, I fucking hate the mere idea of the "digerati"--people who seem to be Internet-famous purely for being Internet-famous, and maybe for being an "angel investor" or something--but I'm completely rethinking that in light of some of the comments here. bq's comment nailed it spot fucking on.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:24 PM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


> Mefites, you disappoint me.

While I'm disappointed by some of the comments too, a few boneheads does not equal "Mefites."

> Sorry, but unless you and Tammy are willing to talk - name names and describe specific actions you find objectionable - no one is going to bother listening to you.

Don't say "no one" when you mean yourself. You apparently have never known anyone who has gone through this. Like others in this thread, I have, and it was a very educational experience. Seemed like a cut-and-dried case of sexual harassment, but she was a grad student and he was a professor and there was a hideous amount of pressure and she wound up withdrawing her complaint. And some jerks responded just like you, with complaints and further shaming ("You're letting down all women!"). Learn what life is like for people before you condemn them.
posted by languagehat at 2:25 PM on May 22, 2011 [12 favorites]


You know, I am trying to think of a job that I HAVE NOT been sexually harassed. Nope. I can't think of one. The few times that I have complained, I (me!) have been persecuted. It really takes guts to complain, name someone and follow through. HR is a joke. Nothing is private. It is demeaning. Doubly so. Really, I am trying to think of one job that I have had where this has not been an issue. I am female and in my 40's.
posted by futz at 2:45 PM on May 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Mefites, you disappoint me...

Try not to let it go to your head.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 3:05 PM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ok. I thought of one. I was a flower delivery (temp) when I was 16 on Valentines weekend. That was almost 30 years ago. I'd spend more time trying to rack my brain but remembering all this shit is really depressing.
posted by futz at 3:08 PM on May 22, 2011


Try not to let it go to your head.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 6:05 PM


Try not to get brain freeze.
posted by futz at 3:10 PM on May 22, 2011


Sorry, but unless you and Tammy are willing to talk - name names and describe specific actions you find objectionable - no one is going to bother listening to you.

No.

There are plenty of people in this thread who are listening now. It's only you and a few others who refuse to listen.

It's not enough for you that a woman go through the initial harassment. You demand that she do something--name names--that will likely result in further harassment and damage to her career; otherwise, you won't bother to listen. Either you have no understanding of the potential consequences or you have no empathy.

It is completely possible to have a meaningful discussion about sexual harassment without naming names, by the way, because it's not just individual harassers who are the problem. The culture that protects them is also a problem. Unfortunately, in some of the comments here, it's easy to see that culture at work.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 3:33 PM on May 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


It's not enough for you that a woman go through the initial harassment. You demand that she do something--name names--that will likely result in further harassment and damage to her career; otherwise, you won't bother to listen. Either you have no understanding of the potential consequences or you have no empathy.

Bullshit. It's people like you who insist on dealing only in generalities, in order to paint as vast a proportion of the male population as sex-crazed rapists as possible. EVERY man violates women. EVERY day. In fact, it's happening RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE, in the bar down on the corner, on that bus, in the copy room on the 14th floor...

Bullshit. If you are going to accuse someone of something - accuse them. Specifically. If you want it to stop, MAKE IT STOP. I utterly refuse to accept that women are simultaneously empowered, equal beings who deserve equal treatment and wilting flowers who need to hide behind thinly-veiled hints that someone has been "less than a gentleman." Stop making excuses. TAKE CONTROL.

Contrary to languagehat's dismissive assumption above, I DO know someone who was sexually harrassed, someone very close to me - physically, repeatedly, by a superior at my firm, an executive doing a stint here from France. I sat through several emotional lunches with her, just trying to be as supportive as I could. When I was promoted to a position that required me to report anything even remotely like sexual harrassment to HR, I told her either she could stop talking to me about it and I would keep her confidence, or she could tell them.

She did. He suddenly disappeared (he left the US immediately, left the employ of my company soon after, and I have no idea where he is now). My friend works somewhere else now, although the move was unrelated to this situation. She's always said ultimately she was happy she'd done spoken up, and in particular that she'd never hesitated to name her harrasser. The fact that he was now unavailable to be charged with a crime really doesn't mean much to her - his career at the firm was ended (he was in his early 50s; he'd never worked any place else...) and his life uprooted, and she felt that was sufficient punishment. What she mainly feels is STRONG. Something bad happened, she tried to work through it and finally decided to take control of her own situation.

THAT'S how you beat sexual harrassment. You want to sit around and talk about "sexual harrassment" in the abstract, behind the anonymity of MetaFilter usernames, and sulk about how filthy and devious men are? Go ahead. I'll drop out of the conversation if that's all you want. But if you want to do something, really DO something, get out there and tell every victim of sexual harrassment to stand up RIGHT NOW, name the person responsible, and the specifics of what they've done. It's the ONLY way to combat it.
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 7:27 PM on May 22, 2011


No one said men are filthy or devious or that they are all sex-crazed rapists. Besides, it isn't only men who put pressure on women, other women do it too.

I don't think "naming names" has to be a prerequisite in order to be believed or to tell any part of your own experience. I don't think anyone should have to submit to the third degree just because they dare to talk about something violating that happened to them. In this and the other thread, Tammy Camp has repeatedly been said to make "accusations" that she should have to back up, but I think that's a fundamental difference in interpretation. I don't think she's making accusations at all, nor does she have to provide evidence.

Here is this woman who is simply saying that for the third time in a year, she has seen her career curtailed in a major way because she would not agree to have sex with a conference organizer. She has been contacted by other women who have had similar experiences in their male-dominated sphere. By sharing her experience, she has sparked others to discuss how prevalent the practice is and here she has sparked some conversation about how others enable harassment and sexual predation. So I agree with Kutsuwamushi - there can be a meaningful conversation without naming names.

I remember that incident linked upthread, when a female tech blogger did name her harasser as part of the overall context of her experience at a conference. The story spread all over tech blogs, Gawker, feminist blogs, reddit. Thousands of comments about it. Comments about her looks (too ugly/too slutty to be sexually assaulted). Comments about his endangered reputation and let's not assassinate him. Comments from his friends on her blog and all over. Comments that she deserved it because she is a slut and as one so-called feminist commenter on her blog said, "with great power comes great responsibility". Many blog posts and comments saying she did the wrong thing. Strangers calling her local police station to make sure she filed a report (because if she hadn't, woo boy). Questions over how long it took her to file a report. She's posted once on her blog since then.

Just reading the comments on that blog, not even reading everything else posted about her scandalous act of naming her attacker, it's obvious that victims have to deal with being humiliated all over again. Not because of the first douchebag, but because of all the other people and the culture that supports sexual predation (because hey, she shows off her looks, or she drinks, or she flirts or whatever so it's excused and its really mean of her to ruin some guy's life which by the way isn't ruined at all). Some people just cannot resist blaming the victims.
posted by Danila at 8:16 PM on May 22, 2011 [17 favorites]


Anyone can say anything on the internet. Norin Shirley told her story and identified her attacker. Camp says that she is barred from some conference because of some organizer. There's a difference.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:46 PM on May 22, 2011


OneMonkeysUncle, you should step back from the thread and take a deep breath. No one is broadly painting "the male sex" as filthy or deviant--in what comments specifically do you see anything akin to that generalization? You shouldn't take it so personally that, as a general, statistically-verifiable rule, it is men who rape, who sexually assault, who harass. Not always of course, but most often. This is symptomatic of living in a patriarchal culture which demeans and others women and the "feminine" in favor of the "masculine". Do you really need a gender studies primer?

I don't mean to be flippant but your comment reads far more dismissively than that of languagehat, whom you cite. The fact that you have one experience with one woman in one case of sexual harassment does not mean you have any kind of right (nor should you have the seemingly-moral imperative) to determine how all future cases should be conducted. That's ridiculous. It's as if you posit that sexual harassment is one monolithic entity which is easily problematized and solved--in other words, as soon as those frightened "wilting flowers" start following your example, it will disappear.

This displays an attitude towards women that is nothing if not problematic. Who are you to order how a victimized woman should conduct herself? And why--and this is why I think you need to both step back and also really investigate feminism alongside your beliefs on the contemporary women's movement--why are you so incredibly angry? Because as far as I can tell, it appears that you are not angry that sexual harassment is a common or everyday occurrence, but angry at women for not behaving correctly. Do you understand how incredibly offensive that is? And how ironic it is that, while presenting yourself as sympathetic to women's causes, you are furthering the system that prioritizes male experience and masculinist behavior at the expense of women?
posted by nonmerci at 9:29 PM on May 22, 2011 [12 favorites]


Obviously a victimized woman can conduct herself in any way she needs to. She doesn't need my permission or anyone else's to do so. That's so manifestly true that even to mention it seems patronizing. If she doesn't choose to actually name names, well she's entitled to that choice. I can't say that I blame her. It would hurt her financially, and it would make people take sides. If she complains about harassment in general, well, few people are going to say she's lying. If she complains about a specific individual, then it's inevitable that some people will say "Wow, that doesn't match my experience with him at all. She must be lying or mistaken." And that will happen whether the charge is harassment or something else.

But if she doesn't name names, what exactly can anyone else do to help? Most of us already aren't eager to associate with creeps like that. We think we're not. If she's not going to say "It's so-and-so, and he's not such a nice guy when nobody else is around," what societal pressures can we bring to bear on the guy? Lecturing men as a whole isn't likely to be productive. I don't need diversity training in order to avoid making threats if she won't have sex with me, and the people who do need the training won't listen to it.

I don't see how anything changes without specific consequences falling on specific harassers. And I don't see how that happens when we don't know who those harassers are.

She's got no moral obligation to point the finger at him. But as a practical matter, if no one steps forward to do so, the rest of us can't look at him differently based on ESP.
posted by tyllwin at 9:54 PM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metafilter has taught me that not only isn't sexual harassment okay but blaming women for it is doubly not-okay. Just telling her story should be enough.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:02 PM on May 22, 2011


I don't see how anything changes without specific consequences falling on specific harassers.

Other women learn that they're not alone, that it's not their fault. If more women speak of it in general, individual women will feel more confident when making specific allegations when the harassment is harming them. If they know it's a problem in their workplace, they'll be more vigilant for the warning signs that someone is testing their boundaries, instead of thinking that the off-colour comments the boss/colleague is making are just a poor sense of humour.

Other men will learn that harassment isn't just wolf-whistles from building sites, it happens in the places where they work and hang out. They'll learn that it's not a rare occurence, it's actually pretty damn frequent. They'll adjust their estimates of the probability of specific accusations, and with any luck be less likely to go with knee-jerk disbelief.

It's a necessary first step before a majority of women will feel like maybe telling the truth won't destroy their ability to earn an income.
posted by harriet vane at 12:30 AM on May 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


quonsar said it best 7 years ago.
posted by divabat at 2:12 AM on May 23, 2011


Fascinated to find out that "social skills" are not actually proper skills, like real people have.

Also very hopeful that if I ever find myself in this position, my website will be of a high enough quality to deflect suggestions that I am making it up.
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:22 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bullshit. It's people like you who insist on dealing only in generalities, in order to paint as vast a proportion of the male population as sex-crazed rapists as possible. EVERY man violates women.

Holy crap. No one has said anything remotely like that. You're making your issues quite obvious here.

utterly refuse to accept that women are simultaneously empowered, equal beings who deserve equal treatment and wilting flowers who need to hide behind thinly-veiled hints that someone has been "less than a gentleman." Stop making excuses. TAKE CONTROL.

Contrary to what a lot of people like to believe, you can't control a situation just because you're strong or want it badly enough. Bootstraps don't make people offer you contracts or speaking opportunities.

THAT'S how you beat sexual harrassment.

Clearly, the fact that sometimes women who report sexual harassment succeed in getting their harassers punished completely invalidates the risks that women have to take in order to report. /sarcasm

Your friend's story could have easily gone differently. It has gone differently for many women; some report and then wish they hadn't. So I'm really not sure what your anecdote is supposed to prove, unless you are so shortsighted as to believe that your friend's experience will be representative of every woman's.

How you really beat sexual harassment is you stop focusing your anger on women who talk about sexual harassment, and turn that anger on the harassers instead. Try it.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 3:28 AM on May 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


A couple relevant links:

Geek Feminism's Timeline of Incidents

Open Source Women Back Each Other Up Project
posted by nangar at 5:17 AM on May 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


THAT'S how you beat sexual harrassment. You want to sit around and talk about "sexual harrassment" in the abstract, behind the anonymity of MetaFilter usernames, and sulk about how filthy and devious men are? Go ahead. I'll drop out of the conversation if that's all you want. But if you want to do something, really DO something, get out there and tell every victim of sexual harrassment to stand up RIGHT NOW, name the person responsible, and the specifics of what they've done. It's the ONLY way to combat it.

You should drop a line to Anita Hill and tell her she obviously must have done it wrong, since her case didn't work out as awesomely as your friend's did.
posted by rtha at 6:13 AM on May 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


Before we go raring off on OneMonkey'sUncle (who I do think read into the discussion an anti-male tone that wasn't there, but I can understand that - from his perspective - there's a lot of talk when action could be taken to solve things right now), I think we should remember that our experiences as women aren't often completely visible to men: they don't generally see or experience the same things we do*. For many men, they see the big and/or reported events, the events disturbing enough that the women they are close to talk about in front of them, but they don't see it all by any extent. What they do see stick out like a sore thumb. They're terrible. They need to be stopped. How could you not deal with that at a root level and make sure that isn't considered acceptable? Root it out. Crush every one.

This is right. I want it all to be rooted out, crushed, ended, made unacceptable. However, there's a problem that men often do not see: in fact, they see the tip of the iceberg, and not how pervasive, how common it can be. They usually don't see or hear about or experience the string of minor and mid-major events that we do. They typically don't have the "What should I do about ..." conversations I've had with almost every woman I've worked with. We learn to pick our battles, because we expect there will be more battles to fight in this arena, whether on our own behalf or those of our coworkers. We think some of those battles may be big ones, bigger than the incident currently in focus. We don't have the energy or financial independence or career independence to fight every single battle to the bitter end, particularly when we've all seen a lot of unhappy endings.

As a woman, I found that the decision to report or not was a strategic decision. If I couldn't resolve the issues on a 1:1 level (for dealing with the uninformed, as opposed to the confirmed jackass), I would have to think about what my options were, and what were the likely results. How would this affect my career? How would this affect my paycheck? How would this affect the people I work with? How would this affect they way I do my job today. What was my mangement or company's history with dealing with sexual harassment claims? Would this reverbate back on me negatively? How happy would I be with possible result A or possible result B? Was it worth to report this, should I try something else, or should I just try like hell to remove myself entirely (from the project/group/division/company/industry)?

In a perfect world, yes. Names should be named. Harassers should be punished. The harassees should not be punished for speaking, purposefully or incidentally. In reality this is not always the case. Many many many women have seen sexual harassment claims handled less than satisfactorily (no action taken for lack of proof or he said/she said, leaks of allegation, social punishing, job changes that hurt the harassee's career plans, no action taken because the harasser is percieved as being more valuable than the harassee, claims lost in beaurocracy with no further action, identification of the complaintant as a troublemaker or liar or complainer, and so on and on). When we make the decision to report or not to report, we have to consider all of these things. It's not fair. It's not right. Unfortunately, it is reality.

*I'm referring to sexual harassment directed towards women here. Men, too experience sexual harassment. Because it is less historically endemic and more unusual for their working experience, sexual harassment directed towards men is a differently-formed component (with a common core) of the typical man's working life. This is not to diminish those experiences at all, but just to say that for many women, harassment is a different and frequent part of their work landscape.
posted by julen at 9:36 AM on May 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


Don't forget that there's often no one to report the harassment to. Millions of people work in small businesses where there is no HR department, and the harasser might be the owner or the owner's relative.

Two examples, from when I was much younger:

1. Fast food franchise restaurant. The (married, male) owner used to watch women (many of them minors) change into their work uniforms. I suppose we could have reported him to corporate headquarters, but at 16 I didn't really understand the concept of franchising. To me, he was the end of the line. (I did end up reporting him to the EEOC because he threw job applications from non-whites into the trash without reading them. I don't know what became of that.)

2. Service station with a convenience store. I was the cashier, and one of the mechanics would mess with my personal belongings, call me a bitch, tell me that I had no business working at a service station because I was female, corner me and laugh when I tried to get by, etc. I went to the owner, who asked me if the guy had fondled me, and since he hadn't, there was no reason to do anything. I should suck it up because the guys all joked around with each other, you see. Obviously, the mechanic made much more money for the owner than I did. I was 20, I had no idea who I'd report that to. The police? Seemed like overkill.

I still honestly don't know what you do beyond your HR department, if it's not to the level of being physically assaulted. Who is Tammy Camp supposed to report unwanted overtures to?
posted by desjardins at 10:44 AM on May 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


I witnessed some fairly overt harassment at a job once, and called the guy out on it when it happened, but the woman in question didn't want to report it up the chain. Unfortunately, he was our boss, and did his damnedest to make life miserable for both of us.

She was used to it. She was good-looking, you see, and got this all the time, every job she'd ever had. She didn't like it, and it stressed her out, but she just could not be convinced that it was worth reporting. I, on the other hand, was totally not prepared to deal with some guy lashing out because I knew and could prove he was a raging misogynist douchebag, and I quit. Never told anyone why, not until the company was dissolved. I had made a promise. All I could do is deal with my own personal situation.

So I have a strongly mixed reaction to this sort of thing. I wasn't even remotely the victim in this situation, and I still ended up leaving my job over it. Had the actual victim been willing to speak out, I remain convinced we would have gotten rid of our douchebag boss and life would have been a lot more pleasant. But had it not worked out that way, for whatever reason, it would have gotten even worse. And her experience was that no one would ever back her up. His experience was obviously the same, from his absolute and utter shock when I told him what he did was well within the range of "shit that will get you fired with prejudice."

So I don't want to second-guess someone when she says naming names won't do her any good. I believe her. And yet, I have zero regret about calling it like I see it and I'd lose another job over it in a heartbeat. That's all I can do.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:12 AM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I had a mixed experience with reporting harassment at work.

I once had a coworker who had a problem with women. He didn't make advances towards me, but he would make incredibly vulgar comments about female customers and ask me inappropriately personal questions. When I asked him to stop, he turned aggressive. His aggression continued to escalate over the next few weeks, to the point where at some times I had an adrenaline response; I seriously thought it was possible he would attack me. I tried to ignore him, but it was hard, because we worked together in a small space.

I told my boss what was going on and asked not to be scheduled with him anymore. She told me that we were both behaving like kindergarteners.

I didn't know what to do at that point. We didn't have an HR department. I could call the owner, but he wasn't involved in the day-to-day running of the shop and I had no idea what kind of person he was. He had no idea what kind of person I was, either; I had a good reputation with my other coworkers but he was usually at a different location.

Then, one day, I did something that provoked this guy I worked with. IIRC, he had left a passive-aggressive sticky note on some of the equipment, and I had thrown it away because (a) it was aimed at me, and I had already read it, and (b) it was in the way. He called my boss and told her, "If I have to work with this fucking bitch one more time I'm going to kill her." He was standing about five feet away from me when he said this.

I had it. I got out my cell phone and called the owner and told him what happened. He told me that he was really sorry that that happened and that he would take care of it and I wouldn't have to work with him again.

The guy was not fired, although he should have been. What actually happened is that I ended up working the shorter and less lucrative evening shifts until he quit a couple of weeks later. I'm actually glad that I called the owner, though, because working the evening shift was worth it if it meant avoiding someone who, ultimately, threatened to kill me because I wouldn't do stuff like tell him if I was a virgin. And at the time, money wasn't tight; I wasn't going to miss rent or be unable to buy groceries because I took a $200 paycut that month. Totally unfair and unjust, but also totally a relief.

I don't think anyone here is saying "don't report." I'd probably advise a friend in the same situation as me to report, for example. But--and this is a big "but"--I wouldn't insist that I understood the situation better than she did, and that she was a "wilting flower" if she chose not to report. (How incredibly offensive.) Maybe she really needed that $200, you know?
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 12:07 PM on May 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


I think that unless you're prepared to pay a person's lost income, you don't get to criticize them for not reporting sexual harassment.

No, sorry, you still don't.
posted by desjardins at 12:22 PM on May 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


restless_nomad, fwiw, even if you yourself are not directly harassed, the employer is creating a hostile work environment, and is subject to all sorts of liability.
posted by jenkinsEar at 3:59 PM on May 23, 2011


I'm just going to agree to disagree, and move on. FWIW, I suspect you'll all be wrestling with this issue 50, 75, 100 years from now - as long as you're unwilling step up and do what it takes to not just enable change, but actually force it. I'm sorry to hear that, but heartened to know there are people - women and men - who take this far more seriously than you seem to, and are far more willing to cross the line many of you seem to want to hide behind. There are your lives; you'll have to do what you feel is best.

(BTW, desjardins, I have as much right as you to have an opinion. Obviously, mine is the opposite of other posters here, but that does not in any way invalidate my right to hold it. Your snotty comment does not make you "right," nor does it convince me of anything other than that you at least appear to be an asshole when your opinions are challenged. Nice work.)
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 4:36 PM on May 23, 2011

I'm sorry to hear that, but heartened to know there are people - women and men - who take this far more seriously than you seem to, and are far more willing to cross the line many of you seem to want to hide behind.
And you, of course, will never have to cross that line, because you live on the other side of it. You will never have to face those hard choices, and you will never have to figure out how to pay your bills if you gamble wrong. But congratulations on having the guts to demand that other people put their careers and livelihoods on the line. You sure taught us all a lesson in courage.
posted by craichead at 5:07 PM on May 23, 2011 [15 favorites]


Thank you craichead. Well said.
posted by futz at 5:31 PM on May 23, 2011


Oh, jenkinsEar, I know that. I didn't raise the issue because I promised the direct victim I'd leave it in her hands; now, I think, I'd approach things in a different order so that didn't become an issue but once I'd made the promise, my hands were kind of tied.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 6:21 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


OneMonkeysUncle, all of the politeness in the world--which you aren't using anyway--can't change the fact that you're the one who's being incredibly condescending. You've declared yourself to know better than the victims of harassment what choice to make, and condemned those victims who did not make what you think was the correct choice.

That's bad enough, but now you've accused me and others on this thread of "hiding" (presumably because you think we're cowards) and of not taking harassment as seriously as you do. You've passed beyond snotty with that comment. Your tone doesn't matter; your content betrays you as smug and judgmental.

But hey, if you're willing to walk the talk and bear a fraction of the costs that you demand victims do, then I can memail you my name and address and you can send me a check for $200.

Or you can send that $200 to any charity that fights harassment. Right now. I don't care if things are tight. If you can seriously argue that victims of harassment are obligated to give up the time, money, and opportunities that reporting can take away, then surely you--as a fellow member of this culture, as someone who is in a more privileged position than many victims--are obligated to give up a measly $200.

Consider yourself struck by an unlucky bolt of lightning, much like victims of harassment are. Now ending harassment is your responsibility, and your comfort and stability do not matter. You must do something about it now, or else you are a coward. Want the names of some charities? I will donate my time to finding good ones for you.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 1:18 AM on May 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


But if you want to do something, really DO something, get out there and tell every victim of sexual harrassment to stand up RIGHT NOW, name the person responsible, and the specifics of what they've done. It's the ONLY way to combat it.

You have said this several times, but you haven't actually backed it up with evidence. Reporting sexual harassment can sometimes make a difference, but sometimes it just results in more negative consequences for the victim. From a personal perspective, there is a real risk to whistle-blowing whenever anyone does it for any reason. Expecting everyone to "do the right thing" and put their lives on the line for a cause is a nice thought but isn't realistic or reasonable. And I don't see any reason to think that individual victims reporting abuse is the only way combat harassment, just as the Civil Rights Movement didn't involve individual victims of racism reporting individual racists. Harassment is a systematic problem, and it can have systematic solutions. For example, a workplace that takes harassment seriously in their training and code of conduct is going to be a lot less hostile place to work than somewhere that treats harassment as harmless fun, regardless of how many harassment complaints are filed at either workplace. There are certainly many things that everyone can do to combat harassment, without putting all of the responsibility of stopping harassment on the victims.
posted by burnmp3s at 5:49 AM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


as long as you're unwilling step up and do what it takes

You do it.

When your friend came to you and talked to you about this, why didn't you march into this guy's office and confront him? Or go to HR yourself? Why aren't you poking around on the internets right now to figure out who Tammy Camp could be talking about, and denouncing that guy on your site/twitter/letter to the editor, whatever.

Oh, you don't have proof? It would be he said-he said? Doesn't matter: you need to step up.

See, even if the women in your life haven't mentioned every catcall they've ever gotten, you've probably heard stories about the more egregious incidents, and you might know who the perpetrators are, so why aren't you doing anything about it? If you've ever seen a random guy on the street harass a woman, did you step in? Why not? That's the only way to stop it, you know. There are no other options; there is nothing else to take into consideration. As you obviously know.
posted by rtha at 6:04 AM on May 24, 2011


BTW, desjardins, I have as much right as you to have an opinion.

You're right. I'll rephrase.
I think that unless you're prepared to pay a person's lost income, in my opinion you shouldn't don't get to criticize them for not reporting sexual harassment.

No, sorry, you still don't shouldn't.
Anyway, I'd like to know your answer to this question: How, literally, are women supposed to pay their bills when they report harassment and are passed up for promotion, get their hours cut, are forced to quit or are fired? In my second example above, I dropped the issue after my boss said he wouldn't do anything, because he was my only decent employment reference and I didn't want to get fired. I had no savings and I would have lost my apartment. What precisely was I supposed to do?
posted by desjardins at 7:31 AM on May 24, 2011


Making two drive-by comments without any evidence to back the ludicrous claims those comments contain is far more cowardly than the supposed behavior of anyone in this thread.

OneMonkeysUncle is not engaging in good faith and I suspect he never was. I know men who are feminists, who fight actively for women's causes, and they have nothing in common with this buffoon. I would say he's trolling but I realize that's now looked down upon in the community so I'll just say he's trying to get our goad.
posted by nonmerci at 8:57 AM on May 24, 2011


Whether true or fishy, I find it ironically funny that some pathetic loser is still playing the 1950s "if you don't sleep with me, you'll be banned from this conference."

I get her points and no one should be harassed in any form, but I would laugh in the guy's face. Who does this? How stupid is he?

And if he texted her this proposal, others would laugh too if she named names.

Companies and jerk bosses/acquaitences will always harass you, whether it's sexual, give you a bad reference, retaliate in other ways. All you can do is leave and when you're in power to give an opinion about their hiring, etc. slam the shit out of them.
posted by stormpooper at 9:38 AM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


> Whether true or fishy, I find it ironically funny that some pathetic loser is still playing the 1950s "if you don't sleep with me, you'll be banned from this conference."

I get her points and no one should be harassed in any form, but I would laugh in the guy's face. Who does this? How stupid is he?


You seem awfully sure that 1950s game no longer works. I submit that if that were true, he probably wouldn't be trying it. I wouldn't call him stupid, just vile.
posted by languagehat at 10:15 AM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


OneMonkeysUncle is going to "move on," guys. We disappointed him. Let him down.

~tear~

He's acting like a troll that isn't actually interested in learning anything. He's into lecturing and not so much into having a conversation. He's a feminist, as long as feminism confirms to his (male-experienced) viewpoints.
posted by Windigo at 12:03 PM on May 24, 2011


Rosa Parks is considered by some as a hero for standing up. If I think Rosa is a hero, does that mean I think every other black person before her who did 'just sit in the back of the bus' is a coward? I'd say no, but I'd also say that none of those people who did sit quietly could reasonably expect things to get better. This is not to say they didn't have real and rational reasons for choosing current safety over longterm societal good, but it does recognize that people who speak out against injustices, at risk to themselves, are the ones who move our conscience forward as a society. People who withstand injustice in silence are heroic in their own fashion, but not in the same way as those who speak out, and we should not look down on those who are silent.
posted by nomisxid at 1:29 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Without the apparatus of the civil rights movement, Rosa Parks would have been jailed, fined, and most importantly, quiet and unknown.

And Tammy Camp is not being silent anyway, she is speaking out, ugh.
posted by Danila at 1:35 PM on May 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


People who speak out against injustices, even when those injustices don't directly affect them, move things forward, too. Putting all of the burden on people who are systemically oppressed and then saying "well, if they don't do X, what are we going to do?" is ignoring all of the privileged people who perpetrate systemic violence, as well as the ones who silently benefit.

If you're really concerned about sexual harassment, support the victims of sexual harassment and help create an environment where they feel comfortable discussing that harassment. That means being supportive, not nitpicking, not criticizing, not victim-blaming, not derailing.

Hint: yelling at them on metafilter or telling people whose agency was already violated that they have to do exactly what you say or else!!!! doesn't help.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:03 PM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


As others have said, first person accounts of discrimination are speaking out. And I think they're helpful; I wonder if Tammy would have made this blog post if Noirin hadn't made hers?

If you're a person who has never seen this kind of thing happen to anyone first hand it's not totally insane to take the position that making accusations is not something to be done lightly. My question is how many accusations does it take before you start to reconsider your prior? How many women have to tell you that they've been at the receiving end of wildly improper behavior, often repeatedly? What evidence will convince you that this is a thing that happens? That maybe so many reports are more likely to indicate an actual issue than a rash of dishonest or mistaken reports?

It's got nothing to do with evil men all being rapists, it just takes a few bad apples and the rest of us not saying anything to turn an incident into a Problem.
posted by Skorgu at 4:33 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


nomisxid: Rosa Parks is considered by some as a hero for standing up. If I think Rosa is a hero, does that mean I think every other black person before her who did 'just sit in the back of the bus' is a coward? I'd say no, but I'd also say that none of those people who did sit quietly could reasonably expect things to get better.

Bearing in mind, of course, that Parks had predecessors whose defiance didn't spark a bus boycott; that her "character" and reputation were beyond reproach (nothing that could blow up in her own face or her lawyers'); that she already had NAACP connections (greatly facilitating organization of the bus boycott and a case to challenge the constitutionality of the bus law); that she was fired from her job as a result of getting arrested.

I figure that somebody in the field and under fire has a firmer grip on key details of her/his dicey situation than I could ever have from my armchair. --> Only each individual facing such a choice, not me, is the best person to accurately weigh the possible gains of "standing up" against probable risks to "my own and my family's wellbeing and safety."
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 4:42 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Skorgu: And I think they're helpful; I wonder if Tammy would have made this blog post if Noirin hadn't made hers?

Although the other takeout from Noirin Shirley's case was that if you wanted hundreds and possibly thousands of people to talk about how you were clearly lying, too ugly to be groped, should be sued for libel, then going public was a good way to go about it. In fact, taking a quick look at Nerdchic, only last week someone added this comment:

It’s a pretty simple case of cause and effect: act like a whore and you’ll be treated like a whore. I’m not defending this guy – his silence tells me he’s probably a creep – I just think being a whore is no better than being a creep.

That's last week. It turns out misogyny has a long tail. Unlike, one might speculate, many misogynists.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:54 PM on May 24, 2011


"I really want to get down to it. Make a case that it's not at all sexual harassment when a woman gets banned from one of her favorite conferences because she won’t have sex with one of the organizers."

Camp is acting CEO of her company. The organizer of the event does not work for her. No employment relationship, no sexual harassment.
posted by Ardiril at 5:42 PM on May 24, 2011


Now, soliciting prostitution I could support, depending on how the state law is written.
posted by Ardiril at 5:47 PM on May 24, 2011


No, oh ye of tunnelvision, I am not calling Camp a prostitute.
posted by Ardiril at 6:05 PM on May 24, 2011


If you're really concerned about sexual harassment, support the victims of sexual harassment and help create an environment where they feel comfortable discussing that harassment. That means being supportive, not nitpicking, not criticizing, not victim-blaming, not derailing. (my emphasis)

I see now why my words were taken completely out of context and I've been painted as one of the bad guys here.

It seems that this thread is intended by some as a political forum and a tool for empowerment of victims of sexual abuse / sexism / etc.

I contributed with the idea that this is just a MetaTalk thread, where we all talk about the subject matter and it's more or less OK to have tangential discussions. There are lots and lots of other places (many linked here) that have a clear political / activist focus, and where random tangential comments would be out of place, and where people are there to specifically work towards a political end together.

I was going to just leave off further posting here, but on the other hand I feel I have been really misrepresented and had my words twisted to make me an example of the evil male oppressors.

So, ahem, just to clarify: my earlier comments were not really about the validity of Ms. Camps actions, whether or not her claims were true, and certainly not trying to blame her for anything. All I was saying was that I don't like Tammy Camp, and I explained why that was. Seems to me that is a perfectly valid form of expression in a MetaTalk thread.
posted by Meatbomb at 11:51 PM on May 24, 2011


I'm not sure if you're responding specifically to me or the general tone of this thread. If you are specifically responding to me then you need to realize that discussion can reference behaviors that you yourself may have been accused of at some point in time without specifically being about you.

My comment was in response to people who questioned, discounted. or flat-out denied the importance of the behavior of the privileged in fighting oppression. I skimmed whatever fight you got into up thread and didn't remember that it was you who was involved. I'm still not going to read it because I'm not that interested in what you did or didn't say.

Why did you single out my comment as leading to your epiphany that this is a "political forum"? There was plenty of talk about what women should do to end sexual harassment. Why did it only become an obviously "political forum" when I started talking about what men can do to end sexual harassment? It seems that your reaction is not because I suddenly introduced a brand new concept, but because my comment might be construed as critical of your behavior, whereas before the only people being criticized were the victims of sexual harassment (i.e. not you). In other words, the primary thing that distinguishes my comment from many others in the thread is that it makes you feel defensive. But it isn't about you.

I have zero desire to get into a back and forth on this topic with you for many reasons, but mostly because I suspect that you want to talk about what people think about you or defend yourself, and you can do that perfectly well without me.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:22 AM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Meatbomb: So, ahem, just to clarify: my earlier comments were not really about the validity of Ms. Camps actions, whether or not her claims were true, and certainly not trying to blame her for anything. All I was saying was that I don't like Tammy Camp, and I explained why that was.

To be fair,you certainly looked like you were casting doubt on whether her claims were true, and - surprisingly - suggesting that whether or not she was telling the truth was in some way connected to whether she had any coding skills rather than being just a pretty face:

Maybe it is sour grapes, and I just resent her because she is one of those lucky people who glides through life because of her good looks and social skills, maybe this whole sexual harassment thing is totally true. I dislike Tammy Camp nevertheless.

TBH, I don't think "I dislike Tammy Camp" is a tangent - it's ontopic to a post saying "Who is Tammy Camp?" - it's just an unexpected response, given the context of the discussion (her reporting of institutional sexism and harrassment in the technology industry).
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:27 AM on May 25, 2011


No, and I also don't really want a big argument with you, young r.r, just the use of the word "derail" as though the focus here is predetermined to be overtly political. I also don't want a big referendum on me, but felt that a lot of comments earlier on made it that. I'm done now here.
posted by Meatbomb at 2:28 AM on May 25, 2011


(on not preview) yeah apologies, running order, I will just leave it there.
posted by Meatbomb at 2:29 AM on May 25, 2011


No problem, Meatbomb - I just thought maybe that you'd created an unintentional possible reading through phrasing, and that was causing a reaction you hadn't anticipated.

Oh, but!

Ardiril: Camp is acting CEO of her company. The organizer of the event does not work for her. No employment relationship, no sexual harassment.

IANACSL, but... let's assume that this conversation took place in California, which does not seem to be an unreasonable assumption. Civil Code 51.9 of the California Civil Code defines circumstances in which sexual harassment can be said to have taken place between two people not employed by the same company but having a professional relationship - a client and supplier, for example, or doctor and patient, teacher and student, landlord and tenant. The conditions that need to be fulfilled are: To what extent this would fit these criteria is questionable - I can see possible challenges to all four of these conditions - but a case could be made.

However, rules-lawyering about whether or not this is according-to-Hoyle sexual harassment feels like a blind alley. I think it's fair to say that what she described - leaving aside the question of whether or not you believe it - was recognizably in the vein of quid pro quo sexual harassment under the California Civil Code, and a lot closer to that than to soliciting prostitution under any state criminal code.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:23 AM on May 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm one of the people who responded to your comment, Meatbomb. It bothers me that you seem to think the only issue people have with your comments are that they they were perceived to be "off-topic" somehow, so even though you've decided to bow out of the discussion here, I want to explain why I had an issue with it.

It's not precisely off-topic to say "I don't like Tammy Camp" and speculate about what she does when someone has asked "Who is Tammy Camp?"

However.

When a woman speaks out about harassment, it is depressingly common that the discussion becomes a referendum on her, and that this discussion focuses on her sexuality and looks. If the way she presents herself to the world has any hint of sexuality in it at all, she is dismissed as a slut by a significant percentage of people. See the "you act like a whore you get treated like a whore" comment people are referencing.

Your comment fit nicely into that pattern even though you might not have had any intention of trying to discredit her. It was surprisingly vitriolic towards a woman you have never met, and that vitriol was apparently based on how you didn't like the sexual aspect of her self-presentation. It exaggerated how sexually Tammy Camp actually presents herself, disparaged her talent based on no real evidence, and... well, happened to be posted in a discussion where other people were trying to discredit her. (See Ardiril, who is still Not Getting It.)

Regardless of your intentions, you attacked a woman based on what you perceived to be an overly-sexual self-presentation in a thread about her story of sexual harassment.

I have no problem with tangential discussions here, but context is important, intent is not magic, etc etc.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 3:26 AM on May 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


Fair enough Kutsuwamushi and point taken. Now I really will shut up and be off.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:57 AM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Languagehat--I still call him stupid because look at those who have sexually harassed women. It got mad press and bit them in the ass not to mention laughed at. Brett Farve anyone?

I'm not saying it doens't happen. I just think it's incredibly stupid. If I were smarter back in the day I totally would had a physician coworker shelling out a few hundred thou for grabbing my ass, propositioning me to put me up in an apartment (while his wife and kids stay home), etc. But I didn't. I thought it was stupid, he was vile, and who the fuck cared? I made $25k. Ooohhh threats for a $25k job? Big F'in deal. I quit.
posted by stormpooper at 8:39 AM on May 25, 2011


Did you have that in writing? Were there witnesses to the ass-grabbing that were just as willing to quit/get fired if they agreed to testify? Was your personal life above reproach and your relationship history spotless?

Because if not, I think you may be a tad unrealistic about the odds of getting "a few hundred thou." Which is the point of almost every anecdote in this thread.

(Not that I disagree with your actual decision - I made the same one. But it's a lot easier to feel really righteous about how thoroughly you could have won when you never got in the fight to begin with.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:26 AM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'll defend Meatbomb a bit, even though I took exception to one of his comments earlier. Meatbomb took the opportunity in this this thread to gripe about how much he hates marketing people. This attitude is really, really common in the tech industry (and there are reasons for it), and distaste for marketing people is not remotely the same as sexism.

He wrote in the same comment that everyone, including me, has been harping on:

This has nothing to do with the validity of her complaint whatsoever!

Bold in the original. He was not claiming that she deserved to have this happen to her because she's a woman, or even because she's a marketing person. Very explicitly not. I think we should lay off a bit.
posted by nangar at 10:37 AM on May 25, 2011


« Older Feature request: future MeFi p...  |  This is a thread for condolenc... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments