6 Totally Dumbass Ways People Tried To Teach Gender Equality
We live in a day and age in which women's rights are increasingly on people's minds, and companies and organizations are putting their best feet forward in an attempt to show how down they are with give or take 50 percent of Earth's population. Unfortunately, some of those attempts have been so half-assed that they transformed into full-assed attempts and ended up background-dancing in a Ying Yang Twins music video.
What the hell are we talking about? Well ...
The United Nations Announces A Gender Equality Meeting (For Men Only)
Back in May, the Denver Comic Con organized a panel called "Women in Comics" in order to discuss, what do you know, women in comics (both characters and creators). It was a perfectly well-meaning effort, except for one little detail. See if you notice anything weird about the panelists:
That's more beards and Adam's apples than we expected to see.
Yes, the panel about women had no women in it, because it was a late addition and they "couldn't find any" -- an excuse that a female comics historian presenting in the same convention reportedly referred to as "bullshit." But hey, at least the convention quickly organized a panel with actual women in it to save face, and besides, does anyone even read comics anymore? It's not like this was the United Nations holding a men-only conference or something.
This next thing, on the other hand, was exactly that:
"All fixed. Wonder why no one's ever thought of this before?"
In order to put themselves on the map as the world's most women-lovingest countries, Iceland and Suriname set up an entire conference to be held at the UN that was meant to focus on the plight of women in the modern world ... while being attended solely by dudes. As in, not just dude presenters, but everyone in the meetings had to be a guy (it's unclear if they were planning to enforce any type of sausage check at the entrance). The idea was to get men to become more actively responsible in advocating women's rights, like with Emma Watson's HeforShe campaign. Except, you know, without Watson. Or anyone resembling her.
"Thanks a lot! The exit is over there."
This naturally caused a lot of confused reactions, such as "This makes no sense," "They're turning women's rights into an old boys' club," and "What's a Suriname?" Eventually, the powers-that-would-have-been switched their stance and announced that women would be allowed to attend some of the meetings and they totally don't have cooties and also have they lost weight?
Microsoft CEO's Tip For Women In Tech: Never Ask For Raises
Despite women's higher graduation rates, there aren't enough of them in tech -- a fact that comment section geniuses attribute to ladies simply not being into that complicated stuff. Surely it has nothing to do with the hostility and prejudice that females in the industry are often met with. You'd think the powerful CEO of a ginormous tech company would be aware of this problem, but it seems he never got the memo.
At the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella took part in an interview led by Maria Klawe, who works alongside Nadella as a director for Microsoft. When asked for advice to women in the industry who are too nervous to ask for a raise, Nadella gave an answer that'll make you facepalm so hard your grandchildren will be born with hand-shaped birthmarks across their faces. The response?
The worst idea to come out of Microsoft since the Zune.
So, in a world where women still make less than men -- pro tip: no one's clicking on those 20 links you're about to dump in the comments section, dear MRA -- Nadella thinks women should keep quiet and trust that they'll magically get a fair deal one day. And he said that in a room full of women. Klawe immediately disagreed and was showered with support from the audience, advising women to research salary standards in their industry and practice their requests for extra bacon with people they do feel comfortable with.
Nadella later tried to backpedal harder than a reverse Lance Armstrong, apologizing for his goofy gaffe and blaming it all on his simply being "inarticulate." We can think of several more "I" words that describe Nadella's advice far better.
Pictured: Don Lemon laughing with relief because he didn't say the dumbest thing on the show for once.
Mandatory College Course Forces Students To Fess Up About Their Sexin'
It's taken a while, but colleges are finally wising up to the fact that rape is a thing that happens in their campuses. Take Clemson University, a public college in South Carolina that took it upon itself to educate their students on sexual violence prevention, which is good. In fact, they were so devoted to their program that they made these classes mandatory, under threat of disciplinary action. That's ... not so good. The problem? In order to take the class, the students were required to fill out a sexual questionnaire, as if they were applying to join a BDSM club:
"NOTE: The pictures of your genitalia can be no larger than two MB."
Other questions asked students to fess about using condoms or consuming drugs and alcohol, before moving on to the part where they had to rate the rapey-ness of different sentences:
"Which of these would make you most likely to sleep with Mr. Johnson, the handsome survey specialist?"
As reassuring as that little stripe with the word "Anonymous" might look, college servers do get hacked -- we've all seen The Social Network. Think of what a young and unscrupulous Mark Zuckerberg might have done with all this private information. He probably would have made some creepily invasive websi-- uh, never mind.
Anyway, despite the faculty's insistence that "it's not a sex survey," students railed against the course until it was finally shelved. Hopefully, its authors have been issued their own questionnaire asking what the hell they were thinking.
High School Writes Confounding Multiple Choice Question About Pimping
Given that teenagers are just starting to figure out their sexuality (and also that they're generally pretty dumb), it's crucial for young'ns at this juncture to learn the ins and outs of healthy sexual habits. That's why the Houston Independent School District's Health Education issued a multiple choice test that was meant, in part, to promote self-respect in young women by deconstructing a verbally abusive scenario. Unfortunately, whoever wrote the questions wasn't completely clear on what this whole "respect" thing is all about, judging by this little number:
"Does the boy deserve a: A) high-five, B) fist bump, C) celebratory handshake, or D) all of the above?"
If you didn't bother to read all that, the scenario depicts a high-school boy basically offering up two female students to two of his male peers, and laughter ensues all around. This could have been a golden opportunity to educate teenagers about the fact that treating women as sexual objects makes you a shitty person. Instead, the test-makers decided to leave kids with the lesson that it's the girls' fault that they're in that situation. After all, they are the ones who went ahead and got called teenage prostitutes by someone else.
The answers imply that the girls are flippant about the insult because they laugh, but laughter isn't inherently good or happy -- it can be an automatic response to pain, fear, or nervousness. Something these answers simply don't allow room for. Meanwhile, the test doesn't even question the boys' status as human garbage, because there's nothing that can be done about that (certainly not through, say, better sexual education). This is a terrible message to be sending to boys and girls whose brains soak up everything they see and hear like horny little sponges.
A visual representation.
To make matters worse, the HISD clarified that it was the teachers themselves who wrote the questions, based on guidelines they provided (in this case, to apply "communication skills that demonstrate consideration and respect for self, family, and others"). That's unacceptable, especially because the grammar in the offending question was gobsmackingly shitty.
A Texas City Council Training Goes Horribly Wrong
Austin, Texas recently made an astronomical leap for women's rights when they elected six out of a possible ten female council members. The only downside: Everyone else has no idea how to deal with these long-haired beings suddenly showing up at work.
"Welco-- those pants look kinda tight. Don't they hurt your woman-penis, ma'am?"
Worried that the new estrogen-heavy ratio would cause problems between the City Council and the rest of the city's staff, the city manager thought it would be a wise idea to provide some sensitivity training on how to interact with the new lady-peers. To accomplish this, they brought in Jonathan K. Allen, city manager of Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, whose own city commission was entirely female. Unfortunately, it looks like Allen's experience with women was mostly based on sitting at home watching stand-up comedy specials, based on the quality of his tips.
For instance, Allen recommended that the members be patient, because "women ask a lot of questions." Seriously, guys, like "ten questions in fifteen seconds." How does he know this? It happened to him once. When he was talking to his eleven-year-old daughter. He also warned that women "don't want to deal with numbers," focusing instead on how financial decisions would impact their community (like what detergent to buy and such). Finally, he blamed Hillary Clinton for the uptick in women holding positions in government offices, because apparently that's an idea no one had ever thought of before.
"The city would like to apologize for the remarks about Senator Clinton.
Also, for the ones about Sacagawea, Madame Curie, and Marge Simpson."
To be fair, the second speaker was a woman herself, and she didn't do much better: She warned the fellas that they would have to work super-duper extra hard now that there were so many City Moms on office watch. She advised the city staff that 100 percent effort wouldn't cut it anymore, because (as one admittedly confused listener understood it) "women can be more work than men." OK, we suspected it from the beginning, but now we're sure that this is an episode of Parks And Recreation that someone accidentally transcribed. Never mind.
Advice Column: Let Your Professors Look Down Your Shirt
Dr. Alice Huang tirelessly advocates for women in science, which is an impressive achievement we don't want to look down on. And speaking of looking down on things: She thinks that dudes getting themselves some downblouse action in academic settings is a fact of life, and nothing should be done about it.
In Huang's advice column for Science, an anonymous postdoctoral student asked her what she should do about her creepy-ass adviser looking down her shirt every time he got her alone in a room. Huang's advice? Just roll with it. Some choice quotes:
"Ass pats are a classic slice of Americana. Like an interactive Rockwell painting."
This is catastrophically bad advice. In one fell swoop, Huang urged a young woman seeking her guidance to resign herself to a life as sexy background decoration for all the real professionals, while totally excusing the jackass behavior of a supposedly well-educated and responsible authority figure who should damn well know better. Why? Because what he's doing doesn't technically qualify as "unlawful." So there you have it: As long as you don't hump anyone's leg, you can be as much of a creep as you want.
Naturally, anyone who had the great fortune of reading Huang's unfortunate badvice took to the web to rail against the sexist message it sent, prompting the website to take down the column a few hours later. The Internet being the sticky web of eternal shame that it is, the column is still available in an archived version in all its gross splendor -- so if you see someone at the office printing it out and pasting it on the rec room, be worried. Be very worried.
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Also be sure to check out 5 Gender Stereotypes That Used To Be the Exact Opposite and If Men Had to Put Up With the Same Crap as Women.