Christine Egger pointed me to a very thought-provoking post today that I want to stop and noodle on a bit with you.
Venessa Miemis discusses “How to be a Woman in a Man’s World” – picking up initially on a recent post from Clay Shirky, titled “A Rant About Women.” Shirky’s post, or rant, claims women “aren’t just bad at behaving like arrogant self-aggrandizing jerks. They are bad at behaving like self-promoting narcissists, anti-social obsessives, or pompous blowhards, even a little bit, even temporarily, even when it would be in their best interests to do so.” Some of this sentiment has been shared before in the blogosphere, especially in the conversations (debates?) about the lack of women on the presenting line up at conferences or other high-profile settings (especially in the tech sector).
In response to the comment danah boyd left on Clay’s post, Venessa poses the question: “What are the expectations for women (or what should they be) as we progress into an increasingly interdependent global society?”
Venessa ends her post with this great passage:
I think we’re seeing a shift in the values we find commendable in society, and it’s not about men or women being better. It’s about being co-designers of a healthy, equitable society. It’s about keeping an eye on the big picture, and trying to live up to a standard that’s captures the essence of what it means to be human. And I don’t think that’s going to be accomplished through acting like anti-social obsessives or pompous blowhards. It’s going to be through empathy, altruism, and collaboration.
My comment to Venessa:
Hi Venessa –
I have been blogging for a few years (professionally – personal blogs for many years) and have reached enough people that I do feel I have a community of readers, though no where near your 30,000. When I tried to contact Clay I received a response within the hour. But unlike any of your methods, I emailed him. I have never gotten a response from him on Twitter or elsewhere. And reading your introduction about your trials of making contact despite all your other accomplishments and accolades juxtaposed with mine, made me think:
Maybe I simply went where he was, or where he was comfortable, or where he wanted to connect.
As I read the rest of your post (incredibly thought-provoking!), I started to think about how my reaction to the first part, actually came back to me over and over again.
Maybe it’s because I’m a “Millennial” and we have as a generation rethought or redesigned so many aspects of public and “private” identity, but I think less about if the person I am trying to connect with, the community I am trying to serve (I work in the nonprofit sector), or the audience I’m trying to reach is a man or a woman, or if they are arrogant or shy. I ask myself where do they want to go? How do they want me to connect with them?
This could very easily turn into a post of its own and maybe I’ll write something up – but, mostly, thank you for continuing to explore in this public place and inviting us to explore with you.
I know that my focus probably starts to wander from where Venessa originally intended the meat of her post to focus, but I’m curious what you think.
Is it really about gender?
Or is it about place, process, voice, or something else? Looking forward to your ideas!