Objectify a Male Tech Writer Day (UPDATE: called off)

UPDATE: Having made such a positive splash already, organizer Leigh Alexander decided to nix the day itself lest it get out of hand:

#Objectify has gotten much bigger than I expected. At first I was excited, but now I see the scale of the discussion and coverage is creating a number of valid risks -- and as a result, I'd like to call off the event. ...

The dialogue's been great, but the end result -- a day of circulating a hashtag on Twitter -- runs the risk of catching fire with people who miss the point. #Objectify is not about celebrating objectification or about making people feel uncomfortable, but I'm increasingly worried that point will be lost and that harm can be done.

The first annual Objectify a Male Tech Writer Day brings attention to the ways, subtle and otherwise, in which female journalists are objectified and trivialized. Here's organizer (and BB contributor) Leigh Alexander, writing in The New Statesman:

The purpose of the exercise isn’t to “get revenge” or to make anyone uncomfortable: simply to help highlight by example what a gendered compliment looks like, and to get people talking in a funny and lighthearted way about how these kinds of comments distract from meaningful dialogues and make writers online feel like their point of view is only as relevant as how attractive they are.

Roll Up For The First Annual Objectify A Man in Tech Day [newstatesman.com]


  1. As someone who appears regular on camera on a tech website, I can tell you that it’s not an entirely uncommon occurrence. At least we finally have a holiday, though.

  2. Is it
    Objectify a “Male Tech Writer Day” or
    Objectify a Male “Tech Writer Day” or
    Objectify a Male Tech “Writer Day” or
    Objectify a Male “Tech Writer” Day or
    Objectify a “Male Tech” Writer Day or
    Objectify a “Male Tech Writer” Day?

    I don’t know what to do!

    1. Eh, I’d say it’s “Objectify a Male Tech Writer” Day.

      Incidentally, Rob, did I ever tell you that this font makes you look hot? I don’t know, it must be the way it makes you glow…

      (I’ll be in the corner awaiting punishment accordingly).

          1. As an internet commenter with no original content to offer this site, I feel entitled to critique the relative charms of whoever happens to put any work into it.

          2. I’ll bet Chentzilla has a whole string of ’em.

            And if not, Felton, I’m sure you could offer up some pointers.

  3. Rob is just writing this post to get attention, the big dirty whore.

    Crumbs, I over-shot by a mile. Nice Rob. That’s better.

  4. My lovely wife thinks that the guy in the article’s illustrative photos needs to be dressed seductively rather than goofily to make the point.

    Yes, I said “lovely wife”. See the double standard? See it? Goll darn it, it’s pervasive! Except that I wrote that because she told me that it’s a fine thing to say. See that? It’s even more pervasive than you thought!

    1. She’s YOUR wife — I hope you find her lovely! And I hope she finds you lovely! At least most of the time, anyway!

  5. Pff, Rob probably just writes for tech blogs because he’s looking for attention, I doubt he really knows what he’s talking about.

    (that’s right, I went there!)

    1. Please. Haven’t we all seen them now? Rob needs to have some dignity. Personally I’m sad to see tech writing have to sell to the lowest bidder. He should remember that he’s a role model to little boys when they think about technology.

  6. “Wow, you’re too good-looking a man to be so well-informed!”

    “You must get a LOT of attention at the cons! ;)”

    “Let me introduce you to this other guy who does something vaguely related to what you do… no, no special reason, but you’re both, you know, GUYS.”

    “Does your wife get jealous that you spend all this time surrounded by guys?”

    “How does it feel to be the only hot guy here?”

    Folks, I got a million of ’em. Replace tech writer with tech entrepreneur (hell, tech *anything*) and it’s the same suggestive “compliments” and stereotype threat reinforcement.

      1. No, they want to be desired by sexual attractive and available women. That’s not quite the same thing. 

        If literature and film is any guide (I will try not bring ‘personal research’ into this), the male fantasies in which the attractive, available women appear usually include the man having supernatural prowess in combat, athletics, business, vehicle operation, et cetera. The sexual attention is a reward for personal competence in a respected, skill-based activity. That’s quite a bit different from personal competence being ignored because of said sexual attention, as it is in objectification. 

          1. besides, there’s a point where compliments…aren’t. A lot of it’s context, but a lot of unasked commentary from strangers (or even acquaintances) on your looks or sex appeal is not really complimentary, it’s harassing. And it’s definitely objectification- talking about people like they’re park statues, meant for public consumption and therefore open targets for commentary on their aesthetic appeal from every random passerby. That’s not really complimentary, it can’t be, because it’s not really meant for the statue. But since women are people, that’s where it gets creepy.

      2. True, but if it happened regularly, especially when they’re trying to make a point or conduct business, they would soon want to punch somebody.

        1. Well, that’s anybody… male or female. Do anything in the extreme to anyone and they’ll flip out. Offer me a piece of cake, I may like it. Shove it down my throat and I’ll call the cops.

          1. Can you really say something is extreme if it informs the daily lives of half the population? I think that’s kind of the point of this sort of thing:  to get maybe a few people who have haven’t experienced a toxic gender environment to realize how pervasive it is, and their own complicity in that culture? 

          2. Can you really say something is extreme if it informs the daily lives of half the population? I think that’s kind of the point of this sort of thing

            There must be a misunderstanding. I’m not saying anything is wrong with “Objectify a Male Tech Writer Day”. I was responding to the post I was replying to (click the “Context” button of my previous post).

            From what I understand “Objectify a Male Tech Writer Day” doesn’t involve badgering a male until he punches you in the face. ^_^

          3. But you like cake. You just had cake yesterday. They totally saw you looking at the cake. But I made this cake for you. Are you on a diet? Are you diabetic? Why don’t you like dessert? What kind of weirdo doesn’t like cake? C’mon, just a bite, just a taste, don’t be such a spoilsport.

          4. Well, that’s anybody… male or female. Do anything in the extreme to anyone and they’ll flip out.

            That’s what I meant (perhaps I wasn’t clear?)

            Most men don’t usually find that kind of response offensive because it hasn’t been dished out to the extreme to them. If they’d get it every day or week, systematically, they would want it to stop, just like women.

            ETA: Maybe you meant that this effort is a bit pointless because, since it is only one day, it’s just going to seem like cute/funny jokes to most men*. A single day can’t replicate the way the pernicious behaviour REALLY feels to women because it is, as usual, a novelty and not something they’ll suddenly have to deal with every day, good or bad.

            If so, I did have the exact same thought.

            *To clarify: Most men who think that this kind of remarks are totally harmless. Men who don’t engage in this don’t really need this kind of ‘reminder’: It’s like preaching to the choir.

          5. In response to your edit, let’s bump this one day event up to at least a week, if not an entire month.  Maybe then a decent percentage of men will have a chance at being judged on their appearance rather than their abilities just once in their lives.

          6. Darn disqus and its nested comment limits and etc etc. I wasn’t trying to say you had a problem with the day, though I can totally see how it came across that way (I’m blaming the jetlag for everything today(. hmm. Okay, so you said you thought most guys would like to objectified, and somebody said that if it happened regularly to them, they’d want to punch someone, to which you said anything taken to extremes will elicit that reaction. And my point to that was that women being objectified to that extent and that constantly isn’t the extreme, it’s the norm. Which then I meant to tie back into the original post by mentioning that raising awareness of the way this is something women must navigate all the time is surely the point of the “objectify men in tech day” thing.

          7. You’re talking about taking things to extremes

            If regularly getting comments and remarks about one’s degree of ornamental value, even when it has nothing to do ones’ profession and current discourse, is what you refer to as ‘extreme’, then yes. That’s exactly what I thought this post was talking about.

            ETA (because reply won’t work): Wow, Cow. I gotta say, I see you around a lot here and never realized you would think I was yelling at you or ‘having management issues’. My ‘punch in the face’ was a bit tongue-in-cheek BTW, which I thought wasn’t really at odds with the rest of the thread’s tone (and the fact that it is a common metaphor for people in really annoying situations).

            I honestly thought we were just discussing about the topic at hand. I even thought we agreed on some level (obviously *I* was misreading you as much as you did me). Really dismayed that you read ‘vicious anger issues’ out of this conversation.

            EDIT 2: Look man, can you turn off the fuck-you snark for 2 seconds? Since my ‘punch’ hyperbole was obviously offensive, I APOLOGIZE. I earnestly didn’t mean to freak out people, it was snark.

  7. “I’m sorry, I just can’t take tech advice from a guy who can’t even push away from the table and keep himself at a decent weight.”

    “It’s kind of brave of you to wear that as the only man in a roomful of women, not that you don’t look amazing!!”

    “So, do you find that as a young, quite attractive man it’s hard for women to take you seriously? Or are they just looking at your body?”

    “So are you going to stop doing this when you become a father? Oh, who am I kidding, what father has the time to do anything except be a father?”

    “Are the women you date intimidated by how smart of a man you are? I bet they are.”

    “It’s interesting to meet men doing this… I mean, most men’s brains aren’t cut out for this sort of thing.”

    “If he didn’t want people thinking about his looks, he wouldn’t have posted that picture. He would have posted an uglier one or something.”

    “I’m so glad you men are breaking into this field. I could certainly use some colleagues who are a pleasure to look at as well as talk to!”

    “Seriously? He says he’s being sexually harassed?…. That must be a REALLY bad picture. Or he’s got a killer body.”

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