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It's not just Open Source conferences

It's not just Open Source conferences

Posted Dec 2, 2010 16:16 UTC (Thu) by vaurora (guest, #38407)
In reply to: It's not just Open Source conferences by nye
Parent article: The dark side of open source conferences

Let's be clear here about what the "career choice" is. From what I know of the booth babe/showgirl/exotic dancer industry, these people have to put up with a lot of disrespect and bad treatment from both their audience and their management. I don't personally know any little girls (or grown women) who dream of their ultimate career as booth babe for a switch company. Again, it's not about being disrespectful or angry with the women who are being sexualized to sell ethernet cards, it's disagreeing with a society that leaves them with this as their best option.

If you're talking about a different kind of career that involved wearing skimpy clothing and dancing in order to sell computer parts, please be specific about what it is and how I'm blaming or disrespecting the dancer.

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It's not just Open Source conferences

Posted Dec 2, 2010 17:53 UTC (Thu) by nye (guest, #51576) [Link]

A group of dancers hired to perform on stage at a conference is hardly an egregious example of exploitation, but what concerns me is phrases like 'I don't personally know...' and 'their best option'. The subtext being: 'this is something I wouldn't want to do, therefore nobody must want to do it, therefore anyone who does it must have been forced somehow'.

I don't personally know anyone who wants to be a sysadmin - after all it's a job that comes with high stress and very low social status - but I don't therefore assume that anyone who is has chosen it because it's their only choice.

If you are simply pointing out that a hardware or software conference is not the appropriate place for any display which sexualises women (or men for that matter) then we're in agreement, but it *appears* (and perhaps I'm misconstruing your position) that you believe a priori that no woman would ever want to be sexualised to any extent in a professional situation. A fairly short Google search can find any number of sex-positive feminists (and women who prefer not to describe themselves as feminist because they feel betrayed by feminism as a movement) who wouldn't agree and feel marginalised by that (common) viewpoint.

It's not just Open Source conferences

Posted Dec 4, 2010 21:51 UTC (Sat) by vaurora (guest, #38407) [Link]

I think you are confusing being sex-positive with being sexually exploited. And before you demand that I educate you on the topic, try doing some research yourself.

It's not just Open Source conferences

Posted Dec 2, 2010 17:53 UTC (Thu) by lutchann (✭ supporter ✭, #8872) [Link]

Of course, there are many women who become exotic dancers or adult models solely for the paycheck, but you could say that about nearly any field. How many little girls (or boys) dream of their ultimate career as a housekeeper or telemarketer?

On the other hand, it is a gross generalization to suggest that no woman ever chooses to be an exotic dancer. I have several friends and acquaintances--women I met through typical social channels--who have willingly chosen exotic dancing and other sex-related work as a career and truly enjoy what they do. To insist that no woman should take a job displaying or exploiting their body is its own form of sexism.

It's probably fair to say that nobody dreams about being a booth babe for a switch company. But that's how the service industry works: unless you have more inquiries than you can handle, you don't really get to pick and choose your customers. Sometimes the work is fun, sometimes it just pays the bills. I'm sure the caterer who was backstage refilling the warming tray with hot dogs wasn't living their "dream career" at the moment either.

It's not just Open Source conferences

Posted Dec 3, 2010 4:57 UTC (Fri) by njs (guest, #40338) [Link]

It's interesting how there are all these people jumping to defend women against... Valerie's comments. And yet I just searched this thread, and despite their deep concern about women's rights, those same people haven't felt the need to similarly condemn any of the events described in the original post. On the contrary, they're much more worried about how rude it is to call people out for misogyny, and discounting the special problems that women encounter in FOSS groups, and talking about how hard it would be to enforce these things.

Val suggested that none of the dancers were motivated by the desire to hurt other women, and that the reason they were up on stage at a tech conference (of all things) probably had more to do with the paycheck than anything else. She probably could have been more nuanced in her analogies, but as far as I can tell, you all specifically *agree* with these points. So is this just about scoring points or what?

It's not just Open Source conferences

Posted Dec 3, 2010 5:09 UTC (Fri) by lutchann (✭ supporter ✭, #8872) [Link]

For the record, I fully support Val's goals of raising awareness of sexual harassment at tech conferences and calling for pressure to make the atmosphere at such events more supportive of female attendees. I didn't mean for my debate with her in this sub-thread, which is only tangentially related to the original issue, to suggest otherwise.

It's not just Open Source conferences

Posted Dec 3, 2010 5:44 UTC (Fri) by njs (guest, #40338) [Link]

Thank you, I'm glad to hear it.

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