Clearly, I Don’t Understand People…. especially Women.

Okay, I’m going to put on my man-pants and step onto the chauvinist pig soapbox for a moment and get something very important off of my chest.

Some Women can be WAY too overly sensitive.

I can get away with saying that, because I’m writing this from a secret bunker full of women repelling artifacts, like D&D books, clip on sunglass covers for my specticles, my big flabby belly and an oppressive aroma of mom’s basement.  Add into that the fact that nobody in the world is actually going to bother reading this, and you’ve got a pretty good amount of safety from being torn apart by hordes of angry women. Of course, if all of my precautions fail me, there are many worse deaths that I can think of.

I won’t share them with you today. I don’t want to give you ideas.

Now, perhaps you’ve decided to give me the benefit of the doubt. Chances are you’ve read a bit of my blog before and you realize that I have a jaded and dark path when it comes to the level of crazy that women around me tend to exhibit. I do seem to give off some sort of aura of insanity that has a super strong effect on humans lacking a Y-Chromosome, but that actually has nothing to do with it today. Today, I’m actually baffled by something completely unrelated to my own bad decision making and ability to drive people insane.

I’m talking about Asus Computers, E3 and booth babes.

Basically, some guy in control of the Asus twitter account made the following comment:

The rear looks pretty nice, and so does the new Transformer AIO.

He linked it to a picture of a woman standing next to the Asus display at E3.

Every would be feminist in the country screamed, shouted, and eventually the poor guy was dragged into the street and eaten alive by a mob of insane womynists. That’s right, they spell women with a Y so that it isn’t just “Wo-Man.” It’s a thing they do. Who am I to judge. My spelling is bad enough as it is.

I want to make a few things very clear now:

1 – I do not believe myself to be particularly sexist. I am aware that it is pretty much impossible not to be. There is a certain level of DNA engrained prejudiced in every person on the planet. I just think myself to be a bit better about judging people based on their merits than on their physical traits than the average knuckle-dragging dude.

2 – I don’t think this particular issue is all that sexist.

3 – I think anyone that gets angry over reading that last statement has some serious personal issues that they probably need to examine with the help of a trained professional. Seriously, get help. If you comment angry comments here, I’m probably just going to assume that I’ve driven you as insane as other people in my life and suggest the name of a mental hospital near you.

Here’s why that statement wasn’t sexist statement, regardless of whether it was crude, inappropriate and lacking in professionalism. Yes, it is objectifying the woman in question, which is her job. She’s what people in the exp scene call a “Booth Bait.”  That is to say that she’s a woman that gets paid to be hot and stand next to product display. It’s an old profession, and one that pays fairly well from what I’ve heard. I don’t know, no body would hire me despite my sending a resume in to like, 50 companies. I’ve got perky man-breasts, dang it. I could fill a bikini.

As demeaning as her job might seem, it isn’t any different than being a model of any other kind, and at Comicon and Boat Shows are a lot more demeaning. I suppose it might be a little sexist that very few companies employ man-meat to stand next to their products and shimmy themselves. Actually, with the amazing growth of women in the tech industry, I’m sure it is only a matter of time before Fabio comes out of retirement for it. Maybe then I’ll get that booth bait call. Dream career for this guy.

So is it sleazy? Heck yea! It’s horrible that people get treated like that, but perhaps that was their life choice, and we should respect that.

Maybe, just maybe, we shouldn’t focus on it in the media, though. Especially not when real issues of sexism are being buried by the story.

Of course, it’s not just women that are upset by this. It’s pretty much the entire internet. The Cyber-community of twitter is bustling and bumping in angry communion. There’s nothing like a dog-and-pony show to get everyone in the hivemind buzzing and preaching, is there.

But, what do I know? I’m just some guy from the midwest that’s only good at picking lint from his belly button and watching Ninja Warrior.


Well, that and eating chicken wings. Man, I’m suddenly very hungry for chicken wings.

11 thoughts on “Clearly, I Don’t Understand People…. especially Women.

  1. Stereo.* says:

    I’m kind of lost on what point you’re trying to make here. That women who choose this line of work should suck it up and accept the behaviour of less than enlightened men and stop being so “sensitive” or that people in general who are upset by this kind of thing are just being overly sensitive?

    Either way, this is a very, very broad issue and one that maybe you should expand on rather than making what I believe is a pretty inflammatory statement about ‘some women’. Perhaps you can just say ‘some people’ and leave it at that as sensitivity certainly isn’t limited to the female of the species. You know me, I’m pretty chilled about most things so this doesn’t make me boiling mad but I know there are those out there that would be angry about both the scenario you described and the thought that they’re somehow wrong for being angry about it.

    1. I think my point is that there is a serious double standard and over reaction going on. Asus punished the employee that made the tweet and deleted it almost immediately, but of course, they didn’t light him on fire and fire him from a catapult into a brick wall, so in the court of public opinion, they’re still basically a flock of monsters. 
      Yes, I should have said “some people.” You’re right there, probably even “most people.” I think I covered in point 1 that as hard as I try to not be sexist, I still am in certain ways. I think it’s the years I spent being assaulted verbally, and in minor ways physically, by a group of extremely militant feminists for no reason other than having a penis. I am aware that doesn’t justify my word choices. I also try not to blame the entirety of society for their behavior, that would be about like judging the average Muslim by the standards of the Taliban, or the average Christian by the Moonie cult. It’s just not a fair way to assessing the world. I apologize for that. 
      Still, the whole situation reeks of both setup and double standard, two things that make my brain burn with a near pathological need to piss someone off. 

      You can’t judge one guy from being stupid with his comments about a hot woman without judging the woman for being paid to be hot. I choose not to judge her for that, and am frankly a little envious of her, and other hot people’s, ability to get away with it in the modern world. 

      I believe in equality, and get upset when people turn equality into something more akin to, “It’s our turn to be on top.” It might be. Maybe it would be fair if the oppressors were the oppressed for a few hundred generations. That doesn’t stop the cycle though, and it doesn’t solve the problem. 

      This particular issue, has nothing to do with a want for equality. It’s a drive to punish someone for being human. It’s a silent judgement on the career of the model, as if she should be ashamed of herself. 

      It’s wrong, and mean spirited, and it detracts from the real problem. 

  2. ***C*** says:

    Regardless of chosen profession, women should be treated with respect — just as all people are treated with respect.  The culture that pervades that allows “booth baiting” in the first place is repugnant and would more or less not exist if people did not pay attention to way an individual looks.  However, this is not the case.  The fact is, people are attracted to beauty.  They do pay attention to good looks and so forth.  We can change that.  What we can change, though, is the systemic belief that because someone is beautiful they then become an “object” to be used.  It is not being ‘overly-sensitive’ to expect to be treated with dignity when at work.  No matter the work.

    No matter if this is taking place in a show or in the Silicon Valley (as in the latest claims that the internet was created by men), throwing around terms like ‘sexism’ or ‘harassment’, etc., loses the point.  The point, really, is common decency.

    1. We can’t overcome our programming. If we all stopped paying attention to how attractive someone is, we’d stop breeding. It’s just part of what makes people work. My point is that if you choose a career where you are being paid to be attractive, it is not disrespectful for people to comment on how attractive you are.

      People are drawn to beauty, yes. It’s actually the motivator for roughly 90% of all the decisions we make. Appearance matters. The fact that most companies still use almost exclusively women is a sign that there needs to be a larger push for women in the tech community.

      It won’t end booth baiting, and it won’t end comments like this. It will just spread it out across both genders, which is the best we can hope for.

      Look at movies and music as an example. These are industries were both genders are heavily invested as consumers, and you get objectified performers of both genders being paraded and sold to them based on looks alone.

      Is it right? Is it enlightened? No.

      But it’s not sexist either.

      When a problem arises in society, you have to address the problem. Fighting over a fake issue is more dangerous than most people imagine.

      It is the entire reason that America is collapsing as a nation. We’re too busy fighting about the wrong things.

      There are battles worth fighting over out there, and I just don’t feel like this is one of them.

  3. I happen to think MBro made some valid points. There are as many women masquerading hatred and sexism towards men under the label of ‘feminism’ and to me, someone, proud to wear that label AND high heels- it gets old. It does get old, yes, that there are professions/markets that rely on attraction, sexuality, and beauty but do they not deserve some modicum of respect? Clearly they do because those markets cater to every market at large- there isn’t a single market I can name that is not affected by . . . . well brass tacks . . . . how sexy and fun it would be to buy something.  Was it wrong to tweet that pic to the world at large? Maybe, probably, it’s a slippery slope, because then you get onto this whole list of ‘wrongs’. People sadly tweet worse than that daily- there’s the larger issue- lack of decency towards a large majority.  I also happen to agree that there are better issues for the internet to be getting all twisted up over, in general. I tend to take objectification seriously but this seems to be a case in point where too much salt is in the water.

    1. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. I get extremely tired of the double standard that seems so perfectly acceptable in the feminist world. The clearly defined statement of “Men are bad” seems to be less prevalent in the last decade or so, but it is still very clearly a defining factor. 

      I don’t think objectification is the same as using sex appeal. I think that context is important here.

      What really chides my tacos is the implication that there is something inherently wrong with her because she has chosen a profession where her job is to be sexy. I don’t see that as any different than being George Clooney (World’s Sexiest Man).

      With the exception that it is totally okay to objectify men, since men deserve it. 

  4. Hey Matt.  I thought I’d comment as well after our Twitter discussion.  I’ll try not to rehash that and make new points instead!

    First: I think it’s interesting to look at the tweet a few different ways.  This isn’t someone’s private Twitter account – it’s ASUS, for crap’s sake.  We tend to hold companies to higher standards than online friends, real friends, family members – people whose comments we can put into context besides a corporate message.  The guy behind the wheel here is representing his company to the world: if he had any brains, he’d have shared this very special sentiment privately.

    Another thing.  In this “moment”, it reads like he’s looking at the butt and the ASUS display in the exact same light: as a commodity.  I’m pretty sure lots of geeks and ASUS customers are going to interpret it as saying the lady’s ass is an appealing product, and they’re not going to be happy with that.  I doubt the poster realized this possible interpretation.

    One last point.  There’s something I think of as the Tethercat Effect.  In Gary Larson’s “PreHistory of the Far Side”, he runs through some of his most controversial comics.  In one, a dog has batted a live, screaming cat on a rope in the direction of another dog, its paws ready to bat the cat back.  The caption reads “Tethercat”.

    Larson got a LOT of hate mail for that one.  He couldn’t figure it out: in Tom and Jerry, Tom Cat gets blown up, flattened, etc. all the time.  Where was the hate mail for that? Larson’s conclusion was that in the cartoon, Tom gets killed horribly but reappears a moment later, fit as a fiddle.  His suffering is brief.  But the dogs play Tethercat forever.

    Just like Larson’s strips showcased an eternal moment (that division into moments is what makes comics awesome!), I think tweets work the same way.  Tweets are often isolated from a larger context, especially if a tweet goes viral.  Twitter humorists really harness this to work in their favor, but you can get in trouble with it, like in the ASUS case: the man commoditizes the butt forever.

    1. Marshall, 

      You have a few good points here, but some of them just go to show even more heavily the hypocrisy involved, and elaborate even more heavily what the real problem is: We as a society don’t really care what you do, as long as we don’t see you do it. There is no moral standard, only the idea that getting caught is bad.

      1) So, right there you say if this was just some guy on twitter that he didn’t do anything wrong. I have to agree, since my twitter stream is a billion times worse than this on any given day, and many of the people that I see raving about this particular statement can be a million times more skeevy at any given point.

      What you have to ask yourself at this point is, Who is wrong here? Is it right to hold employees of a company at a higher standard because they are representing someone else? Is it right to not hold your friends at a higher standard because you know them? 

      2) I don’t see that, but I can see your point. 

      3) That is actually a very interesting look at the psychology of the people involved, and to me, goes back to the other problem. Again, the problem I see is that we are focusing on one minor thing and ignoring something bigger because it’s easier to deal with that way. We white wash over real issues so that we can champion sensationalism. 

      I think that the majority of people have that inherent reaction built into them is a sign of a much bigger problem, and one that we should work away from as a society. We need a more clearly defined definition of right and wrong.

      We’ve relied far too long on comfortable vs uncomfortable. 

  5. smallstate says:

    Yeah, I agree that bitch was ASKING for it! ASUS hired her to be a piece of meat and all those sensitive people in the world should just stop having emotions and feelings, including the human meat standing next to the obviously MORE IMPORTANT computer.

    Matt, I think you are right… we can’t help looking. And if this why she is hired, I guess it is a “sign of the times.” But I don’t think if the representative of the company uses a public forum inappropriately that he shouldn’t be called out for it. I am a hard-core feminist…all the way. I think the word womyn is odd, but to each his own, and I think that this kind of conversation (starting from the original tweet and going all the way to here) is exactly the way we are changing “the times.” Eventually we WON’T use the female body as bait, because women will respect themselves enough not to choose that kind of job, and men will be able to differentiate between enjoying the foxy female form in their lives for what it is, from having to use it to buy and sell things. 

    1. I think more than anything, you’ve made my point for me. In the course of one comment, you’ve both accused the woman in question of having no self respect, thus going beyond the original crime, which was a lack of professionalism or decorum, and become an angry rant, and, over exaggerated the original statement by comparing my statement to the victim blaming involved in much more heinous crimes, which, I personally take offense to. 

      Yes, as a society we have to have these kinds of conversations in order to grow and evolve. Maybe one day we won’t have a connection between sex and sales, though, I doubt it. We do not grow as a society by implying that someone who chooses to use their body to make a living is in the wrong purely because we disagree with it. Stating that she has a lack of self respect because she gets a job as a model is a much worse crime than extrapolating on it.

      Yes, the guy working for ASUS was in the wrong for making the statement. It put a bad face on the company , and his job is to make the company look good. That’s what he is guilty of, creating bad PR, and I’m sure that he’s probably already been punished for it, if he even still has his job. 

      Bottom Line: Talking about how attractive someone who’s job is to be attractive is the same as talking about how good at catching a football a wide receiver is, or about how smart a physicist is. It isn’t a crime, it doesn’t carry negative context, and when people give it negative context, they are the guilty party. 

      I’m not arguing that his statement was appropriate. I’m not arguing that he shouldn’t be punished by ASUS for it.

      My argument is that when we as a society allow ourselves to be blinded by non-issues, we loose the chance to affect the outcome on real issues. 

      1. The ‘bitch was asking for it’? Wow. For a ‘hard core feminist’ that’s pretty raw. Like I said and Matt said, brass tacks, the end of the day, BUYING stuff, buying ANYTHING boils down to how sexy it is right now. Sign of the times, I suppose, but really. As Marshall pointed out, it was on a company account, not a personal one. The sensationalism this got was stupid. I can think of about twenty other things minimum that deserve more attention. But those sorts of statements are akin to saying, “That bitch deserved the baby she got outta her rape.” Yes. I went there. Because there are subverts of our American culture that take rape and make it sexy. Anybody look at Fifty Shades of Grey- I rest my case. I’m interested in the ‘Tethercat’ analogy because it does draw some interesting ideas to what our psyches alert us to or not. But whatever THAT case may be, statements like that are over the top.

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