By Amy L. Hatch
It was a rough week for women.
First, Mashable decided that it would be A-OK to portray moms as total dummies who can’t operate their television sets in an infographic about women and Facebook.
Then, Marissa Meyer, the first female CEO of tech giant Yahoo! and possibly the most visible symbol of feminism at work (literally) issued an edict directing all workers to get cheeks in chairs (bye, bye, telecommuting and flex time!).
Last but not least, Seth MacFarlane delivered a baffling performance as host of the 2013 Academy Awards that included not only a song dedicated to boobs but also a nasty thread of misogynist and homophobic—insert air quotes here—humor.
First, let me take a moment to thank them all for making it so very easy for me to write this post.
Second, let me tell you that I never considered myself a feminist. I don’t like -isms in general, and it seemed redundant to call myself a feminist when I worked in a man’s field (journalism) and behaved as if and believed that there was no gender boundary to what I could achieve.
Third, this week I changed my mind about that. I’m a feminist, damnit.
When Steve Jobs died, I thanked him for helping to enable me as a creative professional to have the kind of career that would have been impossible to balance with having a family before technology created a world in which telecommuting is possible. Being able to work from home and communicate with clients literally all over the globe has given me the chance to use my intellectual gifts to earn a living while also raising children.
Marissa Mayer thinks that’s a bad idea, that we should all sit in cubicles all day long so the bosslady can make sure we aren’t taking too many coffee breaks. This from the woman who decided two weeks was long enough to spend with her newborn.
Hey, if she wants to get right back to the office, I’ll stand behind her decision, support her in what she needs and wants. But for her to blatantly ignore the fact that her office edict will trickle down to hundreds of other families for whom that simply does not work and in fact penalizes women who have kids is not only facile, it’s dangerous. She is in a position of power as a highly visible woman with the opportunity to finally crush that glass ceiling and instead, she just erected a brand-new one.
So Marissa Mayer? Stuff it.
Now for Seth MacFarlane: I know and love many people who find his humor to be smart and sophisticated. I would really like to believe that underneath that smarmy, smug and sexist facade is a guy who’s intent on skewering modern culture, but I really don’t think that’s the case. And yes, I have watched Family Guy.
Please, don’t tell me about satire. I work on the Internet for a living, as I’ve mentioned a time or two, and I know something about what parody looks like. The Oscars did not look like parody. I’m not above a good dick-and-fart joke, but if there’s no respect for the vagina?
Stuff it, Seth MacFarlane.
I do have hope, however. Because instead of a whole bunch of folks just sighing, shrugging and turning away from the blatant displays of sexism and stupidity we saw this week, we’re shining a light on it. We’re mad, and we’re not gonna take it any more.
To paraphrase: We’ve come a long way, baby, and we ain’t gonna let you drag us back. So how about you just shut up?