Aug 30

My Challenge to Michael Arrington & TechCrunch (Hint: it’s Not Hard)

angry chimpI’m not going to lie. I’m pretty shook up. I had no idea there were men out there who would be so offended by me merely stating that women can be good at math and science too.

If you didn’t see, I merely mentioned to a TechCrunch commenter on this post about female entrepreneurship that my math SAT was, in all probability, higher than his. While this wasn’t the coolest thing I could have come up with, it was Saturday night, I was tired after babysitting a drunk friend, and it was in response to his notion that women somehow are not as good at quantifiable intelligence. I also mentioned that great leaders (since the post was about the lack of female entrepreneurs), can actually have a host of different skills, and generally surround themselves by people who make up where they lack.

What ensued was a barrage of comments about what an idiot I am for somehow believing women can be capable of the same tasks as men. I was called the “c” word, had my privies referred to as a “gash”, was called illogical, arrogant, angry, and a troll. Someone said that if I don’t like how my female body works, I can euthanize myself legally in Oregon. One commenter even blamed the decline of the economy on feminism and another said he would short sell any stock of a company with a female CEO.

If Michael Arrington and the people at TechCrunch really want to be heroes in this whole debacle and actually do want to promote female entrepreneurs, they should tell all those nasty commenters to piss off. Seriously. You aren’t going to get respectable women in your restaurant if there is a table of lewd, ape-like men in the corner who berate any woman who walks in the door. Mr. Arrington, how would you feel if you came to my blog, commented, and some woman called you a sexist, illogical freak? How would you like it if these women were not only upset at you for suggesting that they need to work harder, but they were actually calling you a d**k and suggesting you euthanize yourself? You would not want to come back, but would be very torn on this if my blog were one of the most influential blogs in your industry. You would expect that I would defend you especially if you were being perfectly reasonable. I would do that, because although I love a good healthy debate, I also recognize that stereotypical and unfair attacks solve nothing and hurt people.

Think about it this way–you are telling the apes to go away, so all the respectable people you like will come back. We want to, Michael. We totally do. I felt like I was doing a service to women by basically defending the notion that we can be intelligent leaders too. This morning I sat in my shower and cried for 20 minutes because those commenters exemplified the attitude that has made me feel like I cannot succeed in this market. I’ve worked my butt off my entire career, and I have innumerable horror stories about sexist bosses who were embarrassingly less competent than I was. It makes you defensive and question your own abilities. And unfortunately I’m not alone.

So I know I have to stand up for myself. I know I have to have a thick skin, compromise when it’s necessary, and just let the haters roll of my back. But can you do us a favor and at least call out the haters who literally add nothing to your conversations but nastiness? Can you take a stand against the band of chimpanzees who tear everything that is different from them to pieces, instead of requiring me to fend them off myself? If you really want to make women a part of your community, than show us because it’s really not that hard. We’ll come back.

  • Anonymous

    Michelle everyone including you has a right to their opinion.

    I read the article on women entrepreneurs and hundreds of the comments and many people posted crass and disrespectful comments and many of them were attacking you directly. the very first crass comment I read though was yours, as soon as you mentioned your SAT score being higher than someone else’s you started a pissing contest that was obviously going to end in many aggressive comments.

    I can tell you that to me your comment of “my SAT score is higher than yours” comment was almost the same as someone else’s comment to you of “I make X amount of money and you don’t”

    you claim that your reason for making such a crass comment was because it was Saturday night you were babysitting a drunk friend and you got heated because of how personally you took the comment. Cant you accept that maybe many of the people who responded in an equally crude way might also have been out on Saturday night and might also have taken our post personally and gotten as equally heated as you?

    the people who responded to you were not offended that you were stating the fact that women can be as good as men they were offended that you would claim without any evidence that you had a higher SAT score (which translates to I am smarter than you NANANANANANA!!!)

    I’m sorry that you got offended by a few random people on the internet but I can tell by some comments that you offended people as well.

    your comment wasn’t so much of a “women are equal to men” but more of a ” I am better than all of you” and if theres one thing anonymous people over the internet love doing its a cyber penis measuring contest which as I stated before you started



    There’s a reason why in the past few years, I’ve hung around mostly with women. I’m as red blooded a heterosexual male as any, but I’ve realized that most men have way too many issues with their masculinity to be any fun to be around.

    Seriously, most men I’ve come across are just raging bundles of insecurities, fears, and faux ‘machoness’.

    If you remove all the terribly stupid notions of masculinity we’ve built up in our culture, I guess men would turn out to be okay, but unfortunately, most of them just end up acting like cave men. There is too little class in most men, something I’m ready to accept as a man myself.

    Women, on the other hand, make for much better company. They’re prettier, have better EQ (I won’t talk about IQ because really that is relative from person to person and isn’t gender based), and have no hangups about their sexuality which most men do.

    As a man, if it makes you feel any better, please understand that the root cause of misogyny is insecurity, not a superiority complex. If you ignore the whole thing, you come across as the better one. After all, its their insecurity, not yours.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, uh, nobody!

  • Valerie R. Coffman

    On the other hand, the people posting flagrantly sexist things are mostly anonymous trolls who have no real power. When we pay attention and respond, we grant them power (and waste our time and energy). It’s not just a matter of growing a thicker skin. It’s a matter of having perspective on what’s really important. Why do we care what these guys think? And why bother responding to such mindless comments? When you wrestle with a pig, you just get dirty and the pig likes it.

  • Scott B

    Great article Michelle!

  • Ahmad Idzwan Ramli

    Some people don’t realise their mom is a woman too. I just can’t believe comments like these even exist in the ‘modern’ world.

  • Sandeep Bali

    Great point.. made really clear over there…. its so simple a math…

    there are two genders.. each of them so much in population… odds are good that one gender would be more intelligent over the other in average.. its a simple fact.. what is so hard to understand there??

    even an 8 year old kid could tell that (irrespective of gender)

    P.S. Feminism is Sexism… i hate both

  • ExpectationGap

    I didn’t comment in that article, but I did read and follow it for a time. Let me say that you didn’t articulate anything well-reasoned until your third or fourth post. By then the conversation had spun out of control.

    There’s asking Mike Arrington to curate abusive comments, which I agree with.

    But then there is minimizing your own role in that exchange. You took a “men vs women” article and immediately turned it into a “me vs you” argument. The abusive comments (and commenters) should be removed – no question. I’d just like to see some actual responsibility on your part, instead of playing the “I just said this one little thing and then the hordes attacked me” card.

  • Offshore Outsourcing

    Assuming that the other commentators in that blog really were chauvinistic pigs, it would be a waste of time to even talk it out with them. There are better, more deserving spaces for Feminist discourse.

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  • pam

    thank you for caringhow women are portrayed, or should i say betrayed in todays world..i am really pissed off today…at my home town, a small place in iowa, the men have hung up calanders of scantily clad young women…right where the women usually sit for lunch. these are older women….these mens wives, mothers and grandmothers too.   i am the only one angry….the women just say men are stupid and to let it go.  there are young girls who work and eat there, and i think its not good