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.