Donglegate is about one more attempt to impose female norms in the workplace on the assumption that they are simply civilized norms. Supposedly one of the marks of privilege is that the norms of the privileged groups are just considered “the norm” for everyone. Donglegate is about feamea privilege and the sexism of a woman expecting her female norms of behavior to be adhered to because they are just the “normal” norms, and more than that, of an entire power structure enforcing them for her – sexual harassment policies that discriminate as to who is and is not a possible victim, laws protect abuse of these policies, firings as punishment.
This is what I mean by gynonormativity, where female norms become the general norms of the culture. It is a significant source of female privilege. In the context of the workplace, gynonormativity in the culture allowed women entering the workforce to weaponize sexual harassment and other policies, aided and abetted by apexual men.
The difference is this time there’s pushback. And this pushback is coming from a lot of people who never knew and don’t know anyone involved, because it’s personal for them for other reasons.
Richards was trying to police those two men’s speech – actually she was trying to make a bloody example of them to police all men’s speech in the industry. That’s what has brought so many bystanders into the fight – they know they are not just bystanders. And she was trying to police these men to her own female standards, in a male space. That is colonization.
(And by the way, this was a norm she clearly does not think she has to adhere to.)
And this gynonormativity in society is where these accusations of misogyny in the tech industry come from. Female privilege makes female norms “the norm’, and when someone used to that privilege goes somewhere they are not the norm, it is indeed going to feel like misogyny, when all it really is is equality.
I wonder if it would just be simpler if they hung signs over the doors of tech firms that said:
YOU ARE NOW ENTERING A MALE SPACE. FEMALE NORMS ARE NOT VALID HERE. ENTRY CONSTITUTES CONSENT TO THE NORMS OF THIS SPACE.
Or maybe it would be accurate if the sign said:
YOU ARE ENTERING A TECH SPACE. NON-TECH NORMS ARE INVALID HERE.
Because as odd as it may sound to an outsider, the tech industry is a creative enterprise, and creativity withers under strictures and counterproductive constraints.
And by the way, it might not be a bad idea to do the same at elementary schools:
YOU ARE NOW ENTERING A FEMALE SPACE. MALE NORMS ARE NOT VALID HERE.
Or would that be too much clarity, would that be ripping the scab off of some fundamental problems in public education?
And now for a comment from the same and moderate middle ground, here is Marci Sischo.