Silence and sexism at BlogHer 09

| 90 Comments

I've tweeted about this a couple of times over the past two days, but I'm writing about it here, too. I apologize for the redundancy--I guess I'm more than 140 characters worth of pissed off.

BlogHer is, as far as I know, an organization which considers promotion of women in blogging to be among its primary goals, if not its very utmost purpose. The conference, in general, reflects this goal. There are some missteps, but the atmosphere is, in general, one I would consider pro-woman.

The attendance, while not 100% female, is very largely so. I haven't seen more than 20 or 30 male attendees since I've been here.

The first one I saw just after arriving, at a restaurant in the hotel. I noticed him due to his shirt. It showed a graphic of a woman with her breasts exposed, her nipples replaced by @ signs. It read "show me your tweets."

Then, not an hour later, I saw a man sporting a shirt saying something along the lines of "I love mommy bloggers--they put out." The next day, the same man attended a party, hosted by an ostensibly feminist website, sporting a shirt reading "I am having very spiritual thoughts about your breasts" or some similar nonsense.

This is not OK. It's not just that these shirts are crude and demeaning, though they are. It's that these men are making a point to bring these crude and demeaning words and images into what is, or should be, women's space. They're the visitors here. This is our culture.

I know who both of the t-shirt wearing bloggers are. Both of them advertised their blog names on the offensive shirts. Getting that kind of attention, clearly, was the purpose (and no, I won't be linking to them). That does nothing towards making it acceptable. Clearly, it is successful--after all, I hadn't heard of either of them before noticing their shirts (though it's not like I'm rushing out to add them to my reader now). But, at the cost of alienating and offending women--the people for whom this space was created--are a few extra hits on your site worth it?

The grrl power vibe at BlogHer can get a little bit nauseating at times. There are lots of people around talking about women as tastemakers, as marketing targets, and as important, cutting edge users of new media. Why, if we're such an important and respected cohort, are we here, in what should be a space in which we make the rules and issue the invitations, dealing with exactly the same stupid, sexist shit we face every day everywhere else?

There is a breakout session for men at BlogHer this year. The title has something to do with being vaginally challenged. Space, it seems, has been made for the guys who chose to come here. I wonder why? Isn't every other technical conference in the world space enough? Do we need to cater to them here, too?

Most of the women to whom I have spoken about these shirts (though thankfully not all of them, or this would likely be my last BlogHer) seem willing to roll their eyes, laugh them off, and not think much more about it. I have no idea whether they really aren't bothered, or whether it's just easier not to think much about it. It's easier, when you are a woman and something offends you, to pretend it doesn't, lest you be labeled a prude or a killjoy.

Well I'm taking a stand on this one. I'm fucking offended. Really fucking offended. These shirts, in whatever small way, undermine the whole point of being here for me. If I wanted to hang out with sexist geek guys, there are lots of other places I could be. Pretty much any place, actually.

All this rah-rah pro-woman stuff is great. I get as choked up about the beauty of seeing a ballroom full of girl geeks all deep in conversation as the next person. But how seriously can I really take it when, among all those rad women, are a few assholes using their very bodies to advertise just how little they really respect the people who created this great space? When, even though we have a numerical advantage that is well more than overwhelming, nobody approaches them, nobody calls them out? What is the real message? The one I'm reading is coming through pretty damn clearly. Even here, in a space made by and for women, a space focused on the power of our thoughts and communication, rather than our bodies, we can easily be reduced to pieces of meat, intended for the pleasure and amusement of even just a few men. And we let them do it. All these forums to tell our stories and share our thoughts, and mostly, we'll all be silent.

90 Comments

This sounds absolutely disgusting. I hope that you're able to say something. I'm so ticked off just reading about it.

The reason I attended BlogHer is because I am not a tech blogger or a geek blogger. I am a personal blogger, and male personal bloggers are a minority among life/personal bloggers.

The T-shirt I designed and had printed was quite simply mocking the stupidity of the Girls Gone Wild concept, a concept that I find to be sexist and exploitative, and replacing that type of hysteria that goes on in those videos with the rampant usage of Twitter.

In order to avoid marginalizing the point of the conference, I specifically abstained from wearing my shirt during any of the official conference sessions. I only wore it to two parties, and walking to and from those parties to my room. And, in fact, when you saw me standing in the ROYO, I was not wearing that shirt, or any type of T-shirt with any slogan at all.

I'm not trying to deny that the shirt has some sexist undertones, nor that I was ignorant of the fact that it might be offensive to a few people. I know this and I'm okay with it. It was also funny. And anytime that someone decides to get offended instead of laughing, a baby gets AIDS.

This is my 4th BlogHer. Most of my friends are women. You don't know me, I don't think we have met, but I'd like to.

The gals who know me know that I am all talk and no bite. I truly do not want to offend, though I jokingly mention how the opposite is true. I am a terminal smartass, very pro-women, and merely looking for laughs. Mostly, laughs are what my shirts generate.

Believe it or not, I fight severe social anxiety. It takes a lot of work fror me to come here every year. My shirts are a way for me to break the ice and have people initiate talk with me, so I don't have to. They also serve to keep the humorless away from me, which is a bonus.

I doubt you willwant to get together, and I am sorry about that. The fact is I am almost the polar opposite of the image my shirts may convey. I am a total marshmallow.

I know both male bloggers you're referring too.

While I think their sense of humor is a little "off" from the mainstream sometimes, I do not, for one second, believe they are sexists to the point that you describe them in this post.

I think they wanted to draw attention because they are the anomaly there in Chicago right now.

I really don't think either of them set out to piss someone off to the point of a post like this.

That is hysterical! Have you truly lost any sense of humor? You say you "know" who the 'offensive' bloggers are but do you KNOW them? I do, and they are the most loving, caring,sensitive men who simply love women. I am very proud to call both of them my friend!

Isn't there anything else happening in the world that is more deserving of your outrage?

What you don't know is that both of these "offensive" bloggers happen to have the biggest hearts possible. BOTH of them took an opportunity last year to make something quite special and memorable happen for three terrific kids. Neither of them hesitated for a moment when they were told what was going on with these three kids. Both of them would give the offensive shirt off of their back(s) if they felt it would benefit someone with a need. Life is too short to take something like this as demeaning to females. These events are for networking. Getting noticed. Obviously, their choice of networking worked, because you remembered the men AND you remembered the exact phrases from their shirts. I'd say in the long run, it worked for them and I imagine that those that were "offended" are probably far outnumbered by those who are capable of actually laughing it off and continuing to have a good time...and I don't know... maybe even taking the time to actually get to know who you're lambasting!

I too know both of these men. They are both awesome people and excellent bloggers, and wouldn't wear these shirts with the intent to offend anyone, but if they do, it's certainly not going to keep them from wearing them again. I think you have probably just spawned the birth of a whole new crop of t-shirts for BlogHer2010.

I think the shirts are hilarious and bring a bit of humor and fun to an arena that can often be nerve wracking for some, as Karl pointed out.

Seems to me blogging has gotten to be a little clique like lately, like you are less of a blogger if you're not a "mommy blogger" or don't document every time your child wipes his or her respective butt. I'm a personal blogger as well, and I'll be at BlogHer 2010.

Wait til you see what I'm wearing... ;0

Sure, they are just socially awkward weenies who find it easy to break the ice by offending with harmless humor. They also attend the BET awards with big N-words on T-Shirts and dressed up like Grand Wizzards of the KKK. It's a real hoot you know and it keeps the people with no sense of humor away. Read these guys tweets and you will see it's not just their T-Shirts that are offensive. The fact that there are women defending them or going along with it is offensive! There are plenty of husbands at home who would love to "meet" them too. They are just joking though... Unless your into it.

I think women laugh it off because we've been taught to take it with a smile.

Karl, sexism and the objectification of women isn't funny and not a great conversation starter. You need to study the history of women and take a look at what's really going on out there.

Don't you think that you're giving them an additional platform by blogging about it and bringing it to the limelight?

Yes, idiots will be idiots, and yes, it's in our inner nature to show the world when someone does something stupid.

However, that being said, tTaking a local "statement" and making it a national "platform" is giving into exactly the narcissism that feeds such lunatics..

They feel they're combating sexism, and in a way, they are. People automatically assume that sexism is male vs. female, but it can (and much of the time is) the other way around.

Discount them as the fools they are, (and they are) and let them fade out into the shadows.

It's the most fitting end for such idiocy.

Honestly? I'm not offended. Not by the idea of males at blogHER or by the shirts.
I might not count, since I'm not there myself, but...

I would probably wear the tweet one myself. Would it be less offensive if a man wasn't the one wearing it? (idle curiosity, not snarkiness)

Did you check out either of their blogs before making your assumptions about what type of people they are? Oh wait, you might want to stay away from Avitables, merely because I can tell by your blog you are not the type of person who would "get" the humor. He's a different brand of crazy that fits in with a select group of people. And both bloggers, I can assure you, are big teddy bears.

You might want to check out ALL the facts before letting the estrogen-fest of BlogHer affect your decisions.

It's really not that much different than women wearing "You Bet Your Pierogies I'm Polish" to a polka party.

Sometimes a joke and sarcasm is just a joke and sarcasm. And it was worn in appropriate areas from what I understand.

Wow. I can't imagine how, under any circumstances, that sort of public display of sexism would be tolerated. Maybe they think it's funny or cute or what the hell ever. It's plain and simply disgusting and even more disgusting that it's being tolerated at a woman-centered event.

Grace, I feel like I get where you're coming from on this. That we as a culture can laugh off something that is completely degrading to women is alarming. Sure maybe these people can get away with being crude and sexist in their daily lives, but it really shouldn't be tolerated at blogher.

That said, I'm not there. I never will attend a blogher since it just doesn't interest me (your post is one more reason to add to my list why not!). I've met so many amazing women IRL that I know because of my blog, which is more than I can hope for.

Keep fighting!

I'm older than most women blogs. I marched with other women to do away 'men's clubs' and the like. Now you want 'women's clubs'? Some of my friends gave up a lot to give you younger women the rights that you enjoy. I hope that I don't live long enough to see reverse discrimination of the sexes.
By the way, I read both of those men's blogs every day. They are hilarious.

Sadly, this is a lot of what I expected. People insisting that the problem is me, because I'm easily offended and have no sense of humor and don't really know these guys. Why the fuck would I want to know someone whose first impression was one of "I'm invading a space in which you previously felt secure and displaying demeaning comments about your gender"? Why would I reward that type of insult with effort on my part to find out who you "really" are? What a big fuzzy teddy bear and how big-hearted and all that shit? Have you rewarded my calling you on this behavior with an in-depth view of my archives, just to make sure your first impression was right and I really am a screaming humorless shrew?

I am far more concerned with the reaction of other women than I am of the reasoning of the dudes who wore these shirts. I asked for their responses to this post, for the sake of transparency, but I'm not at all impressed withe the rationale. You didn't think anybody would be upset? Bullshit. If that was the case, you wouldn't have bothered, and you certainly wouldn't have decided it was too offensive for some circumstances and just right for others.

So women, both here at the conference a not: do you think this is funny? Appropriate? Is this something you enjoy seeing in space reserved for you?

I've only met one of the bloggers you deem as offensive (Karl), but having read both blogs for the better part of the last 15 months, I can honestly say this armchair judging based solely on apparel is a bit much.

I understand the desire to have a women's only group to bond and collectively share opinions and stories, but it screams a bit too loudly as some sort of banishment movement.

The statement "if you can't laugh at yourself, then you are taking life too seriously" rings true here.

I stand by Karl and Avitable's choice of t-shirts, knowing them better than you do. Get to know them and you may change your mind someday.

I know Avitable and Karl, and until you've met them, you really can't judge their true characters. Perhaps the shirts are a way to break the ice and to weed out people without a sense of humor. Perhaps you might learn to stop judging someone based on what they're wearing.
Or, go about and be pissed - it's certainly your option. However, you're missing out on knowing two of the greatest people I know. Period.

The two you are referring to are far from trying to hurt others feelings. It's a way to laugh, joke, have fun, throw that little extra "funny" during the weekend. If you knew these two, you'd know what they meant and why they wear the shirts they do on certain occasions.

Don't judge a book by its cover until you know who just exactly who you are talking about.

I respect your right to voice your opinion on your own blog, but I wish you would try to be more understanding. I would be offended if there was a BlogHim and women were looked down upon for attending. For "invading a space in which you previously felt secure." This is the 21st century. There should be no need to separate men and women. I'm a girl. And I cuss just as much as the men, and I talk about sex just as much. Why is sexuality something to be hidden, ignored? I'm proud of my boobs and every other part of my body.

I know Karl and he is the sweetest, funniest, most marshmallowy man I know. Of course he knew it would offend some. But for every woman it offends, there are fifteen that laugh. He's not trying to disrespect you, babes. He appreciates and adores women.

Is it possible it's your own insecurities causing this? Seems to me that you feel like you're less than a man. I feel I'm equal to men, and will joke about their penis more than they'll ever joke about my boobs. Sex is a good thing. Why stifle it?

In response to the comments from this blog: A little bit of sexism or a lot of sexism.... it doesn't matter how much someone is sexist... the fact is that they acted/behaved in a sexist manner that offended someone. And that is enough to be angry at!

I've never been to BlogHer anymore... but from what I've been hearing from this blog and others, I'm not sure if I want to attend in the future. Men do not need to infiltrate every aspect of women's lives. Men do not need to have their hand in everything. Some places, events, can be sacred for women. It is offensive to me, and I wasn't even there, that men decided to put denigrating images/slogans of women on t-shirts and paraded around like it was no big deal. This kind of behavior, being unchecked, unchallenged is how women continue to be oppressed.

SILENCE = DEATH

Speak out! Say something about these men! Do not allow them to taint what BlogHer stands for by allowing them to 1)attend or two 2)wear these types of shirts. They should be respecting the environment they are in and respecting them women who so bravely put themselves out to put BlogHer together!

Don't believe the hype that others may tell that this kind of behavior should just be laughed at and blown off. Don't believe the hype that their behavior is acceptable. IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE and IT SHOULD NOW BE BLOWN OFF!!

I applaud you for writing this blog! I applaud you for not staying silent!

I'm not attending the blogher conference, but I have seen at least one of the shirts you describe, as I read Avitable's blog. I thought it was funny when I saw it there, and it didn't even occur to me to be offended. I like men, however, and am comfortable joking about sex.
This is my first time reading your blog, but I think your real gripe comes out in the end. Your main problem seems to be that men are present at the conference at all.

I'm not even 100% sure what this BlogHer thing is about, just been reading about it on Twitter. 1. Those guys are GROSS and how have they not been beaten to death yet?! and 2. I would be getting nauseated with all the womenly love stuff too!

I think those types of shirts at a women's conference are probably not the smartest idea, but neither do I find the idea completely offensive. If they get knocked upside the head for it, they'll know better next year.

Seriously?


I can see you marching outside of the hotel - with signs..

"Hell NO, make them GO"...

I find it amusing that Avitable's army has once again lined up in support of this jerk because that is one of the many many things he finds offensive on other people's blogs. He isn't a marshmallow or a great guy. He's a bad bad person with no respect for anyone other than himself. He finds it amusing to use and create swears that are even more offensive than the usual. His deal IS to offend. If he isn't offending, he's in misery. People have advised you Grace to check out his website because it is supposed to prove what a great guy he is. One look at his banner should give you a clue as to his real nature.

I too, find the shirts offensive. But Blogher is such a ridiculous organization that if men want to pay the charge to attend, they'll "overlook" what blogher is really about. Money is the only thing that speaks at Blogher. Any organization that would welcome that level of offense to the vast majority of the attendees doesn't really give a shit about their members. If they did, Avitable wouldn't be allowed to attend because the guy absolutely hates anyone but himself and his huge questionable ego.

Margalit dear - is that you?

I'm friends with both of these men in real life so I take the stance that they are very decent men. However, it doesn't matter what I think of them...not for this post anyway.

Their t-shirts are offensive. I've told them both numerous times that I don't find them to be funny but once my peace was said, I let it go.

Live and let live.

I'm a little concerned with the following statement:

" Why the fuck would I want to know someone whose first impression was one of "I'm invading a space in which you previously felt secure and displaying demeaning comments about your gender"? Why would I reward that type of insult with effort on my part to find out who you "really" are?"

Why would you not want to get a better look? Why would you, as what I am assuming is a woman who is all about the feminism and girl power not want to meet them and at least have the courage to go up to them, face to face, and have a logical and friendly discussion about why you don't like these shirts? Furthermore, why do you want to judge a book by its cover? You obviously seem hurt that people are judging you as a raving lunatic feminazi without reading your blog so how is it fair for you to generalize someone the same way...over a shirt?

They allow men at BlogHer. You have the choice, as a strong woman, to let them rent space in your head and somewhat control you or to actually let it go and reclaim yourself.

This stuff right here? This is the reason I don't go to BlogHer despite having many friends there.

Bravo, Grace. Not only do you have the guts to speak up about the latent sexism that women commit against other women, but you took on some of the cool kids.

Avitable will get away with that because he's in the cool clique. And the truth is that he's cool because most of his fans are too scared they'll be the victim of his slightly psycho wrath that they just kiss his ass all the time. It's just like in junior high, sadly. The "cool" kids are actually just bullies.

If an anony blogger showed up with that shirt, these same women may take it a little more seriously.

As cliche as it sounds, if you replaced a racist cliche with those sexists comments, fewer people would be ok with it. But, IMHO, sexism is still one of that last "isms" that we culturally support. BlogHer has seemed something of a joke to me touting "women" and then giving away swiffers and washers and dryers (seriously?).

Anyways............I completely agree with you. I'm a pretty chill person but it always amazes me how little we actually recognize just how sexist we are these days, and how we make excuses for it to continue.

Great blog.

While I don't agree with what you're written here, I think you've made your point well and are entitled to your opinion.
Adam and Karl are friends of mine and I assure you, their t-shirts, however they made you feel, were in no way malicious. They both truly have good hearts and are very good friends with many in our community. They have brought a lot to BlogHer in terms of making people think and perhaps the shirts were their way of breaking the ice.

I am amazed at all the "I know Karl and Adam, and they're great guys so you shouldn't judge them!" posts.

Please.

Not everyone knows Karl and Adam. And, I'm sorry, but first impressions do count. I'm not at BlogHer. If I saw a guy on the street wearing a shirt like that? Not only would I NOT think "Oh, these guys must be fluffy marshmallows of love who have social anxiety disorder and are just trying to make fun of sexism!" - I would be highly uncomfortable.

It's like when my grandfather would use the "n-word" and talk about "darkies" -- but he was my grandpa! he had a heart of gold! He had friends who were black! It was just how he was raised! I was still uncomfortable and embarassed to be around him, because no matter the context, it wasn't okay.

I'm with you. I found both shirts irritating and obnoxious. I don't know either of the wearers, either, so the only way I can interpret the shirts are as obnoxious. As I noted at lunch, I have a button on my backpack that has a picture of a little girl laughing and says, "Mommy says Republican is another word for fucker." I find this button funny, and I know that people who don't know anything about me may interpret it to mean that I am completely intolerant of Republicans (when I'm just mostly intolerant of them). Wearing a t-shirt or button with a statement makes a statement. If you don't want to make a statement that may be interpreted incorrectly, don't wear it. Bah!

Hi Grace, I didn't see the shirts but from the way you describe them, I wouldn't have liked them either. I have a question though.

Did you say anything to either of these guys when you saw them wearing the shirts?

I don't have a problem with men at BlogHer, I actually think it's great. But if these particular guys are as sensitive to women as some of the commenters here are saying, they chose the wrong way to show it.

Megan

Good for you, Grace. I'm glad you have the courage to stand up for your convictions. I for one am tired to death of being called a killjoy for being offended by sexism. "Oh, you must have no sense of humour, bla bla."

News flash, guys--I happen to know Grace, and she has a great sense of humour: the issue here is that your t-shirts just aren't funny, they're sexist and misogynist. And I refuse to believe that someone who wears a t-shirt with a sexist slogan is as nice of a guy as all that. I don't care how soft and fuzzy and kind to children you are. I'm sorry, but my definition of "nice" just doesn't include blatant sexism.

Men who wear sexist shirts to an event geared at women may be really nice people to their friends, they may even be kind to small children, but respectful to women they're not.

They may even be nice to women they know. That doesn't make the shirts appropriate. It sounds like the racist who denies their racism with the claim "Some of my best friends are black!"

Women who are offended by the shirts don't need to gain a sense of humor; those men need to gain some sensitivity. (As do the women who think it just fine, too.)

Makes me wonder if they're not just getting off on wearing something overtly sexual on their manly chests while surrounded by all those womanly breasts.

I am here in Chicago and I saw most of the shirts you referred to in your post. However, I think that your expectations for BlogHer were so different than mine that we might as well have been attending different conferences altogether.

I never looked to BlogHer to be a "space reserved for [me]." BlogHer's stated mission is about creating "opportunities for women who blog to pursue exposure, education, community, and economic empowerment." The community I live in includes men. The exposure I seek on my blog includes an audience of men. I derive a level of education from blogs, including those written by men. Men are a part of my life and I don't feel that they are, or should be made to feel, like they are invading someone's space by participating in a conference on something they're passionate about, just as I am.

I hadn't met Karl or Avitable before this weekend, so I'm not coming from a place of long-standing support. But even if I hadn't met them, I would think that the level, non-attacking and respectful comments they left for you here speak just as loudly, if not more so, than their shirts.

If you choose to be offended by them entirely, however, I have to respect that. But asking to make BlogHer some sort of sacred "female-only" space offends me. Kicking men out because you don't like how some of them present themselves in that space is, to me, short-sighted and as sexist as you feel their shirts were.

(1) Having read your post before the comments, I'll say that I would probably have gone up to both male bloggers and commented on the inappropriateness of what they were wearing, given the audience. I can understand your hesitance to do so - both in not causing a scene, and in not wanting to make them feel uncomfortable either. Probably for the best.

Having read the comments, I'm nauseated by all the apologists. How can you attend BlogHer or support that community and still laugh off a tacitly offensive/objectifying message that these apparently awesome-hearted men were advertising as a way to meet people? There are new attendees every year who don't know about the kind hearts, and to all of them the message is saying that not even BlogHer is safe from a little discrimination.

I am with C. Lo above - if it was a tacit message of racism it wouldn't be appreciated, no matter what color the conference was aimed at. This has nothing to do with a sense of humor, and nothing to do with Grace being some sort of man-hating feminist. It has to do with decency.

Maybe it takes a male feminist not to be an apologist.

(2) I have always wanted to attend BlogHer. I know I don't jive with the "Her" part, but I always feel more protected and included in female-oriented communities than male ones. With the next on in NYC I am seriously considering attending.

Grace, I'd love to chat a bit in a non-public channel about your perception of the experience/utility of the event for male attendees.

Whether or not their shirts are offensive, what I find troubling is your insistence that men shouldn't be allowed at Blogher. It seems to me this is a step backwards for women. You're putting us into two camps, but for people to be equal they need to co exist. What about the women who fought to golf where they wanted to golf? So we have to go everywhere men can go, but men can't go where women can go? I'm confused about what part of this is pro woman.

Hello there!

Nopes I was not at BlogHer, and I obviously did not know which two male bloggers you are talking of (till I read the comments).

Everybody is entitled to have an opinion and so are you!

I would have ignored the smartass slogans...

ICLW

there is something known as "class"...and either you have it or you don't.

i do believe the two males SOP is not having any.

i don't know that banning men from the conference is the answer so much as hoping their enablers will start enabling them to grow up.

I'll say up from that I'm a guy. I just want to say, Grace is absolutely right.

"This armchair judging based solely on apparel is a bit much."

Perhaps the point isn't to judge the men, but the t-shirts, and the context in which the t-shirts were worn. The t-shirts, as described, are sexist. If the men were as "nice" as their defenders make them out to be, they would apologize instead of justifying their behaviour.

Grace also has a legitimate concern that BlogHer women would smile and make nice in the face of such obviously sexist provocation.

Chattykathy writes, "One look at Avitable's banner should give you a clue as to his real nature." I googled avitable and she's right. A picture of a smiling Hitler, and the slogan, "tact is for pussies"?

I see: real men denigrate women and mock "pussies" and holocaust victims. Ha, ha. Avitable is such a nice guy.

I have one small gripe with your post, Grace. You shouldn't have expressed your preference that men not be allowed to attend BlogHer in this context. You gave your critics an easy point of counter-offensive: BlogHer might welcome men who don't happen to be jerks.

Grace, I don't have a lot to add but wanted to offer my support. I get sad and frustrated whenever this kind of apologist bullshit goes on - which, when the subject is sexism, happens all too often and too often, by women. I guess the mistake you made was assuming that BlogHer 09 was interested in providing safe space for women - apparently not - and that's a great shame. Good on you for calling it just as you saw it.

I didn't attend BlogHer 09, but after reading this blog post (which I found by way of Karl's blog, by the way - read what you will into THAT), I had a couple of thoughts.

The first was that, when you are offended by something someone does or says, it's always best to deal with it *in the moment*. If BlogHer is really a space meant to empower women, then it should have empowered you to approach Karl and Avitable directly and let them know how you felt. But to resort to writing about it in a blog post smacks of the kind of passive aggressive bullshit that drives me crazy. Got a problem with me, and I fully expect you to let me know at the time. Writing a pissy post about it after the fact makes me, quite honestly, give your beef less credit. It's also disrespectful to both men in a way women have been subjected to for centuries.

As for the subject of the shirts themselves - well, personally I don't get offended that easily. If the other women present didn't approach either man with complaints, then they must not have been as offended either. To assume that other women didn't complain because of the oppression we have been subjected to for years (instead of just the possibility that they weren't offended), is patently insulting.

Simply put - yes, these t-shirts could be interpreted as sexist. But they're just t-shirts. If you can't distinguish between sexism as oppression, and a silly sexist t-shirt, then you have bigger problems than I thought.

But if you were offended (and of course, that's your right)? Then speak up. I thought that was one of the lessons we were being taught at BlogHer. I (and probably a lot of other people) will take you more seriously next time if you do.

I didn't read all of the comments, but I read about half of them. I know both of these guys in real life. Avitable is the guy who sent me a personalized t-shirt with my picture/blog icon on it and the words "I AM STRONG" when I was having doubts about being able to get my black belt and fight back after a major injury. Karl is the guy with virtually no cash who, despite this, flew from FL to PA to meet with his good friend Lisa (Clusterfook) before she passed away from cancer a few months ago. He spent some time at my house one afternoon while here and was completely broken apart and trying to figure out whatever he could do to make life easier for Lisa and her family. He was like an angel to them. Personally, every interaction I've had with Karl and Adam has been a positive one. Sure, the t-shirts may seem a little "off" but I think the reason women are jumping to defend them is not because we're in denial about women's issues, but because we personally know these guys and know that they show nothing but complete respect to women they have interactions with (at least to me).

Do I think the t-shirts are appropriate at BlogHer? I don't know, but one thing is for sure. If I was there and was offended by them, I would have said something to them in person instead of remaining quiet and then ranting on my blog, complete with some pretty serious name-calling. I'm not trying to be nasty. I'm just stating a fact. Maybe if you had spoken with them and told them how you felt about it in a honest and forthright matter, you wouldn't be so pissed about it now.

That being said, you have every right to be pissed about it and feel how you want; but you shouldn't expect every woman to jump on the bandwagon and/or condemn those women who don't. It's not a women's issue; it's a personal one about how you take things and how you approach the situation.

I was there. Saw the shirts. Loved the shirts. Thought they were well thought out. Smart. Self-reflexive. We were obviously not intended to take them seriously.... I can SEE how peeps can be offended, totally. But, if you know these men -- they're SUPER SMART -- you know they're not being exploitative but sending an actually very interesting and intelligent message. I want to commend them for their creativity.

Stephen - If it was just a judgment of apparel, then your statement would be correct. However, I again point out the following statement:

" Why the fuck would I want to know someone whose first impression was one of "I'm invading a space in which you previously felt secure and displaying demeaning comments about your gender"? Why would I reward that type of insult with effort on my part to find out who you "really" are?"

The person writing this post is clearly judging the people in the shirts as well.

Also, were someone to roast me at their blog, then publicly call me out and ask me to "defend myself" on Twitter, as Grace did, I'd be way more reactionary than apologetic as well. For crap's sake, when you ask someone to "defend themselves", that's what they'll likely do.

I don't even like the shirts myself but my goodness, this is a lot of uproar over something that shouldn't have had that much power over someone's experience in the first place.

The day I feel degraded by the slogan on a T-shirt is the day I voluntarily re-chain myself to the kitchen sink. They were just having a laugh. Good Lord!

I agree with you and I don't have to read their blogs before making "an assumption" about someone who wears a douchetastic t-shirt to a women's conference. I also could give two sh*ts less whether anyone agrees or disagrees with my thinking that such shirts and the people who wear them are douches. The wonderful benefits of free thought and speech.

And for the record, I think I had one "run-in" with one of the men mentioned, at least I think it may have been, memory of the name is foggy, and yes, dude was a douche, fried to some or not.

The shirts are so, whatever. If you went up and said something, then you would have "stood up" to the manly influence at Blogher and that should have been it. If you didn't say anything and then wrote this post aren't you doing the same thing by getting the extra 'hits' to your site. I think the fact that some get offended at the thought of men at Blogher is silly. Reverse sexism won't get you anywhere.

This is why I wore collared shirts.

Hi Grace. I know that if I would see those shirts I would be offended, but I'd be too 'nice' to say anything about it. Too nice or too scared to be seen as a humorless shrew. So I admire you for saying it outloud!

If you're willing to wear an obnoxious shirt in public, you should be willing to listen to the criticism. And you should be willing to be judged by the statement on your shirt. Why does Grace have to read their archives to figure out if she's offended by a shirt?

Hello,

Full disclosure, I am a friend of Karl's, and I think a new friend of Avitable's, and a CE for BlogHer who's been to all 5 conferences (of course, this comment reflects only my personal opinion). I don't agree with every single thing any of my friends do, but in this case, I do find the shirts funny.

While I respect your opinion and certainly your right to express it, it is my belief that humor can come from obvious absurdity. Out of the BlogHer conference, I would not find these shirts funny. (Well, show me your tweets is pretty funny in any context, actually.) In this instance, however, it is the very act of these shirts on a man at a conference with over a 1,000 women that makes the shirts funny. The wearing of them in a context where the power structure is flipped from the world we normally live in is actually really interesting. It changes the reading completely for me.

I also believe that who the men wearing the shirts are in their hearts is irrelevant to the conversation - Certainly non-sexist people can do something that is indeed sexist. In this instance, however, I believe the absurdity elevates the act into sheer hysterical humor territory. I can't quite remember, but I'm pretty sure that Karl's BlogHer shirts are how we became friends in the first place.

Finally, over time I would love to see an increase in men at the BlogHer conference perhaps even to the point where it becomes an equal space the likes of which we've never seen.

I disagree with Grace on whether or not men should be allowed to attend BlogHer, but I will agree that, in presenting themselves this way, these individual’s motives for being there can certainly be called into question. I don’t know Avitable, so I can’t speak for him, but I know Karl, and his main reason for going to BlogHer is to pick up women. This has been a pattern for him in past conferences, whether his many supporters will admit it or not. Someone said it perfectly before, its’ all “Just kidding (unless you’re into it)”, that’s what the stupid ass T-shirts are all about.
See, that’s how Karl operates, he wants to be one of the girls to get the inside track, hoping to parlay that into getting attention and/or sex. He is a desperate and pathetic little man. One needs look no further than his pathetic blog to see that. He thinks he’s funny and snarky and all kinds of clever, but he’s mostly just a miserable complainer who wants everyone to feel sorry for him. He makes overt sexual overtures and tries to pass them off as jokes. Look at his stupid joke porno script (Another bit of disgusting sexism that he seemed to revel in the outrage of)
Maybe one day all of his admirers will see through his sad charade and realize that, given the opportunity, he would fuck all of them. Karl is a teddy bear all right, a cute n’ cuddly teddy bear that will try to give you anal if you let him.
And to Karl’s defenders: Being offended by tasteless and inappropriate humor has nothing to do with whether you are able to enjoy sex or sexuality.
Grace, I may not agree with all of your points, but I admire that you spoke up about

Wow. Reading some of the comments I'm shocked.
If you took and switched the order of "men" and "women" in a lot of the sentences, you would be going back in time.
I'm sorry, but that offends me more than some dumb shirt.

A lot of people seem to think that Grace had a responsibility to confront Karl at the conference and engage in some kind of debate with him about his T-Shirts. Something tells me if she did that, we’d be hearing about what a stick in the mud feminazi she was, trying to throw a wet blanket over the party. Sounds like a lose-lose proposition to me.
Would all of you defenders be okay with them wearing a “White Power” T-Shirt, or a swastika, as long as their intentions were to be completely absurd and/or ironic??
LOL!! Karl doesn’t really hate Jews, he’s just being ironic, right?? LOL!!! After all, its just a T-Shirt right???LOL!
Show us your boobies! LOL!! Just kidding! (Unless you really want to show us your boobies, then by all means!!!) LOL!! (Are you going to show us your boobies or not?)
Hey, relax babe! It’s just a shirt, right?
LO fuckin’-L!!!

I join others who are a bit bothered by the implication that men and women should be seperate. I would never find a "conference" evena gender specific one, to be a safe space for me as a woman. Maybe because I have a husband and a son, I dunno.

That said, I do agree that the shirts sound thoughtless. But I do like the bloggers. I enjoy their sites and their humor. I probably would have givent them crap to their faces about the shirt. I think they would have been ok with that.

I don't see offensive shirts as sexist. I see telling Hillary Clinton "Iron my shirt, bitch" as being sexist. I don't feel like they don't bother me because I don't care. I feel like they don't bother me because in the scope of things, they are small battle, while bigger ones exist.

I also don't equate what has been said about what was on the shirts as being the same as using the N word at a black conference. If the shirts had said "suck this, cunt", then maybe. Although really, cunt doesn't even bother me. But coming from a man as an insult? Different matter entirely.

YMMV.

I must be a beast because I spent the entire conference in Karl's company and never once did he objectify me, make a pass at me or treat me with anything other than respect.

I spent years with a sexist, classless pig and I know one when I meet one. Karl and Avitable were neither. As a matter of fact, I was shocked by how reserved and polite Avitable is.

That conference is uncomfortable as hell at first, especially if you're a minority or even remotely introverted. The shirt worked. It was an icebreaker and the reason I talked to him. And out of it, I made a wonderful, platonic friend. I was a bartender for years and cannot tell you how many times I was made to feel uncomfortable about my body (I'm incredibly large breasted) through comments that were supposed to be flattering or flirtatious. Never felt that once in their presence.

Although you have every right to say how you felt about the shirts, it seems almost malicious to make blanket statements about the men wearing them.

I read your post when it first went up and have been thinking about it since then. I've been meaning to get back and comment, but life got in the way. Boy was I surprised (and disgusted) to find all of these comments.

I'm with you Grace. I would have been offended. And, I absolutely believe that women space is powerful and important.

I guess the lesson learned is that BlogHer has NOTHING to do with feminism or the empowerment of women.

First of all, I don't see why men shouldn't be allowed at BlogHer. My objection isn't to men at BlogHer (although I've never been) my objection is to anyone, male or female, that takes a woman to task for not finding misogyny just down right hilarious. As I said, I wasn't at BlogHer, I don't know these two men, I'm just responding to the disturbing comments on this post that claim the OP should have a sense of humor. While everyone has a different sense of humor and women will disagree on what type of humor they find objectifying or objectionable, I find it disturbing that people are trying to invalidate her feelings.

And, isn't the question, "Where's your sense of humor?" often asked of women in order to silence them?

One of my favorite quotes about feminism, misogyny, and humor comes from a post over as Shakesville. The post is actually about rape humor. I know the t-shirts were not about rape so don't rip me apart saying that I'm blowing this out of proportion. I just wanted to state that what she says about "humor" and feminism in the post is relevant to all types of humor that objectifies and denigrates women. The relevant part is:

Geez, can't you take a joke?" That's all it takes—the implication that the woman who objects to public expressions of misogyny, who doesn't find funny the means of her own subjugation, or doesn't find amusing being triggered by careless "jokes" about a brutal event she has experienced, is humorless. Uncool. Oversensitive. Weak. (As though standing up to bigotry is the easy way out, and laughing along is somehow strong.)

Humor that exhorts its targets to participate is even more insidious—and promoting the patriarchal narrative of women as sex class via humor has come to rely heavily on the participation of feminist women themselves. And our allies.

If you are interested in the entire post, it can be found here:

http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2009/03/feminism-101-on-language-and.html

For the record I DON'T know Karl or Avitable but jeez I sure want to!

LMFAO seriously lighten up people, they are t'shirts that's it. They aren't out there raping women, beating them up, supressing them in anyway, they are wearing t'shirts that have funny words on them.

When did the world get so politically correct? When did everyone start taking everything so freaking seriously?

I LOVE the t'shirts and don't see anything wrong with them, if I'd have been there and come across them I would have walked up to them and fired back a witty comment inline with the t'shirts but thats because I have a sense of humour....

BTW I bet both Karl and Avitable are loving the free publicity for their blogs from this....

As a very, very Old Blogger (hahahahaha) I can tell you this.

1. Blogging IS a clique, regardless of how you wish it was. I have been part of AND rejected by the clique. I now choose my own social path and Blog only for myself - not to be "friends" with other bloggers.

2. I stopped attending BlogHers in 2007. I spoke at the 2006 BlogHer. The vibe was not for me after 2007 - it was ALL marketing, how to get a book from your blogging and I was not into it at all.

3. I do know Karl and he is truly a lovely man. He and I spent many hours next to the pool in San Jose in 2006 laughing with IzzyMom. I can not speak to his shirts, but he has been a LONG time supporter of women bloggers.

4. I really came to your blog because I was looking at your review of the BigHouse Birdman wine I drank last night and stumbled into this post. I forget that there are so many Bloggers in the BlogHer network ( I am a bad blogger)

First off, whoever this Oktoberfist person is does NOT know me. I frequently mention on my blog that I haven't gotten laid in two years. And I have NEVER had sex at BlogHer, this past weekend being my 4th. It's this kind of crap that brings about negative remarks surrounding BlogHer, and that not only makes me sad, but angry. Because BlogHer rocks.

I think this whole issue is interesting in a dialogue sort of way. I've heard the anti-men thing many times before and don't like that sentiment, but there's not much I can do about it.

What I don't like is the name-calling and massive assumptions being made about the men that attend, or the women who do or don't like my sense of humor.

Anyone who truly believes that Adam and I walked into a conference of 1,300 women with THOSE shirts on hoping to OFFEND all those women is an idiot.

As Liz said above (a wonderful gal who I go out of my way to hang with every year), if I wore those shirts in November while wandering around town, that'd be sexist. But wearing them at BLOGHER, where it's so over-the-top ridiculous as to border on absurd? That's comedy. Not YOUR brand of comedy, perhaps, but comedy nonetheless.

I'm glad you commented on my blog. And I am glad you wrote this post, believe it or not. I'm all about the freedom of speech. And under different circumstances, I think you - Grace, that is - would be surprised at how well we'd get along.

Bottom line? I am truly sorry if my stupid shirts hurt you in any way, shape, or form. I adore BlogHer - my favorite people on the planet are there every year, which is why I go - and I'd hate to see BlogHer get any negative press because of me being a freaking idiot.

I've heard the anti-men thing many times before and don't like that sentiment, but there's not much I can do about it.

I don't recall Grace saying anything anti-man. She said that this was a women's conference (which it simply is) and wondered out loud whether men should be there. This isn't anti-man. It's a question gender-specific events and their attendants always have to think over.

What I don't like is the name-calling and massive assumptions being made about the men that attend

Again, I don't see this anywhere in Grace's post.

Anyone who truly believes that Adam and I walked into a conference of 1,300 women with THOSE shirts on hoping to OFFEND all those women is an idiot.

No one said this. In fact, what's offensive to me is that you thought you could walk into a women's conference and not offend women wearing that shirt.

Grace, I'm glad you posted this post. Like you, I would have been pissed off by those shirts at BlogHer, and like you, I wouldn't have wanted to make a public scene. There's nothing wrong with wanting to write about it on your blog.

And you know, I get that the shirts are clever. I can appreciate that they're clever (well, the "tweets" one -- the other one, not as much) and still think they're ultimately disrespectful to the women at the conference and the whole idea of a conference to promote women.

This might be getting into minutiae, but I wonder if the "show us your tweets" shirt would have been less offensive without the graphic underneath it? I think then I would have thought it was clever enough and not offensive. The graphic, though, confuses the message -- does the wearer really want to see our tweets, or is he just not quite brave enough to say that he'll *pretend* to be interested in our tweets but he *secretly* wants us to show him our tits?

So part of the problem is honestly? The shirts weren't clever enough. If you want to play on sexist humor, you just have to be very, very good -- same with racist humor and so on. That goes double if you're outside the group at whom the "ism" is usually directed. Unless the joke is crafted very well, you run the risk of just repeating a cliche. When you're in the powerful group, repeating a cliche about the less powerful group isn't just defective humor; it's also an exercise of power.

As to the wine, I was surprised at how much I liked it. I am not a fan of white wine, per se. Here in Montreal we get about 90% reds and very little white wine drinking. I had grabbed it when back home in NH, since there was a lovely "American wines for 9.99" sale. So we were having grilled chicken and fresh veggies with balsamic...and I thought "Hey, Let me try that Big House Birdman - I have liked the Big House Red in the past, why not"

Plus it was sooooo bloody hot here in the not-so frozen north that red just didn't "feel" right.

All that said, I really quite liked it. Enough to drink half the bottle and then get in trouble for shooting off my mouth ( which is more common that I would like to admit)

Which makes me think - If you know SueBob....Have we met? Not to give you my Bloggy resume...But I am True Wife Confessions ( as one of my multitude of online aliases....I also run Desperately Seeking Something - which is one of the most feminist sites EVER, in my opinion....)

@Shoppista, I should have been clearer, perhaps. I was addressing the comments on this post, in addition to the actual post, both those made by Grace's friends and those made by mine.

There ARE anti-men comments here. There ARE people saying that Grace and you and others don't have a sense of humor simply because you hated the shirts. I don't make that assertion. I'm simply saying you don't have the SAME sense of humor, and that's ok.

And I never walk into BlogHer thinking there won't be some who find my shirts offensive. But quite honestly, if the demographics were reversed and a woman walked into a 90% male conference with a shirt that said "Come sit in my lap," I'd laugh my freaking ass off.

Grace, I know Karl and have read his blog for number of years. You're way off-base in your assessment of him and what you perceive as his motivations. I'm sorry you feel this way, because you're missing out on knowing a quality human being.

you keep saying these men are "invading [your] space" and wow, elitist anyone? newsflash: people with penises can (and do) in fact support the success of women. they also have every right to share your hallowed space as a person with a vagina. men have absolutely every right to be at BlogHer, certainly as much as *you* do, even with your vagina and everything.

this isn't the demilitarized zone for godsakes. people ought to calm down. the problem with feminists is that they attempt to decide for EVERYONE ELSE (especially the women they claim to represent) what is and is not socially acceptable. guess what? i have a vagina and i actually like it quite a lot, and yet i *also* would have had great hars if i saw those shirts in my proximity. and not because i like these guys and am here to defend them. it's because it's funny. and because i don't have a stick up me arse.

maybe you expected people to call you humorless because --- gasp! --- YOU ARE.

nobody owns space, hon. we all live in this world together with our respective genitalia -- the latter being SO not the point.

stop seeing division everywhere and for godsakes, lighten up.

I did not know Avitable or Karl before BlogHer. I'd never met them or read their blogs.

I saw Karl standing outside on the riverwalk, having a cigarette. I read his shirt (the one that was pink and said "this pink shirt means I'm sensitive, now come sit on my lap..." or something), laughed my ass off, and asked if I could take his picture.

I think what appealed to me was not the sentiment, itself, but the moxie it must have taken to wear that thing at EstrogenFest2009. That guy's got balls (*snort*). And he's right - the girls he wants to get to know are the ones who will think it was funny.

I liveblogged the "Vaginally Challenged..." session, which was the first time I had ever heard of any of the panelists. I guess Avitable is enough of a big deal to have rumors spread about him. I did a spit take when I saw his Hitler header, and I laughed. I don't consider myself an anti-woman or anti-Jew or anti-anything woman. Ask the queers - after liveblogging their session I followed them around like a puppy all weekend.

During the session, Avitable struck me as a hilarious person. In order to be funny, sometimes we have to be a bit on the edgy side, and he is. I don't think his humor is for everyone - but no one is forcing you to read his shirts, his tweets, or his posts.

You asked for reactions, and those were mine. I think you left your sense of humor on the luggage carousel. Hope your airline returns it to you.

"Is this something you enjoy seeing in space reserved for you?"
See, I definitely disagree with that statement...it definitely feels like reversed sexism to me. I hate it when women are all like "omg, lets crash this place reserved for MEN to prove our equal rights" and then they go and say things like "space reserved for you". Blogher is awesome because it isn't just for females, men can go. There are no restrictions. Equal rights were invented so that everyone would be treated equally, everyone would get equal opportunities. Blogher is another one of those social networking opportunities that everyone can be a part of, and you seem generally upset that men were there...or at least that was the tone you left in this post and your comment responses.

Although I have never met either of them, they are AWESOME guys and after reading the comments that said they weren't, well I felt sick. If Adam is so horrible, why would he go out of his way to give me a one hundred dollar gift certificate for Walmart when he knew things were hard for us? Because he CARES about his friends, and the people in his life. So I could care less if he wears a "sexist" shirt. I'd wear it, it's funny and ironic.

Like several other have said, live and let live. If a slightly offense t-shirt really gets your knickers in a knot, well...that's not good hun.

I hope my comment doesn't irritate you further, because that's not my intention. I'm just letting you know a little side of Adam that you might not have ever guessed; he IS a giant teddy bear with a great big heart. Sexist t-shirt and all ;)

@ Grace...actually, the idea was presented as an "over the top" reaction to all of the negativity and I thought it was hysterical. He never even asked to take the picture. I offered. And I think it's a hilarious way to respond to something that really hurt his feelings.

You're way off-base in your assessment of him and what you perceive as his motivations...

People keep saying things like this, and saying "but so and so is a big teddy bear," and so on, but this stuff really doesn't matter. Intent doesn't matter as much as effect. It just doesn't. If no one intends to hire equally qualified women at a lower salary but they keep doing so anyway because they just "connect" with the men they're hiring better or whatever, they've still done something sexist.

I don't give a shit about intent. Construction workers might intend to make me feel like hot stuff when they yell "nice ass!," which doesn't change how it makes me feel -- uncomfortable and on display when I'm just trying to go about my business. Actually, that's a great comparison with "show us your tweets" with accompanying graphic. I'm sure the intent was humor. The effect, though, is that I feel tired. Yes, ha ha, tit/tweets. But also, the joke's not clear enough, and the end result is that I'd feel just a little squidgy and deflated at a conference that I *thought* would be a breath of fresh air away from that feeling. That's not cool, and the person who did it may just be a little thoughtless, but what I'm going think is "probable asshole" and walk away.

So maybe people should remember that people can't psychically discern intent. They can only go on the messages they get. The message on the shirt is "show me your tweets, but maybe also your tits." If that's not what you want people to think you're saying, write a smarter shirt.

As for the women piling on Grace with the old "you're a humorless feminist" saw -- you're pathetic. I don't know if you're too dumb to understand the issue, or if you see it but hope if you work hard to be one of those cool girls who "get it," one of those girls who are "one of the guys," sexism will just pass right over you. But it doesn't work that way. In the meantime, you're part of the problem.

Reverse sexism! Ha!

@Grace, yes, I see the difference, of course. I'm an ass, not an idiot. Again, I apologize for hurting you in any way. I've tried to explain myself here, not easy to do considering you or your readers don't know me.

I get what you're saying. And @Shoppista made one of the most compelling arguments just above with her "intent doesn't matter" argument.

I don't know what it says that hundreds and hundreds of women "got it" and laughed, whereas some didn't. That's humor for you, it's very subjective. But when the majority of women I came across cracked up, and went out of their way to find me the NEXT day to see the NEXT shirt, that says I'm not all that off the mark, either.

I could have attended BlogHer wearing a plain white t-shirt and there STILL would have been people offended, just based on the fact that I have testicles. That saddens me because the bulk of my friends are women, and in a place that champions equality for ALL people, it's ironic that there are those ladies that feel men shouldn't be there. I am not saying YOU are one of those people, Grace, but you know I'm right - there is a no-men undercurrent every year. Some of that is expressed in the comments of this very post.

At any rate, I think I've done all I can do here. I would be happy to take this discussion offline, I'd even be happy to discuss it over the phone. Clearly you know my Twitter name, since that's how this debate began.

If you DON'T want to talk or email, that's cool, too. I harbor no ill will toward you or your friends that commented here. Well, except maybe for that Oktoberfist bitch, who is an outright liar.

I wrote a post about it from my point of view, and it's rare I take time to explain my antics on my blog, but still. Read it, don't read it, perhaps you're as tired of this as I am by now...

http://secondhandkarl.com/2009/07/white-elephants-and-apologetics/

I wish you well, Grace. Peace.

Well now, you made me think on something I otherwise would have dismissed. While I'm not offended, I see where you're coming from and I have to agree. Those shirts were inappropriate.

Hello there, this is my first time on your site.

I don't know either of these men, and I know I will be dismissed as another apologist but I am going to say my peace.

I work in a prison and everything that Karl and Adam did or wore this weekend at Blogher would be taken in the spirit with which it was intended at the prison.

That doesn't mean I don't work with sexist pigs, some of them are, others are just so crass with their humor that you know they are not serious.

For the record, I am a lesbian and consider myself to be a hard core feminist, but that doesn't mean I left my sense of humor back there with my ex-husband. If you want to meet a sexist, woman-hating asshole I could introduce you.

I started reading Karl's site when I found Clusterfook a year ago. When she passed, I cried for him as much as her. I can't imagine the pain, but I know that a woman-hating man would not have done what he did for her.

Maybe you should visit MissBritt's site and see how well Adam treats her and her family.

These men love the women around them and genuinely treat them with respect. Maybe a joke is just a joke, and an icebreaker is just that.

Wait, Karl...you have testicles? Is there photographic proof of that somewhere? ;D

i wonder what would've happened if someone would've just gone ahead and taken her shirt off, right there in the conference.

hey guys, this is what you wanted, right? & the ladies think your shirts are funny, so this is cool, right?

no one would've been laughing any more, i'm guessing. i wonder if a person would get kicked out, or what people would say.

Jessica, actually there was a woman who walked naked through the lobby (on purpose). No one seemed to write negatively about that...at least not that I've heard.

I liked you before, now I love you. Not like a little bit either.

Here's the thing, sexy = good, sexist = gross. It's a tightrope, and if you think you might fall off, don't walk it.

The men at BlogHer were guests. Some were wonderful, some were awkward, most were respectful, a few should have been sent home.

It's a real privilege to be a man at a conference by and for women. The privilege was abused, thankfully not by all.

So, these guys were "guests", "visitors" and "privileged to be there".
Correct me if I'm wrong here, & don't know the BlogHer Attendees Rules & Regulations Handbook - Didn't they pay to get in?
Didn't YOU pay to get in?
Sheesh, I'd heard BlogHer was pretty elitist, but I thought it was limited to making fun of someone's shoes or hair.
If you want to attend a private, women-only spa for the weekend, maybe you should go somewhere else.

It seems you should take your problem up with BlogHer. Petition them to ban men and/or enforce a dress code. I guess they'd have to enforce a code for proper behavior, too?
Other than that, quit whining cuz you paid a bunch of money to attend an event where there were some people who didn't live up to your standards.

Maybe next year you can rent a private box?

Truthfully? You would have to know the bloggers in question. NO I am not offended, I find it damned funny. If I wanted to wear a sexist t-shirt, I could. It's called free speech. It matches their blogs, I found it funny.

Clever way to stand out. I don't think the blogger in question really meant to be sexist as much as just funny.

Live and let live, I say.

Tina

Heck, I thought the shirts were kind of funny.

OMG- not a blogger, just a reader, but I unsubscribed a lot of people tonight.

Karl is funny and if he, as an introvert, has the balls to wear those shirts--
GOOD FOR YOU BABY.

I didn't think they were in best taste, but, if you ever read him, JEEZ HOW COULD YOU OVER REACT!!!

done now

I stumbled upon this blog by way of three or four other blogs, and am ASTOUNDED at the apologists.

Grace doesn't need to "learn to take a joke" or "lighten up" (reminiscent of victim blaming - he didn't really mean it...).

Just because you say it's a joke doesn't make it funny. And would anyone DARE to wear a "funny" shirt with a racist message on it to a conference targeting African-Americans?

I'm disappointed that women haven't come farther than this...

Well Grace this is really making me want to attend BlogHer next year so I can kick some misogynist ass right along with you. What a bunch of bullshit. But they are nice people! Puh-lease.

This link popped up in a discussion recently, and for what it's worth, I cringed as I re-read it, knowing what I probably would have (and did!) say three years ago aabout it. At this point, I feel a little older, a little wiser and a lot more able to look aat things like those shirts and see them for the demeaning insults they are.

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