In Which We Solve Sexism With Disembodied Heads. Plus, Mike Allton Dies.

In Which We Solve Sexism With Disembodied Heads. Plus, Mike Allton Dies.

The Intro Before The Intro

Our friend Alisa Meredith of the Superheroes of Marketing podcast recently offered a critique of our podcast and said that she would like to know what we’re going to talk about before we start.

So based on her feedback we decided to add a short intro before the music, basically a “table of contents” for the podcast so Freds everywhere will know what to expect.

Except for today, when our intro went on for a really long time until we actually remembered to roll in the music.

What do you think? Helpful to know what’s coming up or just extra talking?

The Official Web.Search.Social Tea

After experimenting with more teas than we can talk about, we decided that Simpson and Vail wins. They have green and black and oolong and white and dessert teas, all of which add up to more than 350 kinds of deliciousness.

We’re on a mission to try them all and in the meantime we’ve enjoyed the ones we’ve sampled quite a lot.

Mike Allton Geeks Out On Star Wars

Mike Allton of the Social Media Hat recently wrote a post called This Star Wars Trailer Will Blow Your Marketing Mind. It’s full of great content, from Mike’s take on what we can learn about marketing from the Star Wars trailers to videos of the actual trailers themselves. It’s geek heaven, but I’m concerned that given the upcoming superhero movies, along with the scheduled release of the next Star Wars movie, will Mike actually survive? Or will all this geek goodness make him go supernova?

Alisa Joins Us To Talk Sexism

An article is circulating on social media titled The Thing All Women Do That You Don’t Know About. The gist of the article is that women deal with sexism in every aspect of their lives, all the time. And the way they deal with it is to grin, laugh it off and acquiesce to men. The author talks about how as a woman, she is either afraid to anger men by standing up for herself, or in business she is afraid of being considered bitchy – or worse, fired.

Carol Lynn says that she’s had many relationships with men throughout her life, from brothers and cousins to friends and colleagues, and never felt marginalized or afraid to speak up.

Alisa says she’s had a different experience. Just recently, a guy at her gym was staring at her and she basically told him to stop being creepy. Carol Lynn makes the point that Alisa wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. But Alisa says that her confidence has come with age and she probably wouldn’t have done the same thing ten or twenty years ago.

Seems like there is a learning curve to dealing with creepy people and that’s something we discuss later on.

Who Are These Sexist Men?

Turns out none of us know a lot of sexist men. They’re definitely out there but are they the majority? Are they even the vast minority? Or does social media amplify “the squeaky wheel” so to speak?

I wonder what percentage of men treat women in some of the horrible ways Alisa says she’s been treated. Alisa confirms that it’s a small percentage so we can’t help but wonder: is this type of behavior more prevalent on social media than in real life?

Road Rage And Bad Behavior

Alisa says that you might experience road rage toward someone while you’re driving and curse them out, but if the same person were walking into the supermarket behind you, you’d probably hold the door for them and say hello.

The point is that when you’re detached from people you tend to say and do things you wouldn’t normally. Men and women both behave badly online.

Carol Lynn says that social media can magnify the worst of humanity. People will always find something hurtful to say, whatever the context, and they do that by separating people into “other” status. Then they apply a label – whether you talk about someone being a woman, or being gay, or conservative, or Jewish, they will use the label to disparage you. It’s not so much a matter of sexism as bad behavior.

So we wonder next, are these isolated cases of humans behaving badly, or does it mean entire segments of the population are being victimized? Is this really the huge problem that it can seem like? Do some creepy people – you know the ones, nobody really likes them – represent the whole?

We don’t know the answers. We only have our opinions and perspectives and experiences. But it all ties back to that learning curve that we get to at the end…

Losing Business Opportunities

I’ve witnessed many women – even young women who are students of my college level web development course – post sexualized photos of themselves online. The consequence is that I’ve seen women be denied jobs because of the way they represent themselves.

I believe that a company has every right to deny a job to someone who may pose a risk to the reputation of the company. For example, a PR company may not want to hire someone to represent clients online if that person can’t even represent themselves well.

Creating Barriers Where We Don’t Need Them

When you read and hear this kind of thing online, it’s important to understand whether it’s one person’s experience or an actual widespread problem. I think it’s important not to let our negative experiences with some people affect our positive relationships with others.

Teaching Kids To Be Social

Being afraid to speak your mind or being fearful of confrontation is learned behavior. Nobody is born knowing how to deal with all the awkward or unpleasant situations all the time. We learn by being taught, we learn by example. We don’t need to teach kids about sexism but we do need to teach them how to be social. The youngest children can learn to speak up, to respect themselves, to be kind and be human.

Yes, figuring out how to treat people and how you want to be treated in return in a learning curve. You figure it out over time, through trial and error and you emulate those around you.

If we can be better examples then perhaps people will learn better social skills – online and offline.

Alisa gives us her final take on the topic which is that the world would be better off if we were all disembodied heads and could avoid all the awkwardness that gender can bring. The best relationships start with an exchange of ideas – not phone numbers.

Your Seriously Social Moment

Ian Anderson Gray is back with his series on roadblocks to creativity. Today he talks about how wanting to be liked is sometimes hard to deal with. Let’s face it: we all want to be liked. And it can hurt when people don’t like us.

But you can combat that and not only make your life better but make your business better.

First, you need to surround yourself with loyal, honest friends. They’re the ones who will build you up and provide you with constructive criticism, not negativity or hate.

Second, respond to criticism positively. As a business, even if someone lashes out at you, always respond with respect and kindness. This has been shown to increase customer advocacy.

There’s always going to be negativity. But you don’t have to succumb to it. Find the support of good friends and implement positive reactions in your business.

Dreamweaver Vs. WordPress

In my college level class I teach students HTML and CSS using the web development tool Dreamweaver. But I was recently debating whether it would be more beneficial to teach them WordPress. As I agonized over the decision, someone posted a related thread on Facebook that really got me thinking. The thread basically expressed a woman’s frustration that her daughter was learning Dreameaver.

But after thinking about it I decided to stick with Dreamweaver. WordPress is a platform that already has the fundamentals in place for you, and while it’s great for blogs and content management, you don’t need to be a web developer to use it. By teaching Dreamweaver I’m giving my students the fundamentals they’ll need to build a website, to understand how websites work and even to be able to transition effectively into using WordPress if they need to.

What really cemented my decision was a letter from a former student who wrote that she had great success at her new job because she remembered the HTML she had learned in my class.

For businesses hiring – or students looking to get hired – it pays to understand how web development works, which involves a lot more than clicking “install theme” and configuring a few settings.

Links & Resources

Subscribe below to be notified whenever we publish new content and to stay in the loop on new podcasts and resources.

Ralph M. Rivera
Hi, I'm Ralph! I'm a web developer at Rahvalor Interactive, a creative marketing services company that I founded in 1999 with my wife and business partner Carol Lynn. In January 2012 we created Web.Search.Social as a branded service offering that brings enterprise-level services to small businesses in an affordable way. I'm also founder and CTO of Podcaster's Toolbox, a SaaS platform designed to help podcasters plan, produce and promote their shows. I teach web development at Manhattan College in New York City. Carol Lynn and I are home based near the Jersey shore but we're currently location independent and traveling the country for a year, working and podcasting. I'm also trying to build a flux capacitor, but that's not going as well as the other stuff I do.
Ralph M. Rivera
Ralph M. Rivera
  • Super quick F.Y.I. …

    Some teas contain barley malt to give the beverage a sweet taste, and barley is a gluten-containing grain.

    • The things you learn! I figured there might be some flavoring that could do it, but now I know. You are truly a font of wisdom 🙂

      • You’re definitely on the right track, Carol Lynn. I have to read labels very carefully, especially with products like sauces, marinades, and salad dressings. Some “flavorings” contain gluten.

    • Is there anything you DON’T know, Melanie? 🙂

  • Also, I was truly worried about Mike Allton and Ralph took his sweet time to getting around to tell us what he meant.

  • Sexism commands cynicism.

    To Alisa’s creepy neighbor, my remark would have been, “I’m not interested in dating you but have you considered a career in surveillance? Seems you have the right skill set. You really should put your best talents to good use.”

    Everything sexist, racist, negative — all the ugliest behaviors imaginable — get blown out of proportion online. You’re right … the web is not the real world. Not even close. Too bad and too sad positive human interest stories and people and events don’t get the same kind of attention. Hanging out online has taught me a big chunk of society is really, really, REALLY sick and needy.

    • I like your style 🙂 Maybe Alisa should introduce you to her neighbor. I think I tend to be pretty patient with annoying humans, but there is a limit and when I break, it’s bad for everyone. That’s why I like to surround myself with only awesomeness, like YOU.

      • I’ve been known to be sharp with the tongue, when necessary. LOL! Yeah, introduce me to Alisa’s neighbor. When I get through with him, he’ll be looking to move out of the neighborhood! 😉

        I’m with you. I prefer to hang out with the good eggs. The rotten ones (online and off) don’t add an ounce of value to my life.

        • I would be happy to introduce you – assuming he’s back from jail.

          • LOL! Yes, please don’t send me to the “big house” to meet him. I’ll wait till he gets out. Jails give me the creeps and this guy is creepy enough! 😉

  • I do think it’s quite possible that I will explode.

    That said, thanks so much for the kind comments about my article! I *really* loved putting that together, and am glad you picked up on all the major points and themes.

  • I personally like the fact that I never know what you might talk about. Honestly, if you say you are talking about one subject, once you guys get on a role, you might actually not really talk on that subject for very long. I love the fact that you wander and go off on your rants. That is what makes me love you guys so much. I do the very same thing and then ultimately come back to the original topic maybe 30 minutes later. That for me, is a draw. But, I am a bit biased. I love the stories and the rambles…

    • Everyone needs a superfred like you, seriously, next time I worry about what we’re doing I’m just going to call you and be like, ok, tell me how awesome I am again 🙂