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Calling Out Sexism

I’ve had a few people tell me that calling out sexism when it happens isn’t that easy and that I don’t know what I’m talking about. Let me show an example.

At first I didn’t want to bring this up because I think the man who wrote this on his blog thought, “Wow, Brooke and Sharon are getting a lot of attention and traffic, I bet if I write about it, I will get traffic to my website too!”

I decided I would just take a screenshot to avoid sending people to his site. ┬áPlease don’t go over and tell him he’s doing it wrong, he just wants the traffic. But I do feel I need to put my money where my mouth is:

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 10.11.01 AM

A guy (writing an article about how I don’t get how hard women have it when comes to getting a respectable job in birding no less) being purposely misleading about what I do for a living and being dismissive of my years of hard work and experience doing it…THAT is sexist.

28 comments to Calling Out Sexism

  • Wait, you once worked in…GASP…retail???
    (clutches pearls)

  • I was relieved to see that quite a few birders called him out on this (on FB, I haven’t gone back to check the blog for comments). People are not stupid. And, I think dismissing the intelligence and hard work of people who have mastered social media as a tool for change and communication is pretty contradictory when you are writing on a blogging platform. On the good side, this might get people to do a little more reading, on and off the Internet. (There’s got to be a good side, right?)
    Donna, a former waitress and typist and newspaper deliverer.

  • Judy Todd

    This disdain and disrespect shown by this writer (whoever he is) leaves me speechless.

  • Jan Silloway

    Go get em, Sharon! I have to wonder what motivates people to say mean things.

  • “Back in MY day, we had to BRIBE editors to print our press releases as if they were stories. And we LIKED it!”

    “When I worked my way into the industry, you couldn’t persuate someone to do something for you by ‘linking’ to them! You had to SLEEP with them!”

    “And get off my lawn!”

    By the by, I can’t tell you how tempted I am to go looking for that text, but of course by doing so, I’d be raising its page rank, so I won’t. :-P

  • What a douch bag. Thankfully we have Birdchick to call him out for his boring behavior! Sexist dinosaur!

  • klia

    Perfect and, sadly, predictable reaction. Anytime a female gains any sort of notoriety, some dude (or, usually, numerous dudes) feels the need to show her up, whether it’s to say she’s doing it wrong, or didn’t *earn* it, or whatever. And, of course, he never actually knows WTF he’s talking about.

    Whoever he is, he’s a giant douchenozzle.

  • The CEO of my company, which is the second-largest in our industry with $30M+ in annual sales, used to deliver pizzas. Wonder why that doesn’t get mentioned in articles on him.

  • A good argument on Facebook started saying that this isn’t sexism, this is just flat out trollish statement or just a foolish thing to say. Would he describe me the same way if I were male? I don’t know.

    But if it’s a commentary on how I don’t understand how many barriers women face in getting work in the birding world, being dismissive and misleading about my work in the birding industry reads sexist to me. Especially since we are connected on LinkedIn and he can see my resume or just do a simple google search.

  • Andrew

    How is this sexist? I don’t know anything about you, and perhaps this comments was rude, incorrect, or obnoxious (I have no idea), but I don’t see a hint of sexism in it. Even assuming that this person raised an unfair accusation against you — not every personal insult is sexist. Wrong, perhaps, but not sexist. It seems like your trying to deal with the sting of a (possibly unfair) comment by elevating it to a higher level of moral wrong, rather than addressing a merely annoying personal jibe.

  • Andrew

    By the way, I’m no expert, but you have a very nice website.

  • Odd. I know lots of birders – certainly more than half of them are older men. I have never heard any thing close to sexism in talks/comments/discussion amongst any of them. In fact, some of the best, respected birders around here, and certainly the best presenters and teachers, are women – young and old.

    I suspect far too many long time birders like to think of it as a refined, quiet, very polite activity – like golf or tennis – and you have shined a much different light on it than maybe is comfortable. (Plus you dress too snappy – more browns and dark blues and floopy-eared hats and three layers of flannel and wool .. (hee Hee)) To the pioneers come the arrows – carry on and Hi to Dougal!

  • The reason I see it as sexist as opposed to garden variety misleading is that it’s an article written to say that I don’t understand what how hard women have it and that there is a glass ceiling when it comes to women getting executive or leadership jobs in the birding world. Purposely downplaying how I earn a living or my background to make it sound like I really don’t know what I’m talking about seems to be a great example of being the glass ceiling he claims exist.

    I say that birding isn’t that sexist, that if you see sexism call it out. And the reason you may not see women in certain jobs is that those jobs may not appeal to women in general. But at the same time, I feel there are quite a few women in leadership roles, perhaps not what we would call traditional, but creating their own path for sure.

    But I do think it is a good discussion: sexism vs a stupid statement.

  • Holly

    Didn’t you “fashion” yourself the Birdchick before you became a part-time ranger? Not that that makes any difference other than further pointing out that this boob (obv, not a sulidae) clearly doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

  • Dave Williams

    Can it be both sexist and stupid statement? Yup. He chooses to include “Birdchick” in his criticism. Would he do that if we were talking about Birdguy? Or would he simply try and say he doesn’t believe you’ve earned the credentials? Would he be this belittling and condescending with a male? I have my doubts.

  • Yeah, I don’t know if it’s overtly sexist, but he wants to be very clear that he thinks he’s better than you. And it’s done in a way that appeals to some hierarchy that I’m not sure would really fly if thrown at a guy.

    Definitely overt dismissive douchebaggery though.

  • DallasD

    Birding at the professional level is a Free-Agent-Nation kind of job for many of the people. How hard they work at birding *plus* quality writing or photography or art – and promotion, sharing, and selling of said talents to the many other people interested in birding leads to their ‘stardom’ on a national level. There are many many fantastic ‘star’ birders who are well-known in their community, state, or region, but are not pursuing birding as a career in the usual sense. I suppose some of those local folk could be peeved or jealous about the more widely known people, but I have never been on any outing where the leader was there to get more famous. They were there because they wanted to share and to help others enjoy birds more.

  • Caroline

    He is jealous that you’ve accomplished so much at a young age because you are a well-rounded, driven expert in both your field and in personal branding. With a blog topic like that, it would be a reasonable guess that his ignorant statements stem from his inability to grasp the basics of building a professional, personal brand.

  • Ed Furlong

    Dear Sharon,

    I wanted to write and support you, and younger birders, male or female, who are social media savvy and using these tools in new and exciting ways to make birding more interesting and accessible. I think the sexism Is present in the male blog writer’s statement, but also conflated with a general geezery atitude of “you got your recognition too easily”. I can call out a geezery atitude since I am a male geezer-in-training who has qualified for the McDonalds senior coffee discount for quite some time. This is a knee-jerk reaction to the changing pace at which expertise develops and is recognized, in part due to the abillitynthe internet provides us all for accessing the work and products of an expert and assessing them for ourselves. In my book (soon to be a quant anachronism), you are doing a bang up job. I read your blog for knowledge and for humor, for a not too self important approach to this nutty game we all love. Lord knows birding could use to be less stuffy and overly serious!

    I also tracked down the blog and read the full post, in which he observes that the current CEOs of the top 20 birding organizations are mostly (17/20) male, and upon which he bases his contention of male dominance and a glass ceiling. This is factually correct but misinterpreted, as a snapshot in time does not take into account trnds and change. I would bet that there has been growth in female leadership at all levels in birding organizations, and that the trends in in female leadership in birding organizations may be growing, perhaps not at the pace we might like to achieve gender leadership parity, but that it will come. I have seen this in my own area of expertise, environmental science, but the change is incontrovertible. In fact this puts me in mind of changes in bird populations I have observed in my own patch–you need a good number of years of data before you can really understand whether change is truly happening.

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