Abstraction as Dehumanization


Early female scientist with no time for this man’s bullshit.

Everyone is talking about the Google “manifesto” these days. Talk seems to center on two points – either the general issue of misogyny in the tech world or the supposedly good points in an otherwise disgusting screed.

What most people aren’t talking about is real people who have to put up with this bullshit in real time, all the time.

I have a very good friend who is a Google employee with an actual vagina and ever since this manifesto came out, she has had to deal with a load of bullshit comments from the men she oversees in her department. They all want to play the “Oh, of course it was a terrible thing to write but…” card. And let me tell you why it is such a shit card. Also, let me lay down for you some TRUE gender differences.

The truth is that many men like to abstract actual people to avoid having to deal with the harm they cause them while women meantime have to deal with and respond to the actual harm. Rather than talk about the obvious problems with this guy’s thinking, the fallacies upon which it is based, and how those assumptions, especially when presented as authoritative, affect the people he works with, men want to talk about whether he actually said women are incapable of working in tech or whether his firing was a good way to deal with dehumanizing speech or whether it was a violation of his rights.

Women, on the other hand, are talking about the actual harm done to them and others. They are upset. They have actual feelings because this is a thing that is actively being done to them. And these women will, in time-honored fashion, be called “neurotic” because they can’t take this lying down for the eight millionth time. Women, especially women at Google and other tech companies, are not interested in lighting their pipe and leaning casually over the water cooler to talk about the fine points of first amendment law. They’re too busy having to watch the men they used to respect sidle up to other men to talk about how some of what James Danmore wrote made sense and all right in front of actual people with vaginas and work experience in the tech field.

Most douchebros are perfectly comfortable saying things that fall just 1/100th short of this statement.


No one, by the way, actually listens to what a real vagina-haver-who-also-techs* has to say. It’s not important because she’ll just feel all over the place and that’s gross and not rational and cold enough. When she says that she has experienced harassment, they will ask her to produce proof. When she says that she has been talked down to, they will explain to her that she wasn’t. When she talks about how hard it was to get where she is and how much discrimination she faces all the time, she will be told that her experiences never actually happened because there is a statistic that says something.

Abstraction is the last refuge of the man who doesn’t want to actually know what’s happening to the women he interacts with every day. Let’s also hope it is the last wobbly leg of a dying system of dehumanization. Also, Jesus doesn’t like that shit.

*Some readers have been confused by my exclusion of trans women in this phrase. Please note that Danmore’s manifesto was explicitly about cis women (ie; women with all those gross hormones and supposed brain differences). No offense to trans women is intended.

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