I am over male power

We went to see the season opened of the Knicks game and as always I am astounded with the curation of dancing and events during half-time, pre-game and time-outs.  I remember clearly when the Knicks city dancers began.  Our friend was the creator behind them pushing the Knicks management team to get into the times as the majority of the other teams already had this type of entertainment.

The cacophony around misogynists is a welcome change to public conversation.  When I see those Knick city dancers out there in skimpy outfits that could easily be seen at a pole dancing bar I wonder where are the men dancing along side them with their skimpy body enhancing outfits?  I am not opposed to the entertainment but why is it the women who are parading around and not the men in the same look?

We listened to episode 1 of Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast called The Lady Vanishes.  He looks back at the painting The Roll Call by Elizabeth Thompson, a relatively unknown artist in her day.  She became a sensation over night yet god forbid she was elected to become part of the Royal Academy of the Arts run by an all white-men board.  She accepted that because that is how the world worked in 1874.  Her husband goes on to write his own memoirs without even mentioning her in them including the fact that she raised their 6 children.  Really?

Gladwell’s podcast is based on his theory that an outsider’s success serves not to alleviate discrimination but perpetuate it. He points to Julia Gillard, the first female prime minister of Australia who was abased, ridiculed and discriminated against as well as beyond disrespected that you can’t help but acknowledge that a man would never been treated that way.  The video above is when she finally lost it on the floor of the house.  She is brilliant and worth watching.

Then the other night I walk into our building and our neighbors daughter is having a Halloween party.  The young women (we are talking about 16 year olds) are dressed in a way that is screaming look at my body and nothing else.  Feeling good, feeling sexy, feeling fantastic is a positive thing but as we are having more conversations about gender equality from equal pay to the board seat to the CEO to the C-suite execs then what is the balance between embracing our sexuality yet more important being respected and treated as an equal for our brains, our intellect and our independence.

And how the hell did men become to be the ones in charge or at least to believe they are in charge?  Did it begin with Adam and Eve?  Was it the warriors who went out to protect the females who can only produce offspring?  Was it the pure physical strength?

There was an article in the NYX this weekend called “I Live in a Lie: Saudi Women Speak Up” by Mona El-Naggar about women in Saudi Arabia who can barely go to the bathroom without permission from their father or husband.  These are not only wives, daughters, mothers but they are teachers, doctors and business people.  It is mind-boggling how these women are managed by their husbands.

We sat at the bar of a steak house Saturday night and even the bartender made a comment.  He said “I like to take my wife out for dinner once a week to get her out of the laundry room.”  Really?  I stared him down and told him I did not find any humor in his comment.  He got it.

Isn’t it time we moved past all this bullshit.  I look around these days and just think to myself how the fuck did all these men believe that they should all be in charge as masters of the universe?

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    I spend almost no time thinking about the how of this honestly, but am very conscious and purposely in things I do to insure that I don’t accept this as the status quo.I was raised by a strong formative women–and live with one as my life partner. Lucky me.

    1. Gotham Gal

      thank god….

  2. Roger Toennis

    Nicole, my wife Patty Beach and I would like to tell you about some work we are doing in gender inclusivity. We are Boulder based and we reviewed it with Brad Feld in June and he gave us good advice. We are training 150 school principals on this model in December. It’s called Versatility Factor See it at http://www.versatilityfactor.com .Roger

    1. Gotham Gal

      That is a great way to make an impact through the youth.

      1. Roger Toennis

        Yes, Our goal is to build versatile schools by teaching administrators and teachers how to talk the language of versatility to kids. We are also now engaged with several large tech companies to help them understand this inclusive model that makes both men and women and men and women of all gender identities feel safe and valued in the organizations where the work. We have a profiling tool on our website for free that you can take. This is the beta 2 version and we are working on improving it now. Soon we will be doing some data analytics work to tease out for a given organization what we call the “Gender Versatility MRI”. Would you be willing to spend 30 minutes talking with Patty and I? Would love to get your fresh eyes looking at our the model.

  3. CCjudy

    That is at the core of this presidential election and I strongly believe the women will bring in Hillary Clinton…

    1. Gotham Gal

      100% agree

      1. pointsnfigures

        I see it differently. I don’t think this election is a referendum on women at all. It’s about crony capitalism, govt power, and corruption. Otherwise, how do you square with women that have a far different vision for America than far left wing Democratic women?It’s pretty easy for each party to pick the anecdotes that serve it. Your Donald Trump is my Bill Clinton/Ted Kennedy etc. Washington DC has enough lecherous old men in each party to supply us for generations. I agree with Joanne and wonder why there have to be female dancers at a pro hoops game. Yet, the women try out and there is pretty intense competition to be one of them.Back in the day, women always held the ultimate card. It was their choice if they were going to be in a relationship with you. Now, it doesn’t seem like that is the case and they have ceded a lot of power to men.What I want for my daughters is choice. If they want to work and have a family, I want them to be able to figure out an acceptable way to have that option. If they want to stay at home with the kids, that’s cool too. If they choose not to have children at all, fine. But, no one should cast dispersions on them for any choice they freely choose to make. Making each choice means you accept the opportunity costs that go with that choice.Women are a lot more powerful than society recognizes. Margaret Thatcher may have been one of the greatest female leaders in the history of the world, yet she isn’t upheld by the mainstream because her views didn’t align with theirs. It looks like she saved Great Britain from itself. She is a modern day Winston Churchill in many respects (and every bit his equal)As Gary Becker quantified, it costs people money to discriminate. If they choose to discriminate, make em pay.

        1. awaldstein

          I disagree with everything except your sentiment which is as always ethical and from the heart.This is about women taking control and taking down the despot.To compare Donald Trump to JFK is insanity in my opinion.

          1. pointsnfigures

            compared him to Teddy, but JFK and RFK and their father didn’t exactly treat women (and most certainly their wives) with much respect. Trump says a lot of shit I disagree with. Those other ones actually acted on it. I didn’t vote for him, nor do I support him. But, there is no way in good conscience I can support the other side either. Hard being a libertarian/free market Republican. I maintain, this election isn’t about sex at all. It’s about big govt, corruption, and the fact Washington bureaucrats are way too powerful and way too out of touch with mainstream America. Their most tangible notion of that is Obamacare. But it’s far deeper.

          2. Stephen Palmer

            The mainstream 60 year old white person in rural America, maybe. But America is much bigger than that.As for healthcare, it is that “free market” led by insurance companies that has caused prices to go up for decades now.

          3. pointsnfigures

            http://theweek.com/articles… Thought this was a pretty good article. One difference between the parties is that when Republicans get found out, we eat our own. Democrats don’t. There are other behaviors men do (I have noticed myself doing them) They are subtle. When you are aware, you can immediately correct yourself. When you aren’t self aware you don’t even know you are doing it.

          4. awaldstein

            I’ll check it out.I’ll continue to educate myself and understand subtleties.I’ll continue to not dignify any discussion around Trump. He’s a hater. A golem. Nothing he does that is interesting, correct, whatever matters.

          5. boteman

            Yes, just like the Republican SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE has eaten Trump alive. Pull the other one!

          6. JLM

            .Actually, he has done neither.He voted for Trump (“the nominee of our party”) all the while acting like a nun (just for clarity, I was raised by nuns and I like them very much but understand this IS intended to be a bit of an insult — just wanted to clarify that for y’all).Ryan is an accident of the Congress’s arcane rules of leadership.He is neither a Speaker nor a Leader.Given the enormous Republican mandate of 2014, Ryan (and McConnell) managed to snatch defeat from the crushing jaws of victory showing that the Republics have absolutely no idea as to how to actually use power.Make no mistake, this anger — which propelled the 2014 Republican barbed wire enema and control of the Congress both Senate and the House — is what has given rise to Donald J Trump.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          7. Peter Beddows

            As usual @JLM:disqus, you are right on target IMO.

          8. JLM

            .JFK was the first President to nail an intern in the White House, no?These men are not Popes, they are Presidents.At the very least, use a consistent lens.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        2. Bonny P McClain

          You can’t hold Hillary responsible for neoliberalism–it is a mirror of the principles of modern America. Look to Reagan and Thatcher and yes often President Obama for perpetuating the capitalistic foundation of our economy. We won’t be able to bring power back to the electorate unless we are able to rewrite tax law, health policy, food policy, and begin to ask ourselves if 6% of the nation work in finance–why do they own 40% of the wealth?

    2. JLM

      .Yes, a woman who enabled and supported her husband’s vile behavior and who has not even a passing connection with the truth, that’s the role model young women are looking for.I marvel at the desperation of those who champion the candidacy of a woman whose only qualification is her gender.You can do so much better than that woman. Shame on y’all.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  4. steve ganis

    I am with you on this, if only because I’m a fossil who remembers Women’s Studies majors being inaugurated in college in 1970/71, and “male chauvinist pig” entering the discourse around me at that time, and now…… well, things have changed, as Dylan sang in the year 2000. Yeah, I’ve read the Paglia types who say the choice to dress in pole dancer chic is just an exercise of freedom. Just as rappers who use the n- word (“affectionately”) is also freedom. Both expressions are inimical to the ideals of 1970, long ago and far away…..

    1. Gotham Gal

      Agree that freedom is key but how do we strike that balance so the issues of male empowerment become null and void.

  5. Amy Millman

    Could it also be that we are somehow enabling that masters of the universe ruse?

    1. Gotham Gal

      Perhaps but god I hope not.

  6. Shripriya

    I love this post so much.

  7. AMT Editorial Staff

    This is one of your best posts ever. Your frustration and passion for this topic comes through. You are so right. I get heated reading it…. What is the answer?? And I don’t think the election is about this….Your post is bigger than the election. Way.

    1. Gotham Gal

      It is bigger than the election. It is the state of affairs that has been accelerating over the past decade….particularly in the start-up scene.

      1. Twain Twain

        It’s bigger than the election and bigger than start-ups. It’s systemic bias that self-reinforces because women haven’t been included in the design of systems for centuries — if not millennia.https://uploads.disquscdn.c…Every time we click Yes / No, swipe left / right, classify something as male / female … Brogrammers are making us reinforce those systemic biases.And then the AI spits back out x = homemaker.@pointsnfigures:disqus @SixgillBlog:disqus @MsPseudolus:disqus — Well, you all know the data+AI thing’s been my focus for years over on AVC. The problems go way deeper than some chatbot app like Tay spewing racist nonsense and Google Word2Vec being sexist or Trump’s misogyny.I know advocacy for female technologists is important and I also know it’s vital for people to have the guts to take on Descartes, Bayes and other systems that force us into those biases without us realizing it.To change system practices, we also change wrong-headed philosophies that have been around for hundreds (even thousands) of years.

  8. Bethany Scott Herwegh

    So, so over it.When the whole “grab them by the pussy” thing came out I reflected on the half dozen times I had been groped by a male stranger. I realized I had seen it as something a women just had to deal with. So glad women are speaking out about this and men are recognizing it isn’t ok.

  9. Kirsten Lambertsen

    https://uploads.disquscdn.c…”Isn’t it time we moved past all this bullshit. I look around these days and just think to myself how the fuck did all these men believe that they should all be in charge as masters of the universe?”Lovin’ the heat in today’s post. Gotta love guys who don’t think this election is about women. Ha ha ha ha!

    1. boteman

      The goal of the oppressed is not to become equal, but to become more powerful and then vanquish her former oppressor.Don’t become the problem.

  10. DDS

    You may be “over” male power but the world is not. You ask where the male dancers are and yet the answer must be obvious to you. An elite sporting contest is going to be watched primarily by men and men are visual creatures. Until the ‘problem’ of men finding the female form attractive is ‘solved’ half-time shows, fashion adverts, pole-dancing clubs – any celebration of the female form whether socially desirable or not – will continue because there will be people who want to see it. Sure, we could legislate against these things that some people find so egregious but it won’t change the fundamental nature of what men find attractive in women and how it differs from what women find attractive in men. Differences that have been selected for, for millions of generations which have led to the success of the dimorphic species we see today.Consider we test the following; we have a Knicks game where we ensure a 50/50 split of heterosexual men and women in the audience. At half time we have two shows; one with scantily clad women dancing and one with scantily clad men dancing. We then ask the audience to rate each show. IF women found the same things attractive in men that men find attractive in women, would we expect an equal rating of the two shows? If the answer is yes, then it makes sense only to have a male show because the real audience for Knicks games is largely male. But there is more. Watching sport activates many of the same pathways in the brain as actually playing the sport. Combined with the tribal nature of supporting a team, many men experience an adrenaline rush as a game ebbs and flows to its conclusion as well as an associated increase in testosterone. These are similar reactions that men experience when watching attractive females dancing/courting. Hence dancing is complimentary to the physiological and mental stimuli experienced when watching a game. Can we say women have the same reaction? Would it make sense to have a male dancing show at the half time of a womens soccer match? And where is the male power here? Could we not also say it is an expression of the power that women hold over men? One that is infinitely more powerful and far older than a basketball franchise.How did men come to be “in charge”? Is there a male cabal that I am not aware of that is running the world or is that sexually dimorphic species select for subtle differences between the sexes? The modern world is barely a blink of the eye in comparison to the time it has taken to evolve us. Our culture may have changed beyond imagination in even the last 100 years but the hardware our ideas run on is tens of thousands of years old and millions of years in the making. Millions of years of males trying to impress females and pass on their genes by mating with as many females as possible. Millions of years of females seeking a safe place to raise their young to adolescence with the best possible genetic inheritance. The result natural selection came up with is what we are. Rail against it all you like, it’s hard written in every cell of our bodies.I’m glad you mention Saudi Arabia. I hope the brutally repressive regime of political Wahabism gives perspective to the society you (and I) live in and how, while it may not be perfect, is still leagues ahead of just about everywhere in the world and some places in particular. It is one thing to complain about overt sexualisation of women in public but quite another when done in the context of the REAL struggles of women in most of the rest of the world. Yes we should fight inequality wherever we see it but with limited resources there are some things that we should place higher up the list than others.”how the fuck did all these men believe that they should all be in charge as masters of the universe?” Maybe they didn’t? Maybe they are just individuals who rolled up their sleeves and went about changing the world. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not. Those that did good things changed the world, those that didn’t were resisted. The world we live in is a testimony to those people who shrugged their shoulders at the world they had and set about building a new one. They didn’t lament the state they found it in. They didn’t shake their fist at the moon and ask why life wasn’t fair. They were not victims, they were the agents of their own fates. In our world, the Western world, there is nothing to stop that person being a women and there hasn’t been for some time.But as free as anyone is to change the world they find themselves in, we should NEVER look down upon those people who don’t. Those people who drive our kids to school, spend weeks on an oil platform, sit at a desk and input data, charge $10 a minute for a private webcam, who clean the toilets at a bowling alley etc. etc. Most of all, we should NEVER look down at the woman who sees her belly swell and decides to dedicate her life to the new one she has created.Men don’t get to do that – it’s the ultimate female privilege – so men just have to contend themselves with dedicating their lives to helping as best they can. These are our roles from a genetic perspective. This is what our deep history selected for, long before man first dribbled a basketball.And as for your bartender’s comment. Perhaps he and his wife are not able to go out as often as you are? Perhaps they both have to work every hour given to them just to pay for their dirty, rent-controlled apartment and that once-a-week gesture by him is the best he can do and who knows; maybe she loves him all the more for what little he can offer her. Or maybe she appreciates him for what he tries to do but resents him for not being successful enough to take her out of the laundry room?Or I dunno Gotham Gal, maybe they should just get over it and eat cake?

  11. Donna Brewington White

    We were due a good GG rant. Thanks!

    1. Gotham Gal


  12. Anne Libby

    Yes, yes, yes, yes, yessssss.

  13. JLM

    .I was in Savannah for Halloween in a neighborhood called Ardsley Park. Very nice neighborhood. My Perfect Daughter lives there.She had more than 500 Trick or Treaters as her street is one of the “it” places for great candy.The girls were dressed up as “princesses” and Ariel and other cartoon caricatures.There were a bunch of boys dressed as doctors.Not one HRC costume (though there were a lot of zombies, so maybe one was an HRC zombie) and several Trump costumes.When we play like we live, we will be making progress.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  14. romeobravo

    But women want it both ways, to be treated as total equals to men, but then shrink back when that means cutthroat completion, climbing a career and success ladder that often leaves no place for balance, family or good mental health in life, etc. And we wonder why men don’t live as long on average as women!So ladies, if you say you want everything 50/50, it’s going to come with some very hard knocks and probably early death. You also don’t get to demand men act in any way chivalrous or courteous in any fashion because of your gender. Up for that?

    1. Gotham Gal

      Mutual respect for women regardless of the path they choose as I am sure in the future many men will choose different paths. Just because someone chooses to stay at home for a period of time does not mean she is not equal status to someone earning a paycheck.

      1. romeobravo

        There is much more gendering shifting of roles then even existed 10 years ago, and the change over the past 20 or 30 years is astounding. But demanding 50/50 representation in everything as a sign of equality is un-realistic and probably impossible. I observe this every day with my 4 year old son and 5 year old daughter. They act and behave very differently even as we raise them to be equal to each other. Sometimes biology is biology. This is probably why you have scantily clad entertainers at a male dominated sports event. I’m betting they server beer there too. I hear men like beer. Some women too. However, all is not lost. I believe you live in New York City and there are places that offer male pole dancers if you wish to be entertained there.

  15. akm

    There are many more negative effects of all white men boards, just as there is tremendous lost opportunity. Without diversity at the executive level and each level of management, we lose the ability to make an impact or connect appropriately with customers or see market opportunity.

    1. Gotham Gal

      And it makes you wonder why everyone else doesn’t think exactly like you do

      1. akm

        Thanks for starting this important discussion. It was exactly what was on my mind today.