Why acknowledging sexism (even inadvertent sexism) is important
over 7 years ago from Emily Campbell, Design Specialist @ InVision, Mentor at OOOHours and DesignLab
First of all, props to Designer News and Maxwell Lind for owning their error and halting sales until they can correct it.
To the commentators over the last 24 hours who engaged in mansplaining, apologetics, and downright insensitive commentary, let me explain why this matters to me, as a woman.
TL;DR? Don't be a jerk. (and also, take the time to read this. it's 3 minutes of your life)
Sexism doesn't have to be intentional to be felt. In fact, I find unintentional sexism harder to deal with. If someone blatantly treats me differently or gives me less options because I am a woman, I can write him off as a dick and move on with my life. Here's why the t-shirts were an issue:
Designer news claims to be a community for designers. At a time when our community has owned the User's Experience, it's telling that the community that claims to represent us did not consider that their user-base is not "unisex", that unisex shirts are unflattering and uncomfortable on many women, and that we might want to reflect our femininity AND our community at the same time while rocking the shirt.
If you have opened Twitter or Designer News or TechCrunch in the last 18 months, you are aware that sexism is a rampant issue in our industry. It affects us. Not all of us, but many of us. It makes us feel like we have a steeper hill to climb to be respected. It inflames our imposters syndrome. And it makes us feel bad. We are your colleagues - be sensitive to that!
Dudes, this isn't about you. Sorry, but unless you are experiencing sexism, you don't get to write it off or mock it.
But it's also not just about me or women. As designers, we are ambassadors to the web, to the future of communication. We are the ones advocating for the individuals on the other side of the screen. We should, at every step, be aiming towards full equality. Gender, racial, cognitive, visual, aural, lingual, religious, cultural, etc. We can't do all these things all the time, but we should be making a conscious effort to make sure our actions go the farthest they can to making the web a safe and equal place for everybody.
And silly as that may sound, that starts with recognizing the different gender needs in t-shirt sizes.
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