My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder/president of Data & Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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partying like a sex offender at Etech

How exciting – Marc Canter is organizing a party at Etech. Of course, in announcing it, he sweetly through up a picture that offends me at my core. “It appears that Jenn is quite a partier herself.” refers to an image where a grinning man is holding on to a bent over woman with a face that’s either in ecstasy or agony. But she’s down on all fours, submissive to a man in a Santa suit. C’mon now. How welcoming is this party to the women???

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25 comments to partying like a sex offender at Etech

  • Marc is being a jerk here. No reason to let this tastelessness make this place be less like home for us.

  • I agree. That’s pretty tasteless Marc.

  • That’s pretty tasteless Marc.

  • too right – let’s keep it civilised….

  • Beavis and Butthead

    On all fours! Whoa, this kicks ass!!!

  • Beavis and Butthead

    On all fours! Whoa, this kicks ass!!!

  • Ben

    What is it with Marc and silly comments

  • As much as I see this crap all the time in guys, I think it’s symptomatic of some larger trend in guy circles…somehow, humiliation and pain are a GOOD thing. Men who are close can insult each other, people “joke” around with insults and teases, and sexually there’s often a mixing of pleasure & pain. If anyone has any cool references explaining/studying this, I’d LOVE to read them. It’s never made any sense to me.

  • This seems oddly reminsicent of a scene from This is Spinal Tap — you know, the one where Bobbi Fleckman (played by Fran Drescher) tries to explain to the band what’s wrong with the concept for the cover for their upcoming album, Smell the Glove.

  • joe

    danah, you’ve got to see the recording of today’s qualitative class… it was great. Marc Canter seems like the type to drive a flashy sports car… to compensate for something… or to attract attention at himself (he’s not otherwise attractive to most people it seems). Damn, I’m talking shit… sorry about that…

  • I guess I am a pig too because I thought the picture was funny, like people horsing around at a bar on X-mas eve. Go check out the New Years Eve party photos at the bar’s website. That’s where the photo came from.

  • oryx

    Graphic text and then a link to boot? Come on, Danah, talk about hypocrisy!

  • Community Member or Writer?

    Don Park published a post today titled “Eye of the Beholder”. It has a photo that had originally been at Marc Canter’s site, associated with a party that Marc was putting together for folks. However, some people took offense at the photo and Marc took …

  • Don, there’s a difference between posting tasteless things that one finds funny in a random blog entry, and including it in a party invitation.

    A party invitation is supposed to include people; by using an image that might offend some people, the invitation discourages them from attending.

  • eTech: back in LA

    I’m back now and trying to climb through the mountains of work that piled up while I was out of…

  • Could be Marc meant to politicize the ad hoc group. What seems weird to me is Christmas in February… though I suppose that image could also be interpreted as a valentine?

  • Phil

    Maybe she lost her contact lens at the Christmas party and is excited to have found it?

  • Since everyone seems more than happy to throw in their two cents I thought I’d share mine as well. I’m the Santa in that picture. The girl in the picture is a very good friend of mine as well as a regular at the bar. We were OBVIOUSLY having a good time. Well…obvious to most people, but after reading a few of your other rants and talking to other wannabe sex offenders who attended the party I can’t be sure ANYTHING would be obvious to you. You seem to be very easily offended and more than ready to fly off the handle at the drop of a hat. If you have a problem with Marc using that picture, fine, give him hell about it. I myself don’t think it was wise to use that as the one and only picture in his post. If I were a more fragile person I might be “offended to my core” that you insinuated that I was a sex offender or that the bar the party was hosted at is somehow a negative invironment for women. I’m not, because I took the time to read a little of what you have to say and develope a more informed opinion about you. I’ll leave it at that. I do wish you would have came to the party though. I’m quite sure you would have had a wonderful time and found the bar to be one of the most open, inviting, friendly atmospheres you’ve ever been in. Maybe if you’re ever in town again you could swing by. Watch out though…we do like to have fun on occasion.

    Keith Phillips

  • reminds me of a time that chuck pallahnik used an unathorized photo of portland santa con for his book ‘Fugitives & Refugees’. ‘satan santa’ in particular was clearly shown. a group of santas protesting unfair labor practices to the santas union crashed his book signing. he gave us $50 to go away.

  • Seriously, don’t we have better things to worry about as women than something like this? It’s obviously not meant to be offensive and I don’t think it is offensive. Come on now.

  • I think a big part of the problem with the use of the photo in question was the context. Nevermind any evaluation of the photo out of context (if that is even possible, since we all bring our own context to everything we experience and evaluate).

    The problem is, as others have pointed out, the association with the invitation to a party. The larger problem is, the association with the invitation to a party at a technology conference.

    Technology conferences have a (at least somewhat deserved) reputation for being unfriendly or even degrading towards women (e.g. Comdex “booth babes” etc.). While I didn’t sense that ETech was like that (a huge percentage of the speakers were well-respected women for example), it still has the general context of a technology conference and the associations (however incorrect they may be) that come with that.

    So however offensive the photo might have been in other contexts, it was much worse in the context of an invitation to a party during a technology conference.

    Marc, the point is not free speech, nor being derided by cults, nor some sort of political-correctness run amuck. Your blog is your space, feel free to express yourself however you like.

    However, ask yourself: What can you do (or avoid doing) in order to make the technology conferences that you attend and participate in, more (rather than less) inviting and friendly towards women to counteract past negative associations?

  • danah boyd on boundaries, hang-ups and professional decorum

    (NOTE: This is a discussion about appropriate boundaries in a professional context, and while not discussed at length, some of the things that are mentioned as inappropriate, some readers may find even the mention offensive. There is nothing explicit o…

  • What’s wrong with being submissive?

    danah didn’t like my post….