How Friday Night Lights can Teach us Something about Women in Tech

Are you a fan of “Friday Night Lights?” Great show, in my opinion. Remember the episode called “Blinders?” That was the episode in which Coach Mac McGill, played by Blue Deckert, made some racist remarks to a reporter. His apology is lame and all the African American players march off the field and refuse to play.

None of the white people on the team, in the town, in the media, and nearly none of the white people on the coaching staff even understand what the black team members are upset about. They just don’t get it – can’t see it, can’t hear it, can’t recognize why it was offensive.

That’s the same situation we have right now with women in tech who are complaining about harassment and sexist behavior from men (both online and in person at conferences). Men in tech aren’t doing much of anything to change the situation. Because they just don’t get it – can’t see it, can’t hear it, can’t recognize why it’s offensive.

What if the men who are online or speaking in public at conferences had to endure vile comments about their appearance, their penis size, their sex partners, their body, who they slept with to get their job, and their gender? Would they get it then?

I think they would. I think if men would stop and think about that for a few minutes – how they would feel if the situation was reversed and aimed at them – they would get it. And they would help change it. If you don’t see it, can’t hear it, and can’t recognize it, you can’t change it.

It’s time to change it.

See also: It’s Time to Speak Up about Online Harassment.

Cross-posted in a somewhat expanded and altered form at BlogHer.