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A bare breast on a t-shirt at a conference

(331 Posts)
poopsqueak Fri 18-May-18 21:18:58

I was at a conference yesterday with many speakers.

The audience was of a digital nature.

One speaker came on stage with a t-shirt with a woman with a bare breast on (faded and 'artsy') and I didn't think much of it. He was 35, male and talking about an organisation he had founded. The talk was very interesting.

When the next speaker started the conference organiser came on stage and apologised for the t-shirt of the previous speaker and said he hadn't seen it prior to the speaker going on stage and mentioned a 'Twitter incident'

When the next speaker started half the audience were on their phones seeing what the 'incident' was. I found this very rude to the speaker who was speaking while lots of people were looking at their phones.

Turns out a person had left in the prior speaker posting on Twitter saying that they were 'shaking with anger' at the t-shirt and 'crying in the toilet'. They used the official conference hash so people could see. People began discussing and the person who was upset sent a lot of tweets about it.

I'm really in two minds about this. I don't think the t-shirt was great, but the guy said he was jet lagged and had come straight from the plane so maybe hadn't changed. I feel torn between the sides of a speaker wearing a sexualised t shirt on stage and what I see as a another person who I think has had gross overreaction that has cause upset for the conference runners.

I feel like the guy who ran the conference apologised as soon as he could and did what needed.

To further confuse me, the person who was upset then accosted the guy with the shirt outside and they had words. The person then tweeted that they had felt victimised by the shirt wearers language.

Really I just want some others perspectives on this incident as I am I two minds. I am all for (and talk actions to ensure) the progression of women in tech, but feel the slightly hysterical reaction to a t-shirt mire the message? What do you think?

ZibbidooZibbidooZibbidoo Fri 18-May-18 21:22:18

but the guy said he was jet lagged and had come straight from the plane so maybe hadn't changed

You’re generous. It sounds deliberate.

AssassinatedBeauty Fri 18-May-18 21:22:40

Well I would avoid using "hysterical" for starters. And one woman's (presumably it was a woman?) reaction doesn't mire anything.

Without knowing what the shirt looked like or what the man actually said to the woman it's impossible to say if it was an overreaction or not.

Buggered Fri 18-May-18 21:22:52

You know you’re going to get ripped for ‘hysterical’? With that in mind, I suspect you can work out where this will go! grin

ReluctantCamper Fri 18-May-18 21:24:16

I'd say no-one behaved well here.

wearing a t-shirt with a naked women on it on stage at a work event? what a twit.

being so upset by it that you cry in the toilet? what a twit.

a quiet word afterwards would have been a good starting point for dealing with this.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Fri 18-May-18 21:24:54

Er, what? Didn't this happen a couple of years ago?

UpstartCrow Fri 18-May-18 21:26:06

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Are you thinking of Dr Matt Taylor?

www.theguardian.com/science/2014/nov/14/rosetta-comet-dr-matt-taylor-apology-sexist-shirt

AssassinatedBeauty Fri 18-May-18 21:26:19

That was a NASA scientist on TV about the Rosetta mission.

OlennasWimple Fri 18-May-18 21:27:49

T shirt with bare boobs on it = not appropriate speaker attire. Speaker should have worn something else, organisers should have noticed and got him to change before going on stage

I'm trying really hard to think of circumstances where crying and shaking in the toilet is not a huge overreaction...and failing. And I hate the rush to complain on SM rather than engaging in RL to sort out a problem

LooseyInTheSky Fri 18-May-18 21:32:52

I've not made up my mind on this one. I don't think its appropriate, but then again I wouldn't bat an eyelid at an arty boobs portrait on a wall. I wonder why that is.

LassWiADelicateAir Fri 18-May-18 21:37:39

I'm trying really hard to think of circumstances where crying and shaking in the toilet is not a huge overreaction...and failing. And I hate the rush to complain on SM rather than engaging in RL to sort out a problem

Yes - it's the ridiculousness of being so traumatised that they were shaking with rage and crying in the toilet but still found time to tweet about it.

poopsqueak Fri 18-May-18 21:41:51

I think you are all summarising what I think! I am so confused.

I would expect crying / shaking in the toilet as a reaction to someone being aggressive to you in person or an awful thing happening to you. Not seeing a t-shirt you found offensive.

I think part of my problem is the reaction. I'm not sure if the person was shaking and or crying in the toilet but to tweet about it seemed over the top.

I think a reaction of something along the lines of '*rolls eyes* another conference where a male speaker thinks it's ok to wear an image of a naked woman on their top' and then maybe had a quiet word with the conference workers would suffice. As I say I think the conference handled it well, but it really did detract from the next speaker.

And actually I think it maybe is less helpful to the cause of helping progress women in tech as it was extreme.

I feel very conflicted about he whole thing.

SonicVersusGynaephobia Fri 18-May-18 21:44:42

Yes, the reaction sounds a bit OTT and dramatic.

But what sort of a bellend wears a t-shirt with a naked breast on it to deliver a speech at a conference. That's shocking.

AssassinatedBeauty Fri 18-May-18 21:47:17

This woman seems very immature and oversensitive for whatever reasons that are individual to her. Tweeting about it is an inappropriate response. Some people seem to think that things only happen if they happen on social media these days.

Why would anyone associate this woman's reaction with helping women in tech? It's just one person's unreasonable reaction. She isn't representative of all women.

OlennasWimple Fri 18-May-18 21:47:32

Hang on - I've thought of a situation where that reaction would have been understandable: if the picture on the t-shirt was the person who was upset because basically everyone had just seen their left boob because of a shitty DP / ex-DP

Other than that, I'm stumped

poopsqueak Fri 18-May-18 21:47:35

Yes! It was such a silly t shirt when a third of he audience is female.

Just checking their twitter, the guy has defiantly posted a picture of his shirt (he must think it's ok) and the other person has continued tweeting about this all day and has now wrote a blog post.

This makes me feel very strange as her bio says she's a writer who writes about equality in digital. Is it shit of me to think she might have sent those tweets to get a story out of this?

poopsqueak Fri 18-May-18 21:48:39

I feel that it is mega cynical to think that of her though

AssassinatedBeauty Fri 18-May-18 21:50:13

Any chance of a link to the twitter post so we can see this shirt?!

teaandtoast Fri 18-May-18 21:50:58

Well, possibly the 'overreaction' was the person's real reaction and couldn't be helped.

But I can't believe the speaker didn't know what he was wearing and I think it should be challenged. A culture of boobprint-wearers is not conducive in my mind to 'helping progress women in tech'.

poopsqueak Fri 18-May-18 21:54:09

I don't want to link to the people involved but I have taken a screen grab of the t-shirt.

AssassinatedBeauty Fri 18-May-18 21:56:31

Ok, well that's a weird and not appropriate image to be wearing whilst giving a conference talk.

ThatEscalatedQuickly Fri 18-May-18 22:00:30

It's information in the public domain and wasn't hard to find, so I'm not sure why the need for coyness? Anyone interested just needs to type tshirt/conference/woman into twitter et voila. It's hard to comment without knowing the full story.

Anyway having seen the tweets etc the tshirt was definitely inappropriate and while it may seem an overreaction on the part of the complainer, sexism in tech is a major issue.

ZibbidooZibbidooZibbidoo Fri 18-May-18 22:02:00

Possible upset person has an agenda. Publicity. Direct traffic to their blog/ writing work. Make a name. They look like an idiot.

poopsqueak Fri 18-May-18 22:02:27

I know it wasn't appropriate, but hand on heart I wasn't that bothered.

His message was really positive. He spoke about the work he had done in gangland teen community and i thought it was great.

poopsqueak Fri 18-May-18 22:06:27

Ps I absolutely know sexism in tech is an issue. I have worked in the industry for many years. I just wonder if this is the right way to open doors and lift barriers.

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