This is in response to the recent post by Jane Copland, which has recently become a hot topic on Twitter.
Before reading this article, I automatically assumed I would disagree. Especially as people have paraphrased it by saying Jane thinks that “all men in the SEO industry treat women as sex objects”, and even “all men in SEO are rapists”.
I normally disagree with anything vaguely feminist, and this was looking like another extreme rant to ignore. I’ve ignored it for most of today in fact, and had no intention of airing my views on the matter. But a colleague asked my opinion about it… a couple of times. So I read it.
I personally think this post has exploded as a sensation on Twitter because people have summarised within the constraints of 140 characters… And people have gone with a ‘News of the World’ style for that summary.
The post isn’t so much a generalisation of male SEO behaviour, but talks about a few examples bad eggs in the industry, and Jane feels that they perhaps felt their behaviour was acceptable in the context of the SEO conference.
In my experience, having been to a number of SEO conferences, and having worked for 5 years in SEO; I have always been treated with the same respect that my male colleagues receive.
I don’t have any strong feelings against women used as entertainment at conferences; in fact as a marketer, I think it makes good sense – you sell more tickets, you get better photos, it helps promote the next event, etc. A woman is a better visual call to action than a table magician for example.
And men are always going to chat women up, in any industry/context, (and especially where alcohol is involved) – we’re human beings first and foremost.
But I do agree that the extreme incidents that Jane talks about should be tackled, and prevented. Not by banning female entertainment at conferences, but by highlighting the individual bad behaviour, raising awareness and getting people talking about how it’s not acceptable.
I think Jane’s post is a good start…