Asus Comment on Twitter Sparks A Controversy; Is There Rampant Sexism in Tech?

Discussion in 'Android Tablet News' started by dgstorm, Jun 5, 2012.

  1. dgstorm

    dgstorm Editor in Chief Staff Member

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    [​IMG]

    Asus is in hot water with the public for a Tweet they made recently regarding one of their new devices, the Transformer AiO. The Twitter comment, which you can see above said, "The rear looks pretty nice. So does the new Transformer AIO." It was in reference to a picture of one of their booth-babes demonstrating the new product at Computex 2012. The Twitter-verse was suddenly on fire with charges of sexism.

    One tweeter, Corinne Marasco, said, "Wow @ASUS, coming right on the heels of that awful NYT article where "Men invented the Internet." OK, I'll take my disposable $$ elsewhere." Another, Alexander Horré, fired off with, "Looks like @asus just committed social media suicide." A third, Leigh Honeywell, said, "@ASUS hey Asus, do you not want women as customers or something? Not cool." From there it snowballed. The comment was quickly taken down, but not before it was captured by the unstoppable permanency of internet captured moments.

    Since then Asus apologized for the matter. They issed the following statement,

    They also Tweeted the following, shown in a pic:

    [​IMG]

    This massive marketing faux pas on the part of Asus seems to bring into stark clarity that the world of technology may be too skewed toward a sexist mentality. In fact, it even makes one wonder what the purpose of the "booth babes" is to begin with... More than likely, they are a "hand-me-down" concept from car & gun shows, which tend to be fairly male-dominated. Does it really need to be there anymore?

    The number of women in the world that enjoy technology is growing constantly. They have every right to be treated with respect as anyone else.

    Also, please make no mistake, I am not jumping on a high and mighty soapbox of self-righteousness. I am calling myself out for this behavior too. I admit that I initially thought the Tweet was funny, but writing this piece has put me in a self-reflective mindset. It's easy to bash on Asus for this mistake, but perhaps the problem with this prevalent sexism in the world of technology can only be fixed by looking in the mirror. Where does any type of prejudice begin, and, more importantly, where does it end?

    To paraphrase Mr. Shakespeare, from his play, Julius Ceasar, "The fault lies not in our stars, but in ourselves."

    Source: Yahoo
     
  2. J515OP

    J515OP Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Ah, get over it world. It was meant to be a humorous comment and humor is subjective. In and of itself the comment is fairly timid and you really have to push for a case of sexism. People can make an issue out of anything if they want to. I could understand some concern if ASUS had made a comment to the effect of "this may be the only time we see a woman using a computer" or some such nonsense as that, but they didn't.

    Would there be any outrage if they had a cowboy standing next to it and said "rugged and the computer is pretty tough too"?

    If we really want to look at ourselves in the mirror how about some accountability for all the followers of celebrities just waiting for train wreck comments; Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Brittney Spears... we promote the trash to the top and then act dignified and offended over something like this?

    Obviously ASUS needs to have tighter controls over their social media policies and access but to pretend this is the worst offense committed on Twitter when we (collectively) can't wait for the next tweet from Donald Trump bashing someone or Kim Kardashian and her self indulgence is hypocritical at best.

    To offer another quote "To err is human; to forgive, divine.” - Alexander Pope
     
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  3. Tom T

    Tom T Senior Member

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    Actually that was VERY well said.
     
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  4. TabletConnect

    TabletConnect Senior Member

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    J515OP, well said. This is an overreaction. I found the comment to be amusing and well it is true. The problem is that anything and everything we say has to be politically correct. We have to be careful of what we say because it will offend somebody or a few people. Whatever we say will offend someone but that is the way it is. You cannot please everyone. Society needs to deal with it. There have been worst.
     
  5. strider_mt2k

    strider_mt2k Member

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    Overreaction to a harmless comment about an attractive tuckus.
     
  6. dgstorm

    dgstorm Editor in Chief Staff Member

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    I think I am going to chime in on this one now that it has had time to percolate a bit. Even though in my original article I got a bit philosophical there at the end, ultimately I can see multiple sides of this issue as being valid. I will elaborate on several different perspectives (covering many sides of this interesting topic/debate) that are mulling around in my head.

    One... I agree with the many folks who posted that the world has become too politically correct. It gets old having to walk one egg shells to be careful what you say, just because someone else is hyper-sensitive. We should all learn how to relax and not take things too seriously.
    Two... As a male, I can see why the original tweeter made the comment. She is attractive, and that was the reason why she was hired. Just because his comment might have the potential to be construed as insensitive, doesn't make it any less true.
    Three... By trying to put myself in the shoes of a woman, I can imagine that it must be tough to live in a world where you are constantly bombarded by the prevailing culture to look attractive, yet you also want to be taken seriously as an intelligent human being. It would be a pain in the arse to pulled in so many different directions.
    Four... It seems silly to blame Asus for the comment of one person. Yes, technically he is a representative of Asus, but he is also a human being, and guess what... people make mistakes. (and it could be argued whether this was a mistake or not.)
    Five... I also must admit that I sometimes wonder why we think we need to continue the cultural norm that "sex sells." Yes, it does. But that doesn't mean we need to use that technique. Lying to people sells too, but that doesn't mean it should be used as a sales technique. In other words, why do we have the "booth babes" at all? (Although again, I must admit that the "monkey" in me certainly likes to look at them.)
    Six... Should a person be indignant about defending someone else, when that person doesn't really want or feel the need for it. In other words... the model wanted to be hired to be gawked at. She wanted the job and the money knowing what the job would entail. Perhaps she even likes to be looked at. Why should all the angry tweeters "come to the rescue" of someone who probably doesn't need rescuing.
    Seven... I come back to the original question in the title of my story... Is there rampant sexism in the tech world? I have read several sources that show women in the IT world find it harder to be taken seriously, and do not make nearly as much money as men. Does that also filter down into the retail world of tech?
    Eight... if we really are willing to get self-reflective and look deep in the mirror, are we missing some perspective in which we are being disrespectful to others? If we can honestly say that we have the best interests of ourselves and others at heart and are comfortable with that, then everything is okay, and this "issue" really was just an overreaction. However, is it possible, even in the tinniest way, that we might be glossing over some larger issue? If not... that's fine with me. ;)
     
  7. ExtremeRyno

    ExtremeRyno Member

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    I didn't find it sexist...My wife didn't either. Then she went back to the kitchen to make breakfast. :::rimshot::: But really, she didn't think it was sexist.

    This just goes to show that hipsters are the new grouchy fundamentalist creating issues that only the other hipsters care about while the entire rest of the world sighs and facepalms. Reminds me of the movie PCU.
     
  8. 18timmy

    18timmy Member

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    haha! lol! people think too much :rolleyes:
     
  9. dgstorm

    dgstorm Editor in Chief Staff Member

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    That is quite true, and I am obviously guilty of that. But, some people think too little as well... ;)
     
  10. Tom T

    Tom T Senior Member

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    I've given this a little thought as well and it seems to me the bigger issue here is how important it is for a corporation to manage its public image. Regardless of the sexism issue, and I have to say that a single event like this is meaningless unless it is reflective of an overall corporate marketing philosophy and I see no indication of that, a vocal "offended" minority can have a chilling effect on a companies bottom line.
    While I believe the old adage "Sex Sells" is probably still true it needs to be implied rather than stated.
     
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  11. idontknow

    idontknow Alternate ATF App Tester

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    I don't feel offended as a woman if an idiot makes a stupid comment...too bad for the company he represents though.We got sooooo many problems in the world right now and that's were twitters kids should turn their attention. Besides, probably most of the condemning comments were made by people who works for Apple or own an iPad.....do you know what I mean?.
    I'm a woman who fought few battles as a woman but I still would buy Asus products....the I'm sure that the company is not going to suffer for some idiot's out of place comment.

    Samsung Galaxy Note
     
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  12. J515OP

    J515OP Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I would normally agree about the impact of an out of place comment by a single employee of a company but social media is an enormous echo chamber, usually for the worse. A single comment can offend less than a dozen people and now have a global impact which can impact a company's bottom line. Here is a great recent example of the social media echo chamber.

    Summary (emphasis added):

    "Press reports, most of them overseas, are all abuzz about Harley-Davidson having built a new factory in Milwaukee that will double the "automaker's" production.

    One problem: the reports are based on a Motorcyclist Magazine story from 1918 that was recently reprinted on the magazine's website as a historical article.

    Publications that picked it up, including Auto Business News, did not read past the headline and failed to notice it was from 94 years ago.

    It's caused confusion, according to Harley-Davidson, which next Wednesday is scheduled to report quarterly earnings." (Press reports all abuzz about 'new' Harley-Davidson factory in Milwaukee - JSOnline)

    Story: Harley news? Sites mistakenly uses 1918 article - JSOnline

    Original Republished Article: Harley-Davidson Adds New Factory To Increase Output - Motorcyclist Magazine
     
  13. idontknow

    idontknow Alternate ATF App Tester

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    I don't believe these kind of twitter things are going to have an impact on Asus or whatever company is on everybody twit....everything is going to be forgotten in a few hours!

    Samsung Galaxy Note
     
  14. OffWorld

    OffWorld Senior Member

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    As a woman I guess I'm supposed to be offended, but I actually thought the tweet was funny. It was clearly intended as a compliment to her nice figure. I think the real factor here is that it was about a woman who was there expressly because she's physically attractive and also why she's there in a very tight dress with bare shoulders. They know if most of the attendees are male that a pretty girl will draw attention to their booth, and maybe they'll notice the product too. It would be an entirely different story if the comment was lewd, sexually suggestive, or insulting to her appearance and especially if the subject of the photo was some random woman attending the event. I find it difficult, though, to extrapolate the tweet as "sexist" when it was about how attractive someone is who is being paid to be ogled.

    As to the question posed of "Is there rampant sexism in Tech?" I'd have to say "yes." Because it's a male-dominated field and unfortunately some men simply do not respect women, especially attractive women. The fact that "booth babes" are still considered acceptable promotion speaks to that, though is arguably an extension of society's objectification of women. In my 15 years in the tech sector I've certainly run into some of this disrespect, but the most annoying thing is how often I have to prove my expertise while a male counterpart's expertise is assumed. And it's not just in the workplace - when I've gone into a computer/electronics store I've had salesmen give me a patronizing attitude or look right past me like I don't exist and automatically start talking to whichever male friend or family is with me. Online spaces focused on tech subjects are often "boys' clubs" and can be openly hostile toward women. This board is one of the few where I've actually stated that I'm female (though not that everyone seems to notice my female avatar or "geeky gadget girl" in my sig). Still, the assumption is that anyone posting about tech subjects is male and it's probably going to take time before the stereotype is dispelled that women can't also be into tech, gadgets, gaming, programming, comics, etc.
     
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  15. 18timmy

    18timmy Member

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    haha! yeah! you're also right. :rolleyes:
     

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