March 22nd, 2013

There is No Emoji for Martyrdom

So I'm sitting in my hotel room, about 6,000 miles from home. And instead of running through a talk I'm giving at RubyConf Uruguay tomorrow, I'm trying to decide whether I even want to speak at all anymore.

I'm considering my speaking experiences so far. The bullies who demanded I be more "lady-like" on stage, who tweeted at my employers suggesting I'm not fit to represent them because I use the word "fuck." They weren't giving constructive criticism or feedback. They weren't even making bullshit passive aggressive comments. Those people wanted to hurt me.

I've never understood the visceral reaction reserved for women in our industry.

Watching what Adria Richards and the entire community has gone through this past week has been incredibly hard. It's made me reflect on my own experiences, and regret not standing up for myself and others more in the past. Because I felt alone, because I'd "burn bridges," because I was backed into a corner, or because of the economic threat associated with "speaking up" or "going public" with these kinds of experiences.

I've tried my best to point things out that are fundamentally wrong within organizations I'm a part of, and have often been dismissed or given the ultimatum of keeping quiet or losing my job.

I've digested those experiences, have tried my best to move past them, and instead of continuing to lend power to people who thrive on conflict, have decided to focus my energy toward making my own company and this industry a better place for women to be. It makes me really sad to think that I could be martyred for this.

I could really use a hug. But I guess we all could.