Hello...It's not an easy subject, but address it we shall, or it runs the risk of falling into the cracks and it would feel wilfully ignorant, as someone in the tech industry with a platform, to not talk about it. I was catching up on the Activision-Blizzard lawsuit, and as many do, feeling that great swell of sadness for those being hurt by such awful toxic work environments, and also a relief that I work for a small startup and not, you know, the creators of World of Warcraft and Overwatch - and lucky enough to have a female CEO, although she can tell you all about her own trials as a woman in the tech space. Enough for a whole blog, probably.
Of course, if I did work for those companies I'd be alright personally, safe within my privileged space as an utterly generic white male with such a lack of unique identifiers that it would surely make me an amazing fit for a crime. Put out an APB for the most vanilla dark-haired white dude you've ever seen. Suspect is blonde, I repeat, blonde! But it's horrible seeing this king of thing being inflicted on others, and in many, many cases, people much better and more talented than me (actually, all cases) and seeing it prevailing strongly in an industry area that you care about. Frankly, this abhorrent behaviour has to stop, and it all starts with us. Everyone with a voice needs to use it.
If you've not seen what I'm referencing, turns out this huge company - that's by and large had a pretty good reputation, especially from the Blizzard side of things, is being sued by the state of California for an utterly wretched male work culture that's like if Google were run by 14-year-old privileged trust fund babies with expensive statuettes of anime girls in their bedrooms. Guys who get angry at women on Twitter over bloody Star Wars or something. The amount of people hurt by this seems to go into the dozens, maybe hundreds. Abuse, harassment, vulgar language, favouritism and an attitude that left women in the company unable to be heard or move up in their jobs at all. The ongoing harassment even led to a suicide on a work outing, which is absolutely heart-wrenching. All because males need to build their "No Girls Allowed" treehouses and act like they're in a Joss Whedon remake of Mad Men.
It's all disturbingly familiar to me personally: a large amount of jobs I've had have been burdened with a boy's own Frat club culture. I've witnessed it, and every time they've tried to ingratiate me into their "beer pong and rape jokes" exclusive cults I've politely declined. And sometimes assembled an opposing cult with better body odour and ice cream.
The bottom line for me is that diversity makes all things better. A room with diverse voices will always make better art and writing and films and business decisions, than a room with 16 Jeff Bezos' with plucked eyebrows and a paddleboard.
But more than anything it's just really cliche. It's been done, it's tired, old and weary. It should be a bygone of a shitty age. They expect it from us generic, dime-a-dozen tech fellows, so let's choose to be better instead.
Cheers, Jamie Jones