UPDATE: PASS, the organization in question, has posted an excellent reply to the concerns I wrote about here. Well done, PASS; I like an org who will answer concerns promptly, and publicly.
I’m gonna say the major problem with any halfway decent anti harassment policy (AHP) is how it gets interpreted. This is currently an issue because the major professional organization I’m in has expanded their AHP: “…now it also covers event attendees at all times and places during the duration of the conference/event, including offsite vendor activities.” Well, hellfire.
I’m personally in very much in favor of making conferences safer, making options more clear for people who are victims of harassment. Sean and I were talking about this topic TODAY at lunch (we’re working on a grassroots program to help the issue).
But you can’t tell me that this scenario is impossible:
- Someone overhears me say “shit”.
- Folks are offended at the word, complaint ensues.
- I’m banned forever.
You can’t tell me that this scenario is impossible, because this actually has happened to me.
What’s worse: I was an attendee at conferences, then a speaker. Now I’m both, plus a sponsor. I pay money (sometimes, quite a lot of money) to set up my booth and tell people about the product I’m selling. I have even more of a vested interest in being allowed to come to conferences, give them my money, and hang out and talk to people.
@MidnightDBA Important subject to have a policy on but also easily exploitable. Double-edged sword.
— Jeff Rush (@jeffrush) April 26, 2016
So yeah. VERY mixed feelings about the updated AHP, especially the expansion.
P.S. I didn’t feel quite right about posting this on my branded blog. I’m not sure if I’m being overly sensitive. But then, I do have reason to be paranoid, no?
Update: Lots of discussion on Twitter about this, which is good. I apparently haven’t stressed a few things enough, so to recap:
- Harassment is a very serious problem.
- I am firmly in favor of an anti-harassment policy.
- I do not object to the newly expanded PASS anti-harassment policy.
- But I’m concerned that there’s a good potential for it to be misused.
- The policy should still exist.
I also do not think that details of incident reports should be made public. I know I for one would find it a lot harder to report the details of, say, a physical attack if I knew that the details of WHERE they touched me, and WHEN and for HOW LONG, and WHAT I SAID, etc etc were all going to be posted and scrutinized. In fact, this suggestion (hinted at in another conversation) is a terrible idea, and couldn’t be put in place for that reason, and for legal issues.
Conference organizers are in a tough position. I want them to do what’s right. I support them putting AHPs in place. I hope that PASS in particular finds a way to address the concerns of average, everyday, non-creeper citizens who like to use naughty language among friends.
Great adventure is, I’m finding, absolutely crucial to a good life. Think of a thing, prepare for the thing, look forward to the thing, do the thing…remember the thing forever. There’s a reason they call it enriching; it makes your life more. Nic and Cami are going to have a great adventure, and they’ll be far the richer in life currency (not, you know, the monetary kind) for having done it.
Great lungs, I also find, are absolutely crucial to a good life. I have mild – very mild – exercise induced asthma, and it has affected my life significantly. Having 25% lung capacity – as Steve currently does – must be spectacularly awful.
Donate, even if it’s a little bit. Watch my friends as they cross the nation on two wheels. Take part in a great adventure, and in great good.
Then go have your own adventure.
Track the adventure: https://nuurdygirl.com/2016/04/25/50cc-prep-t-9-days/
Good article on Nerd Fitness, on getting outside with the kids.
I’ve been thinking about this a good deal lately. In short, we’re doing this by cultivating our own passions, and bringing them along. Sean teaches the boys Kenpo three days a week. I have them out with me two or three days a week, training to hike. (There’s a big summer hiking trip in it for the older one, and smaller ones for both of them, if they do.)
It also helps that we’re not really big on group sports and scheduled classes. I make the girl join something – I don’t care what, so long as it’s extracurricular – every year of high school. So far she’s chosen ROTC, yearbook, and…well I can’t remember the third right now. The boys take Parkour classes occasionally, and Eric asked for magic classes for his birthday. But there’s nothing else (outside of homework) that’s demanding their time.
So. Some of this is luck, and some of it is on purpose. But I’m all for chucking the kids outside.
Here is a post by a woman who is already concerned with the little ways that her daughter – girls in general – get treated differently from the boys. And she uses this wonderful word…this magical, amazing new word:
Here is the common thread to all of the above: Everyone meant well. Everyone thought that everything was harmless, or a joke, or something that could be explained away. I’m calling it “microbullshit.”
This is exactly why I’ve also started speaking up, and in somewhat the same way. Because I still experience microbullshit. Because my kids are around it all the time.
- People ask if I’m “keeping Sean out of trouble”. I say it’s not my job. It’s not, by the way, because he’s a grown ass man, and I am a grown ass woman, and therefore we responsible adults keep ourselves out of trouble.
- When people ask a question or make a comment that intimates I’m not strong enough, or that a male in the vicinity should do a task, I say why? Doing work makes me stronger. Why should it always be his job?
- I always yell at commercials featuring cleaning products – most often, paper towels (“Oops we children and husband made messes / it’s okay I the mother will clean it up!”) – and most recently, Dyson (“I am a male and I am too dumb to pick a decent cleaning product / I am a female and I have shown my smartness and competence by purchasing and using the featured product”!)
It’s microbullshit. But it’s still bullshit, and I’m not swallowing that.
Today I parked the car and walked up to the kids’ elementary school, to pick up my two youngest. There are usually a couple-few dozen people waiting around the exits to pick up their kids before the bell rings, and today was no exception.
RING goes the bell, and kids and teachers start to file out of the doors, waiting in packs or finding parents and heading out. I feel a little tickle against my left buttcheek.
Now, let’s stop right there. Post-bell-ring is always a mild madhouse, and the kids are none too careful about bumping and brushing up against you as they bulldoze toward their designated adult. But. (1) I’m long in the habit of checking my pockets any time someone brushes up against me. Maybe it’s growing up in a bad neighborhood, maybe it’s world travel. Who knows. (2) This was different. This was little fingertips dancing quickly across and away.
Unpause. I watch the little girl who had brushed past behind me walk eight feet away, and slip something very covertly into the hand of a woman – obviously standing and waiting for her kids – standing with arms folded, leaning up against a pillar. The little girl looks directly at me and moves away. The woman looks directly at me and looks away. I keep watching, through my sunglasses and under my hat. After about a minute, the woman unfolds her arms, and from that hand tucks away a folded set of bills into her purse.
What. The. Frak.
She looks at me again, and begins to walk away across the parking lot, surrounded by a group of kids and parents. I can’t actually tell if the little girl is with her; I’ve been watching the adult too hard.
I follow, catch up with her.
“I saw what you did. I saw what she did, and I’m telling you: don’t do it again.”
She is adamant, puzzled. “What are you talking about?”
“You know exactly what I’m talking about. I saw her, I saw you. Do not do this again, or I’ll get the authorities involved.”
She denies again. I say, “I’m not going to make a deal out of this right now. But I’m telling you, stop.” I walk away.
A crossing guard asks what’s up, and I tell her. She is flabbergasted. She does not know who the woman is. With so many parents around, that’s no surprise.
Freeze frame again. We humans have a bad habit: we like to reverse-engineer things we’ve seen, either to fit the facts we want to be true, or to unfit facts we don’t want to be true. I don’t want there to be a 9 year old girl at my son’s school who is being taught to steal. I don’t want there to be a woman that is so clearly serving her child so ill. I would far rather be wrong, so I start to think, “was I even carrying any money? Maybe I’m wrong, maybe she’s just handing her change from school lunch or something. Maybe…”
Nope. I’m not going to do that. I know exactly what I felt. I know those definite looks I got. I saw the money. I saw it all.
Unfreeze. I could have made a bigger deal. I could have demanded the money back. I could have let it go without saying anything. But I think I did exactly right, exactly what I – with the benefit of hindsight – wanted to do. A bigger deal would have caused a scene and led nowhere. Demanding the money, or worse, grabbing the woman, would have started a fistfight in the middle of a bunch of children. And I can’t even identify the denomination(s) of money I had in my back pocket. A $5? Two $1s and a $10? No earthly idea.
But I remember well enough what the woman looks like, I think. And I was wearing a freaking fedora and sunglasses, if you can but dig it. Maybe another day, I’ll be wearing a light pair of jeans and reading glasses, with my hair tucked into a ballcap. Maybe there’ll be a $5 pinned to the inside of my back pocket, just sticking out where you can see it…
I’ve been getting shipments of clothing every month or two for the last year or so, and I can say definitively: I still really love Stitch Fix.
It’s a service that styles you specifically, sends 5 pieces to you at set intervals (I chose every other month), and you get to pick and choose what to keep. If you keep nothing, you’re just out the $20 styling fee. (You do have to send back the unwanted stuff pretty promptly, so if you sign up, make a habit of doing it right away.)
If I sound like a commercial, it’s because I feel genuinely how commercials WANT you to feel: excited, satisfied, pleased. I first heard about Trunk Club, and got really excited. People will shop for me? And send me things!? YAY! Yeah, Trunk Club was only for men at the time. Pbbbtht. So when I later heard about Stitch Fix I got excited all over again.
Things to know:
- Shipping is free.
- You set the frequency of shipments. I’m at every other month right now.
- The clothes are not what I would call cheap. But (1) you can customize that too, and (2) for me, I’ve gotten to the point in life where I’d rather have a few good articles of clothes than 50 $5 t-shirts.
- It takes time to refine your profile, and for your stylist(s) to get to know you. Your shipments may disappoint at first, but refine and stick with it.
- You get a pretty big discount if you keep all five items in a shipment, but I have yet to like all five.
- I think they do a LOT of things right: all of the above, plus guiding you through choosing general style preferences, asking them to eliminate things you don’t want (like shoes) or colors/fabrics/patterns you don’t like (animal prints, ugh), and so on.
Here are a few of the things I’ve kept recently:
The shirt is comfy and adorable, the blazer is SUPER comfortable, and the wrap dress is cute enough that my daughter and I have agreed to share it. Looking forward to my next shipment in March!
Here’s to the nights we all but forget about once they’re past a certain age: the 1am coughing, barfing, crying, inconsolable kids that really feels the injustice of getting sick on vacation.
Here’s to webmd, for confirming we’re doing everything right.
Here’s to the place across the street that has NyQuil and vapo rub.
(No toast for the urgent care clinic that closes at 7pm and opens at 9am.)
Here’s to the other two kids who manage to sleep through the fiasco, even in the same friggin hotel room.
Here’s to the sick kid, finally installed on pillows in a dry bathtub, asleep at last.
And here’s to me, dammit. Sometimes I’m a hero, a puke-and-snot-spattered saint.