Here’s the situation. We’re absolutely falling down as men and professionals. Ladies, feel free to read on and comment, but I’m talking to the guys.
This blog post has been percolating in my mind for quite some time, but a few new stories have brought it to the fore. The most recent was when I heard that, in front of multiple other male MVPs, a female peer was propositioned using language that I wouldn’t condone when speaking to an animal, let alone a peer. And that’s the point, these women are peers. Yes, they happen to be female, but more importantly, they’re our peers.
And you know who I’m most upset with? No, not the individual who acted like a jerk. There’s always a few of those around. No, I’m upset with the MVPs who were present when it occurred and did nothing. Said nothing. Did nothing! Simple question for you lot. Are you men, or are you boys? If you’re men, you don’t let other men talk to your peers that way. Ever. It’s not acceptable. It’s not polite. Most importantly, it’s not professional. If you’re boys, please go home until you’ve decided to grow up.
I get it. We’re all consenting adults (except the boys, who have left) and we all have different levels of tolerance for different types of behavior. I know I’ve personally crossed lines that upset others and I’ve been called out on it (by men, and professionals, acting as such). Sooner or later everyone is going to cross a line somewhere. It happens. What I would expect is that we will stand up, like men, like professionals, and hold that person accountable for their actions. Then that person can adjust their behavior appropriately, issuing apologies as needed. And women aren’t gentle flowers that need protecting. Far from it. However, they are peers. They are our equals (probably, based on behaviors noted, superior to some of you). They should absolutely be treated like it.
I also understand that we’re going to be in places where alcohol may be consumed, and to excess (guilty again). This lowers inhibitions and changes behaviors. Once more, we’re all adults and if you don’t want to be around this behavior, don’t go. But once more, it’s entirely possible to go through your alcohol consumption without turning into a raging jerk. And, if someone turns into a raging jerk, the rest of us have to be ready to intervene when it’s clear it’s necessary. In the case I mention, and in others I’ve heard about, it was necessary.
And yeah, we may go to places intentionally to let our hair down in less than appropriate ways (once more, guilty). Usually these are very clearly marked and announced so you can’t go into them expecting a church social. It won’t be. But, you also can’t go into them acting like a raging jerk.
I was discussing this with others, because of other similar stories that came up, and we decided that the simplest way to explain this is using the Wheaton Law (possibly NSFW), which I had to look up. It’s very similar to the Golden Rule (and yeah, that’s Wikipedia, cope), which I already knew. But I’ve supplied links to both so you can figure it out in case either of these is new to you. I mean come on guys, just because you’re away from your wives and you’re around fun, intelligent, beautiful women (of which we have more than our share in the SQL Server Community) doesn’t mean you start propositioning anything that moves. And if you really must do this, do it with some class and understand that when the lady says no, it ends that line of pursuit.
And don’t think this has gone unnoticed. I’m using the one general scenario because it was pointed out to me that MVPs are evidently not capable of policing themselves. If we don’t do it, it will be done for us and not in ways that any of us are going to appreciate.
I realize this is likely to be an unpopular post. I really don’t care. I’m more than a little ashamed to be associated with people who act that way towards women. Sorry. Don’t like it. Can’t abide it. Something must be said before things have to be done. I actually can’t believe I’ve had to write this down, but I’ve heard too many of these stories to stand quietly by any longer.
Let me reiterate. I’m not saying this because I think women are wilting flowers that need protection. Far from it. I know a few of the ladies from the SQL Family that will remove your family jewels and show you the side of them that you’ve never seen before. It’s not that I think they need protection, no. It’s that I think they shouldn’t have to put up with the jerky behavior. It’s that simple.
Jerks, you’re on notice. There are men, professional men, out there and they’re going to call you out on your behavior. Clean it up now. Guys, don’t let these jerks define us, ever.