CES: The misogyny I was expecting, and some I wasn’t.

So about this whole being a woman at CES thing.

the ferrari booth babe

Me failing my audition as a booth babe for Ferrari.

I had a great time in Vegas. It was productive, it was fun, I ate way too much wagyu beef at Nobu; I watched the scariest people in Nevada dance to the cover band playing Jane’s Addiction at the Mandalay Bay (Jason Avant has the photo evidence); I was referred to as a “twenty-something” (whoo-hoo!);  I spoke on a panel with some amazing women; I learned a ton about new technologies and products; and I won back all my money at some Wheel of Fortune Slot at the Venetian with social-media-forces-to-be-reckoned-with, Kristen Chase and Laura Mayes.

(PS if you ever want to win like millions of dollars in roulette, just put your chips wherever Laura puts her chips. You’re welcome.)

This being my first CES, I had heard a lot about booth babes and misogyny and random unsavory watch-outs for the wimmins in attendance.

booth babes at ces

Turns out the booth babes weren’t my biggest issue. Yes they were there; some who forgot to wear clothes completely that morning (oopsie!) some simply wearing belts for pants, like the ladies above. Although one did say she liked my tights so I give her a pass.

Mom101’s Wardrobe: Stripper-approved!

So yes, some companies thought the best way to get attention was to pay strippers to act like strippers outside of their normal gig at the strip clubs. I sympathize mostly for female tech writers for pubs like CNET and Mashable who have to cover those brands either way. As for me, I’m lucky that as my own publisher, I can simply choose to never cover those brands ever. So there’s that.

My bigger issue was how we were treated on a few rare but noteworthy occasions.

Now let me be clear: 99.9% of the people we met at CES were awesome. Beyond awesome. Big companies you’ve heard of and little ones you haven’t–they all took the time to thoughtfully demonstrate their products, answer questions, ask about our site, trade cards, shake our hands firmly, look us in the eyes. You’ll be hearing about them all on Cool Mom Tech over the coming weeks.

Really, it was like any other trade show in any other industry that I’ve been going to for seven years now.

And then…

Well. Then.

One of the very first booths we stopped at Tuesday morning was a company which makes mobile charging cases that they only wish were a fraction as good as the Mophie. I had been sent a press sample for review consideration recently and couldn’t get the damn thing off my phone–nor could Nate. So I looked forward to talking to the them about what we might be doing wrong or whether we had an odd faulty case.

“You must be afraid of breaking your nails,” old grey-hair eats-a-lot-of-bacon guy sneered at me.

These being my very beautiful nails right now.

broken nails

Nate’s are worse, just for the record.

I thought Kristen was going to throttle him. (And she could have. She’s 5’11” without heels and eats way less bacon.)

Then finally, one of the gentlemen in the booth was kind enough to take out his phone and with a big sigh started to demonstrate to me…that he was incapable of taking the case off his phone as well.


He passed it to a second guy who also couldn’t open it, then onto a third guy, who asked me whether I was following the instructions, and putting my finger here, in this groove to pry it open.

“Yes,” I said. “Just like the directions.”

“Oh, well, see you need to do it this other way. It takes some practice.”

“So basically my problem is that I was following the directions on the box.”


Old eats-a-lot-of-bacon jumped back in with the genius retort, “Hey, ladies! Why would you even want to take off the case anyway?”

(I admit in fairness I may have had some extra baggage with him because he reminded me of Karl Rove.)

“Well,” I said, “I’m a technology editor and I often have to try other cases and docks on my phone besides yours.”


Next, I asked him some perfectly valid manufacturing questions, like why their cases were built without raised lips which tend to protect the screen from falls. He practically scolded me for my ignorance, “well geez! A case is meant to protect the SIDE OF THE PHONE, not the glass. THE SIDE OF THE PHONE, RIGHT HERE! [bang bang bang against the table] I mean, if you throw your phone face down onto a…a…A POINTED ROCK, well of course the case will break!”

So there you have it.

Do not ever throw your phone face down onto a pointed rock, ladies.

Or if you do, make sure you’ve got an Otterbox.

I took lots of notes to be sure to share that excellent advice with all you stupid women who might be thinking of throwing your phones onto pointed rocks. The product, however, I will not be sharing with you.

I’m sure you understand.

iphoneUh, which side goes against your ear again?

Later that day, Kristen and I had another interesting conversation with a company trying to convince us to write about their WORLD CHANGING SERVICE THAT THE WORLD HAS BEEN WAITING FOR: the ability to watch YouTube videos together with another person over the web.

“Who is this for?” Kristen asked thoughtfully.

“70 MILLION people, ” the guy spit out, as if he were really saying, “70 MILLION people, dumbass.”

“I know how many people use YouTube,” Kristen said sharply. “But who would use this? Who is your audience? Teens?”

While the first guy started babbling about Gangnam Style (because if there’s one video 70 million people really need to keep watching over and over–with friends–it’s that) another jumped in with an idea.

“Say the husband is away on a business trip. Mom is home with the kids, right? He misses the ballet recital. You can upload it to YouTube for him and watch it together.”

“You mean, if say…Mom is away on a business trip? Maybe at the CES Show at Las Vegas, while Dad is home with the kids?”

At which point I realized that I had headed out of the house that morning, forgetting to take off my other six heads.

Kristen dumped their business card on the next empty cocktail tray right in a pool of spilled gin and tonic.

Walking around the day of my panel–a panel called “Don’t Call Them Mommies,” which we somewhat facetiously named in response to the name of the “Mommytech” track that it was on–I realized something simply by looking around:

CES Keynote speakers 2013

At least they’re not all white?

Dudes. Lots of them. So I checked the website to see the list of all the keynote speakers throughout the conference.

Screen Shot 2013-01-11 at 10.57.07 AM Screen Shot 2013-01-11 at 10.57.18 AM Screen Shot 2013-01-11 at 10.57.28 AM Screen Shot 2013-01-11 at 10.57.39 AM

All super talented, qualified, amazing people in tech. Even, whoa! Will.i.am!

But…was Sandy Carter not available? Sheryl Sandberg? Marissa Mayer? Carolyn Everson? Jane Moran? Susie Wee? Cher Wang? Judy Estrin? Maxine Fassberg? Virginia Rometty? Susan Wojcicki? Ursula Burns? Theresia Gouw Ranzetta? Any of the super talented, qualified amazing people in tech who don’t have penises? Hm.

No wonder the wimmins walking the floor may seem like some lesser life form not worthy of serious conversation to some of the menfolk behind the booths. Or at least those of us walking the floor who weren’t even naked or serving drinks or serving drinks naked.

Tech marketers and conference track programmers, I have some really simple advice for you: It’s time to move on from 1954. If not for feminism or for social good, you need to do it for your own business.

According to research from the very organization putting on the show, women spend more on tech than men. They’re involved in 89% of the consumer electronic purchase decisions. They own smartphones and digital cameras and laptops and tablets. They buy apps like crazy. And you know? They’re writing about technology too.

I can guarantee that if Lindsey Turrentine or Molly Wood or Xeni Jardin or Jolie O’Dell decide your product is a great one, you will sell a crapload of them. Enough even to pay for lap dances for the whole sales team.

mommytech at CES 2014?

On Wednesday I spoke on a panel with accomplished entrepreneurs Danielle Wiley, Kimberly Blaine, Rebecca Levey (who also wrote this great post about all-male panels) and Lori Schwartz about brands and successful online businesses run by mothers. In it, we all had a good little chat for oh, the sixth year in a row, about why we don’t want to be called mommybloggers. (Thanks Lori for asking the question.)

Just before the session ended, I suggested to the audience that maybe by next year, Mommytech would be called ParentTech which is more inclusive and less condescending. There was a rousing round of applause. Mostly from men. And I didn’t even have to say it wearing pasties.

It won’t be changed, of course. But I feel good that I said it.

parent tech at CES 2014?


I wonder what will be changed at CES though.

Oh, here’s an easy one to start with: If a tech publisher tells you she has four children, the correct response is pretty much anything other than, “Wow. You must have a lot of sex.”


133 thoughts on “CES: The misogyny I was expecting, and some I wasn’t.”

  1. Egads, you know it’s out there. You even see it up close and personal sometimes, but for the love of Peter, Paul and Mary who the hell ARE these people?!

  2. Wow, just wow. I experienced much of the same thing. Got treated so disrespectfully by an attendee who works for a company that I love. Because I was with a dear friend who I hadn’t seen in ages, I was automatically called a lesbian. Which doesn’t matter but something changes at a conference where most attendees are male and a large percentage of women have their asses hanging out. Gross… definitely soured things for my CES experience. Loved your post!

  3. Best write-up ever. I was going to write more but then you said that thing about pasties and I laughed and forgot what I was going to say.

  4. That idiot. Doesn’t he know we don’t even purposely keep pointy rocks around anymore because of the whole washing of the garments in the sinks instead of streams now? Sheesh.

    I am proud of you (all of you) for standing your ground and showing how decidedly essential women are in tech. They’ll get it. Eventually. (Or maybe we should beat THEM with the pointy rocks.)

  5. I hope the change next year is that I can come an be another 5’10” wall of woman unwilling to take more guff for not having a penis.

    The other day everyone in the office was scrambling to replace a video that was lost (by a man) as our deadline approached. 10 minutes before heading off to handle the photography and social media for an event I managed to figure out how to snag the videos. I did it on the internet w/o being male. It was epic.

  6. I really hope I’m there when the inevitable dumbass asks you why you’re on a panel at “Dad” 2.0.

  7. Ok, now I feel like a jerk, you need height to defend against stupidity as much as you need a schlong to work an iPhone.

    Tall apologies.

  8. Right-on as always, Liz. Hopefully there will be more women next year, though I know women in tech have been saying this every year for a decade (or three?).

    That last one was a zinger.What response was given once you picked up your jaw off the floor? If this comment was made to Kristen, I’m thinking it would have been cool for her to whip out a copy of Mominatrix to demonstrate that a tech publisher can also be a sex columnist and a mom.

  9. You know, mostly working in tech as a woman is a great experience. I love what I do, and I am usually respected. I would tell my daughters to go into software and other tech related fields without a second thought.

    But sometimes it sucks, and you ran into some of the reasons it sucks. I am frequently mistaken for the admin to the person who holds my job, for instance. There was one particularly egregious instance of that where at the end I at least had the pleasure of watching a sales guy realize that there was no way in hell I’d be buying his software for my company because I did, indeed, have the authority to make that decision, and no I did not “just need to go get my boss” for him.

    Just once, I’d like to meet someone in a work-related context and have that person overestimate my technical skills rather than underestimate them.

    And don’t even get me started on some of the obnoxious things that have happened to me at conferences. Having a guy I’d just met follow me to the bathroom when I tried to excuse myself and then wait for me outside the door, for instance. I guess I should be glad he didn’t just follow me in?

  10. Let’s see. How many times have I written the “don’t call me a mommy blogger post,” as well? *deep sigh*

    No need to tell you how often I have these same experiences as political conferences.

  11. As much I hate that condescending tone that “techie” men use when talking to women, I’m always thinking that those will slowly die-out, all by themselves. But on flip side I’m grateful that in big telcos here in Canada, in IT department, women ARE roughly 50% of workforce. We just won’t acknowledge that anybody wearing business card of tech company is worthy enough to judge us. Resistance by the way of ignorance. And as taught by Borg (of Star Trek fame), resistance is futile: we are coming and claiming out world.
    But I will still join you and Kristen in “throttling”, call me any time of day. I have nails of steel to boot!

  12. I am finding that while the tech companies are getting more progressive, the sales people they hire to market their products are dinosaurs. SALES and men in sales NEED to join the 21st century…..the old boys club no longer is enough and is probably jeopardizing their commissions.

  13. I wasn’t even there, and I’m filled with a special kind of rage. You, my dear, are far more polite and diplomatic than I would have been. 😉

  14. Crazy Estrogenless Shitshow.

    Honestly, do people not think with their brains before speaking or, say, lining up keynotes? Was at least a stripper not available to talk?

    I totally understand why you don’t want to name the case company so as not to promote it … but I want to know the name so I never, ever buy from it. Not only do the reps sound like total sexist toolkits, but the case sounds like the suck. Same goes for the 1950s youtube sharing device. No thanks.

  15. I think Julia Roberts as the reformed prostitute in Pretty Woman said it best. “Big mistake. Big. HUGE!” Which is sweet, beautiful irony.

  16. I really wish you would reconsider linking, so one of my tech-majoring daughters can fire their asses.

      1. I told my husband about it and we were talking… It is time to name and shame these companies!!! I know you don’t want to give press to bad companies but it seems to be the most effective method of change!

        1. Public shaming is not going to make an asshole less of an asshole. But I can tell the PR firm why I will never cover their client, and if they’re smart, they’ll never let that guy near a trade show booth again.

  17. You are so level headed about this. I think I would have run out of there screaming. What is it with some men? They have no idea they are making it so much harder for themselves. Times have changed, get with it!

  18. I actually dropped my phone on a pointy rock once. That guy’s case wouldn’t have helped me, sounds like. I wish I knew who they were.

  19. Ugh. My career is female dominated so I tend to forget just how male centric the rest of the business world still is. I’m glad you said it too. Maybe it will change. Someday.

  20. I’m glad that most of the conference went well, but the things you’re talking about are just ridiculous. I really think you were too nice and I think as long as there are no real consequences for this kind of behavior it will continue. I think consequences begin when real names are given. Of course, I do think you’ve given enough info so everyone at Asshat McBacon-eater’s company knows how he treated you. Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

    That said, there are some other things we could do. The statistical nugget you share about women being the real consumer here is so important. So if these guys think sex sells, maybe they should think more about the customer’s perspective.

    Maybe we should be starting a petition demanding one unit of “booth beefcake” for every “booth babe” at CES. Just to highlight the ridiculousness of it all.

    I don’t know – just a thought.

    1. I can mention it to his PR agency so they can work on it. That seems like the best recourse.

      At least Lifeproof had one cute guy dressed like a fireman to demonstrate the product use. Heh.

    2. No, no, no 🙂 When Semicon West decided on no more booth babes, the next year some company decided to have an oiled up man wearing tiny shorts with a slogan about “our muscle” – shudder. Not sure it would have helped if he’d been better looking, but I’d much rather see a guy in a nice suit or a nerd in khakis and company polo rather than a greased up naked man at a tech conference.

      I work in Solar now, where the population is younger with a lot more women, probably because the biggest shows are now in China. Europe can be worse than US when it comes to sexism. The Chinese companies have soccer players and race car drivers at their booths.

  21. Working in IT for so long, I had plenty of dudes push me around (or try to), especially as a young officer at the Pentagon. And the misogynistic comments, about appearance and sex and so forth. Oof. On the flip side, I knew so many men who respected my knowledge and expertise, from older officers to young client services and network techs.

    The good news, based on my observations, is that as the years go on, the cool smart guys outnumber the jerks by more and more. We’re making progress.

  22. I feel that the audience who really cannot fathom women in tech is getting older and out of the business. The newer males tend to be incapable of talking to women, much less insulting them. But when every single panel is made up of males, it won’t get any better for women in the industry. And I am surprised you didn’t mention AVN – because what could be better than having your convention next to the porn industry’s gathering?

    1. Sadly, my most recent jaw-dropping run in with sexism at work was with a guy who is roughly 10 years my junior (I’m 40). The “let the dinosaurs die out” approach isn’t really working, because they are producing a new generation of dinosaurs. We have to challenge them on it. I don’t want my daughters to be dealing with the same crap I have to deal with. I am sure it won’t be perfect for them, but I want it to be better.

  23. Your post had me rolling with laughter and groaning about how predictable some of the situations you found were.

    I am personally looking forward to a day when we don’t have to have sessions about ‘women in technology’ or focus on ‘women rockstars’ or ‘moms online/bloggers/whatever.’

  24. I love how you wimmins stuck it to ’em. I’d still be thinking of comebacks and muttering to no one in particular.

  25. It has been many years since I went to a CES, but from your description, it hasn’t changed much. I remember it along with the Houseware’s Show as being horribly sexist. Not the big companies – they don’t dare – but the smaller companies feel that booth babes are the only way they can get attention – their products alone are simply not unique or good enough. My guess is that it will never change. There will always be guys who build themselves up by insulting women. Sad part is that they don’t even know they are doing it – they think they are being cute or funny. Ich.

  26. This is not a defense of the misogyny (I don’t even know if I am using that word the right way) butmore of an explanation. For years the CES show was held at the same time as the Adult Entertainment Expo, bith in Vegas. The CES show depeneded a bit on getting some overflow from that particular show. In an effrot to draw the men from the AEE to CES booths was to have the models at the booths. This is one of the ways they whole “booth girl” thing got out of hand at CES.

    Also many tech companies have their roots in Asia. Some of the Asian cultures are very male driven. The CES show is also about these various companines mingling to do business with each other as it is about showing their wares.

    Again not a defense of the way you were treated (which was wrong) but just some background.

    1. Sorry, don’t buy it. I work in advertising. 40 years ago our industry did a lot of terribly sexist and racist stuff as well. It doesn’t excuse people continuing to do it today. You can’t run “ancient Chinese secret” laundry ads in 2013 and say “what’s wrong? It’s in our DNA!”

      If marketers don’t know by now who their consumers are, who attends their trade events, and what may be alienating to either of them, then they shouldn’t be marketers.

      1. What I see in China and Taiwan, both the shows and the sales people (not so much engineers), is the women dress more provocatively than american counterparts (lots of hotpants with tights, super high heels), but the seriously scantily clad booth babes are not there (that could be because I attend solar and semiconductor shows, not gaming or electronics). The women and men are treated the same and they hire more women in technical positions than most other countries (heard this was actually due to communism)

        1. I love the last line in that article: How oddly liberating it must be for those males — and females — who attend such events to be given the chance to concentrate on the gadgets and the games, rather than the decolletages and the dames.

  27. After spending many working years with all male engineers and now working with the auto industry this doesn’t surprise me. I can’t even count how many times car guys only talk to me about cup holders, car seats and cargo space when it comes to their vehicles. When I inform them the technology on their car is too basic or behind the times or I know the tire size just by sight they are left open-mouthed. Don’t even get me started with how little I care about cup holders or purse holders in a car.

  28. If you think the misogyny is fun in the tech sector, come to one of my defense industry conferences. It’s a joy knowing that my nearly 20 years of experience and dozens of awards are worthless because my boobs are the the only thing worth talking to in my company’s booth.

    Change is far too slow.

  29. The more that I’ve thought about your post today, Liz, the angrier I’ve gotten. It’s not just CES, it’s SXSW and elsewhere. It’s how brands look at “mom bloggers,” too. All of it. The continued minimization. I don’t get it. What are they thinking??

    1. It’s not so much “what are they thinking” as “what are they living in, t that they think it’s not only OK, but actually correct to minimize women and their roles in society. Honestly, many of these guys wouldn’t know why on earth we’re all so up in arms about these conversations – but if they looked at the actual interaction and asked themselves if they would have ever treated a man the same way, what would the answer be?

  30. How incredibly ironic that in an industry that is progressive and you would hope knows who the real decision makers are at the point of purchase there is such an archaic view of women in real life. I’ve always wished I’d make this meeting a priority ~ clearly the industry has some work to do to make it truly worth while beyond a sneak peek at what’s new.

  31. I’ve worked in IT for more than 10 years (oh holy shit I’ve just realized its something closer to 15 – WHEN DID I GET OLD?!?) and experience this type of crap just about every day. For every man I work with that respects me and knows me to be intelligent and very good at what I do it seems there are three more who want to smile snidely as if to say, “There, there. Don’t get your pretty little panties in a wad.” Its unbelievably frustrating and wastes so much time!

  32. Excellent post! I’ve heard this over the years and it always makes me hesitant to go but then I read about all the great reasons to go. I think you said everything brilliantly, as usual.

  33. What a fantastic writeup – and no he did NOT say “You must have a lot of sex”!?!? Seriously?

    I once heard Kara Swisher refer to conferences like CES as “sausagefests” and that’s what goes through my mind here. Mind-boggling, the disconnect between what the buyers of tech look like and what the management of the companies selling into that market look like. I write about the online information industry and it’s the same thing – former football players selling to female information professionals with huge organizational budgets. The stories I could tell…

    thanks again for sharing this and here’s to ParentTech 2014!

  34. In 1995, my ex invited me to go to a tech conference with him. He was selling computers in his first real job and I was waiting for grad school to start, basically. We had no idea what to expect. . .we certainly didn’t expect every guy who came to the booth to hit on me. It went from flattering to disturbing very quickly. Sad to see things haven’t changed much.

  35. OMG. This is hilarious and sadly true. I’ve worked in male dominated industries my entire life and hated when they couldn’t give me a proper handshake. During an interview for a job in engineering, I actually SAID something about the wimpy handshake. Yes, I got the job.

    Kudos for standing up and making such a statement. Regardless of whether you speak on the panel next year or not, if it’s scheduled to be called “MommyTech” then I think you should have various-sized self-adhesive signs made that say “ParentTech” and paste them over the top of any mention of mommy!

    But I have to say that for your entire post, I was waiting for you to say that you were waiting for your turn at a booth when someone came up to you and ordered a drink. I guess you must have been wearing too much for them to mistake you.

    1. I was dressed like a creative professional. Weird, right? Plus I’m about 20 years too old (and my boobs 20 years too old) to be mistaken for a Vegas cocktail waitress. That’s both good and bad.

  36. I had the same response to a sustainability conference I was at this year – flipping through the speaker head shots it was all white men, 1-2 women and 1-2 people of any color. But then the content was all developed by white men too, so I’m not sure if they considered diversity in the first place.
    It tends to be common across conference sectors unfortunately.
    Thanks for a great article though!

  37. Mouth? Dropped open.

    Don’t even TELL me someone said that last line. What?

    Great post here. Thank you for sharing.

  38. Hmmm. If someone said that about Kristin, I wonder what he would have said when he found out I have *6* kids?

    The mind boggles. At the ENTIRE scenario.

  39. As a scientist working for a branch of the military (civillian) when I meet someone as ignorant as you described, if I’m in the mood I usually just play into it:
    “Oh really, yes, you are RIGHT, who cares about the glass on the front of the screen breaking, you are so GOOOOOOD”. Then I roll my eyes and walk away.

    If I’m not in the mood I usually just turn around and walk off. Why? Because they don’t care and why should I.

    1. I’ll give you a real answer…

      because maybe there was one guy in that booth who overheard the whole thing, who thought it was wrong, who thought that we were really cool to rise above. And maybe that’s the guy we’ll work with in the future after Bacon Man is long gone. Maybe he’ll even switch jobs to a brand we really love.

      Because I still can’t recommend the stupid iPhone case.

  40. Nice to hear the stereotypes about the show were true. ha! But oh my goodness. The things some people said to you! I just can’t.

    But on a serious note, I think it might be easier for the MommyTech organizers to get sponsors if they changed the name to ParentTech. At least people like me might have an easier time arguing sponsorships on their behalf. Great idea.

  41. I’m still completely stumped as to why anyone over the age of 16 would want to watch a YouTube video with someone else in another room/state/country at the SAME EXACT TIME.

    But hey, I’m just a stupid girl.

    1. Unless it’s Downton Abbey (not currently on YouTube as far as I know) I totally agree. But I really need to watch that one with friends and there are none in my house.

      You know I kid. Except about wanting to share my DA experience in real time.

  42. Yep, that about sums it up. Not much has changed, except that they did at least acknowledge you. Back in the “dark ages”, when there were few females in tech (we’re all now on the north side of 60), we were either treated abusively or as though we didn’t exist. Even though we were the technology buyers, we were treated like secretaries. Booth reps would talk to our team members because they were males, and wouldn’t even acknowledge our existence. A whole lot of those companies have long since met their demise, as well they should have. And there were absolutely NO women speakers whatsoever. It was shocking to finally be asked to speak at COMDEX.

    1. In a way that’s encouraging. As I said, 99% of our interactions were fabulous and I’d go back next year in a flash.

    2. Props to you for gutting through it and blazing a trail for women everywhere. *bows to your awesomeness*

  43. good news: there was no manicure booth after you ruined your nails on the case. that’s progress – right?

    they would probably gasp in the same manner a fella’ just did at hearing that my husband grocery shops.

    glad you are tucked back in brooklyn – R

    1. There was a nail tattoo booth! We wrote about it on Cool Mom Tech. Mostly it was men trying it out.

      1. I bet Henry would love a tattoo of me on his nail!

  44. I agree with your post, my partner has to constantly deal with the same interactions when speaking with developers. I must point out, why would you care if it’s called Parent tech? The name of your blog is Mom-101. Is that not bit of having your cake and eating it too?

    1. Good question.

      My blog is called Mom-101 because it is a personal journal, and when I started it, I had just become a mom. (Also because City Mama was taken, damn Stefania.) I write from a mother’s perspective, the way Laid off Dad or Beta Dad write from a father’s perspective.

      But notice it’s not called Mommy-101? Because…kill me.

      As for “ParentTech,” well, this year a good 50% of the Kid at Play/Mommytech speakers were men. The keynote was David Pogue. It simply makes sense from a business and marketing standpoint to recognize the inclusive nature of the parenting tech space. It’s not a personal journal with the point-of-view of a single person; it’s a conference tech track with a multitude of perspectives.

      But I do like cake.

  45. I worked on a technical support group for a software company pre-kids. I actually had a Basement-Dwelling Bacon-Belly ask to be transferred to a male co-worker – ANY male co-worker.


    These guys are holding on to an era gone by. And whenever a sales/marketing BDBB (Basement-Dwelling Bacon Belly) says, “you might break a nail” you can bet that the entire company is holding on to that era. The culture of the company, where, “you must have a lot of sex” is perfectly acceptable conversation with potential customers, is the root rot. They won’t survive. They can’t. Change or get buried. It might happen slowly, but it will.

  46. I can’t help but notice that you comment on the racial diversity (even though they’re all dudes) of the CES keynote speakers while your panel appears to lack racial diversity entirely.

    1. I didn’t put together my panel. I agree entirely that there should have been racial diversity. There are amazing women of all colors and backgrounds in the blogging space. Also, you can leave a real email and name even if you disagree with me. Just saying.

      1. It is my real name, and I never post my real email in comments due to spam. Just saying.

        1. I’m sorry if other bloggers have spammed you in the past! The email is only known to the publisher. Anyway thanks for your comment.

  47. Found your post from a bunch of shares on G+ .. but honestly, all I can think about is “What’s the name of the lousy case company so that I don’t buy one!?!”

  48. Why am I not hearing about the binders full of women at this show? They must have been lost somewhere in some booth!

  49. You mean, you’re NOT supposed to thrown your phones, face-down at pointed rocks? I’ve been doing it wrong all this time. Next thing, you’re going to tell me not to drop my phone in the toilet.

    I. Am. Disappoint.

  50. The most infuriating moment for me at this CES when an elderly black male journalist at the booth I was visiting raised his finger, pointed at me and put his finger to his lips to shush me. The temptation to respond with my own gesture was enormous… And how about family tech? Lots of this area is relevant to those of us with no intention of having children 😉

  51. Sometimes it feels discouraging and I think things are never going to change. But then I remember how much better my teenage daughters have it than I did at their age, and I remember that we are still slouching slowly toward equality and fairness for all.

    1. I agree, and thank you. I hear stories of people who attended the show 10 years ago and things have definitely changed. Remember, 99% of my experience was fabulous–not the other way around.

  52. Ok women back in your binders. Why should companies have any more idea of who buys their products than I had of who votes in elections?

  53. I, too, work in a male dominated industry. We were discussing strategies the other day and my boss said that when he explains the concept to women he asks them how many pairs of shoes the number equates to. I know my boss for years as a friend but I’m only a recent addition with this company. I looked him square in the eye and asked him in front of his sales managers if he just did “vagina math.” My point hit home. Women can math without shoes was the takeaway. And I have hallway cred now that is righteous.

  54. Try an Ag conference some time, where, if you’re lucky, there will be one panel aimed at women and they will spend the entire thing talking about when said women met “their farmer”. You know, because women couldn’t possibly BE the farmer.

    This is a raw topic for me right now. I’ve had it UP TO HERE lately.

  55. Wow. Just wow. I am so glad you shared this so I can share it with my 14 year old. It is ridiculous that women in tech are still fighting this battle. Women in ANYTHING, really.

  56. How maddening. I’m mad. Especially since you were clearly there as a working professional. These men live in the stone age.

  57. Amazing. If it weren’t for me we would have no technology in the house. I do all the research and make all the purchases and set up the iphone, computers, cable, wireless. Now that I think about it, this applies to pretty much all purchases that are made- appliances, cars, all kid stuff, housewares, etc. My husband does buy all the groceries, though…

  58. Timely . The the employee at the hardware store just asked if I’d prefer he tell my husband how to put up a backsplash, which would make sense if I weren’t te one who would be doing the work.

  59. You think someone, somewhere along the line would have said “Hey! These are all the models WITH penises. We should get some non-penis speaker pictures, for variety.”

  60. Why did you dwell and give notice to the bad 0.1% of the people you met? If the percentage of negative people was less than half, them I consider that a good day

    1. Uh huh. See, this is what I mean by not dismissing it. She’s obviously going to be giving those companies plenty of airtime in other articles. But it’s this attitude of, “Why don’t you just ignore that you’re being treated differently because you’re a woman?” that’s so annoying. You don’t want us to point it out. Why? Because you enjoy it? Because you’re afraid we’ll make too much noise and things will start to change? Because it makes you uncomfortable to see the truth?

      No. She pointed out why these things happened because they need to be brought into the light. It’s not for you to decide whether or not we can talk about misogyny. That’s one conversation you don’t enjoy the privilege of controlling. Sorry.

    2. A better question is why are these men acting like idiots about a woman in the marketplace?
      Calling attention to bad behavior is a good way to work toward eradicating it.

  61. OMG, omg, omg…I love this reportage-ing. How often I HATED going to any trade show or convention (in both finance and entertainment). I’m not a moron but this helps me put into perspective just why I hated it so much. Imagine 99% Mr. Eats Allota Bacons in the room and just about no one who “gets it” in sight for days.

  62. I’m not a mom, but I stopped making YouTube videos after getting sick of the “show us your tits!” comments.

    Pair this with, “You’re a GIRL geek, so you can’t be a real geek like us MEN,” and it’s really about to get old.

    I advise the men taking part in this misogyny to do some soul searching — see why they behave in such a way. I advise the men not taking part in it to understand why it happens, call out your buddies when they do it and don’t dismiss us when we bring it to you attention.

    Thanks for the article. And, hey, there’s hope: a male friend of mine posted this on his Facebook. 🙂

  63. This is just a great post all around. Thanks for writing it and making us angry but ultimately better informed about this type of bullshit. Sigh.

  64. Sorry about the way you were treated. Some guys cannot get out of high school. I have a friend who treas female the same way but it is even worse when he is with a group of guys. It makes him feel “manly” . But it sounds like you had a great time and things went well, for the most part..

  65. “You mean you want to remove the shoes, too, Ma’am? Why would you ever want to do that?”


  66. Best write-up ever. I was going to write more but then you said that thing about pasties and I laughed and forgot what I was going to say

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