By now, you’ve all heard about the unpleasantry between Monica Byrne and Bora Zivkovic. Bora screwed up. He let his personal desires interfere with his professional obligations and he wrecked what could have been a productive interaction.
I’m happy that he has come forward and openly expressed contrition. We all screw up — what’s important is that we recognize it and try to better ourselves.
Janet Stemwedel has an excellent response in which she takes a broader view.
We should hold each other to high standards and then get serious about helping each other reach those standards. We should keep tinkering with our culture to making being better to each other (and to ourselves) easier, not harder.
Being good can be hard, which is one of the reasons we need friends.
I stand with others who have been harassed. And I hope, as a loving and honest friend with high expectations, I can help bring about a world with fewer harassers in it.
Meanwhile, we men (because it’s mostly us who have the power tilted in our favor) should just assume that every woman has laid out Kathleen Raven’s set of rules. Make those your base assumptions in every professional interaction.
Just as an exercise, when you read those rules, try imagining applying them to interactions between two professional men. That they would virtually never have to be stated tells you quite a bit about the differences in how women are treated.
Also, if you plan to protest that it’s unfair to expect men to behave this way, or that it’ll interfere with your love life, or that some women might like being treated specially in the office, please go read Chris Clarke’s metaphor. If you don’t get it, and don’t understand what he’s talking about, you’re not smart enough to converse here yet, and you should just read quietly until it sinks in.
First, let me apologize for the use of the word “unpleasantry” above — I was going for what I thought was obvious understatement, and it wasn’t read that way. I think this is a terrible, awful, miserable thing that Bora has done, and I sincerely hope he can do better.
Other news: Bora has resigned from the ScienceOnline board.