Some backstory: earlier this summer, a startup service called "ManServants" popped up on the web, advertising buff dudes for hire, complete with promotional video of said buff dudes. It was very funny! And perfectly timed, given how abysmal women have been treated in Silicon Valley at the hands of men—turning the tables is always sweet.
Enter TechCrunch's Matt Burns, who finds it "sexist and obscene," and wonders hey, how would women like it if they were the ones being objectified, for once? Burns took an earlier TechCrunch post about ManServants, swapped the genders around, and posted this diarrhea flatbread sandwich of a "parody" post:
A 6'2″, sandy blond lady wearing a tailored suit and tie gently bows to greet and seat me. "Hello, I am Ginger and I will be your woman servant this afternoon," she says. Her gentle, hypnotic voice wraps around me. I suddenly realize I've been seated and proceed to accidentally knock my sunglasses off the table. Ginger quickly picks them up and then takes out a hand fan to cool me off in the hot afternoon sun. "Fetch me some water?" I ask, getting my bearings. "As you wish," Ginger replies with a slight smirk.
Yuck. This isn't a parody of sexism, it's just what regular sexism looks like! Of course, everyone thought this is dumb, because it is dumb. Burns tried to temper blowback with an "editor's note" at the top of the page, which made a bad thing even worse:
Editor's Note: Yesterday, we ran a story about a new startup called ManServants, which facilitates the rental of "hot men" for $125. As most of the commenters note, the service is incredibly sexist and has no place in a society striving for gender equality.
To examine my thoughts towards the service I took the original post and swapped every instance of a gendered noun. "Man" became "woman." "Guy" became "girl." "ManServants" became "WomanServants." Names were changed. And the entire story become obviously sexist and obscene. Why is it okay one way and not the other? Well, it's not. Man or woman, we all have a right to be treated as subjects, not objects.
Here's the difference, Matt: institutional discrimination against women is very real in the industry you cover! That is not the case about men. Or, since you're paying attention to your commenters these days, listen to this one:
This is silly. The reason ManServants is fine but WomanServans isn't is because there hasn't been a systemic oppression of men based on, among other things, their worth in society being defined by their physical attractiveness/service to another gender.
Are you going to write an outrageous piece about how white people can't use the n-word next? This is silly.
Hey, that's a good question. Why can't more Stanford startup alums say the n-word? The world looks to you, TechCrunch.