Saturday, July 27, 2013

On the conflict of writing this post on a Google platform and what that has to do with sex

I'm not sure how to deal with this article about the "dark side of Startup City."

I have a tech startup job I adore. As someone who grew up on a computer, my job allows me to use skills I've been developing since I was about nine or ten, when I used to log onto Prodigy to play RPGs. I have the Internet to thank for allowing a sort of shy, troubled, wounded kid to socialize in meaningful ways. I know how to handle virtually any CMS and set up stories for the web because I used to Livejournal. I was an early adopter of Twitter. Since the beginning I've been touched by the social aspect of technology ... and now I get to do it for a #living.

I acknowledge I was privileged to have access to a computer since such a young age. I hope one day every kid gets her own classroom laptop.

Living in San Francisco, experiencing the effects of tech on the city, having to dodge the Google buses as I ride my bike to work, I am forced to consider some of the new challenges I think the entire world will have to face. For a hot minute, I tried to find my own place in San Francisco, but they actually wanted $1500 a month for that studio in the Haight. I understand there are some concessions one makes to live in a desirable city and I'm willing to make them. I grew up in a house with a backyard no one tended to and as far as I am concerned, the smaller the space, the less there is to clean, so I embrace apartment dwelling. But, I mean, still! The studio was smaller than my current bedroom. I've decided to stay where I am and find a roommate because ultimately, the thought of never seeing my corner store dude again sort of devastated me. That's community, right?

A few nights ago, the building manager of the $1500 studio saw me out in the Haight. She ran up to tell me that out of everyone she saw at the open house that day, she advocated the most for me, but I was ultimately denied because I didn't meet the income requirements. I'm making more money than I ever have before and I guess I still can't afford my own place. I thought I was doing pretty okay!

Outrageous rent and anonymous space shuttles carting around blissfully unaware techies ... I think these issues are all pretty complex and nuanced, the tips of icebergs set in place by decisions people made years ago. I'm glad these issues are making their precedents in San Francisco because I think it will set the tone for the rest of the country (and I think San Francisco will set an appropriate one).

This speaks to larger scale problem-solving and conflict resolution, which is something I've been trying to be mindful of. How does one listen to all points without bias (The ego?) and devise the best strategy? If you ask me (you didn't), the impossible rent and Google shuttles are sniffling-nose symptoms of patriarchal hierarchical practices (racism, sexism, classism) founded in part by dogmatic (Western?) religion, so my secret -- albeit long-gestating -- little weapon of activism is just being a strong woman who supports the endeavors of other women (of color). But unless people are willing to have that conversation, then I don't really think we can hope to undo anything.

I mean, speaking of patriarchal practices of oppression, I know I'm late to the game, but yikes! That "Blurred Lines" song and accompanying video is uh, unsettling? Which is really too bad because I like sex. I like campy sex. I have a secret wardrobe of revealing clothing and I've taken back the word "slut" more than a few times. I could sit and tell you everything that's gross and creepy and wrong with "Blurred Lines," but if you don't already see that, then you're just another victim of #rapeculture. And anyway, since we're talking about solutions, I was just thinking about how cool it would be if they had featured a woman rapper who threw in an interlude about how yeah, she hella wants Robin Thicke to bone her, and how fun it is to seduce each other because ultimately, she is consenting to having sex with Robin Thicke, or T.I., or Pharrell -- or, fuck it, all of them at once.

I don't want to embed the Thicke video here, so I'm posting this satire instead (I want one of each, please ... the men and the women):

Speaking of sex, I was trying to find a female equivalent of the word "womanizer" since I was ruminating on my current approach to casual dating. It was just a thought exercise, but I was disappointed to realize that while "womanizer" and "cad" have sort of charming connotations (think James Bond), "slut" certainly does not (Paris Hilton came to mind?). So if you're pissed about gentrification and heaving tech bubbles, consider the larger picture: institutionalized systems of oppression starting with the very way we perceive half the population as mere objects without voice.

Or -- whatever -- one can always retreat into nihilism.

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