Thank You Ellen Pao

Sexism is a Social Disease

I had an “interesting” lesson lately with Twitter haters. I always like to post thought provoking articles on Facebook so I posted a few weeks ago an article titled : “Thank you Ellen Pao for teaching more people about sexism in the workplace.” This topic was on my mind as I learned that a friend and her several colleagues were fired right after coming back from maternity leave.

I didn’t know too much about Ellen Pao nor felt any sense of solidarity with her specifically as evidence showed that she was no saint in her conduct. Nevertheless, I reasoned that her case was putting sexism at work at the top of mind for some people so it was a good time to talk more about this issue and share examples from around the world (which the article was ultimately about).

I then tweeted this article and some stats about the lower salaries of women players in the FIFA World Cup (only 2.3 % of total paid to the men) and I was really shocked that I started getting various responses from men. They were upset with me for “supporting” Ellen Pao, and eager to share all sorts of articles about how horrible of a person she is, what an awful husband she married, how she destroyed Reddit, etc etc. On the women player salaries, I was told to “get over myself”.

When I looked at these guy’s twitter accounts I saw that all they tweeted and retweeted had hate speech against women and attacks on anything they mapped as feminist. It was a deliberate work they did, to find women that tweet about issues and attack them personally.

I, of course, blocked those guys; they have no relevance for my life and I am not going to waste time arguing with someone who has no intention to listen. BUT, their arguments reminded me of other times in my life when I was confronted with blunt sexist comments and was told to keep my “feminist propaganda” to myself when I dared to object.

If  you want to get a better feel for what I mean – check out the #thankYouEllenPao hashtag on twitter.

Lets pause here: I don’t know what your definition of feminism is but mine is that women should have the same rights and opportunities as men. (it doesn’t mean that I hate men, don’t think man are valuable or expect them to get thrown under a bus driven by some hairy and muscular woman)

I am disgusted by this type of aggression but am certainly not surprised. I am happy to say that many young men that I know are just as disgusted by this type of behavior and some of them are actually more actively “feminist” than I.

It was the overwhelming support of the entire scientific community that got Tim Hunt sacked for his derogatory comments about women scientists (claiming that they should be put in separate laboratories because they fall in love with him).

It’s therefore important that we all work together to make sure that our women don’t get discriminated or disrespected by a haters minority, which sometimes can become a majority.

By the way, I found out that one of the things that brought on the great discontent of Reddit users agains Ellen was that she wanted to close forums that promoted hated speech against fat people, women and racial minorities (they claimed she was violating freedom of speech). How ironic.

The Secret Stairways of San Francisco

Secret stairways are a big thing in the hilly San Francisco, so much that there are entire books and websites dedicated to mapping and telling the history of these places.

My first stairway was the Greenwich/Filbert Steps next to the Coit Tower. I wrote about them here. It’s an amazing secret walkway between extremely well-kept community gardens with gorgeous flowers, leafy trees and all sorts of vegetation. They are also known for a colony of green parrots who were brought in some years ago and have multiplied ever since. I was so lucky to see only one parrot. These guys are a pretty sneaky bunch! These stairs are quite difficult to find but you will manage too if you look hard enough behind Coit tower’s parking lot (and on Google Maps). There is a way to get to them from the Embarcadero side, but I think that going from higher to lower points offers the better views.

My next stairway was in Fort Mason. I was exploring the area and then saw a woman and a child coming down a stairway along the hill. I got really curious and climbed it. It took me to the top of a hill and inside a very quaint park. It was full of teenage boys and homeless men so I kind of had to make myself into a getouttathere. The view from the top was kind of worth the risk, anyways.

view from the top, fort mason, San francisco
View from the top of Fort Mason stairway

My third stairway was the Lyon Street Steps in the Pacific Heights neighborhoods. I was just wandering around and being impressed by all the beautiful mansions when I suddenly stumbled across this stairway from a fairy tale, perfectly manicured with a breathtaking view of the Palace of the Fine Arts. I later on found out that the beautiful mansions are actually located on a street nicknamed “Billionaires Row”, home to some very famous rich people like the Getty Family, Founder of Oracle, and Senator Dianne Feinstein. Rich Bastards. They got the best views.

The last stairways I discovered were Vulcan and Jupiter stairs in Castro district. I thought that Castro was all about the sex shops, nightclubs and bars but turned out that there are many quiet and very green sections of this neighborhood. The steps were not as impressive as the ones I saw before, but I had fun looking at all the beautifully designed houses around them.

If you’re looking for other tips on San Fran, you can read my other posts

The Artsy Side of San Francisco

McLoughlin Gallery, San Francisco

A few weeks ago I was feeling artsy and through my loyal friend – Google – I discovered the famous Fraenkel Gallery, about 3 blocks from my apartment in SOMA. The art gallery turned out to be one of many in a 5-story building that reminded me more of my alma mater than a creative space. It had long and narrow abandoned hallways that led to different offices with heavy wooden doors and small planks that named the residents. I found Fraenkel Gallery on the 4th floor. Most of the exhibition featured very large photographs of water bodies with one or two people swimming in them. The most interesting thing about them was the price tag that revolved somewhere around US$40k each. I would have paid maybe 20 bucks to have one of them, but who is asking me?

The artist is called Richard Misrach in case you want to find out more..

Despite the creepy emptiness of the building I decided to explore more floors where I saw some avant-garde gay art from Sausalito, strange music installations and more random junk that was pretending to be art. Of course, every single one of these galleries had a white desk with a giant Apple computer screen on it. I think it’s a pre-requisite for getting an operating license in the art industry.

gay art, san francisco
I think there are phallic insinuations in this piece of art..

Of course, as always with my expeditions, I ended up discovering the incredible McLoughlin Gallery, which had a NYC Soho vibe with an array of interesting art works, which reminded me of Rio’s colorfulness. Despite my anti-social self, I struck a conversation with the owner, Joan, who happened to share the same love for colorful esthetics (I felt super artsy because I could hold a conversation with a pro!!).

I told her about all the beautiful art I got to know in Brazil. She claimed that she knew the world-famous Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado because he wanted to exhibit in her gallery but his style didn’t fit in with her esthetic interests. I am not sure I buy this because right after she said this, she got completely engrossed in googling his photographs and talking to herself about each one. At first it was amusing but then I started to get bored and to invent an excuse in order to leave.

Joan and I parted on friendly terms with her asking me to find her Brazilian artists to present in her gallery. The random things that happen…

If you’re looking for tips on San Fran, you can read my other posts:

Painted Ladies and Bubble Tea Cotton Candy in San Francisco

This weekend I had to tick the last few boxes on my list of San Francisco attractions before I head back to Austin.

My first stop was Alamo Square to see the Painted Ladies (row of Victorian style houses which were featured in the intro on the TV show Full House). My Lyft driver was a very nice guy by the name of Dave. He had so many self-administered tattoos (well, I don’t know if they were self-administered but they kind of looked like it) and some very large scars which made me really convinced that he was an ex-convict. Maybe he was actually a poet or a firefighter, but who knows?

When I finally arrived to the destination I realized that I had already been there at least three times, but I never knew that it was a famous place. I took some pictures anyways.

My next stop was Japantown. I had no idea as to what to see or do there but trusted it to have good food options. My instincts led me towards a pagoda-like structure that turned out to be Japan Center. It was in the middle of a shopping mall with many little stores with very cute Japanese souvenirs and a slew of semi-authentic-looking restaurants. I picked the one that looked the least authentic and was full of white people because I saw that the food was moving in front of them in little boats. It made me feel more comfortable about deciding what to order. The food turned out to be quite good despite the dreadful company. Next to me there was a very loud Brazilian woman with a huge furry purple bag. Her husband was a gringo and he was dressed in a matching purple shirt that made him stick out like a sore thumb in that place. She spent the whole time loudly scolding her teenage daughter about posting photos on Instagram while the guy just sat there in silence. Thankfully, they didn’t stay for a very long time.

After lunch I tried the most ridiculous dessert: bubble tea topped (literally) with cotton candy. It was a great attention grabber but I think I might have to go to the dentist very soon.

On my last stop I discovered yet another cute spot, Lafayette Park, where a woman in a mini dress and a prosthetic leg was doing a glamour photoshoot (you go girl!) against an amazing backdrop of the city skyline.

10 signs you’re in an abusive relationship with your job

bad bosses

1.You work hard and present great ideas to your manager, who rejects them and later on presents them as his or her own

2. You’re constantly asked to deliver things last moment with the excuse that “someone important needs them”

3. You’re told that you should be grateful that you have this job because people “out there” are DYING to work for the company

4. You’re suddenly reassigned to the area that no one wants to work in and told you should treat this as an opportunity

5. You’re told that the company is always looking for great talent but somehow you never hear of interesting job opportunities

6. You often notice that several other colleagues are working on the same task and whoever delivers first gets the praise

7. You’re told that first you need to spend several years proving yourself and only then will you be able to get challenging assignments

8. You’re recently promoted and your peers offer you “helpful” advice that ends up getting you in trouble

9. You’re asked to work on the weekend on a regular basis and expected to answer e-mails / calls at odd hours of the night

10. You’re asked to cancel your holiday vacation so that you can babysit the junior staff while senior management spends time with family

Please feel free to add your own examples to this discussion. #BetterJobBetterLife