"This is a slap in the face to all of my female friends and colleagues in media. We have worked our asses off to carve out space for ourselves in publishing."
We’ve never met, but I’ve seen you around. You like surfing and so do I. That seems like the basis for a beautiful friendship.
There’s just one problem. You seem to be living in an entirely different decade than I am. There you are, a bunch of dudes, talking about surfing and ogling the girls. There’s nothing wrong necessarily with being a bunch of dudes, ogling girls. It’s just that, these days, it isn’t really recommended on company time. Time has moved on, and maybe you should, too.
I was pleasantly surprised when a commenter here on BeachGrit tipped me off that you were looking to hire a female editor. And a senior editor, at that. They told me to apply, suggesting that the rivalry between our two publications might offer me leverage in negotiating salary. I do like leverage, and getting paid for my work is generally very appealing.
I went to your site to see what you had in mind. I saw no job announcement, so I dismissed the whole thing from my mind and went back to dreaming of surf and writing a pitch email for a story idea. This, in a nutshell, is how I spend my days. I am not what you call cool.
Then, someone sent me your Instagram post. This stopped me dead. The pleasant daydream of low-tide Rincon I was enjoying dissolved, rudely.
With all due respect, what in the actual fuck were you thinking?
I understand your intention, I believe. You looked around your office and realized, well, fuck, we don’t have any women working for us. You realized that maybe people would think less of you for this failure. So you set out, as best as you could, to fix it.
But, you forgot to come out of your prehistoric mancaves and take a look around at what life actually looks like in 2019.
To begin with, it is illegal under U.S. employment law to discriminate on the basis of gender in a job call. You can not, no matter how good your intention, say that you wish to hire a woman. With that, you just made yourselves extremely easy to sue — and I’ll confess, I would laugh and laugh, if a man sued you for employment discrimination.
He would have ample grounds.
In your call for a senior editor, you asked for a cover letter and a one-minute, to-the-camera video spot. I have seen many, many position calls for senior editor positions in my time. (To be clear, I freelance by choice, though I always say, that I would change my mind if the right thing came along.) I have yet to see an editorial position that did not ask for clips or detail required experience. Instead of all that you said, well, just make us a video.
Surf Publication Seeks Hot Female Editor
That is how your call sounds. A conference room full of men is going to watch women on video and decide who to hire. Why not just ask us to send photos of our boobs? In fact, I considered, for a brief moment, submitting a one-minute montage of boobs.
If you want to hire a female editor, it is not, in fact, that hard. You could just write a job call, detailing the skills and experience-level you are seeking. You can even encourage women to apply without breaking the fucking law.
Here, let me help:
Stab is looking to hire a senior editor to direct its expanding coverage of women’s surfing in all its many aspects, from competition to culture. Applicants should have TK years experience in the media and a bachelor’s degree in journalism, english, or a related field. This editor will also contribute video content to Stab and should be adept at speaking on camera. A deep knowledge of surfing and excellent writing skills required. Women and other underrepresented minorities are encouraged to apply.
There. That’s it. It’s not actually that hard. And you know what? If you’d posted your job opening like professionals, you would attract talented, dedicated women who would make your publication look good due to their work.
But that doesn’t seem to be what you really want. You want credit for hiring a woman. And you want your brand rep’d at the North Shore parties by a hot girl. You want her to raise your credibility with your male peers. Hey, look who works for us, aren’t you jealous? And then you can pat yourselves on the back and return to the Jurassic, undisturbed.
We could have been friends, Stab. Surfing is awesome and I love it more than is good for me. You seem to like it, too. I have been to your events and enjoyed your beer and laughed at your dumb jokes. I’ll confess that I like dumb jokes as much as I like surfing.
But this is a slap in the face to all of my female friends and colleagues in media. We have worked our asses off to carve out space for ourselves in publishing. For too many of us, it has been a long, shitty battle.
We have sat with a pleasant smile on our faces as less qualified men were hired ahead of us, over and over. We have picked up magazines, counted bylines, and found not a single byline, not one, with a women’s name on it. No women in the photo credits. No women depicted in the editorial images. Over and over, we have done this.
Somehow we have survived all this bullshit — and managed in between it all, to make the stories that matter to us. Not every time, not every day. But enough.
So I take this one personally — not only on my own account, but on the account of all of my friends who do this job every day.
We are not here to be your mascots. We are not here to be your fucking video dolls. We are not here to dance when you say dance. We are here to do the work. You want to hire one of us? Take us seriously and make it worth our time. Otherwise, with all due respect, you can fuck straight off.