Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Forbes: Home of Weenie Men and Affirmative Action Dominatrices

By Nicholas Stix


[Previously, at WEJB/NSU:


"Saturday's Mass Murder: 'Stop Snitchin'' and Demographics Make Buffalo a Diversitopia!"]


Back in August, 2010, in writing on the black-on-black mass murder outside a Buffalo club, I first encountered and reported on Wikipedia-like political correctness at Forbes. The respected business magazine had claimed that diversitopian Buffalo was one of the 10 best places to live in America. It had done this via the sleight of hand of confounding the violent, black-and-Hispanic-dominated city of Buffalo with its law-abiding, white suburbs.


Today, I took a wrong turn and once again stumbled onto Forbes' turf. It seems the magazine has an entire affirmative action ghetto just for women, called "ForbesWoman." The "ForbesWoman team" consists of women hired solely because … they are women, and who agitate for a business world in which women are hired solely because … they are women.


The topic at hand was Carol Bartz, a woman who was hired to be CEO of Yahoo, based on her eminent qualification of having, or once having had ovaries. Unfortunately, Bartz proved to be an ovarian cancer on the firm, which had already been in trouble before her hiring.


As soon as Bartz was fired, the usual suspects screamed "sexism!"


A Forbes staffer named Jeff Bercovici undertook to write on Bartz' firing, but he's so terrified of being called the "s"-word that he invited affirmative action Forbes hire, Jenna Goudreau, to chaperone him and take over the discussion, during which his deference got him a figurative kick in the groin.


I posted the following comment.


Jeff Bercovici,

You shouldn't have done this piece at all. You ooze fear at being called the "s"-word, and your fear makes you incompetent. After all, disagreeing with the party line could get you fired for "sexual harassment."

If anything, Bartz would have [been] fired sooner, had she been a man. The board held off, because it knew feminists would play the gender card, and weenies like you would go along, to get along.

So, we can't say that Bartz or any other woman failed as CEO, until we have a huge affirmative action program for unqualified females? And after we have increased the ranks of female CEOs by a factor of, say, 17, and men have spent years getting used to biting their tongues and never condemning incompetent females, while women circle the wagons for every incompetent female CEO, men in the media—neutered men like you, Jeff Bercovici—are suddenly going to grow a pair, and call a spade a spade?

And now, to Jenna Goudreau:

"JENNA: Studies have shown that assertiveness in women often reads as aggressiveness (read: 'abrasive,' 'bitchy,' etc.) and in men as strength."

You mean like the "studies" that show that women make 59 cents an hour for every dollar men make? Or the "studies" that show that one out of every four women will be the victim of either a rape or an attempted rape in college? Or the "studies" that show that there's an explosion of men beating their girlfriends and wives on Super Bowl Weekend?

English translation: Feminist propaganda has "shown that assertiveness in women…," blah, blah, blah.

And in the time-honored tradition of the feminist hack, after Bercovici submitted, you still gave him a lash ("flippant").

Forbes has gotten so PC!





Jeff Bercovici, Forbes Staff

I cover media, technology and the intersection of the two.

+ Follow on Forbes



9/07/2011 @ 12:19PM |5,455 views

Was Sexism A Factor In Carol Bartz's Yahoo Firing?

+ Comment now

Carol Bartz. Image via CrunchBase


You can practically set your watch by it: A powerful but polarizing woman loses her footing on the corporate ladder and the "Sexism!" cries begin. It's happening already with Carol Bartz, who got an unceremonious phone call yesterday notifying her that her tenure as CEO of Yahoo is over.

Like Cathie Black and Martha Stewart, Bartz is a strong-willed figure whose assertiveness has made her a target for detractors when things haven't broken her way. Might things have turned out differently if she had a power donut instead of a blond bob? Am I committing sexism right now by bringing up the bob? Do gender-influenced schadenfreude and actual discrimination always go hand-in-hand? I'm in treacherous waters here, so I'm bringing in a guest navigator who knows the shoals: my colleague Jenna Goudreau, part of our ForbesWoman team and a frequent commentator on these types of questions.


Move up Move down

11 images Photos: 10 Most Powerful Women In Media


JEFF: Jenna, does sexism need to be part of the discussion here? It's pretty hard to build a performance-based case for Yahoo keeping Bartz any longer than they did. The stock has been comatose. The strategy has been so amorphous that the board now has to hire consultants to figure out what it ought to be. How do you get from there to "scapegoating a woman"? Isn't the job of the CEO, male or female, to be the one who takes the fall when things go south?

JENNA: The unfortunate truth is that there are so few women leading major U.S. companies that when a woman as well-known as Carol Bartz is shown the door, sexism is one of the first words to surface. We all guessed this was coming. Investors weren't happy. In her defense, when I reached out to Bartz for inclusion on our recently published World's 100 Most Powerful Women list (she was No. 37), she highlighted what she had accomplished at Yahoo, saying that in 2010, it doubled operating income, operating margin and return on invested capital. That said, I think the sexism argument might also arise because of the conversation surrounding Bartz. Jeff, even you referenced her "salty" language in the lead of your piece yesterday.

JEFF: So I did. But her language is salty! Whatever they may sound like on the golf course, most CEOs don't tend to drop F-bombs on earnings calls or at tech conferences, as Bartz was known to do. And that seemed to work out for her for a while. It was kind of her calling card. The problem wasn't so much the language as the attitude that went with it. "Abrasive" and "alienating" were words that got used a lot to describe her management style. I know those are red-flag words, that there are a lot of male CEOs who are less than cuddly and don't get dinged for it. And I have no doubt her manner was in part a response to swimming in that world and competing with those tough-talking alpha males. Still, I'm at a loss for how to talk about an unusually sharp-tongued, sharp-elbowed female executive who was genuinely unpopular with her employees without coming off as at least a little bit sexist. And I'm also wondering: Is it possible that sexism informed the way people talked about/wrote about Carol Bartz but wasn't a real factor in deciding her ultimate fate?

JENNA: Studies have shown that assertiveness in women often reads as aggressiveness (read: "abrasive," "bitchy," etc.) and in men as strength. [N.S.: This line used to be a mere talking point in feminists' rants. I don't know when it was promoted to the level of "scientific truth."] I honestly don't know if sexism played a part here. Her departure may have been a bit unceremonious, though, if reports are true: A sudden firing by phone with no replacement lined up. What I'm more interested in is the macro perspective. The numbers have been pathetic for years, but now with Bartz out only 2.8% of the 500 largest companies in the U.S. are run by women. That's ridiculous. Seen another way, men run 97.2% of our biggest companies. Yesterday was just a bad day for America's leading ladies. BofA's Sallie Krawcheck, often called "the most powerful woman on Wall Street," also left her post.

JEFF: That's a pretty astonishing figure. I didn't realize it was quite that low. Covering the media business, it seems like I come across relatively a lot of female CEOs. Covering tech, not so much. One thing I think we can agree on: The more we enlarge the sample size of female business leaders, the easier it will be to tease out the instances of genuine sexism from those of garden-variety failure.

mayesolisShe seems to have managed to turn Yahoo into Compuserve. http://bit.ly/ohF6ZF

19 comments, 14 called-out

+ Comment now

No comments: