What would normally seem like a childish prank based on Portland’s culture takes on extra meaning thanks to the recent misogynist incidents in the geek community.
Portland, Oregon’s claim to have the most strip clubs per capita in the U.S. may be just an urban legend, but the clubs are a part of Portland’s liberal allure. Along with the famed Voodoo Donut, Scott Campbell (aka Extremo the Dancing Clown) and his Never Never Van, the strip clubs are just a quirky part of Portland’s charm. When the Node.js conference, which took place in Portland over July 4th weekend, was labeled as a strip club on Foursquare, the Node.js community quickly scrambled to take it down.
Last week, a (now former) writer for gaming website Destructoid attacked geek and media personality Felicia Day via his Twitter account with a barrage of insults. Destructoid went into full damage control mode as many of geek culture’s most popular faces including Veronica Belmont and Wil Wheaton came to her defense.
Because of the strong negative reactions on social media to incidents like these, the geek community has started to self police bad behavior that excludes women in the industry. When I pointed out the venue’s category on Twitter, founder and partner at The Node Firm Daniel Shaw intervened to make sure that Foursquare changed the category.
While it may seem like a small problem that was corrected in a day, it points to what could soon become a larger trend in the the technology industry — a growing alliance between men and women who want to work together on a shared passion.