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Valleywag’s “Girls Of Google” And An Angry Page

Valleywag is requesting nominations for the hottest “Girls of Google“. So far, people have recommended Marissa Mayer, Asia/Latin America Operations VP Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, Deputy General Counsel Miriam Rivera, Trisha Weir from hardware operations, engineer Lauren Baptist, Blogger’s Kimbalina, and UI’s Elizabeth Windram (all pictured above, in order).

Niniane’s still my top pick.

Also, Valleywag says a couple of weeks ago, Larry Page went on a tirade, ripping into the engineering teams, declaring 20% time would from now on be used to work with other group’s projects, not new ideas. Also:

He spent a long time lecturing everyone about how we’re not smart enough to pick the right projects to work on, and he singled out a couple of projects (in front of hundreds of engineers) to complain about because they weren’t using shared infrastructure components.

Damn. The big man could be feeling a lot of pressure over the various federal court issues, the falling stock price (every dollar of which is worth over $10 million to him), and major projects that aren’t really working, like Google Video (which it is rumored started the whole arguement).

We all knew it would be tough for Google to maintain all of its lofty ideas and out-of-the-box thinking if the stock went south, and it looks like its finally happening. Googlers can’t be happy if their 20% time is being messed with (assuming this is true), and unrest among workers, pressure from stockholders could mean Google will be taking fewer risks and going with more safe bets.

Meanwhile, if I were a Googler, I’d start wondering when my free meals would be taken away. Probably not this year, but pretty much every tech company takes away that and many other perks as the need to meet margins becomes more important.

February 23rd, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Culture, Blogs, General | 10 comments

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  1. Sleaze. That’s the best word I can use to describe your blog post on the women of Google. Stop the soft core stuff and stick with technology. You are insulting the women and men of Google. I don’t work there, but I can’t help but wonder what they must think about your inappropriate post.

    Comment by Ohadi Langis | February 24, 2006

  2. Inappropriate and insulting? What exactly did I say? My first sentence stated Vallyewag was requesting nominations. My second listed those nominated, along with their job titles. Now, while Valleywag’s post may be very inappropriate, mine certainly isn’t.

    I didn’t make comments about their looks, I didn’t call them “chicks” or something stupid, I didn’t demean or debase any of these women. I merely noted that another website is doing something, something you may find debasing. If you have a problem with that, complain to Valleywag, not to me.

    As for whether this is off-topic, it isn’t. I report on Google, and this is blog chatter about Google. This is a blog, already read by close to half a million people, running a series on Google. People who work at Google are discussing this (many because they are angry, understood), and that makes it newsworthy. If it concerns them, it concerns me. I won’t turn this blog into a tabloid, but I can’t ignore when a tabloid draws a spotlight on Google.

    And the real meat of the article was the Larry Page thing. You might want to read it; its kind of important.

    Comment by Nathan Weinberg | February 24, 2006

  3. You are correct that I see your “report” as tabloid trash. Of course cultural values vary widely so maybe you feel that the material isn’t offensive. I did complain to you because it appears you enjoyed the original content enough to spend time on it first, with a photo spread and Mr. Page’s astonishingly public rant second.

    Frankly, I would have been just fine with some well-honed comments about the 20% thing and none about valley girls.

    Comment by Ohadi Langis | February 24, 2006

  4. I never said the material wasn’t offensive, just that I believe I didn’t do anything offensive with my linking to it. And whether or not I enjoyed it, I knicked the photo spread from Valleywag in about ten seconds, so I didn’t care enough to actually spend a lot of time on it.

    Perhaps I should have ran the Page portion first. I just wound up writing the headline in one direction instead of the other.

    Comment by Nathan Weinberg | February 24, 2006

  5. Yeah right, you participated in objectifying these women - NOT GIRLS - by saying your “pick” is Nianne. Furthermore, you don’t really seem to “understand” jack shit about why this contest IS SO OFFENSIVE to women because you didn’t even comment on that aspect at all. YOu just present it like it’s completely normal mundane reality - which it is - which is the TRAGEDY that professional women think they have to be sexy and attractive and look like androids to “catch a man” or be successful. Could you imagine a contest that celebrates women’s REAL achievements at google, i.e. professional contributions or contributions towards improving humanity and the world at large, rather than just being “hot” and consumable for the men that work there. Trust me, the women don’t give a shit about how hot these women are, it’s just all about men - which is what you FAIL TO SEE cause YOU are A MAN

    Comment by Wake UP | March 13, 2006

  6. So, in your opinin, a man cannot admire the appearance of a woman without objectifying her. A man cannot compliment the appearance of a woman without being offensive. A man cannot form an opinion regarding the looks of one woman over the other without it being a tragedy.

    Looks exist. We look at people, we like what we see or we don’t. Trying to pretend that a person’s appearance does not exist is just self-righteous crap.

    I don’t think professional woment need to be sexy or attractive to be succesful. There are plenty of ugly women who do just fine. There are plenty of fat women in every office, plenty of old maids, plenty of women who don’t give a crap about their appearance. And that’s just fine. They’re working, I’m not dating them.

    There already are contests that celebrate a person’s real work achievements at Google. Its called a job, and the rewards that come with it, including salary, benefits and bonuses. And if you don’t think that’s a real competition, how about this: The woman in question won a Google Founder’s Award, an average $1 million prize given to those who do a superior job at Google. I get the feeling that means a lot more to Niniane than this contest, or her looks.

    But you wouldn’t know that, because all you look at her at is “a woman”, and if I discuss her as “a woman”, then you apparently need to defend her. I’m sure she doesn’t need your assistance. She’s got a good life and a good job, and is succeeding excellently at that job. I know this, because I view her as a person, a complex person with many layers and accomplishments. You generalize and objectify her by leaping to her defence, knowing nothing about the situation, and viewing her only as a weak woman who needs your help.

    If she needs your help, she’ll ask. Otherwise, go back to wishing you had her life.

    Comment by Nathan Weinberg | March 13, 2006

  7. i LOVE how you ASSUME that I wish I was Nianne - as if the only reason I could possibly be voicing a negative opinion about the contest is that I MUST feel inferior, and need to validate myself by insinuating that the women in the contest are “weak” or “in need of defense” – You have a twisted mind to even try and turn this around and call me the objectifier. My purpose is to raise an issue because this contest was inappropriate and offensive, especially given the tradition of Playboy’s “Women of…” series which trivializes the accomplishments of powerful women by reinforcing the notion that the ultimate appeal of these women is as a great fuck. Funny you should mention that you wouldn’t date the “ugly” women who are nonetheless very accomplished at your workplace because it proves that this contest is about sexualizing your co-workers. That’s nice, you look at these pics and deep down think about fucking your co-workers, fine, but don’t pretend that’s not what you’re thinking, and don’t pretend it isn’t inappropriate and distracting to think about fucking your female co-workers when you’re at work. The contest reinforces that is all I am saying. That aside, I was more concerned that you shut down the other person who voiced their objection to this contest because you don’t think there is anything wrong with the contest when there clearly is.

    I am proud of you for recognizing your co-workers professional accomplishments. I wish that women were lauded more often for their professional accomplishments, and that appearance was not the major factor that focuses attention on women’s accomplishments, especially in a professional context because appearance shouldn’t affect how well you do good work…I wish that appearance were less of a factor in determining anyone’s success…I.e. you really shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. The saying that beauty is on the inside is not just an ideal, but a truth that we can all participate in realizing. Just like the law of supply & demand, the more you participate in judging women (or anyone for that matter) by the way they look, the more women (and people in general) are going to focus on their appearance – i.e. plastic surgery, boutox, weight loss, rogaine, etc., rather than spending time on different goals…Most women ultimately want to attract men, and work really hard at it and think about it a lot. Men and women both have the power to set the agenda about what society should value in a woman, but men have had the historical advantage of money and power, and contests like these reflect what men want in women to be like more than what women men to be like, or even what women want women to be like.

    I realize this is your blog, and your place to be the authority on all matters…I’m not here to challenge your authority (God forbid). This isn’t about your ego, my ego or even Nianne’s ego…it’s about a larger issue that needs to be raised anytime professional women are overtly judged and rated and pitted against one another on the sole basis of their sexual attractiveness to men. Women work twice as hard and get paid 2/3 as much to get respect in a patriarchal world, and contests like this that frame a woman’s worth in terms of her sexual attractiveness TO MEN only undermine women’s real achievements. Again, how many women voted for the “girls of google?” For whose entertainment was this contest?

    If this contest was really as innocent and harmless as you claim, then why not have a “Boys of Google” contest? In fact, I would like to nominate you for such a contest. After all, you must be a real looker since you don’t date any “fat” or “ugly” women. Then you could see how it feels and actually have something to say.

    Comment by Wake UP | March 13, 2006

  8. I’ll be honest, I got a little too emotional and went a little too overboard in my response. I just feel a little angry at people who scream “sexist” every time they see anything pointing out the sexual aspects of people. Sex is a big part of life, and acknowledging and celebrating it is not a crime. I feel that, far too often, people jump up and yell sexism, or racism, or xenophobia, not because they see a wrong needing to be righted, but because they look at the “wronged” party as inferior and in need of assistance, even though they won’t admit it. I don’t know if that is how you feel, but there are a lot of people in this country, particularly in the liberal camp, who do this very thing, forcing unnecessary political correctness, “protecting” groups that don’t want them butting in, that don’t care about the situation.

    A few point:

    Better looking people do better in business, regardless of sex. I find more appeal in a good-looking man than an ugly one, and the same goes for women. I don’t look at an ugly woman and think about dating her. I don’t look at a beautiful woman and think about dating her, but I do look a little longer. When a person sees something nice, the person will desire it, regardless of whether it is a woman, a computer, a house, a flower, or a dog. That is a function of the way we interact with “objects” in our society, and people are as much objects, in a visual sense, as laptops.

    And I never said I wouldn’t date ugly women. I said I don’t care that they’re ugly, since I’m not dating them. I don’t care if they’re hot, either. Only the woman in my life’s looks are important to me. Everyone else is just a conversation opportunity.

    It is distracting to think about having sex with your coworkers. If you can bury those natural feelings, you’ll be more successful at your job. If you get wrapped up in these things, enjoy being mediocre.

    Another thing: I don’t work at Google. If I did, discussing the appearance and good looks of my coworkers would be highly inappropriate and kind of sickening. If a Googler were to start saying on his blog which Googler’s were hot, I’d say that person should be reprimanded.

    Also, you point out that (a) you “wish that appearance were less of a factor in determining anyone’s success” and (b) that “more women (and people in general) are going to focus on their appearance”. I believe that any person who believes that putting a lot of effort into improving their appearance will improve their job prospects is going to be a failure. I believe natural good looks can improve a person’s prospects, but manufactured, like certain clothes, makeup, and surgery, are useless in a corporate setting. When you tell your coworkers that you are concerned with how you look to them, you are saying, “My primary concern is not on my skills and accomplishments, but what shade of lipstick I should wear today”. Making an effort to look good is distracting from your skills, and usually an attempt to cover them up.

    Women who make an effort to look better in the workplace in order to get ahead need to realize that, while there are drooling idiots who just stare, most people are far more concerned with succeeding and making lots of money, and if you don’t exude success, we don’t want you on our team. I don’t care what you’re wearing, and if you want me to, I want someone who doesn’t care. The women who believe there is some sort of contest to look better than the other women are going to be collosal failures.

    I may write this blog, but I want there to be a conversation here, not a dialogue. I give the news, and a little bit of opinion. I bring up topics because I want them to spark discussion. I want the majority of opinions to come from people like you, not people like me. I hate when I have to jump into the comments and discuss my opinions on something. I posted this item because I wanted to see what the readers felt about it. Knowing what I know now will determine how I handle the next such news story.

    And finally, before Valleywag ran a girls of google contest, they ran a contest called “Valleywag Hotties” pitting 16 men in tech against each other. Yup, they ran the men first. And in every case, the man with the barer chest and more defined abs won the voting.

    These contests are stupid, and silly. And I humor myself with the silliness in the world, in between stock quotes, coding and Justice Department lawsuits. If we can’t do something stupid and insulting at least once a day, we’d just get bored.

    Comment by Nathan Weinberg | March 14, 2006

  9. And I’ve dated plenty of ugly women. I find all women hot. Its a curse I have. Fat, skinny (well, fat is better than skinny), short, hairy, I like all women. I break up with women with ugly minds, not bodies, since I like all bodies. All women are good enough for me, looks-wise.

    Thank god my fiance is hot, since if she wasn’t, I would never have left her anyway. She’s too cute and funny for me not to love.

    Comment by Nathan Weinberg | March 14, 2006

  10. chill out guys, they’re pretty hot.. i go for the sukhinder chick, man she’s nasty..

    Comment by chill out guys | April 12, 2007

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