Newsweek’s just published its latest cover story “What Silicon Valley Thinks of Women” alongside a controversial image of a woman with her dress being raised by a big black curser.
The provocative picture accompanies a lengthy article by Nina D. Burleigh, which outlines systematic sexism experienced by a growing number of women in Silicon Valley.
Burleigh writes that the culture in the Bay Area is “savagely misogynistic”, biased against women-led startups and “stunningly backward when it comes to gender relations.” She says despite a few high-profile female entrepreneurs, “their numbers are relatively minuscule.”
Still, Newsweek’s choice of cover has sparked a firestorm, with some accusing the magazine of highlighting sexism with a sexist and sexualized cover. “It’s kind of like doing a story about rape & having the cover image be a cartoon with a victim handcuffed to a bed,” tweeted Carmel DeAmicis, a reporter for Gigaom.
Newsweek’s editor James Impoco has responded to the criticism, telling The Daily Beast “We came up with an image that we felt represented what that story said about Silicon Valley. If people get angry, they should be angry.”
“It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that a front line, if not the trench of the global gender war, is in Silicon Valley,” writes Burleigh. “In that sense, Silicon Valley culture echoes the Wolf of Wall Street culture in the ’80s and ’90s. But while Wall Street today seems tamer—thanks to lawsuits and diversity consultants in every corner—in Silicon Valley the misogyny continues unabated.”
“A combination of that very traditional Wall Street wolf-ism among Northern California’s venture capital boys’ club and the socially stunted boy-men that the money men like to finance has created a particularly toxic atmosphere for women in Silicon Valley.”
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