There is a lot of pain and angst around the topic of the treatment of women at tech conferences right now (which will not be rehashed here). Opinions are wide and varied and feelings are running high. In the United States, we’ve actually been here before and on an even wider scale.
In the 1980’s, when Clarence Thomas was the first African American to be considered for supreme court justice, the highest judicial office, he was accused by law professor Anita Hill of sexual harassment. It touched off a broad national discussion about the appropriate workplace treatment of women (and men). Rather than spend this post, comparing the two events, I’d like to offer up some humor.
One of the most popular American shows in the ’80’s was Designing Women. It was a comedy driven by the, mostly, female characters in the cast and took place in my hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. During the furor of Clarence vs. Anita, Designing Women devoted an entire show to examining this topic.
There are times when comedy and fiction are better at capturing multiple sides of a tricky issue than any expert opinion or news coverage. This particular episode of Designing Women falls into that category. There’s not much you need to know about the characters or even the larger situation of Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill to get the humor.
It is likely that this YouTube link will not stay up forever, but if you’re hurting after the latest series of events, I hope this episode will at least give you a laugh or two.