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Early Facebook employee Katherine Losse wrote a tell-all book that basically said Facebook was overrun with fratty kids who were crude to the few women who worked among them.Some would call that a culture of sexism, but Charlotte Willner, an employee at Facebook since 2007, said Losse was just being overly sensitive on Quora.
Willner, who worked under Losse, said that the culture at the company certainly wasn’t sexist — though there were some sexist people at Facebook:
Was there a rampant culture of sexism at Facebook in 2007? No. Were there sexist people working at Facebook in 2007? Yes. The book recounts a series of experiences which Kate ultimately interpreted as sexist. Some of those were likely interactions with sexist people. Others were likely more ambiguous interactions which Kate personally read as sexist. I’m not here to say she was right or wrong, because I wasn’t a fly on the wall for those interactions. What I will say is that Facebook has historically had a work-hard, play-hard culture, and that means people will be jerks to each other sometimes: not all instances of men being jerks to women are manifestations of sexism. In fact: most aren’t.
Much of what Kate chalks up to a deep undercurrent of sexism, I would chalk up to simple inattention, misunderstanding, or non-discriminating douchebaggery. Recall your first year of work. Remember all the mistakes you made which now seem obvious to you. Blush at the thought of the bold, foolish, and/or hopelessly naive assertions you made that year. Shudder with horror when you relive that first time someone called your attention to the fact that you, in fact, behaved like an idiot in that meeting or at that party. Now imagine 200 people all living that experience at the same time, while being responsible for driving this crazy thing we call Facebook. This was most people’s first job out of college — many didn’t even finish college. Of course people said and did dumb and mean things to each other — we were all learning how to work, and how to work together. There was no sexist element to that — women and men were equal-opportunity