Last night, concerns were raised by members of the audience about some of the content and connotations of Joe’s talk ‘The rise of modern man’.
I would like to apologise personally for the upset caused – in my conversations with the speaker beforehand I had expressed the importance, difficulty and complexity of the issue, and how crucial it would be to make sure research was deep and concepts and so forth were expressed clearly. I don’t ask NNW speakers to give me transcripts of their talk ahead of time.
I’ve spent well over three years working to make Nerd Nite a safe and tolerant space for every kind of person, and am incredibly proud of the gender parity we’ve reached together in our audience. I’m deeply sorry for any damage done, and will do my utmost to ensure that the situation never arises again.
Below, you can see Joe’s response to the concerns raised. If you would like to communicate with him further, you can email me and I’ll pass your messages on.
All the best! I hope you have a fantastic week, and to see you again in mid March, for Nerd Nite Wellington’s 21st birthday 🙂
Firstly, thank you to all who attended Nerdnite #20 – the great escapes.
After last night there were a few comments and questions raised about my talk discussing the role of modern men.
I would like to apologise: the nerves of speaking about such a loaded topic certainly got to me and my points were not made as well as they should have been.
One of the statements I made was that Feminism is the wrong word to use when discussing equality. I realise that the subject is vastly complicated and one that was not best broached in a short talk. I meant in no way to discount the feminist movement here, or its enormous importance and value in the fight for equality.
I would like to clarify that allowing those around you to feel ‘safe’ is different to protecting them – I was speaking about the former. I know people don’t need to be protected by men, but everyone does need to feel safe.
It seems the two ideas were confused in my talk; I apologise. Safety and the feeling of safety are fundamental needs in our lives; after physiological need they are the most important, according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
I should have made the use of this framework more explicit in my talk.
One of the messages I hoped to bring through in my talk was that making those around us feel safe is something we should all strive for, including men, and I was trying to give some pointers on how men might be more engaged with and responsive to those around them.
I would also like to separate the behaviour of men from their physical size.
The way men act is very different to the physiology of men. The social pressures on men (put forward by a patriarchal culture) are much more damaging to the development of men’s behaviour than the way we are built.
My closing statement was that it is the role of everyone, especially men, to make sure the people around them feel safe.
Safety and the feeling of safety is not protection. It is crucially important that the people around me feel safe – from me, first and foremost.
I would like to apologise sincerely and deeply for having upset people. It was my intention to champion the ideals of equality in my talk, but I realize this is not what I achieved.
– Joe Hopkirk