Allie: [00:00:00] Welcome to the weekly underrepresented in tech blog with Michelle Frechette and Allie Nimmons. Underrepresented in tech is a free database built with the goal of helping people find new opportunities in WordPress and tech overall. Let’s dive in with this week’s vlog. 

[00:00:18] Michelle: [00:00:18] It’s Thursday, Allie. I get to spend half an hour talking to you about crazy things that happened to us as underrepresented people.

[00:00:30] And it’s funny because every week we have like all these ideas and things to talk about and then like something happens where like, okay, we’re setting that aside again because I just have to share. Something that’s been going on last week. 

[00:00:44] Allie: [00:00:44] Cause it’s, it’s like something that’s fresh in our mind, something that’s super like topical and like really want to talk.

[00:00:51] We would talk about it anyway, even if we weren’t recording it.

[00:00:53] Michelle: [00:00:53] So I think it’s. Exactly. I agree. Um, and this week, so, um, I, and you, and I can only talk about our experiences as women. So we can’t talk about what happens to men, you know, before I start – men don’t start coming at us at the comments, cause I am definitely going to talk about something that happens to women specifically has been happening to me and, um, In technology and through DMs and things like that.

[00:01:14] So guys, before you come at us, we know stuff happens to you. That’s different. We know that girls hit you up for money and ask you for it. We get that part too. Um, but I want to talk specifically about some things that happened to me in my DMs. Um, the first thing is I always have my DMs open. I, said this to Allie, before we start recording, I think of myself as kind of like the mom to people in the WordPress community.

[00:01:34] Right. Oh, you need something. Let me see if mama Michelle can help you. And so I do, I keep my DMs open. Then and people ask me, you know, do I know about jobs? They asked me to look at their resume and some of those things I charge for and I’m, I’m open and honest and I’m like, well, this I have a fee for looking at your resume.

[00:01:52] Um, I don’t coach for free. I, you know, I’ll always do a discovery call with you and give you 20 minutes of my time and see if there’s something that’s a good fit. But I, I don’t have the time to just, you know, A hundred percent just do stuff for free, but anyway, that’s why my DMs are open. So I get DMs a lot.

[00:02:09] And a lot of the time you can just tell right off that they’re either bots or they’re catfish. Um, There’s so many red flags that I could do a whole post sometime about the single military gentlemen who are widowers or the ones working in oil who are widowers, whose kid is stuck with his aunt or his sister or whatever, and suddenly needs surgery.

[00:02:29] And can you please help with some money?

[00:02:31] Allie: [00:02:31] Like, is that the new, is that the new Nigerian Prince emails? 

[00:02:37] Michelle: [00:02:37] The last 10 years new? Maybe I have seen that one probably. Well, here’s the thing I was playing along. I know that it’s all fake, but I’ll play along for a little while just to see if the story changes, because I like to be able to warn other people.

[00:02:49] Um, but I probably seen that one 150 times in the last 10 years. And it’s just, it just makes me laugh. ‘Cause I’m like, Oh, you’re in the military. Well then call the Red Cross. ‘Cause like the military is the people who have the absolute best opportunity to help you. Not little, all Mason here at Hilton New York.

[00:03:04] But anyway, I digress. So I do get these messages that I want to kind of read part of one. Let me see if I can find it. So I had this guy who I think had, gosh, I couldn’t even tell you he’s he’s in the East the far East, somewhere ok, Bangladesh okay. He’s in Bangladesh. And he starts out by, you know, messaging me about looking for, um, for job opportunities, which is not unusual for me because every Wednesday, well, I forgot to yesterday, but most Wednesdays I post a big link thread, um, about job opportunities in WordPress.

[00:03:35] So I get those kinds of DMS all the time. And I direct people to that tweet. Or if they’re sending me job opportunities, I’ll add that to the list for the next week. So this guy goes back and forth with me for about a week. Just pleasantries. How are you today? Hope things are well, thanks for the advice, you know, but he also does things like say, so what do you do with WordPress?

[00:03:55] And I’m like, um, literally the least amount you could do is read my bio. I don’t say it that way.

[00:04:00] Allie: [00:04:00] That, that information about you. Everywhere. 

[00:04:04] Michelle: [00:04:04] Yeah. I mean, I don’t, I’m not saying everybody in WordPress should know who I am, because certainly that is not true, but my bio is right there and it tells you what I do with WordPress.

[00:04:12] It’s literally right there. So I’m like read the bio. He’s like, Oh, okay. Well then he switches from calling me Michelle to just calling me Frechette, okay. I will a hundred percent acknowledge, there are cultural differences. And so I sometimes err on the side. No, err, on the side of caution way too far, like, Oh, that’s okay.

[00:04:29] And then one day he’s like, hi dear. And I’m like, don’t call me dear. You don’t call a woman, dear, unless she is your spouse or your significant other, your girlfriend, whatever. He’s like, Oh, I’m sorry, Frechette. I’m like, and my name is Michelle, not Frechette. I mean, yes, my last name is Frechette, but he’s like, so I’m like schooling people and teaching them and I’m like feeling good about the fact that like, he’ll speak to other women in a much better way … until yesterday.

[00:04:53] So yesterday I get this message. “What are you doing now?” And I’m thinking maybe he’s like, do you have time to like, help me with my resume or something? I go, I’m just laying on my sofa, why?. “Nothing else just asking.” And then his next message is, “would you mind? Can we a good friendship?” And I’m like, okay, I’m still erring on the side of caution.

[00:05:11] Like, whatever. I’m just like, “say hello at any time.” He’s like, “can we speak on the phone?” Like for what? “As a friend, can we talk?” I’m like, no, I just prefer to text here. “Can we exchange our WhatsApp number?” Again, I literally copy and paste. I prefer just to text here. He says, okay, with a little frowny face.

[00:05:30] I go, there’s literally no difference texting here or elsewhere. He goes, “but I want to talk on the phone. That’s why I’m telling you.” Like I’ve already said twice. I prefer to text. And I said, and I said, I prefer to text. And he says, “okay, no problem.” So here’s the problem. It is a problem. Number one, when somebody says to you, NO, that’s the answer.

[00:05:56] And to continue to push through and try to take advantage of somebody’s good graces, um, is just rude. And it’s going to get you blocked. Yeah. Period. Um, and then you and I started talking cause we, of course we talked a little bit before we start recording and I say, this happens to me all the time. And what was your response?

[00:06:15] Allie: [00:06:15] My response was, well, first, like that absolutely sucks. Like, I’m sorry. That’s terrible. It’s so cringy. But, well, I had kind of two responses, right? Like one is, it’s just annoying to me that it’s like, okay, If, if a guy sees your picture and he’s like, wow, she’s really cute. Which everyone should think because you are.

[00:06:34] Um, and he decides to hit on you. That’s one thing, but to kind of couch that in, I’m looking for WordPress help, I’m looking for a job I’m looking for, like, and to like weasel your way in that way, and then start sending you, like, what are you doing right now? Let’s get on the phone. It’s like, that’s manipulative, that’s creepy.

[00:06:52] That’s gross. Um, and my other reaction too, is like, I don’t really get messages like that. Like, I’m happy that I don’t, um, I’m not saying I wish I did, but it’s this thought of like, okay, what’s immediately upon looking at our profiles. What’s the difference between me and you, right? Age, skin tone. Yep. So that makes me start to wonder, like, what is it about you?

[00:07:22] You’re just what you look like, what your profile looks like. That makes men think that they can just reach out to you that if they see my profile, they’re like, Oh, I’m not going to reach out to her. Like, it’s just a super, it’s something I’ve never really thought about before, because I’d never been like, man, I wish scammy guys messaged me.

[00:07:39] You know, I’ve never had that thought. 

[00:07:42] Michelle: [00:07:42] Maybe I need to change my profile name to neighborhood bad-ass maybe that looks like. 

[00:07:49] Allie: [00:07:49] Maybe it’s the profile name in my, in my Twitter username that 

[00:07:52] Michelle: [00:07:52] drives men away, which honestly. If that’s the case, maybe I should play, I should do like a little AB testing, like right now, just is Michelle Frechette – black lives matter.

[00:08:02] Maybe it should say, but you know, Michelle bad-ass that thinks black lives or knows black lives matter.

[00:08:09] Allie: [00:08:09] Well, yeah, it’s such a weird, it’s such, because this is like, there’s different levels of predatory, right? Like this guy was creepy. No, that I would fully describe this as predatory, but it falls within that spectrum.

[00:08:25] Right? Of like, he’s trying to get something from you that you’re not willing to give. And he’s not willing to just let it go at the first. No. Right. So what is it that makes her, or a man like this zero in on somebody that they want to get something from, particularly in our like tech industry, because women get these kinds of messages all the time.

[00:08:47] Like if you’re a woman on social media, it’s not like I’ve never gotten messages like this. It happens every once in a blue moon, like women on social media, you’re going to get a weird guy trying to get something from you at some point. Um, but the fact that you get so many, and there are a lot of them, like you’ve told me, like, are couched in the WordPress, like using that kind of as an icebreaker, like.

[00:09:12] It’s is it just because the WordPress world is so huge and it’s such a popular thing that it’s an easy way. I don’t know. I don’t know what it is, but it’s weird and gross. And like, I don’t know, it needs to stop. The other thing that, that brought to mind when you mentioned he was from the Eastern Asia, he was from, you said Bangladesh.

[00:09:30] Yeah. It gives, it gives those men from that part of the world, such a bad reputation, right. When that happens, like. I’ve had to unlearn a lot of my unconscious biases about, I would say men from that part of the world. Cause I used to just think Indian men, but I now appreciate that it’s not just India, right?

[00:09:53] That part of the world. Um, I’ve had to unlearn a lot of those unconscious biases because I see so often and I do get like spammy messages from men from that part of the world. And it makes it seem like that’s all there is right. And like, you’re, you’re doing your subgroup of people, such a disservice by like being stereotype.

[00:10:18] Right. 

[00:10:19] Michelle: [00:10:19] You know, and the truth is I have friends in Bangladesh. I have friends in Pakistan, and friends in India, and these are men and women that I hold in high regard. So, you know, it’s, it’s more than just like, Oh my gosh, everybody in Bangladesh is no, I’m not saying that at all. And you’re not saying that at all, either.

[00:10:36] And I one hundred percent appreciate that. Um, but you’re right. But like, there are, you know, there are dating apps and things like that. Where if you ask a guy where he’s from, he doesn’t want to tell you if he’s from India, because he knows that he’s going to get blocked immediately. Not from me necessarily, but from other people, because there’s such a bad reputation about that. It’s like, I it’s like sometimes I just want to go. “I’m not going to be your 90 day fiance.” So don’t even, ah, because it’s just no good. But. But I do have such high respect and regard for my colleagues in all of those areas. And so to have people like this, just really try to prey on, um, people who are gracious in our community.

[00:11:20] And yes. I just called myself gracious, um, in our community it’s they really do a disservice to other men. They do a disservice to men in that, in that region. And it’s just really super cringy. Absolutely. 

[00:11:34] Allie: [00:11:34] It’s so it’s so uncomfortable. And like, it, it doesn’t help anyone because like, this is going to ha like, hopefully not, but this might happen enough to someone like you where you’re like, you know what, I’m closing my DMs.

[00:11:47] Like I’m sick of this. It’s making me anxious. Like. I can’t imagine, like every time you get a new DM, it’s like, Oh gosh, like I wonder if this is going to be some creep, 

[00:11:56] Michelle: [00:11:56] you know, actually I make a game about it now. Like I seriously make a game about it because I don’t ever want to shut out people that are honest, good members of our community. Right? So let’s make a game of it. And like, I will be 100% honest and authentic and talk to people normally until they do something cringy. And in which case I’m like, “I knew it, get out of here.” 

[00:12:20] Allie: [00:12:20] And it’s like, honestly, we, we touched on men from that part of the world, but – Oh, I just went to your Twitter profile and I just realized I’m in your Twitter header.

[00:12:33] Sorry. That’s totally. I look like a bad-ass. I have my blue hair and like fake WordPress tattoos, too. Anyway, I went to your profile because I remember like a couple of weeks ago, maybe you shared some screenshots of a guy doing something similar, hitting up way more brazenly, like hitting on you. And it was a white guy, so it’s like, it’s not like this is just, uh, Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani people.

[00:13:00] Um, It’s it’s all sorts of people. And like, I think to kind of tie this back into, cause I don’t, I don’t want people to be sitting here, like, why am I listening to, I’m gonna to complain about sexism and their personal experiences while that’s valid. And we should be able to complain about that, tie it back to like our brand, right.

[00:13:21] To back to underrepresented in tech. I think if you take something away from this conversation, take away the, the idea that not everyone is going to react to things the way that you might, right? If you are the straight white guy who’s single, and this woman approached you in a DM and starts hitting on you, that might feel really nice.

[00:13:43] That might feel really good. You might be really into that, but there are people, namely women, who are very sensitive to those sorts of things. Because even if somebody met as you Michelle, and they’re genuine, they, they like you, they think you’re really beautiful. They really would like to get to know you better.

[00:14:02] It comes off as massively predatory and very creepy. 

[00:14:08] Michelle: [00:14:08] Yeah. And I often will say to somebody, if you’re not…

[00:14:10] Allie: [00:14:10] necessary, 

[00:14:12] Michelle: [00:14:12] Twitter is not my dating profile. It’s a program I use it professionally. I do use it for fun. Sometimes I’ll post fun, little, um, polls and things like that, but it’s, it’s absolutely not a dating site and that’s not why I’m on Twitter.

[00:14:27] Um, and, and just to, you know, to kind of go back to the fact that I have, um, there are so many people that. All over the world who are so respectful and such amazing community members. And I do have quite a few people over in India and Bangladesh who call me auntie, which is a sign of respect to an older woman who they, they appreciate, you know, that kind of thing.

[00:14:50] And so like the first time one was called auntie, I was like, what is that all about? And I asked Nidhi Jain, I’m like, Nidhi, why are they calling me that? And she’s like, Oh, it’s a sign of respect of like, Oh my gosh, I fit in. You know? So like, yeah. So then my DMs are open for a reason and I want to continue to have incredible conversations with people.

[00:15:07] But if you turn to cringe, I’m a block. You like what, how to present. I’m gonna block you. 

[00:15:13] Allie: [00:15:13] Absolutely. And so if you are a man watching and you have tried to be nice to a woman before, and she blocked you, that is probably why, like, we tend to, I’m not trying to make excuses for anyone, but we tend to skew a little bit toward protecting ourselves.

[00:15:30] Right. Because. Or women in this world and we have to, and so if you’re just trying to be nice, it probably comes off a little bit stronger than you realize, especially if you’re doing it through Twitter. I get more of those on LinkedIn, honestly, like cold, cold DM-ing me. Or like, I have a ton of requests right now where it’s like this person trying to connect with me on LinkedIn.

[00:15:54] And they’re like, Oh, look, looking forward to connecting. I’d really like to chat with you. And I’m like, Nobody likes like professional, romantic, like DM, nobody likes cold outreach anyway. Right. You know, so if you, if you see someone on social media, like, wow, I really like this person. Be nice to them.

[00:16:15] Just maybe be friends with them, and see if it goes somewhere naturally. Like you don’t have to send someone a DM and ask, you know, What they’re doing or ask about if they’re married or, you know, 

[00:16:28] Michelle: [00:16:28] my, my general rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t, and this is specifically to the guys. Right. And it probably is to everybody, for sure.

[00:16:35] But if you wouldn’t say it to another guy, don’t say it to a girl. Like if you wouldn’t say to a man, um, so are you married then? Then don’t ask me. A woman, if I am married, if you wouldn’t say to a man, you know, hi dear, then don’t say it to me seriously. Keep it professional. Speak to me as though I were your equal and another guy in the community.

[00:16:59] And I’m perfectly okay with that. 

[00:17:01] Allie: [00:17:01] Yeah. A hundred percent. In this, in our little WordPress world, I do think of it sort of as an extension of a workplace. Right. So, yeah, if there are people that I’ve built a relationship with, like you, like we share personal stuff with each other, we share stuff with each other.

[00:17:17] We might not share with a coworker. Um, we use language with each other that we might not use with coworkers, but if it’s somebody I’m just meeting for the first time or, or only know as an acquaintance, then, I treat them and I try to think of them as though we were coworkers. And so that involves certain boundaries.

[00:17:35] Um, which, uh, I mean, that might be a whole other conversation, right. That there are some men who don’t understand that boundary and that’s why we have harassment trainings. And so, but it, it still stands like be professional, be chill, be yeah. 

[00:17:50] Michelle: [00:17:50] Normal, like nice. It’s just please. We’re just asking. Just be nice.

[00:17:56] Nice, but actually nice. Yeah. Nice. 

[00:17:59] Allie: [00:17:59] See, I have a similar thing, um, as, as yours where it’s like, if this is not something that you would want your mother to see, maybe don’t put it on social media or maybe don’t put it in a DM. Like if you would be embarrassed by your mom seeing it, don’t send it to, to, to a woman, don’t send it to anyone really, but, you know, yeah.

[00:18:20] Because I, I honestly love the whole trend of when, uh, when men send women unsolicited photos and they tracked down family members and send it, you know, to their mom on Facebook or something. I just think that is a peak justice.

[00:18:35] Michelle: [00:18:35] Absolutely. And that when those pictures are probably the way we don’t want them, we really don’t even want them.

[00:18:43] Allie: [00:18:43] I don’t think I’ve ever  like that from, I don’t want it under any circumstances. If I want to see it, I’ll look at it in person. I’m not going to forget what it looks like. You don’t have to remind me. 

[00:19:02] Michelle: [00:19:02] It’s just never necessary. Exactly. I actually had somebody send me an unsolicited D-pic the other day and would not stop with the harassment and I, and the block button was not working in the DMs that I was working that I was in.

[00:19:19] So I just resorted to saying, Ooh, what’s wrong with it? Is that a child’s, did you just send me a child’s pic? I’m going to have to report that as child pornography. And like suddenly I was blocked, which was okay with me. ‘Cause I didn’t want to talk to that person anyway. 

[00:19:33] Allie: [00:19:33] Exactly. See when I was, when I was online dating, before I, before I got married, I would just go on Google.

[00:19:42] And I would find my own picture and send it back to them. 

[00:19:47] Michelle: [00:19:47] And they don’t like that either.

[00:19:48] Allie: [00:19:48] Nope. I would find just the ugliest one I could find and send it back to them and be like, how do you like it?

[00:19:53] Michelle: [00:19:53] Exactly. 

[00:19:55] Allie: [00:19:55] And that was, I was not expecting this conversation to go here. 

[00:19:59] Michelle: [00:19:59] No, but, uh, but we can, we always keep it real.

[00:20:02] So we don’t know what we’re talking about next week. Well, we could decide what we’re gonna talk about next week. It’ll probably change, but, you know, Hey, if you find this entertaining or educational or informational, make sure to come back because we’re going to always between me and Allie, it’s going to be a hundred percent real.

[00:20:20] It’s sometimes uncomfortable, but that’s okay too. I can’t wait till you have to transcribe this later. And you’re like, Oh my God, we were talking about those. 

[00:20:32] Allie: [00:20:32] And that’s why I made sure not to actually say the word. Yeah.

[00:20:38] Michelle: Okay. Enough giggles. Yes, you too. If you’ve been paying attention, thanks for hanging in there with us, as always see you next week. 

[00:20:51] Allie: [00:20:51] Thanks for listening. We’ll be back next week with a new vlog. Until then find us on Twitter at, underrepdintech. Add yourself to, or search our free database at underrepresentedintech.com.