[Adult language warning.]
Dinosaurs still exist, and they occupy positions of power in the American Society for Quality. Of course this article will enrage said brontosauri, who will noisly demand they retain the right to objectify women at any turn. While evolution takes its sweet time removing these folks from the gene pool, we’re stuck with them, and have to tolerate their intolerance, lest they label us intolerant. Get it?
Now, for reasons unknown, ASQ has selected this exact moment — you know, the same one where Harvey Weinstein’s scandals are all over the news — to remind you that even sexist dinosaurs need love too. Despite the fact that it is now facing a national scandal over its inability to do the one thing that everyone else on the planet managed to do, and denounce racism, someone at ASQ thought it was a good time to repost a 1970 photo from a Philadelphia Section meeting wherein they honored one Gail Zimmerman as “Miss Quality Control” and called her “piquant,” meaning “engagingly provocative, spicy.” That’s nice.
It appears that Ms. Zimmerman never again had anything to do with ASQ, after being “decorously draped” and deemed “a touch of lightness.” Coming, quite literally, from the typing pool of electronics manufacturer Leeds and Northrup, the old press clipping indicated that Ms. Zimmerman would cause “those who look askance at quality” to take “a second look,” presumably howling and whistling as they did so. Weinstein would have been proud, presuming he wasn’t there giving ASQ marketing tips at the time.
Let’s face it — this was borderline acceptable behavior in 1970, when women’s liberation was already under full swing, so the old pasty fat idiots at ASQ were already pushing their luck. What’s just absolutely so inexplicable is why on Earth someone at ASQ would be so incredibly boneheaded as to revive this sexist garbage at the same time there’s a debate over just how horrible ASQ leadership is when it pertains to matters of racism and sexism.
This comes during the same year that ASQ Fellow Duke Okes stamped his foot and “mansplained” that the word “bitch” isn’t a sexist obscenity, because (in his dictionary) it only means “to complain.”
The comfortable atmosphere that ASQ is providing for the worst members of human society may not be an accident. Whereas in 2002, the ASQ leadership managed to denounce racism in an almost passing, matter-of-fact manner, the current leadership — led by retired Army LT. General William Troy — suddenly is crippled in doing so. This leads me to believe that the ASQ corporate culture is so impossibly damaged, they have no idea that they are doing anything wrong.
Troy’s not helping. In a discussion I had with him about Quality Progress editor Seiche Sanders, who was found to be openly violating QP’s “blind” peer-review editorial policies by rejecting articles critical of ISO 9001 and granting column inches only to “friendlies” like Jack West and Charles Cianfrani, Troy asked me to leave Sanders out of it, because… get ready .. she was pregnant. In Troy’s mind, I presume, a woman “in the family way” is far too delicate a creature to have to answer uncomfortable questions about possibly violating company policies. Mind you, pregnancy didn’t limit her ability to actually violate those policies, just answer questions about them. At the same time, ASQ has done absolutely nothing to lobby Congress to improve maternity leave rights for Quality professionals, because it’s too busy selling dubious “certifications” to them instead.
If Troy is that much of a dinosaur, it’s no wonder ASQ is so bafflingly stupid they think now is a good time to remind everyone of the stupid sexist thing they did during the same year the Women’s Strike for Equality was underway.
It’s not clear what the ASQ social media idiot meant by tweeting “a lot has changed over the years,” but I’m assuming they mean how back in 1970 they had to use coy terms like “piquant” and “decorous” to describe a token woman, rather than call her a “bitch” like the ASQ of 2017.
I’d notify the ASQ Board and ask them to take another look at Troy’s position, but since only four of the 20 Board members are women, I’m pretty sure I’d be wasting my time.
About Christopher Paris
Christopher Paris is the founder and VP Operations of Oxebridge. He has over 30 years' experience implementing ISO 9001 and AS9100 systems, and is a vocal advocate for the development and use of standards from the point of view of actual users. He is the author of Surviving ISO 9001 and Surviving AS9100. He reviews wines for the irreverent wine blog, Winepisser.