It’s late, and you’re so very tired.
You just finished another meaningless day at your thankless job, putting in too many hours only to see that prick Todd once again take credit for your work. You console yourself with the reminder that it could be worse — you could work at Google. Or Uber. Or Amazon Studios. Or Magic Leap. Or Tesla. Or Oracle.
But you shove all that aside, because the holiday season will soon be upon you and you’re determined to get through it. Things are expected of you — as you’re always reminded by some idiot telling you to “smile more” — and, despite all the bullshit, you’re going to exceed those expectations. Because, well, screw those assholes.
Still, the Platonic ideal of a bro-party that is your office is doing a secret Santa gift exchange this year, and you know you’ll never hear the end of it if you don’t participate. Something about “company morale” and “being a team player,” they’ll tell you.
Funny how HR only seems to care about morale when it doesn’t require them to address your repeated and well-documented complaints of pay discrimination.
You can’t think about that anymore, however. At least not tonight. No, tonight you must focus on another pressing matter: Just what secret Santa presents, exactly, you are going to buy the tech bros in your office.
After mixing yourself a cocktail and collapsing onto the couch, you pull out your phone and start looking for gift guides. Not that you need one, but spending any more of your precious free time worrying about pleasing those idiots is going to be the death of you. You want to get this done with as quickly as possible, and that Mashable article titled “The super chill guide to buying gifts for tech bros” just happens to be at the top of your News Feed.
So you click.
Widely recognized as playing a pivot role in second-wave feminism, Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique is the perfect gift for the recalcitrant tech bro in your life who also happens to be your manager.
The book, published in 1963, pushed for a rejection of the outmoded ideas governing women’s roles in the workplace specifically and society in general. You’re pretty confident that your boss has never given a second thought to the problem that has no name, despite his love of whiteboarding his way through everything, so this is sure to be a challenging read for him.
He always says he “likes challenges.”
Price: $1.04 on Amazon
This one may be a bit on the nose, but subtlety and nuance aren’t really the defining characteristics of the tech bro set.
Taking its name from Rebecca Solnit’s eponymous 2008 essay, this 2014 collection of Solnit’s writings is considered a modern feminist classic. In addition to being a great read, Men Explain Things To Me will help your favorite technology enthusiast get up to speed on why eagerly explaining a women’s own work to her is a bad look.
The best gifts are the ones that never go out of style.
Price: $11.50 on Amazon
Because you know the tech bro on the receiving end of The Feminine Mystique is going to “well, actually,” you, why not preemptively cut him off with a second gift consisting of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex?
Published in 1949, this foundational feminist text examines and challenges the notion that male is or should be the default lens through which we view the world. It inspired Friedan’s writings, and is taught in gender and women’s studies courses across the country for good reason.
And hey, it’s long since been translated from the original French, so the recipient of this thoughtful gift — who is only willing to learn new languages if they’re taught at bootcamps — will have no excuse.
Price: $14.30 on Amazon
Because even tech bros could use a little intersectionality and postcolonialism in their lives, Trinh T. Minh-ha’s Woman, Native, Other: Writing Postcoloniality and Feminism is surefire win as a gift.
Trinh is a professor at UC Berkeley, which is guaranteed to get the attention of all the Oski the Bear fans in the office. Even better, however, is the fact that her book (one of eight she’s had published) speaks to oppression faced by all women around the globe and doesn’t limit itself to the struggles of solely white women.
This is the perfect fit for that tech bro in the office who always claims that he needs to see all sides of an issue before making up his mind on anything that could be considered controversial.
Price: $13.99 on Amazon
Tech bros are all about life hacks to get into the zone. Well, author Virginia Woolf came up with the OG life hack: Addressing and exploring the fact that women are often required to make their own physical spaces and secure financial independence as a prerequisite to being creative in this messed up world.
A Room of One’s Own, published in 1929, touches on that and more.
If the recipient of your thoughtful gift doesn’t quite understand that, maybe tell them it’s like how they always rail against open-office plans, but instead of their need to have a private space so they can ignore colleagues this is about the need for women to have safe spaces away from dudes prone to dole out sexual harassment.
It’s an inexact analogy, but sometimes simplicity is the best bet.
Price: $9.35 on Amazon
Oh, what’s that you say? These great options not doing it for you? You’re a tech bro yourself looking to give a fellow bro a present? We hear electric skateboards are popular.