Silicon Valley Shows Us The Grossest, Most Sexist Punishment Ever

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Photo: John P. Johnson/HBO.
Silicon Valley is a show that succeeds in a lot of ways: phallic humour, insults, and capturing the weirdly specific quirks of the California tech industry. Because of that latter talent, there’s some latent sexism baked into the show, mirroring Silicon Valley’s real-life issues with misogyny. The season 4 premiere, "Success Failure," takes all that sexism to its most unexpected, disgusting end in the form of Monica’s new office.
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If you don’t remember how season 3 ended for the Silicon Valley crew's sole female member, I’m sorry to break it to you, but it didn’t go well. The board of Pied Piper, the magical fictional algorithm the comedy is built around, has their final meeting in "The Uptick." The board meeting’s purpose is to approve the sale of Pied Piper to the highest bidder after the app suffered a number of public failures. Monica goes against her boss and refuses to vote for the sale, since she believes the highest bidder is Valley bad guy Gavin Belson (Matt Ross).
Although Monica was misinformed about whom Pied Piper was actually going to when she voted against Laurie, the older woman doesn’t actually care. All she sees is that Monica betrayed her, so she gives her a very gross punishment.
In the season 4 premiere, Pied Piper founder Richard (Thomas Middleditch) goes to visit Monica and finds she’s been moved out of her office to a spot "way down the hall." When Richard finally finds Monica’s new office, it’s revealed she’s been placed in a glass room directly across from the men’s bathroom. Her desk even lines up directly with bathroom entryway, so every time a guy opens the door, she’s forced to see directly inside.
"Laurie is punishing me for taking your side and going against her," Monica explains to Richard. "So she moved me down here."
That means one of the sole female employees at this V.C. firm is forced to watch men urinate throughout the work day. As punishment. Not only is Monica probably seeing unwanted penises all day, every day — which is already sexual harassment — but also catching glimpses of them peeing.
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If Monica were to even try to bring a legal case against her company, she would likely only hurt herself. Laurie can easily deny the office move was orchestrated specifically to ensure Monica saw an endless stream of unwanted genitalia. Plus, the embattled employee would end up severing ties with her longtime employer and possibly look overly sensitive to any prospective future employers. All of this makes Laurie’s punishment especially creepy and insidious.
Plus, on top of all of that, there’s the simple fact that Laurie, a fellow woman, is the one who did this to Monica. "Success Failure" ends with Gavin pulling a similar stunt on his new rival and former Pied Piper CEO, Jack Barker (Stephen Tobolowsky). After years of ingesting pop culture, we expect men to treat each other terribly in the most infantile of ways.
In a male-dominated town like Silicon Valley, women deserve a lot better from each other.
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