7 Apr 2000 jennv   » (Journeyer)


It's interesting how reluctant I am to write this entry. The probable reaction to what I want to say inhibits me from saying it.

Hell. The probable reaction to what I want to _be_ inhibits me from being it.

I'm female. I'm moderately attractive (and yes, that IS relevant). I've been a tomboy and a hacker and a geek all my life.

I've experienced, and beaten, a lot of gender-bias. I've also experienced, and beaten, the same geek-bias that just about everyone else here has.

And now I'm here, where I feel I belong, and .. I feel unwelcome. Why? Because I'm female. And moderately attractive.

It happens almost everywhere geeky I go. (Netizen has been, so far, the only exception.)

It happens in all sorts of subtle, small ways. Going to a meeting at someone's house where there's both geeks and non-geek wives, and being automatically welcomed to the 'wives' side. (odd, there were no non-geek husbands.) Discovering that your geek boyfriend was using you as eye candy and a social 'boost'. Having a discussion about internal vs external modems interrupted by a chat-up line or two 'casually' thrown in.

... or having a 'no, please don't use the term _journeyman_' request answered with a rather harsh flame which summarises to 'gee, you girls are wimps'.


Well, I guess the Linuxchix Issues FAQ is far more important than I thought.

To those who think that gender-politics don't matter, please PLEASE accept that people like me HAVE thought these things through. And have a point of view you may not have.

Please listen. And if you do have a dispute with us, please make it more sensible and unemotional than name-calling. We're not wimps.


Several posts have stated that both sides aren't listening. Since I admit that my view is doubtless biased, and I don't seem to be able to figure out what the other viewpoint is, could someone please try to state it? Again? In a different way?

I'm responsible for doing the 'issues' FAQ for LinuxChix, so I have a responsibility to try to see the gender problem from both/all points of view. I want to do this right. I want to understand.

To try to help people explain it to me, I'll rephrase what I'm hearing, and make my responses. If I miss anything, please say so. If my responses don't address the issue, please say so.

'just shut up and stop whining'
I tend to ignore that one, because I do perceive this (whether both genders feel welcome) as an important issue.

'you're making US uncomfortable now!'
This is important. I don't want either gender to be uncomfortable. I don't have a solution. Maintaining the status quo is NOT a solution. Please help find one.

'yes there are problems but there will always be problems. live with it'
Hm. This one is difficult to answer. My reaction to it is to ask if the people with this viewpoint are happy to be chasing women away. The common answer to that appears to be..

'we don't chase women away, we treat them just the same as men'
Well, maybe - but if that's so, why are there so few women in this field? And why do so many of those who are in the field report feelings of unwelcome and intimidation? Maybe the way you treat men is intimidating to women - for some reason. I don't know what reason.

'but you want to discriminate against ME'
No. I don't.

other things...
I don't understand the accusations in the thread (following the article) about bias. Or the challenge to admit 'our' bias. Sorry, but thats the truth - I don't know what the hell he's talking about. I'd like an explanation of that, so I can address that issue.

There will definately be things I've missed here.

Please consider this a dry run for part of the LinuxChix Issues FAQ, and an invitation to contribute. You can answer here, or in private email to me. jennv at the usual sourceforge email*.

*(Wording it that way so spamgrovelling mail doesn't reach me. You know that eventually SOMETHING is going to decide these diaries are a goldmine of 'wealthy geek' email addresses.)

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