No, I Don't Want a Ticket for the Women's Luncheon

Women in Technology

Perhaps one of my greatest pet peeves is the term "women in technology." The hatred of this term began for me in middle school when the school's IT director set up an elective class titled "Women in Technology." She came to me explicitly and asked me to join because I had just participated in creating the school's first website (and if you're out there, Mrs. Weber, thank you for jumpstarting my web career). I eagerly agreed that it was a perfect fit. She meant well, I'm sure, but the only memory I have of the class is a group of teenage girls, myself included, at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory putting tiny sweaters on tiny stuffed bears, sipping hot cocoa, and talking about boys. What did this field trip have to do with technology, let alone women in technology?

So when I attended DevConnections in Las Vegas for the first time, it was with great hesitation that I accepted the ticket for the Women in Technology Luncheon. Meet us for lunch Wednesday afternoon, and celebrate women in technology. By Wednesday morning, my husband--also attending the conference--was cringing every time I noticed the ticket tucked in my badge holder and bracing himself for another tirade.

My initial hesitation about going to the luncheon had gradually grown into a vehement denial that the luncheon should exist in the first place. What was the point of it? Was it a support group? A private club with a "no boys allowed" sign stuck on the table? I had come to this conference to learn about exciting changes in the industry, and here I was, 15 years later, being invited to clothe teddy bears again. In reality, the luncheon was probably a pleasant gathering of intelligent women--I don't know, I couldn't bring myself to go. But to me, it was more than a luncheon: it was a giant neon sign that flashed, "Look at us. We're different."

Pride in Successful Women

Don't get me wrong. I am not ashamed of being female, and I don't agree that women should be excluded from or marginalized in an industry that is, currently, male-dominated. I admit to feeling great pride when I see successful women in the industry, such as Michele Leroux Bustamante and Julie Lerman. In fact, I loved introducing my team of developers (all male) to WCF and Entity Framework, not only because the technologies are fantastic, but also because I could point to the names on the covers of the books and say, "See? You don't need a beard or an extended forehead to be an expert."

What bothers me about "women in technology" is the apparent need to beat their bosoms and proclaim that the industry must change to accommodate them, must recognize that they exist, must treat them equally!! -- but differently.

Feminism is a Humanism

In college, I grudgingly took a class entitled "Feminist Bioethics." Great, I thought when I signed up for the class, an entire quarter on abortion. Still, it was the only bioethics class at the university, so I decided to take a chance.

I was surprised by the class, not only because of the variety of bioethical issues that were specific to women that had never occurred to me, but also because it taught me what feminism actually is--and what it is not.

Feminism is not the idea that women are better than men. Feminism is not the idea that women should be vaunted and revered. Feminism is not the idea that men should pay for millennia of misogyny and inequality. Feminism is simply the idea that, yes, men and women are different--and it doesn't matter. When it comes down to it, both men and women are human. This transcends gender, sex, roles--it is a simple and undeniable truth. The core belief of feminism--more aptly named humanism--is that anyone, male or female or otherwise, is entitled to the basic rights and privileges and respect that is due to any human.

That's it! Gender plays no part in your being human. I am proposing that gender need not play any part in your career in technology, either. As Stacey Mulcahy says, "I hope that if someone chooses to toss an adjective in front of your job title, that it is about your qualifications - not your gender." By calling yourself a "woman in technology" and hosting a special luncheon, you are putting that adjective on your job title yourself.

"I totally fucking disagree!"

Which is why it is infuriating when women in technology start imposing themselves on the industry and demand that it change to accommodate them. It is that attitude that leads Uncle Bob to admonish male developers that there are ladies present and to act accordingly. It's not Uncle Bob's fault; his heart is in the right place. He admits that he doesn't understand what the hell women in technology want. That’s because women in technology want it all: praise for standing up against adversity and no adversity. At the same time. Of the examples that Uncle Bob brings up in his article, only one woman seemed to have any sense: the one that yelled, "I totally fucking disagree."

Self-discrimination

Yes, there are some challenges with being a woman in technology. But how many of those are self-imposed or imagined? I kept my pregnancy a secret from my developers for months because I didn't want to draw attention to the fact that I am female. I didn’t want to lose any of the respect that I had worked hard for as their peer and later as their manager. Did any one of them care when I finally revealed it? Did it affect their opinions of me? Of course not. It was a ridiculous fear, just as ridiculous as the idea that men making sex jokes at a conference threatens women's place in the industry.

Professionalism

Uncle Bob makes the point that those types of jokes are unprofessional no matter who is in the room, and I do agree with that. But that's an entirely different argument altogether. It has nothing to do with women. Generic sex jokes don't hurt women any more than they hurt men. But what if the joke is directed at someone in particular?

Two of my male colleagues joked the other day that a female colleague had to have been so successful because she gave sexual favors to an industry leader, not because she had any real skill. My temper flared. This is exactly what women have to put up with! But as I thought about it later, I realized that, had they been talking about a man, I probably wouldn't have cared. But wouldn't the joke have been just as hurtful? What if they had just said that she was a brownnoser? Isn't that essentially the same thing? And the bottom line is that I also have no idea why this particular person is so successful--she doesn't appear to have the skills to match her success. For all I know, my male colleagues could have been on the right track.

And if we want to talk about professionalism, why should men have to put up with women bursting into tears at the slightest conflict? "Not all women are like that! That’s a stereotype!" Oh, but all brogrammers are misogynists?

Be proud of who you are because of what you do

Meanwhile, the most successful women in technology are respected because they are experts in their craft, not because they are loud and disruptive about issues that, at the end of the day, aren't holding any of us back in our careers. If you want a raise, then ask. If you want a promotion, then ask. If you see actual evidence of discrimination, then it is your duty to make it known. The statistics about women being underpaid and underemployed in comparison to their male counterparts are real. Those statistics have to change.

But keep in mind that intentionally labeling and setting yourself apart is directly sabotaging your goal of desensitizing the industry to the novelty of women. The most important part of who you are in your career is not your gender, so stop categorizing yourself as "women in technology." That label does nothing for your salary, it does nothing for your job title, and it does nothing to prove that you are an equal. Only your work and your passion can do that.

Comments (37) -

Earpwald
Earpwald
5/2/2013 3:35:52 AM #

Samantha,

Thats the best post I've read on a long time on the idea of feminism/women in IT.  For me I honestly don't care if my co-workers are male or female, as long as they are willing to pull their weight in the team.

It does annoy me when I hear about situations where people are getting into trouble about sexist remarks when made in the light of humor.  Not everyone finds a joke funny but if its intended as a joke then there should be no issue.  For example in my group of friends at work, we would almost certainly make a few jokes which could be interpreted as sexist by others, and any of us could get in trouble for that.  However we also spend as much time making fun of ourselves as well as other men, which would never get us in any trouble.

As for the idea that those kind of jokes are unprofessional in the workplace, well yes they probably are.  However look at a lot of IT houses around the world and you'll quickly see that the idea of professionalism is changing fairly rapidly.  Suit and black tie are no longer the order of the day.  The work environment is being made to be more fun and relaxed.  I do believe that humor is valuable to any team, as it helps bring people together and smooth over cracks that can form when working on difficult projects.  If that sort of humor is what appeals to that group of people, well yes you can say they are childish and unprofessional, but they'll be happier and work better.  After all professionalism is just a made up word to force people to conform to a preset idea about how to act.  Imo, developers often work best when they are allowed to be creative and dont need to conform to specific business hours or how to dress or act.

For me, the problems which women face in the IT industry are related to the idea that they must have special treatment.  The thought that they are special and should be treated as such automatically singles them out from the group and that instantly means that the team is split.  The sooner guys get over the "Oh wow...a woman" phase and more women stop looking to have special rights to discipline someone on what they've said, above just disagreeing with it and moving on, the sooner we can all work to produce much better systems.

I know this has been quite a long spiel....i just want to finish by saying that to anyone who reads this and feels put out or who disagrees...i dont care.  Feedback on any points is great if constructive, but after all this is my opinion and just that.

All the best Smile

Jonathan Dickinson
Jonathan Dickinson
5/2/2013 7:05:52 AM #

This isn't unique to women. We all used to take the mickey out of a homophobic person in our office (yes, very dirty jokes).

In the words of Linus Torvalds [paraphrased]: "I offend people because people who can be offended should be offended."

Should you respect women? Yes. Should you make broad sweeping conclusions about what could offend a woman? No. The very same woman in the other argument I made very often chimes into our dirty discussions; and generally shuts up the men by offending THEM.

Jokes also somewhat go hand-in-hand with the personality traits that make good IT staff. If someone can't weather the jokes they are either in the industry to prove a point or for the money; and they can fuck off.

Linda van der Pal
Linda van der Pal
5/2/2013 7:17:34 AM #

Is it a good idea to push all people who dislike sexual innuendo from our industry? I don't think so. You don't need sexual innuendo to allow jokes in your environment.

Hmm, that sounds a lot harsher than I intended it to.

What I mean is that we need to leave everyone their own values and don't push them on everyone who would like to enter our industry.

JoshLeaves
JoshLeaves
5/2/2013 10:37:46 AM #

I think what Linus meant was more along the lines of "Sure, we can get offended by stuff. But do we have to get on our high horses for every single offense? We are here to work, people who are here for drama should be pushed away.".

Or in our case: should I punch this coworker in the face because he made a comment that offended me in any way, should I simply accept his "eccentricity"  (just as much as he accepts mines) or stop working with him? (Okay, obviously, we have limits on what we can take and even Linus would surely get annoyed after the first million of "yo-momma" jokes in the Linux Kernel mailing-list, but I'll let common sense prevail...)

The same issue happened with brogramming.
Though I don't think much of this ironic-joke-group (thinks ironic in the sense "hipsters" describe themselves as ironic but just look "funny stupid" from the outside) self-designed members were really misogynist, suddenly, they were branded as a group excluding women (though I'm sure some women were playing the "brogramming" game too) and just had to accept it: some women feeling excluded because they didn't share their humor meant they were excluding all women. No defense for them, they just had to forgo of their "funny attitude": no more ironic and stupid "Yes brâaaah! We're gonna rage on the project tonight! You ready for the gym brâaaah?" in the office. Just keeping the sunglasses for the summer...

And there it was: the community that we thought based on "let's achieve stuff all together" was now basing itself on a witch hunt to anybody who may have ever said a sexy (not sexist) joke.

Meanwhile, no woman raised an eyebrow about "Programmer Ryan Gosling"...and I don't think I heard any man complain either... So I feel relieved: it seems like there are still people who adhere to your "Leave everyone their own values" motto ;)

Samantha
Samantha
5/2/2013 8:42:23 PM #

Hey boy....I agree with your comments. ;)

Linda van der Pal
Linda van der Pal
5/2/2013 4:14:58 AM #

But is it really so wrong that I want to surround myself with women who have the same passion as I have every once in a while? I don't mind being surrounded by men. I love going to conferences and attend as many as I can. Which is the same thing as surrounding myself with men at the moment. But every once in a while I like to be surrounded by women as well. That is the reason I started Duchess (a network of women interested in the programming language Java and it's ecosystem).

Samantha
Samantha
5/2/2013 6:41:22 PM #

It's not wrong to want to be around other women for a change. I just wish it was something that we wouldn't even have to consider organizing.

Wouldn't it be ridiculous for there to be a program called Duke that was exclusively for men interested in Java?

I'm not saying anything bad about Duchess (and, believe it or not, I'm not really saying anything bad about the WIT luncheons). All I'm hoping is that, in the future, it will be just as inane and redundant for there to be a technology group just for women as it would be to have a group just for men today.

Rob
Rob
5/2/2013 4:21:20 AM #

This is the first, well though out piece about this subject written by anyone that says what I've been trying to say for years, but I haven't been able to say it myself. Well done.

Peter
Peter
5/2/2013 4:33:20 AM #

Last year, less than 15% of computer science degrees were awarded to women. At this point, simple discrimination does not account for this. We have to have honest discussions as to why this is, and how to fix it. Pretending that "gender need not play any part in your career in technology" is simply being dishonest.

The problem, of course, is that women are different from men. Most industries have structural discrimination. Women who want families need to do that by age 35. Men don't. The output over the course of a career is identical whether you have kids at 30 or at 40. On the other hand, if you're going to be a lawyer, that's the period where you either do or don't make partner. Academia? That's the tenure period. Most industries are very conveniently structured such that men can make it by age 40, and then sit on their butts and have plenty of time to raise families. Women don't have that luxury.

There are cultural differences between the genders. Communication styles are different. Is this nature or nurture? At the end of the day, it doesn't matter. It is more difficult for women to make it in an industry dominated by male culture, and vica-versa. Most of the female developers I know who made it did so by adopting  male culture -- in some cases explicitly, and in some cases, implicitly (they grew up as a tomboy). Many very qualified women leave computer science simply because they don't feel comfortable in the culture. This is not good.

I agree with the bulk of what you said -- singling out women in technology (and other minorities in general) causes more harm than good. You went a bit overboard, however, to bury the problems which exist in the way much of the rest of your article did.

tasha
tasha
5/2/2013 8:41:54 AM #

>Women who want families need to do that by age 35. Men don't.

This is.. a strange argument. Are you saying that a man can birth his own child? Or that he has his pick of the litter of women who are younger than him? Sure he can still generate sperm, I suppose, but does that mean someone younger than him will accept it?

Julien Dorra
Julien Dorra
5/2/2013 1:30:35 PM #

Tasha, you know very well what that means :

1. many successful men still choose to have kids later in life, prioritizing their career, and yes, then they have children with (slightly) younger women. Not hard to see around us.

2. women still take the vast majority of children rearing tasks, allowing the father to not bother mostly.
This is especially striking with infant, babies and pre-10 children. Not hard to see around us, at kindergarden and schools if not at home.

This hurt women in many ways, emotionnally, in term of independance -- and I would argue that it hurts couple stability on the short and long run: the woman and the man life/family/personal life experience start to strongly diverge, which in our society is not OK for couples. (briefly, today our vision of love is sharing many things, so not sharing kids rearing really builds up to divide and mutual incomprehension.)

With feminism, the intimate is political.

How we raise children, how we split (or still do not split) children education equally: it's still one of the main root of gender/sex inequality at work and in careers. Because, fundementally, it's where natural differences turn into cultural differences invisibly and, well, 'naturally'.

Yes, men, changing your baby's diapers is actively taking part in gender equality at work. Yes it helps women (at least one) to have better careers, to be more independant. (By the way, it also connect you with you baby when she/he can talk. Clean diapers are *very* pleasant for babies, believe me Smile

It's hard to discuss for men, because then men have to really measure up, and that's where many men start to back up on their "I'm all for equality" stances.



Samantha
Samantha
5/2/2013 6:57:26 PM #

I don't think I buried the fact that there is inequality, and I explicitly avoided laying blame on any group.

My point was that there are problems. I don't know what the solution is, but I know that labeling ourselves is not it.

Collin
Collin
5/2/2013 9:49:48 PM #

For many people who enter computer science and take jobs as programmers and software engineers their interest in technology started with things like the Nintendo and progressed to more involved  PC games. PC games give the average player a head start in learning about IT compared to those who do not play them.  

When I was in high school in the mid to late 90s, girls my age universally dismissed console games as childish and PC games/gamers as nerdy and untouchable (at least publicly). Most guys also viewed them as nerdy but the difference was that some of us guys didn't care about the stigma.

We had Duke Nuke'm installed in the computer lab and it was always PACKED with guys having a great time during lunch. I regularly went and had a great time until some fuddy duddy had it shut down after about a year.  During that period I never saw one girl partake. We would have been more than welcoming.  

It was just something they didn't do. The nerds in the computer lab grew up and got into computer science because it was something we enjoyed and were interested in.

I think the stigma about games has been steadily changing and becoming both ubiquitous and socially acceptable, but we really won't start to see gender parity in IT until 10 years after there is gender parity in highschool aged PC gamers.

Chris Beach
Chris Beach
5/2/2013 5:16:26 AM #

Really well written article and I thoroughly agree with your sentiment.

Prejudice is the genuine problem that causes gender disparity. Women prejudge the industry and men prejudge women.

What amplifies this prejudice is a bunch of women getting together and organising a "women in technology" sub-group. Rather than integrating with the real tech community, which we all want to be gender-blind

Samantha
Samantha
5/2/2013 7:57:09 PM #

Well said!

Anonymous
Anonymous
5/2/2013 5:20:02 AM #

I agree with the sentiment. I think though you are arguing from a position of strength. Im not good at reason but my gut says this. Women are oftener than men stifled by the culture they are raised in. Stifled by worrying if they are going to make someone upset - stifled by trying to have two competing worries at the same time family and work. Its rare that someone says to a woman - pick one work hard at it. Its not just children even if a woman has no children its her mother or grandparent she worries about this impacts her job.  I disagree with just taking what you will like a man does - there has to be the admission that a woman will pick her family and the idea that a woman will worry more about her appearance and sex and what that means - that men will be judgmental because they as a human will use anything to get an edge including -isms. You forget the whole house of cards ponzi scheme of our economy was built in the first place on a whole host of crappy dysfunctional relationship schema and just trying to do your best is really not one of them.  

Kev
Kev
5/2/2013 5:38:21 AM #

typo: vaulted -> vaunted

Interesting article, as was Uncle Bob's, and while I might be a little wiser for having read them I'm not sure I'm closer to knowing which view is closest to being correct.

Samantha
Samantha
5/2/2013 8:44:17 PM #

Nah, I totally think women should be vaulted, like with a pole and everything.

Wait! That could be a sexual innuendo!

Fixed. Thanks!

Fuxy
Fuxy
5/2/2013 5:39:15 AM #

I completely agree I never understood why women in technology like to make a big deal out of themselves I mean the only reason the IT industry doesn't attract a lot of women is because it's not a female friendly topic for most of them.
Now it's not our fault(men) that women are not attracted to this field and most of us would certainly enjoy the company of more ladies in our industry but don't expect special treatment.
Also please don't complain about some innocent jokes directed at females in general men act differently in the company of mostly men and so do women.
Here's an example. As a man try joining a group of say 5 women i will bet you the topic of discussion would change to the guy one of them met last night, some weirdo that tried to pick one of them up or those lovely shoes she saw at the mall.  
The only difference is we don't find it offensive when women objectify men as a gender.

Jonathan Dickinson
Jonathan Dickinson
5/2/2013 5:53:13 AM #

Thank you for the level-headed post, my sentiments exactly.

I have read a great many posts about "how IT doesn't have enough woman to satisfy equity employment," and the reasoning is *without exception* that "men marginalize or exclude women in the industry." I'm not convinced - at least from the perspective of where I work.

We don't have a very large amount of women in development, but there is one that comes to mind. Everyone bends over backwards for her as a "component owner" (a merger between a manager and developer) - it's not because she is a woman, it's because she is bloody good at what she does. I think the most important reason she has that level of command is because *she wants to be here*.

To be honest, maybe IT isn't starved of women because "men are excluding them," but rather simply "they just aren't interested." If I put myself into the shoes of a zealous feminist; IT is the last place I would want to make a point - more prominent industries like medicine, civil engineering or politics come to mind instead.

That's not to say that marginalization doesn't happen, men can tend to be dirty bunch; I guess it just depends on how used to women the men are. Just one strong-headed woman can make a lot of difference there (the converse applies too, an equity hire is going to do a lot more harm than good - because of the way our industry works).

Basically: "if you are here to prove that one set of genitals is better than another there's the door. If you are here to prove you are better than anyone else there's your desk."

Samantha
Samantha
5/2/2013 8:33:00 PM #

I couldn't agree more. Well said!

Eric
Eric
5/2/2013 6:22:35 AM #

Finally, someone wrote my exact feelings on the topic. Thank you!

Samantha
Samantha
5/2/2013 8:31:40 PM #

Thank you! Smile

Dan Calacci
Dan Calacci
5/2/2013 6:34:58 AM #

First, I want to say that it's awesome that you chose to write about this. It's an important issue and creating a discussion around it helps raise awareness and understanding.

But I have some criticisms.

I think that your premise is sound, but your conclusion is wrong. Many women do feel uncomfortable in many of the situations you outlined. Feeling uncomfortable about your pregnancy _is_ about feeling uncomfortable about being a woman in your field or your office. And it might feel ridiculous, because feeling uncomfortable about your gender in a "post-feminist" workplace doesn't really make sense, does it?

Except a lot of women feel this way, and it cannot be directly attributed to them. It's poignant to say that women themselves are partly to blame, because peoples' lack of action can often perpetuate those feelings.

However, the main culprit IS the society itself, not individual women. It's not a particular persons' fault for feeling a certain way, and it's certainly not an entire group's fault for sharing a feeling of discomfort.

When hundreds of thousands of women who work in tech feel the same way, that's not a sign that they all need to realize that their insecurity is 'imagined'. It's a sign that something about their environment is making them feel that way.

Feeling uncomfortable about being a woman in technology is a symptom of a male-oriented culture, not a cause. To say otherwise is to perpetuate the culture that makes women uncomfortable in the first place!

--

RE: comments about a woman using a sexual favor to get to her position:
Comments like this are not harmful because they affect a single employee (although they are disrespectful, disgusting, and rude). They are harmful because they use language and concepts that objectify and derogate women. When someone uses this language (or calls a full-grown woman a 'girl', or comments on a woman's physical attractiveness in a professional setting, etc), and is not reprimanded, it perpetuates a culture that trivializes and invalidates womens' professional accomplishments, praises and characterizes them for physical or sexual qualities rather than professional ones, and makes it that much more OK for someone to make a similar statement in the future.

This kind of culture is what makes women have second thoughts about showing their pregnancy. Not an individual delusion or dramatization.

--

Yes, feminism is about egalitarianism, but that simply means that it is a movement that works towards that goal. In a society that is already sexist and already uses language like I mentioned above, active forces are needed to change the culture in such a way that will move towards that egalitarianism.

Every day, when you don't call someone out on gendered or sexist language, you assist in perpetuating a stand-still culture that believes gender equality has already arrived. It hasn't. There's still a lot of work to do, and most of it has to do with our language and every day behaviors.

Samantha
Samantha
5/2/2013 8:31:01 PM #

I don't doubt that there are environments where the sexual discrimination is legitimate.

I've never worked in one, yet I still had the fear.

My point is not that discrimination doesn't exist. My point is that women may fear that it exists in places where it doesn't. The industry is changing. We need to let down our guard a bit and see that it may not be as bad as we think it is.

Laurel
Laurel
5/2/2013 7:38:06 AM #

Samantha,
Thank you for your post. I'm with you: enough with the pink.

However, I think there is something to be said about gathering a specific group of people together to discuss what they care about. If this gathering of awesome women want to talk about the new features of C#, then good. Or if it's about mentoring and learning from senior woman leaders in the community (like you point out), I think that is really important. However, I expect these sessions to be as useful as any other session at a conference. I want to learn from, network with, and challenge problems with other women and men together. Let's be proactive. Let's be the best we possibly can be every day--regardless of gender.

Peter
Peter
5/2/2013 4:38:38 PM #

"If this gathering of awesome women want to talk about the new features of C#, then good."

Even then, why is it to anyone's advantage to have a women's only meeting to discuss those features?

The mentoring thing probably makes good sense though.

Samantha
Samantha
5/2/2013 8:10:53 PM #

Agreed.

Samantha
Samantha
5/2/2013 8:18:20 PM #

Very true, Laurel. I very much agree that people with similar interests and experiences should be able to group together and benefit from each other.

I would rather join a group where the main category is programming--something I chose to be interested in--rather than my gender. Why exclude the majority of the industry leaders just because I don't share their gender?

Mike
Mike
5/2/2013 8:47:22 AM #

I began to write a comment, but I feel like Dan Calacci has done an excellent job stating a lot of my concerns.

How many times have you thought, "Oh, he only got the job because he's a man?" How many times have you heard people speaking about positive attributes of working with a coworker and looks were put on the same level as professional skill?

If we were talking about racial stereotypes or jokes in the office, would we dismiss them out of hand? Sexual innuendo doesn't necessarily carry a connotation of power on its own, but when used in an unbalanced environment, and one in which men are traditionally assumed to be the "default," I have no problems with it being an uncomfortable topic. I've been in all-male workgroups or meetings and have wondered if it'd be a comfortable team for a woman to be on, if only for the dynamic that exists.

Samantha
Samantha
5/2/2013 8:09:04 PM #

I'm as guilty of using sexual innuendo as any man I work with. The appropriateness depends on the context.

I won't speak to anyone else's experience, but I've found that proving yourself to be a worthy team member earns you the respect that implicitly includes you in the group dynamic, regardless of gender. That gives me the right to join in with the banter...or tell the guys to can it and get back to work.

Jason Mauer
Jason Mauer
5/2/2013 10:03:13 AM #

The remark about dressing up teddy bears reminded me of a DigiGirlz gathering I saw back when I was at Microsoft, where they had participants (high school age girls and adult women) playing with packs of Legos. Same shit, different toy.

(Don't get me wrong... I love Legos as much as the next geek, as does my son; he plays with them all the time. He hasn't learned a thing about technology, computers, or software development from them though.)

Samantha
Samantha
5/2/2013 7:59:51 PM #

Well, at least it was a geeky toy.

Peter
Peter
5/2/2013 4:36:18 PM #

Great article, I think you made some really great points.

Just one bit that stuck out for me though, the bit about what feminism "really means." Feminism is a term which is applied to a very broad group of ideas. What you've described is certainly one form of feminism, but certainly not the only form. There are feminists (cultural feminists) who consider men and women to be fundamentally different at a biological level and that gender isn't a social construct. There's other feminists who think that it's perfectly reasonable to hate men, on the basis that men are "the oppressor." I don't agree with them by any means, but it's a bit simplistic to say that feminism simply means gender equality.

Samantha
Samantha
5/2/2013 6:42:31 PM #

If we say it enough times, feminism can and will be synonymous with humanism. ;)

Peter
Peter
5/3/2013 3:49:02 AM #

And on that day I'll call myself a feminist ;)

Evelyn
Evelyn
5/3/2013 5:53:44 AM #

You could have achieved more by participating and changing the event and the mood by positive redirection, or if all fails, with a lively discussion as to why you think <foo> is wrong and why <bar> is superior.

But you didn't, you left the feminists time and space to pontificate and spread their ideas, instead of gatecrashing their event and offering an alternative to the feminist guff they were selling.  

Life can only be won to those who turn up to play, and railbirds never win anything.

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