Now I’m really getting tired of it…
Yes, there are brogrammers, annoying, noisy, tasteless morons and assholes. Yes, bad things happen to women - on the streets, at home - everywhere. Yes, some men in tech are just plain misogynic sexists and will probably never get over it.
After we’ve gotten this out of the way, I hereby stand proudly by the 99% of my male peers, my male fellow developers, coworkers, managers, editors, open source activists, hackers, geeks and nerds WHO ARE JUST COMMON HUMAN BEINGS WITH ALL THEIR FAULTS AND FEATURES.
What on earth has the discussion about women in tech come to when we interpret an angry rant of a man about women who put themselves into the pathetic position of groupies as “misogynic”? Are we suddenly without fail? No, we are not and the criticism by Harris (http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2012/11/nerds-stop-hating-women-please) is well deserved in my experiences in the tech community. Yes, I have actually met fake geek girls and it makes me incredibly angry because those women destroy all efforts by us tech women to gain reputation, recognition and respect in the place WHERE IT COUNTS.
Yes, there’s still a lot of gender issues going on in the tech community - starting with the phrasing of job postings, the fact that women earn less in the same position and other things.
None of this is actually specific to “tech” - it’s in parts sadly “just the way society still is”. (Not that I like it, but it’s not a genuine trait of technology or open source communities and tech companies…)
So let’s step back a little.
As a female developer, I’m totally exotic by sheer numbers. In the US, in Europe as well. So, if I put this into perspective of me and two others (female) - fellow techies (600 men or so e.g. in my favorite IRC channel - DO I REALLY THINK sexism is a problem in tech when I encounter three or four asshole in SEVERAL HUNDRED men? Sorry, that just doesn’t add up.
Another beef I have is with all this stupid “codes of conducts” recently popping up and those are actually two beefs I’ve got: as a european and as a woman - what the hell is that even supposed to accomplish to create some stupid list of welcome and unwelcome behaviors which ARE ALREADY CONDEMNED BY CULTURE, COMMON SENSE OR EVEN BY LAW ANYWAYS? Do we really have to create a code of conduct that violence and sexual advances and rape isn’t really part of the tech conference menu? Hello?
I attended conferences where I literally was the ONE AND ONLY woman and I’m - statistically speaking - _exceptionally_ safe within those settings. It’s much more dangerous to attend any party than it is for a woman to attend a tech conference. Nonetheless, bad things happen, there’s not doubt about that. And still - this is NOT something specific to the geek culture (I’m tempted to say it’s not out of the ordinary…) and I really don’t see why all the pressure on male nerds, geeks and techies is suddenly needed. Which is also quite insulting to all the well behaved, women-welcoming men trying to create a good athmosphere at conferences.
And I also say this in public and I’m very well away that this will probably provoke two dozens of morons to put some stupid comment out there: sex, love, flirt, relationships happen. *gasp* Get over it. We are humans and we might like each other and who on earth am I to declare a nice, polite and tasteful hit on me as “sexism”? What on earth is wrong with some communities that even accidental touching suddenly becomes an issue? And OH GEE SOMEONE STARED AT MY BREASTS HOW COULD THAT HAPPEN TO ME BREAST-HAVING WOMAN?
And how can I put a drunken not-so-tasteful hit on me into the realm of “sexism” when this is something which can happen to me at any time in public and everywhere? I have the right and power to say “No” these days and today, I usally have help and people around me who protect me when needed (you know those other 99% of guys in tech…) Also, everyone has some basic human right to find someone else attractive in some way and show it by whatever the cultural rules of showing it demand. Also, there’s this thing called “progress” where women fought for the right to hit on their preferred man or woman as well and this thing called “sexual freedom” which my mom fought for.
Maybe I’m too old or too used to live among an overwhelming majority of men within tech, but honestly: Can’t we just tone it down a little and keep our outrage to real issues and well deserving gender fuckups? Some I’d put more into the realm of “tastelessness” - like hiring strippers for a party - but into the realm of “sexism” or even “violence against women” I’d really like to put the hard stuff. (On a side note: sexism exists, yes - but the every day homophobia I see in tech very well tops any sexist issue I’ve ever encountered - it has a certain nastyness and mean-spiritness I’ve never seen when it came to women…)
I also find this very disturbing for all of us women already being in tech for some time who already made their way into it that seemingly everything is suddenly immensely difficult and an unfriendly environment for women - how about asking us at some point how we managed in this sexist wasteland of oppression called “tech community”?
Sorry, but I’m seriously tired of all this rules and codes and damnation and I wish for men around me to be able to behave naturally and be themselves.
I’m not a fragile princess and the pea and it’s not “Mad Men” anymore.