[UbuntuWomen] Men who hate women on the Web - ripples from the Kathy Sierra story

Romana Branden timelady at gmail.com
Sun Apr 1 21:09:40 UTC 2007

An intriguing article on Salon (click through ad to read...)

"Men who hate women on the Web. And the women (like me) who try to
ignore them. Or at least I did -- until the Kathy Sierra affair."

Nice to see a discussion being opened. The Kathy Sierra affair has at
least had that much of a positive associated. Its unfortunate many men
(or often, adolescents who think they are men) don't realise how
grindingly erosive the undercurrent of misogyny and sexism is.

'I wouldn't hit that' is so common a response to any story about a
female, no matter the context. I enjoy much of the humour of Fark.com,
and the topics of Digg, but honestly, I often have to walk away from the
stupid comments about the sexual attractiveness of any woman.

That doesn't even then touch on how virulently hostile men can be to
having their innuendo and bad taste jokes, their sexual ratings etc,
pointed out as uncomfortable, a double standard, wrong! It can range
from 'lighten up', 'get a life', 'whats your problem', to vicious
comments about the offended person's sexuality, mental state, and now,
in the case of Kathy Sierra, and disturbingly large amounts of surfacing
anecdotal evidence, threats of rape or other violence.

To all the people suggesting such threats can be dismissed because they
are online, they obviously have thicker skins, or no sense that people
can be unhinged enough to carry through with revolting behavior. If I am
upset by your comments, I do not suggest I will rape or assault you.

Noone is suggesting tip toeing on eggshells around each other. But what
is wrong with (the sadly misnamed as) common courtesy being used? Or
treating people as people, not as some anonymous target, sexual object,
etc? Would you say such things to a woman's face? Would you like your
mother, daughter, sister, treated this way?  And there is no need to
ignore the fact that men and women can be attractive to each other, it
is just about how you approach it. I am happy to say "oo, I find Patrick
Stewart to be a hottie', but I don't then feel the need to denigrate the
sexual attractiveness of other men.

All this questioning about why women are less in IT - well, the
prevailing impression of an adolescent community is perpetuated by the
stories floating to the surface.

I have a thick skin, but its not about me, and thats why I am speaking
up. My beautiful geek inclined (and the non geeky ones) daughters
deserve better.

I must point out how lucky I have been - all the geek community my
wonderful girls have encountered have been magic. So far. But thats the
filter we put in place, as parents. The majority of Linux and geeky
people I have encountered have also been great. But there have been some
that have left me shaking, with rage, with fear, with a feeling of being
judged on my gender....thats not ok.

Just some points to ponder....
 -o)    Romana Branden
  /\\   Nothing - well, thats something.
 _\_V   http://timelady.com/blog/

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