[UbuntuWomen] Mark Shuttleworth's comments

Ireene-Sointu ireenesointu at phonecoop.coop
Mon Oct 5 10:26:13 BST 2009


Here are my feelings on this issue (being a woman and a mother - old 
enough to be a grandmother to many of you I suspect - I talk about 
feelings). First I want to say that I spent yesterday evening reading 
this 
http://geekfeminism.org/2009/09/28/a-followup-on-the-shuttleworth-incident/ 
(both the original with comments and the follow up)and this morning 
reading this 
http://blog.linuxtoday.com/blog/2009/09/mark-shuttlewor-1.html, but I 
have not listened to the talk itself. I also want to say that I am only 
an end user, having used Linux now for about ten years and Ubuntu the 
last four or so. I am a person in my family who my children come to with 
computer problems. They sometimes bring their friends' Microsoft 
problems to me too for a solution. And most of the times I have been 
able to solve them. But being knowledgeable about using the computer 
does not make me familiar with all the terminology used in the computer 
world. So I come to this talk (what I have read of it) with some ideas 
about language usage generally.

Carla Schroder is right in saying that "dumb stuff like that distracts 
from the talk itself". This quote from the talk did that for me. "A 
release is an amazing thing. I'm not talking about the happy ending, I'm 
talking about a software release, the fresh meat." All seem to agree 
that this was a bad joke. I did not first understand "happy ending". It 
was explained somewhere among all my readings. Then I came to Carla 
Schroder's article and the whole thing was even worse than I had 
understood. Take the "happy ending" and add "fresh meat" (I know it is a 
computer term) which I connect with prostitution as well and in 
particular using/abusing children sexually. I felt sick to my stomach 
with this connection and it did not diminish when the reference came to 
"trouble explaining to girls what we actually do". I understood this to 
mean explaining to women (I sincerely hope Mark Shuttleworth meant women 
and not girls) about pers (= her/his) work (in order to impress - I 
suppose quite a human characteristic this need to impress). My mind was 
still reeling from prostitution and fresh meat and it just .... words 
cannot express fully how I feel.

I never feel good about being called "a girl" or "a guy" (there was an 
ex army person in one of the comments telling how in the army the word 
"guy" was not acceptable). I keep telling anyone who makes that mistake 
that I am a woman. I am an adult and although I talk about my feelings I 
am capable of reasoning too.

I will stay with Ubuntu, at least for now, and wait and see what else 
comes up. I used to think Mark Shuttleworth a great person for starting 
Ubuntu and making it available for so many people. I must say that this 
talk has diminished per (=her/him) in my estimation. I am still hoping 
per (= s/he) will apologise. That is the only thing that will restore my 
good opinion of per.

My best wishes to you all,
Ireene

Legally, one personal name: Ireene-Sointu. No surname. No title.




Arc Riley kirjoitti:
> I watched the whole video.
>
> I agree that the "happy ending" joke was a off-color, I would expect 
> him to be more professional given his background and position 
> regardless of the crowd, but I didn't find anything sexist in it.  
> Sexual, certainly.  Inappropriate, arguably.
>
> I don't think he was talking about adults when he said "girls", I 
> personally heard this in relation to the cultural norm (which I've 
> frustratingly experienced myself) for many young people.  We do lack 
> gender-neutral pronouns in our everyday speech and, if you notice, he 
> uses feminine pronouns throughout as the default ("her", "mother", 
> "grandmother", etc).  "Youth" would have been a better term perhaps?
>
> Of course this isn't a gender issue, I've experienced the same for 
> many guys - my ex boyfriend only liked his new Ubuntu box once a 
> "Hello Kitty" theme was applied and showed him how to browse youtube 
> with totem so he could watch full screen videos of cats doing funny 
> things, XP apparently was too slow to handle full screen flash video 
> on the same hardware.
>
> I think Mark ment well and, from what I know about him, I think he 
> really does care about this issue even if he hasn't refined his 
> communication style to fully reflect his beliefs.  Gentle suggestions 
> on how he could better communicate along these lines would be far more 
> effective than reading all this buzz critically analyzing his words 
> and attacking him for them.
>
> This really goes for all of Ubuntu and it's a CoC issue.  It's better 
> to talk to someone privately and gently than through a public forum.  
> Everyone makes mistakes, we're all human, so we can best hope to help 
> each other refine ourselves and thus improve the Ubuntu community as a 
> whole.



More information about the Ubuntu-Women mailing list