Not logged in
Log in now
Create an account
Subscribe to LWN
LWN.net Weekly Edition for May 16, 2013
A look at the PyPy 2.0 release
PostgreSQL 9.3 beta: Federated databases and more
LWN.net Weekly Edition for May 9, 2013
(Nearly) full tickless operation in 3.10
FSF to host a mini-summit on Women in Free Software
Posted Aug 29, 2009 22:18 UTC (Sat) by alankila (subscriber, #47141)
But I've also noticed the puzzling way women attack even well-meaning men. The sort of people who try to understand women, want to help them, but do not for some reason manage to express themselves just right. (Sometimes I wonder if there is any such man that manages to say anything which the women don't attack and tear down.)
The rest of my comment was idly speculation loosely around the issue, but I no longer believe those thoughts of mine are worth anything. All I can say is: there is some kind of major fault in communications between men and women, perhaps due to how much the issue has become polarized over the years.
Posted Aug 29, 2009 23:45 UTC (Sat) by hypatiadotca (guest, #60478)
Couple that with how exhausting it is to have 101-level discussions (like this one!) over and over and over and over and over again, and it's a wonder we aren't any testier than we are :)
I don't think it's a gendered fault in communication. I just think that you need to read more beginner texts. You're expecting, to pick on the metaphor used elsewhere in this thread, to be able to hack kernel code without knowing the basics of C, and acting miffed when we get frustrated - if that makes it a bit clearer.
Posted Aug 30, 2009 3:31 UTC (Sun) by coriordan (guest, #7544)
When I read the derailing website, I said "Yep, this is indeed the correct term for when someone makes a two hour political speech and then a group uses a part of his closing comedy routine to completely change the subject and attack him."
This brings me to another point. There could be a problem with the available texts:
Group A can't see the reason for Group B to have a problem.
Group B, which sees the problem clearly, writes various docs about what they see.
It's quite possible that Group B's docs will be written from a point of view which is completely non-intuitive (and thus not very effective) for Group A. What I've learned from free software advocacy is that, unfortunately, if you want to change attitudes, you have to keep repeating yourself again and again (while trying to improve your technique). Before you've convinced someone that there's a problem, it's unlikely that they're going to be motivated to go read the beginners texts on the topic (and one can't assume that just because the beginners texts seem good to a Group B person, that they'll be appreciated by a Group A person).
Posted Aug 30, 2009 4:23 UTC (Sun) by hypatiadotca (guest, #60478)
There are resources though which are written specifically to be for the "group A" in this case such as http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/the-faqs/faq-roun... and studies like the FLOSSPOLS one, and even Skud's OSCON keynote. These docs aim to be those 101-level documents.
There's also a difference between talking to J. Random Hacker and folks who have explicitly expressed an interest in what they can do to help. If folks (in this case men) want to help, that should include reading the resources we point them at. To demand otherwise is a particularly exhausting form of derailing - in fact, it's the first two points on Derailing For Dummies :)
Posted Aug 30, 2009 4:14 UTC (Sun) by alankila (subscriber, #47141)
I do not know what you mean by "challenges to privilege". I was talking about women attacking well-meaning men. The most common charge I have seen is "being patronizing". Like, having an idea that occurs to you as a 101-level man, you express it and then get very acidic feedback whose essence is "Do you think we are that stupid? Oh, the great man comes into the scene and surveys it with his superior intelligence and discovers a solution. You idiot! We tried that already in '73!"
I can understand where it comes from, but I would do all I can to beg for patience from women when facing guys. As a rule, we are clearly nearly completely oblivious to the objectives that modern feminist thought wishes to attain for women. It may well be because by default we live lazily and happily in our cozy cushion of privilege, and therefore do not perceive anything to be wrong. Perhaps if women came up with a good ad campaign or two that depicts real stories of women who suffered from male privilege and that way shook our world... Wait, don't tell me, this has been tried already?
Posted Aug 30, 2009 4:55 UTC (Sun) by alankila (subscriber, #47141)
Let's consider the word derailing. I'd like to argue that 90 % of the guys are probably making an entirely honest effort in trying to understand the feminist position. Unfortunately, they have been primed by widely circulated feminist statements like "all men are rapists" or similar blanket statements that finger them as guilty and on the wrong side for things they never did or planned to do.
Men judge these statements absurd and do not believe them, because we could hardly live with ourselves if all that was said about men by some feminists were true. Regardless, we are primed to be in a defensive, personal mood, even past what may be male biological conditioning: "I didn't do anything wrong, it's you who are being crazy and unfair". The consequence of this starting position will be an attempt to prove it, and thus follow the steps written in the derailing document.
Women seem to have categorically decided to not pander to men: they do not see any need to help us understand them -- after all, why should women sacrifice any iota more of their time and soul to help men -- but that has the unfortunate side effect of making it even more difficult to understand what women are saying at all. It's a bit like everyone was dug in their trenches and time of discussion went past decades ago.
That derailing document is biting and maliculous to the bitter end. This may be why it works. But that means that it is also unnecessarily difficult to read for even sympathetic audience. For a man, it may take an attitude of almost zen-like detachment to read it fully. As such, it can do more harm than good when you pull it into debate: it can easily feed the "women are crazy" side of the argument. Of course, you have much more real experience having presumably used that document in more than one occasion, but that's my take on it.
I would ask women to learn from Valerie Aurora's style. It's impossible to take offense with her style. I submit that words that get read are infinitely more valuable to those that do not.
Posted Aug 30, 2009 5:28 UTC (Sun) by hypatiadotca (guest, #60478)
I'm going to respond to your comments, but I won't likely be able to until tomorrow. If you're not likely to be back here or aren't checking the RSS feed, ping me at leigh at hypatia dot ca and I'll email you when I reply.
Copyright © 2013, Eklektix, Inc.
Comments and public postings are copyrighted by their creators.
Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds