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Quotes of the week

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 9, 2013 1:12 UTC (Wed) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239)
In reply to: Quotes of the week by mirabilos
Parent article: Quotes of the week

"We do state that we think “Aunt Tilly” shouldn’t be root on their own computer; they should instead pay a student to administer it and support them, and be mere users."

This is a perfect example of what I was talking about. In an environment where women are stereotyped as having little technical knowledge or ability, having the prototypical clueless user be a woman is a problem. It's not a huge thing. It's unlikely to leave anyone hugely offended or upset. It is, however, something that helps perpetuate that stereotype. Using it doesn't mean that you hate women or think that they're unlikely to be technically competent, but it helps create an atmosphere where people who actually are overtly sexist feel supported in their sexism and it contributes to women feeling that they're going to have to work harder to gain the same level of recognition.

Communities that feel comfortable behaving like this are creating problems. If they're unable to see them, it's because they haven't learned to look properly.

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Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 9, 2013 7:57 UTC (Wed) by micka (subscriber, #38720) [Link]

Would it change anything if it was "Uncle Joe" ? I'm sure you know you only have two choices for the sex here, and you must choose one arbitrarily here for the choice of your archetypal "clueless user" ? Throw a coin each time or throw a coin once for all, but don't read anything in the result...

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 9, 2013 9:32 UTC (Wed) by mpr22 (subscriber, #60784) [Link]

My preferred formulation is J. Random User.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 9, 2013 9:59 UTC (Wed) by dark (guest, #8483) [Link]

Well... isn't it odd how the coin comes up "woman" every time an archetypical clueless user is needed? It's always "aunt", "grandmother", "girlfriend", "mother". Can you show me even one example of "It's so simple, even your father could use it!"?

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 9, 2013 11:07 UTC (Wed) by micka (subscriber, #38720) [Link]

> Can you show me even one example of "It's so simple, even your father could use it!"?

If I were to search for an example of a clueless user, I'd fo for my father instead of my mother, because that's the say things are.

Actually, I don't even do that because I don't feel the need to give an identity to archetypes apart those that define the archetype. If I need to talk about the clueless user, I'll say "clueless user".

It's not often that I see girlfriend and mother, I suppose they're really a problematic cliché, but I find it rare.

I'm also sure you can find many biases that are not sexist biases. For the grandmother, well, I'd think that it's an image of demographics. What's your image of elderly people ? For me it's a woman (I have two of those alive, but no grandfathers, in my country there's a 7 years difference between male and female expectancy).

Not that I deny sexism, but I think some people see too much of it where it's not necessarily there.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 11, 2013 9:32 UTC (Fri) by ekj (guest, #1524) [Link]

google "even your mother could use it" => 300K results. "even your father could use it" gives 2 results, one of which is this thread.

Yes, "Aunt Tillie" by itself, is harmless. But she's part of a trend. A trend where females are used as stand-ins for "generic clueless person".

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 10, 2013 17:27 UTC (Thu) by Wol (guest, #4433) [Link]

And if you know where "Aunt Tilly" came from (esr, hint, hint), she is not meant to be "a woman". She's just your typical, usually elderly, user. So saying she shouldn't be root on her own system is just recognising most *users* shouldn't *need* to administer the system.


Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 10, 2013 22:00 UTC (Thu) by jubal (subscriber, #67202) [Link]

So? We don't need to revere esr's /self/importance just as much.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 10, 2013 19:33 UTC (Thu) by mirabilos (subscriber, #84359) [Link]

I specifically used “Aunt Tilly” – and put it into quotation marks – because this is LWN, and the term *comes* from the LKML (or at least, that’s where I’ve learned it). I’m not aware of a stereotypical non-tech user name in my own language, even ;) and I’m not even prejudiced against older people wrt. tech skills, so the “Uncle” part would be equally incorrect. (But, honestly! Did your parents compile you with -pedantic or something? I hope not ☺)

I just used it here so people like certain Linux kernel programmers *ahem* know what I’m talking about.

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