Women, Misogyny, Tech et. al

If you haven’t seen the recent thread going around, please read Francie’s post, Kathy’s additional points, and my man Rob’s excellent throw down. Go ahead I’ll wait. Alrighty, now that you have some perspective, here are my thoughts on this (which have been brewing for quite awhile.)

I personally like to hang out with intelligent, quick-witted, strong-willed, fun-loving people. Notice I didn’t specify a gender. To me, if I can have intelligent conversations, punctuated by funny dialog with someone who has definite opinions, then I’m thrilled. I do this with men AND women. But responses to this are different whether I am hanging out with women or men.

For example, I have a friend who I hung out with on a regular basis at Lotusphere for several years. She happened to fit all of my fun criteria above, but she was a pretty woman. I can’t tell you how many times I had people comment about us hanging out together. I even had some people insinuate that we were sleeping together since we were together so much. No one has ever done that when I hang out with Paul Mooney or Rob McDonagh. I mean, couldn’t it be that I was hanging out with her because I enjoyed her company, not that she had tits or I was fucking her?

Now I do want to make a distinction; there are catty bitch women as well as sexist pig men. Tech women have a tendency to crucify popular and good looking women in this field with as much frequency as the men do. That isn’t acceptable either. You all need to get over yourselves. You set everything back just as much if not worse than the men do. Also, pretty tech women ARE NOT sleeping with your husbands, for fuck’s sake…

For the record, my wife has never come to this conclusion, and she has seen pictures of me with many pretty women. You know why? Because she is an intelligent, quick-witted, strong willed, fun-loving person. She isn’t threatened by other pretty women. The thing is, the wife and I are both scary liberal types that believe that everyone is equal. Wow, what a fucking concept? The coder girl is equal to the stay at home mom in our eyes. Looks have nothing to do with skill at what you do.

So here’s the thing folks, stop with the little offhand gender comments, no matter how innocuous you think they are. Because something that seems like a throwaway comment to you can hurt others. And if those people respond, then they are bitches, right? No, they are human, and they are having to fight against stupid stereotypes when proving technical prowess. Our community should be better than that, and I hope we move beyond this.