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Re: sexist language in debian instructions/documentation

On Tue, Aug 03, 2004 at 08:02:13AM +0100, Helen Faulkner wrote:

>     In 1972, two sociologists at Drake University, Joseph Schneider and 
> ([Bem et al 1973] in [Frank et al 1983, page 90,]).

In 1972, there was a significantly different view of women in *anything*
than there is now, over 30 years later. Since 1970, women in the workforce
(IN GENERAL) has increased 112%[1], and the second wave of feminism was
picking up force through the 70s. It doesn't surprise me that most people in
those times would hear the word "man" and assume "man" regardless of what
the context had implied. Then, highly educated women were hard to come by as
the college graduate and postgraduate degree statistics severely leaned
towards men (we're talking Tower of Pisa leaning here).[2]

This is getting better now. More women are becoming educated, more women are
getting involved in more traditionally male-dominated careers (just look
around here) and more are finally earning competitive (in comparison to men)

I'm not saying there aren't injustices - there certainly are - but, I'm more
concerned about declarations of smaller issues as incredibly large,
backbreaking and offensive attempts to keep women out of a male-dominated
community. To translate since I'm not very coherent at 1:20am, there are
bigger issues than pronoun usage in documentation. I worry that having a fit
over pronouns (which may or may not have been intentional) is going to make
it more difficult for other Debian community members to take our concerns

One of the biggest complaints you will likely hear about women's movements
and feminism is that women demand political correctness and will become
offended by the slightest off-hand comment that doesn't meet a woman's
sensitivity requirements. Personally, I think that's a valid complaint. Of
course, I also tend to believe everyone takes themselves far too seriously.

If pronoun usage in documentation is seriously an offensive and
train-halting offense to you, then by all means, feel free to devote your
time to finding other ways to have the documentation rewritten. However,
please keep in mind that some women aren't quite as ruffled and are not
offended by this. 



[1] http://www.aflcio.org/yourjobeconomy/women/factsaboutworkingwomen.cfm
[2] http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/cb98-226.html
[3] http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/cb98-181.html

Patty Langasek


At times, you may end up far away from you; you may not be 
sure of where you belong, anymore. But home is always 
there... because home is not a place. It's wherever your 
passion takes you.
                                --- J. Michael Straczynski

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