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Re: sexist language in debian instructions/documentation

[ Note: I am speaking more about generalized issues, not the documentation
itself except where mentioned. ]

* Carla Schroder <carla@bratgrrl.com> [2004:08:03 10:17 -0700]: 
> So you're saying the people who are advocating inclusive language are simply 
> making a big deal over nothing, and should just get over it, and are wrong to 
> be bothered by exclusive language. Thanks a lot.

As an outsider (of sorts) that has not participated in this thread, I'd
just like to say that I think this conclusion is not.. entirely correct. I
believe Patty's point was that we run the risk of not being taken seriously
if we go out of our way to find what have historically been considered
"trivial feminist issues" by a lot of people. Note that I don't agree these
matters are trivial -- on the contrary, I agree that language shapes
perception and I support the changes that were made to these documents.
However, the fact of the matter is that a large percentage of people *do*
consider these things trivial, and it might be in our best interest (at
times) to choose our battles wisely. 

> My biggest complaint is people who trivialize women's concerns, and dismiss us 
> with words like  'feminazis' and 'policitcal correctness.' We're too 
> sensitive, too touchy. We should just shut up. Musn't risk offending anyone. 
> Really, there's no problem, we're just wrong about everything. We better not 
> risk offending people by standing up for ourselves, is that what you're 
> saying? Or are you saying that because something doesn't bother you, it 
> shouldn't bother anyone?

There is certainly an issue with women's concerns being trivialized. There
is also the possibility that one could say, "If they are not going to take
me seriously, I do not want to participate anyway". This is not how social
progress is made, though. It seems like common sense to say, "Yes, this
is a valid concern", but we are dealing with years and years of
socialization, varying backgrounds, and entirely different perceptions. You
cannot just tell people to take you seriously and expect them to do so
automatically. Most people do not change their minds immediately -- hell,
half of them don't change their minds after years and years, even with
scientific studies, empirical evidence, and someone poking pins in a voodoo
doll head in their likeness. 

The fact of the matter is: there are people that take us seriously and
there are people that don't. The diplomatic thing to do is coordinate
efforts that will have the most impact. 

> Why are you having such a freakout over this? No one has made this a "an 
> offensive and train-halting offense," except you. 

This was not productive.

> Helen already succeeded in getting one document changed

This was.

off the chain like a rebellious guanine nucleotide

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