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Re: DW quotes

also sprach Clytie Siddall <clytie@riverland.net.au> [2005.06.16.0521 +0200]:
> <starts saving up for a pair of handcuffs for Martin>

oooh, don't warm me up... :)

> "Somewhere where you can be a lateral thinker, and not have to
> number  each step for the men."

Uh wait, DW exists partly to address and deal with the issue of
sexism in Debian, doesn't it. Your remark is actually nothing but
sexist. I am positive that DW isn't just a place for women so that
they can communicate at higher levels without having to worry about
the men not catching up.

> "Somewhere I don't have to explain myself all the time."

This really just depends on how you presented yourself the first
time. It's undisputable that women understand each other better than
women and men, and it's also undisputable that women often
communicate without talking (which can drive us men insane).
However, up till now I thought this was largely constrained to
social and personal issues. If it also applies to technical issues,
I've learnt something new. Wow! :)

> "The first place I was invited to join just as myself, and not for
> what I can do."

This is, in fact, a very interesting point. I will have to think
about this. While at first I'd have to wonder what the benefit of an
additional member is, who does not have direct technical competence
to add to the endeavour, I recall a private conversation with Helen
Faulkner in which she noted that of equal importance is the
membership level of women to lower the entry barrier for others. So
where Debian expects people to contribute before letting them join,
DW invites them and hopes for contributions to emerge. Time will
tell whether this approach (which *does* seem a whole lot
friendlier) will pay off.

I have mixed feelings about Debian's meritocracy. On the one hand
I think it's the way things should work, and it's largely
responsible for us being where we are. On the other hand, it can be
highly inefficient, especially in the way Debian goes about it. It's
good to see alternative approaches, so I guess now we can only wait
for DW to pick up momentum and influence.

> "Somewhere it isn't "freaky" to be a geekchick."

I'd have no problem understanding this from the perspective of your
outside friends. After all, girls are supposed to go shopping and
chat a lot, not sit in front of a computer screen, right? (/me

If our community finds it freaky for girls to be involved, I'd be
highly surprised. Not trying to invade your privacy or be too
curious, but I would be mighty interested in a reference or pointer
here. If at all possible...

> "Somewhere I won't be asked for sex in the middle of a technical
> discussion."

If that happened, then your peer was just an asshole and even though
it may or may not have been possible, you should have just moved on.
I can perfectly well imagine women despising men that talk to them
with the thought of sex in their heads, be that in Debian or in
a bar. Nevertheless, it's a very natural thing to do.

I can understand perfectly well that such behaviour may feel
condescending or diminishing for the female peer, who is basically
being reduced to her sex independent of conversation topic or
environment. Nevertheless, rest assured: this isn't something us
evil men are out to do. Our mission is not to reduce women to their
body. Our mission is, well... whatever our mission is, a man's
brain basically switches to low power consumption mode in the
presence of a raised hormone level. True to the spirit of Immanuel
Kant, we thus aren't inherently bad people because it's not our
intention to let them hormones take over and make us act like

So Clytie, if you come across as sexy to your male peer, live or
over IRC, you should really not blame them for losing control. :)

Anyway, long blabla short point: I have *never* really witnessed
nor heard off such a problem. It'll happen to you in any community.
It happened in DW just yesterday (see the archives). It's not
a problem with Debian males per se, and thus not a trait to be held
against the male Debian community, right?

... I mean, we are all fat and stinky pizza-consuming,
glasses-wearing, socially-inept hackers-from-the-basement, and thus
single; the only place we aren't afraid to hit on girls is IRC
because we don't actually have to walk up to them...
eeeeeeep. wrong.

I guess my point is that DW exists to lower the barrier of entry to
women and men alike by fostering a friendly environment. Unless
one has actually tried to join the active Debian community before DW
and was hit straight in the face without it being well deserved,
then I don't think comparisons with the non-DW Debian community
should be part of the reasons why you are a member of DW. Does this
make sense?

Please do not send copies of list mail to me; I read the list!
 .''`.     martin f. krafft <madduck@debian.org>
: :'  :    proud Debian developer, admin, user, and author
`. `'`
  `-  Debian - when you have better things to do than fixing a system
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