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Re: "Debian women may leave due to 'sexist' post"

On 2008-12-22, Peter Tuhársky penned:
> Saying that, I'm glad there are women in Debian community, although I 
> don't fully understand their effort to maintain a special "Debian Women" 
> community. There is no "Debian Men" community I know of, and probably 
> noone find enough time or reasons worthy of the efforts to create it. 
> However, if the women feel better having such a community, that won't 
> hurt me anyhow.

I think you answer your own (implied) question.  Men don't have such a
community because they don't need it -- because they are a strong and
vocal, visible majority in both software development and open source
communities.  I don't think there are a whole lot of men who feel
marginalized in the software development and open source communities
just because they are male.

You may never have walked into a linux users' group meeting and
realized that you and one other person in a room of over 100 are the
only members of your minority group.  Despite the best of intentions
by everyone involved, it is an awkward experience.  In my personal
case, I was the experienced Linux user, and my older brother, who
hadn't yet installed Linux, asked me to join him at the meeting.  But
you can bet that's not the mental image that the strangers in the room
had when they saw the two of us.

Right or not, if I were to start becoming involved in the Debian
development community, I might very well start here, and not in the
more general fora.

> As of the overwhelming reaction to the mail, I can partially understand 
> the reaction, when I look at Amayita website.
> http://www.amayita.com/img/feminist3.jpg
> http://www.amayita.com/img/feminist_00.jpg
> http://www.amayita.com/img/feminist_03.jpg
> http://www.amayita.com/img/feminist_01.jpg
> http://www.amayita.com/img/feminist_14.jpg
> http://www.amayita.com/img/feminist_17.jpg
> and so on.
> I think that could tell something, and me personally, I found these 
> materials to be highly SEXISTIC and OFFENSIVE for me being a man. Cite: 
> "I'm castrating bitch"

This is a spoof on some men's perceptions of powerful women.  Think of
it kind of like a black person using the word "n*gger."  It may be
unpleasant, but it is an attempt to take the sting out of a phrases
that, yes, men have used to describe women who stand up for themselves
and do what they want to do.

> "the future is female"

Again, when taken out of context, this seems harsh, but consider that
the present is overwhelmingly male -- when you look at world leaders,
CEOs, people in power.  Sometimes overstatement helps to push toward

> "a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle"

Perhaps you don't realize this, but that is a famous feminist quote.
And while I personally don't love the quote, I also recognize that it
comes from a time when women were in a far different position than
they are now -- when husbands could do just about anything to their
wives and there was no legal recourse; when women in the US couldn't
get a credit card, or a loan of any kind, in their own name.  Oh,
wait.  A lot of that is still the case in many places throughout the
world.  It comes from a context where women had almost no ability to
support themselves without marrying a man.  This is still the case in
many places around the world.

> "women make policy not coffee"

How is this offensive?

> "vote for woman"

I wouldn't vote for a woman just because she is a woman, but you can
be sure that I will consider a candidate's gender politics as part of
my decision process.  Again, I think this is an overstatement in the
interests of pushing toward equality.  And as some blogs I read point
out, a lot of legislation "for women" turns out to be good for

> "powerful woman!"

In a world where traits associated with women are traits associated
with weakness, it's sometimes necessary to push the point.  No one
questions that men are powerful.

> "woman power"

Same as above.

> "man hatin', ball breakin', hairy legged feminist"

Appropriating negative perceptions, again.  I sincerely doubt she's
actually man hating or ball breaking.  She may be hairy legged =)  You
are free to call yourself hairy legged, and I'm sure no one will mind.

> "sexism is social disease" -Yes! Exactly.
> Now, imagine I would put something similar on web, but in different 
> context: "vote for man", "the future is male",  "powerful man", "men 
> make policy not coffee" etc. Wouldn't the feminists sue me instantly? I 
> think the society is just TOO tolerant to female shovinism. Or it 
> dosen't care enough about that.


I get the feeling that maybe you're unaware of just how hard women
have had to push to get where they are now, which is still some
distance from where maybe we'd like to be.  Do you really think that
the social context is the same, that the *impact* on others is the
same, when a woman says these things and when a man says these things?

> Ladies, just please accept that the FREEDOM IS EQUAL for male and 
> female. I, being a man, don't think, that men are generally anyhow 
> higher nor better than women. And equally You, women, are generally not 
> any way higher nor better than men. If You feel it otherwise, then 
> You're attacking the very equality You call for. Else the word 
> "equality" itself means something different for me than it means for You.
> Both men and women have their natural strong and weak points, and it's 
> way better to try to complement and learn how to live with it, than to 
> blame and attack others.

Apparently the word equality means something different to me than to
you.  I don't think that men are better than women, or that women are
better than men, but I recognize that in many respects, especially in
technical, workplace, and political arenas, men still have
considerable advantages.  I also don't think that equal means "having
different strengths and weaknesses."  That's not equal by any

I also don't think that it hurts anyone for women to rally a little
support for, as they say, "the radical notion that women are people."  

> Or what about this:
> http://www.amayita.com/img/feminist_14.jpg
> "5 million women still starve themselves to look beautiful"
> Well, that's sad. I don't like the popculture too. Now, blame men for 
> that, or whatever?

What does this image have to do with blaming men?  Men aren't even
mentioned in this picture!

> I'll end with
> http://www.amayita.com/img/feminist_21.jpg
> Yes. Please, try to be like that. Powerful, compassionate, balanced. 
> Attacking others can not help You with that.

Apparently she has an image that responds rather eloquently to your



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