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Re^2: Women in Perl - Ada Lovelace Day

by why_bird (Pilgrim)
on Mar 26, 2009 at 12:08 UTC ( #753398=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re: Women in Perl - Ada Lovelace Day
in thread Women in Perl - Ada Lovelace Day

I think the idea of women's equality, was not to be equal to men, but to not have arbitrary limits placed on their lives and what they were allowed to do.

Being equal is not the same as being the same. Every man does not want to run out and be a fireman, or a royal marine, and every woman does not want to stay home with the children or become a nurse. The point is that those that DO want to do those jobs, even if those jobs go against their gender stereotypes should have the equal opportunity to do it, although I agree that there are physical differences which may make it easier for one gender to a given job (for example, men can't breastfeed but can give a baby a bottle) which may need to be taken into account in defining 'equal opportunity'.

they wanted opportunity to be part of the female realm (and not just the opportunity to have more children than Mrs. Jones).

But the point is that not that long ago, that was the extent of the female realm. By dismissing the women's right movement as a 'feminist thing' (and by your tone I presume that you hold the negative connotations of this term which now exist in some people's minds, i.e. "man-haters") you overlook the fact that when the feminist movement was starting out, the concept of women not having arbitrary limits placed on them was pretty foreign. There are and were a minority which may have believed that women were better than men, or deserved somehow more than men, and have vocalised those beliefs, but I don't believe that represents the majority of the women's rights movement over the last century or so which, on the contrary were seeking exactly the situation you describe: that arbitrary limits should not be placed on women's opportunities.

"...women can do anything they want" thing has really been taken to[sic] far in this society.

I'm afraid I disagree with you here (or perhaps I'm just not quite clear on the overall point you're trying to make with your post because it seems to contradict itself in places). On the one hand you seem to say that women should not have arbitrary limits placed on their lives, but on the other hand you seem to be taking that back and saying that there are fundamental limitations (and that's not the same as differences from men) on what a woman can do, presumably given the context compared to men (obviously there are fundamental limitations on what any of us can do). It may not be your thing to be a firefighter or soldier, and it may be true that on average women are less physically strong and fit than men, but there are women out there believe it not that are stronger and fitter than many men. There are women who have passed the royal marines all-arms commando course (although they're not allowed to actually serve) and there are female firefighters, fighter pilots, etc. As I'm sure I don't need to tell you, there are women who lead countries, and women who are world leaders in science and technology fields. Years ago, the idea of women doing any of these things would have been poo-pooed with exactly the kind of sentiment you express. Your statement implies that it's ok to say something like "women's brains are wired differently from men's brains and they can't cope with things like computing, science and maths" or "Women have got to realise their own limitations"

So, women rock, men rock...and in the end all that matters, is Perl rocks both men and women.

That's a nice sentiment, but the point is that apparently Perl doesn't rock both men and women equally, or it does, but there are barriers to women becoming respected and established members of the Perl community. Or, as many have pointed out, in all probability some combination of the two. And what matters, in my opinion, is that we're able to have a sensible discussion about what those barriers might be, if they exist, and what might need to be done, if anything does need to be done to encourage more women to be active in the Perl community. If nothing else it might make someone think about someone else's point of view, and I think that any community benefits from a greater understanding of all its members, and hopefully therefore a greater tolerance of each other.

Those are my principles. If you don't like them I have others.
-- Groucho Marx

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re^3: Women in Perl - Ada Lovelace Day
by koolgirl (Hermit) on Mar 27, 2009 at 14:03 UTC
    Nice thesis.

    Well, first of all, I most certainly did not dismiss ( or even refer to ) the women's rights movements as a "feminist thing". What I meant by I said is that it was regretful for the interpretation of it's meaning that the feminist group took hold of it and made it their own. Which by the way, the negative connotations you picked up on, were not towards feminism in general, but rather towards their strong hold on the movement.

    Yes, of course I realize bearing children was the extent of the female realm not that long ago...that was the point of the reference.

    Also, you took my quote out of context, I didn't just say "woman can do anything they want", I said "men are idiots and women can do anything they want"; what I meant, was not that women's poor little brains just aren't wired for computing (hello, I thought that's what I was doing presently...?), but rather, that as a society we tend to place the hold it all together job on the woman, and the be an idiot without the woman there, on the man. Just turn on any sitcom, featuring a couple as the key stars, the woman fixes everything, handles everything and knows best, while the man bumbles around like an idiot, and this has become a perfectly acceptable stereo-type, but it isn't fair. Unfortunately, this stereo-type has become cross-linked to the more radical feminist group movements, which is what my "women can do anything" statement was referencing.

    In closing, guess what? There are limitations on women as compared to men, one of them being they can't impregnate another woman. Accusing me of stating fundamental differences and/or limitations in a comparison between men and women, with no specific case, can become rather ridiculous. Look, my point was only to say, that while I completely support the women's rights movements, and am incredibly grateful to all my sisters who made it possible for me to express this opinion, I also know that we do have limitations as women, just as men have limitations as men, and even though sexism in the professional world should never be tolerated, equal respect for both races and realization of the differences between the two, without overlooking the one, is the needed conclusion; men deserve respect without prejudice, just as much as women do. We should be at a point, this day and age, with all of this advancement, that it is a human thing instead of a gender thing. I was harassed quite a bit on this site, when I first joined Perl Monks, because of my gender ( read the "gender" section of my profile ); however, I didn't feel the need to bombard all of the men on the site with a class on how to treat their fellow humans, because of a few bad apples. We just need to include everyone, so often when marching for the rights of one specific group, another one gets trampled on. Two rights never make a wrong. A lot of men are sexist a$#holes, but a lot of men, and a lot of the ones on this site ;), have been wonderful about helping me achieve my goals to program along side them. I just wanted to make that point known, as a woman currently experiencing the topic of discussion. If you disagree, of course I understand, but please don't twist my words to meet your own individual interpretation, or accuse me of assumptions I've neither made nor stated.

      Hi koolgirl

      I apologise if you think i've twisted your words to suit my so-called "thesis" (nothing wrong with a structured argument imo), that wasn't my intention at all.

      I realise that you didn't mean '"...women can do anything they want" has been taken too far' => 'women's brains aren't wired for computing'. I know that's what you do (and hello, what I do too..), hence why I chose that example. Yes I suppose it was an extreme example (by todays standards anyway) because very few people think like that any more (thankfully). But quite a few people still do in relation to other fields/careers. What it sounded like you were saying, to me, was that the concept of women being able to do whatever they want has been taken too far, allied in the same quote with 'men being idiots' which is a generalisation which I hope most here would disagree with immediately to strengthen that. I was going to try and explain that in my first post, but the explanation sounded wrong and clumsy as it still does and I still don't think I'm saying quite what I'm trying to say.. :S

      You did not once mention sitcoms or popular culture or anything of that sort, and since that's not what I see when I turn on the tv (I'm afraid I simply don't agree with your statement there), that's not what I assumed. Yes it was an assumption, and I apologise if it was the wrong one, but you made an (unqualified) statement with which I didn't agree. I don't agree with the 'men are idiots' part either, but I felt that was slightly more self-explanatory. I don't feel that that has become a perfectly acceptable stereotype, nor do I think it should be one, but perhaps that reflects differences in our take on popular culture.

      Yes, of course I realize bearing children was the extent of the female realm not that long ago...that was the point of the reference.
      ...they wanted opportunity to be part of the female realm (and not just the opportunity to have more children than Mrs. Jones).
      So to me it sounded like you were saying that the female realm was something other than having babies.
      ...and in a lot of ways have made the women's rights movement a feminist thing rather than an idea that arbitrary limits shouldn't be placed on anyone's opportunities.
      It seemed to me there that you were contrasting 'feminist' with the idea that 'arbitrary limits shouldn't be placed on anyone's opportunities', a position which you'd previously referred to as a positive thing, hence my inference that feminism, to you, had some negative connotations.

      I don't particularly like the implication that I'm "bombarding all of the men on the site with a class on how to treat their fellow humans", since that's not what I'm trying to achieve. (You're not a man after all! (joking) ;) ) I'm pointing out my differences in opinion to what you were saying, or what it sounded like to me you were saying in any case. Perhaps we do agree on more than I thought, but please don't try and cast me as a 'man hater', or as someone who always thinks they're being wronged by men, since that's not me.

      I'm not one of those militant people who to want to humiliate and emasculate men, far from it. I think that men working in female dominated professions have just as hard a time of it if not more so than women in male dominated professions. There was an interesting piece on the radio the other day about male primary school teachers (or rather, the lack thereof), and I wish I could find the reference but I'm afraid I don't have time *veers slightly off on a tangent*. In summary what I'm trying to say is that we should be aiming to look beyond traditional perceived 'limitations' of men vs women, and recognising that there are exceptional cases in each gender rather than blocking people wholesale from whole careers just because of stereotypes that don't apply to everybody, whilst not losing sight of the fact that yes, there are inherent differences between men and women.

      I have read the 'gender' part of your profile, and although I prefer to not make a big deal out of being a female I assumed it was fairly obvious (or at least its hardly something I hide) and so I'm surprised and saddened to hear that you've been harassed intimidated on this site because of it. I've never felt harassed or belittled on this site because of my gender (or indeed for any other reason), it's one of the most decent, polite, interesting and generally helpful places on the web, which is why I keep coming here despite my job not having much Perl in it at the moment. I apologise if I appear to have over-reacted to your post, however in 'real-life' I have often had to speak up to defend the things which I enjoy most, which come naturally to me and which I don't see why I shouldn't do and continue to enjoy because they're 'male things'. So perhaps it does make me a little defensive on that point in particular. I have friends who have experienced it in much more real terms than I have and it makes me sad for them that they can't do what they want to do because of silly discriminations. (I know that's vague but I respect their privacy).

      Finally (promise!), as a woman also experiencing this topic of discussion I'd like to make it clear that I am not labelling men as "sexist assholes", I never meant to imply that it was men necessarily preventing women from doing certain things (or vice versa) but rather a collective lack of imagination on the part of a lot of people (and I'm not tarring you, or people on this site in general with this brush) who won't look beyond stereotypes.


      p.s. I apologise if my style of replying comes across badly. I realise that quoting people's words back at them can seem vindictive or spiteful, but I'm not doing it for that reason, it's just so that I'm being clear about what I'm saying.

      Those are my principles. If you don't like them I have others.
      -- Groucho Marx
      I get what you meant. Every person in this thread agrees with each other, and everyone generally is posting collective appreciation. Because it is a hot button topic, people get their hackles up. No need to defend what you wrote.

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