Gender Munch (was Re: PS-II spotting)

1486 - Jefferson Thomas Scott (
Wed, 15 Sep 1999 11:11:42 -0400 (EDT)

If I'm not careful, I may get a reputation for trolling, just by virtue
of the fact that my toss-offs seemed to chap a few cheeks.
Here's a simple comparison.
> > On Tue, 14 Sep 1999, Comet wrote:
> > > I thought it would be easier for my young son to learn to use.
Compare with my:
> > Young sons with computers are the source (larval) of new gurus, I thought.

Now, pre-kindergarten is pretty young for any critter, male or female, to
be "guru" material, or even pre-guru. Which Comet pointed out.

At which point, Chris Olds goes off:
> <rant subject="gender_bias">
> As the father of both a son <> and a
> daughter <> , I can't let this one go.

Well, as the son of both a woman <> and
a man <> , I sure wish you had.

> Even if all of your children are boys, it is important to use language that
> makes it clear that girls can be Hackers too!
<remainder relocated to bottom of post>

Now, I didn't dismiss your rant to oblivion of ^K. I kept it at the bottom
becuase yes, it has good points which echo my opinions on the matter - albeit
in a much more squishy and "aww, ain't that cute" fashion. However, you
apparently missed (or steamrollered through) the intention, so I'll be blunt.
Although it is widely held that a person's manner of speech and use
of gender-oriented words can indicate and convey a personal bias, I would put
it to you that there exists some small percentage (3%, no doubt) of people
who make mindful choices in order to express themselves in the desired
manner. For example, previously I was being jocular and colloquial,
currently I am attempting to sound like a prick. My use of the subject "young
sons" was an echo intended to more clearly evoke the connection between my
statement and Comet's anecdote, reinforcing the comic irony I was attempting
to convey. And if that isn't "over-explaining" a joke, I don't know t is.

> P.S. This was not intended to attack anyone, I just got started typing and
> couldn't stop...

Apparently. You are not alone, and I am anxiously awaiting the IPO of the
first .com/research pharmacology firm that develops a treatment for
spontaneous diarrheal e-sermonizing. Crossposting the sufferers to
alt.flame just doesn't seem effective anymore.

(if you want me off this list, say so now)

> Even as early as 8 or 9,
> girls start hearing that they need to conform to be accepted, and that it is
> not OK to act smart or, be good at math, or like computers, or even to be
> quick with words (boys are quick-witted, but girls have sharp tongues -
> how's that again?). This is NOT about being PC (which is about the exercise
> of power), but is about how the words we use change the way we think
> (newspeak is double-plus ungood). My daughter is 9, and math is her
> favorite subject. If she is lucky, she'll get a good grounding in math by
> the time she graduates high school. A boy doesn't have to be lucky to get
> that, he just has to show up.
> Why does this matter? I mean, as long as we have *somebody* learning this
> stuff, it'll keep on going - right?
> It matters because one important way to innovate is to have a group of
> people working on a problem that don't all think in the same way. The
> interaction between different thought processes adds to the richness of the
> solution space, and to the quality (and QWAN) of the solution. Women and
> men think differently. Having women on a team makes for a better team. If
> we tell our daughters they can't (or shouldn't) do math or science, we're
> cheating them. If we only talk about our sons as new gurus, we deprive them
> of women as peers in work that many of us love doing!
> </rant>
> Children with computers are the source of our new gurus - all of them!
> /cco