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I've [only] been to three tech conferences. The only "sexism" I observed was excessive delight: "Oh wow, a woman!" which I hardly consider harassing. No one meant disrespect; rather the opposite. Possibly offensive is the notion that it would be a surprise to find me there at all. I might say something similar to a man at a needlepoint conference.

Yes, I got sexual attention, but only in a social context, and nothing inappropriate. I've also gotten "Let's be friends!" attention from people, including other women. In other words, we are there to meet people who share our interests, on a social as well as professional level.




> The only "sexism" I observed was excessive delight: "Oh wow, a woman!" which I hardly consider harassing.

FWIW some people would consider that unwelcoming/harassing--I think the term is "othering". i.e. what's treated as important is not the person or their skill but their gender.

And, yes, it can be annoying for guy in a "traditionally female" domain as well.


And this is where harder-core feminism can devolve into "everything men do is wrong". Notice that a woman is a woman and you're patronizing/harassing/"othering". Treat her as one of the guys and you're being deliberately exclusive and maintaining a boys club.


What you present is a false dichotomy.

Have you considered treating people as people?

See someone (whatever the gender) at a tech conference? Talk to them about tech. Simple.


>FWIW some people would consider that unwelcoming/harassing--I think the term is "othering". i.e. what's treated as important is not the person or their skill but their gender.

>And, yes, it can be annoying for guy in a "traditionally female" domain as well.

I think I'd prefer to have people pay attention to me for a particular characteristic if that meant that you could then demonstrate you're more than just that characteristic once interacting.

I'm dad to an 18month old. We use a sling rather than a buggy. No one ever holds a door for me or steps aside, stepping into the road with a baby because jerks won't let you past on the pavement ... anyway, I'm coming to a point here somewhere ... I've been to a few meetings where I'm the only man and I just get ignored. I find group social situations pretty hard anyway but I only get included if I break the ice and usually the only interaction I get is scowls for playing with their kids.

I think I'm ranting, hang on, yup ranting, I'll just sit over here.


Sorry to hear your experience as a father is less than positive, socially-speaking. As a mother of an 18-month old whose father is currently taking care of him full time, our experience is quite the opposite. My husband gets more compliments in a day than I do in a month, I think largely because of the "otherness". He is is also a very popular member of the local "mommy" group. Perhaps it has something to do with where you are? As an ex-New Yorker, I've found the city to be unfriendly to parents of either gender.

OT, are you aware of the HN parents google group?

http://groups.google.com/group/hn-parents


>Perhaps it has something to do with where you are?

Maybe I'm not as handsome as your fella.

Thanks for the info.


I've seen some responses to women in our community that were bordering on sycophantic - and slightly creepy.

I think sometimes in an attempt to be enthusiastic about women attending events, it can go a bit too far. Tokenism and othering as, in the long term, just as damaging to gender relations.


As a male knitter, I can confirm that I get weird reactions - though usually from nonknitters who see me knitting.


The fact you personally didn't receive any unwanted advances is not proof that they never happen.


No, however the fact that she didn't is a useful data point in itself. It puts some sort of upper bound on the extent of the problem.


An upper bound of N - 1, where N = number of all women in tech. Work hard on that and you should be able to get it down to at least N - 1000 or so.




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