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I, Lady Coder, will probably never go to a Hackathon. (nataliepo.typepad.com)
21 points by apgwoz 2005 days ago | hide | past | web | 16 comments | favorite

The reasons she listed for not attending point more to her not being a hacker than to her being a woman.

> She doesn't code or build things for fun

> She sees hackathons as a waste of time because she doesn't 'get anything' out of it

> They take too much time

> Sees it as a competitive environment and akin to hazing

I don't identify with much in the article. Personally, the joy of making something quickly is reward enough. Making something quickly with smart people who can immediately refine what you made and producing a more polished product is just an added benefit.

I don't understand these types of articles. Who cares if you're a woman or a man programmer? The distinction is really irrelevant, but articles like these continue to perpetuate it as if there is an important difference.

"...coding isn't something I do on the side/in my free time/in a vacuum" - not a hacker, shouldn't go to hackathons. Nothing to do with male vs female.

>Nothing to do with male vs female

actually there is. Hackathons for computer geeks is like deer hunting for Pennsylvania gun-clingers ...

This is neither true (I've personally known plenty of computer geeks of both sexes who aren't interested in hackathons), nor evidence of some sort of gender difference, since if the statement in the first place were true, you would have exactly one data point with which to correlate gender with being a genuine computer geek.

>you would have exactly one data point

and half-the-normal-life-expectancy of direct observation.

these reasons make sense, but they don't seem to be representative of anything uniquely "lady". i'm sure there are plenty of guys not interested in coding for free in their spare time, as well as girls that feel just the opposite.

Is there some reason the author should be able to explain the motivation of all female coders? She saw that people were wondering why females weren't showing up, and she gave her personal reasons. She's giving a single data point, not trying to draw a conclusion.

Yes, because she says "I, lady coder" in the title. This implies that she's speaking for women. If she wasn't, then she shouldn't mention her gender.

My point stands. She identifies herself as female for the purposes of giving a data point and explain why she wrote the post in the first place.

The author left a follow-up comment:

my point isn't that that female coders aren't interested -- it's that I am not interested, and a lot of day-job-coders aren't interested

So regardless of your interpretation, she wasn't trying to speak for all women. Personally I think it's a stretch to draw that conclusion.

That's not quite true--there is this bit:

> I'm actually pretty flattered that you'd like me to come to these events. There's just little in it for me, while you guys get some good publicity with me and my fine lady coder friends in attendance while you take the obligatory geek girls are cute picture.

I can understand not wanting to feel like she's on display (since regardless of how true it is that she would be--which I personally don't doubt--it sounds like she would feel that way).

That's not our fault, that's merely a product of the fact that hackathons are mostly guys. If it were mostly girls and only a couple guys, then the reverse would happen when guys showed up.

We shouldn't have to pretend that it's not weird for the one girl who shows up to what was an all-guys event. We should figure out how to get the gender ratio closer to even in the first place so that it's not a big deal when girls show up - no pretending necessary.

Oh, don't get me wrong--I agree. It's not their fault that women at hackathons are genuinely uncommon, and they're not bad people for acknowledging this (though I would argue that they shouldn't gawk and draw undue attention to them, and this is admittedly a fine line to walk). But by the same token, it's not her fault either that that's the case. It feeds an unpleasant vicious cycle.

It's a good example of the fact that it's very hard for people from an underrepresented group to break into something that's traditionally not "their field". I feel a lot of respect for the ones who are brave enough to be among the first ones (and who aren't naturally the sort who enjoy the extra attention they get, be it positive or negative--which I'm going to guess from this post that the OP is not).

The real problem here is that she puts two spaces after a period.

so, when i mention categories of female sex and coding/programming in one sentence - it is male-pig-chauvinism. When it is done by a lady - it is what?

I think it just brings up the question of why people like to code. Some people like to see a finished product that solves real problems. Other people really like the actual coding process, regardless of the result. It's stimulating and challenging, and each little adrenaline rush of "I figured out how to do x" is enjoyable.

For some coding is a means to an enjoyable end. For others, the coding itself is enjoyable.

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