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Sexism and PHP (calevans.com)
15 points by choult on Feb 23, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 37 comments



So what? It's a penis joke? What is so bad about that if it's the case? Honestly, the only thing this (the article) accomplishes is making it appear that women have no humor...

If people are offended by this, I simply would not care. I mean, there is nothing more I'd love than to have more women in the programming world, but having people with no humor? Nah, I'd rather pass that then.

(If this comes off as sexist or anything, it isn't, it's not a thing against gender, it's a thing against peoples attitude)


It's not even a penis joke - I and many others didn't notice the penis reference until it was pointed out.

This is just begging for a t-shirt that contains:

a) a male insult, female insult and transgender insult;

b) a christian insult, muslim insult and an atheist insult;

c) a white-trash insult, a black insult and an asian insult;

and a caricature of killing babies for fun to top it off.

So that everybody is offended equally without discrimination and we can leave it that.


The penis joke is not the problem. The perceived offensiveness of the joke is not the problem.

It's the exclusive message it sends: PHP is for people with penises.

The joke itself, and whether or not it is in good taste, is irrelevant. It's the marketing exclusively towards men that is the sexist and offensive part.

Especially in the context where it's hard enough for women to feel welcome and comfortable at conferences that are 90% sausage fest anyway.


I remember a time when shirts and ties were expected clothing for work.

Wanting the right to wear penis joke t-shirts while not allowing others to have the right to complain about those t-shirts feels surprising.

I happily accept that many places just wouldn't care about this t-shirt. It seems pretty harmless.


I must be getting old, or it's late here but I didn't get the "penis" joke till you mentioned it.


Well, considering the phrasing is a bit like what you might see in a viagra add, and the fact that if you say it out loud the Pness part in PHPness is almost literally pronounced penis.

Either way, I would have given it any second thought if it weren't for the article, so I know what you mean.


If this mildly juvenile t-shirt is the worst to come out of the PHP community, then I would say it's not doing too badly. The t-shirts themselves are not that bad, they just shouldn't have been distributed by a sponsor at a conference.

I am surprised however it hasn't been dealt with on the spot. It's not like PHP hasn't had it's share of incidents similar to other communities before, but the prominent role of women in PHP usually ensures that for instance speakers using sexist imagery in slides will be torn a new one on the spot instead of it becoming a blogosphere and twitter drama afterwards.


I tried to find a picture, and came up with something that was clearly some previous t-shirt; an additional five minutes of scavaging around, and I'm still not finding it (although webandphp.com seems to have some iPhone-specific website which may be blocking me). Given that the premise of "Google juice" is flawed (what happened to rel="nofollow"?), would someone mind providing the context for this (as in, the shirt)?


I think this is the shirt the OP is talking about: https://twitter.com/webandphp/status/261241003204300801


I didn't get any relation at all between this pic and the article until reading some comments.. Ok, some juveniles might interpret it in a funny way, but I mean, in the same manner half of real surnames can be made into crude puns.


Could someone explain it, please? I don't know if I should read "PHPness" in a different way, or is there some context missing? I just don't get what's wrong with that text.


@viraptor: PHPness sounds like P-H-penis. "Enhance your penis" is a common spam email subject line.


(This is, in fact, the shirt I came across; I didn't get this at all. Combined with that tweet being from October, is why I said it must have been an old shirt.)


OK guys, no more penis jokes. Will offend women.


Can you explain? :)


I also didn't get it at first, but I am not a native English speaker. I think it's a play on the phrase "Enhance your penis" that is typical for spam emails trying to sell dubious medication.

I understand that, but I fail to see how it's especially offensive women? I consider it primarily against good taste. ;)


It is not offensive at all (i agree it is bad taste, though i didn't understand the joke).

It is sexism if you understand sexism and genderism in its strictest sense: That there is no difference between man and woman - sex is a thing imposed by society - and mentioning things like the penis, the biological difference between man and woman, constructs that change, thus is sexism.

Yeah, as crazy as it sounds.


Juvenile, yes. But offensive toward women? How?


I'm just throwing out my own intuition here, but I think that firstly, there's an implication that you have a penis. You don't? Odd one out.

Secondly, if a woman were to say that verbally to a man, there would be a flirtatious connotation, which would lead women to feel uncomfortable wearing a shirt saying the same and hanging around with a load of strangers.


Thing is, on the internet, penis is kind of a different concept, and not limited to men.


i would wear a t-shirt that said that :)


I'm pretty sure women are not forced to wear those shirts in these conventions, but then again I might be wrong.


That's as may be, by making their event t-shirt, they're saying "our demographic is people who would wear this." If you're not in that demographic you feel isolated.


I saw a woman wear a "Byte Me" t-shirt at the last conference I went to. Who do I talk to about fixing this? :)


i'm pretty sure that choosing to wear a t-shirt that suits your own personality is totally okay, and indeed kind of the point


It's not offensive toward women in itself, but in the context, being distributed at a developer conference to promote a magazine, it's sexist.

It marks the territory as a boys club. It basically says "for brogrammers only".


That strikes me as a very patronizing attitude toward women.



I'm pretty sure this is the kind of article that is doing a lot more harm than good to the female gender by shifting the focus from real issues (pay inequality, harassment and such) to trivial and harmless puns.

I sometime wonder if these people (like the author) are just trolls waiting for a good useless polemic to arise in order to shove down our throat how well behaved they are. Pathetic.


TIL making a joke about a male body part is misogyny.


The t-shirt is neither sexist or offensive, nor particularly funny. People, please spend your moral outrage on real issues. Honestly, PHP as a language is way more offensive than the shirt is.


This is utterly ridiculous. In reality there is street harassment FGM, pay gap, domestic violence, rape, politicians attacking bodily autonomy...but god forbid someone makes a dick joke.

It's bullshit like this that means more and more people are a) not taking feminism seriously any more (women included), and b) leaving the damn movement (my girlfriend and I used to be fairly hardcore feminist activists, but we're so sick of all this shit that our interest is waning. Which is awful, as we genuinely care about equality and smashing the gender divide, but the movement is so plagued by pointless bickering and crap like this, it's an uphill battle).


If you're interested in constructively changing things rather than just looking good for yourself, it's worth contacting people directly before you shout to the internet at large.


Storm in a teacup IMHO


Oh hey look, another dick joke on a t-shirt promoting programming to the masses. How funny, right? Hur, hur, hur.

At this point, I don't know what's more of a joke, this type of marketing or the joke itself.


It's fair so say that those girls are authors of that t-shirt. It was they idea. And they are not dumb at all - they are editors of Webandphp.


Would it be more acceptable if there was a "female version" of this shirt? I'm glad we're examining this at a meta level more often, and I can see how this is exclusive, certainly. Would it become (more) inclusive or even "ok" if there was some other jokey concept for women as well?




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