1. As many others have mentioned, if this is a public school, it's quite unlikely that this teacher is college educated as a programmer, let alone has ever been a professional developer. I'm sure they're teaching VB simply because that's what they have experience with, probably making them the most experienced programmer on staff at the school.
2. High school bullies are typically quite good at restricting their bullying to times when they're unlikely to be spotted by an authority figure. As a teacher, you try hard to maintain awareness of the entire room as much as possible, but there are always tons of gaps. You might be writing something on the board, helping a student 1-on-1, addressing some other kid's behavior, or doing any of dozens of other tasks.
3. Most teachers try to keep tabs on their students on a personal level, especially when they behavior or attitude noticeably changes, but not all students open up. It takes a lot of effort to maintain an authentic connection. Parents have trouble connecting authentically with their children--imagine doing it with scores of students per semester. And when it comes to bullying, most teenagers downplay to avoid being though of as a snitch. Some are self-conscious to be bailed out even when they haven't "snitched".
4. For many of the author's suggestions, the teacher may be doing these things (recruiting, cross-promoting, etc.), to the extent that they have time. But these are outside the job of teaching. These are things the author could be doing at the school too, but presumably she's too busy. I'm sure the teacher can relate.
Teaching high school was by far the most grueling and emotionally taxing job I've ever had. My work career also includes being a custodian at a health club, a baseball umpire, a senior software engineer, and and a startup founder. None of those jobs is anywhere near as demanding.
Funny enough, by far the worst class I took was a networking class. I thought I'd be surrounded by smart people. Turns out, I was only surrounded by assholes, with a teacher willing to let anything and everything slide.
The best class? Geometry. The teacher was more than willing to deliver an attitude adjustment when she had to, and she did, without even being mean about it. As a result, it's one of the few places I was ever comfortable interacting with people I didn't really know.
Healthy attitudes can be taught, but people have to be willing to step up and do it. It's not just on teachers—it's something anyone who has the potential to influence others' lives should be working on.
Especially parents. Ethics should be passed on from generation to generation, religious or not. Somewhere in the past century, the art appears to have been lost. Or it may dilute with each generation, as can be observed in children raised by their grandparents when compared to children of the same age raised by their own parents.
In the end, I just think that over time, the "goodness" of human ethics has been more or less stationary. We've got wants and needs. We've got empathy. We've got conscious minds that seek rationalizable patterns of behavior that satisfy both of these things, but the end result isn't really a consistent normative ethical scheme. Even the most religious people (obviously) find ways to bend the spirit of the ethical schemes to their own benefit.
> a crappy experience in the male-dominated programming world.
It's a bit far fetched to call a high school level programing introduction class audience the "programming world".
Given the amount of people that, even in totally CS oriented engineering school, give up, or aim at a management career after they discover what CS really is, I'm confident to guess that no more than 1 or 2 kids in this class will be one day professional programmers.
I don't think this story as anything to do with sexism in IT.
It's also possible (but we will never know) that she was bullied more because she was doing great in the course than because she was the only girl (which is still unacceptable of course).
That's behavior that should be stopped, or preferably never happen. The expectation should have been set that it will not happen, that the cool programmers don't discriminate and are respectful of each other as individuals.
Just because males may receive gender-based outcasting in a home-ec class does not make that also sexist (are they harassing him to go bring her home a paycheck???), nor does it make the original case OK to disregard as "kids being kids".
It's not mutually exclusive. The sexism comes from the culture that even makes "make me a sandwich" a remark to use in a bullying context. Bullying comes in all forms, but gender-based bullying has another insidious component in that it re-enforces sexist ideas and cultural norms. This is why addressing it independently is important. Just addressing bullying does not eliminate the culture where these terms derive their power.
I think your argument is that this is bullying, not sexism. I don't think bullying supercedes sexism. I think bullying comes in a variety of types. I don't really care if it's sexism or bullying, except in so much as it may make it easier to stop this sort of BS.
In my mind, You are teaching them to program, hence you are making them into programmers.
When I learned to drive, I learned both the mechanics of the car, but also the rules and expectations. Like let people merge, and wave a thank you to people who let you merge.
That said, there may be a better way to address the issue then trying to inculcate egalitarian values as part of being a good programmer. I didn't dig through journals to look at studies of bullying/sexism interventions in american secondary education. Feel free to do so.
I agree, but it'd be nice if it could be nipped in the bud.
> It's also possible (but we will never know) that she was bullied more because she was doing great in the course than because she was the only girl (which is still unacceptable of course).
Children are horrible to each other and will use anything. Ginger hair? Your life will be hell. Overweight? Your life will be hell. Only woman / man in the class? Your life will be hell. I agree that none of this is acceptable.
I know I made that mistake in high school: I actively dissociated from the male/techy-dominated "CS" kids in my school, due to the culture of the "nerdy male" that they cultivated, and only took my first course because I was lucky, and at a "Welcome to your new college's science programs" presentation was wowed by a CS professor's presentation. And I only stuck with it because again, I got lucky, and most the students in the intro course had little to no experience and didn't consider themselves computer geeks, and the course was much more about problem solving and new modes of thought, rather than being an exercise in "learning to program." And it didn't hurt that the course was taught by a woman who was excited about the material.
No, those nerds did not become the bullies they hated in high school. You are still the bullies you were in high school, you just found new excuses (then: they seem nerdy, now: they are sexist).
See, most male programmers stuck with it despite the bullying. They did not need special encouragement. Excuse me if I feel little enthusiasm for developers who need to be bribed into the profession.
There is no group of feminists that bullied nerds by disassociating with them (beyond what is acceptable in just not talking to people who don't share your interests) in this story 'claiming the nerds prevented them from programming for sexist reasons.' There is a girl getting treated like crap by people, for no good reasons, because of some group-politics sexism.
You're just foisting the arguments of the past, of different people, onto the current generation - This isn't like there's some evil cheerleader figure who stumped nerds for years turning up and expecting them to welcome her into their programming fraternity.
Nevertheless I am always opposed to bullying, but unfortunately sometimes we have to deal with it. Calling for a nanny state to work things out for us is not always a workable solution.
VB is a fine language to get children interested in programming. Personally, I know many people who weren't able to grasp programming via C but were pretty excited about VB's gui designer and easy database connectivity. Most of the introduction to VB didn't teach them much programming, but at least it got them interested.
> High school bullies are typically quite good at restricting their bullying to times when they're unlikely to be spotted by an authority figure.
The author is being unfair when she is holding the teacher solely accountable for bullying.
> It takes a lot of effort to maintain an authentic connection. Parents have trouble connecting authentically with their children--imagine doing it with scores of students per semester. And when it comes to bullying, most teenagers downplay to avoid being though of as a snitch. Some are self-conscious to be bailed out even when they haven't "snitched".
There is also the fact that being teacher's pet generally invites more bullying. If they can't harass you, they will begin isolating you. And of course, the general mentality isn't in favor of snitches even when the snitches are hapless victims. Children don't have a strong sense of right and wrong and peer pressure muddies it more.
> For many of the author's suggestions, the teacher may be doing these things (recruiting, cross-promoting, etc.), to the extent that they have time. But these are outside the job of teaching. These are things the author could be doing at the school too, but presumably she's too busy. I'm sure the teacher can relate.
I haven't taught at professional level, but I do like teaching. And I like to teach people who are interested in learning. If I were a teacher, I won't really do much recruiting and promotion. If the job requires me to do it, I probably won't take it.
VB seems to me to be a poor choice because it doesn't intersect with the kids' lives. They likely won't go home and build VB apps (on their Macs...) The console is like lifting the curtain and revealing the motor underneath something we all use every day.
Our disjointed education system has done a pretty crappy job of anticipating the software revolution and gearing up for it. I mean think about it, even in higher ed, software development/engineering as a discipline separate from computer science and computer engineering is not even 10 years old in many places. At most ed schools, software education is just a component of overall tech ed, if it's available at all, and specializing in tech ed is a good way to make yourself expendable by not being certified in a "core" subject.
And with most K-12 curriculum priorities being set by individual local districts and schools, it seems hardly probable that administrators, overburdened as they are trying to increase test scores in core subjects, are going be able to sense and react to long-term economic trends by beefing up their software instructional staffs.
If you want to show the joy of a VB-like build-run-debug cycle, use Unity and C# (or Unityscript) and it's (a) free, (b) runs on Macs, and (again) (c) builds stuff they might actually care about.
I'm not sure VB was a "make or break" factor in my education, but it certainly didn't help. Also, I'm trying to teach my girlfriend development and web development, it turns out, IS NOT a good place to start.
> I'm trying to teach my girlfriend development and web development, it turns out, IS NOT a good place to start.
> The author is being unfair when she is holding the teacher solely accountable for bullying.
Come, now. Yours is not a reasonable conclusion to make from the blog post. It should be obvious to the reader that the bullies in question are responsible. The author's point was that the teacher shares responsibility in providing a safe environment for all students in the class. Perhaps you don't agree (and what a shame if you don't), but you should not misrepresent the author's argument to make your case.
The teacher may be responsible, sure. The harassment happened; knowing that, it is an absolutely fair question to wonder if more could have been done by the teacher.
> Students have remedies, they all know what they are. I knew. If the child spoke up to a teacher, principal, janitor, or anyone and the school did nothing then I'd side with the OP in a heartbeat.
I feel it must be pointed out, and repeated if necessary, that someone does not need to report a wrong action for that action to be wrong. I know that's not exactly what you said. The author's daughter was harassed, and that is wrong. Full stop.
> Absent any real facts about what happened I'd have to guess (and it's only a guess) that the teacher wasn't the problem here.
If you are absent any real facts, why hazard a guess at all?
IF the author's daughter was harassed THEN that is wrong. Full stop.
I have no idea what really happened. You have no idea what really happened. Neither one of us was there. Neither was the mom. Her version is still just hearsay and worth exactly nothing. The only one who knows what happened is the young girl involved.
People throw the word harassment around a lot. Being bullied is the new black. What if this kid is super-sensitive (we all know people who cry when they step on ants) and the other kids just laughed at her and called her a teacher's pet. Maybe that was enough to sour this kid? But... is that harassment? Are the other kids just evil? Maybe the teacher was a completely insensitive jerk. Maybe the teacher was in on it. Maybe the mom embellished the story in some bizarre modern day blogging version of Munchausen by proxy.
At the end of the day all we can do is speculate that if A happened then B should have been done about it. In a perfect world A would never happen, but we don't live in that world and everyone who tells a story brings their own biases to the conversation. It's fodder for discussion and not much else because it's a story with only one version of the "facts".
If I had to take a Visual Basic class, I would've taken up woodworking as a career. Seriously, what the hell? It's awful.
When are we going to start sterilizing people who raise shitty kids? I'm being intentionally provocative because I'm so fucking sick of this problem. It's the stupidest fucking problem in the world and it hurts so many people.
Minority entities will be teased practically any time they exist, regardless of sector or age, and they need to be taught to handle it well. We can continue to attempt to stop the teasing altogether, but in the meantime we have to live in the Real World, and if this child quit programming because a few guys made a kitchen joke, the mother is really misdirecting her efforts by writing a letter to the teacher.
It's hard to imagine that any rape joke would be allowed to fly in our classrooms where students can hardly wield pencils anymore, and if you read carefully, you'll see that it doesn't appear to have occurred. It appears to me that the author is attempting to use some clever wording to create an impression that the "harassment" was much more intense than it actually was by subtly crossing over into her personal experience with online trolls.
Zero tolerance tends to create situations in which schools/teachers/administrators do nothing since they don't want to get someone expelled. This creates an environment in which students say/do terrible things with little or consequence. Best case the teachers look the other way but often the teachers will harass students as well (I saw two teachers in my Junior High School sexually harass students). Occasionally the school will overreact and have someone arrested for using the word gun in an essay. The general rule is to expect them to do completely the wrong action, every time in every situation. At least that was my experience.
I was in high school a few years ago. Put that many teenagers in a room and of course they're going to fuck with each other.
I've heard sandwich jokes made in liberal arts classes, biology classes, even a badminton class--which also had only one girl in it. The takeaway is not that the badminton industry is misogynistic or that the Phys Ed teacher is failing womankind; the takeaway is that high schoolers are dicks.
High schoolers grow up. When they grow up, do they remain dicks, or do they change? I finally watched 42 the other day. There's this scene where a white dad is screaming at Robinson to get off the field, that they don't want him there, calling him all sorts of names. His son is hesitant at first, but starts following suit. The implication was clear. What you see as acceptable when young can stick with you for a long time until you have a shocking wake-up call. And seriously, who in society has really seen these wake-up calls happen more often than not? Especially given the amount of evidence we see of it not happening.
Sure. But not exclusively [which I know you weren't claiming].
I had some pretty degrading and misandrist remarks made about me in situations with lots of women in; where I've been the only man (mothers, women of an age to marry and more mature women too).
I think these things are a lot about group dynamics.
I think that's right, particularly male group dynamics.
I'd say all guys are bullied, except most of us wouldn't call it such - it's the establishment of hierarchy, and bonding.
Is that right? Is that right when they don't differentiate their bullying towards girls? I'm not even going to wade into that.
However, I feel (through personal experience) masculinity is being more and more removed from young men, and at a high cost.
Yeah? So this high school programming class isn't so much a programming class as a crash course in coping mechanisms for gender-based harassment?
Please. It's the educator's job to create a safe space for, you know, education--for every student in the class, not just the privileged majority. It's their job to track their students' education and interest level, and make adjustments if either starts dropping. It's not their job to facilitate a hostile environment and let minority students flounder in the interests of 'real world training'. It's not their job to decide that since it's hard for women in tech in real life, it should be hard in their class. Education isn't about maintaining the world we already live in, it's about shaping the world our kids will live in.
You want real world training? Show me an HR department in a software company that's fine with comments like "get in the kitchen and make me sandwich". Which real world are you advocating this high school programming class introduce to a 16-year-old girl?
The real world where HR thought police aren't sitting in every room of every company. The real world where even HR people try to "make jokes" and be funny. The real world where HR people generally judge the severity of a harassment complaint by favoritism, which reality a blunt HR person (not employed at my current employer) just relayed to me recently. The real world where real humans, not perfectly politically correct robo-trons, must work, play, and engage.
I don't endorse teasing that harms a person's feelings. But I also think we shouldn't be so thin-skinned that we shrivel up and quit the first time a trite, cliched joke is thrown our way, because that happens all the time to everybody (your peers _will_ find a difference to comment upon no matter how mainstream you think you are), and if you can't handle it, you'll have a lot of difficulty handling more serious emotional situations, like getting passed up for a promotion.
It'd be great if the programming teacher first, was made aware of this problem, and the article never claims he was, and second, was able to stop the problem, but there's no guarantee he could've effectively done so even if he tried (and he may have), just as corporate HR departments can't stop all incidents of "harassment" even though they "try".
I believe the author probably wrote the piece primarily as a hypothetical, but I also believe it was bad taste to do so since this supposedly is traceable back to a real person who may not deserve that type of criticism, and I don't believe her fundamental complaint ("someone said something that made my daughter sad, so you all should feel bad :( ") is very worthy of the community's attention.
...almost got bingo... good work, cookiecaper.
And I only see hits in two squares on the "sexist joke bingo", not that it matters.
> But I also think we shouldn't be so thin-skinned that we shrivel up and quit the first time a trite, cliched joke is thrown our way
Will you take the free space kaltai, or can we stop trying to use rhetorical tricks like talking dismissively about(rather than to) and trying to out-meta the other?
Why is it that people misreading comments to call them out almost always come off as bigger asses than the people they're replying to?
And unfunny, bad-taste jokes are still jokes. I can talk about the KKK member's standup routine and call his words jokes without saying that I found them funny.
and I mean that in the worst possible way.
I completely agree that people in general, and women in tech specifically, have to be thick-skinned to survive professionally. Nobody's advocating HR thought police--they'd be unnecessary in this case anyway--or politically-correct automatons. We're talking about kids. Kids! Surely it's not totally out of line to suggest that they could learn better behavior than "get in the kitchen and make me a sandwich". Surely there's a better response to the whole situation than "that girl needs to suck it up and learn how the world works".
For what it's worth, I remember the first time those trite cliches were thrown at me, and they felt neither trite nor cliched. They hurt. I thought I was part of a team, among equals, brothers-in-arms, friends, and I wasn't. I was different, I was other, I was less, I was not welcome. It's a paradigm shift that happens in an instant, and it can be pretty shattering--great for killing enthusiasm and developing thick skin in the future, maybe, but not for learning things in a programming class.
School sucks for nerdy white boys, too. Yes, I'd like to see a safe and healthy learning environment for everyone.
Do you understand the statement above? If not, I'll quit wasting my time.
This was a rant about the mother's issues directed at a seemingly innocent teacher.
This article disgusted me.
I'm so bored of this sort of thing. Yes, there are man-children who post stupid and hurtful crap on the internet. Yes, there are cretins who make dick jokes on stage at conferences. There are also women who are complete and utter asses to all men because "all men are rapists", which IMHO is a far more misandric view than the kind of offhanded misogyny of "sudo make me a sandwich" shit nerd guys come up with.
People are dicks. People do stupid crap. People hurt each other.
People who use gender as an emblem and weapon are also dicks, because they create a line of demarcation and balkanisation where there IS NONE. We are PEOPLE. Not "Men" and "Women" who are some kind of antagonistic polar-opposite species.
Edit: Rape jokes. Interesting one that. I recall being 12, on a school bus on a trip to some camp in Michigan (am mostly schooled in the UK, spent a year in 7th grade in the US, loathed it), and being astounded at the fact that the gaggle of girls sat behind me were all cracking rape jokes. I actually couldn't parse at first what they were talking about "rip? ripe? rope?", until I clocked the macabre subject of their humour.
It took the (male) bus driver to ask them to all kindly shut the fuck up.
How can a situation where a child enters a classroom full of enthusiasm and leaves a year (term?) later depressed not be an "actual issue"?
The way to deal with it is "Suck it up." i.e. have self-confidence and act you, yourself, personally, better than others. Lead by example, not legislation.
I am saying that it IS an issue, but that the issue is not one of gender discrimination, just one of kids, and humans, being dicks - and you can't combat it purely on gender lines as all you're doing is treating a symptom rather than the disease.
Wrong. You're assuming that all forms of bullying are equally bad. This is patently false. Bullying based on traits that already set you apart can reenforce imposter syndrome. Specifically in the case of programming, a woman in a male-only class will already feel isolated and like she doesn't belong. Being bullied with gender-specific insults is much more harmful to this persons potential as a programmer than being bullied with gender neutral ones. So addressing specifically the sex-based bullying is necessary in addition to bullying in general.
It's not about gender. It's about ostracism. You don't have to be female to be ostracised. You just have to have something, anything, that sets you apart from the crowd.
This is the societal control mechanism we have culturally evolved to ensure conformity and "strength" in groups. It is really, really, really fucking dangerous, and leads to fun shit like Nazism. It's also really powerful, and is the basis of nation states.
Ergo, the problem needs treating at its cause, which is a cultural illness, and is far from simple to treat. You cannot simply resolve one emergent aspect of it and then expect to treat each aspect the same way. You do not cut down a tree by plucking at its leaves.
This is certainly true. What I meant to convey was that in the context of a programming class, being bullied for a trait that is itself already suspect within oneself reenforces it and thus is more damaging. If that girl had been bullied in the programming class because she was fat, it may not have had as much of an impact on her decision to pursue the career. Being bullied because she's a girl on the other hand, had the secondary effect of reenforcing the idea that she doesn't belong in tech.
We as a species have a remarkable proclivity to be very unkind.
Btw, you need to get away from the habit of directly attacking the author and focus instead on attacking the argument.
You're right that by abstracting things away you can just create a philosophical point with no path to resolution, but you can also actively inflict harm by tackling an issue in isolation without evaluating and understanding the root cause.
This is the same philosophy (general problem, specific problem within that general problem that we think we can act on, so act, without looking at the general problem) that lead to rampant mercury poisoning and insanity across the globe in the late 19th c., as a poultice of mercury nicely clears up the sores from syphilis - but does not cure syphilis.
There is no violence and rape in this story, there's only a mom with an axe to grind and a daughter who might not be interested in programming.
Best wishes, and good luck!
You, however, don't get the same consideration, because I strongly suspect you're a pillock.
This use of "privilege" as a targeted weapon to silence specific demographics has to stop.
Women in the western world have always been among the safest, most privileged people on Earth. This entire thread, in fact, has been a shining example of female privilege.
No one cares that women soundly outnumber men in university admission, and university graduation, and even high school graduation. Heck, no one cares that it is men who overwhelmingly make up the bottom of society.
Instead, we're having a collective anxiety attack because a hyper-privileged white woman is upset that her hyper-privileged white daughter might have had her feelings hurt in high school. This is surreal.
Gender equality in America has come a long way. However, there are still many occupations and places in America where equality is not the norm at all.
The best example of an occupation where women are not welcome is the military.
The best example of inequality in the courts is this recent case:
Inequality is all around us.
I disagree with that characterization. Bullying, violence, and rape should never be normalized, nor acceptable, regardless of the age of the perpetrators. This is aberrant, immoral behavior and should never be treated as anything else.
I went to a mixed-sex high school, albeit you might choose to take this anecdote with a grain of salt since that was 20 years ago in Germany. There was certainly some bullying, although not on the scale I discovered much later in life was common elsewhere. There was almost no intra-school violence. I feel pretty confident in saying this because these things were taken very seriously by both staff and students alike, and the few cases where there had been confrontations between students quickly became very public and a matter of much water cooler talk afterwards. I can also say with about the same level of confidence as you that there was no rape, or other forms of gender-based violence. And coming back to the article's subject, CS class was mandatory for everyone at first - and even though in later years the course became one of those that could be voluntarily dropped, the gender balance stayed the same after that.
That said, school wasn't ideal for me as I was in it. CS class wasn't exactly great, mostly due to utter disinterest by 90% of the students who took it. At the time I had the feeling the school was a bad choice for individualists like me, though in hindsight I would revise that conclusion a bit (as a humanist-themed middle/high school it was actually much better than any other school I could have gone to).
I think it's important to bring young people up together and not artificially separate them into two groups. Of the many social problems present in my time studying there, gender issues were not one of them. There was no us-versus-them mentality, and informal social groups were almost always mixed. I can't help but wonder if that sort of normalcy is something single-gender schools actively campaign against.
1) Either we need to make school even less like the real world, by separating the sexes as per the above suggestion, or turning the school into the chronological opposite of a work release prison,
2) We need to make school more like the real world by banning unnatural things like homeschooling, because obviously no human beings work are home or own their own businesses and self direct themselves. Or no human beings carry a tiny swiss army knife on their keychain, so we need to ban that too, etc etc.
I was pointing out how much, much worse stuff happens in schools than just being told to 'make a sandwich' and trust me, I would have been a very happy little boy if only that had happened to my friends and me. To be honest, starting from the author of the article, this entire thread displays just how sheltered of a life many of this community must be living to start an Internet crusade (because this is what it is going to end up when the social justice warriors get wind of it) because of a boring class with an unqualified teacher.
To me the thread illustrates that for a community that gives so much lip service to disruption and progress, a lot of people are really unwilling to put up with the idea that high school shouldn't have to be the pit of misery that is apparently common in American public schools. But über is solving real problems!
> trigger alert
> (violence and rape references)
This is not Slashdot, you're supposed to read the article before commenting ;-)
It's not a fucking "free choice" that women are making when they steer away from programming in the face of the grotesque pastiche of misogyny and bullying that underlies our vocation, in which most of the people who aren't actually bullying women are falling over themselves to deny its existence or make excuses for it.
Male programmers need to stop congratulating ourselves on how "libertarian" and "meritocratic" we are and start taking responsibility for how profoundly hostile and off-putting we have allowed this field to remain for most women.
Also, I've never seen anything resembling a "grotesque pastiche of misogyny and bullying" in my 17 years of working as a programmer or systems analyst.
Uh, no, he's not saying that. The issue is that women, generally, are already treated differently than their male co-workers, and they shouldn't be. It's about not treating them differently.
Do you actually think they'd report it if they were?
Who here has never been someplace and felt like they didn't belong? Maybe you were the only person of your ethnicity at some event and you stuck out like a sore thumb. Maybe everyone had their inside jokes and familiarities you didn't know about. Maybe occasionally, people made in unambiguously clear that you weren't welcome, by being cold or outright hostile. This is what it feels like for many women in the tech world.
I really feel like this comes down not so much to an inability to comprehend and empathize, but more so to a vested interest of deniers in the status quo. More outsiders means people on the inside have to let go of their insularity, and moreover, compete with an influx of people who bring in diverse skillsets and viewpoints. Our supposedly meritocratic software world is actually anything but. I believe Chris Hayes nails it with his Iron Law of Meritocracy, summarized here .
The problem is that this causes a moral decay. Once a firm accepts that this behavior is acceptable, the slippery slope starts. Well, a couple fudged expense reports isn't bad. Oh, what the client doesn't know won't hurt them. No need to be entirely up front with government. Management doesn't get it, don't share anything with them. Criminal complaints from the government, we're just the victim!
> So, you see, I was all too familiar with what my daughter was going through, but I was unprepared for the harassment to start in high school, in her programming class.
Really? High school?
I went to high school, too. I distinctly remember how everyone was calling everyone else whatever they could. I've been called a faggot, a lunatic, a drug-addict, a bitch, a teacher's pet, a limp dick and a long list of other things, and I've been the target of a whole bunch of male stereotypes.
Like, you know, every fucking teenager on the planet. I cracked sexist jokes with other dudes -- hell, I cracked sexist jokes with girls -- and I've been the target of sexist jokes, too. Some of them were mean, some of them were in good spirit. Hell, at one point I was the only dude in a Latin class. Few things are more awesome than having the openly lesbian, short-haired colleague asking you whether you'd like to shine her boots and fetch her paper later (particularly after addressing you with "hey sissy" rather than your name).
But what the hell, that's what you do when you're a teenagers. We were a bunch of stupid fucks whose most important achievement in life was learning how to play the intro to Stairway to Heaven or trying to fuck while dead drunk. We insulted each other with no reason. Our behaviour was definitely unprofessional, because we went to school, not to work.
Seriously, if we're going to get upset and bring out the discrimination pitchforks every time a teenager says something mean to another teenager, we're going to be really busy. People are going to be mean to each other, particularly those who don't have this privilege of sheltered education.
I honestly sympathize with this young girl. Humour and sexist jokes apart, I had my share of insults and bullying because of a somewhat visible physical defect (one of my eyes isn't exactly agile). But being a good parent is not a good way to deal with this, no matter how much we'd like that, because it depends on other people being good parents, too.
My folks were awesome. Both were cultivated fellows, and my father was in the army and taught me how to punch. I got through school without traumas related to these experience using nothing but wits and kickboxing.
Guess what? In High School many of us were quite together and tried our best to have fun while avoiding people like you.
Most everyone has had this problem at one point in time. It seems to me that mom needs to teach her daughter to have a thicker skin...which is the EXACT same lesson I got from my parents.
Children have no tools, and are forced into these situations with no possibility of escape. The thicker skin you describe doesn't exist for the majority of the planet.
My parents tried all they could to shelter me behind regulations, and even they -- a colonel and an elementary school teacher -- failed and eventually admitted I have to stand up for myself if everything else fails. I stood up to (and beaten the crap out of) bullies and even stood up to teachers if I had to.
The people who don't care about the rules are the people against which bullied and harassed teenagers have no one to count on other than themselves.
My parents didn't teach me to run to them or to teachers when stuff like this happens. They taught me how to deal with it myself.
Treating high schoolers like they're helpless kids might be fashionable now, but it might not seam as wise when they're 30 and living at home.
I went to a high school where the two calculus teachers were both female. I also went to a math PhD program where a professor -- specifically George Mackey http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Mackey -- wondered openly as to whether women could do top-level mathematics. In fairness to him, the women in that era were still few and below average, and one even had the temerity to whine about discrimination when the real problem was that she wasn't particularly smart or hardworking.
Moral: Even if you don't see bigotry in YOUR part of a group, don't assume it isn't common elsewhere.
At the end of the day, this was a highschool class with comments being made by highschool kids. The one comment specifically detailed in the article is an old internet meme that was largely popular in gaming circles. The teacher, the only one in this entire story that might have some small connection with the tech industry, never made any inappropriate comments or behaved in any way misogynistic at least so far as the details in the article. To call this story an example of misogyny in the tech industry is pure BS, it had absolutely nothing to do with the tech industry in any way.
Edit: More context on the comment the article mentioned: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/get-back-to-the-kitchen
I agree that it's not necessarily an example of misogyny in tech per se, but it's absolutely a contributing factor in why there are so few women in tech -- many first experiences tend to be as the sole female in classes with socially outcast males.
To begin with the state of tech education in public schools is absolutely abysmal, it takes a dedicated student with a strong interest in tech to tough it out through the school system, rather than being encouraged to go into tech by the school system. The media portrays programmers and other tech industry professionals as a bunch of lonely anti-social misfits who are almost exclusively male and either so exceeding stereotypically nerdy as to practically qualify as autistic, or else overweight and lecherous. These two factors combined mean that the vast majority of students, both male and female, decide to avoid the tech industry at an early age because either they believe the media stereotypes or else they take some tech related classes and are so appalled at the curriculum that they practically run to other professions.
When considering a career in the tech industry, going solely by the state of pre-college and entry level college tech courses, combined with the overwhelming media stereotypes around the tech industry, is it any surprise most women decide to pursue other fields?
Also, I believe it is specifically a tech problem. Medicine and law are approaching gender balanced. Tech, though, has been getting worse over the decades.
To me this sounds like another version of the "you're doing it wrong" anonymous grumbling that the internet provides for pretty much anybody doing anything.
I'm going to keep trying to fix tech the way I think tech should be fixed. Whether or not J. Random Commenter "accepts" my analysis of the problem isn't something I'm worried about. It's a given in pushing for societal change that most people think you're wrong in one way or another; otherwise we would already have made the change.
You keep trying to fix what isn't broken while ignoring what is, just don't go harassing everyone who's trying to get things done, or get upset when everyone else thinks your nuts for tilting at windmills.
I worry, but of course couldn't prove, that the sort of responses you get to proposing the former betray that many people subconsciously believe the latter.
To those of you who don't believe that widespread discrimination in whatever form exists, how do you explain the fact that, from school classes to upper management, there just aren't nearly as many women in the technical sphere?
IMO nerd superiority is the most unbecoming pervasive trait found in the tech industry.
A third alternative is that they are not on average as interested in this kind of profession as the average man. That is a perfectly reasonable theory. But of course that doesn't put you between a rock and a hard place by having to choose between a society-is-sexist or a women-are-inferior theory, so I guess it's not a very fun theory if you want to stirr up a lot of emotions...
No, it's still a theory. It might naturally lead to the next question, "why don't they wanna?", but so does a lot of theories/explanations (just ask Socrates).
> Why wouldn't women be interested in this kind of profession? Do women not like comfortable, creative, high-paying jobs with lots of perks?
I don't know, but there could be a lots of reasons, since there are a lot of things other than comfort and money that people consider when they choose a career. Indeed, money is probably relatively unimportant in a more egalitarian, developed society than a society which is less developed and more (gender) unequal: nations with a higher degree of gender equality tend to have a more gender-segregated labour market. Why don't you explain that 'paradox' (it's not really a paradox), with your initial, limited dichotomy?
Besides, there are several other fields of study and careers that are pretty good at this time. Most of them engineering fields though. And from a pure money-making perspective there are other choices, granted many of which are lotteries; but probably attract a large number of adherents.
I don't owe it to you to give elaborate theories. You had an assertion about how many possible reasons there might be for a given phenomena, and I argued that it was baseless of you to only assume that those two reasons might be the only possible ones. It is baseless since you've hardly argued why there might only be two. Sure, you're arguing that this kind of job gives money and comfort, but again, I've argued that people are after other things than that. And, I've given an example of a widespread phenomena of women choosing careers and jobs that are more associated with having women working in them, when they have the chance. What examples have you given? Oh that's right: none.
I don't know where you live, so I don't know which economy is "this economy", but where I reside people are still able to have some leniency when it comes to choosing a career. It has been my experience that people (men and women) are far from only concerned with money when it comes to employment.
To put it another way, I can see two plausible forces pushing women away from tech jobs: 1) some deficiency on their part, 2) some motive on the part of the system to keep women out.
My argument is that, since many people disagree with 2), many must subconsciously believe 1), which is absurd on its face.
Examples aren't helpful in this case because your theory doesn't answer the question we're asking. Even if it were true that the mechanism keeping women out of tech was the amending of their preferences rather than forcibly excluding them (by refusing to hire them for example), this would still be the result of either something innate about women themselves or something societal imposing these preferences on them.
So, again, we still are faced with the same question. If women "don't want" to be programmers, why would that be? Because something about their female brains is disinterested in computers? Or because they've been socialized to feel as if tech jobs are not for them?
In my experience, a lot of the difficulty in comprehending/accepting that women experience the industry so differently than men is that many men either A) over-generalize from an exceptional interaction, or B) follow those that have over-generalized. By "A" I mean that men can rely on confirmation bias to cement their impression of the female experience based on a few choice interactions. For example, confirmation bias can allow a random chat with a well-adjusted, confident woman who appears impervious to tech sexism can dispel for many years any notion in that man's mind that sexism exists in the industry. Thereafter, contradictory signals of other women can themselves be dismissed as exceptions, and because of cognitive dissonance, can actually reinforce his misconception.
By "B" I mean that many men have no relevant direct interactions with women (given their low numbers) and may follow the lead of the people with whom they associate, who are by definition men. Any confirmation bias of those men then spreads to them.
In addressing this, what is not often recognized is that individual women do have unique experiences. They are affected to varying degrees and in various ways by prejudism and ostracization. As a male, rather than tip-toe around or ignore the issue with a female colleague, I've found the best hueristic for recognizing your potential participation in a prejudicial environment is to earnestly sense/inquire the nature of her past experience. (You may also share your own experiences of prejudism, if any.) By opening such a dialogue, you establish a common foundation and framework for maximizing the team and progressing the industry.
IMHO, focusing on the direct, open, and individual treatment of interpersonal relationships (and moving away from the one-experience-fits-all mentality, which lacks common sense and is susceptible to confirmation bias) is an important next step for evolving relations between social groups in general.
This is an endemic social problem that prevents girls from even considering sciences.
That, of course, leads to these fields being mostly misogynistic sausage fests, which is also a big problem, but that's one of the symptoms of the culture of education.
So I'll just leave this bingo in case you got bored in this thread: http://bit.ly/16i7WAm
The implication of your parenthetical being that all men have been unconsciously chauvinistic at some point?
But it's far from a fixed problem currently.
No one cares that women soundly outnumber men in university admission, and university graduation, and even high school graduation. No one cares that young women without children (i.e. the majority) earn more money their male counterparts. Heck, no one cares that it is men who overwhelmingly make up the bottom of society.
Where, exactly, did you find this quote? Because I can't find it in the OP, or the post you are replying to. I'd hate to think you might have pulled a strawman so blatantly out of thin air . . .
Oh, and thanks for demonstrating exactly the points the GP was trying to make.
The straw man of "protect the fairer sex" is so frustrating. No one is saying to treat women like brittle creatures who cannot fend for themselves.
It hasn't even been 100 years since women were given the right to vote in America, and the amendment was filibustered before it was ratified. It's shocking that there were politicians who believed so strongly that women should be second class citizens that they filibustered the bill.
But now they are graduating from college at a high clip, and making a decent living, so it's okay to tell them to "get back in the kitchen and make a sandwich"?
It's especially frustrating that the younger generation feels like this kind of comment is OK. It shows, at best, a cultural acceptance of, and at worst a promotion of, oppressive gender roles, in which females are subservient to males.
How anyone can defend the promotion of such a hostile environment is beyond me. To you it may seem like a harmless joke, in which the woman just needs "thicker skin" to "joke around with the boys." But that's not your call to make. If it makes someone feel noticeably uncomfortable, we should be smart enough and kind enough to respect that. No one likes bullies, and every bully claims to be "just joking around mannnnn, don't be such a baby."
That doesn't mean treat people with baby gloves when it comes to everything. It's not about maintaing a lovey work environment where everyone hugs and sings together. If someone is doing bad work, call them out. That doesn't require making sexist quips.
Also want to note: being the safest, and most privileged relative to other places on earth != safe and treated equally.
We shouldn't be happy with being the best on a relative scale that stacks us against cultures where women are stoned for getting raped, we still have a long way to go in the fight for equality.
So how do you feel about all the women who opposed it? You do realize that men didn't have the right to vote either right? The right to vote was tied to military service.
>oppressive gender roles, in which females are subservient to males.
That is an opinion, not reality. You could describe men's "oppressive gender role" as being subservient to women. Being forced to work your life away to provide for a woman is no more wonderful than being forced to cook and clean for a man.
>Also want to note: being the safest, and most privileged relative to other places on earth != safe and treated equally
But the discussion is framed as "we have things bad, you men need to fix it", but the "you men" in question are less safe than women, and are also not treated equally.
It's unfortunate they felt that way. It's really easy not to take advantage of a right if one chooses, but to actively prevent others from having it is strange to me. Maybe you feel differently?
>You do realize that men didn't have the right to vote either right? The right to vote was tied to military service.
What are you talking about? When our country (referring the US) was founded, the requirements were being white and owning land, or having enough wealth to be taxed. (Which is also outrageous.) Non-whites were given the right in 1870, women in 1920, with the enactment of the 19th Amendment. "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."
Maybe you know something I don't about military service requirements for voting?
>That is an opinion, not reality. You could describe men's "oppressive gender role" as being subservient to women. Being forced to work your life away to provide for a woman is no more wonderful than being forced to cook and clean for a man.
"Get in the kitchen and make me a sandwich" isn't supporting oppressive gender roles wherein women are subservient to men? Really?
Of course the patriarchy has its negative effects on men, but that's a result of patriarchy's existence, which is exactly what feminism is trying to correct. The man is "being forced to provide for a woman" because men want to keep women "in the kitchen to make sandwiches." It's two sides of the same problem.
And before you try to argue that men don't actually want to keep women in the kitchen... I'm using that to refer to a larger cultural psyche. How much time do men get off for paternity leave in the US? Generally none. That right there reinforces the "woman as homemaker." The woman has to stay home, the man has to bring home the money, thanks to the patriarchy.
>But the discussion is framed as "we have things bad, you men need to fix it", but the "you men" in question are less safe than women, and are also not treated equally.
It's not about "you men" fixing it. It's about assholes not being assholes. In many cases it happens to be men, sometimes its women too.
Also, what are you talking about? How are the men less safe? Do I even want to know what your logic is behind that?
Maybe you're just trolling, but the problem I see in a lot of you "men's rights" people, is an unfortunate lack of the capacity for altruism. "Why should they get that if I don't get anything?! What about ME?!" They should get that because we're intelligent and evolved creatures who are capable of giving up some of our privilege and comfort to achieve a happier overall society, even if we get nothing personally in return.
If you can't see this story as indicative of a much larger problem, you're being intentionally dense.
If you can respond without completely ridiculous strawmen, then you are being intentionally dishonest.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those people that sees that female representation in tech isn't 50% therefore men must be at fault. But here is a clear example of horrible sex discrimination and here you come trotting out the "get over it--you already have it good" arguments.
The first thing that is crucial to understand is that feminism itself is not the enemy. In fact, intelligent feminists should care about the problems you list. I'm not saying they do, but they should, because feminism isn't anti-men, it's anti gender roles. This means that problems like men being pressured to bury their emotions, or men not getting proper mental health care, or men not being taken seriously when they are raped, are all things that feminism is supposed to be fighting against. The fact that our society often ignores these problems is not because of feminism, it's because of sexism. Feminists, often do ignore problems like this with men, and those feminists are either ignorant or bigoted, because sexist oppression caused by society to men, and sexist oppression caused by society to women, have the same root and are part of the same problem that feminism is trying to fix. This is not a fringe view of feminism. This is the normal view.
The second thing that is crucial to understand is that the caricature of sexist tumblr-warrior "feminists" (that do indeed exist) are a distraction. The fact that people like this are taken seriously probably bothers me as much as it bothers you. However, these people are misrepresenting feminism. They do not say what feminism is supposed to represent. You can think of them as the crazy bigoted Christians or Muslims that are technically part of the same group, but do not represent the whole.
Finally, you have to realize that gender roles and sexism are oppressing men and women. I think the reason so many feminists react badly to men's rights advocates is because they marginalize women's problems while promoting men's. In truth I think this is just a reaction from seeing feminist groups do the reverse. Really, both are a problem. Just because one is a problem doesn't make another problem any more or less important. So instead of saying "This is ridiculous to be worrying about when much worse is happening to men and nobody cares," try saying, "This is an important problem," and separately, "These other things are happening to men and nobody cares."
> ALL of your comments are about men's rights.
Yes, most of my comments are about gender issues. And interestingly, despite the vast majority of comments in any given thread disagreeing with my own, my median comment score when discussing those issues is around 10 to 20.
Clearly, there are quite a few people here who don't feel comfortable speaking out, and for good reason! They don't want to be bullied for weeks, having their names permanently dragged through the mud: http://acko.net/blog/storms-and-teacups/
I don't want like-minded visitors to this site feeling like they're not welcome to speak their mind.
> [T]he caricature of sexist tumblr-warrior "feminists" (that do indeed exist) are a distraction. The fact that people like this are taken seriously probably bothers me as much as it bothers you. However, these people are misrepresenting feminism.
Let's ignore the social justice bullies on Tumblr. The top (western) feminist websites are probably Jezebel, Feministe, and Geek Feminism. All three of those are notoriously bigoted against men. Yes, those three websites lack the "I want to watch men burn to death" comments, but that's not saying much.
Every time I hear someone claim that real feminists aren't like that, I must ask: Where are the real feminists?
Haha, good lord. You're making fun of "hyperprivileged" white women while complaining that the white neckbeard bloc is being unjustly silenced? That must be really terrible for you, the jorts ceiling is truly an institution that must be smashed.
Also where'd you get that quote from?
Your concerns, such as they are, have been discussed here
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6354789, and here https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6353402
With a longer piece on the topic here https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6354336 and on the topic of criticism as "silencing" here http://www.popehat.com/2013/09/10/speech-and-consequences/
Use "different perspective" if that's what you're trying to put across, and if it's not and you really believe the whole privilege meme as something more than that, that's exactly why I write you off.
Either way it means either you couldn't be bothered to figure out an effective way to convey a simple core idea without being horrendously offensive, or you actually don't have a clue what you are talking about.
This article was mostly excellent because it primarily avoided the classic persecution complexes that are almost par for the course in such things, to have the top comment here raving about privilege does the article an enormous disservice.
Would you say that black people in America have it harder than white people, perhaps in some places more so than others? If so you accept that people are treated differently based on externalities. People are treated unfairly. People are mocked, hurt, threatened, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
And you want to tell me that it offends you when they say some people have privilege?
Black people and women being discriminated against is just that - discrimination, and that is horrible. But that doesn't (in my mind) make a white male privileged.
Is a white woman more privileged than a black man? Who has more privilege between a black man and a black woman? What about a homeless white man vs a successful white woman?
When someone suffers discrimination it should be called out, addressed, and made right. But it's unfair to paint the rest of the planet as an enemy for not suffering the same abuse.
> 1. a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most
Regardless, even if I and others called it "cronut", that doesn't invalidate the concept. So yours and Tycho's argument-from-terminology is just a distraction, and fails to even address the substance of my complaint.
Regardless of all that I wasn't actually attempting to address your argument at all and my comment wasn't aimed at you. I was simply stating that it annoys me the way privilege has been subverted from its actual meaning by a minority with a particular political motivation. Similarly I'm also annoyed with the way the term organic has been subverted to mean food grown without pesticide even though the actual meaning of the word has absolutely nothing to do with that.
The difference between advantage and privilege is that a privilege is an advantage that is given by an outside force and ceases to exist without the influence of that external force. A person may be provided, given, or granted a privilege, it is not something they innately have. Similarly a privilege may be taken away at any time. An advantage on the other hand typically can not be taken unless it's some item or information that is providing that advantage and not some inherent capability. This is where the concept of a handicap comes from, it's a penalty applied to someone in order to balance a advantage they have. Contrast with a privilege which requires nothing to be added, merely the privilege to be removed. There is similarly no equivalent of handicap with regard to privilege as it makes no sense to add anything to attempt to balance a privilege when simply removing the privilege is far simpler.
As for objective basis of my opinion, that's the easiest thing in the world, there's several hundred years of English literature to back me up.
As for the abuse of the word privilege in this context, you could say being male provides someone with an advantage, or being female provides a disadvantage, but you can not say that someone has a male privilege, as that implies someones male-ness can be taken away.
Yeah, sure, whatever.
it's not a case of not liking the words, it's a case of not liking underhand word games in serious debates
> This use of "privilege" as a targeted weapon to silence specific demographics has to stop.
Sorry, no specific demographic is being "silenced" here. If you think that men are being silenced, well, why are you able to speak?
> Women in the western world have always been among the safest, most privileged people on Earth.
Always been, hm? So they were privileged when they were denied suffrage until less than 100 years ago? They were privileged when they were denied admission to some of the country's top universities until just 30 years ago?
> This entire thread, in fact, has been a shining example of female privilege.
What, exactly, do you see as female privilege? What do you see women being allowed to do, that men are not allowed to, that men are harassed for doing, that men are driven out of the industry for doing due to attacks? And if you do see any such behavior, perhaps someone being harassed for being a dancer, or into musicals, or the like, please note whether it's women doing those attacks, or other men.
> No one cares that women soundly outnumber men in university admission, and university graduation, and even high school graduation.
Awful generous of you to round down to "no one." If no one cares, why have you heard about it? Wouldn't people who don't care not be writing articles about it? There are plenty of people who care, who are concerned about this, who write about it and worry about it. That's not "no one" caring.
However, despite all of that, there are many fewer women in technology, and fewer still are programmers. Just because there might be other biases in other fields, doesn't mean that we shouldn't worry about biases and harassment in our own.
> Instead, we're having a collective anxiety attack because a hyper-privileged white woman is upset that her hyper-privileged white daughter might have had her feelings hurt in high school. This is surreal.
I'm not really clear on what you mean by "hyper-privileged". Is it a privilege to be bullied and told to get into the kitchen? That doesn't really sound like the definition of "privileged" to me.
Yes, there may be ways in which she is privileged compared to others. There are other problems out there. But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to address this one.
It is a problem when women don't enter a career due to harassment, and indifference from others in face of said harassment. Can we have a realistic discussion if a casual dirty joke counts as harassment? Sure. But there's a difference between a casual dirty joke told by one conference attendee to another, and several kids harassing another and telling her to get into the kitchen while the teacher does nothing about it.
You sound fairly threatened and insecure; it sounds like you're worried that women might do better than you at technology, and then the one way you use to make yourself feel secure in yourself may fall away. You seem to have caught on to the power of being a victim and having other people come out to defend you, so you're trying to apply that tactic to defend yourself from women who threaten your sense of technological superiority. It's not a very attractive tactic, however; it makes you look defensive and reactionary. I'd recommend trying to find other ways to feel good about yourself; for instance, by being supportive and welcoming of new people, and making programming a skill and trade that is accessible to all.
Why do you have to make your points while simultaneously being a complete douche about them? Personal attacks on HN, on purpose?
I tried to find some reason to explain why someone would do something like that, and that's the best I could come up with. I was also trying to point out how ridiculous an argument of "stop playing the victim card, look how much of a victim I am" is. Perhaps I went a little beyond what I should have when trying to point out how ridiculous it is, but I'm not really sure how to point that out much more gently.
Perhaps you have a better suggestion for how to deal with such ridiculous, hysterical, off-topic arguments? Perhaps one that doesn't involve calling someone a "complete douche" in the same breath as criticizing personal attacks?
If we're doing this, it's privilege to not be starving on the streets of Calcutta, it's privilege to know how to read, and it is damn sure privilege to be so surrounded by functioning computers that learning how to use them sounds like a real option instead of fairy tales and bullshit.
So, yeah, if you really want to double-down on the privilege concept, we'll go into how privileged the subject of this article actually is.
That doesn't change the fact that in America, in high-tech industries, there are many privileges that men enjoy that women do not.
It's a derailing tactic to say "you're privileged relative to some extremely impoverished, down on their luck person over there, so you shouldn't ever complain." Just because I don't have the worst boss in the world doesn't mean I shouldn't ever complain about my boss. Just because the US may not spy on its citizens as much as China does doesn't mean we shouldn't be complaining about the US spying on its citizens.
That's what I mean when I don't understand what he means by hyper-privileged. If he's referring to relative to some hungry orphan on the streets of Calcutta, that's just not relevant. If he means relative to the other people in the class, which is the comparison that actually matters for this discussion, then I'm not sure what he means as she obviously is not privileged relative to them, as they were able to harass her into deciding not to continue that course of study.
The verb "silence" is not restricted to scenarios in which someone is rendered literally incapable of speech. It never has been.
> Always been, hm? So they were privileged when they were denied suffrage until less than 100 years ago? They were privileged when they were denied admission to some of the country's top universities until just 30 years ago?
Definitely. The members of the anti-suffrage movement, both men and women, pointed to those female privileges as the primary reason women shouldn't be allowed an equal say in setting the course of government.
> Awful generous of you to round down to "no one." If no one cares, why have you heard about it? Wouldn't people who don't care not be writing articles about it? There are plenty of people who care, who are concerned about this, who write about it and worry about it. That's not "no one" caring.
You got me. There aren't literally zero people who care about the myriad of ways men are disadvantaged to women. Unfortunately, there are close to literally zero people with power who seem care about men's issues, which is why society allocates an outrageously disproportionate amount of attention, money, time, and energy toward women's issues.
> However, despite all of that, there are many fewer women in technology, and fewer still are programmers. Just because there might be other biases in other fields, doesn't mean that we shouldn't worry about biases and harassment in our own.
Agreed, but we need to realize that attention, money, time, and energy aren't limitless.
> You sound fairly threatened and insecure; it sounds like you're worried that women might do better than you at technology
Cut it out.
I'm not worried about myself at all. Like many of us, from a young age, I make more money than I'll ever know what do with. I have a growing a set of skills that are almost guaranteed provide me with gainful employment for my entire life.
I'm worried about the men at the bottom of society who are always marginalized by feminist policing and hand-wringing.
Feminists always point to the top of society, notice that there are more men than woman, then use that as evidence that men are more privileged.
However, they never point to the bottom of society, notice that there are more men than women, then use that as evidence that women are more privileged.
Never, never, never.
That's because they have a particular agenda. And that's fine. But it's also fine for people like me to point out that we are allocating an outrageously disproportionately amount of attention, money, time, and energy to women's issues.
Please clarify, then, about who exactly is being "silenced" and how, and what you mean by "silenced" if it doesn't mean that the person is unable to speak publicly about the topic.
> Definitely. The members of the anti-suffrage movement, both men and women, pointed to those female privileges as the primary reason women shouldn't be allowed an equal say in setting the course of government.
Wait a minute. Are you actually aligning yourself with the anti-suffrage movement? Are you serious?
> Feminists always point to the top of society, notice that there are more men than woman, then use that as evidence that men are more privileged.
> However, they never point to the bottom of society, notice that there are more men than women, then use that as evidence that women are more privileged.
Wait a second. There can't be more men than women on both the top and bottom of society, as there are more women than men in general.
So, let's look at actual numbers from the Census Bureau: http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/historical/peopl...
In the Poverty by Sex chart, in 2011, we see 151 million men, of whom 21 million, or 13.6% are below the poverty line. There are 157 million women, of whom 26 million, or 16.3%, are below the poverty line.
Looks to me like in both absolute numbers and percentages, there are more women than men at the "bottom of society".
> That's because they have a particular agenda. And that's fine. But it's also fine for people like me to point out that we are allocating an outrageously disproportionately amount of attention, money, time, and energy to women's issues.
We spend a lot of time and effort on women's issues because, historically, they have been discriminated against and prevented from holding positions of power, they still make less money for the same work as men, and they are overwhelmingly the victims of domestic violence.
There are very few instances of problems that men face specifically, which women don't (or face at much lower proportion), which are not self-imposed (more men in jails is, overwhelmingly, due to more men being violent criminals). You might argue about the draft or issues of being able to be in combat in the military, and there I agree, that should be equal opportunity. However, there hasn't been a draft in 40 years, so unless something big comes up, that's more of a theoretical issue than a practical one.
No. (?) All adults should have the right to vote.
> Looks to me like in both absolute numbers and percentages, there are more women than men at the "bottom of society".
You're not looking low enough.
Look at the homeless. Look at homicide victims. Look at workplace deaths (including and excluding the military). Look at high-school dropouts. Look at suicide victims. Look at prisons (both violent and non-violent offenses). It's possible that men are biologically predisposed to violence, but they also live in a culture that coddles women to the detriment of men in need.
> We spend a lot of time and effort on women's issues because, historically, they have been discriminated against and prevented from holding positions of power,
Historically, almost everyone has been prevented from holding positions of power. The tiny circle of powerful people in each country had penises, but that doesn't mean the lives other penis owners were cushy.
Historically, men received significantly more severe punishments for the exact same crimes (still the case), women were given priority over men when provisioning protection and aid (still the case), and men were expected and often forced to perform significantly more brutal and dangerous labor on a daily basis (still the case, though to a lesser extent). As a result, men lived significantly shorter lives, even taking deaths from childbirth into account (still the case, though to a lesser extent).
Interestingly, the fact that men live shorter lives doesn't matter to most people. In fact, it's become the expectation: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/04/life-expecta...
Here's a direct quote:
> In the U.S., women live longer—81 years on average, 76 for men—but a recent study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation reveals a troubling trend. Though men's life spans have increased by 4.6 years since 1989, women have gained only 2.7 years
"Surreal" is again the most fitting word.
> they still make less money for the same work as men,
False: http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2013/08/gende... and http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2013/09/11/220748057/why-wome... and http://www.politifact.com/virginia/statements/2013/jul/15/te...
> and they are overwhelmingly the victims of domestic violence.
False, and we've known this for some time: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_violence#Violence_agai...
However, women are overwhelmingly victims of serious injury from domestic violence, as that source does indicate.
Women and men violently attack each other equally; men simply hurt the women more when they do so.
> Please clarify, then, about who exactly is being "silenced"
"Check your privilege!" and "stop mansplaining!" are almost exclusively hurled at men discussing gender, not at women discussing gender, though it is equally applicable to both. Hence my phrase "targeted weapon".
Of course, the notion of "privilege" could be useful. It could be useful to discuss the specific advantages different people have in specific situations, such as female privileges at universities vs male privileges at universities.
Unfortunately, it's almost exclusively employed to bully men into feeling that their objections are automatically invalid and unwelcome unless they conform to specific set of views.
> and what you mean by "silenced" if it doesn't mean that the person is unable to speak publicly about the topic.
Bullying is silencing -- it's one of the reasons that the bullying of the girl in the linked article is a problem.
Bullies don't have to literally sew anyone's mouth shut to dissuade their victims from wanting to speak out again.
Are you claiming that the original authors daughter was imagining her classmates bullying her?
Are you saying that I'm imagining the fact that there are far more men than women in the programming profession?
These aren't "imaginary problems". These are very real problems. Now, there may be some debate about exactly which behavior is problematic; some people have different standards. But you're not going to tell me that bullying someone and telling them to get into the kitchen is not a problem.
> You are making the field off-putting to her, not the evil chauvinist boogeymen she has never seen.
I'm sorry, are you saying that someone who's saying it's bad to push women out of the profession is more off-putting than someone in her class telling her to get into the kitchen and make them a sandwich?
These are not "evil chauvinish boogeymen she has never seen", they are actual bullies in her actual class.
No, I am claiming that the problems the post I replied to was putting forth are imaginary. I am quite aware that bullying is a real problem.
>Are you saying that I'm imagining the fact that there are far more men than women in the programming profession?
No, I am saying that is not an indication of a problem, much less systemic oppression. There is a strong correlation between increased freedom to choose "non-traditional" professions and fewer people choosing them. More women worked "men's jobs" when they were told they were men's jobs than they do now that they are encouraged to seek those jobs.
>But you're not going to tell me that bullying someone and telling them to get into the kitchen is not a problem.
Stop presenting such a ridiculous strawman. You can read the post I replied to. You can see that it is clearly not the article. Your entire response is predicated on ignoring the context of the conversation and repositioning my post as being a response to something completely different.
Anecdotes like the original article, as well as many others that have come before, demonstrate that there is a real problem. There is some seriously problematic behavior out there. Now, how much of the gender disparity in tech is due to these kinds of problems, and how much is due to simple self-selection? That's hard to say; there may be arguments either way. But that doesn't really matter; even if the entire gender disparity can't be explained by odious behavior, at least some of it can, because there are very clearly women who are being off-put by very obnoxious, sexist behavior.
And furthermore, people are offput by defensive behavior, where tons of people come out of the woodwork and deny that there is any problem whatsoever. If you mention that some behavior makes you uncomfortable, and then a lot of people come out saying "there's no problem. It shouldn't make you uncomfortable. You just aren't all that into tech, you don't have thick enough skin" is that going to make you feel welcome and safe?
He's saying that we need to stop being defensive about it, stop trying to deny that problem, and start taking responsibility for hostile and off-putting behavior. Taking responsibility can include not doing it ourselves, and can also include not treating it as if it's acceptable behavior, not turning a blind eye to it, and not denying that that it actually exists.
So by telling him that he was discussing imaginary problems, you were doing exactly that. You were ignoring the actual, real, live example of the problem in the original post, and saying that what he was talking about is imaginary. That's why I brought up the original post; in order to claim that RyanMcGreal's problems were imaginary, you must be claiming that the original post is imaginary.
Now, in other posts, you seem to be trying to make the distinction between bullying and sexism, brushing this off as mere bullying. What you've missed is that it can be both. There is racist bullying. There is homophobic bullying. There is sexist bullying. There is bullying just for the sake of bullying. Just because it's also bullying, doesn't mean that it's not sexist, and part of the pattern of behavior that drives some women from the field.
Taking responsibility does not mean saying "oh, I'm an oppressor, thus I should be ashamed of myself." It means speaking up when you hear someone being harassed, it means stopping bullying that's going on right in your classroom (and being aware enough of your classroom to notice it going on), it means trying to understand why someone's upset or offended and try to think of reasonable, fair ways to fix that, rather than immediately jumping to the conclusion that the problem they are describing is not actually a problem.
> There is a strong correlation between increased freedom to choose "non-traditional" professions and fewer people choosing them. More women worked "men's jobs" when they were told they were men's jobs than they do now that they are encouraged to seek those jobs.
So, where is your evidence to back up this claim? It's a pretty strong claim, so you had better have some pretty good evidence to back it up.
Sure. And that problem is bullying. It has absolutely nothing to do with women in technology. Saying "imaginary problem X is totally real because real problem Y is real" is not logical.
>He's saying that we need to stop being defensive about it, stop trying to deny that problem, and start taking responsibility for hostile and off-putting behavior
And I am saying he is wrong. That's how it works, one person gives their opinion, and another person gives theirs.
>It means speaking up when you hear someone being harassed, it means stopping bullying that's going on right in your classroom
None of which has to do with the nonexistent "technology is full of chauvinists who scare women away" problem.
>So, where is your evidence to back up this claim?
>It's a pretty strong claim, so you had better have some pretty good evidence to back it up.
Why don't you need evidence to back up the claim that women are avoiding certain professions because of sexism?
The problem is not bullying alone, though that is part of the problem. Something can be both bullying and sexism at the same time. Bullies will frequently reach for the strongest ammunition they can get, whether it's racist, sexist, homophobic, or any of a number of other ways to hurt their victims.
Just because it's bullying doesn't mean that it's automatically not sexism as well.
Really? A video series called "BranwashingInNorway" about how there are a few people in Norway who are too politically correct to admit that there are some sex-linked behavioral differences?
Did you have any particular evidence for your actual claim that that once it's no longer taboo women don't want to cross traditional gender lines any more that you wanted me to look at, or am I supposed to trawl through the whole four and a half hours?
How about an actual reliable citation in an academic paper, rather than someone who's just trying to demonstrate that there are a few Norwegian academics who are a little too PC for their own good.
> Why don't you need evidence to back up the claim that women are avoiding certain professions because of sexism?
I do. There is plenty of evidence. For instance, the original post that this whole thread is about, though you choose not to believe it, or somehow are trying to classify it as not sexism. But there's plenty more as well:
This is a woman who was terrorized from showing up at tech conferences due to threats of rape and murder.
Or how about this, a compilation of several sexual harassment issues that explain why Valerie Aurora, a Linux Kernel developer, no longer goes to certain hacker cons:
But OK, maybe you'd rather have statistics than anecdotes. How about this study which shows that women are more likely to leave fields which are more heavily male dominated:
That, of course, doesn't address harassment directly, but the general sense of unease that being in a small minority can give you, which can drive you out of the field.
I'm not claiming that the entire gender disparity in tech is due to harassment, or a poisonous atmosphere, or anything of the sort. What I am claiming is that it happens, it does drive some people out, and it's a bad thing. You seem intent on denying that there's any problem whatsoever.
And half of what I was complaining about was that you linked me to a 4 and a half hour long video series, which from a brief glance at the first video, appeared to be some guy just trying to get some Norwegian academics to claim that both sexes are exactly equal, and then catch them out on that. I had no idea where to look in those videos for evidence of the actual claim that you made, that once a profession is no longer taboo for women to join, they have less desire to do so. Could you please tell me where in those videos to find that evidence? Or, since he doesn't seem to be doing any original research himself, just interviewing academics on a variety of topics, can you point out the research that he summarizes that contains this information?
> When you observe an uneven sex ratio in a particular field, you need to form a hypothesis to explain that ratio, and then test it. You can't just jump to "it is sexism" as a conclusion.
The paper I linked to did test certain hypotheses about why it happened, and one of them that it found evidence for is that the larger ratio of men in the industry leads to more women leaving; which forms a self-perpetuating cycle.
You're right, this doesn't directly address sexism, but it does provide evidence for why there's an uneven ratio, and why it continues to be that way, even if more women enter the profession than before.
> But since you skipped the testing the hypothesis step and went straight to a conclusion, you find this offensive and unimaginable.
But it's not just the uneven ratio that we're concerned about. As I said many times, there may be multiple reasons for it; perhaps harassment is only a small portion of the reason. It is obviously a part of the reason; as I've pointed out, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence for that, of people who have been harassed out of the industry, or out of certain communities within it. But you're right, without a rigorous study, we don't know how much of an effect that is, versus other factors.
The "offensive" part is denying that there is any harassment, and denying that men should try to stop it. There is harassment. There is behavior that makes women feel uncomfortable. Rather than being defensive and claiming that people shouldn't jump to the conclusion that sexism isn't the reason why there are few women in the field, why don't we try to not act sexist, stop sexism when we see it, actively try to eliminate at least that problem? Perhaps it won't lead to a lot more women in the industry, as they are avoiding it for other reasons. That's OK; we're still at least working to fix the sexism problem.
Note that I'm not claiming that all, or even most, men in tech are sexist. I'm not claiming that there is a unique sexism problem in tech. What I'm saying is that there is sexism, that it does hurt real people, and so if you see it, you should do something about it.
Also, feminists need to stop being so fucking transphobic. It's a major issue and it is not being addressed.
Since when it is alright to tell teachers how to do their job in bullet pointed letters?
* Be an adult and talk about any issues, complements or concerns during the class.
* Talk with them in person or on the phone.
* If you wish, post to your blog after the issues have been resolved. To put a global context on the situation should be supported with evidence as it pertains to life as a women in the IT industry.
(See what I'm doing here with the bullet points?)
Parents theses days...
As I'm reading some of the responses to my post, I have to ask, what pillow soft existence did many of you grow up with? Kids (and people) say terrible things. This isn't the sign of a bad teacher, it's an opportunity for this blogger to prepare her kids (Not just the girls) for the real full-contact brutal reality known is the the real working world. Life gets waaaay harder than this.
1. The OP did reach out to the teacher:
> I suggested that she talk to you. I offered to talk to you. I offered to come talk to the class. I offered to send one of my male friends, perhaps a well-known local programmer, to go talk to the class. Finally, my daughter decided to plow through, finish the class, and avoid all her classmates. I hate to think what less-confident girls would have done in the same situation.
2. Well, the issues were, in one way, "resolved" because the daughter passed the class (with an 'A') despite her apparent unhappiness. If you mean that the parent should wait till the issues are actually fixed before blogging...well, if the teacher doesn't respond, then I guess the parent should not blog at all?
edit: My bad, the sentence in context would indicate that OP offered to go talk to the teacher, but the daughter declined. Whether or not the OP should've gone ahead and met the teacher is a whole other issue.
The school has failed because the daughter no longer wishes to put up with the bullying that comes with learning programming (at this particular school).
Seems like a failing of the school that should be addressed.
Because it seems to me one of the primary functions of a parent, right alongside teaching them to make it in the world.
After entering, we saw there was just one single open table, so we went and put our jackets down on it and then got into line. After getting our ice cream we went back to the table only to find our jackets gone and some fat people sitting there, eating ice cream with their fat kids.
When I asked where our jackets were, a man, presumably the father of the obese family, told us that there were "some jackets" on the table but that they had the security guard come and clear them. As we went to find our coats, he informed us that "putting your jacket on the table doesn't count" for reserving a table.
In reading your post I am reminded of the certitude with which this large, stupid man asserted the correctness of an arbitrary and stupid set of rules, completely of his own making.
> When I asked where our jackets were, a man, presumably the father of the obese family, told us that there were "some jackets" on the table but that they had the security guard come and clear them.
Is it just me, or is this comment really absurd, off-topic, and offensive?
First, why would you leave your jackets on a table out of your sight? The whole "put your jacket on a table to reserve it" thing is somewhat socially acceptable (though irritating), but it usually also involves keeping an eye on your jacket. You're lucky it wasn't on the floor or taken by someone other than the security guard when you got back.
But the larger issue I have with your comment is your reference to the size of the people who you're still mad at for taking "your" table. What does their obesity have to do with your story? In response to an article about discrimination, it almost seems like you must be trolling. Seriously, you could just substitute "slanteyes" or "niggers" and the substance of the story would not be at all changed. It read exactly that way to me.
Normally I'd just move on and assume others were offended as well, but this is somehow the highest voted reply...
And this reply is the highest voted reply to the offending reply, including mine.
Just throwing this on the table...
B) But, the reason he gave was that it was against "the rules" -- that's the point: no, it's not. It's rude and inconvenient, maybe. It's not an abrogation of a code that everyone knows. It's an unwritten agreement, at best.
That's not how I see it at all. He informed you that there was not a jacket rule. He did not in fact make up any rules or tell you anything about said rules or in fact acknowledge that there are table-reserving rules. I don't understand where you're coming from.
I'm not saying what I did was right or defensible -- in fact in the comment you're replying to I said that I agreed that I was wrong. And in a reply to a sibling comment I apologized for thoughtlessly slamming obese people.
I wrote about a time I was a jerk and put my name next to it. You ran to your throwaway account so you could show that you're effectively illiterate.
It began a discussion so that was a bonus: human interaction. I learned that I was wrong as other people made good counterpoints. So what's the problem? That I wasn't the all-knowing master of the universe at the time I posted?
Of the critics, some simply don't understand the point of the story even though it's spelled out clearly at the end. Some people have taken exception to the fat language, which I understand. I am not particularly sympathetic to them but I do admit that it was insensitive of their feelings and have apologized.
What should I be expecting here? Petals in the street?
Everyone on this site can upvote, but not everyone can downvote, so this is not necessarily true.
Oh, also, you're an ass.
(sorry, pet hate...)
But try and evict bodies from their seats for the sole reason that their ice cream isn't in their hands yet and you would look crazy.
Take a table when you need one in a fast food place, not as you're joining the queue. Reserving tables before you have food makes it less likely that people with food can get a table.
And it's not like I dedicate hours to being annoyed at it, or think it's a really big deal. I'm rarely in fast food joints anyway.
It sounds to me that the kind man even let the security personnel know of a possibly lost and found articles of your belongings. I'm not going to bat you further on blatant bullying on the man's physiques, as many other have pointed it already.
Your rules are just as arbitrary and inconsiderate. Let the people who got their first and need to eat their food sit first, there is no point in having an empty table go to waste while you wait in line.
P. S. He was right. No way that shit counts.
Of course, if I had a parent suggest I needed to talk to a student and/or them about a classroom issue (the post was pretty explicit about it), I'd start there instead of waiting until the end of the semester and thereby provoking them into writing a bullet-pointed letter.
Even if you think the parent is overstepping their bounds here, I would rather a parent be too concerned as oppose to not being concerned at all. Double so that he is in the tech sector while we are facing the huge gender issue. If the teacher is not doing their job stopping the harassment and thereby enforcing the stereotype, then perhaps is should be spelled out.
Just curious, where's the line on this? Like, what things is she allowed to attempt to draw public attention to, and what things should she just counsel her daughter to learn to live with, and accept as a part of life?
How should a person know what sorts of circumstances belong on which side of that line? Are these written in a book somewhere that I missed?
If, however, you are male and you are feeling belittled or harassed, we're pretty interested in having a serious discussion about your experience. We may not agree with you and we may tell you that we don't think you should feel that way at all, but we won't tell you not to have the discussion.
If you're a woman, though? You're not allowed to have that discussion. Leave it to the menfolk.
Does that clear it up for you?
Sexist remarks are also punished in the workplace.
It is not "preparing kids for the real world" so much as it is "failing to respond to a situation in which a child is bullied."
I can't really speak to efficacy, but a formal accusation of bullying is a big deal these days.
Let's put it this way, I am not Dad yet, but when I am, my daughter or son will not be bullied in school because:
1. They would know how to deal with bullies.
2. And if they ever have problems dealing with it on their own, I am going to help them by doing something more then writing a letter on a tech blog.
And no matter what time of day or night it is, I would make sure that my children know they can CALL me any time they need to.
If modern society has taught men anything, it is never relevant.
In my experience, life gets much better after the end of high school, because in my experience, adults don't bully adults . And if you are bullied, you can generally leave.
 except the TSA, NSA, IRS, CIA, etc., but that's a different issue
In my experience, life does get better but also one's ability to handle bullying gets better which leads to less bullying.
Over time, "The World" CAN be improved, and the people who inhabit it can be better to each other than they were before. It'll only change if we get youth to change, though, and teachers allowing the status quo to continue unquestioned is not the way to make sure that things are better in the future.
My only complaint about the article is that it did not name the teacher or the school. Public shaming can work wonders.
As it is, in a world of 30-40 (and climbing) students per classroom and 5+ classes a day, a teacher who tried to one-on-one mentor every student they came across would be fired. They wouldn't have the time to actually teach the curriculum of the class, and would quickly find themselves out of a job.
Let's not blame and shame this teacher - that's the equivalent of blaming a brick that falls off the roof of a shoddily-constructed building for killing a bystander. Instead of blaming the contractors who built the roof, let's put the brick on trial.
Kids are really good at hiding what they're doing, especially in high school. It's easy enough to not get caught by a distracted teacher that has 20 or 30 other students to assist. If this was happening in the open and the teacher was aware of it then there's an issue, it's very possible that's not the case. Unfortunately I saw the behavior described in this article in a number of classes during my own time in high school and none of them were CS classes. There are people that will be cruel regardless of the context.