Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 9th Jul 2009 12:09 UTC
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y During the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit, Richard M. Stallman of the Free Software Foundation (and the Superfluous Introduction Award goes to...) gave a keynote speech. Said keynote speech raised a few eyebrows in the Free software community because of a number of questionable remarks regarding women in technology. David "Lefty" Schlesinger, member of the GNOME Advisory Board and active in the mobile open source community, took issue with RMS' remarks and decided to call him out on it. The response he got was... Less than satisfying.
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What an utter non-issue
by Vanders on Thu 9th Jul 2009 12:19 UTC
Vanders
Member since:
2005-07-06

Lets cover some really obvious points here.

o If RMS had defined the group as "_men_ who had never used EMACS" no one would have batted an eyelid.

o Some people have an irritating habit of using the female pronoun when refering to third parties, even when the third party may be any gender. This particularly seems to be common in US English, whereas British & International English tends to use the non-gender specific "they", "them" & "their".

o I'm quite happy being an "EMACS Virgin" and if anyone ever tries to take that virginity from me I shall strike them down with fury and vengeance.

This whole thing is just steeped in false outrage because RMS happened to refer to a female in a particularly stupid piece of his speech, which would have been equally stupid if he had referred to a male, so the use of the word "women" is utterly inconsequential.

Reply Score: 27

RE: What an utter non-issue
by sultanqasim on Thu 9th Jul 2009 12:33 in reply to "What an utter non-issue"
sultanqasim Member since:
2006-10-28

I fully agree. Feminism is getting really politically correct and annoying. Stallman was just cracking a joke to lighten a rather dull and serious conference - why are people taking these jokes so seriously?

Also, to those who claim that his remarks suggest the negative stereotype that women need technical assistance more than men, well this negative stereotype is a fact. The bulk of people who ask me for technical assistance are female and female computer geeks are rather rare, but you can find them by the boatloads among men.

Reply Parent Score: 17

xDisruptor Member since:
2006-01-04

Finally a guy that courageously speaks the truth.

God damn it with most of the rest people in this world. If Stallman is to be flamed for his jokes then what should we do with cases like George Carlin. These dudes are just trying to make some points without sounding dull. Yeah sure Stallman might not be the funniest and most eloquent speakers around but give me a brake guys with your `oh-we-are-so-offended' bullshit. f--king retards. Get a life and a get spine.

Reply Parent Score: 7

lawlernet Member since:
2005-08-22

Also, to those who claim that his remarks suggest the negative stereotype that women need technical assistance more than men, well this negative stereotype is a fact. The bulk of people who ask me for technical assistance are female and female computer geeks are rather rare, but you can find them by the boatloads among men.


I live in a community where a lot of African-Americans live. The vast majority of the people that ask me for technical assistance are black. By that logic, black people are bad with technology. Do you see a problem here? Your anecdotal evidence is not even close to being considered statistical fact, the likelihood of you and your individual situation being accurately reflective of the entire population is slim, so that's why these jokes are stupid and likely offensive.

Even if women are more likely to ask you for information regarding technology it's still not morally right to treat every woman like a technology tard.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: What an utter non-issue
by gadget00 on Fri 10th Jul 2009 22:23 in reply to "RE: What an utter non-issue"
gadget00 Member since:
2007-02-16

Yeah, a fact. Like you did a real counting with all your fingers.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: What an utter non-issue
by boldingd on Mon 13th Jul 2009 16:53 in reply to "RE: What an utter non-issue"
boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

Indeed.

I went to a liberal-arts college where women outnumbered men 4 to 1. Guess how many men where in the C.S. program? I can think of at least 6 (it wasn't a big program). Guess how many women? One. She was every bit as intelligent as her male peers -- maybe more so -- but she was still the only women on the C.S. major track at a school where women outnumbered men four-to-one. I had a Physics minor, too, and that was about as bad: in physics courses, there where probably two men for every woman.

Let me underscored that I'm not trying to denigrate women here. The women who I do encounter in sci-tech-type fields are neither more nor less competent than their male counterparts; they are simply rare.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: What an utter non-issue
by kragil on Thu 9th Jul 2009 13:10 in reply to "What an utter non-issue"
kragil Member since:
2006-01-04

Yeah, I don't get it either.

So his talk wasn't well received. Conclusion: Don't hire him again.

AND:

By publishing private conversations you loose integrity.

And integrity is a tricky beast.
If you don't have it people won't tell you. Better be careful.

Edited 2009-07-09 13:10 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

polaris20 Member since:
2005-07-06

Yeah, I don't get it either.

So his talk wasn't well received. Conclusion: Don't hire him again.

AND:

By publishing private conversations you loose integrity.

And integrity is a tricky beast.
If you don't have it people won't tell you. Better be careful.


What is "loose integrity"? Is that integrity that used to be tight?

I would have dismissed it as a typo, had you not posted the same thing on Lefty's blog.

Posts lose integrity when the grammar is incorrect.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: What an utter non-issue
by sbergman27 on Thu 9th Jul 2009 14:24 in reply to "What an utter non-issue"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

o Some people have an irritating habit of using the female pronoun when refering to third parties, even when the third party may be any gender.

Or randomly switch around on pronouns. And then there was an OS security article I was reading some time back. The author would do that. But as I read on, I began to realize that every time there was a poor, honest, overworked sysadmin who just wanted to protect his users and systems... that was always a 'he'. And whenever there was a viscious, dishonest, unscrupulous cracker trying to break in to steal credit card numbers... that was always a 'she'. :-P

Reply Parent Score: 4

dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Well, there is a third option.

You could always add (or she) everytime you say he.

It would go like this: Whenever the user wants to launch a program, he (or she) simply double-clicks the icon, and he (or she) will see the program launch.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: What an utter non-issue
by concept09 on Thu 9th Jul 2009 14:24 in reply to "What an utter non-issue"
concept09 Member since:
2009-07-09

> Lets cover some really obvious points here.

Ok, let's go.

> If RMS had defined the group as "_men_ who had never used EMACS" no one would have batted an eyelid.

True, in a room full of men that is. Would he dare make such a comment in front of a room with mostly women?...Probably not. What if instead of _men_ he had said Asians? Probably wouldn't bother the white men...but what about the Asian men? I know they'd be insulted.

> [...]which would have been equally stupid if he had referred to a male, so the use of the word "women" is utterly inconsequential.

No, it isn't at all. He wasn't being funny (because it is a stupid joke...I think we can all agree). He was being derogatory, that's the subtext of the joke...without the implication that women aren't good with technology, there is no joke.

Reply Parent Score: -1

RE[2]: What an utter non-issue
by Ventajou on Thu 9th Jul 2009 14:51 in reply to "RE: What an utter non-issue"
Ventajou Member since:
2006-10-31

without the implication that women aren't good with technology, there is no joke.


It's not a joke, it's a fact... I'm not going to try to figure out what the reasons are, but I've had quite a few tech jobs both in Europe and the US, and I can only remember a few women in tech (IT, development) positions.

Then again, the same can be said of other sectors. How many of you had a woman service your car?

It doesn't mean women are incapable, just that more of them are doing something else.

Now as far as RMS comment goes: if he's correct that no woman ever used emacs; I guess it just means that women are smarter than men.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: What an utter non-issue
by kaiwai on Thu 9th Jul 2009 14:28 in reply to "What an utter non-issue"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

I find it funny that the one who make a racus about it was a male - goodness gracious me, there is nothing stopping a female from standing up and bowling back a googly in response. I've been in situations where guys and girls have gotten on life a house in fire - why? because people pulled the 6 foot cactus out of their ass, relaxed and stopped taking life so seriously.

I swear it is as though there is a small clicky group of people who see it as their duty to make life as bloody miserable as possible for the rest of us by whining about anything that pops into their head. What I find even more funny is when females ask to be 'treated as equals' and when we (the males) treat them as equals, like one our mates - we're apparently out of touch and sexist! Jesus Christ, you can't win either way. I wonder if all us males should find a corner and die quietly away so we're not annoying the feminists so much.

Edited 2009-07-09 14:29 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 12

RE[2]: What an utter non-issue
by helf on Thu 9th Jul 2009 15:30 in reply to "RE: What an utter non-issue"
helf Member since:
2005-07-06

THANK YOU!

This shit drives me insane. Then /men/ that get all up in arms over it need their balls removed.

I'm sick of people getting offended over everything I say ;)

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: What an utter non-issue
by nachokb on Mon 13th Jul 2009 04:23 in reply to "RE: What an utter non-issue"
nachokb Member since:
2009-07-13

I swear it is as though there is a small clicky group of people who see it as their duty to make life as bloody miserable as possible for the rest of us by whining about anything that pops into their head.


I just registered just to say this: AMEN. Stop whining about every stupid thing. His joke was not sexist.

If someone did see the commentary as sexist, it's only because of two reasons together: (1) they didn't understand it, and (2) what he was making fun of is sexist in the first place.

BTW, I don't think the author read that xkcd comic (unless this is really a joke). It totally proves him wrong.

nachokb

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: What an utter non-issue
by GeorgesBraque on Thu 9th Jul 2009 16:59 in reply to "What an utter non-issue"
GeorgesBraque Member since:
2005-07-07

i'd like to offer some counterpoint . . .

the fact that no one would have "batted an eyelid" if RMS referred to "_men_ who had never used EMACS" is perhaps related more to the fact that the english language has an incomplete approach to gender/sex (e.g. gendered pronouns with no gendered adjectival agreement) - at least in comparison to romance languages.

i think that we have to look at a larger picture:

despite whatever intentions RMS had/has, as a public figure (one who has done many things i admire) he must be responsible for the interpretations of his public statements. it would be ignorant to refuse the connotations forced on language by the history of institutional sexism.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: What an utter non-issue
by steogede2 on Fri 10th Jul 2009 12:09 in reply to "What an utter non-issue"
steogede2 Member since:
2007-08-17


o If RMS had defined the group as "_men_ who had never used EMACS" no one would have batted an eyelid.


If they are offended by the notion that duty of males to relieve females of their (EMACS) virginity. They would surely be even more offended by the suggestion that it was the duty of females to relieve males of their (EMACS) viginity.


This whole thing is just steeped in false outrage because RMS happened to refer to a female in a particularly stupid piece of his speech, which would have been equally stupid if he had referred to a male, so the use of the word "women" is utterly inconsequential.


That was exactly the impression I got from the emails. It didn't appear that "Lefty" had actually been directly offended himself, rather he was offended that someone else may have been offended. I don't really think anyone has much of a right to be offended on behalf of someone else, who likely isn't actually offended - it is the greatest flaw of political correctness.

"Lefty" kept on going on about how a "technical conference" wasn't the place such politically incorrect behaviour - which ofcourse is the next biggest failing of political correctness, its proponent like to apply to many situations where it is not relevant. In essence being politically correct all the time, is like writing in legalese all the time, there's a time and a place. Conference talks, especially keynotes, should (imho) first and foremost be entertaining. They should be though provoking and informative. Conferences should (imho) only be politically correct if it is a political or social work conference.

Reply Parent Score: 3