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.
Thread beginning with comment 372645
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
What's wrong with sexism?
by PrimalDK on Thu 9th Jul 2009 19:32 UTC
Member since:

This might be a somewhat controversial question to ask, but for those who haven't already reached for their flamethrowers...

By using the term "sexist", you're assuming that there is *really* no difference between men and women, an assumption which (more or less) any statistical evidence, collected within any context, at any point in time or within any period of time, will contradict.

For those who disagree, I challenge you to come up with evidence to the contrary.

So, assuming the above (no pun intended), why can RMS not crack jokes about a specific gender and tech, when

1. women can be virgins
2. you seldom hear, e.g., "Virgin John"
3. making sexual and sexist remarks is funny
4. women are under-represented in tech

Now, you may disagree with the above, but please note that it's *entirely* politically correct to joke about the male gender, at all times, in all contexts, as the mentioned George Carlin has done on numerous occasions.

It's as if women - and the men that have succumbed to the simplistic and dogmatic views of the feminists - refuse to acknowledge the fact that the rules of their dogma tend to be self-contradictory in nature:

1. women should be treated equally to men
2. you CANNOT make jokes about women and virginity
3. you CAN make jokes about men and virginity
4. you CANNOT make jokes about women and intelligence
5. you CAN make jokes about men and intelligence
6. etc. ad nausseum...

Get a grip, women of either gender. If you want equality, learn self-irony and let go of your self-importance.

Accept - as do the gays and handicapped - that joking about any subset of the human race is supposed to make you laugh, not enrage you.

Oh, and if you find someone or something offensive, get a mirror before you exercise your moral judgement.

Reply Score: 4

dylansmrjones Member since:

Great post! +1 (except I can't)

Reply Parent Score: 2

google_ninja Member since:

Sexism, a term coined in the mid-20th century,[1] refers to the belief or attitude that one gender or sex is inferior to, less competent, or less valuable than the other. It can also refer to hatred of, or prejudice towards, either sex as a whole (see misogyny and misandry), or the application of stereotypes of masculinity in relation to men, or of femininity in relation to women.[2] It is also called male and female chauvinism. Historically and across many cultures, sexism has resulted in the subjugation of women to men. Many men and women espousing feminism, masculism and other ideologies have worked toward dispelling sexist beliefs.

Reply Parent Score: 2

PrimalDK Member since:

Yeah...that's exactly the point, ninja:

" sex or gender..."

So, *either* gender can be the subject of jokes. And prejudice is certainly a wonderful tool in comedy - look up "Faulty Towers" if you need proof.

I also refuse to believe that sexism is the culprit. People have a need to categorize, and the categories they invent will sometimes be anything but isomophic to the way mother nature orders things - and so what?

We are still in the process of mapping out the universe, and the fact that people tend towards all kinds of prejudice is statistically backed up by so much evidence that it's ridiculous to suggest we're not - and so what?

People have their needs for safety, and prejudice is most probably a side-effect of evolution (what else?), something we'll have to work our intellect to get over, that is, *when* appropriate.

Want to restrict freedom of speech? No? Then accept that *some* things someone *will* say *will* offend you and move on.

Your self-established high moral ground is a multi-facetted and shaky form of prejudice, at best.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: What's wrong with sexism?
by dagw on Thu 9th Jul 2009 20:58 in reply to "What's wrong with sexism?"
dagw Member since:

why can RMS not crack jokes about a specific gender and tech

It's all about context and timing, the specific nature of the joke is really quite irrelevant. Some thing which are fine to say in some situations is inappropriate in others. He made an obviously inappropriate joke in an inappropriate situation. Anybody with any sort of social awareness should be fully aware that saying certain things in certain settings is likely to get a certain response. That doesn't mean you cannot say it, but you cannot act all indignant when you get the expected reaction and people judge you on your actions.

Reply Parent Score: 2

PrimalDK Member since:


You say "it's all about timing", and I ask: "Who's timing"? Yours? What is "inappropriate"? Who told you so? Did you make that decision on your own? Did your parents teach you? What makes it right/true? What is true? What is right?

I am not preaching relativism, but "anybody with any social awareness" only holds water locally, that is, it's specific to social contexts like culture.

I actually find RMS's indignation refreshing; he finds the hysteria out of proportion, as do I, and wonders - probably - to himself why people will try to restrict others' freedom of speech at every opportunity, but immediately thereafter exercise their own.

Reply Parent Score: 1