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 372669
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE[2]: What's wrong with sexism?
by PrimalDK on Thu 9th Jul 2009 21:04 UTC in reply to "RE: What's wrong with sexism?"
PrimalDK
Member since:
2005-07-12

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

"...one 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

google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

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.


It is also quite efficient to use black people as slaves, look at the old south if you need proof.

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.


...which will never happen if we just ignore it.

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


If we are talking about this specific thing (which wasn't a huge deal), I agree with you. But we aren't, we are talking about prejudice in general, and sexism in specific. Women should be able to go through life and not get treated as inferior based on the fact that they are women.

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


I am talking as someone who thinks it is really sad that there are so few female developers, especially since the few I have worked with over my career have been universally phenomenal. I don't think its even a moral highground, it is more a moral baseline. Judging or hating people based on arbitrary arbitrary differences is wrong, plain and simple, and that is what sexism is, by definition. By defending sexism, that is what you are defending.

Reply Parent Score: 2

PrimalDK Member since:
2005-07-12

google ninja,

Ah...so you want to outlaw using prejudice in jokes on the grounds of *some* people during *some* period having used prejudice to suppress a people?

Want to outlaw hammers too because you once saw Tom getting knocked silly by Jerry using one?

Well, I'm sure the blacks would disagree with you that all it takes to suppress them is a belief. Weapons work so much more effectively.

And please don't quote "the pen is mightier than the sword" - that only holds true as long as both sides of an issue actually *have* swords.

We are hardly "ignoring it"...this is now my 6th posting and the number of comments have reached 127.

Who said "inferior"? RMS did? He thinks of "Windows(r)" and "proprietary" as inferior, that's for sure, and he might disagree with your choice of editor, but women?

Should you actually be able to produce just one quote where he states or implies something even close to that, I'll be surprised.

Dear friend, and I say this as a complement to a fellow developer, your moral baseline doesn't help you get more women interested in software development. All it does is speak of your own integrity. I too have worked with women in my field, but they are the exception - albeit a nice one, not the norm.

The fact that women take little interest in this field says *something*. What it says I won't be the judge of, but the fact of their limited presence is, again, hard to argue, neither does it help ensuring "equality", especially considering software is pervasive, including in voting machines.

The fact that most women I've met, no matter their education, rhetorical aptitude, or SAT scores, take little interest in highly abstract, mathematical and often technical subjects, unless they can be somehow connected to their own lives, speaks volumes to me. That *some* do only serves to underline the fact.

You may disagree, as I'm sure a lot of people will, but I'm also sure it's their (the people's) cultural background - the touted anti-oppression modality of the 70s - that sets the agenda, not their personal experience.

I am still waiting for someone to show me the Google Tech screencast where half the audience is women.

It's not.
It's obvious.
It's a pitty.
It's a fact.

It also says nothing of their intelligence or potential, only their choices.

And the differences are precisely *anything* but arbitrary. Say that to your wife next time she complains about the pains of giving birth or the hormone shifts it induces. And tell it to your 2-year old child as well and watch the question mark appear.

We have been scared into believing what is certainly *not* true: that men and women are equal.

What *is* true is that they should have equal rights, and in some countries, mine for instance, it's even true that they have (almost) equal opportunities (in some cases better).

Lastly, the issue here is not sexism in *any* context, but sexism in humor. You might disagree with Tom getting chopped up or having his teeth smashed by Jerry, but it's still funny, and it *is* because it's in the context of *humor*.

If you disagree, there's an "off" button on your remote, just as there's an "exit" sign above the doors of most lecture halls.

Reply Parent Score: 1