The Gender Special Olympics

Some feminists recently declared war on Wikipedia. According to them, Wikipedia is a too male. From its male editors to its ascetically “very masculine” design, the site strikes these feminists as wholly uninviting to women.

This is a typical feminist mantra. Feminists find a space with a large male population and then declare that space sexist. The more popular the space, the more sexist it must be. The absence of an equal female presence could not possibly result from women and girls’ conscious choices. No, it must be a deliberate attempt by men and boys to exclude the opposite sex.

While there have been some instances of women being kept out of communities, the level of conspiracy required to make the above exclusion possible would be so vast that no one in those communities would have any time to do anything but keep women out.

Yet what feminists ignore is that there are plenty of women in those communities already, and they have a much different story to tell. Susan Sons wrote an article describing her experiences in the evil bastion of misogyny that is the programming community:

[...] As a little girl from farm country who’d repeatedly been excluded from intellectual activities because she wasn’t wealthy or urban or old enough to be wanted, I could not believe how readily I’d been accepted and treated like anybody else in the channel, even though I’d been outed. I was doubly floored when I found out that coder0 was none other than Eric S. Raymond, whose writings I’d devoured shortly after discovering Linux.

Open source was my refuge because it was a place were nobody cared what my pedigree was or what I looked like—they cared only about what I did. I ingratiated myself to people who could help me learn by doing dull scutwork: triaging issues to keep the issue queues neat and orderly, writing documentation and fixing code comments. I was the helpful kid, so when I needed help, the community was there. I’d never met another programmer in real life at this point, but I knew more about programming than some college students.

Wait. That cannot be right. That does not sound like the unwelcoming “brogrammer locker-room type of environment” feminists rail against. It sounds like these men, many of whom were much older than Sons at the time, let her in without a problem.

So what is the deal? Why is it that so few women are involved in programming? Sons offers an answer:

Twelve-year-old girls today don’t generally get to have the experiences that I did. Parents are warned to keep kids off the computer lest they get lured away by child molesters or worse—become fat! That goes doubly for girls, who then grow up to be liberal arts majors. Then, in their late teens or early twenties, someone who feels the gender skew in technology communities is a problem drags them to a LUG meeting or an IRC channel. Shockingly, this doesn’t turn the young women into hackers.

Why does anyone, anywhere, think this will work? Start with a young woman who’s already formed her identity. Dump her in a situation that operates on different social scripts than she’s accustomed to, full of people talking about a subject she doesn’t yet understand. Then tell her the community is hostile toward women and therefore doesn’t have enough of them, all while showing her off like a prize poodle so you can feel good about recruiting a female. This is a recipe for failure.

That should be obvious. Most people involved in niche activities began them as children. Even when they discover something as adults, that thing is likely similar to their childhood interests. Someone who develops a love for Android coding probably already had an interest in technology. Someone who develops an interest in video games or comics likely already liked similar mediums. It is incredibly unlikely that a college graduate will suddenly want to code for Wikipedia when they had no interest in tech for most of their lives.

Yet that does not fit well in the feminist narrative. Feminists want and need women to be oppressed, and the idea that women consciously choose not to program does not help that agenda. It needs to be a conspiracy, and in needing to fuel that theory feminists ironically create the unbalanced dynamic they claim they want to get rid of. As Sons notes:

I’ve also come to realize that I have an advantage that female newcomers don’t: I was here before the sexism moral panic started. When a dozen guys decide to drink and hack in someone’s hotel room, I get invited. They’ve known me for years, so I’m safe. New women, regardless of competence, don’t get invited unless I’m along. That’s a sexual harassment accusation waiting to happen, and no one will risk having 12 men alone with a single woman and booze. So the new ladies get left out.

That little taste of reality seems to go over feminists heads, so it is worth repeating: because of the fear of sexual harassment accusations, some men will not risk being alone with women they do not know well.

I would love to say the fear is unwarranted, but when we have women saying things like this:

“The ideas of freedom and openness can be used to dismiss concerns and rationalize the gender gap as a matter of preference and choice. That is, ‘if there are no women in our project, it must simply be their choice.’ Women may have made a choice, but it was not based on whether they find the project interesting or have a contribution to make, but by the ‘brogrammer’ locker-room type of environment.”

it makes sense for men to be careful. It simply is not a good idea for men to hang out with women in certain communities.

Sons mentions that many hackers are socially inept. They may not realize they crossed someone’s boundaries. The proper way to address that is to speak up if someone does something that bothers you and explain why it bothered you so that it will not happen again. As Sons says, “This is what adults do, and it works. Adults don’t look for ways to take offense, silently hand out ‘creeper cards’ or expect anyone to read their minds. I’m not a child, I’m an adult, and I act like one.”

Too bad there are not many feminists willing to act like adults.

Sons goes on to state that as a society we do not encourage girls to discover how things work. As a result, fewer girls show interest in tech industries than boys. Of course, that does not mean that if we put those things in front of girls they will flock to them. Many girls will simply have no interest in them, and that is fine. There is nothing wrong with that. There is, however, something wrong with not offering it as an option for the girls who are interested.

Likewise, there is something wrong with shaming men and boys for their interests. Sons writes:

Do not punish the men simply for being here. “Male privilege” is a way to say “you are guilty because you don’t have boobs, feel ashamed, even if you did nothing wrong”, and I’ve wasted too much of my time trying to defend good guys from it. Yes, some people are jerks. Call them out as jerks, and don’t blame everyone with the same anatomy for their behavior. Lumping good guys in with bad doesn’t help anyone, it just makes good guys afraid to interact with women because they feel like they can’t win. I’m tired of expending time and energy to protect good men from this drama.

Do not punish hackers for non-hackers’ shortcomings. It is not my fault some people don’t read man pages, nor is it my job to hold their hand step-by-step so they don’t have to. It is not my place to drag grown women in chains to LUG meetings and attempt to brainwash them to make you more comfortable with the gender ratio, and doing so wouldn’t work anyway.

Feminists and liberals need to stop thinking in terms of gender ratios. You cannot control people’s interests like that. Sometimes women will show interest in something more than men, and vice versa. It is not a conspiracy; it is simply human nature. I love to read books, but I can barely get my youngest brother to read a menu. It is not a conspiracy against 20-sometimes. He simply prefers to watch movies and videos rather than read.

The same preferencing holds true for boys and girls. Boys may naturally go for tech while girls may naturally go for social media. There is nothing wrong with that. It is simply their preference.

While it is a worthy cause to make sure that everyone has equal access to anything that might interest them, it is shameful to create that access by taking away someone’s safe space. As Sons mentions:

Most of all, I’m disappointed. I had a haven, a place where no one cared what I looked like, what my body was like or about any ephemera—they cared about what I could do—and this culture shift has robbed me of my haven. At least I had that haven. The girls who follow me missed out on it.

That is the irony of feminists’ efforts. They are creating the very environment they claim they want to get rid of.

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12 thoughts on “The Gender Special Olympics

  1. Very good post.

    “That is the irony of feminists’ efforts. They are creating the very environment they claim they want to get rid of.”

    How true.

    And the thing that bothers me, is how there are now so, so, so many special groups and activities of all stripes, programs, funding sources, schools, religious groups, healthcare programs, etc. ONLY for women. It’s really getting bad. I see programs (i.e. an eating disorders treatment program here, and an adolescent sexual abuse group) that don’t even bother to say it’s only for women, and then say so to exclude boys and men if one shows up. Nothing for males is available. And that seems just fine to them.

  2. Allan, the irony of all the special programs for girls is that people fail to tell boys that they too can be anything they want to be. Boys end up not getting the services and support they need, and then people look at boys as lazy.

  3. I’d say that’s included in what I said! (i.e. schools) And I totally agree with you. There’s simultaneous neglect and then blame for the results. I’d just say it’s across many parts of society. I used to think it was just in awareness of male victims of sexual abuse, but it’s a very broader issue than I ever imagined.

    I see it in many communities I participate in. The women get paraded up front, paid favors and applauded for being leaders and any work they do, while men get ignored and just taken for granted. Or worse (told they are stupid, lazy, “obsolete”, etc). I’m quickly dropping out of any volunteerism those places and more and more, just not offering any help at all. Kinda MIGTOW. Seems the only way. Like sexual assault advocacy, 3 years of being ignored, attacked or accused by feminists, I gave up.

  4. This entire post, and the article scattered throughout it, is so full of truth that I can add nothing to it other than an acknowledgment that, yes…this is how things are.

    Whether it’s actual STEM fields, gaming, or any other “male” activity, there have always been women involved. Only a few, but they’ve always been there. Gamers who *happen* to have tits. Programmers who *happen* to have vaginas. Mathematicians who *happen* to have 2 X chromosomes.

    They weren’t special, any more than a male nurse, daycare provider, househusband, or florist is special. Slightly out of the norm, maybe…but that’s it. Now you can’t even go to Gencon or Comic-Con without hearing about “lack of female participants” or the need for “ladies-only game rooms”, or even “female-friendly comics”. Honestly, it sickens me. If you want to actually be a part of something atypical to your gender, hey have fun. But to come in, decide it’s “not good enough”, and attempt to overhaul what truly is a safe space for socially stunted/unpopular men and the women who “get” them…Now you’re being the bully we tried to leave behind.

    Congratulations.

  5. The worst part is, guys, these observations aren’t welcome at all except in underground circles. If you so much as express even a tiny bit of opposition in the mainstream, you can kiss your career and social standing bye-bye.

    Sickening it came to this in the first place.

  6. @Ealge35

    That’s only how it is for now, there’s no way a breaking point won’t be reached…maybe even someday soon. The underground of men and women who recognize the flaws in this current system is already becoming a whisper in the mainstream. We may each only be a mere breath on the wind individually, but together?

    Together we could be a storm.

  7. I keep.waiting for these equaly warriors to get indignant about the tiny percentabe of garbage collecters that are women.

  8. @Peterman

    Im thinking, wouldn’t it be magical to watch them singing this at the same time. ;)

  9. In essence, such women are telling men “We want you to build something successful, then give us half of it. We’ll wait over here until you’re finished. Oh, and we get to choose which of your efforts we want an equal share in–it’ll be the most successful and popular things, of course. We’re not wasting our efforts on the millions of things you’ve built that DIDN’T work–we just want an equal share of the successes.”

  10. Feminists are masters of “relational aggression”.

    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relational_aggression

    They make effective use of a number of factors. 1. It’s complex but effective and people often don’t recognize it, it’s covert. It’s quite long to explain and understand, and easy to deny, hence NAWALT, NAFALT. 2. Women naturally empathize with women’s experience/concerns more than men’s. The media now constantly reinforces the “women have it worse” narrative, so women as bystanders fall largely into the role of bully-reinforcer’s and assistants and not victim-defenders (women like Karen Straughan are quite rare), and outsiders. 3. Boys and men are easily divided against each other, being more independent, competitive and competing for female attention/mates.

    I encounter this stuff constantly and wonder often how to respond to it. You can’t get angry about it, because feminists turn it back on you with the “angry white male” threat narrative. MRA’s are right to remain placid as a mountain lake. Also, it’s complex and hard to prevail with the details of a single comment, action, etc.

    I think we as men need to start making a huge deal of the gross effects of this (the many problems of boys and men caused by feminism which are pretty clear), some kind of consistent narrative to simplify the complexity of it all and men need to start talking about this OFTEN. VERY often.

  11. Pingback: Top 10 Manosphere Posts of the Week (02/13/2014) | Kid Strangelove

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