I'm stunned...

Story: Linux Journal: How Not To Run A BusinessTotal Replies: 9
Author Content
canadianwriterm

Oct 01, 2007
6:17 PM EST
Carla,

I read your post completely tonight, including all of the links, and I have to say it has opened my eyes to something I hadn't paid attention before. Yes, I suppose that means that I've been part of the problem. I've never been sexist (toward/against men/women) in my life, but I have been like many people out there. I ignored things like the QSOL ad. I read Linux Journal, but never noticed the ad. I also never read Gnull and Voyd, although reading it now, I understand why I was never attracted to read it. I did read Mango Partait because I liked the tips, but always found it distracting, annoying and bizarre to read "her" personal comments.

And, therein lies my problem, and the problem many people have: we tend to allow things that we know are wrong to just slip by, unchallenged. Perhaps its something akin to people watching a mugging and just walking by. To change anything in the world, you first have to notice it. Then you have to become angry. Then you have to do something about it. Otherwise, we'd still be living in the dark ages.

I found the posting by mattcaron on LiveJournal to be telling. He and his friends weren't offended by the QSOL ad, so it must not be offensive. By his reasoning, making fun of people with mental illnesses must be okay if the majority of people don't object. People with mental illnesses are the minority, so their opinion doesn't matter. I wonder what he would say if the majority of people were offended by pictures of men with cats squished into the side of their face. Ha, ha, ha... I think you get my point, mattcaron.

To add more complexity to the whole situation, I was struck by ads that appeared on the Feministing page you linked to. Tonight, there were Google ads for "Sexy Women" that led to a porn directory. And, one titled "Find sexy women here" with a subtext reading "Get your hands on the most powerful method to attract the hottest women." The link from that one took me to a page with, among other things, "Learn about... The psychology behind compelling women to chase you... even when they're out of your league." I'm not sure whether it's men or women, or both, who should be most offended with that portrayal. The same Feministing page also had a display ad for sex toys picturing a woman tied up at the ankle.

The point is that sexism is so incredibly woven into our society that even a feminist Web site can perpetuate it. We are none of innocent and we still have a long way to go to change centuries of attitudes and behaviours. Back to my original point: change can only happen with awareness, followed by action. Which is a long route to saying that you are helping to create awareness, which I thank you for. As for the action: I will follow the link to Linux Journal to express my objections. And, I've bought my last issue of Linux Journal.

Stephen Wilson Toronto, Canada
schestowitz

Oct 02, 2007
12:14 AM EST
QUOTE The point is that sexism is so incredibly woven into our society that even a feminist Web site can perpetuate it. /QUOTE

Very true, and therein lies the issue of stereotypes. Personally, I agree with the series of recent posts about chauvinism in computer science, but what I don't like are situations where it get ascribed to open source, which is irrelevant in this case. Please correct me if I missed something.
jezuch

Oct 02, 2007
4:38 AM EST
Quoting:but what I don't like are situations where it get ascribed to open source, which is irrelevant in this case. Please correct me if I missed something.


Well, if you observe KDE Commit Digest, you can see that the percentage of female committers made a huge 300% jump a few weeks ago: from around 0.6% to around 2.0%. I've been always amazed at this number. I'm not saying that KDE is sexist, but that's telling anyway... IMHO. [and remember the quote about statistics ;)]
Bob_Robertson

Oct 02, 2007
5:20 AM EST
"On teh intarweb, no one knows your a gurl."

But seriously, is it possible there is less female participation simply because there is less female participation?

If I make a blog page, it's going to relate issues like guns, individual responsibility, flight, scifi, and very likely references to physically attractive women.

Is that sexist? Without doubt, someone will think so.

If some woman "objectified" me positively, I'd be flattered.

salparadise

Oct 02, 2007
5:39 AM EST
But a blog is not a journal aiming to be a respected voice. Neither is it an advert likely to be shown on many web pages where the viewer has no choice in it's appearance.

Context, as ever, is everything.
albertw

Oct 02, 2007
6:20 AM EST
"Personally, I agree with the series of recent posts about chauvinism in computer science"

Can someone tell what's wrong with Chauvinism? This entire country was founded on it.
albertw

Oct 02, 2007
6:29 AM EST
"Neither is it an advert likely to be shown on many web pages where the viewer has no choice in it's appearance."

Um, somebody doesn't spend enough time surfing the web. The ads on the web are worse than any you've ever seen in LJ and no you don't have a lot of choice in getting the. Let me ask one thing. Did you read any of the articles in the magazine or just the ads?

"But seriously, is it possible there is less female participation simply because there is less female participation?"

At the request of a Linux using woman friend I decided I would see if I could answer some questions in the Linux Chix mailing list because she said there were questions that were being asked that nobody could answer. I have acquired quite a bit of Linux knowledge over the years so I figured I could help some other Linux users. I monitored the conversation for about two weeks and countless times the threads would just degenerate into women bashing men because of them not giving the women a fair chance. It wasn't about Linux at all, it was about women getting upset and other women consoling them. I gave up. The ones that actually wanted to discuss Linux left and joined a non-gender related forum. My friend canceled the mailing list subscription.

This isn't about LJ or blow jobs or Linux. It's about women wanting to voice their feelings and be acknowledged in return.

tuxchick

Oct 02, 2007
6:31 AM EST
wow canadianwriterm, thanks for an articulate summary of pretty much all the key issues.

That's interesting about the ads on Feminista, because Google ads are configurable. I believe that here on LXer they are tuned to not serve up Microsoft ads. Maybe it's a case of "money trumps everything."

Nice post, thanks.
Bob_Robertson

Oct 02, 2007
8:09 AM EST
> But a blog is not a journal aiming to be a respected voice.

Ah! And here we come back to the idea of boycott. They may have been aiming to be a respected voice, but _they didn't hit the target_!

That means they get to be ignored.

The better, more reliable voices will be the ones respected.

Maybe, just maybe, respect is _earned_.
jdixon

Oct 02, 2007
8:29 AM EST
> The better, more reliable voices will be the ones respected.

What's actually probably going to happen with Linux Journal is that their readership base will decline and then stagnate while the Linux user population grows. Eventually the major publishing houses will see the potential market and put out Linux magazines to match the current Windows magazines. They'll take over the market, and Linux Journal will fade away into insignificance.

Or, maybe they'll decide to drop all pretenses and become the FHM/Maxim of the Linux magazine market, thus ensuring their continued existence as a niche magazine. Some would say they're already well on their way.

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