Saturday, May 18, 2013

"Women can't drive! My mom told me so!"

I had a roommate once who actually said that, as if his mom saying it made it true, or somehow un-sexist.  "Your mom saying that makes her sexist, it doesn't un-sexist the remark!"

I'm writing in response to the startling and apparently earnest missive by the members of "Chicks for Douchebags" titled "Open Source Is Not A Warzone. Not Every Man Is A Dick."

I imagined this to be written by some misogynistic man pretending to be a woman but the "sign off" at the end seem to indicate that it was composed and posted by a group of women, which makes it slightly less offensive, but all the more bizarre.

Wow, ladies, what the entire fuck?  Do the douchebags really need your help?

No one should be a dick to you at all, ever (regardless of your gender even!)

Certainly if a person can't understand and accept and practice basic courtesy (that we teach children in kindergarten and that has been commonly known and accepted in every even somewhat civilized society) then we shouldn't encourage them to show off their misfortune in public.

There is an eternal contest of the nice people against the ignorant or stupid or thoughtless or careless or shit-headed, and we do not need to grant quarter to the douchebags.  They deserve to lose, they deserve to feel uncomfortable, and the non-douchebags in the room can take just a little bit of extra care in the quest to make public life free from, say, unwelcome groping!

Here is a passage from the post:
Yes, we encountered dicks in our lives. Yes, we have been assaulted in our lives, maybe in broad daylight, in public. Yes, we've been hit on tastelessly and repeatedly and we have been disgusted and annoyed and sometimes we have been near panic. Some of us have encountered violence. We've gotten grabbed our asses, gotten felt up our boobs, have been stared at, wolf whistles at us and had some drunken moron hang in front of us. Yes, some of us have hit the proverbial glass ceiling in our careers.

This is (a bad) part of our lives and yes, we judge social gathering and human encounters by how comfortable we are and how safe we feel and by their level of open or veiled dickishness.
But this is only ONE aspect of being a woman and we do not like to let this aspect dominate how we live and behave within the tech communities of our choice.

Okay, let me try to be very clear here: the crap identified in that first paragraph of the quote is NOT an "aspect of being a woman"!  It is an "aspect" of people being douchebags!

You have the right to live free from unwelcome advances, uninvited physical contact, demeaning remarks and even staring!  Staring is rude and you have a right to expect to be able to call someone on it and have the good people around you back you up!

This isn't even really about gender at it's basest roots: it's just civil society.

It is the responibility of each and every one of us every day to set and maintain the standards of public conduct that allow us to have basic comfort and safety.

This is an ongoing struggle and there is no reason to yield!

How does one feel "victimized" by a formal written policy that states, in effect, that assholes who can't understand basic human social interaction and courtesy and cooperate to create a safe and inclusive enviroment for everybody will be sternly and soberly dealt with?

If you happen to be the sort of person who can deal with dicks and douchebags and who feels she can "stand up against dickish behavior when it happens" that is really great, and I am glad for you, I am!

But it also means that the policies you describe are not written for YOU!

You are perfectly correct when you say that you don't need them!  But you are being an insensitive asshat to then proclaim that people who feel less strong and powerful than you are not worth supporting, publicly and emphatically.

Is that really what you meant?