[Baypiggies] [ADMIN] Sexism alert (was Thoughts on commercial talks)

Aahz aahz at pythoncraft.com
Fri Mar 18 20:29:12 EDT 2016

I'm marking this with the [ADMIN] tag to declare that any flaming or
excessive discussion will be banned.  And overall it's not a big deal
(particularly because I see few such examples on this list), but I've
gotten to the point where I'm not willing to let casual microaggressions
go unremarked, because keeping the Python community welcoming for
everyone is critical.

If you're not familiar with "microaggression", here are a couple of
reference URLS:



On Fri, Mar 18, 2016, jim wrote:
> * PyDoc: it's right there and still is badly underused. If there's a
> way to get coders or someone connected with the coding team to comment
> properly would be wonderful to know.  Perhaps re-evaluating the nice
> lady who knows how to spell (the technical writer) could edit and
> therefore enforce proper comments and develop copy-and-paste type
> phrases and maybe paragraphs for common classes and functions.

This is a triple-bogus sexist comment: it assumes that tech writers are
women (which is statistically true but there are plenty of men tech
writers -- I've been one -- and it reinforces a false perception that
women *should* be tech writers instead of taking more technical roles);
it assumes that women are "ladies" (which a lot of women dislike,
particularly in the context of "act like a lady"); and it pushes the
stereotype that women should be nice.

I doubt that Jim intended the effect (that's why microaggressions are
about unconscious biases), but I hope this explanation makes clear why
it's problematic.

My standard recommendation these days for people who want to understand
better how language interacts with sexism/racism/etc is _The Everyday
Language of White Racism_ (Jane Hill).  It only talks about racism, but
it really opened my eyes to how language works to reinforce power
differentials (kyriarchy) in general terms.

For those of you who haven't been paying attention to the PSF, I consider
this list to subscribe to the tenets of the Code of Conduct and Diversity



Overall, I'd have to say it's a Good Thing that this hasn't previously
been needed as an item of discusion.  I'm sorry I need to bring it up
now, and I hope we shan't need any further discussion.
Aahz (aahz at pythoncraft.com)           <*>         http://www.pythoncraft.com/

"Perl is the language of choice of net abusers."  --Larry Wall

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