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

jim jim at well.com
Fri Mar 18 21:12:47 EDT 2016

     Good to see this. I didn't know of the term
microaggressions. I'll read the links.

     I was a technical writer and early on some
programmers cringed as I approached. The stereotype
at the time was as I phrased it--someone to whom
the coder had to define "variable" (in my case a
few decades ago it was  dd  (define double).
     I should mention that the two most competent
technical writers were female, super smart. That
group had a couple of really erudite males, too.
When I was teaching programming (hundreds of
students over a decade), with exactly one exception,
the best students in the classes all were female.

     Thanks for the slap, really.

On 03/19/2016 12:29 AM, Aahz wrote:
> 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:
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microaggression_theory
> https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/microaggressions-in-everyday-life/201011/microaggressions-more-just-race
> 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
> Statement:
> https://www.python.org/psf/codeofconduct/
> https://www.python.org/psf/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.

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