Say What?

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Jeneane Sessum just posted a note that had me going “say what?” about half way down.

I can sympathize with Jeneane that she misses her husband while he’s working in Japan, but I can’t agree with her when she generalizes her own personal sense of lonliness and temporary loss of his presence with sayings such as:

Look, the absence of testosterone in a household, combined with an overabundance of estrogen, is just not a good thing. I’ve seen it in companies I’ve worked for. Those places where the first meeting in the morning means two or three women crying, or at least one of them walking out in a fit of rage, punctuating their departure with a slammed door.

I haven’t worked at a lot of companies that are controlled by women at the top, primarily because I’ve worked at larger corporations and control of these types of companies is still male-dominated. However, I’ve worked at a significant number of companies where my upper level management is female, and I’ve never noticed a difference in the number of women “…crying, or at least one of them walking out in a fit of rage…” at these companies.

To be honest, I’ve not really noticed that much of a difference, good or bad, in overall behavior of a group based on the sex of the upper management.

Regardless of the preferred expression — tears or words or actions — excessive emotionalism at work occurs in both sexes. Sex of the boss, number of men or women in the group, sex of your co-workers — none of these purely sex-based characteristics play into this one.

Group dynamics is a lot more complex than basic rutting behavior.

To say that women need to have men to somehow “balance” them in the work place or home because of an estrogen/testosterone thing is to support stereotypes that can only hurt both sexes, professionally and personally.

Diversity Just Shelley


Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Mike Golby found another “friend”, Stone Reynolds, who seems to be unhappy at Mike’s treatment of another weblogger, Mike Sanders.

However, in an amazing display of twisted brotherhood, Mike Golby states:

There’s something decidedly odd about this guy. His half-formed views appall me but I find, dare I say it, a sense of humor, in his writing. And a sense of humor, they say, is everything (of course, it could be a mask hiding naked hatred but, like my friend Christopher Locke, I am a professional and can handle any situation should it turn ugly).

So, I’ll be stopping by at a hell of a note from time to time – if only to swap gratuitous insults and find out what’s going down in the world of racism, sexism, anything lewd and smutty, the good ol’ boys, the loony right, etc. Look at it this way. If St0ne Freeman is a friend of WonderChicken’s, how can he not be a friend of mine?

To which Stone replies:

I promptly posted a comment there expressing my thanks and overall flabbergasmic response to his review.

Sounds good to me…and PageCount: Into The Lake of Fire joins my linklist

All of this would be interesting, except for the fact that I got dragged into this indirectly.

It seems that Stone doesn’t have too high an opinion of me for my “mistreatment” of Mike Sanders, either. But he continues his lack of high opinion elsewhere with little tidbits like the following:

And, speaking of MT and self-respecting ‘bloggers, burningbird, for all her l33t skillz, needed help from stavros to get MT installed. I’m not sure what that says about MT, or the flamingfowl…but if Dave had any difficulty with the installation, he hasn’t yet mentioned it.

Seeing all this, Mike Golby writes:

And, from there on in (while doffing his cap this way and that to various and vicious warbloggers of note), St0ne proceeds to rip into Shelley (for whom he nurses a dark and secret passion), Jeneane, Dave Winer, and me.

To which Freeman responds with:

There’s something decidedly odd about this guy”, Golby notices. I can’t argue with that, but I vigorously dispute the “dark and secret passion” he alleges I nurse for Shelley Powers.

I have a sense of humor. I really do. And I appreciate that both Stone and Mike got a chuckle out of this interchange. However, I found my association with the phrase and the entire exchange to be demeaning.

A simple phrase — funny or interesting for one person, embarrassing or painful to another. Thoughtless associations. Stupid word tricks.

Guilty as charged.

I wrote a posting last week that talked about Mike and Chris Locke and how much I admire and envy their writing skills. In this posting I used an association, a phrase, that looking back now I realize I shouldn’t have used. I pulled and re-posted this several times since, but pulled it permanently today.

Connecting Diversity People Places

The kindness of strangers

If you know San Francisco than you know the Castro district. It’s colorful, interesting, lively, unique, and the center of gay activities in a city that’s known to be very gay friendly. All in all, it’s a fun place to walk, shop, whatever, because the people in the area are about the friendliest there are in the city.

Every year, the citizens of the Castro area throw a huge Halloween party. Cross dressers will spend months creating the outfits they’ll wear this night, and travel — by limo — from place to place showing off their finery. Over time, the straights discovered that, hey, the folks in Castro are having a great time. Next thing you know, the street party in Castro is _the_ place to be, Halloween night.

Unfortunately, the last few years, there’s been some good Christian boys who have deemed it their moral duty to show up on Halloween in order to attempt to beat to death anyone gay they might find.

It’s interesting, but in my quest to see how many people I can piss off with my “left coast leftist liberal” bias, I’ve talked about every “right” in this weblog except gay rights and the right to die. I’ll leave the right to die to another day.

Gay rights: I’m straight. I have gay and straight friends. I don’t understand homophobia. And the government and everyone’s neighbor does NOT have to be involved with how a person practices their own form of sexuality as long as the practice is between consenting adults. And if two people want to get married, let them. End of story.

I was in Castro today to go the clinic. My doctor was wonderful. In fact, the clinic is full of doctors who entered medicine because they care about people rather than to make as much money as possible. Gives one a lot of hope for the medical community.


Words, words, them damn words

Andrea wrote an extremely thoughtful discourse on why she doesn’t like to label herself as a feminist. Her posting follows from a link to another equally thoughtful posting on the “feminist” label at Anita’s.

As we’ve seen, the word “feminist” brings with it so much baggage, good and bad. When I say I am a feminist, and don’t explain what this means to me, you’re going to attach to me whatever baggage you attach to the word — so I better define what I mean by “feminist” if I use it.

And when you say you’re NOT a feminist, if you don’t provide a definition of what you mean by your rejection of that label, then I have no recourse but to think you must be rejecting qualities I hold dear.

Words. Words. Them damn words.

It’s interesting because I read Andrea’s posting just after I read some essays about words and their effect, pointed out at another posting. Steve Himmer linked to a essay on the language of terror, and quoted part of it:

Words are pivotal for keeping us in this mess. And words may be crucial for getting us out.

Words. Don’t try these at home boys and girls, you could get hurt.


On I am not a feminist

“I’m not a feminist”

Yesterday I provided two definitions of what a feminist is: one from Merrian-Webster and one of my own.

Since then, I’ve seen “I am not a feminist” repeated, in particular at the Blogsisters weblog. I’ve also heard people say that they prefer to use “humanist” rather than feminist.

Shannon did an excellent recap of much of this discussion, ending with a question:

To say you are a humanist inherently implies you are a feminist; as a feminist, does it imply humanism?

To which I answer by repeating my feminist criteria:

    • Anyone who believes that women should have equal opportunity for work, equal pay for said work, equal opportunity of religion, equal opportunity to education, equal opportunity to medical care, equal opportunity to speak, equal opportunity to vote, control over what happens with her body, equal say with what happens to her family and her children is a


    • .

The operative term in all of this statement is “equal” — feminism is about equality. And there is no concept more precious to the humanist than equality.

Years ago when I was much more aggressive about my opinions, I worked on a large defense project at Boeing. During this project, I shared an office with another woman and two men, one of whom just had his first child.

Now, when this co-worker, let’s call hom Joe for simplicity, was first married, he and his wife made the decision that she was going to stay at home, be a homemaker, take care of him, the house, and the kids. When I asked Joe what his wife did and he explained that she was a homemaker, I was appalled! I couldn’t understand this concept and this idea in the least!

Think of it: In this day and age, a woman choosing to stay at home, becoming nothing more than a helpmate for her spouse. Indeed!

Needless to say, Joe and I got into several very intense conversations on this issue, to the point where our working relationship was becoming strained. Luckily, the other woman in the office, let’s call her Ann, decided to get involved.

Ann took me out to lunch and talked with me about women’s rights, feminism, and equality. When I started going into my usual spiel about Joe and his macho superior attitude, and how his wife sold out our sex, and so on and so on, she stopped me mid-rant.

Ann said that equality had nothing to do with roles, or sisterhood, or whether a woman chooses to stay at home or not. Equality had to do with a person being able to make a choice about what they want to do with their life and then be able to follow that choice. She told me my actions were negating the things that I was fighting for; I was denying Joe’s wife her right to stay at home if this is what she chooses. I was denying her equality because I didn’t happen to agree with her choice.

Have you ever heard the expression, “It felt like I was hit in the face with a 20 pound Halibut”? No? Well, that’s about what I felt like when I heard, really heard, what Ann was telling me.

Equality has nothing to do with sex, or color, or race, or religion, or any other social or biological factor; it has everything to do with individuals being who they are, about making choices, and then being able to follow through with these choices, without fear, without hinderance, and without discrimination. The only pricetag for this freedom is that the individuals must grant this same freedom to others.

I am a feminist. This doesn’t mean I deny equality for men. This only means I seek equality for women. And as I see the world today, women have a way to go before they achieve that equality. And someday if I’m lucky enough to live that long, I may see true equality for all people regardless of sex, religion, philosophy, orientation, color, what have you. And at that point I’ll probably stop being a “feminist” because my goal of equality for everyone will have been achieved.