Why I started weblogging

Are you interested in knowing why I started weblogging? I tried the technology with both a Blogger and a Manila Site weblog, and wasn’t that interested at first. It wasn’t until a posting at Scripting News and resulting discussion and pulled content associated with Meg Hourihan that I noticed the power of the interactivity of weblogging.

I found this post at Meg’s weblog that talked about comments in Dave’s weblog. I hope Meg doesn’t mind, but I’m copying the pieces that caught my eye and pulled me in:

Dave’s spouting some sexist drivel on his site today, which I’d point you to but he’s removed most of it. There was nice crock of shit about men being better suited to programming than women and several other comments that riled my blood. All that remains is an important observation regarding the percentage of women in attendance at tech conferences, which is always so out of wack. And it’s something that really irritates me, not only the lack of women, but especially the lack of female speakers at most events.

Dave’s suggestion is to pair conferences (“A librarian conference at the same facility as a developer conference. They’d get better software and we’d get more users and kinder feedback?” [Kinder feedback? Is that because women are so sweet and nice?]) so there’d be more “female energy.”

This is in reference to a posting that Dave cleaned up considerably and then re-released as an essay — sans the suggestion about pairing the librarian and software developer conventions. And some of the more interesting bon mots about women in programming.

I wrote an email to Dave at that time taking exception to what he said. I wonder if he remembers my email? I also realized at that moment if I had a weblog, I could respond to Dave’s comments on my own, for everyone to see.

Today, Dave writes:

Women are organizers. Everywhere you go there are organizations of women doing things, planning stuff, making the world work. Men aren’t like that…

…Men just won’t work with others, men or women. We’re solitary beings. Yeah we like to get laid (or mothered), that’s why we have anything at all to do with women, in our natural unevolved state (evolved men, like women see the value in all points of view). Now women, while they organize, are not win-win beasts, they compete with each other viciously.

The person who writes this is a leading figure in technology. He’s the father of XML-RPC as well as one of the leading contributors to SOAP. Add to this his being a speaker at conferences, quoted by mainstream journals on a fairly regular basis, and his influence with Scripting News. And read these words and Dave’s essay again. Particulary the essay. Particularly the first few paragraphs.

There is sexism in every damn field that exists. There is sexism that works against women and sexism that works against men. Don’t believe me? Just have a chat with guys who are attending nursing school or staying at home to take care of the kids and house while the wife works.

Luckily, for the most part, sexism is not tolerated and managers and co-workers would be appalled at it’s application. But it’s there.

Fact of life: In today’s colleges there is most likely 10 men for every woman in any of the hard sciences. I’m not talking organic science, I’m talking about hard sciences such as physics, engineering, math, and computer science. If I’m wrong in this, prove it to me. Tell me about this class or that class in the hard sciences that has even a third attendance by women.

I could give examples of sexism — discrimatory and detrimental sexism — that I’ve encountered in my profession, but that’s not really the issue. The issue is whenever you have any field that has such hugely disparate representation by one sex or the other, as the computer sciences are, then the people who are in the minority will always be at a disadvantage to the people who are in the majority, no matter how tenuous that disadvantage is within any one environment or other.

And in a very, very tough market, any disadvantage, no matter how small, can make a difference between working…and not.

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