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Tuesday, October 21, 2014


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Pussycat Catnap

My own mother dropped out of a CS program in the 70s when she was told by her professor to get out of the program, and then given a B- for a perfect test because she was a woman - and told so.

Women were chased out.

I remember playing with punch cards for a few months while she was excited, and then never hearing about it again and her shifting to talking down her math skills.

Arcadia Codesmith

Tell me why most of the people who recognize the name Bill Gates don't recognize Rear Admiral Grace "Amazing Grace" Hopper. Tell me which one was an actual pioneer in the field (hint: it wasn't Gates). And that should tell you everything you need to know about why more women aren't programmers.

For crying out loud, computer programming was invented by a woman!

If you want more women in STEM, one place to start is to raise more noise about the women who've been there since Hypatia (and earlier).

Sjöfn Stoneshield

Working conditions in the computer world has on many companies have been completely hysterical.
Working 24/7 to take a Red Bull and a pizza for lunch, dinner, breakfast. Already there have been women and adult men become the runaway of young boys who have the energy and want to work that way. Women want more order in their lives. The view of the computer is also a bit different, women want practical use of their computer time. War games that flooded the market is less competitive. In Sweden, by contrast, university courses in "digital design and ease of use" attracted many young girls


Yet another cherry hunt that is not even a gender issue. It might be worth understanding that the graph for men enrolling in computer science looks exactly the same:


It's not just Stanford by the way, that would look the same US wide.

Arcadia Codesmith

You misread the NSF graph. The Y axis is percentage of women in the major, not total number.


Then there are many conflicting stats.

I would simply say this, it would vastly better to promote the women who are already in the industry who make incredible contributions, and have been for decades, than running on the usual bandwagon of insisting their must be sexism and peddling out the victim trope. If it's true that men outnumber women in the field, then it is to men's credit. Bill Gates is remembered because he created a billion dollar business with all the society wide change that came with it, he is extremely easy to remember, that doesn't take away from Hopper's pioneering work. Noone is saying women have not contributed to the field, it is just feminists who insist there is massive barriers rather than holding women accountable for their own choices.


Second Life is proof women are interested in computers, programming and gaming. SL owes its success to its female fans.

And that is why the mainstream (mostly male) tech press hates it so. SL's continuous survival shows up their influence as meaningless.

I hope LL makes their followup SL as woman friendly as the original.

Pussycat Catnap

I have a niece of sorts (related through cousins/marriages rather than blood) in a physics program. Tangential to tech - but related and with similar statistics about who ends up in the field.

In High School she was one of many girls interested in space, astronomy, and physics.

When she got to the University of California system - there were 3 young women in her program. She began to feel increasingly alienated. She's surviving it - as a minority she's probably somewhat used to being alienated by the society around her. And while she ignored my advice to take some courses in women's studies and minority studies - her roommate is in such a major and so... finally having a peer tell her what I'd told her toughened her up enough to want to fight back.

Point being...

privilege, or systematic discrimination - operates to push most of the women out of these majors. So that every generation has to re-pioneer, has to be the 'first' again... and has no mentors or peers to rely on for support. Being treated as a 'type' or 'category' rather than an individual - by your peers, your teachers, and in future your bosses and coworkers.
In that environment only the most battle-hardened make it through. Personally I expect to someday learn my niece has changed her major...

Calling that a 'victim trope' is just an attempt to deny reality, shift blame, and preserve the status quo.

Arcadia Codesmith

I know a woman who earned a Masters in Physics and interned at NASA. Some of her design work is still in use on the International Space Station. She could and should have finished out her PhD and been doing some groundbreaking work on the fundamental nature of the universe -- that's the level her mind functions at.

But she didn't. They never let her forget for a second that she wasn't just a genius... she was a girl genius, and that was an exotic species somehow fundamentally different from the normal (male) genius, even when they're working on exactly the same project.

Consequently, she got fed up with it, dropped out, and now she's teaching math. And the rest of us are still living without a unified field theory.

That's structural and systemic sexism. It's often not even meant maliciously, but the intent doesn't alter the effect.

I got nudged out of a CS major in college, but some combination of incredible good luck and sheer stubborness got me a job in the field anyway... after multiple years of being consigned to clerical drudgery. It should not require extraordinary patience, effort and talent for a woman to aspire to the same respect and pay as an ordinary, entry-level man.


I havn't heard anything that sounds like systematic sexism whatsoever, just women whining about the fact there weren't enough women on the course they enrolled on, or being called a 'female genius', that's not malicious, that's not even remotely negative, let alone a serious barrier.

Stephen Hawking manages motor neuron disease and Einstein had to fight the scientific establishment to get his theories taken seriously. But apparently being called a 'female genius' is the most crippling social stigma ever, it's not like these anecdotes just smack of women who don't have the tenacity to rough it out like so many men do.

It reminds me perfectly of Anita Sarkesian personifying the victim trope (it's not denying btw Pussycat it's me radically disagreeing with your view of it), the amount of men that take death threats on a daily basis, that statistically receive more abuse over the internet than women aren't evidence that women need to grow up and face the same challenges as men, or on the flipside that society only cares when women face some kind of violence and dehumanising when men have faced it for centuries as a matter of course. Oh no this must be systematic oppression, by men, there is no female choice involved, it can only be these hateful men. These hateful CS students full of such ferocious misogyny that women are driven out on mass . . . even though women outnumber men at universities these days by 10%.

Deoridhe Quandry

Yes. The real victims are men who are no longer 100% of the college population. Women who receive rape, death, and bomb threats - sometimes with their home addresses and the addresses of family members attached - are just complaining about trivialities.


so in 1985 a masterplan was successfully launched so that we in 2015 will have very few females working with IT in the US? And the benefit of that would be... what?

Could someone kindly forward the email with the conspiracy details and further instructions, I must have overlooked it, thanks in advance. :)


It's not that they are trivialities Deoridhe it's that men get those kinds of threats vastly more. Society only cares when it happens to women. And bomb threats really has nothing to do with this topic, trust a feminist to reel out rape on every single topic of gender.

Men were never 100% of the college population. Women's colleges have existed as early as 1883. And the issues of young boys in education massively dropping in grade is actually a big issue. It's nothing to do with not celebrating women's success. Again society does not care about boys and men.

Arcadia Codesmith

There is none so blind as he who will not see.


Reality is what it is, not what you want it to be.

Gealya Aeon

There will always be misogyny denial. It speaks most to the state of mind of the one in denial.


Such vague comebacks do absolutely nothing.

There will always be crime, violence, and all the other negatives in the world but when people are making it up or so vastly over-representating moles as mountains, then yes, people will slap you down for saying your hallucinations are reality. You have no solutions, or hard evidence, just lots of compounding petty issues with extremely serious ones. It just speaks to your privilege you have no conception about what real oppression or violence is.

Pussycat Catnap

The comebacks are so vague because its pointless to hand a picture to a man who has put a blindfold over his own eyes.

If you wish to be on the wrong side of history - that is your choice.


'history' lol

Now you really are making a mountain out of a molehill.

Kim Anubis

Publishing death threats (with addresses attached, no less) is criminal activity regardless of the genders of the people involved or the alleged reasons the threats are made. Being upset or concerned about that is not "whining."

Some effing nutbar threatened to blow up the Game Developer's Conference in March. That calls for, you know, the FBI and bomb squads with sniffer dogs and robots, not a dismissive post from an anonymous facepalmer who's unable to see past the gender issue mixed up with a far greater issue that is a growing problem today. Or do you think "whining" feminists overshadow disgruntled unbalanced people who threaten to or actually do blow up or shoot up individuals, shopping malls, schools, or perhaps an industry event?

Your priorities are backasswards, along with those of many people mixed up in this debate.


'who's unable to see past the gender issue mixed up with a far greater issue that is a growing problem today.'

Exactly, gender shouldn't be mixed up with the issue at all, internet harassment has zilch to do with gender, you brought that stupid connection all by yourself. It's undesirable, it's a complex point of debate regarding solutions, and it's also nothing new. There are crazies on the fringes of the internet, always have been. To me using those crazies as the ultimate straw man though, is a problem. Both sides have been slinging, doxxing and threats, but it's funny that they only care about it on the anti-GG side. Any serious threat is horrible and I wouldn't wish it on anyone obviously, but if you look into the facts, the FBI have considered none of Anita's 'threats' as anything serious they needed to take action on, their verdict is good enough for me thankyou very much.

Honestly lol people need a reality check. Apparently the gender war is unprecedented in violence, it's a literal war in the 21st Century and hysteria needs to replace rational common sense.


I'm not condoning any threats, perhaps I may have belittled the general seriousness a bit because it's hard to tell when a threat is a genuine threat and when it's just some teenager taking the piss over an email, so for that I apologise. But that one talking point, it not even debated sensibly, and it's steam rolling everything else. It's not as though everyone is sensibly talking about the issue, some people are using it for their political agenda which to me is pretty serious as well.

Kim Anubis

Gee, why is it that people cannot debate this topic sensibly?

Why would anyone think they are going to have a sensible disussion when they come in calling people "whiners" and posting "lol" in a reply about a bomb threat credible enough to mobilize the FBI?

You want to know why this whole "Gamergate" thing blew up as it did? Because of posts like yours, where someone shoots off their mouth/keyboard without thinking much, posts casual insults directed at whole groups of people, dismissal of serious concerns .... Not to mention your brilliant Hawking example. What next? I know -- Pistorious managed to overcome his disability to both run in the Olympics and shoot his girlfriend, so we should overturn the ADA? What was that about straw men, by the way?

I find life is too short to blow debating a disingenuous venter. Before you post next time, I suggest you dig a hole, get down on the ground, yell your complaints into the hole, and then cover it back up.


Wow what bitterness and hatred in this thread, just because not everyone buys into the Anita S and "its all a conspiracy" stuff. If you read the journalist respond to the Gamergate you will see some similarities to this thread.

Dig a hole and shout into it? I think you just scored in your own goal with that kind of responses. (and no its not a good thing)

Kim Anubis

I didn't say anything about a conspiracy, Fred, and I didn't post anything in this thread about what Sarkesian has to say, either. That's not why I posted.

Some people want to have a discussion. Others want to have a debate. Some want to vent. And then there are a few nuts. But mostly, in the discussion surrounding Gamergate, people are posting pretty casually, yet are taking the posts of others as if they're carefully considered manifestos, and getting upset about it. The quick assumption that anyone that is perceived to be on the -other side- (what, only two?) is a whining feminist or a misogynist jerk is common, faulty, and destructive, and I get sick of reading it. I think you probably sympathize with at least half of that?

I didn't say Facepalm should yell into a hole because he shouldn't be heard, but because I think when one has admittedly gotten a bit carried away or sloppy with their posting it might be a better idea to get it all out first, and then come to the discussion with a clearer head.


'The quick assumption that anyone that is perceived to be on the -other side- (what, only two?) is a whining feminist or a misogynist jerk is common, faulty, and destructive, and I get sick of reading it.'

As do I. It's just hard not to react to someone else's extreme one sidedness especially when it's far from one off and is a stereotypical meme. A more fair comparison is a whining feminist vs. a whining masculinist actually, the fact a man (or woman) sticking up for his fellow man is inherently seen as mysogynist shows how bias the foundation of the debate is to begin with.

It's also probably fair to say that healthy debates rarely take place on comments of blog posts. I wish they would pair the few sensible arguments from each side and debate that, unfortunately when people start slinging shit, it can't be ignored because people are rightfully going to defend themselves. So you get a war that for those who truly care enough will wade through to get to the few sensible arguments that do a good job of integrating all the battling perspectives into a greater order, those people are usually few, and then enough of the community of masses will follow.

I would agree with you though Kim that too much turns into the destructive slinging and perhaps I get a little bit too caught up in it. There are sane integrated people out there I should hold back for and have more faith in. The old Einstein quote 'no problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it' seems apropo. Both sides of the debate have enough lies and closed mindedness that they could do with finding middle ground and more complex arguments.

But I also think some casualties in this war will deserve it. Many from both sides could civilised slaying, the most obvious being: Bad critics, bad feminists, anyone caught in nephatism, abuse of wizard chan, internet trolls, dodgy misogynists/ misandrists, press bullying their own readers, the gender war itself is particuarly infuriating, a new culture needs to be based on the freedoms and oppression that both sexes face, but that won't happen before some old and stupid ideas die out or get crucified.

Kim Anubis

I think part of the challenge is, with an ubiquitous debate like this one, we get used to seeing very similar comments, similar patterns, or even exact phrases and arguments over and over and over. It becomes difficult to view each new commenter afresh. All too often, we're debating a construct of the past people we debated or articles we have read instead of the new person in front of us. In short, we accumulate baggage.

My second post directed at you was harsher in tone than it should have been, by the way. I was tired, and tired of revising, so I finally hit Post and went off to watch a movie. I just find this whole thing so exasperating that it makes me want to pin it on someone, probably because I can flame them or maybe even come to an understanding with one person. But maybe that's how it has to work, individuals sorting it out.

"It's also probably fair to say that healthy debates rarely take place on comments of blog posts."

I laughed when I read this -- so true! And yet sometimes I just can't keep myself from trying. Once in a while, it's really worth it. Sometimes I get a bit caught up in it, too. I can go shout in a hole, complain to my journal, revise away the ad hominems, and have a good long run of being fairly reasonable. Then something will just hit my button, or I post when too tired ... and then I'm ear-biting in the mud. Those humans, so illogical!

I have typed and deleted this next paragraph here a few times now, and I'm having a hard time expressing how I really feel about Gamergate. Every time I read an article on it, it seems to have new aspects, and comments are more polarized and acrimonious. It grows, like The Blob. Certainly there are people involved with preexisting axes to grind, opportunities to profit, all that. The heck if I can sort it all out. It's the unholy spawn of flamewar and media circus.

Shockwave Yareach

When I entered the EE program at UTAustin in1990, it was even male to females, 50 50. 200 people in one classroom. When I finished the last class, only 12 of us were left, and only one female. Why did the ratio change so much? I don't know. But I suspect it's the same reason so many males didn't finish either - it's ranged hard to get that EE and there are easier paths to graduation.


Thanks for that Kim, if nothing else you've reaffirmed your humanness to me and that I'm not only one to have banged their head against a wall over the internet. It is good to remember empathy, if not immediately to the more crazy of the bunch who are indeed hard to empathise with, than the well meaning many who speak with maturity, humanity, and objective wisdom. Every once in a while I get deep into the madness that is the internet wall of opinion and then i read simply one article or opinion that just is simple, fair, and wholesome and I breathe a sigh of relief like I've been lifted out from the dark confusing suffocating waters of confusion.

Kim Anubis

I couldn't have said it better myself, Facepalm. Once in a while, when I'm tangled up down deep in some maddening online discussion, wondering why I was ever fool enough to get involved, someone else will put down the weapons and just talk like a person. When that happens, it feels as if there is a bright light shining in the darkness, and it suddenly seems worthwhile. Thank you!

So now we have a conversation. I think that's where everything really starts. I don't know on what else we will agree or disagree, or if anyone else gives a rip at all, but we are being the change we want to see in the world. If only there were a way to spread it like a LOLcat meme. :)

Kim Anubis

Btw, Shockwave, did you see this article? http://www.siliconbeat.com/2014/10/23/women-with-tech-educations-shun-tech-jobs-study-finds/ I read it the other day, and went and dug it back up after I saw your post.

I find myself wishing they had listed all of the reasons and percentages for both genders. I feel like I am not getting the whole picture here. When I went to the site of the org that did the study, though, I dug around a little and didn't find more info.

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