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Monday, 25 October 2010

Discuss

This post is intended to be accessible to non-technical readers, so don't flee when you see mention of programming languages.

Recently, on [an email list related to a FLOSS programming language], somebody posted about having used [a rival language] a lot for a month. He was happy to be back to his preferred language, writing, "It feels like having been fucking around with ugly cocain addict ex-go go dancer only to find out how much you love your wife. (who looks like Sharon Tate and still a C++/Java expert. )"

He then went on to ask a technical question.

I don't want to bring this up on the [original] list, but I have questions about this and would like to get a discussion going. Is this an example of casual sexism / heteronormativity or just a slangy way of speaking? If it is sexism, could it it alienating to women who might otherwise want to be on the email list? Should such phrasing be discouraged? Should there be a policy? Would such a policy be overly formal/constricting for a language often used by hobbyists?

I found that sentence to be somewhat annoying, obviously, or I wouldn't be posting about it, but not annoying enough to reply back and start a discussion on the list, especially as it's pretty atypical. I'm wondering what others think about it, though.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ten years ago, i would have said THAT'S SEXIST. But now, given that go-go dancers are equally likely to be male or female and my wife may just be a guy who looks like Sharon Tate with or without C++ expertise, I'd just give it a pass until the author makes another remark of the sort.

Antonio said...

Yeah, that is sexist, but I'm more surprised that he would use that kind of language on a mailing list. There'd be people who were offended regardless of gender