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Re: [OT] Valley of the Boyz

  • From: Etaoin Shrdlu
  • Date: Mon Aug 07 11:18:37 2000

Edited to make it easier to comment (and it's an interesting comment
that Sheryl uses an email system that encourages the "newer" style of
commenting at the "top" of a conversation, instead of interspersed).

I don't usually post in places like this, just read (and it's a
fascinating read, BTW). Although you can't tell from the name, I'm
female. Read on.

Sheryl Chapin wrote:

> >[email protected] wrote:
> >>
> >> News flash, lady - IT -is- "tape drives and hardware and wires and
> >> machines".  So, if you have nothing in common with people who are
> interested
> >> in such things, go do something else.

> Ummm, I think you guys are missing the point.  The point is that
> guys live, breath and eat this stuff, but to most women, it's just
> a job.  I am the only female technical person in my (admittedly
> small) company.  One of the guys once described me as "being very
> good at my job, but it's just a job".  I have no problem with that
> discription, when I go to lunch, I'm not interested in talking
> "tapes, hard drives and wiring", I do that at work.

Boy, this really set me back. I know that I'm on the edge of the norm
for female (no, not in lifestyle choices, but work is another matter). I
just don't think I realized how on the edge until the formation of the
net-grrls mailing list, which I joined. I like talking about hard drives
and wiring. So does my daughter. I recognize that not everyone wants to
talk about computers, networks, and software all the time. I just get
very frustrated when the representative female is always someone who is
more like Sheryl, and less like me.

> And yes, I have very little in common with these guys.  Most of
> them go home where there are more computers than people, all
> networked together and play for hours (by play, I don't mean games,
> I mean they write programs and expirement with new technology).
>  They *love* this stuff.  I go home and don't even look at my
> computer unless I'm beeped.

DSL, two switches, 8 computers running everything from openbsd (of
course) to win95 (no win2k or macos), three people, 4 palm pilots (three
of them are mine, one's my daughter's).

> Personally, I always thought it was just me, but maybe it is a gender
> thing.  Is that bad?  I really don't know.

It is a gender thing, but the pendulum swings wider than most think. I
have two younger women that work with me, and both of them are more like
me than Sheryl. There are plenty of other young (and not so young) women
around, but I relate better to the ones that think nothing of staying up
until 3 am because there's a little tiny flaw in the code that just has
to be fixed.

Why don't they ever interview someone like us? We exist, really. Sure,
most women prefer more "well-rounded" lives, and I think that's ok. I've
worked with plenty of guys who have the same attitude as Sheryl, and
they have a much harder time defending wanting to go home on time, or
talking about other subjects than networks and computers. They don't
interview them, either.


It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion.
It is by the beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed,
the hands acquire shaking, the shaking becomes a warning.
It is by caffeine only I set my mind in motion.