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Re: [OT] Valley of the Boyz

  • From: Nathan Lane
  • Date: Mon Aug 07 22:51:03 2000

Bennett Todd wrote:
> is typically a place and time where
> folks get really, really obsessed: somewhere in the late teens or
> early 20s, circumstances (often college) leave the obsessing types
> spending nearly every waking hour concentrating on computers, for a
> span of years. This tends to weed out the folks who aren't already
> more or less social rejects, and that in turn leads to a real gender
> bias, in our society.

I do hate to extend this, but I thought one more person's experience may
be relevant.  My wife and I met in our late teens and I was pretty
obsessive about computers.  She wasn't, but she got the bug and it
hasn't been the same since (she actually had a computer and was
programming before I was but had overprotective parents that were highly
concerned that the technology they couldn't understand could be
destroyed with software - a phobia that many parents instill in their
children, more with daughters than sons.)

Now we're more or less social rejects with three kids and still have
more computers than people in our home.  We met over the Internet in
1988 and I'll say that as a cash-strapped person back then, the Internet
saved us thousands of $$ in phone bills, making the first "killer-app"
of the net expedited and inexpensive communications.

My wife and I constantly talk shop, but she's not hardware oriented and
I'm only somewhat software oriented.  I do the hardware and she builds
the software to glue it all together.

In an IEEE Spectrum recently it was noted that the gender gap may be due
to women relying more on image than men.  I almost agree with this
opinion as our society has taught women to present a nice image rather
than getting ahead based on the merits of their work.  Many women in my
workplace are terrified of being judged solely on their merit,
especially if pushed in a technical direction.  Our evaluation process
is based more on image than substance and this impacts both men and
women.  Granted that highly meritorious work will result in a better
evaluation, it is merely a compensating factor, not the means of

In many areas, mediocrity is accepted if the proper social image is
presented.  In any relatively new industry, merit can be the only
benchmark and that terrifies many people because it establishes an
essentially binary judgement scale where there can be no compensating

-Nathan Lane