Kathy Sierra was supposed to speak at the ETech conference. Instead, she received death threats from "respected tech bloggers" causing her to have to cancel. These "gentlemen" described violent sexual acts they wanted to perform as they killed her in a few places online and threatened to murder her on her blog. You can read the whole story on Kathy Sierra's blog.
I am appalled at this. I thought this was the 21st century. Apparently it is the 1500s, when a man could get away with anything, and a woman could say nothing. Apparently the womens movement never happened. Apparently we have a lot further to go. I thought it was bad enough that it is still extremely easy to find the "women can't" attitude. Women can't use computers. Women can't understand more than a hair dryer or stove. Women can't code. Women can't use Linux. Women can't run countries. Women can't. Women can't. Women can't! Apparently that wasn't bad enough. No, some idiotic men had to take it upon themselves to threaten to kill a woman, using the internet to express this desire. For weeks they kept these threats up. Could it be that they were intimidated by such a strong, confident woman? Did they see her as a challenge? That woman makes them look bad, like they're almost equal to a woman! How absurd! She's a threat to their masculinity and must be stopped. Well isn't that lovely? Women and men can't be equal. If a woman is equal to a man, he is losing. This is WRONG!!!
I love the ladies of LinuxChix. We've had our differences over feminism and degrees of it. I've never been a feminist, just a humanist (equal rights for all sexes, genders, races, sexual orientations, etc.), but this is amazing. I can see how some women can become radical feminists. Is this the kind of thing women are expected to put up with for being prominent members of the tech community? If you ever wondered why less than 10% of the people you see at cons are female, look at this. This is how you scare women away from the tech world. Make them believe that tech-men are out to get them.
Oh, and for the first time ever, I have been called a "Feminazi". Ah, what a lovely word. On IRC, Erich Jansen was saying saying he (she?) thinks it's a publicity stunt and that he doesn't care what is said to "some tart on the internet". When I pointed out how inappropriate it was for him to refer to her as a "tart" (as inappropriate as if he'd said "broad" or "bitch"), he called me a "Feminazi". That's a new one for me, especially since I'm not even a feminist.