27 March 2007

I am Absolutely APPALLED

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.


Daniel said...

That's disgusting.

I don't know what else to say about it without getting dirty.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't put much stock in anyone who uses the non-word feminazi. It's a non-sense word, though I suppose the intention is to convey feminist fascist, perhaps.

Anyway, as I've said about this elsewhere, the behavior exhibited by this individual is not unique and I fail to see how the fact that it was directed toward a female makes it unique. If it was directed at a man, it would just be another ass on the internet behaving like a pointless idiot. But because it's toward a woman, it somehow represents oppression and glass cielings and an aversion to equality.

I have seen far worse said online to people and in far more personal and threatening ways and the "victims" never ran around the internet crying for help and telling the world how they are so affected by it that they've locked themselves in their dark bedroom and locked the doors. I mean, what the hell?! All of that over some ridiculous idiot on the internet? And one who probably isn't even old enough to drive a car?

Really, I think there's plenty of idiocy going on here. The woman is an idiot for being an internet-wide drama queen (honestly, what the person said was disgusting and inexcusable, but how was it threatening? I saw no statement like "I am going to do this" or "I know where you live" or anything).

The guy is an idiot for.. well... existing. And deserves to slip and fall in the tub with a toaster.

But really, any rational person would have either just banned the person and ignored it or if they truly felt threatened, contacted the culprit's internet provider and made a complaint.

All running around the internet like a baby does is make you look pathetic and annoying.

Mackenzie said...

To the AC:
She is a prominent figure in the tech world as an author, and that visibility makes the likelihood of wackos being serious considerably higher.

When sexual harassment comes into it, then yes, it's directed at her being female. If sexual harassment comes into a threat against a male, it's directed as his masculinity as well. If there wasn't sexual harassment, I'd have no reason to think it had anything to do with her being female.

A threat doesn't require the phrase "I am going to..." It's still a threat when a thug comes in saying "nice establishment. It'd sure be bad if something were to 'happen' to it..." isn't it? He's probably not wishing you well.

Kevin Mark said...

Hi Mac,
I just read this on /. and it just floors me to read about such behavior. Debian had some trolls who said some offensive remarks to the debian-women mailing list and even a now ex-debian-developer did some offensive things and was expelled. Progress can not be made by only having women do the work, men must step up to the plate. I'd like any FLOSS project and blog hosters to make a clear policy about such behavior of its members and a threat of explusion. Ubuntu started with this idea, most others dont have as clear rules.

samiam010203 said...

what's up Maco!

this is BS! i don't understand why people would do such a thing. ass hats imho.

hopefully she will still feel safe enough to do other talks again.

how have u been anyway?

Sal C.

Matt Vapor said...

That is shocking :(

Eivind said...

That's completely unacceptable. And I agree, we've got a long way to go.

It's not much comfort since two wrongs don't make a right, but the converse is also true; males "can't" be primary caretakers for their kids. Dad's "can't" be anything more than at-best a good assistant to the primary role of the mother.