15 January 2010

Don't email me…

…if this is the sort of email you're intending to send:

Subject: I had no idea that hot girls liked linux
Body: Are there more of you? I mean how does that happen? How does a good looking female put off their social life to the point where they can actually use ubuntu without ripping their eyes out?

Seriously, I don't want to hear it. Just think about it for one minute. What does appearance have to do with technical ability? Why do all the good looking men involved in K/X/Ubuntu put time into their favourite distro that could otherwise be spent on their social life? My answer's not going to be any different than theirs! And for that matter, why should it be social life or Ubuntu? Consider that many of the developers are friends with each other.

Also, isn't that being a little mean to Ubuntu? I mean, yeah, it's not as awesome as Kubuntu, but.…still… (joking!)

And yes, that's an actual email I received today. Ugh. Including his name and email address here is /very/ tempting, but it'd also be unethical, so I won't.


32 comments:

Jonas said...

Seriously? I was hoping (in vain apparently) that those kind of e-mails, no change that to that kind of attitude, were a thing of the past.

I do hope they're less common now than they used to be. I'm a male so I've never had the misfortune to being subjected to that kind of attidtude, but I remember clearly some of my female colleagues some ten years ago (where did time go?) who left the IT-business "just" because of that kind of attitude - and needless to say, which is a loss to everyone.

George said...

That actually left me speechless (with the exception of some inarticulate sounds of disgust).
Well done (sounds a bit patronising but thats not how its intended) for not posting the name and email of the originator.
I sincerley hope thats the last email of this type that you (or anyone else for that matter) gets, I know it won't be, but this kind of thing really makes you loose faith in human nature.

Matthew said...

While I agree with your sentiment, I think it's important to remember that one random emailer does not represent the community as a whole. In fact, with all the rampant sexism on the internet, it seems almost encouraging that you've only received one email like this! I think that the best thing you can do is exactly what you did: Call people out when they do this sort of thing.

Mackenzie said...

Matthew:
This was by far not the first--just the easiest to make fun of!

There are a handful of comments to various posts to this blog sitting in moderation because they are so inappropriate. I've had a man search me down online so they could hit on me via email after we'd met once at some geeky thing.

Look at the other posts in the "women" category. I'm sure it's not the first time I've whinged on this blog.

And oh! The things that are said to and about me for having the audacity to have dated another FOSS geek!

eastsidekate said...

Also, isn't that being a little mean to Ubuntu? I mean, yeah, it's not as awesome as Kubuntu

Well done.

Shivan said...

Well, in a mating context, that makes sense to combine technical skills (intelligence, sexyyyyyyyy) and beauty (health, boo...you get it), doesn't it ?

Anyway, we are males, expect any behaviour from modern to prehistoric ones, and feel free to punch in the face whoever act inappropriately.

Shane said...

It is a cultural thing I think if you think bloody awesome FLOSS contributer some people still think old guy with a beard. Seriously dont mind them we all know your awesome maco :)

Mackenzie said...

Shivan:
What I mean about looks and skills is: the emailer is suggesting that good-looking people cannot or should not normally also have brains. This seems preposterous to me.

Nigel said...

I am pleased that it only went *this* far, it could have been *far* worse.

Shivan said...

As I said, we are males, don't expect too much from us, and only take interest in the best of us. That's "natural" selection.

Cyqotiq said...

I applaud your decision to speak out against this. Far too often we see this kind of chauvinistic behavior. Speaking out and - when necessary - taking action against this behavior is the first step in helping to suppress it until something more permanent can be done.

I work with a few attractive females and several men, who I would guess would be considered attractive by many females, but thankfully our office personnel are very professional about these things. It is sad that it has only been in the past decade that it wasn't a culture shock to find attractive women working in fields that have traditionally been reserved for geeks.

Perhaps if we were to raise a Gender Neutral Geekdom Awareness campaign?

admin said...

@shivan

Do you realise that effectively what you're saying is that Mackenzie's boundaries for her own body should be optional for those with a dick? others may do to her? Well that is what you're saying when you tell her she should expect creepy behaviour that violates boundaries that she set. "No", "Don't", "Stop", and *punch* are all boundaries. Why is only the last valid in your eyes?

That's incredibly dangerous. It's arguing against prevention and exacerbating vulnerability. It is leaving women to try make do with reactive dissuasion, which may not be sufficient when attitudes like your own imply that a man is perfectly entitled to cross a woman's boundaries.

Don't do this to our women contributors. Hell, don't do it to women in general.

scottritchie said...

I'm hoping it wasn't an @ubuntu.com address

Mackenzie said...

No Scott, it was a @gmail.com address.

XyzzyZork said...

Anyone figuring that we shouldn't expect any better should recall the old saying about people living up to expectations... Also, consider that in most other fields/hobbies, females can assume decent treatment and guys behaving otherwise are denounced as gross exceptions.

I have the faint feeling that if we could figure out why this is an issue in some male-dominated communities (whether computer-related or not) and not others, it would give a solid hint on how to resolve it. I've seen a huge gap in this regard between Linux and my other interests (vintage computers, Ultima Series games), even though there's certainly Linux users in both groups, but haven't found any reliable factor suggesting why.

In case anyone else hasn't seen this, the attitude in the email made me think of the one humorously skewered in The Internet Nice Guy Rears His Ugly Head Once More.

LucidFox said...

Shivan, humans are intelligent beings, not savages. Hormone-driven instincts can and should be suppressed by the consciousness.

Bios Element said...

I can't honestly say I am surprised, but I'm glad you're speaking up about it. If every single incident of bs like this is made public, the smart ones will knock it off and even the dumb will catch on eventually.

Mephiston said...

First of all, let me say: "Good work with your blog".
Now....
Like you said being beauty or handsome, doesn't mean not using a GNU/Linux distribution. And being a GNU/Linux user doesn't mean "loose your social life", just look at me :P I'm a pure GNU/Linux user since 2007, and I'm going to a lot of parties (no, not campus party) :P.

Eivind said...

So, there's males in the world who are a) single and b) likely to remain so for the indefinite future, what else is new ?

It's possible, I guess, that such males are more frequent say among hackers, than for example among say soccer-players (not that you can't be both), but I've seen it in all kinds of groups really, indeed the first thing I ever said to the woman who is now my wife was "sometimes it's embarassing to be male", in response to something similar to that email, and no, that wasn't in a technical context.

J.Random Old Man said...

It's the human condition. Men (I am one), especially young men, think with their genitals.

desgua said...

I just would like to add that, in my opinion, Ubuntu is one of the easiest operating system out there. Much easier than Windows. Easier than another distros. I just cant say if it's easier than mac OS.
Ergo may be that the email isn't from someone who knows Linux or who are in the community for a long time.

Mackenzie said...

desgua:
Did you just say that it makes sense for the person to be surprised at a "hot girl" using Linux because he might think Linux is hard to use? As if hot girls are less capable than guys when it comes to using difficult things?

Mephiston said...

@desgua:
At this moment, my girlfriend uses Linux & Mac, she started in Linux world before me. And she always says to me, that Linux is easier, why? big community and open sources.

The people that use Windows usually say:
Linux is dificult, only hackers and programers can use it, a woman can't.. etc.

Why? I only found two possible answers:
a.) Idiots.
b.) Doesn't know anything about GNU, Linux, and all the comunnity, this kind of people should get a look on all the linux groups along the net, which most of they are basically moved by womens.

Sorry if someone feels identified by my words, I'm not in a good mood now.

Pd: Forgive my bad english, I'm from spain.

MrCorey said...

Bravo. From the time that I discovered your writing (Recommendation from within Google Reader, I think), I've been impressed both by your intuitive knowledge and your ability to restrain yourself when appropriate (and when not to when appropriate). Keep it coming! Thanks for your mature and enlightened contributions to the world wide web and whatever it touches, Mackenzie.

doctormo said...

I was disgusted by the email you got, as an attractive and highly desirable male with a social life perhaps I can't be involved in Ubuntu any more? I'm too popular and far too attractive... give me a break.

That kind of email is unacceptable and to all those squawking on about how "That's just how men are": you have to separate out understanding from acceptance. Just because you can understand why someone is an insensitive jerk, doesn't mean that you should have to put up with it or that your community should find it acceptable.

Jesse said...

Funny email, and handled quite tactfully. As least you didn't get bent out of shape.

New fan of this blog...

Richard Fletcher said...

I suppose linux does attract a number of people with bordering on autistic personalities. Sometimes you just need to understand that they don't know any better.

Also, it sounds fairly teenage to me so maybe that comes into it to.

I suspect no amount of blog posts requesting an end to random scary emails like this will do any good.

aikiwolfie said...

Ethics are over rated. Love the style you've applied to your blog. It looks better every time I take a peek.

Rockstarlicious said...

You should ask the guy how he managed to find time outside of his Stickam voyeurism and Craigslist bottom-feeding to bother posting a comment.

Lasantha said...

Cheer up

Mackenzie said...

For the record:
Any comments telling me how I should think or feel will be deleted. I have every right to want to be treated equally to the men involved in Free Software.

desgua said...

Sorry I'm late to answer. I didn't think I would be misunderstood. I didn't mean that "makes sense for the person to be surprised at a "hot girl" using Linux because he might think Linux is hard to use". No, not at all. Sorry if I got misunderstood. I just was hoping that this guy isn't from our great Linux community.