Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: Communities for tech women

Author:Lynn Siprelle
Posted:9/16/1999; 6:29:30 PM
Topic:Today's scriptingNews Outline
Msg #:11181 (In response to 11180)
Prev/Next:11180 / 11182

Well, there's always Groucho: "I wouldn't belong to any club that would have me as a member."


I dunno. We're still integrating women and men--for a long time (and yeah, I know, you're not interested in then, this is now) it was the other way round, men-only groups that women couldn't attend unless accompanied, if then. Here in Portland, the major civic organization, the City Club, didn't allow women members til the mid-to-late '70s. That's not that long ago. And now, as I wrote in Diary a couple of weeks ago, we have the Race for the Cure breast cancer run, which bans all male participants *even if they've had breast cancer* (men do get it--and I have to add that this policy varies city to city, but that's how it is here in PDX and most other cities with RftC runs). How stupid is that? The pendulum swings wildly before it settles down. We're still learning about these things.

I think it would depend on the group whether you were making a mistake. It's always hard to be the only one of whatever you are in a group, whether that's the only man, the only woman, the only Latino, the only non-native-speaker, the only computer geek, the only NON-computer geek (that's even worse)... It's hard, but not impossible, and it largely depends on the rest of the group and its dynamic.

Finally: I was raised by the same people. So I was taught to be dishonest too. Exactly what I'm dishonest about, I'm not sure, because it's part of the soup I live in. Ask a fish to describe water. Something is going to be missing.

Girls *in general* are taught that it's okay to be sexY (in fact, required) but not okay to be sexUAL. Boys *in general* are also taught to expect that girls are not sexual and must be cajoled. Considering women are just as much mammals as men with our own set of hormones to contend with, that's a big fat lie we're both raised with, with different implications for each. Add to this the American tendency to sell everything including floor polish with sex, and you've got trouble.

I am totally not accusing anyone of anything, but in my dating years I found that often men thought they had to put up a usually-phony front of "walks on the beach at sunset" kinda stuff to get a woman into bed--probably because they did have to in a lot of cases. While I'm not terribly fond of the *overly* direct approach, as I got older I grew more and more impatient with the lie. I came to prefer cards on the table (after a decorous interval) because "I don't want to" is as valid a hand as any for me or the other person to play. Then it's all out of the way and you can go on with whatever the two of you are going to end up being, whether married, lovers, friends, acquaintances or strangers.

Not everyone can do this, and those who can, can't do it all the time. One must get clear on what one wants, and DOESN'T want (WHY doesn't English have a good neutral pronoun? My queendom for an "on" a la francais), and then stick with it. And that's scary, male or female. It's falsely easier to just be carried along by circumstance; then one can claim irresponsibility. "It just happened," or "it was the other person's idea." Uh-huh. And where was one? ;)

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