What I know of Nat Torkington is that he’s generally funny, from
Australia New Zealand and actively recruited women for talks for OSCON. A comment on a blog entry he made about “seducing a woman” highlights a long-running struggle in the tech community — how do women point out sexism or offense at humor in the tech community? This person chose to be anonymous, which is unfortunate. I think the way to change the tone of humor like this is to be direct and put your name on your objections.
I rolled my eyes when I read Nat’s blog entry, but I didn’t think of it as sexist — just a tortured analogy that wasn’t very funny (sorry, Nat). As with many gender-related issues, perception varies.
I’m glad that anonymous made their feelings known. And, Brenda probably gave the most effective (although not direct) critique – at least one that Nat responded to. It’s time that more of us ladies spoke up when we see something that’s subtly or overtly sexist being passed off as humor.
As Larry Gelbart, M*A*S*H producer, said “Most jokes state a bitter truth.” Let the people who are publishing know that we’re reading, and that we have senses of humor too.
Hi, Selena. Thanks for starting with the acknowledgement of good faith … I’ve tried hard not to behave like an ass, not always succeeded but always tried.
For the record, my post was an experiment with the Stephen Colbert style: embrace an idiot’s position, extend the position, and in so doing reveal its idiocy. I kinda succeeded–everyone said “wow, what an idiot” 🙂
In case it needed to be said, I don’t seriously advocate romancing anyone to get them into or out of open source. It’s a Swiftian “solution to the Irish famine is for them to eat their babies” conceit. The way to achieve gender balance in open source (whether that’s the gender balance in IT at large or 50-50) is for men to stop being dicks to women at conferences, on mailing lists, and on blogs. I thought the idea of someone saying “offending women by hitting on them is the way to achieve gender balance” was self-obviously ridiculous. I guess I was right, just failed to make it clear that I also understand it is ridiculous.
Anyway, I am sorry I offended–it was never my intent. Thanks for your thoughtful comments.