“Guys” is not gender neutral

via Professor, What If…?

What if I could overcome my gut-wrenching hatred for the phrase ‘you guys’?

Well, it would certainly make my life a lot easier because I hear this phrase multiple times a day. I wish I could accept being referred to in terms that insinuate the whole population is male or that male terms are ‘neutral,’ but I can’t. When I hear ‘you guys,’ I don’t feel like whoever is saying/writing this is talking to me because I am not an f***ing guy!

Reminds me of my post on how “guys” was used in an email to advertise a web development job. “Guys” is not gender neutral.

Overt Sexualization + Female Olympiads

Sociological Images has an interesting post up on the sexualization of female Olympiads. The team uniforms that women wear in comparison to the uniforms that men wear is very interesting. The beach volleyball uniforms are the most striking in terms of apparel difference. The men’s uniform consists of a mesh tank top with mesh shorts. The uniform for women basically exposes as much skin as possible. I am all for the celebration of women’s bodies and am not dissing the women who are wearing the uniforms. However, when people start saying that the women’s beach volleyball uniform is all about performance, that’s when I start raising eyebrows. If it was all about enhancing an athletes playing ability, why aren’t the men’s beach volleyball players shirtless and wearing speedos?

Tech people

I was recently at a higher education conference for academic advisors where every time the campus tech support office personnel were referenced, they were called “tech guys.”

For example: “Our tech guys are going to be configuring our database.”

I was asked to be on a technology panel on academic advising and Web 2.0 technologies. During what was probably a long-winded answer to an audience question, I decided to point out that our campuses have “tech people” or “tech folks” on staff in our IT offices. I said something about the fact that tech guys is such a sexist phrase as it makes women invisible and centralizes men as being technology experts.

On a related note, Jason Kottke has been keeping track of the gender diversity at some of the most well known and attended web conferences… WebVisions, a web conference in Portland, Oregon seems to contain a bit more gender variation than some of the conferences that Kottke references, but not by a lot. Of 38 total speakers, only 8 are women.

Sunday links

Improper procurement

University of Colorado at Boulder
It always saddens me when I read a news report that focuses the lead paragraph on the public relations aspects of something awful instead of talking about the survival and recovery of those who have been victimized.

And seriously, WTF, when is it ever “proper” to “procure women”? What a mess.

The University of Colorado on Wednesday announced that it would pay $2.85 million to settle lawsuits by two women who said they were raped by football players, closing the book on a scandal that tarnished the school’s athletics department and led to the departure of its chancellor.

The assaults allegedly occurred in 2001 when a group of football players and recruits crashed an off-campus party at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Although no one was convicted in the attacks, the lawsuits contended that the incident was sparked by a hostile atmosphere created by the school’s use of alcohol, drugs and sex to lure top athletes.

During the height of the furor in 2004, seven women came forward to say they had been raped by football players since 1997. No charges were filed, but a university panel found that the school had improperly procured women and alcohol for football prospects. The football coach, athletics director, chancellor of UC Boulder and president of the entire university system eventually left.

via the Houston Chronicle.

Pink and Sexism

University of Iowa pink locker room

The visiting team locker room at the University of Iowa is painted pink. Hayden Fry, the oft-revered Hawkeye football coach, had the locker room painted pink as a “psychological strategy.” A former University of Iowa law professor plans on filing a complaint under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

“I don’t think this is about Hayden Fry or his intention in the 1980s; I think this is about how people understand the locker room in 2007,” said Gaulding, who has since left Iowa and now practices employment discrimination law in Minnesota. “This [is] understood as a funny version of the slur that goes on in athletics about playing like a girl, playing like a sissy” — and worse, she said, the university has perpetuated the insult in “a very official, permanent way.”

“It’s based on a concept of gender hierarchy that says not only are boys and girls different, but more important it’s better to be a boy than a girl; it’s shameful to be a girl,” said Gaulding, who is researching a book on cognitive bias and gender discrimination. “Anyone who’s not deeply in denial understands and acknowledges that the pink locker room taps into this very long tradition of using gender as a put-down.”

via Inside Higher Education.

The sexism within the comments on this article at Inside Higher Education are nauseating. I hope Gaulding is successful with her complaint.

Web Developers Listserv + Sexism

I’ve been subscribed to the University Web Developers (UwebD) listserv for quite a while. It’s an interesting mix of design/code tips, recent data, job postings, etc. I wanted to post a brief exchange that occurred a little while ago on the list.


Chris posted this:

Hey guys,

We’re looking for a motivated web developer who loves what he does. ‘We’ being the guys at Arc90, based in NYC…


Missy responded:

I take it female web developers need not apply? Thanks for the heads up. Most of the time we don’t even know we’re not being considered due to our gender.

Continue reading Web Developers Listserv + Sexism

Windows gurus

Windows gurus in Redmond Magazine are all men
The illustration is from the cover of Redmond Magazine, the “independent voice of the Microsoft IT community.” At some point in my techie journey I was placed on the Redmond Magazine subscription list. I usually skim through the magazine and analyze the content from the social justice techie perspective. The magazine primarily features white men in various information technology roles. The latest edition features the heading “Secrets of the Windows Gurus.” The illustration consists of 12 men in wizard robes. Apparently there are no feature-worthy windows gurus who are women. So either there are no women who are windows gurus or there are women who could have been featured but were not.

Continue reading Windows gurus