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More on the pr0nage

Some interesting reactions to Matt Aimonetti’s talk.

Mike Gunderloy:

... effective immediately, I’m resigning my position with the Rails Activists.

I realize that some people will see this as an act of prudery on my part, or a lack of a sense of humor, or some other personal failing. That’s OK, I don’t mind. Other people (who I have a good deal of respect for) have attempted to convince me that I could do more good by staying involved with the Rails power structure and trying to work from within to change things. At this point, unfortunately, I feel sufficiently outnumbered and unwelcome that that option is no longer open.

Audrey Eschright:

Here’s another problem in this tangle: Ruby (and Rails in particular) loves the rock star image. You see it in job posts, how people talk about their work, and the way Rubyists rant on their blogs. It’s macho, it can be offputting to both genders, and it makes it easy in this kind of situation to say, “what’s your problem? I’m just busy being awesome”. It’s also a significant barrier to adoption for people who aren’t already a part of this culture, and don’t find it appealing.

And Matt Aimonetti himself:

My view is that offending someone is walking up to them and saying: “You suck, your code sucks and your partner’s code sucks!”. That is not what I did in my talk. In the case of my talk, people knew what to expect, they picked the talk, and were warned by the organizers before I started that I would be using imagery potentially offensive to some. The topic of my talk was obvious, and I would have hoped that people who were likely to be offended would have simply chosen not to attend my talk or read my slides on the internet. It’s like complaining that television has too much material unsuitable for children, yet not taking steps to limit their viewing of it. You can’t have it both ways.

I’m going to choose to be a little Pollyanna-ish and say that there’s enough earnest discussion happening to keep me somewhat encouraged. And even though I disagree with Matt’s interpretation of some of the issues, I think it’s worth noting that he’s making (from my reading of it) a fairly decent good faith effort to have an actual discussion, and that’s helpful.

One thing that’s come up is this notion of men being offended on behalf of women. But it’s funny, when I think about it: When I looked at the slides, sure, part of my discomfort came from the notion of how my female Ruby programmer friends (many of whom did go to GGRC) felt about it. But honestly, part of the discomfort is self-centered. I don’t want to look at pictures of scantily clad women in a room full of 200 dudes. That kind of grosses me out. Not because it’s necessarily sexist or misogynist or anything. Just because, seriously, ick. Maybe that makes me uptight, I dunno.

And also, is it just me, or is Twitter seriously not helping this discussion? It seems like a 140 character limit is only just enough space to say “you’re sexist” or “you’re self-righteous”.

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Tagged: ruby

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