harmoney: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] harmoney at 09:38am on 13/12/2010 under ,
An awesome friend of mine recently co-authored and proposed an anti-harassment policy for use at open source conferences (or any technical-related conference, really). I thought this was a great idea, and to my delight, I'm starting to see Debian (and the DebConf team) run with it, and not just for conferences. (I can't take credit for any of it, regretfully, as they picked it up on their own, but I'm still very pleased to see it.)

I'm starting to realize that whether or not my situation is unique, I have been brought up with a very spoiled and privileged attitude. My family is *largely* matriarchal, with a few "gender-related duties" tossed in for good measure. However, my sister was interested in cars, and thus, grandpa taught her how to get under the hood of her own and tinker. I was interested in power tools and things that go WHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRRRRRRR when you turn them on, so grandpa taught me safety and how to use his tools for various things. In middle school, I received a better grade in shop than I did in home economics. When I was in high school, I was overly-interested in my aunt's computer, so for graduation, she spear-headed an effort to get me my own. My aunt goes hunting, and there are pictures of her bringing home deer when the guys she was out with came home empty-handed. I really was raised with an "Anything you can do, I can do better," attitude, and rose to the challenge when guys in school would declare I couldn't do something "because I was a girl", including AND ESPECIALLY taking advanced-placement physics.

A few years ago, I declared the living room needed rearranged, and our TV is a 2-person beast. Steve refused to help me. Instead of discouraging me, I simply went out, rearranged all the furniture /BY MYSELF/, then stared at the TV while I engineered a way to move it from one end of the room to the other /BY MYSELF/. I moved the love-seat to the entertainment center, carefully lowered the TV to the cushions, laid a blanket in front of the love-seat, carefully lowered the TV to the blanket, moved the love-seat back where it belonged and used the blanket as a make-shift litter to drag the TV across the room. I moved the entertainment center, then paused to reassess the situation. I was in the process (I kid you not) of devising a pulley system I could use to get the TV up onto the entertainment center when Steve came out to investigate the noise. He gave in and helped me lift the TV up when I told him I needed to run to Lowes for wheels, rope and some hooks.

That said, I joke today about things I don't like doing being "men's work" and pushing it off on Steve, but I rearranged the entertainment center last night and hooked up our last speaker to the surround sound system, with my own tool set (the one Steve has to ask to use for any given project). I still play video games, and am learning to program. I watch Star Trek, Doctor Who, Star Wars and anime, attend Pub Quiz regularly and don't balk at leadership when it's needed. I knit, clean, cook, bake and also love football and hockey. I tend my hair carefully, and sometimes put on makeup and skirts, but only minorly grumble when I need to get on the snowy and muddy ground to put chains on the tires of our car. I'll dote on a cat in my arms, then get down on the floor and wrestle with a dog.

I'm a girl, I'm a nerd, and anything you can do, I can do better. If I were to be harassed at a conference, I would either shrug it off, return it in kind, or deck the harasser. The harassment wouldn't faze me one way or the other, though I might vent a bit later.

But, I'm learning that not everyone has had the benefit of this teaching, which is why this *needs* to exist. It *does* exist because harassment has been a serious problem at conferences, allegedly or openly. (Thankfully I haven't seen any at the ones to which I've been.) It's depressing that this has to exist; it's frustrating that we can't just declare, "Be righteous to one another" and expect it to hold.

I'm proud of Valerie and her collaborators, and hope that I can do something to help.
Mood:: 'optimistic' optimistic


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