A few weeks ago, tech journalist Annalee Newitz noticed (with delight) that one of her columns had been slashdotted. But when she went to check out the thread, she was disappointed to see that most comments had more to do with her body than her body of work -- something many female tech writers experience with some regularity. This week, Annalee wrote a column about it, and she concludes that the world of Slashdot is actually evolving into a less sexist place.
Was I really gorgeous, or was I ugly? Wasn't it OK to evaluate my looks because my column wasn't really "professional," but rather "humorous"? (As if I haven't been writing this column seriously and professionally for six and a half goddamned years.) And, my favorite, wasn't it OK to talk about my looks because I write about sex? (This comment was followed by links to several articles I'd published about technology and sex, as if writing about vibrators somehow meant I was "asking for it.")Link
My friends said, "Ignore it." They said, "Those guys are morons." They said, "Let's just read and write things in other places where men aren't dicks."
Yet slowly I began to feel the same way about their comments that I feel when a right-winger tells me that if I want to promote socialism, I should just move to another country. The problem is, I love my country. It fucking rocks. And I love Slashdot too. I don't want to run away. This is my home, and I want to stay here and fight for justice. I want women to get excited by all the cool articles on Slashdot and not get driven away by a community that values them for their bodies instead of their thoughts.
Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: email@example.com.