A couple of weeks ago, I followed a link from a Scalzi post to this post explaining how criticism written by women is treated differently than that written by men, and how this difference silences women. Not being particularly connected to the world of Sci-Fi and Fantasy writers, I have no real opinion about the piece of writing that sparked the discussion, but the discussion is still well worth reading.
The comments thread on Scalzi's post led me to two other good things. First, this post about how women are bullied on the internet, and how that bullying leads to exclusion. I particularly liked this quote:
"Give us the space to be ordinarily wrong, misguided, angry, weird,
biased. If only the rational angels of sweetness and light are allowed
to speak unmolested, that’s just another kind of gag."
Also, this old piece written by a woman explaining why she blogs under her own name, and why making the decision to do that is different for women than it is for men. If you have ever wondered why so many women bloggers choose to use a pseudonym, particularly when so few men bloggers seem to choose to do that, I recommend that you read this post and pay attention to the part where she talks about the internal dialog that she conducted when making her decision. (And if you haven't heard about what happened to Kathy Sierra, go read up on that.)
Fear for our safety is not the only reason women choose to blog anonymously. I choose to blog under a pseudonym primarily because it gives me greater freedom in topics. If I were blogging under my real name, I would worry about potential employers judging me based on my posts about mothering. Although I have not experienced any negative career repercussions since becoming a mother, the research indicates that this is at least in part because I have been lucky. I do not hide my status as a mother in the workplace, but I prefer not to push my luck by making this blog be the first thing that someone Googling me would find.
C. Pellegrino tweeted a link to me this week, about getting more women in technology to "sit at the table". Go read it- it is really good. Someone left a link in the comments to a 1996 essay about how computer culture excludes women. It is also a really good essay, but to be honest, I'm a little depressed at how much of what she wrote is still true.
I wish I could end this post with some upbeat ideas about how we can fix these problems- but I don't have any. Other than to just keep on trying to stay included.