Re: [ox-en] Young, male and (probably) NOT single
- From: Stefan Merten <smerten oekonux.de>
- Date: Sun, 06 Oct 2002 13:23:35 +0200
Perhaps I can resolve some points which seem to me at least partly
Last month (34 days ago) Benja Fallenstein wrote:
Contrary to what StefanMn said (or, at least, seemed to say) in an
earlier discussion on the German list, I believe strongly that these
considerations are very important both to the FS scene today and to the
Ahm. I did not contribute much to the threads you're mentioning here.
Indeed that was partly because I do not have a strong opinion here.
Another reason was, that the threads where (unusually) heated and IMHO
loaded with sexist prejudices, reproaches, and little fairness.
Unfortunately often discussions of this topic end this way. I think
this is a pity because then IMHO these important points can't be
discussed at all.
IIRC the contribution I made *mainly* looked at an utopian GPL
society. I did not say much about the current situation. Please
correct me if I'm wrong.
About the participation of women in Free Software I don't think our
positions are very different. However, I do not see the male / female
question the dominant question regarding the things discussed in
Oekonux. Actually there is no dominant question coming to my mind at
all ;-) .
They're important today because the pool of FS
programmers is constrained by these social factors-- if there isn't a
culture encouraging girls and women to become FS programmers, there will
be less people developing FS.
If this is your argument this is valid for numerous other social
aspects, too. Counting heads I'd say that this argument is *much* more
valid for the III. world countries lacking access to computers and the
Internet more or less completly. I suppose this excludes 80% of
mankind from contributing to Free Software.
Additionally, I think it makes a
difference for the image of Free Software whether it is seen as a "men's
toy" with the assorted "real men" bullshit or seen as a non-gendered
thing (which can still be a toy, but without the associated gender
Well, whether I can use GNU/Linux or not the image of Free Software
seems to me not too important. To pick a random example: After all
women drive cars though these are - or have been - very much linked to
"real man" attitudes. Cars are useful. Period. And so is Free
Software. The image of the community producing it plays a role but I
think the usefulness is at least an important point, too.
Nonetheless I'd appreciate the "real man" stuff some people seem to
see in Free Software would not be there. Ahm - from my personal
experiences I can't see that BTW but these experiences are very
Oh, and I should also admit that it does make a difference for
me personally-- I do enjoy working in environments more that are not
almost exclusively dominated by men.
Sorry, I'm not sexist enough to see things that way. I like to work /
live / ... in a pleasant environment. It doesn't matter to me whether
these people are male, female or, say, from another planet. To me the
sex is not that important but more the behavior of the people.
-- As for the Oekonux discussion,
well, I believe that if we want to build a just society, an *extremely*
gender-biased subculture is not a good thing to start with.
(Yeah, ok, this argument doesn't really hold water yet... have to get
more clear what I mean here, I think.)
This would be good.
Stefan's argument basically went like this: "Well, if everybody is happy
with what they're doing, what can possibly be wrong?"
Indeed that's my position. However, there is a strong emphasis on
"happy". Is it a good thing to force a happy male engineer / happy
full time mother to do something else? But equally so: Is it a good
thing to force a happy female engineer / happy full time father to do
Anyway I don't think this is a contradiction to your position. The
core of the feminist argument - if it includes self-unfolding at least
- is that women *are* not happy with what they are doing / forced to
do. So this is perfectly in line with what I'm stating.
I think just
because a majority may buy into the status quo, that doesn't necessarily
make it right, though this is a difficult topic indeed.
Yes, it's very difficult - and dangerous in an emancipatory
environment. What do you draw your "right" from? And BTW: I did not
speak of majorities and I don't need majorities.
(As one last thing, I also think that differences in class/cultural
capital, as related to FS, would be worthwhile thinking about. I think
it's really a pity that e.g. FLOSS didn't have a question about parent's
education and income... I think it's an easy-to-agree-on thing that FS
is a thing mostly for people with high cultural capital-- from reading
skills to available computer resources and benefits from better formal
education, people from privileged families are bound to have it much
easier here IMO. But I think the cultural issues are worth discussing
because there's the question whether the organized system based on
selbstentfaltung is something people with high cultural capital have an
easier time conceiving/doing, and if so, what can be done to make it
more accessible to people of lower cultural capital. StefanMn has
repeatedly said he believes the unemployed could be a large group of
people possibly able to and interested in working in an FS-like way--
Stefan, correct me if I'm wrong.
Yes, I'm saying this. And I try to point to the potential in terms of
free time. I wonder why this is not turned into Free Time.
Considering that most unemployed by far
are, AFAIK, people with a "low" level of education, it seems to me that
cultural issues could be a big inhibitor here.)
You don't need to have an academic grade to grow plants for instance,
do you? Why is it impossible to have Free Software type of activity on
issues needing "lower" level of education / knowledge?
Mit Freien Grüßen