Helen McCall helen at dinoflagellate.demon.co.uk
Sat Jul 15 13:12:16 BST 2000

Hello Mark,

On Fri, 14 Jul 2000, Mark Ovens wrote:

> I'm very sorry that you find yourself treated that way. I certainly
> can't recall *any* female being ridiculed on this, or any other,
> FreeBSD list and I believe that were it to happen the ridiculer(?)
> would get flamed to hell (and possibly removed form the list(s)).

What you do not see are the appalling things which are sent privately to
women by some depraved individuals. One man, who turned out to be a
lecturer at Sussex University, about 8 years ago sent me such a stream of
abuse from the old Poplog list that I had to have him banned from
Internet/JANET access.

All of the women I personally know who have taken part in e-mail
discussion lists have suffered this problem. Some of the depraved men can
get very persistant, and quite frightening. I have certainly suffered the
private attentions of a couple of male members from this list.
> With respect that is a rather dramatic reaction. The fact that a
> goodly percentage of those at the Oxford and Bath meetings fancied
> going for a beer and curry should not be used to stereotype them. I,
> and I suspect most others, would have been equally happy with a Pizza,
> Chinese, Thai, or whatever.
But I am not the one creating this "Beer and Curry" stereotype. The
stereotype already exists due to the lager-louts you see in any city
centre late at night. Those lager-louts are seen after pub closing time
swilling lager from cans whilst eating take-away curries, and indeed
vomiting in the street. I am not suggesting that this is what FreeBSD
people do. I am just pointing out that the term "Beer and Curry" is
associated in many people's minds with the aforementioned sad sights at
night. It is not a good image to project.

> > Please try and make this list more attractive to the older seasoned
> > professionals by removing the "Young Lad" image.
> Hmm, well I'm 42 and many more of us are in the 30-40 year old age
> group. Teenagers are a definite minority, and those who are here are
> mature individuals.

I am glad to hear that there are some mature people on this list. However
I had not guessed that the average age was 30+. The image projected gave
me the perception of a user group made up of young hot-headed students!
> > Please also remember that
> > us veterans very rarely ask questions on these kind of lists because the
> > kind of queries we see on the lists are the simple little problems which
> > we normall solve in a moment due to our enormous wealth of experience;
> > which is why those of us old enough to be your mothers or grandmothers can
> > offer some very useful advice, even if we do not know the latest slang.
> So participate, answer some of these questions, your experience will
> be appreciated and you will find for yourself that your image of us is
> wrong.
I did start to some time ago, but got a bit fed up with some of the
totally inappropriate "private" e-mails I got from a couple of members on
this list. The image I was seeing of the FreeBSD users group took a turn
for the worst!

> One more thing, Sue (whose surname escapes me at the moment) is very
> heavily involved with the -newbies mailing list at freebsd.org so if
> you feel that the FreeBSD world is a MCP dominated one then you are
> mistaken.

I have found that newbies (certainly in the Linux world) tend to be much
more appreciative of advice from women.

The image I am perceiving of the FreeBSD users group is not an MCP one,
just a "Beer and Curry" one!

Please do not think of me as a "Womens Lib" person. I have genuine skills,
and can make my way in the world without having special allowances made
for me! However it is also true that I do get a significant proportion of
male clients and prospective clients who try to treat me as if I was a
lowly secretary. It is their loss because I just strike them from my
client list if they do not show due respect for my professional skills.

> Finally, take a look at http://www.transit.hanse.de/oxford/ for a
> dozen or so photos from Oxford, both the meeting and the meal
> afterwards, and then judge us.

I will have a look if I can get the time.

But please get rid of the "Beer and Curry" image. It is a most unfortunate

Best wishes,

Helen McCall


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