Y not??

Karen Allendoerfer ravena at cco.caltech.edu
Tue Feb 20 12:37:18 EST 1996

In article <4gajjv$7r5 at reader2.ix.netcom.com>,
ED MCNALLY  <cruyff at ix.netcom.com> wrote:
>    This male did, and continues to, access this group to gather
>information for his FEMALE biology students (young women-in-bio) who do
>not have access to it and finds it patently offensive that someone who
>wishes that discrimination not occur is ready to cut him out of a free
>flow of information.  I will reiterate that you do not battle
>discrimination with further discrimination, and that while I may be
>here to gather insights, you MIGHT JUST gather some valuable insight
>from a male as well, if you can open your mind to the possibility. 
I didn't want to get into this debate, and I am sorry to increase the
"noise" on what is already a noisy thread, but the tone of this message
upset me.  

Let me state first that I am against institutionalized discrimination of
all sorts, and that I support men's participation in this, and other 
"women's" forums.  I am not a fan of gender exclusion no matter who 
practices it.

However, the tone of this particular posting seems to exemplify exactly
what some of the women who are reluctant to have male participation in
this group fear:  it is angry and belligerent (I base my impression on
the several capitalizations, which are regarded in standard netiquette
as "shouting"), it did not take the concerns of the initial poster into
account (she was stating her reasons for having reservations about having
men on the group, she was not advocating blatant all out discrimination),
and it ends on a sarcastic, inflammatory note, "if you can open your mind,"
implying that the original poster was closed-minded.  

Angry, belligerent, sarcastic, and inflammatory postings are very common
on usenet, where the anonymity of the computer protects the poster from
having to meet his/her recipient face to face.  I have enjoyed this forum
in part because I find it to be relatively free of anger, belligerence,
and sarcasm.  I make no claims as to whether this is due to the gender of
the people posting to it.  It has always been my opinion that both men
and women are capable of both rudeness and considerateness.  But the
rudeness exhibited by men towards women has historically had and continues
to have real and very destructive consequences for women's lives and
careers, when it occurs in a workplace setting, sometimes because it is
destructive to their self-esteem and competence, sometimes because it 
actually threatens their ability to do their jobs, or to keep their jobs.
As a result, some women may feel a need for a forum in which they can
express their concerns "safe" from male rudeness.  

I would hope that women have come far enough at this point that they
can just ignore such rudeness when it occurs; but I would also hope that
both men and women posting to this forum would keep in mind that one of
the things that makes it worth reading and posting to is the general
respectful tone.

I'm sorry to single you out here, Ed McNally, but I think that it is 
your tone, not your gender, that has gotten you into trouble.

Karen Allendoerfer

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