Tim Berry: A Startling Reminder of Gender Bias

Tim Berry: A Startling Reminder of Gender Bias.

So it’s true – what I’ve suspected all along.

I thought so, I wonder if that is the case when I sign m rather than my name, which is toooo long to type sometimes.  I suppose if assumptions are made…

I was reading an article written by someone with a first name whose gender wasn’t obvious to me, or others either, for the comments that were left indicated that although most thought the author was a he, there was at least one reference to she.  Maybe that was a mistake, maybe it was a mark of derogation, for this person’s comments, like many that were left, were not kind ones for the author.

It’s all about getting in the door.  Once you get in, if you’re good, life is beautiful; and even if you’re not that great, but merely competent, you will survive.

But even if you’re the best, if you don’t get in the door, no one will know.  So – you just keep banging until someone looks up and pays attention.  Or else you give up and find something else to do.  If you don’t, you’ll break your hand on the door.

Are opportunities more equal in the the cybersphere where we can hide our gender?  And this would go both ways, for men could benefit from feminine names (think Leslie) in forums typically inhabited by women.

This was true in late nineteenth century, in the early days of magazines like Ladies Home Journal and Good Housekeeping.  Advice columns written by men were regularly passed off as being women’s advice.

Do you think it makes a difference?

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2 responses to “Tim Berry: A Startling Reminder of Gender Bias

  1. Hi M,

    Thanks for the invitation to visit and comment on your blog.

    If you ever feel that you need the perspective of a white male who spent time living a weird, skewed minority experience (while living 5 years in China) or a less weird, minority experience in the context of an education where women’s studies were a constant sub-text (during my undergrad in Public Relations at Mount Saint Vincent University) feel free to count on me.

    The idea that on the internet “nobody knows you are a dog” (a reference to that cartoon about anonymity on the internet) is fast becoming obsolete IMHO.

    As broadband connectivity inexorably expands, increasingly it will become more difficult for anyone to conceal their identity. Even pseudonyms can be quickly researched so that readers may determine for themselves, regardless of the ability to connect content with real people, the credibility, time and attention that they will grant the author. I like to think that even if @memeticbrand did not connect to me, at this point some who have connected through this identity would follow it because of what is in it for them.

    The real opportunity that exists is not driven in my opinion, by the ability to be gender neutral in conversation. Diversity is a great resource in a time where everything becomes a commodity almost immediately upon release.

    We are living through a period where all of our institutions are being architected to account for the new scale that broadband empowered individuals have. Some will collapse, other will be strengthen … all are going through rapid change.

    This is a great opportunity to effect change across a wide variety of agendas. The complex problems that we face are not new and the intellectual capital to deal with them is de facto state of the art. What is new is our capacity to deal with these complex problems with optimum solutions rather then compromises. That is being driven by bandwidth, cheap computing & storage and search (i.e. emerging ubiquitous access to the best information).

    Get everyone engaged. Spread an understanding that we have entered a period where active participation is returning to the order of citizenship. Incorporate your agenda into the transition.

    Visit http://www.changecamp.ca

    Cheers,
    Michael

    • Hello Michael, Thanks for your thoughtful comment. Diversity of opinion and perspective is highly valued and much respected. Mount Saint Vincent, if I remember correctly, hosted one of the major Canadian feminist periodicals – Atlantis, certainly when I was in the program here at Mac. That’s really good to hear, the sub-text part, for those of us who feel that no one is paying attention. Your point about anonymity is well taken – the inability to hide has long kept me silent – scaredy cat that I can be. There is no anonymity on the web, not to a sophisticated searcher. It’s more about how we “perform ourselves”, with performance taking many forms – from visual to text to audio and to smell soon, I bet. I clicked on the ChangeCamp link and checked out that site. That’s so cool. I’m a big believer that the internet will enable democratic participation on a scale unyet seen since the first vote was cast. It certainly aids in creating conversations and opportunities for people who want to conenct, to conenct. I emailed the info email for info on Hamilton but mail came back undeliverable. If you’ve got any pull with the site, maybe you know why, otherwise I’ll just follow-up with someone there. Thanks again for you comments. Came back soon. m.

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