If he had left it at a few introductory jokes, I would be writing a very different post. Instead the porn references continued with images of scantily-clad women gratuitously splashed across technical diagrams and intro slides. As he got into code snippets, he inserted interstitial images every few slides (removed from the slides below).
Yes, I saw the slide of the presentation CouchDB: Perform like a Pr0n Star. It's sparked a raging debate all over the internet that's taken a life of it's own. I'm getting some testy emails. So I think I should say something, lest some people interpret my silence as approval.
The common response to the lack of women at events like this is pretty libertarian in nature: women just don’t want to come out, and it’s not our place to change that. Obviously this conference, and others like it, aren’t going out of their way to actively discourage women from coming. The problem is of course that while a woman may have some interest in attending a conference like RubyFringe, she may have no interest in being one of a handful of women at a conference — creepy and annoying come into play here as well. RubyFringe was organized by a woman & went out of its way to be different, but still couldn’t manage to get women out. This is clearly a tricky problem. Not tackling it results in a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.
This is actually a bigger issue than it may sound like, because a lot of networking happens at events like this. I think it is much easier to find work within the industry if you go to events like these. If women feel shut out of these sorts of events, you are effectively shutting them out of working at cool little startups and the like.
Car mechanics have integrated the post-feminist world into their professional lives better than these computer programmers.
misogynistic_twits.each do |twit|
twit.reprimand "Please respect women, and, you know, humans in"
+ " general. It'll make me way more comfortable with the fact that"
+ " a large portion of my professional output is based on your code."
Besides, I thought there was a lot of overlap between the Ruby leadership and the Rails leadership.
For the record, of the programmers and developers I've worked with in the last 3 years, around 25 to 30% are women.
That said, I do sympathize with a presentation that tried so wretchedly to sex-up relational database models. He threw fuzzy dice and T-bird fins on an old frigidaire, thinking it would make you all limerent. Pity him inasmuch as he had that to work with.
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