[techtalk] career/family question

srl slandrum at turing.csc.smith.edu
Wed Feb 16 01:46:47 EST 2000

On Tue, 15 Feb 2000, Tania M. Morell wrote:

> > why does it matter who's male, female, or other? I'd have to say
> > that one of my personal goals as a feminist is to have gender
> > not matter at all... but some of you seem to feel differently.
> > can you explain why?
> > 
> > shane
> I've also got to say that this goal is going to be very difficult to
> reach.

certainly. so is building an OS from scratch, but people have decided that
that's a worthy goal and have done it. Hacking society is a much
larger-scale project, but should be equally possible if done by enough
motivated people. 

> Men and women may be equivalent, but we're not equal. Equal would imply
> that we're the same, and we're not. Not physically, not mentally and not
> emotionally. That's a fact and gender will always matter in one way or
> another.

But as long as we keep saying "men" and "women" as if they're a binary,
we're reinforcing the idea that "men" and "women" are not equivalent or
equal. We're saying "there are two and only-two". We're performing crude
round-offs---- anything between 0.000000000000 and 0.500000 is deemed
"male" or "man" and anything between 0.5000000 and 1.00000 is deemed
"female" or "woman". 

If we had floating-point (or complex?) gender, where we could talk about
someone's gender as 4+3i, or 0.721532, or just not quantify it at all----
that's what i'm going for. Man/woman, male/female, masculine/feminine, are
crude binaries, and i think there has to be a better way to describe

I want a world where female kids don't have to define themselves by being
"the right kind of girl" or "not the right kind of girl." I want a world
where it's okay for male kids to be soft and sensitive, and where it's
okay for female kids to kick ass and take names. The best way I can think
of to do this is to throw away the rules about "boys are ..." and "girls
are..." and say, "humans are."


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