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Re: a 3D flower made with Perl

by pemungkah (Priest)
on Jan 10, 2012 at 20:38 UTC ( #947240=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to a 3D flower made with Perl, for anonymous girl

Folks, I'm surprised and disappointed that DrHyde's comment is getting downvoted. He is correct; the throwaway bit about "some girl" feels quite dismissive and exclusionary. It may not have been meant to be, but that's the way it sounds, because "some girl, I assume" comes across to me as "I can't be bothered to remember, but since all girls like flowers, it must have been a girl; they're all the same anyway" - and I'm not even female.

"But that's not what I meant!" - possibly not, but think of it this way: if some other quality of the questioner was picked out as a description, would the sentence seem insensitive - as in, an unthinking assumption was made, and this is presented as perfectly reasonable to do? "Someone asked me about generating drum beats with a program, so they must have been black", "someone asked me about generating a rainbow, so it must have been a gay guy", "somebody asked me for a hamburger recipe, so she was an American" (two for the price of one), "someone asked me where they could find a deli, so they must be Jewish"? Any of those could be me, and none of those assumptions would be true.

All of those say, "in my mind, a person can be reduced to one thing about them, and that's fine, because nothing else is really significant about them anyway, pigeonholes are OK". In addition, the poster not remembering and falling back by default on "some girl" also says, "My standard assumed ideas about this kind of person always apply in every case, and I don't need to bother to learn anything about them past that point."

"Not thinking about this stuff is one of the reasons the majority of computer programmers are male. Even "I can't remember now, but I think a female friend asked me about this" would have been better than "some girl, I assume".

One of my female co-workers might have asked you about algorithmically-generated chainmail linking patterns. I personally happen to love flowers, especially orchids, myself. It is a lovely graphic, and in its way quite sweet, but "some girl" really spoils it for me.

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Re^2: a 3D flower made with Perl
by zentara (Archbishop) on Jan 11, 2012 at 11:12 UTC
    but "some girl" really spoils it for me.

    Wow, I'm sorry some people are so sensitized to the phrase "some girl". I am 60 years old, and was raised in an age where they distinquished between boys and girls. We were even sent to separate schools. So yes, I see a big difference between man and woman, they still legally are using separate bathrooms. Do you really want men in your public bathrooms ladies?

    Most of us old guys were trained to believe that woman were to be put on pedastels, as they have the tough jobs of having and raising the children. But in the modern world, woman want to have power, not be relegated to being just breeders.

    Maybe the problem isn't with the "girl" part of the phrase "some girl"? Maybe its the use of the word "some"? Maybe people are taking the meaning of "some" to be a diminuative term, rather than my intended context of being anonymous.

    So I will change the title, to reflect it is an anonymous flower, from some anonymous guy, to some anonymous girl.

    I'm not really a human, but I play one on earth.
    Old Perl Programmer Haiku ................... flash japh
      Maybe it's because I have a number of women, and women of color as well, in tech fields who are close friends, and who have fought hard to not just be "some girl", or "the Indian one", or "the black girl": both close to my age (55) and a lot younger, and I know from them telling me so that casual use of stuff like "some girl" does hurt and/or anger them, whether they make a point of it or not.

      As far as where I'm coming from, I grew up in West Virginia, which was not exactly a wellspring of egalitarian thought at the time, and where my parents were casually prejudiced about all kinds of things. I try very hard not to be. It's a matter of accepting you have patterns of thought, and actively working to be sure that you didn't just talk from there without considering whether you've said something you didn't actually want to say to a casual stranger or a friend.

      And I'm sorry to have hijacked the thread so badly, but I was really shocked to see that DrHyde had gotten downvotes for pointing out that "some girl" wasn't a good way to put it. Perhaps his not saying why he didn't like it would have been more useful - but downvoting says "this was an incorrect and inappropriate thing to say", which definitely is not the case.

      "Some girl" says "please apply whatever set of default assumptions you have about women to this person". "Someone" says "just a person, and what race, color, or religion they happen to be is completely irrelevant". If it was a dear female friend, then to me it feels appropriate to say that specifically. Even "my lovely girlfriend" wouldn't have caught my attention, let alone bothered me. But "some girl" really grates on my nerves, sort of like "they're all interchangeable anyway" - which I am totally sure you did not mean...but it isn't about what you mean, but what you say.

      Let me make it clear that I am not trying to bust your chops - I am trying to communicate something I've learned about how this can come across to someone who you actually like and had no intention of offending or saddening. I would like the Perl community to be one that women and minorities feel comfortable in, and showing that you actually think about that helps a lot.

        Point well taken. I will be more careful for sure, in the future, regarding my choice of words. I'm sorry if I caused you and others any mental turmoil.

        I'm not really a human, but I play one on earth.
        Old Perl Programmer Haiku ................... flash japh
        After your comment i was able to read it both ways. Though, i find DrHyde's comment unhelpful, and would likely downvote it myself.

        "since all girls like flowers, it must have been a girl".

        By the words "i assume" he did not mean "all girls" or "must have", and instead made an assumption based on the mental image of femininity, which he explained. This falls very much in line with the Jungian psychology (females associate with the Anima, males with the Animus). In which case, there is nothing wrong with the prejudging, as there is no action taken upon it.

        I do see a different problem, however. If the requester was indeed male, who is also politically-incorrectly prejudiced, he might take it as an insult to be assumed to be female. Though, i'm not sure if i truly care at that point. :)

Re^2: a 3D flower made with Perl
by hda (Hermit) on Jan 11, 2012 at 11:05 UTC
    As a strong defender of women's right and equality in society I can't see any offence in Zentara's post. Please, let's be reasonable and not exaggerate.

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