Sunday 20 February 2005

Dori is Concerned About My SxSW Panel

DORI IS CONCERNED that I have a man on my “where are the women in web design” panel upcoming at SxSW.

To have a token white male representin’ was important to me. Also, Eric happened to be the guy who ignited my feelings about this. Douglas had done it earlier, but when Eric posted about wanting to find a “CSS Luminary” for a book, and the only responses with women’s names at first were me, Holly, and Anne (who is a man) I began to take notice.

Tantek told me the other night to expect backlash – and that’s okay with me. So let’s talk about it.

Do you think it’s inappropriate to have a white male on a panel about women working on the Web? I’m curious, because to me it seems natural. The rest of the panel is made up of a diverse group of women.

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 14:16 | Comments (28)

Comments (28)

  1. I would have thought it was very important to have a man on the panel – the topic isn’t “Here are the women in web design”. To have a discussion about where the influential female figures are and how we can encourage more needs to have input from everyone in the community – and that includes the men!

  2. Is it inappropriate to have a guy on the panel?

    Hell no.

    If nothing else, consider cliques. They don’t dissolve when we leave high school, ya know. There are enough cliques centered on gender that a man willing to speak frankly about them would be a meaningful contributor to any panel such as the one under discussion…

  3. I don’t see there being any problem with there being a man on the panel. If your panel was all men I’d be a little concerned, but I don’t see the fuss over one…

  4. Not at all, I don’t see what the issue is.

  5. I think it’s more important to simply accept those who choose to be web designers rather than to presume that some lack of diversity might exist.

  6. Panels are meant for discussion and I think having a guy will help ensure a lievely discussion – some thoughts from women, some thoughts from men.

  7. I don’t see what the big woop is. The point of the whole thing is discussion – which requires opinions, not vaginas. No one called this thing “Women’s opinion of women in web design.”

    If a person is knowledgeable, open to honest discussion, and available, why not?

  8. I don’t think it’s an issue. As others have said, panels are meant for discussion and the topic should include a guy’s opinion.

    It’s a pity I won’t be there to see it, hopefully I’ll make it over next year.

  9. “To have a token white male representin’ was important to me.”

    Could you explain this in a little more depth? Why is it important to you?

  10. Having a singular male is one thing, why not have two? All life is a balancing act, avoid the “let’s pick on him” possibility. Provide some support for the “token”. You are a strong woman and should fear no man. Since you are already aligned with other women on the panel, there should be more fairness and a better discussion with a little more balance. My two cents.

  11. When is it ever bad to have a perspective from both genders on a topic? Would anyone have a problem with a woman on a panel discussing “Male Achievements on the Web?”

  12. Having a man on the panel to me says that we all have a stake in and a responsibility to solve the problem. Makes sense to me.

    On the other hand, if the panel is about the challenges of *BEING* a woman in web design, yeah, then it’s pretty silly to have a man on the panel. Perhaps that’s Dori’s issue?

  13. Every two years I attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. While the conference is primarily organized by women, for women, it’s not closed to men — in fact, we need men to attend and understand the concerns and issues of women in the field. I think it’s great that a man will be participating in this panel at SXSW — I only wish that there was more time and a larger forum for participation/dialog.

  14. i’m actually quite disgusted by the confrontational misandrist attitude displayed. now, maybe i’m splitting hairs, but: if the title of the panel had been “*being* a woman in css design”, i’d understand the questionable panel member choice…but that’s *not* what the panel is about. *shakes head*

  15. Which simply begs for clarification on what exactly this panel is going to be about. Everyone seems to have their own idea. Maybe if we knew what the specific issues were that this panel is going to try and address, we would then have a better understanding of whether or not Eric (or any guy) would be a good or bad fit.

  16. The primary issue is one of leadership – not that there aren’t women in the industry, just that the vast majority do not become prominent or l33t or guru stature. Why? This is a study, a discussion, and there are no real answers. Eric played a very specific role in the historical evolution of this particular panel. You can read that on Dori’s comments to her posts.

    Many feminists are of the mindset that leaving men out of this kind of thing because they think it will help balance things out – years of not being somewhere – we want to have “our space” too. But I don’t buy the idea that maintaining segregation will do anything but harm us in the long term.

    Anyway, the discussion will continue. And Eris, as for my “token white male” comment – it was an attempt at humor. Apparently, only an attempt.

  17. as for my “token white male” comment – it was an attempt at humor. Apparently, only an attempt.

    Nah, I smiled when I read it. Humor is just lost on some people, I guess. =)

  18. how many “african americans” will be on the panel?

  19. William,

    We have an Asian-American woman, a Jewish woman, an ‘older’ woman, and a white man.

  20. i’m sure you see where i’m going with it, right, molly? 😉

  21. Gee, Molly. I always thought of you as one of the big Web leaders/gurus. In fact, when I think back to my early days of coding, my first inspirations and learnings were from you, Heather Champ, Lynda Weinman…

  22. I just think Dori has her nose out of joint and nothing short of kicking Eric off the panel would satisfy her. I agree that Eric is a great choice and if I could I’d love to listen to the panel discussion. I don’t believe you have to be a woman to discuss women’s issues. Men provide the different perspective and the alternate point of view that an all female panel could miss. Good Luck!

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  24. “Many feminists are of the mindset that leaving men out of this kind of thing because they think it will help balance things out…”

    Feminists are as unhelpful as machoists. There is no benifit of responding to one extreme with an opposite extreme. In an environment like that there’s nearly always a zero chance of achieving an effective compromise because you’re talking to extremists.

    Why aren’t there many 1337 women? Because 1337 women are entering a traditional domain of the geeky guy. There simply weren’t as many women as men doing the 1337 thing, there still aren’t. In addition to the imbalance of the numbers, it will take time for the ‘new crowd’ to integrate with the ‘old crowd’.

  25. I think part of it is that less women are as stupid as to devote so much of their lives for something unimportant. But that’s just me.


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