Re: Numbers (was:Re: Osborne response - Cyberfeminism)

Subject: Re: Numbers (was:Re: Osborne response - Cyberfeminism)
From: Katharine Norman (
Date: Sun Jan 09 2005 - 21:30:04 EST

Hi Nick,

On Jan 9, 2005, at 4:24 PM, wrote:
> All this to say that I really doubt that high-school boys would ever
> organize
> to exclude any girls from taking part in a field dear to them. Without
> girls,
> it would be a "territory" wasted...

Rap aside... yes, I agree on both counts ....I think what I was
pursuing (not necessarily holding up as proven for all high-school
humanity) is the notion that a behaviour/mindset might be unconsciously
acquired, by some

Personally I feel we all risk adopting language and behavior that
inadvertently excludes at times - policing ourselves round-the-clock
mindlessly can result in ridiculous over-sensitivity from both genders
(in the case of gender issues) but on the other hand, drawing attention
to it for once can make you think. For instance, someone in passing
just wrote to me that "One man's evening of laptop is another man's
evening of torture"; I knew exactly what he meant, and I knew for sure
there was no overt exclusion intended - but it grated a little.

For a nice take on this kind of unconscious linguistic
territory-mapping, have a listen to Pamela Z's "Geekspeak", it's very
funny and not specifically about gender. (well, I think it's

> ps. is there a word that gender-neutralizes brotherhood and
> sisterhood? like
> um.. siblinghood?
> ain't language annoying.

> otherwise. I, for one, am displeased at the fact that there is only
> one girl in
> my E/A class this semester, and the semester before that, but if it
> wasn't for
> her, I could have felt much worse.

I'm interested to know, have you any ideas on why there was only one
female student in your class this year? I am continually glad that
there are a great many people like you out there, many of whom I've had
the privilege to teach or who have taught me by example. I'm just
trying to probe an issue which I think is wider....

all best


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