Geek Feminism Wiki

In February 2008, Australian Linux community member Russell Coker posted an article on his blog entitled An Obstacle for Women in the IT Industry. It tells the story of a Lenovo salesman who finds that women won't talk to him because they assume he is attempting to chat them up:

"One interesting thing he noted is the reaction of women who seemed to think he was trying to chat them up. Their reaction was so negative that by the end of the day he was only promoting Thinkpads to men. To make this clear, gifts of free hardware and advice on technical issues related to computers were provided only to men because the reaction of women was bad enough that it wasn’t worth the effort!"

Russell also reported that he did not speak to unknown women at conferences because he found any brush-off assuming that he was sexually interested in them offensive:

"When I am at a conference I am unlikely to start a conversation with a woman who I don’t know because it really offends me when I receive the “I’ve got a boyfriend” type response. I expect that others have had similar experiences and react in a similar way... As the majority of experts in the IT industry are male it seems that women will miss opportunities to learn because of this."

Silencing tactics[]

  • ITWire writer Sam Varghese posted an article about the backlash from the SmellyWerewolf Incident that included a section where he dismissed Coker's blog post as "inoffensive" and attacked the credibility of Pia Waugh for her absence from the SmellyWerewolf Incident.


Don’t be so egotistical to think “but I wasn’t!” because how would she/he know and what experiences have led them to be concerned. Isn’t this a great reason to say “wow it is sad that some women in our community feel uncomfortable about this, what can I/our community do about it?”, rather than saying “I’ve got it! Women just need to stop assuming the worst!”.