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Christina Warren
Since there now appears to be some sort of “backlash” against the deserved backlash of RMS, with plenty of people stepping in to defend Stallman, I think it’s important for me to share my own personal experience. It was brief and it is largely inconsequential, but still.
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Christina Warren Sep 18
Replying to @film_girl
I’ve told this story to people before and even mentioned it in a reply to a thread two weeks ago (before the current stuff blew up), but its something I largely haven’t discussed publicly, both b/c it was/is such a common micro-aggression that I internally dismissed it and
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Christina Warren Sep 18
Replying to @film_girl
Because his fans/defenders are often insane trolls that I just don’t want to deal with. OK, so when I was 19 or 20 I saw Stallman speak at Georgia Tech. It was his standard GNU stump speech. I’ve always fucked with open source but I have never been on the “free software” side.
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Christina Warren Sep 18
Replying to @film_girl
I understand the arguments but I have fundamental disagreements. Like, I believe that even tho OSS is often a better dev model, real freedom means the freedom to choose to make your shit proprietary. And that was probably even more true 15/16 years ago. But I still saw him talk
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Christina Warren Sep 18
Replying to @film_girl
B/c even if I disagree with his “I refuse to use a web browser b/c freedom” stance, he still gave us GCC. So he gives the same talk he always gives, slightly tailored to whatever shit was happening circa 2002 or 2003. I was one of the few women who attended the talk.
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Christina Warren Sep 18
Replying to @film_girl
This wasn’t a surprise or uncommon (especially for that time), but it’s important. I already felt “othered” even being there. I walk already self-conscious about my own abilities and the fact that I primarily used Windows and Mac OS X rather than Linux
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Christina Warren Sep 18
Replying to @film_girl
(I did use Linux on my modded Xbox and modded TiVo tho. But still!) After the talk, the person I went with (a guy my age) wanted to talk to him, so we went up after and waited in line to chat or whatever. Almost immediately, RMS started staring at me. And not in a nice way
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Christina Warren Sep 18
Replying to @film_girl
It was leering. It was uncomfortable. When we talked to him, he didn’t look at my friend or at me in the eye, he literally stared at my chest the entire time. I was wearing a Lacoste fitted polo shirt (this was very 2003) and it was light blue. I remember that b/c after, I kept
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Christina Warren Sep 18
Replying to @film_girl
Trying to figure out if I had worn something inappropriate or whatever. Like, it was a good shirt but wholly innocuous. I wore an identical shirt in royal blue or black to work. Trust me, I had shirts that showed off my boobs way more.
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Christina Warren Sep 18
Replying to @film_girl
The interaction was disappointing to say the least, and did nothing to make me feel a stronger affinity towards the FSF. It was a micro-aggression and not the only one like that that has ever happened, or even the worst, but it sticks with me b/c it just reinforced how out of
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Christina Warren Sep 18
Replying to @film_girl
Place I felt in that space. My “friend” didn’t really help. His response was something like “you’re probably the only pretty girl he’s ever seen at one of these things” — which aside from being untrue, just further made me feel unwelcome in many programming spaces. In high schoo
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Christina Warren Sep 18
Replying to @film_girl
And college, my interest in tech/programming and my physical appearance were somehow seen as incongruous. And although I embraced my dual interest in both makeup and APIs, I spent much of my late-teens/early adulthood years being both dismissed out of hand for how I looked
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Christina Warren Sep 18
Replying to @film_girl
And then fetishized/idealized once it was discovered that yes, I am a total nerd. But incidents like that, from people in positions of power and influence, made me question myself and my own worth.
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Christina Warren Sep 18
Replying to @film_girl
(She can’t be smart. She can’t know what she is doing. Which as someone who didn’t enter puberty until I was almost 16 and wasn’t deemed “fuckable” until I was 16/17, the swap from being utterly ignored/pegged “the smart girl” to “the ‘hot’ girl” was a real mindfuck.)
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Christina Warren Sep 18
Replying to @film_girl
I didn’t study computer science in college because it was too hard or because I didn’t have the interest — I didn’t do it b/c I didn’t want to be around some of the people in my classes. I didn’t want to deal with the professors. More importantly, I didn’t want to find myself
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Christina Warren Sep 18
Replying to @film_girl
In a job, working alongside the types of people that would only ogle or dismiss me (or both). Fortunately, I was wrong about tech and about so many of the people in it. And had I stuck it out, I think I would have been fine. But the point is, I didn’t want to stick it out.
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Christina Warren Sep 18
Replying to @film_girl
I didn’t want to have to go to events where MacArthur fellows refuse to make eye contact or to even really engage in conversation (I was basically ignored, even when I tried to contribute to the discussion happening), but state so blatantly at my chest that it became something
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Christina Warren Sep 18
Replying to @film_girl
That my “friends” would joke about and that I too, would have to laugh along with, lest I think too much about why it bothered me and now it made me feel like an outsider.
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Christina Warren Sep 18
Replying to @film_girl
All of this should be a blog — and I think it will be one I write — but even putting aside the heinous and fireable things RMS said about justifying rape, RMS has a pattern of leering and objectifying women that was reported and discussed for years. And no one cared.
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Christina Warren Sep 18
Replying to @film_girl
And I can’t help but be really bothered that it took embarrassing MIT and the FSF (and putting their funding at risk), for anyone to actually care. So I repeat what I said when the news of his ouster was first announced. Bye bitch. Good riddance.
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