John Scalzi wrote an excellent post on women and geekdom and sexism, and this bit in particular seems deeply relevant to some of the fallout we’ve had in our own little circle of geekdom:
And of course those women are catching hell for it. Many male geeks (it seems to me) are unaware of their casual sexism and/or have uncritically bought in to how things have always been in the culture, because why wouldn’t they? It’s a nice set-up for them (and by them I should note I mean us, because, hi, I’m a male geek). I think people are inherently conservative about social structures that favor them, because a) duh, and b) most people assume their own life experience is similar to other people’s even when they’re told otherwise and are given specific examples. When they’re confronted with this ignorance, they feel defensive and feel like the real problem is the person who is complaining, because they themselves are not bad people, therefore the person making them feel bad must be.
When I talk about lack of patience with dudes not getting it and leading horses to water and just being done? That’s basically what I’m talking about, and I wish I’d thought of a way to put that into words myself back when I needed it. Oh well.