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Comment: Re:Someone doesn't undestand the Bechtel test. (Score 1) 515

by CannonballHead (#49340443) Attached to: A Bechdel Test For Programmers?

I didn't mean to imply it was all learned... though I was actually refering more to what is considered "acceptable behavior" vs. what they are actually interested in. e.g., learning that flowers are okay to like as a girl but not as a boy, or that building stuff is a boy thing and not a girl thing.

That said, I agree that people are inherently and intrinsically different, not simply products of society/social pressures/whatever. But views of what is "normal" behavior for a girl or boy certainly is something that is significantly learned from surroundings/society, isn't it? And that can certainly serve to form or at least encourage development or non-development of interests. If I thought programming was something that "real boys" don't do, I might not have been so inclined to do it, even though I was inherently interested in it.

There are lots of different good responses to this ... based on what the relationship of the one responding is - parents, schools, peers, friends, society, government, etc. My response as a parent will be different than what I want society, friends, schools, or the government to do. e.g., I would like society to accept female engineers just as readily as male engineers, but not push my daughter to be an engineer or to somehow imply that to be an empowered woman, she HAS to do things that used to be considered "man stuff." However, as a parent, I want to encourage interests and let them explore and find out what they like, get them to try things they don't want to because of various reasons (fear, social pressures, advertising, whatever it is) but let them not continue if they don't like it, etc.

But pushing society towards equally accepting an engineer, a mother, a secretary, and an athlete as a "real woman" is important, I think. It seems similar to pushing society to accept a both blacks and whites as equally human. Yes, I can deal with that as a parent, but I think we should deal with it as a society, too.

Comment: Re:As always, it only goes one way... (Score 1) 515

by CannonballHead (#49331499) Attached to: A Bechdel Test For Programmers?

I responded to you in another thread. I am not stalking you. ;) I would venture to say that it seems like we actually seem to agree pretty much, but may have seen different experiences and are approaching it from two different perspectives. I apparently have seen the problem of ignoring the societal pressure issue more and you seem to have seen the ignoring genuine interest differences more.

I agree, the generalization that all male/female differences are due to societal pressures is stupid. I DO think generalizations can be made about males or females as a whole, and thus I would expect certain fields/careers to be more women than men. But I don't expect every given woman to conform, nor do I think it's weird if they don't.

So, just as assuming that all male/female differences are due to socieal pressures is stupid, I would argue that so is assuming that it's all because of different generalized interests. Or "genderalized" :)

Comment: Re:Someone doesn't undestand the Bechtel test. (Score 1) 515

by CannonballHead (#49331441) Attached to: A Bechdel Test For Programmers?

Yeah, I agree it's hard to tell if it's what they actually like or if it's "conforming." And conforming isn't always bad, I suppose. Seems societies cycle from wanting to conform to everything to wanting to be non-conforming to everything, ha. :)

That said, I know women (e.g., my wife) who don't like the "girly stereotype" for a variety of reasons (like the annoying useless small talk that neither of us are good at), but do like what is stereotyped as "girly" - flowers, pink, cute things, dresses, etc.

I guess... people are complex, we have lots of varying interests, and the "pink vs. blue"/"girl vs. boy" interests stuff is often just silly and such a vast over-generalization, and yet seems to be very prevalent. Cynicism coming out here: it does make a lot of money for retailers of "his and her" sorts of stuff, though.

I have to say that in my particular large, very distributed and varied corporate tech workplace, I've not really encounterd any sexism nor racism.

Comment: Re:Here's MY test (Score 1) 515

by CannonballHead (#49331401) Attached to: A Bechdel Test For Programmers?

Have you considered that there's also societal pressures against men who are nerdy programmers ? Or against men wanting to become fashion designers ? Still, if you have a passion, you're not going to let society stop you.

Yes. In limited ways, I experienced some of it. But that said, I think there's more pressure on women to conform than men. And regardless of who has more or less pressures, the point is that it's worth it to try to point out that those pressures should at the very least be made known, if not corrected. For guys as well as girls, yes... though, like I said, I observe it to be a more significant problem for women than men.

I have a son and a daughter, and we had boxes of legos, cars, dolls, and various other toys all in the living room where both could play with anything they wanted. And from the beginning it was very clear that they had their own interests. Even if they were both playing with the legos, my son was always building cars and bridges with them. My daughter was building houses and people.

I jumped to conclusions about you, my apologies for that. And this is what we want to do as well.

Comment: Re:No bringing moose and squirrel! (Score 1) 103

by CannonballHead (#49330259) Attached to: Finland To Fly "Open Skies" Surveillance Flight Over Russia

Yeah, I think this is the case with some of the other cartoons that I watched as a kid - which would have been in the 90s :) - like Bugs Bunny. Both old ones and the newer ones from the 80s/90s.

I do like the humor of Rocky and Bullwinkle though... I think a lot of it would have made no sense to me as a kid, probably just the more slapstick type elements would have been funny at that time. Maybe a couple of the jokes... but not a lot of the stereotyping and cold-war era humor and wordplay and all that.

Comment: Re:As always, it only goes one way... (Score 1) 515

by CannonballHead (#49330169) Attached to: A Bechdel Test For Programmers?

The news yesterday had a report on schools that train people to become small-animal veterinarians here in Switzerland. They happened to mention that 80% of the students are women. This is apparently fine; there is no outcry to find more male veterinary students.

So for those 20% that are men - is it difficult for them to succeed as vets? Is it viewed as somewhat non-masculine behavior? Is it actually viewed as uncommon as in "so what do you do? A what? A vet? Wow, are there many men that are vets?"

stop pushing people in directions they don't want to go, and just let people choose whatever career they want.

I totally agree with that... though I think we also need to consciously try to encourage people to think this way, as I don't think it comes naturally. People naturally think certain careers are manly and certain careers are womanly, and it seems hard for people to change that thinking.

Comment: Re:Someone doesn't undestand the Bechtel test. (Score 1) 515

by CannonballHead (#49330113) Attached to: A Bechdel Test For Programmers?

I have yet to meet a woman who doesn't love to talk about relationships with other women.

I have met many. I've also met women who would prefer to talk about physics rather than celebrities. And many men that don't talk about other women as though it was their favorite hobby.

I agree, insulting what they MIGHT find to be important to them is bad (you left out "might" so I FTFY .. ;) ). And making sure that they are accepted even if they are interested in "tomboy" things is important, too... in other words, we shouldn't call them tomboys for liking things that are more commonly liked by men.

But, we do. Having a daughter, now - even as young as she is, under a year old - I'm very aware of how different things get interpreted based on whether a boy or girl does it. If our daughter "talks" (baby talk) a lot, it's because she's a girl. If a boy "talks" a lot, it's strage. If a "girl" likes building things or running around outside when they're older, they are a "tomboy." If a boy likes staying inside reading and cooking, well that's a bit odd - why isn't he outside pretending to beat up bandits? etc...

And at such a young, impressionable age ... you think perhaps what they learn is the "accepted behavior" during their first 5 years of life might carry through for quite a while, and be hard to fix? On both sides, too; not just women deciding they want to go into physics, but men deciding that they are capable. And that it shouldn't be weird.

Comment: Re:Here's MY test (Score 1) 515

by CannonballHead (#49330025) Attached to: A Bechdel Test For Programmers?

Have you considered that there may be societal pressures about what a woman is supposed to be, and a nerdy programmer doesn't fit that?

It's the same pressure that makes guys think that liking "pink" is bad, or liking flowers is girly, or liking babies is something for women, and that fighting/violence is masculine.

To assume that women have no interest in something and thus that interest MUST be inherent and not because of various societal pressure about what it means to be a "woman" seems a bit short-sighted. Are there similar pressures for men? Sure. But overall, it seems men have much greater freedom - and, historically, have had more or less the same freedoms whereas women have had even fewer - about their career and interest choices.

It's very interesting to me that "interior design" and "fashion" were mentioned earlier in this thread. You may as well have thrown in "cooking" and "secretary-ing" (is there a verb form of that? ha) and covered almost all of the "typical woman" jobs. Strange that there are so few and they are so un-technical.

I have a daughter now, and am more aware of how society ... treats women, so to speak ... from a young age. When's the last time you gave a lego set to a girl? or gave them a book about planes or tractors or cars? It's *hard* to, because all of the advertising for "girl's" stuff is pink, fluffy, princess, dolls, flowers, and the like. Try finding an ad - or an example of a gift - for somehing more technical than Barbie that is "meant" for a girl. Or try giving a young girl a lego set for her birthday and see what the other adults think.

It seems this is changing somewhat again, and for good reason. We will be doing our best to give our daughter what she appears to be interested in by herself, and not try to make her conform to what society thinks she SHOULD be interested in - talking on the phone, makeup, boys, interior decorating, and baking. She'll have access and support if she wants to do math, science, computers, software, programming, animals, medicine, vet medicine, physics, geology, politics, cooking... or, yes, if she decides that what she wants most in life is to be a wife and mother. And if she doesn't like pink - that's fine, too. And we won't call her a "tomboy" and won't let others call her a "tomboy" in our presence if she just happens to like things that "traditionally" are boy things - like, uh, running around outside... because, clearly, that's only for boys.

(for the record, I hold other beliefs that would make "feminists" quite annoyed. I am no SJW; I just happen to think that women have long been thought of as inferior in intellect, among other things, and pressured to be what men want them to be - pretty things to look at.)

Comment: Re:Not roughly, exactly (Score 2) 244

by CannonballHead (#48982763) Attached to: Over the past 10 years, my TV-watching has..

Online playing = greater social skills, that I don't know about.

But there was a pretty convincing TED talk recently about FPS games and some visual perception/processing ability improvements. Significant ones, actually. Not anecdotal, and not simply survey-type statistics, but repeatable lab experiments with measurable effects that lasted beyond the game playing. It was done by a Swiss scientist, but I forget her name and don't recall the name of the TED talk.

She was not, by the way, saying that (1) you should play games all day, nor that (2) it's a better way than other ways (say, for example, sports, which I'm sure must help visual perception as well), etc.

But it wasn't useuless outside of holding a controller, it wasn't only muscle memory, etc.

This coming, by th eway, from someone who pretty mucn never plays FPSes. I much prefer strategy or RPGs (it's all about the story!). And fun, social-ish games to play with other people that are just fun, like the Lego series.

Comment: Re:HPV (Score 1) 740

Yes. Ugly policy decisions is exactly what I was going for, in fact. It's not as simple as "ugh, stupid anti-vaxxers, we need to mandate vaccines" as some seem to think it is. There are some of us who are cool with vaccines ... the ones that make sense. And leery about spending the money (government) and risk (yes, the rather small but real, especially with new-ish and thus much less understood vaccines, it seems) for the ones that don't.

And of course, there's the question of the efficacy of the different types (e.g., acellular pertussis) and the different schedules and whether it's good to throw them into kids all at once or spread them out and .... etc. Doctors don't seem to agree completely (not with vaccination in general, but when, how many, which ones, etc.), countries don't agree, studies don't agree, yet we expect the government to mandate something... that seems iffy to me.

Whoever chooses wields an awful lot of power. Including monetarily. I'm sure the vaccine makers would have input on which ones and how often. :) Good thing we don't let corporations influence political decisions.

Comment: Re:Choice but with consequences (Score 1) 740

So at what point does the liability stop? If I allow my kids to play on sleds or go skiing and they get hurt or killed or maimed ... should I go to jail for child endangerment for allowing them to be in such danger?

I am NOT arguing that all vaccines are junk and we should all not vaccinate. I AM arguing that we need to think through the ramifications of this pretty seriously. It's not exactly a slippery *slope* argument as much as .... an ice rink argument. I am not saying that "if we mandate vaccines, we're going to mandate carrots and spinach next" as though one is worse than the other... I'm saying that it doesn't make sense to mandate vaccines in because of child endangerment if we don't also start curbing all these other dangerous behaviors that kid's do. Like playing in the dirt, riding horses, riding bikes, taking walks where there may be drunk drivers without putting them in helmets ... or whatever.

Furthermore, WHAT vaccines? And how often? I got one MMR vaccine I believe, but it's since been raised to two. Ought I to be mandated to get another one? What about the flu vaccine? What about STDs which I highly doubt my 8 month old will be contracting anytime soon?

Things like MMR and Polio make sense (though I am still unsure about mandating), but I don't know about some of the others... so I am leery about having random people in D.C. choosing these things for me based on who knows what.

I'm trying to be good and avoid the vaccine manufacturer profit arguments.

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