Re: Re; Interview Questions

Subject: Re: Re; Interview Questions
From: Sheila Marshall <sheila -at- STK -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 13 May 1998 14:20:28 -0500

I've been thinking about this whole issue since I posted my response and,
being a TW, have a few additional comments.

First, I agree that the original story was about being denied employment
because of an assinine assumption (or stereotype, if you will) - I just
don't think the assumption was due to the applicant's sex.

Second, I've seen discrimination at work and been caught in it. It is a
nasty and frustrating experience. In fact, I was appalled by the story of
the TW who got flowers on secretary's day and immediately fired off a
response. I don't appreciate it and I don't tolerate sexism at work.

Elena, your work experience, while impressive, has little to do with the
gist of my message -- which was to caution against crying wolf lest the cry
be ignored during a true crisis.Step on down to the issue, off the podium...

It's true that some men resent really strong, successful women just as it's
true that some women feel constantly threatened by men in the work place.
Absolutely too bad for both types (stereo?)! They don't know the talent
they're missing. I just don't think that bringing this whole
woe-because-I-am-a-woman-in-the-work place issue into topics that aren't
specifically about women as the downtrodden sex isn't the way to make your
point. In fact, it obscures your point and causes people like me to gasp
for breath and I'm pretty sure numerous men to mutter about women and
kitchens. Let's not get them muttering. Muttering allows people to
continuously uphold a position they may not even agree with anymore.
Muttering is why lynch mobs are formed. And then women are lynched for an
issue that's really about assinine interviewers. And men are lynched for
complaining about women always going on and on about women's rights. And
the hits just keep on rolling...

I'm a woman. And a TW. Sometimes that's a bad thing, sometimes it's a good
thing, and sometimes my femaleness is not the issue. At work, I tend to
like it when I'm just the TW.

Sorry, stepping down off the soapbox now. Eric, sorry if this is now
considered off-topic.

BTW, I get this digest, so any flame-mail should be copied to my e-mail.

my big $1 contribution


>Read the original quote again. It's below.
>> <BeginSnip>
>> Your Director of Engineering was making the same kinds of assumptions
>> that provided an environment of prejudice against women in the
>> workplace, especially the technical workplace, for years. Assuming
>> that, because she liked dancing, she'd obviously spend too much time
>> partying is like assuming that, because a woman has a uterus, she's
>> going to take too much time off to have babies, or that she'll leave the
>> company to stay home with the children. It's a small step from that
>> assumption to racist assumptions too. The fact that ONE woman partied
>> hard is not an indication that ALL women who like dancing will come into
>> work late.
>> <EndSnip>
>I could just as easily have used as a substitute the parallel assumption
>that if a man drives a Porsche he's going to be a hothead who thinks
>with The Other Brain. The point was about making assumptions based on
>stereotypes and using those assumptions as a basis for hire/no hire
>decisions. The fact that this one woman actually did come in late in
>another job is irrelevant.
>You're right that the original "go dancing" remark wasn't sexist. It
>WAS, however, a stereotype, just as my response illustrated another
>> seems to me that men will remember this
>> type of trigger happy response much longer than they will asking a woman
>> TW to copy materials or type up memos. Which one is more of a problem?
>You're right - some men will remember this remark much longer than
>they'll remember the original topic. Because some men on this board
>really, really resent strong, successful women. Too bad for them. Be
>aware, however, that I based my remarks here on more than 30 years'
>experience in this field, that I've published more than 30 titles (look
>me up in Books in Print - even though most are now out of print because
>of the halflife of software books), that I own a business that hires and
>fires tech writers/programmers/other communication types (no, we're not
>an agency) and we deal on a project basis with many well-known companies
>in Silicon Valley. I've seen discrimination up close and personal far
>too many times to be as tolerant as you suggest.
>Elna Tymes
>Los Trancos Systems

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