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Another example of tech sexism
By Dave Winer on Monday, December 12, 2011 at 1:44 PM.

Should women be encouraged to be entrepreneurs? The author of this TechCrunch op-ed says that would be as silly as encouraging men to be stay-at-home moms. That being an entrepreneur tends to be a male thing. Family-making is a woman's thing. I'm simplifying. If you want all the nuance, read the piece. #

Is this sexism? Absolutely. I know this because I did a simple transformation to make it personal, so I could see the problem. #

The way to tell if something is sexist (or racist or ageist or whatever ist) is to change the gender, race or age, and see if it still works. #

See the first piece in this thread, for background. #

Suppose you said that being an entrepreneur is something that tends to be a young person's thing. Middle-aged people like me shouldn't try to do it. We have our own things to do, like giving advice to entrepreneurs. Or sitting on the sidelines being ignored. You know, like Grandpa in the Simpsons. (One of my favorite Simpsons characters.) #

Now I see the problem. #

You could argue that sheez it's true. Most of the people who start companies are young. Why are you being so picky. Please go and die. Now. And of course the same argument works for women. Most of the startups are run by men. There must be a reason. And instead of dying, they are told to have babies. Oy. #

A picture named lost.jpgThe problem is this -- it unfairly limits people's ability to contribute. What if lightning struck and the greatest entrepreneur who ever lived happened to be born in a female body. What a shame if we discouraged that person from exploring her potential. Likewise, what if a certain kind of product, one that we need, can only be created by someone with deep experience and the wisdom that comes from many years of living? It's conceivable. #

One of my favorite directors is Martin Scorsese. He wasn't one of my favorites until he created what I consider to be a nearly perfect movie, The Departed. I liked all his earlier movies, but I wasn't riveted by them. The Departed held my rapt attention for its full duration. It's one of those movies I can watch over and over, and never seem to get tired of. It's a masterpiece. Suppose there is a tech product out there like that, being created by someone who is in his or her forties or fifties. Why should we make it any harder than it already is to create such a work? Maybe we'll deprive ourselves of its utility, its inspiration, the prior art. The influence.  #

Scorsese was 64 when he did The Departed. #

I could make exactly the same argument for women directors. Most directors are men. But don't confuse that with a rigid rule that all directors must be men. There could be a lot of reasons. And thank goodness we didn't tell Sofia Coppola to put on an apron and get busy making kids. Hey maybe she is doing that too. But who would have wanted to have missed Lost In Translation#

Bottom-line: We all have something to contribute. It's human to want to contribute. It also is, unfortunately, human to try to stop others from contributing. I don't want other people to get in my way, so I try not to get in their way, if at all possible. #

PS: If you get a chance, see Scorsese's biography of George Harrison, ten years after his passing. It'll give you a lot more depth of understanding of the Beatles and popular music.  #

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