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Welcome Christine! And the "woman" issue. WAS: lunatic survey

From:Sally Caves <scaves@...>
Date:Monday, February 28, 2005, 20:35
 I apologize for the shortness of some of my
> responses, and for skipping a few. > As a constant lurker, I'll take this moment to say hello to the list. > Hello!
Hello, Christina! Traltan! Welcome to the list. A molecular biology major, huh? I hope you'll continue to delurk, as you've done below. I wrote:
>> Any >> attempt at answering it threatens to fall into essentialism, if not the >> usual boring explanations: women aren't trained in early years to
>> these professions, etc. Blah. How is it we're not reaching out to
>> or women to the list?
Christina wrote:
> Perhaps it is arguable that women were not trained in the early > years to explain the dearth of them in computer programming (etc), but I > see less reason to extend that to belonging to a conlang list, except > for postulating that because the lack of early training, there are less > women on the internet (especially older ones, and the young ones that > are on don't know what Listserv is).
I guess what I'm interested in is knowing why conlanging in particular should draw fewer women than men; I realize that there are probably a lot more women out there who conlang... I know of some teenagers here in my hometown who do it, but they are sisters, their work is very private, and while I tried to introduce them to the list I don't know if they ever looked into it. Women can be very visible on lists, especially women artists and professors. And of course on the "medieval feminism listserv" that I frequent, women are in the majority. What is there about conlanging that appeals mainly to men, though? That's the question. As I said, it's a big unanswerable. I've attempted answers: Once I opined, and I may have been wrong, that women on average are trained in American (and perhaps European) society to be practical minded, and that there is something inherently "uncool" in exposing excessive enthusiasm, or involving themselves in pursuits that don't immediately yield some kind of profitable endeavor--such as competing to get into college, graduate school, or at the very least, being "taken seriously as a professional." These are potent concerns for women these days. And this essentially "unprofitable" aspect of conlanging, of course, furnished a number of questions on my survey--its privacy, its seeming inutility, its difficulty as an art form to attract "consumers," or to be sold--which seems to be a vital part of any visible craft: poetry, music, painting, model-building; knitting: these activities produce things that can be viewed, put in books, put on your wall, played on CDs, bought in craft shops. Consumers of conlangs can't do that unless they learn it. The only paying outlet seems to be for film or television, an enviable feat that some conlangers have accomplished! If they appear in novels, it's the novel, usually, not the conlang, that sells. I also think women have been trained, and are still trained, to keep their thoughts to themselves. I was always violating my mother's persistent teachings in this area: she was trying to train me to be a PTA mother and a socialite, and I rebelled violently. I REFUSED to learn bridge. Mother, bless her heart, had a southern belle upbringing that she wanted to impart to all of us daughters, and we kept resisting. One of the sermons was to remain "mysterious." "Don't let anybody know what you're thinking." "Don't wear your heart on your sleeve." "Don't talk too much." I still remember all of them. I always broke the rules. Now I know that things have changed considerably since the sixties, but I wonder if some of these assumptions about female decorum are still in place to a vast extent. Note how many more professional male comedians there are than women (I watch the Comedy Channel; I also watch American Idol--though I always seem to tune in when the women are competing; I think it's more evenly matched). Is it the exposition on Conlang? Is it the minute philosophical and linguistic discussions back and forth? Do men take being challenged publically more in stride? Are women more fearful of being criticized publically? Actually, I think these fears belong more to individuals than to genders--I HATE being criticized!!! ;) ;)--but its still obvious that the list has a majority of men. Thanks, Christine, for chiming in; thanks go also to JC and Martha who wrote in.
> I saw *a lot* of males in their teens on that survey, and from > my own experience, know that there are millions of females the same age > that grew up with access to a personal computer, and are certainly on > them everyday, from what I've learned from Livejournal statistics. > Just a thought: lists were around relatively early, when most of > the people online were male computer geeks. I wonder how male-dominated > the conlang community is in female-dominated Livejournal.
I'd be interested in having an example. What female-majority LiveJournals out there would attract discussion about conlanging? --Tsemol So what does Tsemol mean? :)


Cristina Escalante <cristina@...>
David J. Peterson <dedalvs@...>
JC <jcolrich-dreams@...>