WordPress geeks won’t be able to say that I didn’t warn them. Their friendly and quite frankly remarkable open source community is about take a very serious turn into turmoil, thanks to feminist ideologues.
We have already seen this happen in the atheist/skeptic movement with the likes of Rebecca Watson, PZ Myers, et al, and with the gaming community’s interloper-in-chief, Anita Sarkeesian. Other components of the tech industry have been similarly targeted. Think Adria Richards of Donglegate fame. The feminists are coming in to co-opt and to dominate. And the result will undoubtedly be the same. There will be disharmony, warring factions and the resultant stagnation of purpose that comes with it.
They are even approaching this with the same M.O.. First, set up the victim narrative; create a crisis for women that literally does not exist. This is done by a small number of very vocal ideological women who claim to be victims, and who need “special” enforcement of even more “special” rules, in order to make them feel safe and welcome (because we all know that women are not welcome anywhere, especially by men, right?). Then, of course, the idea is to punish anyone who disagrees with them with demonization and ostracizing.
The white knights in any given community, seeking female approval and an ego boost, will ride in and do the heavy lifting for them, demanding that the community in question bend to their demands for the sake of decency and everything holy.
As always, the ultimate objective is not enhanced safety, but control; control of language, control of rules and ultimately control of everyone’s thinking.
In fact, the very first, but completely unmistakable signs of this happening have already begun in the WordPress community. Further research may uncover more information, but for now I suggest that members of the WordPress community can mark January 7, 2014 on their calendars as the day the effort to undermine their community started.
It begins with a piece by Stephanie Leary writing in Women of WordPress, “How to Report Harassment at WordCamps.” WordCamps are are regular conferences/social events attracting WordPress users and developers. They are highly informal affairs which Leary wastes no time redefining, saying, “[T]hey are in a sense our workplace.”
Of course, we all know that harassment in the workplace is totally unacceptable, don’t we?
Leary needed an attention grabbing bit of foulness to convince others of the egregious sexual harassment happening to women at WordCamps. Her only problem was that she did not have one to cite. So, she borrowed a case from another community, science-fiction buffs, and used a year old story of a sci-fi fan who alleged that there was a serial harasser in their midst.
Very compelling if you don’t require evidence. Not that this sort of thing does not happen, but just saying.
As to her own community, the one she now wants to rouse to action, her investigation there yielded a “couple of people who’d experienced minor harassment but hadn’t reported it to the organizers.”
That is literally all she had, but it was enough to set the chain of events we have seen so many times before in action. First, and so predictable, a white knight was quick to respond. The very first comment on her article was from someone named Alex Vasquez.
“It’s sad, yet not surprising,” he said, apparently of the couple of minor alleged incidents that were not reported, “that we have to account for things like this at WordCamps.”
Leary was quick to come back and thank Alex for being so gallant. The rest of the comments were quite supportive. Calls to name and shame (with one exception concerned about libel) formed the group consensus.
But of course, it did not stop there.
Just yesterday, Sarah Gooding of WPTavern chimed in and escalated the conversation, with her offering, “Cultivating a Culture of Respect in the WordPress Community.”
If you think that has a distinct social justice warrior ring to it, just wait till you read it. It is straight from the Rebecca Watson handbook, complete with a call for designating safety officers so that women will have someone to whom they can report their “harassers.”
No potential for abuse there.
After advising us of “a few incidents of [uncited] harassment,” that have “popped up” in their community, Gooding lets us know that they now have a “movement to create a Code of Conduct or set of Community Expectations.” That task is being handled by one Jen Mylo, who is heading up their “Community Expectations,” team. She brings with her the predictable mindset, especially in her concerns about “people who’ve never thought about what it’s like to be a member of a minority or anything other than able bodied/financiallystable/caucasian/American/male/heterosexual/bearded/whatever-the-majority-is might not realize how unwelcoming some language or imagery may be to those who are different.”
Do you hear that you insulated, unthinking, privileged straight male neckbeards? Your training, excuse me, your code of conduct (it applies to no one else), on making women feel warm and welcome is on the way. And if you don’t think that you will toe the line, and roll over when instructed, you better ask around.
As we have seen in other communities, the initial dissent was also quick to appear. Raelene Wilson at wmpudev quickly penned a response to Gooding, stating that the idea of security offices designated to handle unwanted advances is “ridiculously over the top.”
“Come on,” she asks, “are we in high school?”
No, Raelene, but if your community yields to this nonsense, you will wish you were. The standard of the infantilized woman is on the way to WordPress. And it will cause more damage than I can possibly describe.
But don’t take my word for it. After all, I am just a crazy men’s rights guy. I wear a tin foil hat and see feminist evil under every rock (when I am not snickering, twirling my mustache and trying to relegate women back to the kitchen).
No, I am not someone you should listen to at all. But perhaps you should spend a little time investigating what has happened in the atheist/skeptic community, as well as in gaming and other tech sectors after feminists asserted the victim narrative and started making demands in those communities.
That is what is in store for the WordPress community right now.
If, on the outside chance, you do that investigation, and it understandably raises some hair on the back of your neck; if you don’t want to see the same thing happen to a community that you now obviously feel connected to, then the solution is for you to talk to your male counterparts, and to do it quickly.
You see, those guys stepping up to pat the showboating victims on the head, who puff out their chests and do the Dudley Do-Right for those poor little girls that can’t handle an unwanted come on, those are your real problem. They are the stalwarts for turning you into a child. It makes them feel like a real man™
Shut them down and you shut down the attack. Yes, it is an attack, on your community. And no one can shut them down as well as a woman. In fact, the only people that can shut them down are women. When men try to do it, those obsequious saps only see it as an opportunity to prove how brave and manly they are. That makes the battle intensify, for some taking on the appearance of a conflict between men and women. That is precisely what the ideologues want, and if they get it they will win, every time.
The only way to prevent that is to tell those men, pointedly, that you are insulted by their assumption that you can’t take care of yourself. After all, it is insulting, is it not? And while you are at it, keep telling those ideologues that they don’t speak for you or the other adult females in the room.
Yours is not the first community to experience this problem, but if the women in your ranks who have agency and autonomy take a stand, you might be one of the last.