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Swept up in the topic

I hadn’t planned to post on the open-source-boobs issue, but a conversation I was just reading (hi,

!) gave me a couple flashes of thought that I thought I’d process by writing down and hanging up in the wind for people to take pot-shots at. 

Issue 1:  There are certain issues that drive some of my friends nuts, and leave me curiously unaffected.  This is one of them.  And I have always been made to feel that this is a failing on my part.  It’s just sort of occurred to me that I’m letting my own honest reactions be demonized rather than argue with friends.

Had I seen a bunch of people mingling around with OSB buttons at an event, I’d probably roll my eyes, think it was a bit juvenile, and get on with my life.  I wouldn’t feel threatened and I wouldn’t really feel insulted – though I probably would choose not to hang out with someone who was entertained by the whole thing.  Why am I like that?  Dunno.  My life has included quite a bit of witnessing rampant sexist behavior (hi,

, enjoyed your post earlier!) and at the same time, no direct painful personal experiences involving sexism.  Perhaps that’s left me unempathetic.  My professional training has involved quite a bit of breast-groping, which perhaps also makes me rather unsentimental about breasts in particular. 

So, yeah, I’ve been kind of mulling on finding a balanced position in a situation where there’s both overreaction or underreaction – and wondering whether sometimes I’m made to feel unnecessarily guilty that I’m NOT riled up about some subject or other.

Issue 2:  As I was reading various posts on this and on other sexist environments today, I came to think about the concept of culture vs rights.  Certain activities seem to be attached to distinct cultures, and much brouhaha ensues if you say  “I want to be part of your activity but I’m not willing to accept the associated culture – so therefore you have to change to allow me to participate”. 

Examples: I find that I’ve never chosen to join a church because there are certain cultural aspects in many churches that don’t appeal to me.  (badly worded sentence, may or may not try to edit later).  I chose not to be a surgeon – while I love tools and fixing stuff, the culture of surgeons has aspects that I find repugnant.  I will never willingly live in certain parts of the Middle East because there are aspects of that culture that I wouldn’t want to live in. 

Clearly sometimes it is reasonable to demand that a culture change to make you more comfortable – for example, if women (or some other group) are made to feel uncomfortable in a setting where important business gets done, then they can’t succeed in the business world.  But how do I draw the line?  Clearly it’s also sometimes unreasonable:  shouldn’t say “You Jehovah’s Witnesses should stop prosyletizing ’cause it makes me uncomfortable and I want to be a JW – oh, and while you’re at it you should change your mind about the transfusion thing!” 

So anyway… headed off to dinner now, I look forward to such comments as people feel inclined ot leave!


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