Maryam is taking some unfair blows on her reply to my reminder that I’m
socially inept a tech geek. Although, I’m gratified to read in some comments that there are women who also think of themselves as geeks, I want to address a misconception some folks might have.
Maryam never said women can’t DO geek, she’s just said we can’t be labeled geeks.
Maryam is a capable woman, fully equipped to defend herself, but if I may say so, she caved in too easily in her gracious follow-up. Why? She’s got every right to have an opinion on the subject. She’s like an anthropologist studying an obscure tribe in the Silicon Forest and Valley. Besides, I’d be stupid to complain that she values my “artistic and literary qualities.”
Her opinion of me is my fault, if fault is to be found, since I don’t expose my geek side to her very often.
Maryam has a more narrow definition of the word “geek” than I have, understandably so. She lives in the middle of an intense and specialized tech community that is mostly male. The people she regards as geeks mostly talk about gadgets, tech products, or play video games. I don’t qualify as that flavor of geek since:
- I don’t care about video games
- I have little use for gadgets except as tools (my passion is for every-day solutions to real business problems, and programming craft, which is dry stuff)
- I welcome opportunities to get my brain out of code once in awhile
- I love getting to know other people and what floats their boats
It’s no wonder Ponzi doesn’t think to call me for advise about managing email!
I appreciate Maryam’s definition. It’s sensible. I’m an unrepentant relativist, though, and as such I see any quality as being a matter of degrees. I’m not hardcore, and that used to bother me, but, thankfully, age does bring a measure of acceptance, or is it resignation?
The ways in which Maryam and I disagree is damned interesting, and full of potential for future discussion. I hope we continue to explore some of these ideas. They’ll be controversial subjects, but my respect for Maryam and appreciation of her views will always remain constant. After all, we agree that, as Maryam wrote, “girls and women can be intelligent, technologists, scientists, ambitious, professional…”
Here’s to seeing something unexpected in someone you think you know well.