An Incomplete History of Sexism In Drupal

So here's the thing. I'm proud to be a member of this community. The Drupal community contains some of the smartest, kindest, most generous people I have ever had the privilege of meeting. I don't think I'm overstating anything to say that my involvement in the Drupal community has altered the trajectory of my life. I have learned more in my six years of work within and around this community than at any other period of my life. It's an amazing place.

And that is why I'd like to see us do better. We can always rationalize away the things we don't like, or find ways to justify things that are distasteful.

But if you see something that feels wrong, stop and ask questions. Realize that you will need to have the same conversation, repeatedly. Realize that people will get mad at you and blame you for bringing it up. Realize that in the process of having conversations, you will learn about things that you misunderstand as well. But don't stop having the conversation, because that's how change occurs: one awkward, uncomfortable, unwanted conversation at a time.

Comments

Before that, there was the whole brouhaha over changing the Drupal core help text to more gender-neutral language. Oh my! No links handy, but that was pretty much my first encounter with sexism in the community. And I think it was the hardest, because it was the first time, or one of the very first times, the community grappled with it. Out of that a lot of people stepped up and we see them now speaking out against it, so that occasion was very productive.

I hope the growth process continues. Thanks for your contributions, and thanks for posting this!

http://drupal.org/node/14219 - closed without being fixed

http://drupal.org/node/75594 - this is the issue that resulted in the actual change

Discussion of the Gender field on the drupal.org profile:
http://drupal.org/node/752452

That thread is painful to read, and a sign of how far we need to come.

Thanks for pointing it out.

Bill --

Thanks for this. I think to capture what happened this week you should include http://highervisibilitywebsites.com/how-dare-they-sexism-police-drupal-community -- it really shows the extreme view on one side (which I find completely appalling).

I can't help noticing how many of these "highlights" are around DrupalCon and meetups. It makes me wonder how much sexism goes unnoticed when people aren't physically gathered together or focusing their attention on one task. Or maybe it melts away a bit when we're all just avatars.

Something I appreciate about your post, Bill, is the sense that the existence of sexism in the Drupal community doesn't mean the Drupal community is "bad." It's a great community, with room for improvement -- just as all human beings, no matter how brilliant or enlightened, always have room for improvement... that's part of being human. People who hate these sorts of conversations, or react negatively against them, should try to recognize that these are opportunities for self-reflection and improvement, by both the community and individuals. And we know we live in a world that, despite enormous progress, is still profoundly sexist... that's ok, as long as we continue working to improve.

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