Linux Journal's Offensive Sexist Content: The Whole Story

by Caitlyn Martin

Since her posts here on O'ReillyNet, Carla Schroder has tried in vain to get some sort of response from Linux Journal after offensive ads were run and articles were published. The same is true for Linux Journal's sister magazine, Tux Magazine. Carla has gone ahead and chronicled the whole sordid mess in an article for LXer.com.

"I have to wonder- where on Earth did Ms. Fairchild get the idea that alienating her customers is a good business practice? So what if she finds sexist, demeaning humor funny? It doesn't belong in Linux Journal. I paid my subscription money in good faith for many years, trusting to receive good Linux articles. If I want to read about blowjobs or read about how helpless and stupid women are, I don't expect to find it in Linux Journal. There are abundant sources for that elsewhere."


As far as I am concerned the whole article is a must read.

Digg It!

45 Comments

Alex
2007-10-02 11:06:53
I was interested to see this on Digg. The ad bugged me, but I didn't know that other people had reacted the same way.


When I saw the ad, I wrote to Linux Journal and got a response. I feel a little bit funny about posting their email to me, so I'm going to do it with the name of the person stripped off.


--


(From me to Linux Journal)


Please don't publish this.


I've been debating whether or not to email you about the "don't feel
bad, our servers won't go down on you either" ad. I don't want to be
a prude, or that whiny guy. But it seems like it's in bad taste.


I know that some huge and lopsided proportion of your readers are
male. And I know that not every woman who reads that ad would be
offended -- there are plenty of women who would roll with the humor.


But there are people it would bother. And since linux is something
that really doesn't have anything at all to do with sex, it seems
strange to cross the line that makes the magazine a hostile space for
some readers. There's no need for it.


The ad isn't just sexual -- it's a little misogynistic, in the sense
that there seems to be a little resentment of the woman who "won't go
down on you". I mean, it's not even playful sexy, it's kind of angry
sexy.


And I know that advertisers get to make ads that they think will work,
and they probably know more about it than I do. But I can't believe
it's an effective ad. A lot of people would probably think it makes
them seem unprofessional. That's my reaction, anyway.


Sex is great, and sexual images are fun, and I get all of that. And
people who want them should be able to get them. But people who want
to avoid them should be able to avoid them, too. And people who want
to avoid them should probably be able to read linux journal without
fear.


Again, I'm sorry for being that whiny guy. And I know that you just
don't hassle the advertisers in the magazine business -- they're your
life's blood. But I just think that the ad crossed a line.


--


(This is Linux Journal's response to me)


Dear Alex,


Thank you for the note - we appreciate you taking the time to let us
know how you feel and understand your concern. We'll be passing your
note on to both the advertiser and publisher this week.


Thanks for your patience,
(someone's name)

Caitlyn Martin
2007-10-02 11:13:14
Alex, I am very glad you got a response. As Carla has written both she and others who tried to contact Linux Journal were met with stony silence. Maybe the message that ignoring customers is a really bad idea is finally sinking in. I hope so.


Like Carla I was a subscriber to Linux Journal for a long time, as in eight years (1998-2006) in my case. I dropped my subscription because of issues like this. Maybe if enough people complain or cancel subscriptions things will finally start to change.

Nix2
2007-10-02 11:48:27
Perhaps you could try to be a smidgen more easy going in this era where the increased attention to morality and religiosity is leading growing numbers of people who "Know What's Right and What's Wrong" to commit extreme acts of violence against people that are a little less sensitive and politically aware?


Like they used to say on The Well:


"Try not to offend. Try not to be so easily offended."


Just a thought.


Peace.

Carla Schroder
2007-10-02 12:53:28
Nik, I'm going to give you some free advice: stuff your "lie back and enjoy it" jive where the sun doesn't shine, along with your borderline Godwin's. Especially when it's obvious you are uninformed on the issues here. You are welcome to endure all the crappy treatment you can handle, that's your business. But don't you dare tell me or anyone else, ever, that we should just shut up and take it. The "peace" sig does not disguide hostile intent anymore than a smiley does.
Caitlyn Martin
2007-10-02 13:01:16
@Nix2: I'm going to be slightly more charitable than Carla and not assume hostile intent. I do believe the way to bring about change is to shine a light on the problem. There have been some thoughtful men posting over on LXer.com who state clearly that they didn't realize this was an ongoing problem over at Linux Journal. They didn't realize it wasn't just one ad. They didn't realize that the ad had been run before and a promise not to run it again had been made and broken. Education is always the key to change.


Having said that Carla is absolutely right. Your post amounts to a genteel way of telling us uppity women to be quiet and assume our rightful place in the shadows. That isn't going to happen.

Carla Schroder
2007-10-02 13:05:48
I was going to post my own blog entry here, but Caitlyn beat me to it. So I'll just ad my two bits here and call it good.


This is, most likely, the final installment of this whole silly saga. Silly because the publisher of Linux Journal thinks it's good business to alienate legions of subscribers and readers, and potential subscribers and readers. Silly because all we want is for Linux Journal to publish relevant, interesting Linux articles, and leave out the stupid stuff.


So Linux Journal has gained some bad publicity and lost a number of subscribers. What have we ex-readers lost? Nothing, really. There are a lot of other great sources for Linux howtos, both print and online. There is Linux Magazine, for those of us who want something on U.S. newsstands to recommend to friends. Linux Format is an excellent U.K.-based magazine. There is Linux Pro Magazine, which is distributed in several countries. All of these also publish online.


A lot of people supported Linux Journal for the same reasons that I did- decent content, a visible presence on newsstands, a pioneer in Linux publishing. I felt it was an important player in the Linux and FOSS world. It's too bad they didn't think all that loyalty and goodwill were worth preserving.

chromatic
2007-10-02 13:09:41
@Nix2, I also found the ad distasteful, inappropriate, and tacky. If I saw that running on an O'Reilly page, I'd chase it down and see how quickly we could remove it.


What does that have to do with "morality and religiosity"?

Caitlyn Martin
2007-10-02 13:19:50
I'll second Carla's recommendations for Linux Format and Linux Pro. Both are available on U.S. newsstands. Let's support the magazines that give us first class content and let the others wither and die.
Alex
2007-10-02 14:06:58
I didn't realize was an ongoing problem either.


Honestly, that changes things a lot for me. I figured that some lame advertiser had gotten a bad ad in, probably because the situation hadn't come up before, and no one felt comfortable challenging an advertiser.


But if the same advertiser ran the same ad, and it created conflict, and they did it again, that's a really different situation.


In my letter to LJ, posted above, I tried to bend over backwards to be reasonable, and to see the other point of view, but to explain why the ad was wrong.


But if they knew that already, and just don't care... it's hard to cut them much slack.


Kevin Ollivier
2007-10-02 14:47:59
I totally agree with Carla's comments regarding the 'go down' ad, but you know, I really hope that "Mango Parfait" is not a "real" teenager or young adult as her persona (and knowledge of anime/pop culture) implies. If she is, in fact, a she and in that age group, I really feel bad for her because she's now being cast as a living stereotype that degrades women. While reading that column, I honestly felt that TuX was trying to appeal to teenagers of both genders by "speaking their language". If you go to an anime convention (I think Anime Expo had 40,000 attendees this year), I think you won't have such a hard time finding girls there who talk like that, or who know what "Azumanga Daioh" or "Bobobo" is. (You'll probably have a hard time finding girls there who don't know what they are, in fact. ;-) Whether adding such a column was a smart choice or not is another matter, but I myself got the impression they weren't really targeting IT professionals (male or female) with that column so much as teenagers in the hope that they'll see Linux as 'cool'.


Anyway, don't get me wrong, I think LJ really deserves to lose subscribers if they can't understand what's wrong with running an ad like that (especially twice and after complaints!), and clearly they've got some serious issues with treating women with respect, but I just wonder if it isn't jumping to conclusions as to the intent of the whole "Mango Parfait" thing.

Richard Chapman
2007-10-02 19:46:44
The male factor has served humanity well, until about 10,000 years ago that is. It's built into our reptilian brain. But unless that brain is as smooth as a river stone, it has the ability to make choices that include rather than repress female contributions to our culture. When someone is burdened by an attack on their status in our community, it degrades their contributions to us all. The ad in question was an insult not just to one woman, but to every woman who was unfortunate enough to see it. Instead of responding to the knuckle draggers at Linux Journal, Carla Schroder could have been sharing her knowledge about networks with us, but the decisions made at the magazine precluded that. Just because it's in our nature to act like idiots sometimes doesn't mean it's acceptable. It is not. We need to constantly strive to treat others as we would like to be treated. It benefits the recipient, but it also benefits us all.
tayker
2007-10-03 03:35:01
If a humorous ad that brings revenue in for a magazine to help keep subscriptions down doesn't belong in a Linux based magazine then what benefit am I getting from non-Linux rants about socio-political issues?
I applaud Linux Journal for riding it out because we live in a humorless society. I also see that ad no different from Linux and Mac users degrading Windows users. However, I take both in stride because I feel I'm educated enough to conceptualize that an ad or personal opinion might not have the power that some people give it. I also know women aren't the humorless and ignorant people that some feminists tell me that I supposedly believe, especially when they've never talked to me.

2007-10-03 05:12:23
Thanks, I've been debating whether or not to drop my O'Reilly feed for a while now. This is truly off in the weeds.
Carla Schroder
2007-10-03 19:46:20
Ok Alex, at the risk of sounding even whinier, and paranoid to boot- why did you get a response? They didn't reply to any of us dumb grrls....
John
2007-10-04 07:14:12
It was nice to see an intelligent statement from tayker.


The ad in question projects an image of the company and the magazine, some people will derive a negative impression, and others won't. Some people will identify with the brand, while others won't.


This makes interesting reading around "the right to be offended" (you have to read past the politics) :


http://www.opendemocracy.net/faith-europe_islam/article_2331.jsp


At the end of the day it is uptight self-richeous people like Carla and Caitlyn who do their community or group a disservice, as they perpetuate the myth that these things can't be dealt without an emotive and contemptuous attitude ...


And it is this intransigence which gets us where we are today :-(


Shame on you

Carla Schroder
2007-10-04 08:30:23
John, you did like all the other "shut up and take it" folks- you didn't do any serious reading or thinking on this issue. Just the usual uninformed kneejerk "shut up and take it, because you don't matter" reaction.


I keep asking these same questions, but never get an answer- I'm going to ask again anyway:


What are the other problems besides this one ad that have been discussed extensively?


What do blowjobs have to do with Linux?


How does alienating a sizable segment of their readers and potential readers benefit Linux Journal? Are you seriously asserting that this is a smart business practice?


How does including disrespectful, offensive, insulting, off-topic material in Linux Journal improve it or teach readers more about Linux?


Why do you support the terrible customer service exhibited by Linux Journal? Are you asserting that ignoring customer complaints is a good business practice?



John
2007-10-04 14:28:04
@Carla
Talk about putting words in my mouth (!)
And sweeping me aside, just like you claim people do with you.


I wish you had read what I wrote more carefully ... You definitely do matter, and your actions do have very important effect. But once a certain tone has been set it'll be difficult for people to listen to you, however valid many of you points may be.


Bad customer service and ignoring customer complaints are serious issues for any company ... That is for sure.


I don't know how many times you have complained to them, maybe they have you on a list ? I also wonder what tone your inquiries took - Because it is not so much what you say, as how you say it.


Anyway


If you think about I said, I don't argue with bad customer service. What I argue with is your belief that you are entitled to anything other than an opinion about the content of the magazine.


You have a healthy outrage, and the content of LJ now excludes you from it's demographic. Fine, you have your reasons for your opinion, and I respect those. But you chose to express your opinion by making all this a huge moral issue, and almost turning it into a vendetta (because they don't run the magazine the way you think they should). And in then end, the reality is that most of the readership doesn't even share your opinion (I know some do), and all those who didn't find it disrespectful, offensive, insulting or off-topic will continue to make the publication a worldwide success.


Because, when seen in perspective, this was just one more ad, maybe even more interesting than most of their ads ... None of which ever taught me anything about Linux anyway.


An ad that gained a little more attention thanks to you ;-)

Caitlyn Martin
2007-10-05 08:04:30
@tayker & @John: Sorry, women who demand equality, who demand not to be objectified in "professional" publications in their chosen professional, who dare complain about offensive and sexist material in said publications, etc... aren't going away. Feminism, which is being derided by tayker, is the simple premise that women deserve equal treatment in society and that we shouldn't be judged solely based on our sex or gender. As such I most certainly identify as a feminist.


John, you ignored most of Carla's questions. Like her, I see you and tayker as part of the problem. I've said before that the best way to begin to solve a problem is to shine a light on it. CNN has taken this approach with their "Out In The Open" series and I applaud them for it. I am neither uptight nor self-righteous and I see your name calling as an attempt to simply dismiss what Carla and I have to say. Sorry, that won't work here. Carla is absolutely right: it's an attempt to shut us up even if you don't recognize it as such or admit that's what you're doing.


@Anonymous: Bye, bye. Discussions of issues in IT in general and the Linux community specifically, including discussions of bigotry, racism, sexism, etc... that affects the IT industry and the Linux community has always been on topic here, not "in the weeds". There have been numerous posts on similar issues by both men and women here. You are certainly free to choose what you do and don't read. People are free to ignore the realities of our society when things become uncomfortable.

tayker
2007-10-05 08:31:27
@Caitlyn Martin
Hate to add perspective, but an advertisement has nothing to do with equality. I don't see how that equates to equal work/equal pay. It's a tongue-in-cheek advert. You have the right to not like it and complain, but I think it's disingenuous and dishonest to the feminist cause to give it more weight than it deserves. As for questioning who I am and what I believe, that's insulting because you don't know me. You're every bit as guilty as John pointed out, and instead of listening (which doesn't equate to agreeing with) to our points you just dismiss them.
I grew up with a single mother who had to work 2 jobs to support me and my two sisters. Although I might not be a woman, I do understand equality. I suggest you read "Who Stole Feminism" by Christina Hoff Sommers. It's a good read and will open the eyes of various forms of Feminism. The fact that I have to educate you on a cause that you seem so passionate about speaks volumes about your knowledge of it.
Caitlyn Martin
2007-10-05 08:42:14
@tayker: You are the one ignoring the fact that this is decidedly NOT about one ad. If you bothered to follow the link and read Carla's posts it's also about the Gnull and Voyd articles and the Mango Parfait articles. It's about an ad that was run a second time after it created a firestorm the first time and Linux Journal broke a promise not to run it again. Either you didn't read the whole story or you are being disingenuous.


Don't presume to know what I have read or not read. Don't presume that a book containing one women's opinions about feminism defines feminism. Don't presume I am uneducated on the subject because you are woefully mistaken. The objectification of women most certainly DOES affect equality because it impacts how women in the workplace are viewed. Equal pay for equal work is only one of many issues that women have to deal with. It is not the sum and total of feminism.


Attacking a specific post trying to perpetuate the status quo is not equivalent to calling someone names in an attempt to be dismissive. The fact that I bothered to respond to you proves I didn't just dismiss you out of hand. I didn't question who you are. I pointed out that your views, as posted by you, are an attempt to get women like Carla and I to shut up and take it. As I said before that ain't going to happen. If you are so threatened by women standing up for themselves that is your problem. If you are insulted by women standing up for themselves that is also your problem.


Don't you just love it when a man attempts to "educate" women on what the women's movement and feminism are or should be? Walk a mile in our shoes and you would have a different perspective. You haven't "added" to my perspective one little bit.

John
2007-10-05 09:16:49
@Caitlyn
As amazing at it may seem to you, I did read all of Carla's article (and took a look at the links). And after reading it I was surprised, because I expected to be outraged (considering the way the whole issue was portrayed), but I wasn't ...


Which is kinda the whole point.


It's a bit like not finding WMDs or something.


Either way, I am not asking anyone to give up what they believe.


"People are free to ignore the realities of our society when things become uncomfortable."


True, but then again someone's reality often becomes intertwined with their opinion. Which makes your response to tayker kinda interesting, as on the one you are telling us how "things should be", while on the other side I personally consider education EQUALLY valid whether it comes from a woman or a man.


As it is I wonder how you'd react to a "don't you just love it when a woman ..." type of statement - Or maybe we have treated you so unfairly that it's OK for you to do it. I don't know, it didn't offend me or threaten me, I just found it interesting.


At this point I can only refer you back to my posts, and hope you might read them without preconceptions about my intentions. For one thing, if you did shut up there would a lot less to talk about around here :-)

tayker
2007-10-05 09:17:57
@Caitlyn Martin
Let me cut and paste what you typed:
"It's about an ad that was run a second time after it created a firestorm the first time and Linux Journal broke a promise not to run it again."
That ad had innuendo, which was the point of the firestorm, which was further flamed because of a broken promise. That isn't a setback for feminism. I even showed my wife this thread and the ad, and she laughed. Coming from a woman who I believe is smarter than myself on many levels, that response proves my security and how disconnected you are.
Again, you don't know me and you don't know my views ... period. To imply that I'm insecure, part of the problem, etc, shows that you have no interest in furthering something of importance, except your own twisted reality. I support all women who want to pursue anything they desire, and I firmly believe they deserve treatment equivalent to that of their male counterparts. Just because I disagree with a tongue-in-cheek advert doesn't prove/disprove what I believe. If you follow business at all then you should also know that some women are part of the cause you feel so compelled to strike down. Are they smart business-women or are they destroying what other women are trying to do? I think my mother, wife, female friends, Camille Paglia, Ms Sommers, etc, will see this blog entry and find it more harmful then helpful.
tayker
2007-10-05 09:37:05
@Caitlyn Martin
I see that you added the "walk a mile" part after you made your reply.


I said this:
"Although I might not be a woman, I do understand equality."


I guess I should've been more verbose and not relied on the education of the people I'm discussing with because, IMO, I believe people who read that will concluded that I can't possible have the same experiences as a woman, but I do grasp the concept of equality.


You said this:
"Don't you just love it when a man attempts to "educate" women on what the women's movement and feminism are or should be?"


I'm surprised that you think a man can't have equal knowledge on feminism. To me, that statement makes you no better then the men you feel you're fighting against.


For the record, I applaud you for being vocal because, regardless of the spectrum, we won't be able to educate each other if we can't facilitate any discussion. Now that you've effectively reduced all men to being unequal, I'm choosing to take John's lead to bow out of this discussion and let what I've posted stand.

Carla Schroder
2007-10-05 15:22:30
John and tayker, your message is very clear: you don't find the QSOL ad offensive, so we shouldn't either, and should just shush. (You also continue to ignore every other point that's been raised.) It doesn't matter how many words you use to disguise this- it's exactly what you're saying. I don't care what you find offensive. I do care that you're telling me that my feelings are wrong. Well, no, actually I don't care all that much. I just want you to know I'm not buying it.


"I even showed my wife this thread and the ad, and she laughed. Coming from a woman who I believe is smarter than myself on many levels, that response proves my security and how disconnected you are."


Why are your feelings and beliefs determined by a vote? I don't need to ask my women friends or men friends or pets to know my own mind.


"I think my mother, wife, female friends, Camille Paglia, Ms Sommers, etc, will see this blog entry and find it more harmful then helpful."


LOL. And my big sister can beat up your big sister.


You're not interested in discussion at all, but in proving me and Caitlyn wrong. Which is a lost cause. Unlike you, neither of us is afraid to plainly state what we believe and stand behind it.


The issues here are very simple:


1. Linux Journal has a long history of publishing both editorial content and ads that are sexist and demeaning to women. And not just women, but men, Southerners, and teenagers. And more, but those are the only ones I could find online examples for. They also have consistently refused to respond to reader complaints.


2. LJ was contacted privately by a number of people who are concerned about these problems. The QSOL is not the entire issue, but only the trigger.


3. LJ chose to ignore us, so we went public.


4. End of story, except for the discussions that have resulted from this


Something in John's writing style makes me wonder if he doesn't work for Linux Journal. Given their unwillingness to address these issues directly, it wouldn't surprise me if they had a few lone astroturfers here and there. I have no way of knowing for sure, of course, I just wonder.

Caitlyn Martin
2007-10-05 18:52:53
@Carla: I was going to respond but you said it all so well there really is no point now. Thanks!
John
2007-10-06 00:29:34
@Carla
I have the feeling that I am not the one ignoring what's been raised, but either way. It's your choice, you can continue to grind that axe, until no-one can be bothered to respond ...


I guess that kinda works :-)


As for my writing style, I strongly suspect it could be easily traced, but not to anything to do to LJ.

Carla Schroder
2007-10-06 19:18:24
Here are some interesting numbers:


http://lwn.net/2001/0712/a/lj-awards.php3
"...the monthly magazine Linux Journal, boasts a circulation of well over 100,000."


That's in 2001.


http://www.linuxjournal.com/advertising/demographics
"Linux Journal's circulation features a strong
paid subscriber base and newsstand distribution consisting of approximately 90,000 people."


That's current numbers.


Tux Magazine croaked, and LJ's attempted hostile takeover of

Carla Schroder
2007-10-06 22:10:59
oops, got snipped...


Tux Magazine croaked, and LJ's attempted hostile takeover of Linux Gazette failed.


Given the explosive growth of Linux since 2001, I'd say that LJ is not
a "worldwide success" at all, but barely hanging on. So, it's safe to say
that ticking people off and abusing reader loyalty is a poor way to expand their circulation.

John
2007-10-07 09:08:53
@Carla
That and the fact that now there are much better Linux magazines around now that weren't around then :-)
Caitlyn Martin
2007-10-07 20:28:07
Oh, c'mon John. I was subscribing to Linux Magazine in 1998. You might want to check when Linux Format started as well. There have been other good Linux magazines around during the period Tux Magazine failed and Linux Journal subscriber numbers declined and the Linux community and number of potential subscribers have only grown during that period.


I know you don't want to admit Carla has a point but she really does. Are you sure you're not the one with the axe to grind?

tlt
2007-10-08 17:08:58
Hmm. My wife is a professional career woman with a Ph.D who kept her maiden name when we got married, refused to let my buy our daughter anything pink for the first few years of her life, and is the leader of the Women's Network at work, just to give you an idea of where she falls on the 'subservient female' scale. She's told stories of her first job in high school where the manager "accidentally" grabbed her rear on occasion and made lewd propositions and how awful that was.


Being "one of the enemy" due to an accident of birth and chance chromosomal composition, I didn't feel qualified to comment on the issue. Instead, I showed my wife the ad and asked for her reaction. She just looked puzzled for a moment, then shrugged. She said "I didn't really get it at first since it was a technical ad and I was trying to understand it on those terms. Then I thought that doesn't really have anything to do with servers or tell me anything about the quality of their product. How ineffective!".


Even when I explained the context to her and summarized the story above, she just shook her head and rolled her eyes. "There are much better ways to focus your energy than to waste it on stuff like this", she said. "Being a competent professional and demanding respect by your actions and demeanor will get you farther than making noise about inconsequential stuff like this." Thought I'd pass this along.

Carla Schroder
2007-10-08 18:23:15
tlt, I'm sure your wife is a lovely person with truckloads of positive traits. I was bored with the "my wife/girlfriend doesn't think this is offensive" argument years ago. What does that have to do with all of the people who do object to LJ's years of insulting its readers? Is your wife like a trump card in bridge?


Have the courage of your own beliefs, don't hide behind some $woman. The publisher of LJ is a woman- does that make sexist and insulting material OK?

tlt
2007-10-08 19:21:34
Hi Carla,


She is, actually. She is apparently lacking the one positive trait that matters most, though - unconditionally agreeing with you. I have my own opinion,

tlt
2007-10-08 19:57:00
(Darn - somehow that carriage return resulted in the form being submitted). To continue:


I have my own opinion, but it's not really relevant because I can't understand what it's like to be a woman. Because, you know, I'm not. So, even though as unique individuals nobody can fully understand another's experience, we do the best we can and ask someone who understands a little better. If you understood men better, you would understand it takes more courage to admit you don't know and ask, instead of just taking the easy road of assuming that the only opinion that matters is one's own. But whatever. My opinion is that while you are clearly offended, you are crossing the line when you assume everyone else must share equally in your indignation as the only "right" opinion to have. I think that while you have every right to a) be offended, b) communicate that to the offending party, c) take action as you see fit based on the offending parties reaction, you can't assume that your feelings of offense represent some sort of universal truth that everyone must share, which is how you're coming across.


> The publisher of LJ is a woman- does that make sexist and insulting material OK?


No, but it doesn't mean she has to take someone else's opinion of what's sexist and insulting as gospel either. You're offended, clearly. But the ad doesn't seem to elicit the same response in everyone. Some people may just find it stupid, not funny, ineffectual, or pathetic. So their reaction will match where they fall on the spectrum. That's where I land - it's a stupid ad, so I ignore it. There - that was my very own opinion, not a woman to hide behind in sight. So now you can tar me with the "sexist and offensive sympathizer" brush because I'm not sufficiently indignant over something clearly offensive to women everywhere. Hmm. Maybe I'm wrong. I know - I'll ask a few women and see what they think. Oh wait - I'm not allowed to do that. Round and round we go.

Fred Arnold
2007-10-08 23:15:05
If i may venture a comment...


""There are much better ways to focus your energy than to waste it on stuff like this", she said. "Being a competent professional and demanding respect by your actions and demeanor will get you farther than making noise about inconsequential stuff like this."


Your wife is only partly right. There are millions of competent men and women professionals in all fields in the world. And yet sexism, racism, and all the other isms are still with us. You have to address problems directly to effect change. Ignoring them doesn't help anything.

Carla Schroder
2007-10-08 23:43:48
tlt, surely you understand the difference between "I do not agree with you, and do you not persuade me" and "You must agree with me." You do not persuade me. I don't care if you agree with me or not.



John
2007-10-09 00:44:42
@Caitlyn
I have no idea why you deleted my post (!?!)


I made a post about what magazines have come along since 2000, and how many people like myself now get their Linux news online instead of through a magazine (as we used to in those days).


I also reminded you that I wasn't disagreeing in my other post, just adding a further point to Carla's statement.


Nothing offensive, nothing controversial ... So one really has to wonder about you ability to cope with a different OPINION.

Mike
2007-10-09 11:21:25
Caitlyn & Carla,


May I start off and say I agree with many/most of your points:
- the advert is sexist and misogynistic
- LJ had already apoligized for a previous iteration
- LJ had promised not to run the advert again
- LJ broke their promise.
- You had every right to complain


I think one point several of the readers have been trying to make is that while they would also complain, their method of complaint might be different. For example, the first poster (Alex) raised a concern - without being confrontational - and got a response. Sometimes a softly-softly approach works, sometimes a big stick is needed.


But something got lost in the translation of the text, tempers flared, and value was reduced.


I realize this is a sensitive issue. I'm hoping my words are taken in the manner in which they are meant, which is to defuse the tesion in the conversation, and return it to a more reasoned discussion. Perhaps, we all accept that LJ was out of order, and move the discussion on to how to we educate those around us that this type of advert and related behaviour is inappropriate and not to be repeated?


Cheers,
Mike

Caitlyn Martin
2007-10-10 07:56:26
@John: I didn't delete your post. If one of the O'Reilly editors did, well... I have no control over that. If I did it without realizing it then it was certainly a mistake. It should be clear by now that I permit opposing views so long as foul or highly offensive language isn't used. Some over the top attacks also do get deliberately deleted. Nothing you wrote fits into those categories.
Caitlyn Martin
2007-10-10 08:01:55
@tlt: When you showed your wife the ad did you also tell her that it had been run before, caused a firestorm, and a promise to never run it again had been made? Did you tell her the promise had been broken? Did you show her the Gnull and Voyd articles? The Mango Parfait articles?


What you are losing sight of is that this isn't about one ad and never has been. It is about continued, repeated sexist and offensive content at Linux Journal and their now defunct sister publication, Tux Magazine. If you didn't put it in that context then your wife didn't have a full picture. I have to wonder if her opinion would be different given the whole story.


In any case, yes, some people (a lot of people, actually) are offended and some aren't. That doesn't change the fact that those who find the article sexist, misogynistic, and offensive have a right to complain.


@Mike: A soft approach with Linux Journal has been tried and hasn't worked. Heck, I dropped my subscription well over a year ago. Nobody wrote back and nobody cared why. Sometimes when a problem goes on and on you really do need to shine a light on the problem and make more people aware of what is going on.

Mike
2007-10-10 12:22:05
@Caitlyn


I'm with you on hitting LJ with the hammer. They earned it.


One of my points was that Alex asked the question softly, so their guard didn't go up, and they thought it safe to give a generic reply.


Looking forward, I'm quite interested in how to educate others (not just LJ) in general on how to recognize and prevent such sexism and misogyny.


Cheers,
Mike


Bob
2007-10-12 07:56:05
Ok, I read the article and it's links.


I think it's pretty clear why your LJ jihad has failed. Rather than focus on LJ's business practices, whilst also ignoring their demographic, you may want to pick up a copy of How to Win Friends & Influence People.


I can understand why *you* are offended. I can also understand your emotional attachment to a magazine which you've shown loyalty to over the years. What I can't understand is why you simply don't just move on. Your absurd, disingenuous analogies aside( which turn people off to your reasoning, btw), you are not being 'raped' by LJ. Your simply being ignored. Oh well, THATS LIFE.

Caitlyn Martin
2007-10-12 08:09:03
Now we have someone equating arguing for equality and against offensive and sexist comment with "jihad". Very nice. Who is the one using absurd analogies? It's not just me, Bob. All I did was link Carla's article. If you followed the link and read the comments you know lots of people, both men and women, were offended. You can ignore that all you want. The facts won't change.


The comments from some are so predictable and so sad. This happens every time anyone writes about sexism in the Linux community and simply proves the point of the original author in each case.

Bob
2007-10-12 13:49:31
Now your deleting my comments? God knows what for .. rational arguments perhaps? Can't have those, can we.


Oh well, wasted time.

Caitlyn Martin
2007-10-12 13:52:50
@Bob: How about an incredibly long and less than rational post filled with dictionary definition cut-and-paste. Also, I NEVER compared Linux Journal's offensive comment to 'rape' and that is what your post dwelled on. I KNOW what rape is and I know the difference. If you care to avoid hyperbole and long, pointless quotations you can post. Otherwise, not.