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Am I a Sexist?

  • Odessa, Ukraine
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Recently I said a few words in my Telegram group about “women in tech,” which led to some negative reaction on Twitter. I believe I owe my readers an explanation. Some of them already got confused and came to me with the question: “If you’re so much against slavery, where is this male chauvinism coming from?” Let me explain what’s going on. Indeed I am a big fan of freedom, but recent hysteria around gender equality is not helping us to become more free. Instead it is causing quite the opposite effect.

Conversations with Other Women (2005) by Hans Canosa
Conversations with Other Women (2005) by Hans Canosa

When I was a kid my parents and my teachers told me that I had to be a gentleman. That literally meant that I had to treat women with respect and always remember that they were weaker than us men—physically and emotionally.

I had to open the door for them, I was not allowed to fight with them as I did with my male friends, I was punished for cursing in front of them, and many other things. I did all this not only because of what I was taught, but also because I saw that they indeed were weaker. They were physically and emotionally different from us boys. They played dolls, we played wars. They wore pink and white skirts and blouses, we wore shorts and t-shirts. They cried when someone was offending them and we were supposed to be stronger, never to cry, and to protect them. It was always obvious that we were the troublemakers, but also the protectors, who those little creatures eventually one day would marry.

Now it seems that I was raised as a sexist. But do I feel ashamed? Not at all.

Do I believe that gender equality is about making men and women fully equal in all aspects of life? Not at all.

We must not be equal, because we are different.

There are many other categories of people in modern societies who possess special rights or are not allowed to do certain things. Simply put, they experience discrimination, but for their good. For example, kids are not allowed to buy alcohol and watch porn. Senior citizens receive pensions even though they don’t work any more. People with disabilities sit in a bus where everybody else is not allowed to. Such inequalities are only making us more human. We need them.

The same is true for the “category” of people I was taught to respect and protect: women. And no matter what extreme feminists say, I will remain the same. I do believe in inequality between men and women. I want to see us as gentlemen and ladies. Not just genderless people.

Thanks to this inequality men find women attractive, fall in love with them, marry them and make kids. Thanks to this inequality many years ago my dad asked my mom out, kissed her, proposed, and brought me into this world.

Now back to the main problem: women in tech. I’m a programmer myself. I write and debug code every day. I also manage programmers and projects. My 20+ years of experience in coding tells me that this job is not fun most of the time. It’s hard, it requires a lot of rigid logical thinking, it’s rather boring, and it’s a constant war against machines and against other programmers who produce unmaintainable and unreadable code.

I don’t feel good about sending women, who I was raised to protect and respect, into this war. I also personally don’t like the idea of women being police officers, soldiers, surgeons, or firefighters, even though it’s not up to me to decide what they do for a living. Those jobs are stressful and dangerous, both physically and emotionally. Not that I believe that women can’t take this stress, I just don’t want them to suffer. There are plenty of gentlemen who can do that instead.

Do I respect women who write code on a daily basis? Yes, a lot. Because I understand how much stress they have to go through. Would I recommend my girlfriend do the same. I don’t think so.

Am I a sexist? Maybe so. But that’s how I was raised. That’s who I am. And I’m proud of it.

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