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comment by OftenBen
OftenBen  ·  2386 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Crypto-Patriarchy: The problem of Bitcoin's male domination

Any time the word 'privilege' is used non-sarcastically on the internet I get a bit worried. But, to my main points.

All you need, to participate in the BTC economy, is a computer. That could be a smartphone, a laptop, some tablets even work just fine. Bringing the issue of gender into BTC isn't a good idea in my opinion, because it's an extension of the problem of gender in STEM fields. We all know for a long time (and this certainly still exists) there was a systemic exclusion of women from STEM degrees and careers. That being said, steps are being taken to address that, and I think the problem of "no female members of the board of executives", is a problem that will self correct as STEM roles become more gender balanced.

I also think that his well intentioned points at the bottom could actually prove detrimental to his cause. Just as an example,

    I wish the community would make a collective and concerted effort to identify, build up and showcase female role models

Were I a woman, I would feel patronized by this, because the silent implication is that women, of their own agency, will never amount to the visible equals of men in tech fields, that women with an interest in such things must be shepherded, protected, coddled and put in nice glass cases to display how 'diverse' and 'sensitive' our community is.

Second point, this is Tumblr-activist mentality at it's finest. Suggest a solution that doesn't really make a suggestion of what to do, and criminalizes anyone who disagrees with you. The thought process is that Rich white men (Who only a few years ago were broke, white, boys) are actively trying to keep anyone in a position of minority out of their field, when that's simply untrue. It's not any one persons fault that exactly half of these guys aren't female, and according percentages aren't of mixed ethnicity. It's a failing of a system that, when that generation were in school, didn't emphasize STEM classes and careers for people in minority. To put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the guys who discovered this tech in college, staked their claim and 'got theirs' is simply unfair.

Edit* for everyone who is responding, I appreciate your contributions, and everything I write, I do so with the intent to try and better my own understanding, and not to offend.

_refugee_  ·  2385 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Any time the word 'privilege' is used non-sarcastically on the internet I get a bit worried.

Oh, well then. Here's hoping that if the usage is not on the internet, you take it seriously, at least.

I understand there are places on the internet that go overboard on the privilege bit, like the Social Justice Warriors of Tumblr, but it is a real thing and does exist.

    Were I a woman, I would feel patronized by this,

Well, you're not, I am, and I don't. It's not just about women being equal. It's about overcoming ingrained structures of discrimination, whether conscious or not, and you can't simply do that because eventually "we'll all recognize the equal merit of women and it'll even out." This doesn't work with race, either. Tell that to the NYC stop-and-frisks. Tell that to black men who get pulled over or searched "randomly" multiple times within a year. Tell it to the fact that women are still making less than men. Oh, you tell me that’s because women were discouraged from taking STEM majors? I believe we would call that institutional discrimination, actually! That would be the term for this.

    Rich white men (Who only a few years ago were broke, white, boys)

Wealth stays with wealth. 2

    Second point, this is Tumblr-activist mentality at it's[sic] finest.

Oh. Oh wow. So much doge. You've lost me here. If you think this is Tumblr-activist mentality at its finest, you don't spend a lot of time on Tumblr. Or better. This article is thought-out, reasonable, perhaps anecdotal, but based on reality. Tumblr-"activism" at its finest is anything but. This comparision deliberately skews the rational, reasonable stance of this article to make it seem less credible.

    are actively trying to keep anyone in a position of minority out of their field, when that's simply untrue

No, it's not. There's no accusation here that it's deliberate. There's simply an observation of a phenomenon that is probably a result of ingrained societal structures and expectations, which seems pretty clear when the author starts talking about magazine covers and normative culture. He's talking about inherent societal structure, not deliberate "boys' club" exclusion - though that might be happening too. No one put up a sign on Bitcoin and said "Boys Only." That doesn't mean it didn't happen anyway.

ixnar  ·  2385 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I was going to write some kind of thoughtful reply to this, but I'll just say this: your post reeks of the kind of "old boys' club" mentality and unexamined privilege that sadly plagues IT. Specifically you're doing the same kind of passive "nobody's stopping you" thinking that the post itself criticizes

OftenBen  ·  2385 days ago  ·  link  ·  

As 'Old Boys Club' ish as it seems, my first point about the availability of BTC isn't some jaded opinion It's a fact, that anyone who wants to, can open up their laptop, purchase a few bitcoins, and no one has to know a thing about them. It's a passive 'nobody's stopping you' because there is no one standing between a person, and their bitcoin. By implying that aren't you denying people agency? Aren't you denying their ability to make their own decisions and determine their own future?

ixnar  ·  2385 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Yes, nothing technically prevents women from spending their money and time on bitcoin. But the article is about bitcoin's social problems (and by extension those of IT)

OftenBen  ·  2385 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The vibe I still get from this whole thread is one that almost completely disregards individual agency. Isn't the social problem the fact that, even with the ability to do so, women aren't participating in BTC?

ixnar  ·  2385 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Why indeed

Saouka  ·  2385 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Aight, I'll bite.

What does Privilege mean to you? I've seen the word thrown around on this site and Reddit a fair few times, and for the most part it's just used as a way of making an argument seem less legitimate by association.

OftenBen  ·  2385 days ago  ·  link  ·  

When I see it I read it as 'Because you are a White Anglo Saxon (raised Protestant) Male you opinion is invalid on issues of Gender/Minority, because everything was handed to you on a silver platter.'

_refugee_  ·  2385 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Clearly you're not even approaching this with a mind towards reality or what the term actually means. Privilege isn't intended to be taken personally, but it remains a fact. It doesn't mean your opinion is invalid. Have you ever read this?

Meadester  ·  2385 days ago  ·  link  ·  

A lot of what is mentioned in that article is outdated but I will grant that non-whites still have some disadvantages in American and other Western societies. The thing is most people have disadvantages of one sort or another. For example, I am learning disabled which caused me great difficulties as a child; as an adult, I have mostly learned to compensate for it but there are times when I face difficulties most people wouldn't. But "privilege" in the "Social Justice" sense creates a false dichotomy between "privileged" and "oppressed" where the "oppressed" are allowed to be as annoying and obnoxious, and as whiny about demanding accommodations as they want, while the "privileged" are just supposed to shut up and listen. Note accommodations are not always wrong or unreasonable, but they can be, and even when they are not the rights of those who make the accommodations should still be considered.

This is especially true since, most of the so-called "privileged oppressors" are disadvantaged in their own way, or in leftspeak, "oppressed along a different axis." I know this is supposedly covered by "intersectionality" but in practice all that usually amounts to is Oppression Olympics. Is a straight, black man in a wheelchair oppressed enough to tell a white lesbian to stop whining and playing P.C. police or vice-verse?

What is more along sexual lines the privileged vs. oppressed concept becomes especially muddled since, while there is a case to be made for male privilege, there is a similar case that can be made for female privilege:


Of course, there's the now-cliched reply "That's not female privilege that's benevolent sexism." This is based on the idea that men make the rules and give women special protection because they are seen as weak. This ignores the fact that "men" as a whole do not make the rules. Many of them have evolved over time as norms that both sexes accepted and the ones that were intentional were made by elites. Elites are mostly men, but most men are not members of the elite. And there are some women among the elite (and have been in many times and places throughout history, even if not all). These can often include wives and lovers of powerful men who share in many of the benefits of such men while often enjoying few of the risks. Aside from that whether it is "privilege" or "benevolent sexism" the results for most men and most women are the same.

TL/DR We all face obstacles. I'm willing to help you overcome yours, if you're willing to help me with mine, but I don't have time for people who whine about how I'm "oppressing" them with my "privilege".

OftenBen  ·  2385 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I haven't read it, but I will, and I'll edit this later to respond.

_refugee_  ·  2385 days ago  ·  link  ·  

For what it's worth ,the article I linked is basically Ground 0 for all privlege arguments. It is impossible to talk about privilege without indirectly talking about this article and what this article established. It is a great starting point if you want to learn about what people actually mean when they are being sane and talking about privilege. I hope you find something in it that gives you a better understanding of what the term actually attempts to define.

OftenBen  ·  2385 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    being sane and talking about privilege

    being sane

That's the hard part for me, distinguishing between people with a valid point and radicals, they use a lot of the same vocabulary. And I've read the article, and it's going to take me a while to appropriately digest it.

One point that I still haven't had addressed in any substantial way is the topic of Individual Agency. It seems to me like in the effort to not offend anyone and 'include' everyone, and speaking in generalities, statistics and history, we ignore the idea of self-determination. If a person WANTS to make a CHOICE, even if you don't think their choice is progressive or even healthy, don't you have to let them self-determinate? To use the most stereotypical example I can think of at the moment, why is one allowed to tell the girl who wants to design clothing that she is wrong for wanting that because it enforces THE PATRIARCHY and she should force herself into STEM fields because it's the 'progressive' thing to do, when what she wants to do is design clothes?

Is it possible that instead of 'breaking down' things, we can, as a society encourage growth in areas where we desire it instead? To put an adage to it, "The grass is greenest where you water it most."

JakobVirgil  ·  2385 days ago  ·  link  ·  

the radicals are the ones with the valid points.

_refugee_  ·  2385 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    why is one allowed to tell the girl who wants to design clothing that she is wrong for wanting that because it enforces THE PATRIARCHY and she should force herself into STEM fields because it's the 'progressive' thing to do, when what she wants to do is design clothes?

Answer: one isn't. This is as anti-feminist as not allowing girls into STEM fields. Unfortuntately, some splinter groups of "feminism" say these things. However, feminism and other equal rights movements are about giving girls the choice to do whatever it is they want, not "anything that advances women in various fields."

OftenBen  ·  2385 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Gotcha. So, moving forward then, how do we address issues of gender inequality (and by extension general minority) in professional settings in a mature manner that doesn't disregard history, but also doesn't use it as an excuse to bully, exact revenge, or create new artificial 'majority' positions?

Edit* to include a more on topic question.

Since we agree no one person is 'at fault' for the current lack of women involved in BTC, whose responsibility is it to promote more even representation? Where are these women to come from who would be interested and invested in such a thing?

_refugee_  ·  2385 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  

The thing is, we don't know the difference between women and minorities who don't get involved in a certain field (using "field" loosely to include bitcoin) as opposed to those who have been discouraged from that field via societal pressures or even direct discrimination. It is mentioned elsewhere in this thread that it has been shown that job/class candidates with equal grades, degrees, and schools, but different genders, have different acceptance ratios. We are assuming that Bitcoin probably holds true to this standard as well. After all, there is no logical reason that women wouldn't be about as equally interested in Bitcoin. There is no such thing as a field that men are naturally drawn to vs. that women are naturally drawn to. I do not believe that women are naturally "nurterers" any more so than men, for instance; I do not believe that women are naturally drawn more to teaching or to teaching the youth, even though they tend to be overrepresented in lower education (but underrepresented in upper education, where, by the way, there is more associated prestige - hmmmmmm).

Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that these women already exist in respect to Bitcoin, but for some reason or another have opted out of exploring their interest. So, whose responsibility is it to promose more even representation? Why, if it is society's fault, then it is society's responsiblity, which means in turn it is everyone's responsibility to promote more even representation. You do this by treating women and minorities as equals. Every day, every time you interact with them. You do this by respecting individuals of the LGBT spectrum; instead of asking men about their wife when you see a wedding band, ask about their "spouse." (That's just a very small example; it doesn't apply directly but I wanted to point out, it's not just women. It's not just the visible minorities. It's the LGBT crew too, and I mean every letter of that spectrum.) You do this by monitoring your thoughts as well as your actions and you do this realizing that you are not perfect and probably don't realize ways in which you may be discriminating (which the privilege article should help any reader realize) and looking for those and trying to stop those.

You do it by speaking up when you hear other people discriminating in the workplace. Or when you see it.

There are 2 women on my company's senior leadership panel or whatever they call themselves, and 6 men. All are white. I got an opportunity to talk one-on-one with one of the women and I told her I wanted to see more women. I told her I knew that this was as much a product of availability as anything else but I told her that as a woman, it would be more comforting to me to see a more equal distribution. And she told me she also wanted to see more diversity; more color, more LGBT people. I realize that in order for someone to get to senior leadership, they need to climb up the lower rungs first - I'm willing to do that. I know that it's nothing against the 6 men who got to those positions, that they may not be racist in any way at all, and she assured me that they were actually quite accepting of minorities and so on. I don't have a problem with all those old white men. I have a problem with the fact that the given standard for senior leadership is "old white man." I want to change that. I'm willing to do it myself.

Blind interviews if you have to, if we're talking about jobs. Blind and non-vocal. Of course, that's not really possible.

It should be a sad fact that it was no small comfort to me that when I got my first job, all my interviews were conducted over the phone, and not face-to-face. I repeatedly turned to this fact as reassurance that I had indeed earned my position, inasmuch as I could. I'm not a Person of Color (PoC) but I do know we judge people based on their appearance, especially women. I was glad to know it wasn't a factor with me.

Meadester  ·  2384 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Blind interviews if you have to, if we're talking about jobs. Blind and non-vocal

Blind and non-vocal is exactly how it works with bitcoin. In the vast majority of cases bitcoins are bought, sold, or used to buy and sell products buy people who have no idea of each other's race, sex, or other superficial characteristics. Anyone claiming discrimination in the bitcoin world is just wallowing in their own sense of victimhood, or trying to promote the idea of victimhood for others in order to be a white knight, like the author of the blog originally linked to.

_refugee_  ·  2382 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Oh, is that right ? Again, remember we're talking about people who show up in the Bitcoin culture - the original article is also about a Bitcoin meet-up/social gathering of some sort.

Meadester  ·  2379 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I did overgeneralize. I may have been overly blunt in the way I stated my case too. I'm sure there are cases, in face to face Bitcoin meetups of women and others who don't fit the typical "tech geek" mold being not treated properly. The post you linked to seems to be an example of that and she may have some legitimate complaints, but by her own admission she experienced some minor discomfort not life-shattering trauma. She has not let it keep her away from future Bitcoin meetups and urges other women not to let it keep them away either.

My point was that it is possible to succeed in the Bitcoin world without ever going to a meetup, in fact hardly ever leaving your home (not that I'd recommend that). So the culture of the meet ups is really only slightly relevant, especially since any splinter group that wants to could organize their own.

Saouka  ·  2385 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm not going to question the term has been thrown around poorly in arguments; it has and it shouldn't. It doesn't stop it being a useful tool that people discard far too frequently.

Privilege as a term is designed to make people aware of where their benefits might make them unlikely to notice problems. It doesn't mean they're better than everyone, and one privilege isn't the be all and end all of comparison. As so frequently pointed out, some starving African children are able bodied, but they're really not doing great. White, middle class males don't get literally everything either, but they have advantages and disadvantages in ways they're not aware of.

I can walk around and I have no issues with getting around London, and as such I don't really notice when a place doesn't have disabled access. I'm privileged because I don't need to notice this kind of thing and I don't know what it's like when someone refuses to make somewhere accessible because it's too expensive, or not structurally possible, and I don't know what it's like to have that life. This doesn't mean my opinion is invalid if I said "Hey, that building doesn't have access, but it totally should. What gives?" and it doesn't mean it's invalid when I say "It seems pointless to have disabled access there; it's unnecessary and far too expensive. Why not this instead?"

It is unlikely though that I'll ever be in a position where I can explain what's difficult about life in a wheelchair though, 'cos I don't live like that. There's gonna be a load of minor things that I never thought about, and to say "Well I know what it's like, and I think if this happened it would solve your problems" IS patronising. Sure, I might have done the research, studied it for years, and I might _genuinely_ know what would help. It's just straight out unlikely, and when people say certain things, the fact that they were privileged in this way shows.

I'm not privileged in the fact I'm transgender and that's pretty difficult some of the time. My life isn't shite because of it, actually being white and middle class has made some of it a breeze in ways that other people aren't so lucky to have. One of the key issues is that going to the bathroom is a big deal - most places have one gender or the other and going in the boys results in bad things and going in the girls also results in bad things. To me, most people are privileged in the fact that's never a thought to them. Don't make 'em better or worse people, just means that it's a bit easier for them for that particular bit of life. There's a lot of little things there that you won't think about, so when someone speaks up for me and says "The issue that Transgender people need solving is X", without asking someone living that, it's a bit weird. Yes, the NHS queues are terrible and that'd be nice to have solved, but in reality what I would prefer at the moment is a standardised manual for transgender patients so that I know if my rights are being violated when a doctor insists I have to strip down. Again, your views aren't invalid, it's just difficult for you to speak about and frustrating when my views are shouted down when it's something so personal.

Returning to gender, there are a lot of things you won't notice because you're male. That's not your fault, privilege was never meant to be about blaming people for things. It's just that it is easier for men to get onto these STEM courses, as you say, but not that it's the easiest thing ever. Rich White Men don't go out of their way to prevent women getting on the courses - no one is suggesting that for a minute. The article, and I've only glanced over it, seems to suggest that men select men for these jobs without considering that they're being sexist, it's just inherent. There's a few articles on the internet about Academic sexism where they submit two fake students for the same course, same credentials exactly, just different gender. The women are less likely to be accepted. On the streets, black men get random stop and search more than white men. We're not going out of our way to blame white men here - all we're saying is that there's a problem, and it's not obvious to you if you don't live it.