I am starting to get overly sensitive about the use of gender specific terms in technical blogs. I really don’t mean for this to happen but tonight, when reading Schwern’s use.perl journal, I did wonder why he had to use the phrase “Gentlemen, start your RSS readers” as the word “gentlemen” makes me feel excluded. I assume that this is based on a quote “Gentlemen, start your engines” and I know that Schwern is not in any way saying that women shouldn’t subscribe to his RSS feed but I did notice it – and I’m not convinced I would have a year ago. So something has changed.
It could simply be that studying language has made me more aware of the words that people use or that in 2007 I read a lot of posts about gender and sexism. It could also be because Schwern’s post is about a new blog that discusses geek communication which made me look more critically at how he was communicating the news.
I don’t find the phrase offensive but it did make me stop and read the line again and make me wonder if there was a better way to have said it.