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Red Team, Blue Team: the Only Woman On the Team

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the perspective-shifting dept.

Security 247

ancientribe writes "Cyber security pro Kerstyn Clover in this Dark Reading post shares some rare insight into what it's like to be a woman in the field. She ultimately found her way to her current post as a member of the incident response and forensics team at SecureState, despite the common societal hurdles women face today in the STEM field: 'I taught myself some coding and computer repair in probably the most painstaking ways possible, but my experiences growing up put me at a disadvantage that I am still working to overcome,' she writes."

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I'm glad she's working hard to make it work (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46112189)

I'm glad to hear she's working hard to make it work as an equal among her peers, but when does she show her tits?

Re:I'm glad she's working hard to make it work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46112277)

When she comes home. To herself and her preferred partners. Are you any different with your private parts?

Re:I'm glad she's working hard to make it work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46112319)

Bring out the electron microscope...

Re: I'm glad she's working hard to make it work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46112357)

I'll have you know, you'll only need an optical microscope. Smartass.

Re:I'm glad she's working hard to make it work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46112327)

You have just proved her point. Could have been a little more creative at it though.

Picture or GTFO (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46112229)

Picture or GTFO

Re:Picture or GTFO (1)

icebike (68054) | about 6 months ago | (#46112341)

Too dumb to click a link, yet somehow able to post?!
You wouldn't understand it anyway son.

Blah Blah Blah (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46112241)

Who cares. Women can do anything men can do, so why is this a big deal.

Article Summary;

"I am a woman, therefore I deserve special treatment. All men have it easy because they are men. I have statistics to prove that I deserve special consideration because there are less women then men in certain fields."

Re:Blah Blah Blah (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46112347)

Yeah, I kinda cringed at reading the article. From her being a "goth" in high school to discovering her calling though female characters on CSI and NCIS. It smacks of every other angry loser who entered a security-related career to validate their teenage angst by busting people. Another strong likelihood is that she grew up in a strict family, probably Catholic, and in her childhood rebelled only as much as her parents would let her. Like most of the type, she has likely transferred her notion of overbearing father figure onto the institution of security.

That being said, females in the field have the potential to be more successful at social engineering/pen-testing due to their sexual charm (see: Russian KGB "Cardinals"), but me saying that would be sexist, so I won't.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re: Blah Blah Blah (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46112591)

So what's your excuse for being such an assuming asshole?

Re: Blah Blah Blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46112807)

What is she assuming?

Re: Blah Blah Blah (0, Flamebait)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 6 months ago | (#46113513)

I saw things she said like this:

"The amount of times that I tried to venture in and explore something and got pushed or scared off"

. She used words like "worried and scared" multiple times.

WTF? Is this something inherit in girls? I mean, most guys I know, if they find something that interests them, there is nothing that would frighten them, scare them about doing it (unless maybe that interest was juggling 'live running" chainsaws).

I think maybe this is the problem, that women are worried about what the world thinks of them, how things or people "feel", when it comes to interests, hobbies or jobs.

This just doesn't seem to even enter the picture in general with men.

Frankly thinking like that seems 100% alien to me, and hence it really stood out whilst reading her article.

Scared to be interested in computers? Seriously?

Re:Blah Blah Blah (1)

operagost (62405) | about 6 months ago | (#46113075)

I can't remember many female role models of my own, except that I was a goth/punk in high school, so Abby from NCIS was a frequent comparison when I told people what I wanted to do with my life.

I was a daft/punk in high school. I didn't do well because the electronica blasting inside my helmet made it hard for me to hear the teacher.

She doesn't seeem to be a slouch. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46112513)

From her bio:

...Clover graduated high school at the age of 15, and finished her studies in Digital Forensic Science at Defiance College by the time she was 19.

I mean you guys are such male chauvinist pigs!

It sounds like sugar tits here is one hell of a smart broad! And I can see that because I am a male feminist and you guys could learn a few things from me!

-Douglas Reynholm

Re:Blah Blah Blah (4, Funny)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 6 months ago | (#46112613)

"'I taught myself some coding and computer repair"

Ah yes, that tough hurdle that few women, or indeed men, manage to accomplish.

Re:Blah Blah Blah (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46112907)

She never asked for special treatment.

She told about her experiences and about her being discouraged by people who thought she shouldn't be doing what she's doing because she was a girl.

The result of the article was that they were having an even to create awareness about the field, and to offer support to any girls who would like to help but might feel uncomfortable because they're girls too, and they might feel that girls aren't supposed to do these things.

In my mind, this is some of the best kind of action to try and help women fairly get into the field. She's reaching out to girls who are already interested in the field, but nervous about how they might be perceived, and she's offering to support them. She's not pushing for special treatment, she's not pushing for special hiring practices. She's not even claiming things aren't fair.

She's saying: "I'm a woman in this field, it was culturally hard for me to get into here because I'm a woman, but I'm enjoying it and I got to be pretty good at it. If you are interested in the field but are afraid to pursue it because you're a woman, we're hosting an event for men and women where you can learn about it, and drop me a line so I can give you some support."

Re:Blah Blah Blah (4, Interesting)

operagost (62405) | about 6 months ago | (#46113015)

It takes a special kind of cognitive dissonance to claim women can do anything men can do, then ask for special treatment so that you can prove it.

I wouldn't laud her her success as a female security professional-- because that's BS-- but because she has done so at the age of 21. That's the more impressive part.

Re:Blah Blah Blah (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 6 months ago | (#46113093)

"I am a woman, therefore I deserve special treatment. All men have it easy because they are men. I have statistics to prove that I deserve special consideration because there are less women then men in certain fields."

The statistics are that women make up nearly 52% of the general population. They make up 53% of all college graduates. Yet they make up an average of just 15% in STEM fields. On average, they make just $58,000 a year compared to $85,000 for men. And while on average, women have been improving their numbers in STEM fields, it's gone the other way in IT; Women received 29.6 percent of computer science B.A.â(TM)s in 1991, compared with 18.2 percent in 2010. Up here in Minnesota where I live, women make up less than 5% of senior IT positions.

You say "Who cares" and that gets you a big +5, and that should be a big +500 indicator of why the problem is so huge. It's precisely because of attitudes like this. You should care. Right now, some black person out there might have the cure for cancer, but society will never get it because he didn't have the money to finish college. Right now, some woman out there has a solution in her head that'll take CPU performance to the next level because of a radical new way of thinking about the problem, but she went into nursing instead.

Every time you create an inequality in society, we all lose out. You should care because putting the most qualified person in a position where they can do the most good, benefits all of us more than the unequal way things are done today.

Do women deserve special consideration? No. Do women deserve equal consideration? Yes! Your post makes it plain exactly what's wrong with our industry: You've confused one for the other, and you don't even see it in your own comments. It's easy for a woman to see, but for a man, if this little microcosm on an internet forum is any indication, it's quite difficult. Nobody until now even pointed out the incongruency.

Re:Blah Blah Blah (2)

operagost (62405) | about 6 months ago | (#46113147)

If women make up the minority in one field, then they make the majority in another.

I'm not sure where we got this idea that even distribution among all possible occupations was optimal. 15% is a bit low, but not a red flag like, say, 1.5% would be. Is anyone super-concerned that most nurses and schoolteachers are still women? Or that most construction workers and truck drivers are still men?

Re:Blah Blah Blah (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 6 months ago | (#46113479)

If women make up the minority in one field, then they make the majority in another.

Yes, well... I suppose if Job A makes $100,000 a year and Job B makes $20,000 a year, if 50 people from Group A are in Job A, and 50 people from Group B are in Job B, then we have no reason to suggest that something could be amiss here.

Re:Blah Blah Blah (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 6 months ago | (#46113509)

If women make up the minority in one field, then they make the majority in another.

That logic only holds if you consider every occupation a person has to be "a field". (And if you assume there's about the same # of women and men, which I'd say is close enough for the sake of discussion.)

For example, consider a population where there are three groups of people: carpenters, plumbers, and stay-at-home parents. If you consider stay-at-home parenting to not be a "field", and the vast vast majority of women are stay at home parents, then each of the two "fields" (carpentry and plumbing) could be majority male.

Re:Blah Blah Blah (2)

ravenlord_hun (2715033) | about 6 months ago | (#46113369)

Care to spell out the laws that prohibit them from entering the field?

And your hypothetical example of "OMG A PERSON IN THE RIGHT POSITION COULD BE DOING SOMETHING" is flat-out horrible. For one, if the girl with the most radical CPU idea went to nursing.... how do you even know she'd have come up with the idea in the first place? You make it sound like she invented it but was turned down - when in reality, the most qualified person could well be filling the role; because, well, she's a nurse and actually has no idea about CPUs.

Seriously, where does that point of yours even go? Have everyone master every single profession, just so we can be sure we're not missing on any talent?

Re:Blah Blah Blah (3, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 6 months ago | (#46113461)

Care to spell out the laws that prohibit them from entering the field?

I wasn't aware that the law was the only way someone could be discriminated against. Thanks for reminding me of that. I retract all previous statements. We licked that whole racist problem the day we made it illegal. Nothing to see here, move along.

And your hypothetical example of "OMG A PERSON IN THE RIGHT POSITION COULD BE DOING SOMETHING" is flat-out horrible.

Yes, I can understand how judging people on the basis of the abilities, instead of their sex organs, could be a confusing concept to some.

Seriously, where does that point of yours even go? Have everyone master every single profession, just so we can be sure we're not missing on any talent?

When we judge people only by the strength of their contributions, and give them equal opportunity to pursue the fields of their choice, then we have met our social obligation. But until our expectations of others are truly equal, any answer to this question will simply reflect our own prejudices.

Re:Blah Blah Blah (1)

tlambert (566799) | about 6 months ago | (#46113475)

The statistics are that women make up nearly 52% of the general population. ... Yet they make up an average of just 15% in STEM fields. On average, they make just $58,000 a year compared to $85,000 for men.

52% is close enough to half in the noise. Effectively, what you are saying with these two sentences is:

$85,000 - $58,000 = $27,000
100% - 15% = 85%
85% - 15% = 70%
$27,000 x 70% = $18,900

So STEM jobs are worth, on average, and additional $18,900 per year. Looks like the people not going into STEM careers are picking the wrong major.

Re:Blah Blah Blah (4, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 6 months ago | (#46113175)

I am a woman, therefore I deserve special treatment. All men have it easy because they are men.

Have you stopped to consider how your workplace and career would be different if all your instructors, colleagues, and entire management chain were women? And, every time you pointed out that you should not be expected to think and behave exactly like them, they mocked and derided you for "demanding special treatment?"

Re:Blah Blah Blah (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46113465)

Can always depend on a white knight to white knight.

Guess what, all my relatives were women. Grew up as the only boy (middle child) in a household of 6 women. Dad died early soon after my last sister was born or I'm sure I'd have more sisters (and hopefully brothers).

I guess that made my life was hard, cry for me Argentina. Waahh wahh, whine.

And, every time you pointed out that you should not be expected to think and behave exactly like them, they mocked and derided you for "demanding special treatment?"

And that totally what teachers do.

Re:Blah Blah Blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46113285)

Considering that the "special treatment" she's asking for is for people to actually encourage women to go into the STEM fields, i'm having a hard time classifying any of the critical posts i'm reading here here as anything other than misogynist bullshit.

I thought there were two... (1)

Zephyn (415698) | about 7 months ago | (#46112251)

Are we not counting Tex, or Griff's sister?

Re:I thought there were two... (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#46112841)

Are we not counting Tex, or Griff's sister?

Don't forget Carolina! That bitch is intense.

The hurdles are imaginary (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46112259)

Every geek who is interested in programming taught themselves.

Re:The hurdles are imaginary (2, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 6 months ago | (#46112335)

A universal claim backed by absolutely zero evidence? Why, I never.

Re:The hurdles are imaginary (1)

DexterIsADog (2954149) | about 6 months ago | (#46112543)

A universal claim backed by absolutely zero evidence? Why, I never.

Can you really call it anecdotal if I say that I taught myself? It's still a data point of one.

However, I was a terrible programmer until I learned some of the core techniques and disciplines in college (we barely had computers at my high school in the 70's). I include logical and critical thinking, some of which I got from non-science courses. Liberal arts education is extraordinarily valuable.

Re:The hurdles are imaginary (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46112743)

> Liberal arts education is extraordinarily valuable.

What methodology do you use to measure this value?

Pro-tip: your own experience isn't statistically significant.

Re:The hurdles are imaginary (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#46112851)

A universal claim backed by absolutely zero evidence? Why, I never.

Can you really call it anecdotal if I say that I taught myself?

Yea, that's kinda the definition of 'anecdotal:' Something you claim but have no empirical data to back up.

Re:The hurdles are imaginary (1)

icebike (68054) | about 6 months ago | (#46112885)

However, I was a terrible programmer until I learned some of the core techniques and disciplines in college

Everybody is a terrible programmer until they learn a better way. But those better ways are forced on them by bigger projects, almost universally on the job. Nobody comes out of a programming course ready to write the next inventory management system for a multi-national corporation.

Every carpenter started as a terrible hack with a hammer in one hand and scrap wood in the other. The dog house was crap, but the kid was only 9.

If a hammer and nails were never among the "toys" available, the spatula at Burger King might be all that kid ever learns to swing.

Re:The hurdles are imaginary (1)

Zalbik (308903) | about 6 months ago | (#46113077)

Can you really call it anecdotal if I say that I taught myself?

Yes, given that's exactly what an anecdote is. And evidence derived from such is precisely "anecdotal evidence".

I include logical and critical thinking, some of which I got from non-science courses. Liberal arts education is extraordinarily valuable.

Unfortunately apparently none of those courses were English courses. Learning what words mean is also extraordinarily valuable.

Re:The hurdles are imaginary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46113395)

If you wanted to learn logic and critical thinking you should have majored in physics. And based on on your statement: "Can you really call it anecdotal if I say that I taught myself? It's still a data point of one."

Your liberal education didn't do a very good job of what you claim.

Re:The hurdles are imaginary (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 6 months ago | (#46113533)

The universal claim was "EVERY geek who is interested in programming taught themselves."

That's equivalent to saying that of all the geeks interested in programming, not a single one of them (didn't teach him/herself).

Demonstrating that there exist at least one geek who taught himself programming does not prove the universal claim originally stated.

Intangible != Imaginary. (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | about 6 months ago | (#46112415)

The hurdles are real. If you are not doing what society approves of for your gender/race/age/etc then you will face more problems than if you are conforming to society's expectations.

And you will have less support.

Just because the hurdles will be intangible does not make the imaginary. Even the best of the best need a social structure in order to feed themselves and promote their work.

Re:Intangible != Imaginary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46112555)

So? Jump over the damn hurdles.

Re:Intangible != Imaginary. (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 6 months ago | (#46112641)

Society these days has no expect ions either way with women and computers, there have been lots of actors portraying quite capable females in computer / science roles (Bones for instance).

In IT there are a lot of female developers, who work just as well as male counterparts.

Re:Intangible != Imaginary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46112867)

In IT there are a lot of female developers, who work just as well as male counterparts.

There are not "a lot" of female developers. And the ones that exist are, in my hiring experiences, underqualified and demanding of much higher salary than is reasonable for their skillset. A female junior developer candidate in the Detroit area with NO experience outside of college demanding at least $75k/yr? Hahaha, yeah, thanks but no thanks.

Re:Intangible != Imaginary. (1)

icebike (68054) | about 6 months ago | (#46112933)

I don't know personally deal with ions on computers, but I'm pretty sure there are computer jobs in chemistry that deal with ions.

There are also a lot of computer jobs in the television industry.

The sad part is those people living and learning life through TV shows.

Re:Intangible != Imaginary. (1)

GoCrazy (1608235) | about 6 months ago | (#46113083)

The reason there aren't a lot of women in STEM fields is the intersection of two problems: 1. We teach kids that science and technology is boring and hard but is a good money making career. 2. Middle class women and up in almost all cultures didn't need to work, and that carries over to now where there's no pressure for women to be breadwinners. In the US, women have more advanced degrees than men, but what are they all in? The soft sciences. The only hurdle to her is a comfortable lifestyle.

Re:Intangible != Imaginary. (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 6 months ago | (#46113251)

The hurdles are real. If you are not doing what society approves of for your gender/race/age/etc then you will face more problems than if you are conforming to society's expectations.

And where do you get this notion that "society" does not "approve" of women in STEM fields? I don't see any evidence of that, just the opposite. Yes, there are disproportionally more men in those fields, but "society" seems to be wringing their hands in distress about it, not smiling and nodding.

Just as a demonstration, I Googled "women in STEM" and "men in STEM". The "women" search yielded a LOT more results (284K v. 201K for men), and 9 out of 10 of the "men" results turned out to be articles pointing out the gender gap and asking for solutions.

Frankly, what we need is a concerted effort to get more people educated in STEM and at least given interesting opportunities to learn more about science and tech in general, and stop trying to always "dumb it down" for the populace, and less focus on gender and racial differences.

You're telling geeks about social acceptance? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46113271)

The hurdles are real. If you are not doing what society approves of for your gender/race/age/etc then you will face more problems than if you are conforming to society's expectations.

And you will have less support.

Are you fucking serious? Are you really fucking serious? You've posted this on a geek board? The same guys and girls who grew up being ridiculed and tortured in highschool and you want to lecture them on problems, comforming and lack of support? GET A FUCKING CLUE.

Re:Intangible != Imaginary. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46113327)

The hurdles are real. If you are not doing what society approves of for your gender/race/age/etc then you will face more problems than if you are conforming to society's expectations.

And you will have less support.

Just because the hurdles will be intangible does not make the imaginary. Even the best of the best need a social structure in order to feed themselves and promote their work.

BULLSHIT.

Society expects you to be employed. That's it. The rest is on you to find happiness in your chosen field, and I sure as shit don't let those in said career field dictate my happiness. I'm either happy doing something or I'm not. Those around me don't dictate that to a level of career manipulation.

Re:The hurdles are imaginary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46112463)

They probably mean the hurdles of being a woman in a male-dominated field full of mysogyny. But now that we're discussing that, some people don't follow the 60's geek stereotype.

Re:The hurdles are imaginary (1)

lgw (121541) | about 6 months ago | (#46112561)

Every geek who is interested in programming taught themselves.

True, but this has become rare among coders now that software development is the best paying and most prestigious "salary job" in many parts of the world.

I recently did a batch of interviews for intern hiring (for coding), and something remarkable has changed in the US. For the first time in the past 20 years or so, there was a significant presence of self-taught geeks who didn't come through the traditional degree path - and all of them were women.

It's a quite noticeable change from my perspective - not only is it great to see self-taught programmer geeks at the intern level again (mostly in the past 20 years the few I've seen have come over from IT 5-10 years in), but this was a nearly all-male crowd 20 years ago, and that has definitely changed.

Re:The hurdles are imaginary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46112755)

I wanna know how this happens. I'm self taught and have never even landed an interview, HR shoots me down before I can talk to anyone who knows anything I can speak about.

The same question gets me every time. "So where did you get your CS / CP degree from?"

Re:The hurdles are imaginary (1)

lgw (121541) | about 6 months ago | (#46112829)

I got my first coding job with the most exploitive company in town, and was happy to break into the field, but then I didn't have any degree. What you want to find is a company that hires at entry level based on some sort of testing, rather than an HR screen. For entry level jobs companies need some sort of screen to eliminate the 99% of candidates applying to companies seemingly at random, you just need to find one where the screen isn't HR keyword matching.

For internships, the biggest companies look for top students in related technical fields, but the total number of such slots each year is pretty small. Landing an internship interview that way (which opens all the doors you need) requires luck to match your talent. You might also check whatever campus hiring board (and the college paper, and craigslist) for small companies looking for anyone who can code at all for bottom dollar.

Re:The hurdles are imaginary (1)

icebike (68054) | about 6 months ago | (#46112695)

Every geek who is interested in programming taught themselves.

Yes, I don't know why this was mentioned either.

But perhaps its instructive that she thought this was somehow different for her, than it was for any other person learning to program.

Maybe it is indicative of the root of the problem, and that problem is that young women learn very early to EXPECT to have knowledge handed to them instead of digging it out by themselves. Why is this?

Give your daughters a soldering iron or chemistry set or microscope for Christmas. She's had enough princess dolls already. Give her a tool set, Let her take stuff apart. Even if it was a perfectly good clock radio or toaster, or a seldom used printer.
Grandmas are the worst offenders in this regard. Dremel tool, Grandma, not another Dream Big doll.

The Social Hurdles Women face in CS: men are nerdy (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46112267)

Let's real-talk for a minute.

Women are attracted to fields in direct proportion to the way that fields are either wholly feminized: teaching, social work, health care, etc. or have massively dominant Alpha males: Physicians, the military, etc.

So to make CS female-friendly either the natural inhabitants, nerdy White guys with an attraction to abstract systems and not much social Alpha male dominance, have to be scourged and exiled from it; and the whole field turned into a gay-female preserve, or massively Alpha male dominant types attracted into it.

Either way, that would turn CS into a joke. NO code would run, nothing would get done, we'd go back to slide rules and logarithmic books. CS depends on a constant stream of nerdy, mostly White, mostly young, men who take absolute pleasure in solving abstract problems. Women overwhelmingly are not made that way, abstract problem solving is about as attractive to them as a Baseball Stat convention or Star Trek convention. Alpha males are good social dominance, nerdy abstract problem solving not so much. Even the most Alpha of nerds, like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates or Larry Ellison pale in charisma and dominance compared to a garden variety Alpha like actor Hugh Grant. Who managed to get two women pregnant around the same time and have three kids in 18 months by them.

Female-friendly: emphasis on feeeeelings, consensus, political correctness, male nerdiness extinguishing, etc. is incompatible with CS. Just as Alpha Male charisma and dominance is incompatible with lone, nerdy, problem solving.

That's just human nature. Time to accept it for what it is.

Re:The Social Hurdles Women face in CS: men are ne (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46112419)

What utter tripe. I hope you're not in CS but sadly I suspect you are.
Ugh I feel sorry for you.

Re:The Social Hurdles Women face in CS: men are ne (5, Insightful)

Gavrielkay (1819320) | about 6 months ago | (#46112491)

No wonder you posted AC.

Women are often attracted to problem solving positions and intellectual pursuits. And hopefully more and more women will quit caring about stereotypes and historically approved gender roles and just get out and do the work and prove themselves. Your ridiculous analysis about what women want or look for in a career makes it a turn off to think about working with people like you who will assume the woman who wants the job must be somehow aberrant.

I've seen the reverse stereotype more often: the nerdy introverted sexually repressed male who can't string a sentence together when face to face with a customer, but still thinks he's superior because if you lock him in a dark room for 4 days he'll turn out a bit of software that is perfect in its execution except it wasn't what anyone wanted.

CS is like any other field, there are a lot of different personality types who can carve themselves out a role in which to be a solid contributor. Precious few real world problems get solved solely by the nerd in the basement.

Re:The Social Hurdles Women face in CS: men are ne (2, Insightful)

Jiro (131519) | about 6 months ago | (#46113541)

1) Women generally are less willing than men to do things that result in them becoming social outcasts as a youth. This will lead to a lot fewer girls doing things that lead them to STEM jobs later in life.
2) Women are a lot less willing to take jobs with low satisfaction and high working hours in order to get high pay. CS-related jobs, of course, tend to be like this. This effect is made even bigger by the fact that it's still, even in these liberated days, a lot more acceptable for the man to be the primary breadwinner, allowing the woman more freedom to choose a lower-paying but more satisfying job.

The company may be part of the problem... (1)

Shoten (260439) | about 7 months ago | (#46112307)

SecureState...ah, those guys. They don't seem to quite "get it." For example, they were hyping their services, in terms of benefits towards HIPAA compliance...on a LinkedIn group that was explicitly and specifically focused (and named) on NERC compliance. HIPAA is health care, NERC is power grid. Not only totally different compliance regimes, but totally different industries as well. And the regulations don't even share much commonality: HIPAA puts the main focus on privacy while NERC doesn't even mention the word (or any synonym of the word). But everyone's career has a few "stepping stone" jobs, and it can be a golden opportunity to be the smart one among a field of twits.

Re:The company may be part of the problem... (1)

l0n3s0m3phr34k (2613107) | about 6 months ago | (#46112379)

oh yeah, NERC. Man, the last place I worked violated NERC policy multiple times every day. I was contracted to do tech support for National Grid, NG never gave me the accesses I needed...my manager just gave me a list of other's logins and password. Stuff like mainframes, RSA console, AD via netIQ...I told them repeatedly that we could get in deep trouble, every time I'd mention this they would just tell me "submit this form". After the 13th time I had submitted it, I raised a bit of a fuss, and was fired within a month.

Re:The company may be part of the problem... (1)

icebike (68054) | about 6 months ago | (#46112409)

Where were you really going with this ramble?

Tech/computer specialists isn't something that is field specific. Any well rounded programmer/engineer can move from industry to industry with relative ease, in fact its pretty much a job requirement to be able to get in, get up to speed, and get productive. Its what we do.

Are Database Administrators some how different in hospitals than in power plants?

For any given sub-discipline, the job is largely the same everywhere.

Re:The company may be part of the problem... (1)

Shoten (260439) | about 6 months ago | (#46112607)

Where were you really going with this ramble?

Tech/computer specialists isn't something that is field specific. Any well rounded programmer/engineer can move from industry to industry with relative ease, in fact its pretty much a job requirement to be able to get in, get up to speed, and get productive. Its what we do.

Are Database Administrators some how different in hospitals than in power plants?

For any given sub-discipline, the job is largely the same everywhere.

When it comes to a predefined solution for compliance, portability is a major problem. You're confusing people with offerings. A chef can move between a steak house and a vegetarian restaurant with only minor training; the menu, however, cannot. This was like someone going to a Hindu place of worship and trying to serve prime rib. Would you be impressed?

Re:The company may be part of the problem... (1)

icebike (68054) | about 6 months ago | (#46112805)

This was like someone going to a Hindu place of worship and trying to serve prime rib. Would you be impressed?

I would be impressed, and even more so f they pulled if off. Hindus aren't so ignorant to demand everyone else believe their beliefs, or live their life styles. You are more likely Steakhouses in India than Bacon in Saudi Arabia.

evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46112329)

So STEM means "I taught myself some coding and computer repair" now?

Duh no need no education...

Re:evolution (4, Insightful)

CCarrot (1562079) | about 6 months ago | (#46112751)

So STEM means "I taught myself some coding and computer repair" now?

Duh no need no education...

FTFA:

After four years of school, a couple of internships, and at my present position, I can still count on my hands the number of women that have worked with me in cybersecurity and digital investigation combined.

And your credentials are...? Sounds pretty reasonable for a 21yo to me...

Also, why is it that usually intelligent, erudite men often* turn into troglodytes as soon as they find out the person they've been discussing technical topics with is female? Are we that threatening to your sense of self-worth? I can (kind of) understand being concerned about women in some more physical occupation, since without rigorous strength training the average woman generally can't bring the same sheer physical strength to the table as the average man (and I'm talking averages here, not ectomorphic men or mesomorphic women), but in STEM trades there are no such concerns. Women can do just as much mental heavy lifting as men...all it takes is a love for the field, and to kick out the 'show us yer titz' bullies.

* Often, but certainly not always. There just seems to be a higher proportion of perpetual juveniles in the STEM fields...although I suppose that perception could be due to sampling bias

Re:evolution (1, Troll)

GT66 (2574287) | about 6 months ago | (#46113123)

"Women can do just as much mental heavy lifting as men."

Bullshit because if they could, they would. I think it's pretty naïve to think that while nature made fairly substantially different hardware for substantially different purposes that it loaded exactly the same control software because it got lazy all of a sudden. Now maybe women can perform mental heavy lifting of a different sort but honestly, when they talk about patriarchy, when they talk about barriers to entry that they (for lack of understanding) call "bias," what they really mean is "our brain processes don't fit into these fields created and run by male thought processes." The proof to the fallacy of your statement is your statement needing to be made in the first place. Women can't do as much (male type) mental heavy lifting as men because if they could they would and if they were, they wouldn't be complaining about the difficulty of competing in male intellectual endeavors. The "bias" they perceive is the bias of the square peg not fitting in the round hole.

Re:evolution (3, Insightful)

CCarrot (1562079) | about 6 months ago | (#46113449)

"Women can do just as much mental heavy lifting as men."

Bullshit because if they could, they would. I think it's pretty naïve to think that while nature made fairly substantially different hardware for substantially different purposes that it loaded exactly the same control software because it got lazy all of a sudden. Now maybe women can perform mental heavy lifting of a different sort but honestly, when they talk about patriarchy, when they talk about barriers to entry that they (for lack of understanding) call "bias," what they really mean is "our brain processes don't fit into these fields created and run by male thought processes." The proof to the fallacy of your statement is your statement needing to be made in the first place. Women can't do as much (male type) mental heavy lifting as men because if they could they would and if they were, they wouldn't be complaining about the difficulty of competing in male intellectual endeavors. The "bias" they perceive is the bias of the square peg not fitting in the round hole.

Classic example of confirmation bias. It is *precisely* attitudes like these that present the 'bias' that you openly scorn. "If they could they would, but you simply can't darling, so try to find some nice steno work and leave us men to do all the thinking, mm'kay? Or better yet, go have some babies, because you know your biological clock is ticking away...here, let me help you with that, I have a couple of minutes before my next meeting..."

You can't tell me that a manager who carries your type of attitude is not going to be more critical of female employees than male ones, and more resistant to promoting them or acknowledging their achievements on par with their male counterparts. If acknowledgement does come, it's more in line with "oh wow, that's very good work for a girl! Good job!" Yeah, screw that. Perhaps your mental hole needs a dremel.

Bring on the comments... (1)

ndykman (659315) | about 6 months ago | (#46112333)

Looking forward to the posts from males dismissing her experience because it doesn't match what they believe about the industry and how it works.

Well, not really.

Re:Bring on the comments... (1)

Brian (2887359) | about 6 months ago | (#46112391)

I don't know. She talks about it being sort of 'taboo', well guess what? I'm 30 now, and in highschool when I was learning this shit, it was still "stupid nerd bullshit" (much 'safer' today - and she is 21? or was when she started at this place) Guess what? I dug deep and followed my passion anyway, because fuck 'em if they can't take a joke. It's not like taking computer courses in highschool makes you some sort of fucking alpha, lol.

Re:Bring on the comments... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46112487)

In high school you were probably still a man, who still had more privilege than your female counterparts today have.

Re:Bring on the comments... (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | about 6 months ago | (#46112721)

Lol, what privilege? There were like 5 guys into computers in my medium sized high school in 1988. We have no privileges and mostly just nerded out on our own.

The only legitimate claim of "privilege" involves wealth - as a middle class kid I had access to computers at home, a modem, and a parent willing to put up with the bullshit phone bills as I called BBS's all over creation.

Re:Bring on the comments... (2)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about 6 months ago | (#46113089)

I apologize that this sounds like a sexist rant, but it is my personal experience and opinion. I'm sorry if it's offensive.

Have to agree here, by all my accounts girls receive the privilege in high school more than guys do. I've seen it time and time again where a boy asked for help and was told to do the homework and a girl asked for help and was given the answers. Whether they want to acknowledge that or not.

When I was in Chem 11 I had my older sister as my lab partner. We did the same work, but she received better grades on labs. Apparently nice handwriting with hearts over your 'i's makes you smarter, and no I didn't have messy hand writing. I still ended up with a higher grade because when she wasn't copying my work on test our strengths and weaknesses were much more apparent.

I also remember in one particular English class having a hard time with lexical categories. The internet was in it's infancy and all I had at home was an Atari 130XE, otherwise I would have just looked it up myself when the provided material was proven inadequate. I almost failed that class in grade nine despite asking for help on multiple occasions. My sister on the other hand received extra after class tutoring as part of a special group from the teacher who turned me down. I wasn't allowed to join the group because it was a female only study group and there was no male equivalent because it was discriminatory for boys to have their own exclusive study group, which also included a teacher as an aid. I did get together with a couple of other guys that were having trouble, but weren't allowed to join the group and we fumbled our way through it together, but it would have been a lot easier if we had the additional help of someone who actually knew what they were doing.

There are many occasions growing up that boys are told they're on their own and are excluded from certain activities or out right ban from forming male only groups, where as it's perfectly acceptable for girls to form exclusive female only groups that receive special treatments. Maybe this is why there are more male "nerds". We were always outcast, something that seems to be much more rare for girls.

Re:Bring on the comments... (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about 6 months ago | (#46112401)

No one's "experiences" matter except to themselves. Everyone can fuck off and drop dead, and that means the women, children, and dolphins too.

Re:Bring on the comments... (1)

tylikcat (1578365) | about 6 months ago | (#46112459)

I hesitated a goodly while before reading the comments. Glad to see the most offensive stuff modded down, anyway.

TFA= so much bullshit (1, Flamebait)

callmetheraven (711291) | about 6 months ago | (#46112403)

I'm so sick of women crying because (generally speaking) their gender hasn't bothered to learn technology. Qualified women get hired before qualified men. Cry me fucking river you Blue/Red Bitch!

Re:TFA= so much bullshit (2)

Gavrielkay (1819320) | about 6 months ago | (#46112587)

When "generally speaking" everyone you speak to guides you towards other fields and scoffs at the notion that you might enjoy and prosper in STEM fields it isn't all that surprising that fewer women have traditionally done it. Things are changing a little bit, but only because of stories like these making people aware of how their attitudes towards women (and men sometimes) can have lasting effects. It happens to men too, when they try to break traditional gender roles and be nurses or elementary school teachers etc.

With the US falling behind in science and technology, it's time to encourage anyone who shows any interest at all in these fields to at least take a course or two and see if they like it.

We aren't all born with it (4, Insightful)

sureshot007 (1406703) | about 6 months ago | (#46112411)

From the article: "I taught myself some coding and computer repair in probably the most painstaking ways possible, but my experiences growing up put me at a disadvantage that I am still working to overcome. Throughout college, I was secretly fighting tooth and nail to understand concepts, references, and information that my classmates knew from young ages. From what I can tell, this is not uncommon."

I was a TA in college for intro CS classes, and I can tell you that not many kids understand this stuff right off the bat. Very few understood it by the end of the first semester. Most were just blindly typing and eventually, the monkeys typed Shakespeare. So, this woman not special. Nor is she special because she is a woman. In fact, I see nothing about her in this article that makes her any different from the thousands of others in the field.

Re:We aren't all born with it (3, Interesting)

jader3rd (2222716) | about 6 months ago | (#46112545)

I agree. I'm wondering what's so different from her 'most painstaking ways possible' than what the rest of those in her field did? It's very common for the majority of the students in the field to struggle to understand concepts, references and information. That's why we go to school; we don't go to school to be told things we already know.

Re:We aren't all born with it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46113215)

I also learned CS is the most painstaking way possible: a doctorate.

Fun with statistics (5, Insightful)

gr4nf (1348501) | about 6 months ago | (#46112437)

FTA:

It's worth noting that a recent study found that only 16% of female characters in movies and TV are shown to hold a job in any STEM field.

And what percentage of men in movies and TV are shown to hold a job of that kind? I'd be surprised if it was more than 20. No need to invalidate your claims by dropping useless statistics.

In fact, I think movies and TV do a remarkable job of disproportionately representing women in fields dominated by men in reality.

Re:Fun with statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46112553)

I assume that means 16% of STEM people, but that's roughly reflective of reality, so, like you, it doesn't seem like too much of a sin to me.

Re:Fun with statistics (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 6 months ago | (#46112611)

Yeah, looking at shows that are specifically about people working in STEM careers, women seem to be well represented. "Criminal Minds" isn't about STEM, but the main computer geek is a woman. "Bones" is about a woman who solves crimes using science. She also has many other women work in the lab. Recently started watching "Numbers" on Netflix, and even though the main STEM protagonist isn't a woman, there are quite a few STEM working women. I would say that shows come pretty close to overcompensating, and putting more women in these roles than one would expect.

Re:Fun with statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46112665)

FTA:

It's worth noting that a recent study found that only 16% of female characters in movies and TV are shown to hold a job in any STEM field.

While you raised a valid point about the percentage of men in such fields, I am far more interested in the discrepancy between practitioners of the arcane arts in media versus real life. From my research, I have been unable to find one confirmed school of sorcerous studies, while they seem to be numerous in movies and TV.

Re:Fun with statistics (2)

tsqr (808554) | about 6 months ago | (#46112763)

The statistic isn't useless, just misstated. The study she's talking about (referred to here [itu.int] ) actually found that out of all the STEM jobs shown in movies and TV shows, 16% of them were filled by females and 84% were filled by males. Not the same as saying 16% of female characters and 84% of male characters held STEM jobs. I'm suspicious, though, because the study also found that "No female protagonists or co leads are shown with STEM careers." I'm pretty sure that Emily Deschanel's character on Bones has a STEM job.

Re:Fun with statistics (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | about 6 months ago | (#46112857)

It's worth noting that a recent study found that only 16% of female characters in movies and TV are shown to hold a job in any STEM field.

And what percentage of men in movies and TV are shown to hold a job of that kind? I'd be surprised if it was more than 20.

Not only that, but even the 16% TV does show is actually a vast overrepresentation of reality. Last year less than 10% [directemployers.org] of all college degrees conferred were for STEM disciplines. Since STEM jobs pretty much require a degree, and less than half the workforce has one, that means the long term trend here is probably for less than 5% of the general population to have such jobs. So gender aside, 16% is huge.

Now its not unreasonable either. There are certain dramatic narrative imperatives at work here preventing depiction of a lot of more boring jobs. But still its weird to be complaining about a big overrepresentation of reality for not overrepresenting it further..

Re:Fun with statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46113181)

And that's counting Homer, Lenny, Karl, Smithers, AND Mr. Burns among "STEM Workers."

Re:Fun with statistics (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about 6 months ago | (#46113259)

Quick quiz, what percentage of women are shown to be ditch diggers, janitors, coal miners, or other relatively shitty jobs? (Not meaning to deprecate these folks, I worked as a janitor for 4 years. It's hard work.)

I mean, if you're going to insist on gender-equal representation on the sweet, white-collar consultancy-style jobs, let's make equally sure they have the crap jobs too.

Painstaking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46112457)

The most painstaking may I can think of to learn something is to apply voltages directly to my brain to directly etch the skills into my head.

And before anybody says if you operated on the brain correctly, you wouldn't be feeling any pain from it because you wouldn't be touching your pain nerve sensors... just how accurate do you think you're gonna be if you're doing self brain surgery?

It's not that bad (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46112511)

It's fine to have women in computing, but I worry about the exclusion of men from a lot of the initiatives she mentioned. If you have an analytic mind, it doesn't matter if you're female, but many of these programs seem to encourage the idea that it does matter, by inviting only women and excluding men. That isn't fixing the problem, that's just reversing it.

I'm willing to accept that women aren't treated well in tech because it's often repeated by people who are women, and who are in tech, but I think it's reasonable to expect entrants to a world as close-knit as this one to conform to the culture, rather than asking the culture to conform to them. Again, outright sexism is bad, but there's been so much hostility toward innocent people because of imaginary sexism that the situation is getting worse, not better. Why can't we all just get along?

News flash (1, Interesting)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 6 months ago | (#46112705)

Yes, it's true. Some professions are dominated by men, some by women. Nature made it that way. People should be allowed to go into whatever profession they desire without being hindered by some asshole with a sexist complex (of either gender). If they can't cut it, they should be let go like anyone else without screaming "discrimination".

That said, I think more men should be allowed to go backstage to compete at lingerie shows,

Re:News flash (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46112847)

This is BS. There are very few fields "made that way by Nature". There are (far?) more that are made that way by culture or convention, but that's sorta the point of articles such as this: those going against convention face a more difficult path than those going with it. Culture and convention are malleable, and the sooner equalization occurs the better.

Re:News flash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46113313)

the sooner equalization occurs the better.

Why? Better for whom?

There's no law preventing women from working in IT. In fact, there are laws that make preferable to hire women (quotas) and that make women-owned/controlled companies easily win contracts.
Unless you're ok with forcing people into doing what YOU want THEM to do maybe you should reevaluate the facts because there's little more that could be done. And if you're ok with that then don't you dare complain when they send you to do something you hate just so the numbers look right.

Re:News flash (1)

CCarrot (1562079) | about 6 months ago | (#46112919)

Yes, it's true. Some professions are dominated by men, some by women. Nature made it that way. People should be allowed to go into whatever profession they desire without being hindered by some asshole with a sexist complex (of either gender). If they can't cut it, they should be let go like anyone else without screaming "discrimination".

That said, I think more men should be allowed to go backstage to compete at lingerie shows,

Oh honey, you and me both! Nuthin' sexier than a man in a g-string and baby doll, strutting down the catwalk...mmmm...

On the serious side, though, I would like to point out that there are some professions that are gender-biased for no good physiological cause. Women as nurses, flight attendants or hairstylists, for example, or men as engineers, surgeons or STEM trades. These divisions have been established due to cultural biases, not physical ones, and sometimes those biases are the more subtly influential of the two.

Re:News flash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46113521)

On the serious side, though, I would like to point out that there are some professions that are gender-biased for no good physiological cause. Women as nurses, flight attendants or hairstylists, for example, or men as engineers, surgeons or STEM trades. These divisions have been established due to cultural biases, not physical ones, and sometimes those biases are the more subtly influential of the two.

Just to be argumentative, I posit there are psychological causes to explain some of those.

Most psychological causes stem from a simple physical reason: men are on average stronger. This leads to a different way of thinking when it comes to tackling problems.

Different jobs require different ways of thinking, and ergo some jobs end up being slanted towards men, and some to women.

Say the problem is shelter. A man may think "I'll build a shelter with my physical strength". So men end up being the engineers and tool makers

A woman may instead search for shelter in the environment, so women get associated to being more perceptive and creative.

In my view, the division of labor between the genders isn't so much a cultural thing as it is a, well, division of labor thing.

Re:News flash (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 6 months ago | (#46113585)

On the serious side, though, I would like to point out that there are some professions that are gender-biased for no good physiological cause. Women as nurses, flight attendants or hairstylists, for example, or men as engineers, surgeons or STEM trades. These divisions have been established due to cultural biases, not physical ones, and sometimes those biases are the more subtly influential of the two.

I don't think you're going to resolve a nature/nurture debate just by asserting "nurture!"

Re:News flash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46113469)

Yes, it's true. Some professions are dominated by men, some by women. Nature made it that way.

Uh, nature? What the fuck does "nature" have jack shit to do with choosing professions today?!?

Just FYI, "Mastodon hunter/gatherer" isn't listed anywhere on Dice. And I've yet to find a physical standard for an IT job, which is painfully obvious to anyone who has observed a herd of IT professionals moving in the wild.

Linus, Help! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46112727)

We're being over run by giant snails.

I can't help but wonder why (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 months ago | (#46112883)

her name isn't Alice. ;)

Well, It Sure Ain't Misogyny (4, Funny)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#46112901)

An anecdote: My wife works in an accounting department that was, until recently, all women.

When they hired their first male accountant (a new college grad with absolutely no experience), he was given an office all to himself, despite the fact that my wife (a controller, no less) has been sharing an office with a temp worker for the past several years.

Why did he get his own office, when she has more education, experience, and seniority? Because, as she put it, "all the other women here are scared of his dick."

So yea, women being treated differently is an issue in the workplace, but don't try and bullshit me by saying men are the only ones engaging in discrimination.

So what's her argument? (1)

GT66 (2574287) | about 6 months ago | (#46112943)

This woman's argument is poorly made at best and (I think) intentionally disingenuous at worst. She makes allusions to gender bias without ever really making the statement directly (which is, I believe, because she can't). She makes claims about difficulties that essentially are not faced by a particular gender but rather EVERYONE - man, woman, child, parakeet etc. And then finishes with a lot of talk that vaguely centers around equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunity. Equality of outcome is a pernicious piece of feminist logic because it tacitly supports and endorses INEQUALITY as a means to an end as long as women control it and are the main beneficiaries which is EXACTLY the behavior they decry as being so unjust in the first place. It is hypocrisy and as usual, women are just fine with it as long as they benefit.

Wow, where to start taking this apart? (0, Troll)

argStyopa (232550) | about 6 months ago | (#46113527)

This is an early twenty-something, so I'm going to be reasonably gentle. The bulk of the most cringeworthy comments can be as likely put down to the age as to the gender, and I'm going to try to be as charitable as possible.

"...there is something to be said for finally seeing someone you can relate to, who looks like you..." - Might want to steer clear of explicitly saying that you want to work with someone that LOOKS like you. I get your meaning, but since you're pretty much writing the essay to criticize males for acting exclusionary, the answer isn't to be equally tribalistic in turn. You might imagine, with some empathy, that men TOO like to work with someone THEY can relate to, who looks like them, without the (let's be frank, as we're talking about 20-somethings who are still relatively awash in hormones) distraction of a woman in the largely-male, mostly-hetero environment.

"...the long list of people (mostly women) who have published ...about the gender disparity in STEM/tech fields and faced incredible backlash..."
ANYONE that posits a position, right or wrong, faces incredible backlash today. Welcome to the world. Take a political position: you can pretty much be assured that the number and vehemence of threats is directly related to the size of your audience and how broadly your message is reaching. See it as a compliment. (That is, unless you want special protection from 'stalking' or 'come-ons' because you're female - you know, the 'weaker' sex?)

"...I taught myself some coding and computer repair in probably the most painstaking ways possible..." Really? Like, well, teaching yourself in your room, in the garage, in the basement? I'm going to bet that at least 80% of your male peers learned the same way. And none of them would call it 'painstaking'. Generally, it would be seen as a mark of honor that you earned your knowledge the hard way.

Meh, it's not worth dissecting the essay further.

Stop walking around with a chip on your shoulder. Women can do anything a man can do, and pretty much any man under 40 (and most of them over that) would consider utterly without question. The others you can just disregard.

Tip for Kerstyn, as I'm nearly certain she'll read these comments: I know you think you're grown up. It feels like it, I'm sure. You aren't. You have nearly zero life experience outside the cloistered halls of academia. Keep fighting, keep struggling, but understand that you are very young and have likely earned nothing of note in the eyes of your peers....you get that through time served.

Fighting assholes in the workplace is part of life, as well. Various people will like you or resent you for a myriad of reasons - who you are friends with, where you park, what you like to eat, who you vote for, etc. But the truth is this: If you feel marginalized or disregarded, understand that it is most probably everything to do with your (real) inexperience, and nothing to do with your reproductive organs.

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