'Being yourself' rather than 'misbehaving'
The headline of misbehaving.net, a weblog about women and technology, says
"Well-behaved women seldom make history." --Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
I have mixed feelings about the topic and especially the title of this blog. From one side, I know that it's not so easy to be a women in technology-related fields. I like the provocative style of this weblog and I enjoy reading it...
From another side, I feel that there is a broader issue behind this: accommodating diversity, those different from the majority. I've been in situation "woman in dominantly male environment", but it's not much different from my other experiences of being different: being much younger than expected, being a foreigner, being an innovator. Probably, there is a lot to do with specific "women and technology" problem, but I would rather focus on embracing diversity, as from my experience "different-friendly" environments are "women-friendly" as well.
And I also don't feel easy with "misbehaving" approach. For me it means fighting with existing rules. And for me fighting is not feminine... It looks a bit paradoxical - trying to get your own space in a different world by actually playing its rules.
I would rather go for "being yourself" approach rather than "misbehaving". Fighting for what ever good reason makes your opponent stronger. I believe that there is more value in crafting your own way of doing things than in fighting existing structures. And who knows, may be one day being a woman in IT will be considered as "behaving well".
Later: Liz in What does it mean to "misbehave"? (read the whole post)
Most of the women I know and respect, in and out of the technology field, have the battle scars to show for their misbehavior. But at the end of the day, you have to learn to pick your battles. And how to work within the system, not attack it from the outside.
I believe women know well how to do it. I often think about Russian saying that "husband is a head, but his wife is a neck", meaning that he can think he is controlling things :)