Sexist men assume that female engineers are feminists.

Twenty years ago, a Canadian man, who believed that he was fighting “feminism”, massacred fourteen women at an engineering school.

Some men think that all female engineers are “feminists”, because they find female engineers threatening, not because of any professed political beliefs of the female engineers. Female engineers are engineers who happen to be women; they are probably not doing it as a political statement, but because they enjoy engineering.

Ironically, if the 1989 killer wanted to find feminists, the feminists would most likely be in the social sciences, not engineering. (I find that most engineering students (including female engineering students) know nothing about feminism,* and think that social science degrees are useless.)

Yet even people who are not feminists and not majoring in Women and Gender Studies are affected by sexism and misogyny. In the real world, feminist issues affect engineers, and engineering issues affect feminists. The real world is not divided into separate domains of knowledge.

December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

* It is also interesting to note that a female engineer and survivor of the massacre had yelled, “We are not feminists!” in desperation during the attack. At the time, she thought that feminists were militant. (via feministing)

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Update: Aboriginal women are five times more likely to die of violence than women of any other race in Canada. Jessica Yee remembers violence against women who are much less likely to be remembered.

In addition, trans women are particularly at risk for hate crimes, and murdered trans women are also much less likely to be remembered than murdered cisgender women.


Feynman called a woman “worse than a whore” for not exchanging sex for sandwiches.

In Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!, chapter You Just Ask Them?, Richard Feynman frequented a bar and desired to have sexual intercourse with the women there. He discovered that the women in the bar did not provide sexual favors in exchange for monetary compensation in the form of drinks. Although he gained a reputation for spending money on drinks for women, he was frustrated at the fact that the women did not consider alcoholic drinks to be payment for sexual services.

Feynman felt he was being cheated, and complained to his two friends from the bar: a female nightclub entertainer and her husband, the master of ceremonies. The master offered Feynman lessons on how to ensure that a woman he meets in a bar has sexual intercourse with him:

“OK,” he says. “The whole principle is this: The guy wants to be a gentleman. He doesn’t want to be thought of as impolite, crude, or especially a cheapskate. As long as the girl knows the guy’s motives so well, it’s easy to steer him in the direction she wants him to go.

“Therefore,” he continued, “under no circumstances be a gentleman! You must disrespect the girls. Furthermore, the very first rule is, don’t buy a girl anything –– not even a package of cigarettes — until you’ve asked her if she’ll sleep with you, and you’re convinced that she will, and that she’s not lying.”

“Uh… you mean… you don’t… uh… you just ask them?”

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Nice Guy (TM) at XKCD

Nice Guy™ at XKCD:


This XKCD comic is titled “Friends”.

Sadly—but unsurprisingly—many (heterosexual) male geeks at the “Friends” XKCD comic discussion thread see nothing wrong with being a Nice Guy™.

(Basically, a Nice Guy™ (not to be confused with a nice guy) is a guy who is “nice” to a woman for sex. When this does not work, he concludes that women want “jerks”.)

Related links: