...I was. For a long time I thought I was all alone, or at least mostly so; the only woman in a hugely male-dominated world. This was okay -- I survived, and even prospered -- heck, I met my fiance on the net (but don't tell anyone!). But I still felt wrong -- I wasn't part of the computer-geeks-dying-to-meet-women crowd, I wasn't used to being hit on every time I met someone new, or to having my every comment greeted with astonishment -- "wow, she said something smart!" "she's got a home page, AND she's got breasts." "I didn't know any women understood that stuff"
(It got worse when I wrote a paper about gender issues on one particular machine which I like to frequent -- Soda.CSUA.Berkeley.EDU, and realized how many people just don't *get it* -- men who think that women online like being hit on, they only go online to tease the geeks, etc. [This link has the added benefit of confusing the poor people who use certain search engines, because they do searches for things like "hot naked babe looking for men" and end up at my paper, which discusses sexism. I just find that rather apt...])
For some reason, I didn't particularly like that. Granted, not everyone treated me like that -- there were quite a few people who were totally normal. But to use a great cliche, a few bad apples spoiled the bushel. Additionally, I needed to see other women doing things on the net just to know that I wasn't alone, that other women could and did do what I was doing -- that I wasn't that much of an anomaly.
To make matters even worse, very often when I did find women on the net, they weren't there because of their own efforts. Either placed there as a naked gif (have you ever checked out those ftp sites? you don't really want to... ) or working with their boyfriends/husbands/fiances to create a monument to their undying passion. Since neither really applied for me (okay, so I mentioned my fiance a couple of times, cause he's important in my life, but my whole home page isn't discussing him and how wonderful he is and the fact that we'll be together forever and are ecstatically happy and... and... and...), I wanted some *better* role models -- and that's what I've been looking for, and that's what I'll share with you here.
There's quite a few women out there making their presence felt on the net, and I'm not feeling quite so alone anymore. In case you're feeling a bit lonely in the vast world of cyberspace, if you're lost on the Information Superhighway (I know, cliches are evil, but sometimes I can't resist... ), check out some of these encouraging spots.
Tara Bloyd (firstname.lastname@example.org)