A loveletter

Note: I wrote this a while ago when I was thinking about the things that made me want to work on the web. Of course, it’s not exclusively women that inspire me, but as a girl who continually questions the value she is bringing to a project, I often find the women of the web had the greatest effect on my self assurance. I wrote this in my notebook in a fit of fury after witnessing some upsetting trolling towards a couple of women on Twitter.


To the women of the web (and those who support them),

You inspire me. I don’t just mean that in a throwaway hero-worship kindof way.

Your bravery and determination give me the belief and desire to stand up and talk about what I care about.

And that’s not because you’re women, or despite that you’re women. You share what you believe in because you don’t want to keep things selfishly to yourselves. You want to help others learn.

Sometimes the fact that you are women can get in the way for others. It’s their problem.

You, however, carry on with dignity. You don’t pretend that words don’t hurt, or that you don’t feel emotional. There’s no dishonesty.

Instead, you set an outstanding example to the rest of us. That we can, and should, try.

Whilst you should never bear the responsibility of my admiration, please be aware that I will always be grateful that you were there.

Laura x

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10 comments

  1. Sadaf Chohan

    Dear Laura
    I appreciate your this post, as well as your postings … though am a developer but i always remained inspired by you since i came across your blog … your posts not only helps regarding field things but it motivates me in terms of working hard .. stay fit … going on daily walks … working properly in professional ways and i also appreciate being such a busy lady you replied my emails and help in possible way u can by your suggestions … Thankx for being an inspiration .. stay blessed
    Regards

    Reply

  2. Bravo.
    I love your blog design by the way. Very bold.

    Reply

  3. dtgreen

    I think you’ll find that you’ll have others writing web loveletters to you in the future, as you’re clearly on the road to becoming a bit of an inspiration yourself! ;)

    Reply

  4. I find it interesting that you find more kinship with women in this supposedly gender neutral age. Is that to do with women sticking together in a male dominated industry, or is it perhaps a reflection of differences between how men and women view gender? I ask because, as a man, I feel no particular kinship towards other men over women, nor do I find them more supportive or inspiring. Perhaps women are just more awesome?

    For what it’s worth, I consider you a source of inspiration.

    Reply

  5. Laura

    Thank you, you lot :)

    @Mark It’s not that I find more kinship with women, I just find them particularly inspiring in this way. That’s why I tried to emphasise at the beginning that they certainly aren’t my only inspiration. And why I mentioned that those who support these people are equally included.

    There are so many people I love and respect, and I’m sure that most of them are men, because there are just so many more men in the industry. It’s this difficulty of being one type of minority that makes it so easy to feel slighted or disheartened, and those who get past that are often under-appreciated or suffer extra scrutiny for their trouble. It’s also so important to for these groups of people to have people they can look up to and take assurance from. Of course, they don’t have to be the same minority, but sometimes it just helps.

    Reply

    • Thank you for taking the trouble to reply Laura, much appreciated. As a young, white male of average height, weight and build, I realise I don’t have any idea of what it is like to be in a minority of any kind, especially not in this industry. Whilst there are some people who go out of their way to victimise or over scrutinise minorities, I think most people in the majority either do it accidentally or are completely unaware that it is happening. Whilst it’s great that you can find people to support and inspire you, I wonder if you have any thoughts on how to improve the situation for/awareness of minorities? Most of us believe strongly in equality and diversity of all kinds and see the benefits of it every day, but perhaps there is more we can do to ensure it happens, or at least get out of the way if we are stopping it?

      Reply

      • Great post, Laura. You’re lovely.

        @Mark, being aware of your privilege is one way. For instance, as a white male, you have the highest privilege. In Laura’s particular industry (not to mention everywhere else), women fight to receive the same amount of respect and credibility that is handed to you. Perhaps some of her kinship with women is due that common experience, knowing that a successful woman’s journey looks very different from a man’s.

        Acknowledge that you have privilege, know what it is, stop to consider it, point it out to others, and be an ally. Those are all great places to start.

        Reply

        • Great point @Shannon (and apologies for taking so long to reply). It is a privilege to be in my position, and I try never to forget that. Being from the younger generation and having been brought up to believe that everyone is equal, it still shocks me to see that women aren’t treated with the same respect and given the same opportunities as men, when it seems completely absurd to act as though they aren’t as capable. I know that men and women often have different skill sets and outlooks, but I’ve always taken this to be a strength, not a weakness, as the differences seem to complement each other well. I work with a number of women in the tech industry, and I admire their skills and dedication just as much as the men I work with. I’m not naturally inclined to admire women more, simply for being women, as I’ve always thought the gender distinction to be completely unnecessary, but perhaps I will do in the future, given what I’m reading here about how much harder women are having to work for the respect that they deserve. Every day I meet people who are technologically literate and those that aren’t, but I’ve never seen a correlation between ability and gender. It just doesn’t exist.

          Reply

      • There is been a lot of discussion about this recently. This is a particularly good post: http://aralbalkan.com/notes/on-false-dichotomies-and-diversity/. It’s not about people intentionally being discriminative (although there is way too much online bullying/harassment) it’s more about systemic bias and a lack of acknowledgement or a concerted effort to subvert it.

        Regarding efforts to subvert it, this is a great resource: http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/FLOSS#How_to_encourage_women_in_FLOSS

        Reply

  6. Ida

    That’s a great letter. Thank you!

    Reply

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