There's a contingent out there who are convinced that women are meaner and bitchier to other women than men are, and I run across them every so often. It drives me nuts: in my experience, this is completely not the case.
My current working theory is that what you see, and what you expect to see, is a reflection of yourself. There's an old joke about an old guy sitting on his porch in his neighborhood when a house hunter drops by and asks him what the people in the neighborhood are like. The old man says "What were the people in your old neighborhood like?" The house hunter says "Oh, they're all hurtful, annoying so-and-sos." The old man says "I think you'll find the people here much the same," and the house hunter drives on. Later on, another house hunter stops by and inquires about the neighborhood. The old man asks him the same question about his old neighborhood. The guy says "They were all really nice, enjoyable people. The old man says "I think you'll find the people here much the same."
In other words: when the only common denominator in these situations is you, it should possibly get you thinking.
(This brought to you by the comment at #28 on the blog, wherein a woman says women are bitchier in general, and then crows about a bitchy retort she got off once. And by the woman on a BPAL LJ a while back who complained that in a group that's all women, they always turn into c***s. Hmmm...I wonder why?)
ETA: Just stressing that it's my theory, based on my experience of many genuinely nice and helpful communities made of, or made primarily of, women. I don't dispute that others may have different experiences, but in that case I always have to wonder how I find the good communities (maybe it's that I just leave at the first sign of anything, but I've stuck around some mixed-sex and primarily-male places that had some seriously vile stuff going on in various corners *coughDeviantartRedditCepheidlistservcou
And noting that the Cepheid listserv, a 'serv for a college SF club, didn't direct the abuse towards women specifically - everyone was pretty much vile to everyone else at times regardless of gender, in the way that hormonal, emotional, bitter, 18-30 year old geeks can be.
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