View Full Version : "Fanboy" - a sexist term?

April 25th, 2007, 07:51 AM
How do you feel about the term "fanboy"?

I was reading a very popular tech blog, and it mentioned something that it said would make Ubuntu fanboys happy.

And that made me think, what about me? I'm a fan of Ubuntu, but not a boy...

But then, it's often used as a derogatory term, so should I care?

What do you think?

April 25th, 2007, 08:25 AM
It's derogatory but not sexist.

It comes from the comic book world. People who were comic book fanatics used to call themselves fan boys. I think the term got some elevated usage when it was picked up in Japanese anime and video circles.

So they're saying Ubuntu users are immature and members of a cultish social phenomenon.

But you can be the first Ubuntu fan-girl. You should put it in your sig.

April 25th, 2007, 08:32 AM
So, if the term had started out as 'fangirl', then men would think the term was derogatory but not sexist?

April 25th, 2007, 08:36 AM
I wouldn't think it was sexist.

I'd just have a typically narcissistic male perspective on it that would completely leave women out of the equation. I'd think they were calling me a girl. As in, "girly-man".

Do I get punished for being honest?

April 25th, 2007, 08:57 AM
You know what? I take it back.

If you add another condition to the "what if", it changes things.

If I were a member of a male minority of a largely female community ... and someone referred to the group as some variation on the word "girls" (derogatory or not), I would feel offended as having been overlooked.

In that sense, I suppose this is a sexist use of the term. We should start routinely registering polite objections when this kind of thing happens. FOSS is supposed to be FOSS for everybody and everybody should be made to feel like integral part of it, not some overlooked minority.

In this case, it might be like, "Hey, our female members want to be picked on like the rest of us."

April 25th, 2007, 09:30 AM
Thanks - that's exactly how I felt - overlooked. I'm glad you understand.

April 25th, 2007, 09:35 AM
Send me a link to the article and I'll write them a nice note.

April 25th, 2007, 09:43 AM
Here it is...


It's a big day for us Ubuntu fanboys, because today's the day the final version of Ubuntu 7.04, lovingly known as Feisty Fawn, goes live and is available for download.

April 25th, 2007, 09:44 AM
Ack! It's one of our own users.

[Edit: I just sent Charlie an email mentioning this.]

April 25th, 2007, 09:45 AM
Some people really need to get a life...

April 25th, 2007, 09:53 AM
I don't know who you're referring to. I know I have a life.

April 25th, 2007, 10:00 AM
Wrong answer lj.

April 25th, 2007, 10:07 AM
I thought this forum would have been a safe place to discuss how to get more women involved in Ubuntu and open source software by trying to change the stereotypes that keep alienating women.

Oh well.

April 25th, 2007, 10:10 AM
Trisha, you should report that post if you feel that way. There's a little button on the corner of every post for that purpose.

I reported it because I thought it was inappropriate, but it would be much more meaningful coming from a woman.

April 25th, 2007, 10:16 AM
I reported it because I thought it was inappropriate, but it would be much more meaningful coming from a woman.

Isn't that sort of sexist?

Personally, I don't think "fanboy" is sexist at all. English simply doesn't have any non-gender specific words that would fit here. It's a bit like "man" meaning mankind, it isn't sexist, in fact from what i have read in the past, I believe it meant mankind before it ever meant male. It really annoys me when people try to correct things like "policeman" or "fireman" to be "police officer" or "member of the fire brigade". I've even heard "police person"! Are women really offended by these words? I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be...

I do think however, you had every right to ask the question and indeed start a debate about this and that certainly doesn't mean you don't have a life...

April 25th, 2007, 10:19 AM
Thanks, I just did. I pretty much expect those comments generally, but here of all places I thought there could be some real exchange of ideas with the view of making women feel less vulnerable.

Maybe other women get turned off by terms like 'fanboy' but they vote with their feet instead.

April 25th, 2007, 10:25 AM
Are women really offended by these words? I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be....

Yes, it is offensive in an exclusive way. Just like using a term like "fire-white-person" would be racist. Or "fire-old-fart" would be age-ist. Even "fire-boy" would be a bit demeaning to a man who served in the fire brigade for twenty years, perhaps?

April 25th, 2007, 10:31 AM
Okay, this went from potentially fruitful to silly quickly.

I'm closing the thread now while the petty bickering is still festering and hasn't yet begun in full force, well before we get to the full on grumpy arguing stage.

Let's play nice, people. :)