Most people don't realize this, but if you take a look around in the industry of technology, you can see that there's an absence of a lot of women, and it was interesting that in one of my Computer Science classes, we discussed this issue, in a class that I believe is entirely all men. There's not one woman in the class, and my professor, Dr. Phil Hatcher, pointed out a stupid thing that the people at Sun Microsystems came up with, that the first 8 bytes of a Java class file reads "CAFEBABE". What that means is in every Java class file, which is an object code file of the code that a Java class uses with the Java Virtual Machine, starts out with the "CAFEBABE" bytes, a rather sexist thing to hard-code into every single Java class file in the world. What in the world were they thinking?

It's not difficult for me to not sexually harass women in my own industry, even when I'm attracted to them, just because of the way I was raised - I just don't have too much of an interest in sex in general. I can't remember any incident that I've ever sexually harassed a woman in my own industry, let alone at all - because I've basically just never had an interest in having sex with anyone. So when I see things like this in my industry, it's shocking to think that women would put up with the stereotypes that are established by my fellow workers. I guess I just limit myself in the type of attraction that I have to women - I'm never trying to get anything from women, like men usually are. I'm also offended by the way men protect women, as if they belong to them. It's just a problem, really in every industry, but especially in computing fields - women just don't want to get into computing and technology fields, because they feel like they're outnumbered.

It's not that they believe that they can't do the work, and trust me I know a lot of women that can do the work, but it's just that they don't like putting up with the sexual harassment and stereotyping at work all the time. It made it extremely difficult for me to figure out what I wanted in my personal life, to the point that I'm just running my business, and I hire women, but I don't want anything personally from them. I'm just trying to make a living, and I think that a lot of single men in my industry are in this mindset that the women are there to be preyed on, and that's just not how I see my fellow workforce at all. I think it's wrong to stereotype, and to be sexist, and I think it's going to be a long time before a lot of it gets worked out - like the Java class file starting bytes - they're practically there forever, until Oracle writes a version of the JVM that can read both old class files and new class files that have a different file identifier other than "CAFEBABE". I think it's astonishing that someone actually figured out that you could write the word "CAFEBABE" in hexadecimal, because the values only go up to 0-9... A-F... there's no such thing as a G, or an H in hex. It stops at F. It's just amazing that people actually put the thought into coming up with that file identifier, and that it's still embedded in every Java class file. Leave everything to men, and this is what you get!


--Patrick R. McElhiney