At a major conference I attended as a PhD student, I presented a paper on a fraction of my research in hybrid digital and human networks. As the panel concluded, an angry man approached me and accused me of “using” “his” work without citing him. Between the shouting and gesturing, I came to understand that he believed the only possible source of one of my presentation examples was his (unpublished) research. As a novice scholar, I was too stunned by the aggression and implicit accusation to do more than stand there. Eventually he stormed off promising to follow up. A few days later, he emailed me a citation of a forthcoming journal article he had co-written. In his email he insisted I either cease discussing the broad topic or refer to his work *whenever* I did. He also demanded I *never* return to that particular conference to engage in similar discussions.
I also liked the post titled “Home Economics Is Roughly the Same as Electrical Engineering.” I’ve actually had the contrary experience. Someone on a listserv once took the time to e-mail me off-list to explain that when he thinks of engineering, what he thinks of is in fact EE, and that to him software engineering is more on a par, probably, with “domestic engineering”—which I suppose is basically home ec (rather than “social engineering” done by the NSA, as opposed to CIA, or something). And then again it could have been a woman letting me know what the dominant male culture thinks of what I do for a living. Really, it could have been.
On the other hand, some people are just jerks. I’ve heard similar behavior to some of this—a college junior saying, “if you want to know everything there is about cryptography, come see me, because I did a research paper on it last year,” announcing this to a whole room of undergraduate and graduate students, and at least 80% men. I’m sure that in private women get a lot more of it, and unattached from any kind of friendly rivalry where the same would be expected in return. But a lot will be new to people who haven’t thought about it before.
Also this one. I have to say, if I ran across that on the Internet (rather than a close friend on Facebook whose judgment I trusted in other things), I’d assume the guy was either mentally disturbed or a character in a Harry Frankfurt essay (that link only works sometimes for me, try this if it doesn't). At least on Facebook you could ignore the guy, instead of feeling you had to defend your honor and reputation by refusing to let him get the best of you.