Ben Trott posted an entry at the Six Apart weblog today about "a profile of Six Apart (and Mena and myself)" that is being published in Baseline magazine. Most of the content of Ben's post is about how the article is great, but misrepresents Mena's role as his partner in developing software. Ben does not say so, but in addition to things he enumerates I think it is a perfect example of how women get marginalized in these situations.
Sexism remains a problem in our culture. I know many couples--Janet and me, Mena and Ben, Carolyn and Tom, Katie and Hodge and many more--where the woman is a powerful and competent partner. But people who do not know better assume the male half of the team is the "leader," in charge of the relationship and the key person of the partnership.
It is often subtle and not always easy to nail, but then things like what happened to the Trotts comes up and reveals the truth. But even then, we are not always comfortable about naming the truth. Ben did not. And often, I do not.
In many ways I have practiced relinquishment of the privileged role I enjoy in these situations. Even when I might deserve recognition, I do my best to shine the spotlight on Janet. She is, after all, an awesome person. She makes a lot more money than I do. She is better educated, kinder, more attractive, stronger, more competent in almost every way. I do not deserve the assumed role people bestow on me and it bothers me when I let something slide (I'm bothered quite often in this regard).
Well, Ben's gentle rant reminded me about the need to name sexism when it shows up. I hope you will be mindful of these matters, too.