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 Forum index » Discussion » Diversity in electro-music
Gender equality in electro
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bbinkovitz



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:
That's sad but not something for which EM as a site can be blamed.


i'm sad that people are getting the impression that i'm "blaming" EM for not being totally immune to the deplorable tendencies of a larger sexist society. as far as i know, every single man, woman, and other sentient being in the entire worldwide community of electronic musicians is open-minded and welcoming to every single other sentient being interested in electronic music. my issue is that that apparently isn't enough, judging from the pathetic numbers of female electronic musicians. so a conscious effort must be organized. which is what is happening here. i see this forum as a team of people all interested in discussing the same troubling trend, not as an attack on everybody else.
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stringtapper



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bbinkovitz wrote:
Kassen wrote:
That's sad but not something for which EM as a site can be blamed.


i'm sad that people are getting the impression that i'm "blaming" EM for not being totally immune to the deplorable tendencies of a larger sexist society. as far as i know, every single man, woman, and other sentient being in the entire worldwide community of electronic musicians is open-minded and welcoming to every single other sentient being interested in electronic music. my issue is that that apparently isn't enough, judging from the pathetic numbers of female electronic musicians. so a conscious effort must be organized. which is what is happening here. i see this forum as a team of people all interested in discussing the same troubling trend, not as an attack on everybody else.


But why is it troubling? Is it because you would like more women to be able to talk with at conferences or something? Someone else in this or one of the other threads mentioned that it might be beneficial to try to figure out why there are less women in electro-music. I think that's where you have to start. Maybe many women aren't interested in it. If you want to get more women interested in it then that's a fine goal, but to say that more women should be involved seems strange to me.

Think about it. You could say that more [insert demographic] should be involved in it. Would you ever say that less [insert demographic] should be involved in it? What would really be the difference? In both instances you're making a judgement on how many [insert demographic] should be involved with electro-music.

Of course if there are sinister plots being hatched in dark places that are keeping young girls from taking up synthesizers and joining the fray then by all means let's root them out. If it's borne of some more benign social construct cultivated by ignorance then let's deal with that too. But simply saying that it "should" be that way when we're not even sure why it's that way seems to be jumping the gun a bit.

I'm not content to judge the "larger sexist society" by intuition alone.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

stringtapper wrote:
If it's borne of some more benign social construct cultivated by ignorance


i think we differ on the assessment of social constructs that prejudicially limit the choices one can make in one's identity construction "benign".

the trend is troubling to me because it suggests that there is something keeping women "out". i have a sneaking suspicion that what is keeping women "out" is that women are under pressure to sacrifice their artistic and intellectual pursuits for the sake of making themselves as attractive as possible. to me this is not some far-off pedantic assumption, this is something i have struggled with painfully (and continue to). it is a personal goal of mine to provide support where it is lacking for anyone else struggling with such gender identity issues.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Alright, story time. I may have shared this at e-m before, but it seems appropriate now.

I went to school at an engineering college. Like electro-music, mostly men. During my freshman year, there was at least 5:1 men-women ratio. Maybe more like 7:1. But the school, much like the discussion here, felt a disparity, and wanted to change this, partially so they can get university status (which requires a much lower ratio). So, to recruit woman into engineering, they actually lowered the standards for acceptance for women vs. men. It worked. Over the next 2-3 years, the ratio of accepted men vs. women was reduced to nearly 3:1. So, the usual grant & scholarship money was handed out, school began, and students studied. As those class years progressed through the years, more & more women DROPPED OUT of engineering, and transferred to other schools for other studies. The graduate class seemed to maintain a ratio of at least 5:1.

So there was an interesting situation that in the end, helped out NO ONE. The women that were "recruited" to be engineers, didn't in fact WANT to be engineers. It may be considered that they wasted 2-3 years studying something they had no intention of pursuing. Mean while, that scholarship money did not help any student who actually wanted to be there.

Later, I worked with a woman a who had graduated recently. She told me, that women are actively being pursued in high school to take up engineering, because there is not enough female representation in the field. She took it up, admitting that it'd be easy, since businesses are also hiring female engineers to fill certain quotas. She said she really had no passion for the subject, but was fairly good at it, so she stuck with it. However, after 5 years of work, she left to study project management and pursued other opportunities.

So, really, I'd suggest avoiding telling people they *need* to be more involved in something that they may not be interested in to begin with. I'd say look through your papers, find what female electro-artists are playing, and let them know about these forums. Spread word about them. Maybe someone at their shows will get inspired, and also want to make electro-music. Maybe they'll be inspired to go home & paint instead. Let people order from the menu themselves, rather than put the steak on sale and push selling it, simply because no one's ordering it. Just give them the chance to see the whole menu. I think that's all anyone should do. Otherwise, we might as well start telling people they can join our electro-club for $35, and guarantee their choice of God might let them into electro-heaven.
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stringtapper



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bbinkovitz wrote:
stringtapper wrote:
If it's borne of some more benign social construct cultivated by ignorance


i think we differ on the assessment of social constructs that prejudicially limit the choices one can make in one's identity construction "benign".


So you believe there is a conscious, and more importantly malicious, effort to keep women out of EM? That's how I was using the word "benign," as an antonym to "ill-intentioned." And of course I wouldn't really call it an "assessment" either as it was just one of two possibilities I listed. Thus the conjunction "if."

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

jksuperstar wrote:
I'd say look through your papers, find what female electro-artists are playing, and let them know about these forums. Spread word about them. Maybe someone at their shows will get inspired, and also want to make electro-music.


This is a very positive suggestion. Thanks.

Beth, I think we all understand to one degree or anther that your aren't trying to find fault with electro-music.com.

Sometimes, on email and on forums people take offense when you would least expect it. One time on a mailing list I said that I think that "using a lot of reverb is a cheap trick". Many people took personal offense and I think some of them will never participate on this forum because I said that. So, we have to be very careful how we word things - much more than is speaking face to face.

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bernat



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
went to school at an engineering college. Like electro-music, mostly men. During my freshman year, there was at least 5:1 men-women ratio. Maybe more like 7:1. But the school, much like the discussion here, felt a disparity, and wanted to change this, partially so they can get university status (which requires a much lower ratio). So, to recruit woman into engineering, they actually lowered the standards for acceptance for women vs. men. It worked. Over the next 2-3 years, the ratio of accepted men vs. women was reduced to nearly 3:1. So, the usual grant & scholarship money was handed out, school began, and students studied. As those class years progressed through the years, more & more women DROPPED OUT of engineering, and transferred to other schools for other studies. The graduate class seemed to maintain a ratio of at least 5:1.


Could this be due to much earlier educational/societal imbalance in women's preparation for an engineering college?
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

stringtapper wrote:

So you believe there is a conscious, and more importantly malicious, effort to keep women out of EM? That's how I was using the word "benign," as an antonym to "ill-intentioned."


i understood "benign" to mean "without harmful consequences" rather than "unintentional".

ironic you should use that word, too, because ruori's set this year was called "benign girl" and the finale song, "executive blonde" was sort of conceptually about the misprioritization and compartmentalization of life goals and personality aspects that women are often pushed towards.
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stringtapper



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bbinkovitz wrote:
stringtapper wrote:

So you believe there is a conscious, and more importantly malicious, effort to keep women out of EM? That's how I was using the word "benign," as an antonym to "ill-intentioned."


i understood "benign" to mean "without harmful consequences" rather than "unintentional".

ironic you should use that word, too, because ruori's set this year was called "benign girl" and the finale song, "executive blonde" was sort of conceptually about the misprioritization and compartmentalization of life goals and personality aspects that women are often pushed towards.


That's cool, I was going off the Oxford's first definition of "benign" as "gentle, kindly."


I find your words (that I've bolded) very revealing. It reveals that you believe that certain goals represent a "misprioritization." This, of course, is an opinion. For some these priorities may be absolutely as relevant as anything you hold to be valuable. In trying to get away from compartmentalizing certain groups we run the risk of inadvertently doing just that to others.

As far as it being "society" to blame, I have never bought this line of thinking. We have only ourselves to blame (as children, as parents, as politicians, as artists) if we allow others to guide our lives completely. Although there are certain aspects of human development that we have less control over, especially as children, we are never completely powerless, whether we choose to use art, protest, or even violence.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:

misprioritization and compartmentalization of life goals and personality aspects that women are often pushed towards.


I fairly often wonder if men are also in this state.

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stringtapper



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

EdisonRex wrote:
Quote:

misprioritization and compartmentalization of life goals and personality aspects that women are often pushed towards.


I fairly often wonder if men are also in this state.


That's just my point. Depending on what your goals and values are you might think that everyone on the planet has been pushed toward life goals and personality aspects that you feel are "compartmentalizing."

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bernat wrote:
Could this be due to much earlier educational/societal imbalance in women's preparation for an engineering college?


It's possible, but how much are we a product of our environment, vs. destiny, vs. simply "who we are"? I suppose the only method of resolution is to start by giving every single child every toy and learning tool there ever was to play with while they are growing up. Seriously, that's the only possibility for being completely "fair".

I do have to ask you bb, most of your comments usually include a woman, and *external* forces that drive her to do something "wrong" (ethically, or otherwise) or stop her from doing what's "right". And you're implications don't stop there, but seem to suggest that men don't suffer from this, but that women (or possibly minorities in general) suffer this alone, and as a result, women are not personally responsible for their choices. Pressure to perform to some expectation without failure is fairly universal. Viagra & Cealice (sp?) aren't so popular without reason. Whatever the expectation is, however, it's still an individual's choice to service them or not. I'd really suggest that instead of isolation and differentiation, finding a common connecting point with others, especially those who are different. I recently saw Bill Clinton speak at Middlebury College, it was a damn good speech, and very relevant:
http://www.vpr.net/vt_news/clinton_2007_middlebury.shtml
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bbinkovitz



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

EdisonRex wrote:
Quote:

misprioritization and compartmentalization of life goals and personality aspects that women are often pushed towards.


I fairly often wonder if men are also in this state.


it's true; but it seems apparent that it affects men much differently than it affects women. by "misprioritization" i didn't mean that i want people to pursue the goals i think are important; i want them to pursue the goals they think are important. men are pushed to be macho, to be breadwinners, etc. and women are often forced to choose between career and family. (at least, many company policies in the united states enforce this artificial mutual exclusiveness). in certain areas, men have privileged status. this hegemony doesn't benefit the average woman OR the average man. it benefits those with the most power and maintains a large gulf between those with power and those without. evidence of this uneven distribution of authority is seen in the misproportion of men to women in many arenas.

it troubles me because i'm interested in getting into electronic music more, but the vast majority of those i perceive to have "authority" are male, which creates an incongruous gendered self-consciousness and increases my overall anxiety about trying to learn. i have reason to believe that this is the case for many people who are a minority within a given community for various reasons.

i want women with electro experience and acheivements under their belts to be spotlighted as a way of reducing the artificial gendering of electronic music as a community and a history, and to encourage more females who are already interested in electronic music to express themselves more fully and to join and contribute to the community. i'm not interested in dragging more girls into the forum regardless of musical inclination just to have more girls here.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
it troubles me because i'm interested in getting into electronic music more, but the vast majority of those i perceive to have "authority" are male

personally, i don't see anyone having any kind of "authority" over your music. why would you really care (outside of constructive criticism) what other people say about your music? as you make music, you listen to it, and you refine it to your own satisfaction...this is one of the most important aspects of the computer/home recording revolution....you have unlimited studio time, virtually unlimited capability, and you can do it all without spending 12 years studying the clarinet. you can do things as experements, or as works...it's all up to you.

there are some basics that can be done wrong (a loud 60hz hum in the recording, feedback, improper gain staging, etc), but everything else is fair game. you simply can't go wrong following your own ear....unless you decide that someone else has authority over what you are doing (and even this is an ok arrangement if you are getting paid...but only then).

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stringtapper



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bbinkovitz wrote:
it troubles me because i'm interested in getting into electronic music more, but the vast majority of those i perceive to have "authority" are male, which creates an incongruous gendered self-consciousness and increases my overall anxiety about trying to learn. i have reason to believe that this is the case for many people who are a minority within a given community for various reasons.


The majority of teachers I had until I went to college were all females. I never experienced this "incongruous gendered self-consciousness" and if I did it didn't "increase my overall anxiety about trying to learn." Forgive me if I have no sympathy toward your attitude, but I believe that if you truly wanted to pursue this field you would be able to look past the fact that the person standing in front of the class is a man or a woman or a Martian, as long as you can learn something from them.

Or put another way: the world is a harsh place and you have to take what you want even if met with resistance. I realize that this concept itself is not very prototypically "feminine"; we may be touching on an essential element of this quandary.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

You know, I've been watching these threads and trying to figure out what to say. Right now, mostly I'm thinking, "It's really hard to talk about these things without somebody getting defensive."

Whenever we're trying to deal with feelings, the first step is to recognize that one feeling or another is there, simply as a fact. Then you can make a decision how you're going to relate to that feeling.

Is it right to feel uneasy about taking advice on the electronic music from men? That's cheating... skipping the first few chapters of the book... ignoring the fundamentals. The first thing is to recognize that there are women who feel uneasy in this way! Right or wrong doesn't matter. The feeling is there.

Only after that can the person who is experiencing the feeling make a decision. Is the feeling going to control me, or will I instead move ahead (while still honoring the feelings that are there)?

Those of us who are watching can't make this happen, but we can at least step out of the way and refrain from unhelpful comments such as "if you truly wanted to pursue this field." Dunno... maybe you're worried that you might be helping a woman learn electro-music and then get accused of going on some kind of patriarchal power trip. That's a risk... people get misunderstood all the time. To me it's more productive to accept the risk and deal with the occasional blows, than to make this sort of preemptive strike.

James

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Perhaps it was a bit harsh, but I stand by my convictions. The world is a harsh place and we here in the US are lucky that we even have the luxury to explore feelings, let alone make music with computers. There are people having bombs dropped on their heads or being blown apart by homemade explosives filled with nails in some market who don't have that luxury. And that's what it is, a luxury. And a luxury one may not be able to indulge in if they wish to accomplish certain goals.

I understand your point dewdrop, I'm an alpha-male type and I'm headstrong about issues like this. Feelings aren't my forte, but I'm certainly not worried about "helping a woman learn electro-music." Music education is part of what I do, and if I had some notions of how I would look by helping a certain person or if I were willing to give preference to certain people or groups then I would be a pretty poor educator I think.

I'm only trying to paint the world with a realistic brush. There is injustice in the world that is brought about by social constructs, of that there is no doubt. But societies are not changed by giant leaps. Instead incremental steps must take place. And in the meantime it's probably not going to seem like much has changed to most individuals. Try a generation or two or twenty. So the only thing the individual can do is work to effect that incremental change and to persevere in the pursuit of their own goals.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bbinkovitz wrote:
it troubles me because i'm interested in getting into electronic music more, but the vast majority of those i perceive to have "authority" are male, which creates an incongruous gendered self-consciousness and increases my overall anxiety about trying to learn. i have reason to believe that this is the case for many people who are a minority within a given community for various reasons.


Thank you for writing that Beth, it makes me understand your point better. Not that I have answers, but anxiety in comparable situations is something I've experienced myself, especially that "overall" bit, and the remarks relating to "authority" Very Happy

I think your statement about minorities is a true one, we're social beings alright but we do things in odd way and people in general are not very minority friendly, at least not when I happen to be that minority.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Blue Hell wrote:

Thank you for writing that Beth, it makes me understand your point better. Not that I have answers, but anxiety in comparable situations is something I've experienced myself, especially that "overall" bit, and the remarks relating to "authority" Very Happy

I think your statement about minorities is a true one, we're social beings alright but we do things in odd way and people in general are not very minority friendly, at least not when I happen to be that minority.


thank you. i'm glad some understanding is being reached through these arduous discussions.

as further clarification to everyone in general: i don't feel there is anything stopping me from pursuing electronic music. i don't feel that i'm waiting for electronic music to become equally gender representative before getting interested in it. i am interested in it and i am pursuing it and i want to do that along with other people of varying skill levels. (to my knowledge, bernat is also interested in pursuing it and has participated creatively in electronic music events both related and unrelated to this forum.) i want to make sure others interested in doing the same see the role models they need to feel encouraged.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Excellent! That sounds much better than what was said before. So if anxiety is what we're talking, well there are ways to deal with it. We all have it to some degree and about different things.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bbinkovitz wrote:

as further clarification to everyone in general..


Great! That sounds like an ideal mission statement for this forum. Practical and worth supporting.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 3:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
i want to make sure others interested in doing the same see the role models they need to feel encouraged.

well, if you don't see them here (which is what i think you have been saying), then, if you want other women to find them here, and you want women to have women to learn from, it seems to me that you have to be that person.

Quote:
i want women with electro experience and acheivements under their belts to be spotlighted as a way of reducing the artificial gendering of electronic music as a community and a history, and to encourage more females who are already interested in electronic music to express themselves more fully and to join and contribute to the community.

well, it's a nice wish...but you can't simply mandate such things. either you go out and recruit these women (or write some articles/posts about them or to attract them)...or better yet, become one. otherwise, you are just dealing with what is already here, which you are obviously not satisfied with.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 4:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

deknow wrote:
it seems to me that you have to be that person.


yes! exactly!

Quote:
you are just dealing with what is already here, which you are obviously not satisfied with.


i'm not unsatisfied with this community at all. i like it a lot and felt that this forum would be something i could help offer to it.

the most frustrating thing i've encountered so far is the attitude that only women stand to gain from there being more gender diversity here. i thought it was understood that if there are women who are already into this stuff and have something they want to learn or add, it's in the best interest of the whole community to have access to their creative powers. i suspect female musicians are a huge untapped source of that.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 5:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I keep thinking that the gender of partecipants to an electro-music forum like this one shouldn't make much difference. I am not here because it is prodominantly populated by males and, I guess, I wouldn't mind if the majority were females. the reason I have been here for so long it's because I have found a community of like-minded individuals (regardless of gender) that at times have been helpful, generous, inspiring, encouraging, friendly, humurous and the list could go on and on. So, I am simply grateful I found it and hope to have been able to give something back to the community. that's it.
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deknow



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Posts: 1307
Location: Leominster, MA (USA)
G2 patch files: 15

PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
the most frustrating thing i've encountered so far is the attitude that only women stand to gain from there being more gender diversity here.

...i can't recall anyone saying or even implying the above.


Quote:
i thought it was understood that if there are women who are already into this stuff and have something they want to learn or add, it's in the best interest of the whole community to have access to their creative powers.


...and this has been my point the whole time. we all benefit if you contribute....and all i've been doing is encourging you and bernat to contribute and/or ask questions....as i think you will find that many of your concerns of how you will be treated are moot.

deknow
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