I originally wrote this sometime back in 1984; just after I started running my first BBS (Bulletin Board System) called somewhat imaginatively H.U.B. B (Hobart Users Bulletin Board). My BBS was one of the first public BBS’s in Tasmania, and I was one of the first female SysOps in Australia.
HUBB was run on a 512k double floppy Micro-Bee called Eric, the BBS program ran off a floppy disk and until I got a dedicated phone line it ran from our home phone from midnight to 7am daily. My users were a very dedicated bunch.
BBS’s were a very new phenomenon in the early 80’s and came with a whole new set of problems, especially if you were female, especially if you were young and female. BBS’s were a new thing and we were all new in it together, however it seems that some things were universal and it didn’t take long for sexism and misogyny to rear its ugly head. The more things change the more they stay the same it seems.
All I have fixed is some of the grammar and a few of the more egregious spelling mistakes.
Dear fellow SysOps and Lusers,
You know it gets REALLY old very quickly when I hear from a lot of you that females should not be running BBS’s, BBS’s are solely for males, as only males understand how computers work, and how to make a bbs run properly, well let me tell you I’ve been running mine for six months now, ON MY OWN without male support and guess what, I’m doing a pretty bloody good job.
I know I am one of those rare beasts a female sysop but that doesn’t give you any god given right to assume that I am here for your amusement, in any way shape or form.
If I say hello to you at one of our meet-ups then I am just saying hello, I am not entering into a social contract with you that then entitles you to grope, fondle, touch or just generally act like an arsehole around my person.
If you had been a bunch of teenage boys then I might have excused the behaviour on the grounds that you didn’t know better, but you are mostly grown arsed men with wives and kids of your own!
Being a female sysop does not equate to me being there for your dirty jokes, your innuendo, subtle or otherwise, or even your upfront offers of a ‘good time’.
My breasts are a part of me, and have been for a good many years. I’m almost positive that most of you have seen breasts before and even touched some, but just because your wife/girlfriend lets you touch hers, does not give you blanket permission to touch mine.
The next person who gropes me with the excuse that you ‘wanted to see if they were real’ will get a swift kick to the balls with the excuse ‘I wanted to see if it really hurts’.
The next person who comes up behind me and slides his hands over my shoulders and down my breasts will get a swift elbow in the guts, closely followed by a slap on the face.
The next person who backs me up into a corner will also discover that elbows to the guts hurt quite a bit, and the next person who tells me to lighten up and that it’s all just a bit of harmless fun will probably get my drink thrown in their face.
I honestly don’t understand why some of you see me as such a threat, it’s not like Users are in that short supply that we have to fight over them, my BBS is not that much different from yours, we all offer the same things, so why are some of you so determined to trash my reputation, yes I’ve heard all the rumours that have been spread and all I can do is roll my eyes and shrug my shoulders.
Just keep your hands to yourself.