Quick hit: #ThisTweetCalledMyBack

Who gets to claim the title “activist”, and who quietly does the work that’s needed for activist movements to succeed while getting simultaneously derided and appropriated from?

A collective of, in their own words, “Black Women, AfroIndigenous and women of color” have issued a statement on how they’re being treated by white feminism, academia, the mainstream media, and the rest of the social-justice-industrial complex:

As an online collective of Black, AfroIndigenous, and NDN women, we have created an entire framework with which to understand gender violence and racial hierarchy in a global and U.S. context. In order to do this however, we have had to shake up a few existing narratives, just like K. Michelle and her infamous table rumble on Love & Hip Hop.

The response has been sometimes loving, but in most cases we’ve faced nothing but pushback in the form of trolls, stalking. We’ve, at separate turns, been stopped and detained crossing international borders and questioned about our work, been tailed and targeted by police, had our livelihoods threatened with calls to our job, been threatened with rape on Twitter itself, faced triggering PTSD, and trudged the physical burden of all of this abuse. This has all occurred while we see our work take wings and inform an entire movement. A movement that also refuses to make space for us while frequently joining in the naming of us as “Toxic Twitter.”

Read the statement from @tgirlinterruptd, @chiefelk, @bad_dominicana, @aurabogado, @so_treu, @blackamazon, @thetrudz, as well as #ThisTweetCalledMyBack on Twitter, for a critical perspective on the role of intersecting racism and sexism in how activist work is valued. If you’ve ever been dismissed as “just an Internet activist” or told to get off your computer and out in the streets, then you need to read this essay. If you’ve ever dismissed someone else as all talk, and no action, not like those real activists who are running big street protests, then you need to read this essay. And if both are true for you, then you need to read this essay.

You Can’t Hurry Linkspam (14 December 2014)

  • Margaret Hamilton, lead software engineer, Project Apollo | Medium (December 8): Margaret Hamilton “was all of 31 when the Apollo 11 lunar module landed on the moon, running her code. (Apollo 11 was able to land at all only because she designed the software robustly enough to handle buffer overflows and cycle-stealing.)”
  • Pick Up Artist Simulator Web Game Is Surprisingly the Greatest Thing | The Mary Sue (December 12): “The game is a tongue-in-cheek look at how slimy and transparent these dumb tactics are and that some of them might get you f***ing maced—and you’d deserve it.”
  • On Interviewing as a Junior Dev | Liz Rush (December 8): “I wanted to share my interviewing and job hunting story with you along with what I’ve learned about good hiring. My peers and I have become a de facto curiosity as the first women to graduate Ada. While we all had different experiences interviewing for our first real dev roles, we are also a great subject to reflect on what it’s like to try to get a job as women, as alternative learners, as minorities, and as new talent.”
  • Women In Science Postcards | Etsy: Gift idea
  • Encyclopedia Frown | Slate (December 11): CW: Discussion of harassment “With the Arbitration Committee opting only to ban the one woman in the dispute despite her behavior being no worse than that of the men, it’s hard not to see this as a setback to Wikipedia’s efforts to rectify its massive gender gap.”
  • Walter Lewin, the art of teaching, and physics’ gender problem | Medium (December 10): “I suspect, though I cannot prove, that as soon as you decide that performance in your field is due mostly to some kind of innate ability, you stop respecting diversity in many ways. You stop respecting diversity of thought, because you’ve just picked one learning style and decided that it’s the only one worth teaching to. And I suspect — although, again, I cannot prove — that you stop respecting diversity of gender or race. After all, if success is all about some kind of innate ability, then there must be some reason why everyone who exhibits it looks the same.”
  • Solidarity against online harassment | Tor (December 12): “We do high-profile work, and over the past years, many of us have been the targets of online harassment. The current incidents come at a time when suspicion, slander, and threats are endemic to the online world. They create an environment where the malicious feel safe and the misguided feel justified in striking out online with a thousand blows. Under such attacks, many people have suffered — especially women who speak up online. Women who work on Tor are targeted, degraded, minimized and endure serious, frightening threats.
    This is the status quo for a large part of the internet. We will not accept it.”
  • How to Uphold White Supremacy by Focusing on Diversity and Inclusion | Model View Culture (December 10): “Liberalism as an ideology deems equal rights and equal treatment as a higher priority than  material justice, or as an effective means towards  it. Its presumptions of equality are false, as individualist equality may be written into law and policy while material inequality thrives. It effectively abstracts and obscures power dynamics along lines of race, class, and gender.”
  • Codes of Conduct: When Being Excellent is Not Enough | Model View Culture (December 10): “the most common argument from organizers who opposed codes of conduct ran something like this: since we are all professionals sharing mutual respect for one another, there is no need to add layers of bureaucracy to enforce standards that already exist informally.”
  • You Are What You Wear: The Dangerous Lessons Kids Learn From Sexist T-Shirts | Huff Post Women (December 3): “Even subtle messaging about girls’ and boys’ roles — in the media, in society and on clothing — affects the way kids see themselves.”
  • At a geek feminist meet-up in Ballarat | Elephant Woman (December 12): “the magic of the weekend wasn’t so much in the ideas as it was about the alchemy of the whole experience. Women coming together to talk about problems and coming up with solutions; women who identified as being feminists as well as being geeks of various kinds.”

We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, Delicious or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

Digital Millenium Linkspam Act (12 December 2014)


We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, Delicious or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

Linkspam arrived on time, was as described (December 9 2014)

  • Why women are leaving the tech industry in droves | LA Times (December 5): “In 2008, the Harvard Business Review published a landmark report on women in tech, “The Athena Factor,” which found that the mid-career point is the most dangerous time for women. Just as their male colleagues’ careers are taking off, women’s start to stall, with those who’ve reached the beginning ranks of management reporting feeling blocked in moving up because they don’t have a mentor, a sponsor or a road map.”
  • CNN’s Van Jones Speaks on Tech’s Digital “Cotton Pickers” | Re/code (December 4): “you deserve to be more than just digital cotton pickers in the information age. You need to be uploading and not downloading. Your genius should be tapped.”
  • Hacked documents reveal a Hollywood studio’s stunning gender and race gap | Fusion (December 1): According to leaked data, “the upper pay echelon of Sony Pictures is 94 percent male, and 88 percent white.”
  • Does Sex Make Science Fiction “Soft?” | Uncanny Magazine (November/December Issue): “How much kissing and flirting can a story take before it doesn’t deserve to be called science fiction any more? Yes, that was a trick question.”
  • On the 25th Anniversary of École Polytechnique | Julie Pagano (December 6): “This event is notable to me and often thought about because it is a reminder that people do exist who not only intend harm against women, but will actually carry it out. This isn’t an isolated incident — another mass killing targeting women happened this year in California. Many smaller incidents happen all the time. I think about it often. I can’t not.” Content notice: violence, violence against women, mass shooting
  • Programmers: Please don’t ever say this to beginners … | Philip Guo (November): “Haha, psssh, PHP is so dumb. You should learn Ruby on Rails, deploy on Heroku, and code in Vim. TextMate is for n00bs. Oh, then move onto some Node.js, that’s sweeeeet. non-blocking I/O w000000t.” Why expert coders can be crappy teachers.
  • My Career is not about Stopping Gamergate | Space Channel 6 (December 7:) “This is the thankless task I’ve signed up for. If I were being honest – I’m more than a little resentful. The vast majority of our male-dominated games press wrote a single piece condemning Gamergate and has been radio silent ever since. The publishers are silent, the console makers are silent. And so, Anita, Zoe, Randi and myself are out here doing the majority of the work, while everyone whines about wanting it to be over.”
  • Infographic: Gender Gap – Women in Technology | Lucidworks (December 4): “Here’s a snapshot of the gender gap in technology and how it compares to the rest of the workforce – and why we should reprogram the gender balance”

  •  

    We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

    You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, Delicious or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

    Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

    The Linkspam Jargon File (December 7 2014)

    We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

    You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, Delicious or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

    Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

    Let none of us pretend

    Content Note: This post deals with the École Polytechnique massacre and violence against women.

    A black plaque engraved with the names of the women who died in the Ecole Polytechnique massacre

    Today marks 25 years since 14 women were killed in an act of sickening violence at the École Polytechnique engineering school in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. They were targeted for being women and for being engineers.

    • Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student
    • Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
    • Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
    • Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
    • Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student
    • Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering student
    • Maryse Laganière (born 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique’s finance department
    • Maryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering student
    • Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
    • Sonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering student
    • Michèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering student
    • Annie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
    • Annie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering student
    • Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing student

    The man who murdered Bergeron, Colgan, Croteau, Daigneault, Edward, Haviernick, Laganière, Leclair, Lemay, Pelletier, Richard, St-Arneault, Turcotte, and Klucznik-Widajewicz said — before he killed himself — “I am fighting feminism”.

    “And those of us who know what went before can come again
    Must ring the bells of morning”
    Stephen Fearing

    Actually, it’s about ethics in linkspam journalism (5 December 2014)


    We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

    You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, Delicious or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

    Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

    The linkspam will continue until the morale improves (30 November 2014)

     

    • Happy 100th birthday, Hedy Lamarr! And Wikipedia woes | Zara Rahman: On Hedy Lamarr’s Wikipedia page: “Before the fact that she co-invented the thing that allows us to have wireless communications today, comes a comment that some director made about her being “beautiful”, and, even worse, “exotic”.” Multiple edits to alter this have been reverted.
    • Economic warfare in FOSS | Michael Hall: How to destroy a project rather than compete with it, and some steps to take to counteract this.
    • Hey, Kids! Comics! Wonder Woman #36 | Doomrocket: “Wonder Woman is now drawn by someone who shies away from calling her a feminist, and is written by someone with so little grasp of her character they have her carrying around a plush toy on the Justice League jet. Of late, DC has had so many successful relaunches and new titles aimed at us ladies, and it breaks my heart that the Amazonian matriarch of female superhero comics could now be so very, very far off the mark William Moulton Marston made back in 1941.”
    • WW2: Winifred Roberts’ Bletchley Park work cracking Enigma code | BBC: “Winifred Roberts was 25 when she was plunged into the top secret world of Bletchley Park, where mathematician Alan Turing had been carrying out his code-breaking work on the Enigma machine. It was a secret she kept from her family for decades. Now aged 96, she talks about the time her life dramatically changed and the role she played in such an important part of the war effort.”
    • Metafoundry 15: Scribbled Leatherjackets – Homo Fabber | Deb Chachra: “It’s not, of course, that there’s anything wrong with making (although it’s not all that clear that the world needs more stuff). It’s that the alternative to making is usually not doing nothing—it’s nearly always doing things for and with other people, from the barista to the Facebook community moderator to the social worker to the surgeon. Describing oneself as a maker—regardless of what one actually  or mostly does—is a way of accruing to oneself the gendered, capitalist benefits of being a person who makes products.”
    • Why I don’t like hackathons, by Alex Bayley aged 39 1/2: “Here’s what I want instead: Ongoing projects, that are maintained and used over several years. A welcoming environment for people of all skill and confidence levels, with opportunity for mentorship, learning, and working at your own pace. A schedule that makes it possible to participate without having to make heroic efforts to juggle your other responsibilities.”
    • [Trigger warning: graphic death threats, threats of violence] The Supreme Court is about to tackle online threats for the first time | The Verge: “A threat counts as a threat if a “reasonable person” would think the statement is a threat.” “This is the standard with virtually every other crime: whether the defendant intended to cause harm.” “However, when it comes to the Internet, where context or tone may be more difficult to perceive, this objective standard has obvious drawbacks: is the “reasonable person” going to be a teenager who plays League of Legends or a grandfather posting on a fly fishing forum?”

     

    We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

    You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, Delicious or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

    Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

    The Phantom Linkspam

    • Where do programmers work? Help us show the world | The Media Show (November 24): “We want to show as many kinds of people as we can programming. People of color. Queer and trans folks; men and women. Older and younger folks. People with disabilities. People with tiny kids running around them while they code.”
    • The Data on Diversity | Communications of the ACM (November 2014 issue): “Diverse teams are more effective: they produce better financial results and better results in innovation. These results show that having a diverse organization is a business imperative.”
    • Women ‘belittled, underappreciated and underpaid’ in tech industry | The Guardian (November 21): “Beyond structural gender disparities, many respondents complained of a “macho, misogynist culture”, with bosses organising events at strip clubs, and frequent commentary on women’s bodies the norm.”
    • Your groundbreaking is not my groundbreaking | N.K. Jemisin (November 25): “I’m pretty sure nobody in the planning meetings for this game went Muahahaha, now we can really stick it to those curly-haired, dark-skinned people!* I think they just started from a completely different set of assumptions about what is “normal”, than… well, what actually is normal to a lot of people. And those assumptions have skewed the whole bell curve of the game.”
    • My Magical Experience at Geek Girl Con | Black Girl Nerds (November 19): “This is why conventions like this exist.  It is to illustrate in such a magical way that you are not the only Black geek girl or queer geek girl, or fat geek girl, or disabled geek girl.  There is a place for you in this community and you have friends and fellow geekettes out there who are willing to support you and tell you that you need not to fear being a member of geekdom.”
    • “I’m so done with it”: Conservationist speaks out against sexism in science | Retraction Watch (November 24): “I think there’s been a sea change in conservation and conservation science. We’re seeing a shift…a lot of discussion about diversity of culture and diversity of gender in conservation science. It’s up to all of us to speak out and say, this is not ok in our community. We’re just not gonna take it.”
    • Pro Star Craft 2 Player Makes Rape Comment about Female Opponent, Gets Booted from Tournament | The Mary Sue (November 24): “I’ve spent some time in competitive gaming myself, and I can’t count the awkward confrontations I’ve gotten into over other gamers—friends, even—throwing around “rape” and other words that they shouldn’t. Unfortunately, most of the time the comments go unanswered, which leads to impressionable players getting the idea that they’re acceptable and even funny things to say.”
    • It’s Not about that Damn Shirt | Women in Astronomy (November 20): “Women said “Dude, wearing that shirt is not cool”. Men are now spending days telling those women the graphic, specific ways they would like to rape and murder them.”
    • No Title, by Marie Connelly | The Pastry Box Project (November 24): “When we talk about platforms, about social networks, we often focus primarily on the technology. Yet in my time as a community manager, I have found that community is rarely about the technology itself—a platform is nothing without the people who use it. And right now, we are losing people. We are losing people who have wisdom and insight and so much to share, because public participation on the web has become increasingly more dangerous.”
    • #Gamergate as a response to re-engineering: BPC as a conspiracy to change computing | Computing Ed (November 23): “We in the Broadening Participation in Computing (BPC) community are aiming to achieve a similar kind of social engineering that the Gamergate supporters are complaining about.  I am part of a vast, international (though maybe not particularly well-organized) conspiracy to change computing culture and to invade computing with many women and members of under-represented groups. We are “actively plotting to influence” computing.

    We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

    You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, Delicious or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

    Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

    A tsunami of testimonies: assaults in the Swedish larp community

    Warning: this post details sexual violence.

    This is a guest post by Kristin Nilsdotter Isaksson. It originally appeared in Swedish and in English on Spelkult. The English translation is by Charlie Charlotta Haldén.

    Editor’s note: “larp” is live-action role play.

    We’re talking about sexual harassment in the world of larp. Molestation, groping, assault and rape of participants who are asleep or intoxicated, aggravated rape with violent abuse, and even attempted murder.

    On June 17, 2014, a new Facebook group was created for Swedish-speaking larpers who identify wholly or partially as women. The group quickly drew many members, and now comprises 580 larpers of varying ages and backgrounds. The idea was to create a sanctuary for discussions about different aspects of being a female larper. There are discussion threads about portraying female antagonists, about dealing with menstruation during larps, about sewing tricks, creating characters, organising larps. Small questions, big questions, and questions of vital importance.

    It’s so important that we talk about our experiences. About how common this is, and that it’s not OK. About our right to say no, and that it’s never, ever, acceptable for someone not to listen. Everybody knows a victim, but nobody knows a perpetrator, and it’s time to take a stand now. — anonymous

    A lot of times, I am personally skeptical of gender separated forums and arenas. I think spaces that are open for all tend to support a broader sharing of experiences. But I have realised that there are exceptions.

    Lately, a darker subject has crept into the discussion threads, and during the past few weeks, a tsunami of voices has swept over us. Post after post, comment after comment, telling stories of painful experiences. We’re talking about sexual assault. At larps, or in larping circles. Over a thousand posts detailing experiences, sharing thoughts, discussing preventive measures, and not least, holding out hands in support.

    There are a lot of perpetrators, and a lot of victims. The threads almost exclusively tell of assaults perpetrated by men towards women. There have been instances of sexual harassment, molestation, groping, assault and rape of sleeping or intoxicated larpers, aggravated rape with violent abuse, and even attempted murder. Some of these incidents have been reported, but a large amount of them have not reached the police, or even the larp organisers. Until now.

    I was almost completely out of it, and I couldn’t do much of anything to stop it, because I hardly understood what was happening. He raped me, and in the morning I was ashamed and just left the camp, because it felt like it was my own fault. — anonymous

    A lot of cases involve young people, 15-16-year-olds who are offered alcohol and harassed by older boys or men, and then things get out of hand during the night. In other cases, the acts are meticulously planned and perpetrated over a long period of time.

    I was always supposed to play a submissive role at the larps, a servant to the group, to his friends. I was thrown around like a handbag. But I felt so worthless, so I reckoned I should be happy to get any attention. Then it got worse, the mental stuff turned into physical abuse… — anonymous

    Many people ask themselves how this can happen. Shouldn’t larping be a safe arena, with a lot of eyes and ears that can react if something seems to be going wrong?

    Most probably, it can happen because the people around let it happen. Partly because larpers are not really any different from other people in society, partly because the setting of a lot of larps actually makes sexual harassment more acceptable. Sociology calls this “habitus”, a series of codes that underlie a person’s behaviour. A lot of larps, especially in the fantasy genre, are stereotypical. Gender roles are clear and coded with different behaviours.

    Male players will often choose a warrior character with a macho attitude, an acceptance for sexualising women and literally taking what he wants. This is a behaviour that would not be at all OK in normal society, but one that is seen a lot at different larps.

    In the same way, female characters are often coded to be submissive, service-minded, soft, madonna-whores, or defenceless. Given that context, it can seem perfectly reasonable if a male player is upset about new rules suddenly being enforced that forbid playing on rape, since he had planned that his character should be an active rapist during the larp. When female characters are coded as submissive, the more dominant aspects of the male characters are intensified.

    I was 13 years old, going to my very first larp together with a friend. None of us had any experience, and we didn’t know anyone except each other. The larp begins, and everything goes pretty well until the second day, when we are handed a note. The note says that the two older men in the tent across from ours want to meet us, because they want to find wives. This made me extremely uncomfortable, and I ended up hiding in the woods for the remaining days. — anonymous

    Another contributing factor in several stories is that the victim has been separated from her group and placed in a new situation where she hardly knows the other players. Her safety net is gone.

    Note that I didn’t know ONE SINGLE person in Sverok (The Swedish Gaming Federation) then. I had gone there all alone, representing my organisation, and had never met anyone else, so I didn’t have a single person there to talk to or seek support from. — anonymous

    Some of the stories shared tell of incidents where larpers have lost their way in the middle of the night and been offered a place to sleep in exchange for sexual favours, or woken up with an unknown person’s hands all over their body. Because the victim has few contacts in the new group, she automatically becomes dependent on the perpetrator, and her scope for action is restricted.

    Suddenly, I notice someone lying down next to me and starting to touch me, moving their hands under my clothes. I was really gone, but I realise that it’s the guy from before, and that makes me feel I can’t say no, because he might have thought I wanted to. So I let him keep on, and I just wanted to go to sleep so I didn’t have to experience this. We never talked again, and I never told anyone. — anonymous

    In many of the cases, shame or fear of retribution has kept the people involved from telling anyone about the incidents. Moreover, the perpetrator usually has a larger amount of social capital than the victim does. They may be much older and more experienced, perhaps an organiser or someone with a lot of contacts in the larping world – as one person wrote, “someone you could trust”. If the person who was assaulted would report it to the police, or involve an organiser, there is almost always a legitimate fear that she would tarnish more people than the perpetrator – their friends, their network, the larp event – by diminishing the perpetrator’s power and social standing. This very strong group mechanism can often cause many people to initially take the perpetrator’s side and turn against the victim. There may be accusations saying that she put herself in the situation, that she behaved like a slut, that she was drunk and provocative and “corrupted” the perpetrator. There are numerous examples of this. The Bjästa case in Sweden and the Steubenville rape in the US are just two well-known examples outside the larping world.

    I walked homewards, ice cold and freezing. It was dark, I couldn’t even see the path. Almost knocked myself out. I just wanted to get home so I could sleep. This guy was friends with the organisers, with my friends, everybody. Nobody would believe me, and that’s why I just kept quiet. — anonymous

    This ongoing conversation has already resulted in some practical measures: Several organisers have taken action against alleged perpetrators, and suggestions for preventive efforts have been put forth, such as larps providing safety hosts and safe sleeping quarters. And people are talking, and processing. Some who have not dared go to a larp for several years because of fear have now felt safe enough to sign up again, and many larp organisers are working hard to ensure that larp is not a lawless haven for perpetrators to hide in.

    All this may lead to people being named and shamed, and suffering reprisals such as being banned from larps and other social contexts. Whether this is justified or not is, of course, a matter of judgement. There is also a significant risk that those who have now dared to speak out might be accused and called into question.

    My blood runs cold when I realise that I probably know several of the guys described here. People I have larped with, had fun with, and maybe been lucky enough not to end up alone with — anonymous

    But this can also lead to a much safer larping experience with increased freedom of action for many players. The tolerance for this kind of behaviour may decrease as the spotlight is placed upon it. What might have been silently accepted earlier can now be pulled out into the open and questioned. Together, organisers and players develop new methods to ensure safer play for everyone, and that more women dare take up more space and choose among a broader array of characters.

    The issues are now being discussed in other open larp forums too, and several players have called for more male voices in the conversation. Partly because this is not just about women’s experiences. There are not only male perpetrators. There are male victims too, and they may risk invisibility and stigmatisation. But there are also a lot of men who want to do something about this and show support. However, the question is if this massive sharing of experiences would ever have happened at all if the forum had been open to everyone. Most of the members of the Facebook group would probably say a resounding “no” to that question. Those who have been subjected to violations need a sanctuary in order to find the courage to start talking.

    Our newsfeeds keep filling up. We keep talking. We discover connections. Someone who has felt desperately alone in her experience discovers, with hope and with horror, that there are many others out there who have been through similar things. This gives strength and breeds courage. The voices are powerful, and they will surely not quieten for a long, long time yet.

    Background

    The Facebook group referred to in the text is named LWU, Larp Women Unite. The group was started by Karin Edman after Linnea Risinger came up with the idea during the Summer of 2014.

    The ”Prata om det” campaign (”Talk about it”, hashtag #prataomdet) was and is a movement consisting of writers, bloggers and tweeters, emanating from a Twitter discussion started by geek feminist Johanna Koljonen in 2010. This concerned sharing stories about grey areas in sexual situations, about when sex becomes violation. This campaign opened doors to conversations that had not previously been had on a larger scale in “geek culture”.