Monthly Archives: August 2011

Gender Bent Justice League (for featured image)

Justice League, Geek Feminism style

With DC rebooting their entire universe, it’s not entirely surprising that I’ve seen a lot of Justice League links of late. Here’s three that I think Geek Feminism readers might find interesting, put together in one post.

What If Male Superheroes Posed Like Wonder Woman On The David Finch Justice League Cover?

Apparently, something like this…

The Green Lantern, Batman and Superman, posing in the same style as used for Wonder Woman on the David Finch Justice League Cover

The Green Lantern, Batman and Superman, posing in the same style as used for Wonder Woman on the David Finch Justice League Cover

That’s just three of them: More here.

An Interview with the Batgirl of the SDCC panels

For example, in the beginning of the panel [Dan Didio] took questions from the audience, and one man asked, “Why did you go from 12% to 1% women on your creative teams?” Didio responded, “What do those numbers mean to you? Who should we be hiring?” If you listen to the podcast, [Note: here’s the soundbite] you can hear the hostility in Didio’s tone when he speaks to this man. This belligerence was present every time anyone asked him about female creators.

On the other hand, Paul Cornell came directly to where I was sitting as soon as the New 52 panel ended and said, “I heard what you said, and I’d like to take a minute to try to sell to you directly.” He told me that his new swords and sorcery comic, Demon Knights, would have a majority female cast and that he was committed to keeping it that way. I am utterly uninterested in swords and sorcery, but I will be subscribing to a full year of Demon Knights anyway, because Paul Cornell made me feel like he cared about my opinion, both as a fan and as a human being. I want to give this comic a chance, and I think it would be fantastic if everyone reading this article would at least pick up issue #1 of Demon Knights and give it a chance, too. Cornell’s also writing Stormwatch, and says of Apollo and Midnighter in the linked article, “Yes, Apollo and Midnighter are still gay men. They’re still out and proud. I wouldn’t have written it otherwise.”

Vote with your dollars, people. If you can bear to give DC any of your money after reading the rest of this, buy Paul Cornell’s and Gail Simone’s books. As SilverLocust1 said to me on Twitter, “Please encourage readers to buy comics that prove reader interest, boycotting gives the people who buy all the influence.

I recommend you read the whole interview even if you’re not particularly a DC or comics fan since the talk of women creators, women characters and how we can try to influence the industry to have more of both could be relevant to other media as well.

San Diego Comic-Con Cosplay Spotlight: Gender Bent Justice League

“A couple of us like to do female versions of preexisting male characters. One of our friends, Psykitten Pow, she had a female Flash,” says Tallest Silver, who organized the group and who dresses as Batma’am. “One night, we were all hanging out and I said how funny it would be if we had a whole Justice League with swapped sexes.”

Kit Quinn as Superma'am and Tallest Silver as Batma'am (photo by Shannon Cottrell)

Kit Quinn as Superma'am and Tallest Silver as Batma'am (photo by Shannon Cottrell)

Gender Bent Green Lantern (photo by Shannon Cottrell)

Gender Bent Green Lantern (photo by Shannon Cottrell)

Lots more pictures in the original post and on page two. Wonder Guy’s pose is not as bad as the David Lynch rendering, I promise. And yes, I intentionally inserted photos here of the same three characters as we saw at the top of this post.


I know I also saw some very interesting posts about the reboot of Barbara Gordon as Batgirl but I can’t find it in my history, and I’m sure there’s been a lot more interesting geek feminist friendly commentary on the DC reboot, so please share those links or add your own commentary below!

A computer monitor sitting on the ground, with the screen smashed

Technology protest: what do you do?

Social Media Collective at Microsoft Research write about some responses to social media protest:

It’s common, and easy, to say “just don’t use it.” There’s actually a term for this– technology refusal– meaning people who strategically “opt out” of using overwhelmingly prevalent technologies. This includes teens who’ve committed Facebook suicide because it causes too much drama; off-the-grid types who worry about the surveillance potentials of GPS-enabled smartphones; older people who think computers are just too much trouble; and, of course, privacy-concerned types who choose not to use Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, websites with cookies, or any other technology that could potentially compromise their privacy. (This does not include people who can’t afford internet access or computers, or who live in areas without cell towers or broadband access.)… [There is] the idea that refusal is the only legitimate way to protest something one thinks is problematic, unconscionable, unethical, or immoral… I generally do not buy this idea. Here are three reasons why.

The Cost of Opting Out

Opting-out of watching The Bachelorette because I think it romanticizes sexism doesn’t impact me the same way that choosing not to have a cellphone does. If I choose not to have a cellphone, I am choosing to exist in a world where social norms have adapted to cellphones without adapting myself. Face it, someone without a cellphone requires everyone who interacts with that person to make special accommodations for them… not having a cellphone puts one at a serious disadvantage…

The Civic Responsibility to Critique

Members of a community (nation, state, book group, dining club, whatever) have a responsibility to criticize and suggest alternatives to things they find problematic, whether those are government principles, media representations, website policies, or laws. In fact, this is such a cultural norm that the right to protest is enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the US Constitution…

It’s Not Free

Social software is not free [the blog means price for those of you who immediately thought about liberty]… Only the most staunch pro-market capitalist would argue that a customer has no right to complain about a product or service that she is paying for, either directly or through the exchange of personal information.

I was, frankly, tempted to let this slide by in a linkspam, but we’re a bit quiet around here this week, so, let’s talk about varying forms of technology protest. Here are some of mine:

I left Facebook and will probably leave LinkedIn (just need to get some opinions from colleagues on whether this will be professionally damaging) over those sites’ like of using users to advertise products (LinkedIn just turned this on, here’s how to opt-out and here is their response to criticism), and Facebook’s continual cycles of making information shared with advertisers or applications and later making it opt-out in response to another wave of protest.

I am undecided on Google+: I intensely dislike their wallet-name policy, perhaps especially given that the initial policy was “name you are known by”, but it also has a lot of the features I miss about Facebook (in-line comments, longer entries than Twitter), so the cost of opting-out is a consideration for me there.

I keep some data in the cloud and use some Google services, although not as many as a lot of tech people (my personal email is not in Gmail, for example). There’s some cost of opting-out there too: cloud computing may be a trap but I notice Richard Stallman has an organisation that pays people to be his sysadmins (or could, at least, I can’t say I am certain whether RMS admins his own boxes). I could host my own Status.net instance, Diaspora, etc, but I don’t have the time or money. There’s also reader/friend cost: many more people follow me on Twitter than on Identi.ca as it is, almost no one ever logs into Diaspora that I’ve seen. I am simply not powerful enough to force my friends to follow me to different sites, so to some extent I stay where they are.

Most recently, I bought an Amazon Kindle which is fairly well evil (ie, so DRMed it’s possible that it will grow legs in the night, scan and eat my paper books, and make me ring Jeff Bezos in future for permission to read them). This is actually a response to even more nastiness to some degree: at least Amazon sells some recent e-books to Australian customers, relative to almost all of the ePub vendors anyway, and moreover sells them at the US price as opposed to the special markup (about 100%) Australians pay for anything electronic or Internetty. So that’s flat-out poor options, there.

I am committed to the right to complain about things I use in general: to be honest I think a lot of the “leave if you don’t like it” criticism, at least from people who are themselves apathetic, is rooted in “it’s not cool to care about things, don’t make me watch you caring”.

How about you? What services do you stick with and complain/protest about, and why? Which ones have you left/not signed up for despite temptation, and why?

Note: a bit of amnesty would be nice in this post. We’re talking about people’s choices, and frantic attempts to convert everyone to your version of technology purity will stop the conversation. If someone says that they are actively seeking an alternative to service X that has property Y, that would be a good time to mention service Z, which offers X-like functionality with more Y. Otherwise, let people talk.

Ellen Ochoa simulates an emergency egress

Wednesday Geek Woman: Ellen Ochoa, engineer and NASA astronaut

This is a guest post by L. Minter. L. Minter is a blogger at Feminist Book Club and Constituent Riposte.

Ellen Ochoa portrait in spacesuit

Ellen Ochoa

Ellen grew up in La Mesa, California where she received a B.S. degree in Physics from San Diego State University. She went on to Stanford University where she earned a M.S. and doctorate in Electrical Engineering.

During her doctorate and a little while after, she studied optical information processing. She is the co-inventor for an optical inspection system, an optical object recognition method, and method of removing noise from images. She was the chief of the Intelligent Systems Technology Branch at NASA Ames Research Center where she supervised many engineers and scientists on aerospace computational research. She has also published many papers in scientific journals.

In 1990, Dr. Ochoa was selected to be an astronaut for NASA’s space shuttle program. On her first mission in 1993 aboard the shuttle Discovery, she conducted a 9 day study of solar and atmospheric activity on Earth’s climate where she used the Remote Manipulator System to release and capture the Spartan sattelite.

Ellen Ochoa simulates an emergency egress

Ellen Ochoa simulates an emergency egress (photo by NASA, public domain)

On her second mission in 1994, Dr. Ochoa was the Payload Commander for the Atlantis Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science. For this mission, she studied the sun’s irradiance changes and the effect that it has on Earth’s environment. Again, Dr. Ochoa used the RMS to retrieve the research satellite.

Her third mission, aboard Discovery in 1999 was to perform the first docking for the International Space Station. She coordinated the delivery of 4 tons of supplies to prepare for the first crew to live on the station.

On Dr. Ochoa’s last mission in 2002, aboard the Atlantis, she visited the International Space Station and used the RMS to not only install the SO Truss, but also to move space walkers around the station. This was the first time this was done.

Ellen was the first Latina woman to enter space. She has received numerous NASA, science, and engineering awards. She is currently the Deputy Director of the Johnson Space Center.

Wikipedia: Ellen Ochoa
NASA: Astronaut bio: Ellen Ochoa

Creative Commons License
This post is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Masked by Harhsa K R (CC BY-SA): a group of people sitting on steps wearing duck and pig masks

Pseudospam: nymwars continue

We have enough nymwars links for them to be their own linkspam, and likely our commenters have more to add too.

Lots of dedicated discussion and link tracking at googleplus.dreamwidth.org and Botgirl Questi’s collection of #plusgate articles.


Front page image credit: Masked by Harsha K R, Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike.

Wall of Spam, by freezelight on Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Linkspamming saves lives (3rd August, 2011)

  • A timely reminder: are you running a blog? Make automated backups and store them on a different server to your blog in case of disaster. For WordPress, two plugins that will email you backups on a schedule are Online Backup for WordPress (both database and WordPress installation) and WordPress Database Backup (database only).
  • Pseudonyms:
    • My Name Is Me: Be Yourself Online. Statements in support of pseudonymity. Share the link, and if you are well-known or respected and support the use of nicknames or pseudonyms online, consider making a statement.
    • Electronic Frontier Foundation: A Case for Pseudonyms: It is not incumbent upon strict real-name policy advocates to show that policies insisting on the use of real names have an upside. It is incumbent upon them to demonstrate that these benefits outweigh some very serious drawbacks.
  • Women, Let’s Claim Wikipedia! : Ms Magazine Blog: I believe that more women would be involved in editing Wikipedia if it were a social activity, rather than an insular one, so I hosted a WikiWomen party at my house to make the experience collaborative. In attendance were five female chemists: myself, Anna Goldstein, Rebecca Murphy, Chelsea Gordon and Helen Yu. We started the night with a dinner, over which we discussed the experience of being a graduate student and how writing for Wikipedia compares to teaching undergraduates.
  • In praise of Joanne Rowling’s Hermione Granger series, praising the series that wasn’t, and The Further Adventures of Hermione Granger
  • Factors Influencing Participant Satisfaction with Free/Libre and Open Source Software Projects:

    The purpose of this research was to identify factors that affect participants’ satisfaction with their experience of a free/libre open source software (FLOSS) project. […] The central research question it answered was, What factors influence participant satisfaction with a free/libre and open source application software project? […] These suggest that being able to be an active participant in a FLOSS project is one factor that should be examined, and therefore the first sub-question this project answers is, What types of contributions do participants make to free/libre and open source software projects? […] Do the factors that influence satisfaction vary for different types of participation? If so, in what way?

  • New Toronto Initiative Supports First-Time Female Game Developers – Torontoist: A new program, the Difference Engine Initiative, to support women wanting to make their first video game will be starting up in Toronto next month.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on delicious, freelish.us or pinboard.in 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.

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New theme feedback

The geekfeminism.org site has a new look thanks to Viv Smythe (tigtog), who customised the Suburbia theme for us.

The aim of the redesign is to make it less easy for posts to get somewhat lost on heavy posting days or weeks, by not turning fairly recent posts into a “scroll down… and down… oh, and down” search, instead making the most recent 6 posts, in particular, available at a glance.

Viv has already asked for feedback in the open thread, but I’m making a new post so that it attracts more attention. If you have feedback, please comment here.