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

Eredar Lord of the Burning Linkspam (28 August 2012)

  • What I Learned At Facebook’s Girl Geek Dinner: “Is timing everything? You can’t rush time… Everyone will create a unique arc or trajectory in life. As Sheryl Sandberg says today’s careers are jungle gyms. Your life will not go up and to the right in a straight line or trajectory. Remember it’s the journey that counts – keep learning, keep producing, keep shipping.”
  • Men of Silicon Valley: We’re sexist, we just don’t know it. “Women are a big market, maybe the biggest, and women founders and engineers bring a unique and needed perspective to female-specific pain points. We need them involved, but any women in the audience for the pitch listening to the juvenile wisecracks probably felt discouraged from doing something like this. Why would they want to put so much effort into starting a company if that’s what they would have to endure in front of hundreds of people every time they want to promote their business? To put it in user experience terms, some men in the room were adding unnecessary and unfair friction for women founders.”
  • Guild Wars 2 and the misogynistic bad guys: “If you dig into the lore, you’ll find they have pretty similar rationales for the exclusion of women. In both cases, there was a woman hundreds of years ago who stood up to them, and they decided to generalise from that woman to all women, decide that women can’t be trusted, and ostracise them thereafter. I want to say that this is just cartoon supervillainy, with the evil turned up to 11. I want to say that it’s as if they revealed that these factions stand for punching kittens and pouring toxic waste in duck ponds. I want to say that, but I can’t, because that kind of ridiculous exclusion of women is too prevalent, still, in real life.”
  • How to Criticize Women in Technology: “If you want to deliver a cogent, non-sexist criticism to a woman in a non-traditional field that doesn’t reinforce nasty cultural norms, (which we need as much as the next person) you have to take the rhetorical tool of patronizing them out of the tool kit. Speak respectfully and recognize their achievements in public. It’s not too much to ask.”
  • Let’s Discuss Apologies: “Oh no! Suddenly your social media feeds and inbox are full of irate people peppering you with accusations of being insensitive, a bigot, all because you used a sexist/racist/homophobic/transphobic/etc. word, image, or phrase. What do you do?! Fret not, I will go through a list of actions you should take and avoid.”

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

3 thoughts on “Eredar Lord of the Burning Linkspam (28 August 2012)

  1. Jay L. Gischer

    The tale told in link #2 about how a presentation for a startup proposal for a mobile app that would help women track their fertility, or as the writer puts it, “to help women get pregnant”, inspired many sort of smart-ass comments and sexual puns from the mostly male audience.

    In pondering this, I wonder if the cultural difference felt isn’t so much men v. women as Texas v. California (the author is from Texas, and the one woman who he checked in with is also from Texas).

    The kinds of things said are the kinds of things that many women in my life would say. They’d make that stupid, juvenile joke with a big grin on their face. And there are plenty of men (me included) who probably would never make those jokes, I’m just not comfortable. Seriously, some of the filthiest jokes I’ve ever heard were told to me by women.

    But I’d like to know how the readers of this blog feel about it. Seriously, have at it…

    1. Addie

      Well, context matters, right? If I had a startup of that nature maybe I’d make jokes like that when talking about my job after working hours and in the company of friends. You’re right that some of the dirtiest jokes I’ve heard have come from friends who are not male-identified. In a professional context (especially as a group), though? Absolutely not.

      Tech’s (typically) casual atmosphere and playful cultural artifacts are outstanding perks, but there’s a distinction between casual and professional, and it’s possible to thrive in a casual and playful environment and still respect professional boundaries. I think a lot of people in tech haven’t made the distinction between those two because they haven’t had reason to; it’s really a sign of privilege if you’ve never been in a situation where you’ve had to enforce professional boundaries. But they’re there for everybody’s protection, and by not recognizing that we make this industry that much more hostile to diversity.

    2. Tim Chevalier

      Telling a dirty joke can be a sign both that you trust your audience (to not react with outrage or offense), and that you expect your audience to trust you (that is, you expect your audience to take your comment as a funny joke, not as a sign that you’re marking the space as one where it’s okay for people like you to assault more vulnerable people).

      When someone who is enjoying male privilege extends this trust, it can be out of a sense of entitlement to be trusted (because men are authority figures and deserve trust). That’s really problematic, and not an issue in the same way when someone not enjoying male privilege tells a joke like that. Of course, it’s possible for someone not enjoying male privilege to tell a joke that backfires and offends people, but the joke simply doesn’t have the same meaning because such a person can’t invoke the larger mechanism of male domination that gives them the power to use sexual speech as a reminder that bodies not marked as cis and male are property.

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