The vessel with the pestle has the Linkspam that is true (24 March 2015)

  • Every woman in every Disney/Pixar movie in the past decade has the same face: “Apparently every Disney woman is a clone/direct descendant of some primordial creature with huge round cheeks and a disturbingly small nose, because there is no other explanation (yes there is(it’s lazy sexism)) for the incredible lack of diversity among these female faces.”
  • Beyond: An anthology of queer SFF comics, coming in spring 2015. Currently fundraising.
  • Former Facebook Employee, Chia Hong, Sues for Sex Discrimination | Re/code: “A former Facebook employee is suing the company for a number of claims, including sex discrimination, harassment and race/national origin discrimination, according to a lawsuit filed with the San Mateo County Superior Court Monday.”
  • Robyn Launches Festival Promoting Women in Technology | News | Pitchfork: “In a press release, Robyn said she wanted to use the platform to inspire girls aged 11-to-18 who might be intrigued about technology—a historically male-dominated industry. ‘Tekla is a festival for girls, in which they get to sample different areas of future technology in what I believe will be a fun and imaginative environment,’ she wrote.”
  • New feminist Thor is selling way more comic books than the old Thor | Fusion: “While the audience breakdown is not available and there’s no way to know if the new Thor is bringing in more female readers, it is clear that she’s outselling the last series by A LOT. The first five new Thor books are currently selling more copies than the last five Thor books from 2012 by close to 20,000 copies per month, not including digital copies.”
  • Lighten Up — The Nib | Medium: Powerful comic about skin tone in comics coloring.
  • Chapter Three | Follow the Geeks: Profile of Lifehacker founder Gina Trapani. “Her skills as a programmer, leader, and writer are often overlooked, because she works so quietly. She flies under the radar, outshined by ideas shouted from the rooftops by Silicon Valley braggadocios. But Gina did something no other tech entrepreneur did, though most of them became big fans of it. She founded Lifehacker, the standard by which all productivity-enhancing web publications—now a dime a dozen—are judged. “
  • You can choose who submits talks to your conference | Julia Evans: “If you ask someone specifically to consider speaking at your conference, they’re WAY more likely to consider submitting a talk than if you don’t. If you then actively work with some talk submitters to help them focus and improve the talk they submit, their proposals will get better! And if you choose to focus your energies to work with (for instance) non-white people more than white people, then you’ll get more and better proposals from people who aren’t white.”
  • Doxxing to Defend Student Privacy | Hack Education: “If doxxing is the tactic – and “a primer” sure might indicate that it’s a-okay – then we have much more to do to prepare students about the implications of their online profiles, safety, surveillance, and discipline. Seriously, we have to think about what it means when political groups decide to use social media mechanisms not just to observe and monitor but to stifle dissent and quite literally to destroy their opposition.”
  • How This Young, Female and Latina Investor Broke Into a Middle-Aged, Male and White Industry | Hunter Walk: An interview with Ana Diaz-Hernandez of Kapor Capital. “I take my relationships very seriously: I believe deep, systemic issues require multi-disciplinary minds coming together. I work hard to bring together people who are taking radically different paths to address similar problems. It’s in those unconventional settings that amazing innovation happens. If you’re a driver of meaningful connections, people will want to work with you and you’ll be sure to have a place at the venture table.”
  • Art+Feminism Events on International Women’s Day « Wikimedia blog: “The Art+Feminism Campaign organized a global drive to host edit-a-thons on the weekend of International Women’s Day, to improve Wikipedia articles about women in the arts, feminism, and gender — as well as to raise awareness of the Wikipedia gender gap. Over 75 events took place around the world, bringing together about 1,500 participants — ranging from small gatherings of friends to large groups at significant cultural institutions like LACMA, the Walker Art Center, and the Stedelijk Museum. As a result, at least 400 new articles were created, and another 500 articles were significantly improved.”
  • Lawsuit: The 10 ways Twitter denies equal job opportunities for women | Mashable: “A software engineer suing Twitter for sex discrimination says the company’s mysterious promotions policy denies equal job opportunities for qualified women, according to court papers obtained Friday by Mashable — a document that handily alleges 10 personnel problems and five ways to fix them.”
  • Why I Don’t Want to Talk About ‘Women in Tech’ | Life as I Know It: “This week, I got an email from a local journalist asking if I wanted to participate in a focus group on writing about women in tech… here is the reply I sent.”
  • 24 Thoughts on Sexism, Feminism, YA, Reading, and The Publishing Industry | Stacked: A good summary for many situations. Women don’t get points for experimenting. They have to get it right the whole way through. Men are right when they try, even if they fail.

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.

Damn, I Wish I Was Your Linkspam (22 March 2015)

  • Greg Pak Is Making Book Diversity Into A Reality | Black Girl Nerds (March 18): “with The Princess Who Saved Herself, I was initially attracted to the story because Jonathan’s song so beautifully explodes the passive princess myth and creates this amazing, non-stereotypical hero princess. I kind of imagined parents and caregivers reading this book to girls and boys alike, and those kids getting a kick out of it and imagining themselves as the proactive heroes of their own stories.”
  • Beyond Bossy or Brilliant: Gender Bias in Student Evaluations | The Society Pages (March 18): “Men are sexualized when they teach in fields culturally associated with “femininity” and women are sexualized when they teach in fields culturally associated with “masculinity.””
  • The Woman Speaker Slot | Accidentally in Code (March 11): “It is frankly amazing how many organisers think I will be willing to come and be a token women at their event for the sake of “exposure”. It is appalling how many of them think that I will cover my own travel costs to do so. It is particularly jarring when these organisers are large, profitable, tech companies.”
  • Making it easier to report threats to law enforcement | Twitter (March 17): “While we take threats of violence seriously and will suspend responsible accounts when appropriate, we strongly recommend contacting your local law enforcement if you’re concerned about your physical safety. We hope that providing you with a summary of your report will make that process easier for you.”
  • The Most Dangerous Meme in the Pao/Kleiner Trial: ‘Now, No One Will Hire Women’ | re/code (March 16): “No matter which side wins, what would be a positive outcome of this trial? If it were to help crack open a discourse that leads to more diversity, not less.”
  • Criticism and Ineffective Feedback | Kate Heddleston “Critical feedback is an aspect of engineering cultures (and work-​cultures, in general) that is damaging to both employee performance and diversity efforts. Critical feedback is bad for a myriad of reasons. First, people have strong, negative reactions to criticism regardless of their gender, race, or age. Additionally, people’s performance worsens when they are given critical feedback. They also end up resenting the person criticising them, even if the criticism is technically corre…, “Critical feedback is an aspect of engineering cultures (and work-​cultures, in general) that is damaging to both employee performance and diversity efforts. Critical feedback is bad for a myriad of reasons. First, people have strong, negative reactions to criticism regardless of their gender, race, or age. Additionally, people’s performance worsens when they are given critical feedback. They also end up resenting the person criticising them, even if the criticism is technically correct or kindly meant. Finally, criticism is disproportionately given to women and minorities during performance reviews, resulting in an uneven distribution of critical feedback in the workplace that harms diversity. “
  • This Democratic Congresswoman Wants the FBI to Take on Gamergate | Mother Jones (March 12): “On Tuesday Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), backed by the National Organization for Women and the Human Rights Campaign, asked her House colleagues to join her in demanding tighter enforcement of cyber-stalking and online harassment laws.”
  • The church of the hacker, or, fake geek girls and outside agitators | Tim’s journal (March 15): “To say, “It doesn’t have to be this way” is to expose yourself and your reputation and credibility to every kind of attack possible, because “it doesn’t have to be this way” are dangerous words. They inspire fear in those who find it more comfortable to believe that it does have to be this way, that all women should stay indoors at night (instead of men learning not to rape), that people who don’t like being verbally abused should “just grow a thicker skin” (instead of everyone learning not to be abusive), that children should patiently wait until they’re big enough to hurt smaller people (instead of parents respecting their children’s boundaries). What those using the “outside agitator” / “fake geek girl” defense wish for is making “it does have to be this way” a self-fulfilling prophecy by scaring everyone who can imagine a different reality into silence and submission. But as long as we recognize that, they won’t get their wish.”
  • How Our Small Startup Affords to Offer Paid Maternity Leave | Fast Company Magazine (March 18): “we mapped out a budget for how we would cover her time away, including an increased allowance for outsourcing some tasks to freelancers. We determined that we could comfortably provide her with seven weeks of fully paid maternity leave, plus several weeks of part-time work at her full salary before and after her leave.
    This exercise also confirmed our hunch that the cost of paying for Lee’s maternity leave was much more cost-effective than losing and trying to replace a vital employee.”
  • This App Makes Your Phone Buzz When You Approach Places Where Women Made History | Good Magazine (March 13): “Now, when app users log into Field Trip and switch on the history notifications, they are alerted when they are approaching the exact location where a woman made history at one point in time, and can then read a bit about her and her achievements.”
  • We are not colonists | Boing Boing (March 20): “When marginalized voices come to take their seat at the table, there will always be an outcry that they are invaders, colonists, inferior versions of their straight, white male counterparts. But rather than killing artforms, the addition of marginalized voices often helps ensure that they stay alive.”
  • Man Hands | Motherboard (March 17): “When a woman puts on a foot or a knee or an arm, she often finds that it’s not quite right. Knees are too tall and too stiff, feet don’t fit into shoes, hands are big, ankles don’t bend to accommodate heels. Every step a female amputee takes puts them face to face with the fact that prosthetics is still a male dominated industry.”

 

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.

Open thread: Tell us about a women-in-computing recruiting gaffe!

So, this older maternity leave graphic from Thinkprogress has been making the rounds on Twitter…

Graphic shows a ring with the weeks of paid maternity leave for various countries, highlighting the fact that the United States lags behind at 0 weeks.   Full description of the numbers here: http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/05/24/489973/paid-maternity-leave-us/

Graphic shows a ring with the weeks of paid maternity leave for various countries, highlighting the fact that the United States lags behind at 0 weeks. Full description of the numbers here: http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/05/24/489973/paid-maternity-leave-us/

And it reminded me of a story…

Many years ago, I won an women in computing scholarship that helped support my PhD research. It was from a large US-based company who puts a lot of work into supporting women in computing, and I owe them great thanks, but I won’t name them because this story is a bit embarrassing to them. Even a group doing their best by women in computing can make a funny mis-step!

The setting: Their team had organized a scholars retreat at their office in a major US city, including a series of interesting talks from women at the company, including both technical and more social talks. It was an amazing trip, except for one moment: One of the ladies speaking to us started extolling the virtues of their generous 6-week maternity leave policy. At least, as you can see from the graphic above, it’s generous by US standards…

But we were a group of young women from Canada. The scholarship winners started looking at each other. Should we say something? Finally, one of the students put up her hand: “You should probably know that Canada has a 50 week maternity leave policy…”

What followed was a highly amusing few minutes where a whole lot of women at this tech company learned a fascinating new thing about parenting in Canada. And an adorably awkward recovery of “well, I guess maybe those of you planning to have kids soon will be excited to know about our new Canadian office!”

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s heard stuff like this at recruiting events, so tell me: what amusing (or not so amusing!) gaffes have you heard from companies eager to recruit more women?

And, as the subject says, this is an open thread, so feel free to add comments on any subject at all, including past posts, things we haven’t posted on, what you’ve been thinking or doing, etc as long as they follow our comment policy.

Give Me A Linkspam, Ginger Ale On The Side (17 March 2015)

  • What Women Want in Women Characters | Muddy Colors: “For now, I’m going to give you a flood of examples of women characters in fantasy art — many infamous for being depictions unwelcoming to women — that have been redesigned by the professional artists in the Women in Fantasy Illustration group.”
  • How our Engineering Departments are Killing Diversity: Introduction | Kate Heddleston: “Women in tech are the canary in the coal mine. Normally when the canary in the coal mine starts dying you know the environment is toxic and you should get the hell out. Instead, the tech industry is looking at the canary, wondering why it can’t breathe, saying “Lean in, canary. Lean in!” When one canary dies they get a new one because getting more canaries is how you fix the lack of canaries, right? Except the problem is that there isn’t enough oxygen in the coal mine, not that there are too few canaries.”
  • ▶ Anita Sarkeesian: ‘What I Couldn’t Say’ (All About Women 2015) – YouTube: “What I couldn’t say is: ‘fuck you’.” Video of Anita Sarkeesian speaking at All About Women 2015. Warnings for recounting of death threats and harassment, and response to those.
  • ASU project combats online threats toward women, girls | ASU News: “The ASU project responds by creating an open, accessible set of tools for combating harassment. Additionally, the group will connect industry, policymakers, academics and community activists to facilitate communal response to abuse. The group will publish tools and tips in a digital format, and will host in-person and virtual events to produce and share the resources.”
  • After 25 Years at Dark Horse, Retiring Schutz Explains Why She’s Done Chasing Deadlines | Comic Book Resources: “Announcing her retirement in our exclusive interview, Schutz spoke with CBR about the decision and her career, from her comic shop beginnings to joining Dark Horse and helping grow the company into the publisher it is today. While there is much to be said, we’ll let Schutz explain it in her own words as we look back on her work, her decision to retire, and her hopes for Dark Horse and the industry as a whole.”

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.

School’s Out For Linkspam (15 March 2015)

  • Every day, we read about another woman who has thrown in the towel. | Paul Cowan | Google+ (March 8): “I want to make one thing perfectly clear, especially to my fellow white straight cis-males: I’m not OK with this. Not by a very long way. As a manager, I want to make it quite clear that any team under my management will have zero tolerance for sexism, racism and transphobia, in whatever form they come. If I see it, I will call it out. If you want to do it, move elsewhere (ideally out of my company, or even better out of CS altogether).”
  • This Fake App Just Summed Up Everything That’s Wrong With Silicon Valley | Mother Jones (March 12): “WellDeserved is an app that helps you “monetize” your privilege—be it racial, gender-based, or socioeconomic—by sharing it (temporarily, of course) with other people. The fictional app was the winning entry at last month’s Comedy Hack Dayin San Francisco, where creative agency Cultivated Wit challenged contestants to come up with a comedic app idea and pitch it to judges, all in 48 hours.”
  • DIY Feminist Cybersecurity | Safe Hub Collective “We’ll walk through common areas of digital life such as web browsing, private data, and smartphones to show you different ways that you can implement as much or little security as you’re comfortable with. You have power to set boundaries and protections in your digital spaces as you see fit: we hope that this guide will help you to make informed, personal decisions on what is right for you.”
  • The Ladies of my Women in STEM Jewelry Series | Auberg Designs (March 5): “I started this line of jewelry to bring attention to some of history’s fascinating women of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) who often go unnoticed. As a huge history nerd, part of my motivation for this series was so I could have an excuse to read about these fascinating ladies. “
  • reddit CEO Ellen Pao: Harassment complaints fell on deaf ears at Kleiner Perkins | Ars Technica (March 9): [CW: Descriptions of harassment] “It’s the first opportunity that Pao has taken to elaborate on the gender discrimination claims she made in 2012. And the questioning started by going all the way back to the day Pao was hired at Kleiner Perkins.”
  • Why Ellen Pao’s Gender Discrimination Suit Matters | Motherboard (March 10): “But the fact that in 2015—after so much public outcry from women and people of color about harassment, discrimination, power and abuse—we still look to a court trial as the only yardstick to provide legitimacy to the lived experience of millions is downright shameful,” [Saadia Muzaffar, the founder of TechGirls Canada] said.
  • Kleiner Accuser Testifies on Sexism | Wall Street Journal (March 9): [paywall] “Ms. Pao also testified Monday she wasn’t offered a board seat at RPX Corp., which helps companies avoid patent litigation, because she was preparing to go on maternity leave. She said she was moved to a smaller, back office when she said she would be uncomfortable if Mr. Nazre took an office directly facing hers.”
  • Men (Still) Explain Technology to Me: Gender and Education Technology | Hack Education (March 11): ‘What we can do to make sure that when we say “your assignment involves the Internet” that we haven’t triggered half the class with fears of abuse, harassment, exposure, rape, death?’
  • Gender Avenger Wants You to Report All-Male SXSW Panels With Its Simple App | GOOD (March 13): “If you’re headed to SXSW and armed with a badge, make sure to take notes on the genders of the panelists you encounter, because it could make a difference. The female representation advocates at Gender Avenger are inviting all festival goers to report the female-to -male ratio of panelists using their Gender Tally app. The goal is to turn the data into sharable and embeddable charts, the charts into conversation, the conversation into action and the action into progress.”
  • Dear Marissa | Model View Culture (March 10): “With all of this data — presented both anecdotally and via rigorous research — how much longer can we explain away (or in your case, dismiss) the glaring institutional gender inequities that plague the tech field? What have you to say about race, physical ability, age, and a myriad other attributes that cause people to remain on the sidelines of tech? How much talent are you willing to overlook in an effort to hold on to your myths?”
  • Engineering: the first run experience | never a straight line (March 10): [CW for sexual harassment] “A new developer’s (especially a junior dev’s) first run experience within a job are the ones they’re going to remember for the years to come. The gravity of that responsibility should be treated with respect. Given that women in tech leave the field in droves, it’s clear that as a whole, the industry doesn’t give enough thought to the first impression that it has on developers entering the field.”
  • A Metaphor to Retire | Inside Higher Ed (March 3): “Many leaks in the pipeline continue using their technical skills in important ways. For instance, my team’s data science skills helped improve our partner’s warning system, doubling performance in some cases. Let’s abandon this inaccurate and pejorative metaphor. It unfairly stigmatizes women and perpetuates outdated assumptions.”

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.

Rule 34: if you can think of it, there’s linkspam of it (10 March 2015)

BONUS GAMING AND COMICS LINKSPAM


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.

Wake me up before you linkspam (10 March 2015)


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 five linkspam languages (6 March 2015)

  • Fat Chicks in SFF | Alis Franklin: “I don’t have any answers here, no uplifting mortal. Only anger, and a rallying cry. I want more fat women in genre fiction. I want fat women whose narratives don’t revolve around their being fat, and whose fatness is not used as a lazy shorthand for mothers or for monsters.”
  • how to write a sexist character without being sexist | We are book punks.: “You may have complex feelings about where sexism comes from and how it works.  Think about them.  Think about them some more. Writing on autopilot and then falling asleep at the wheel have real and painful consequences off the page.  It is your responsibility to stay the fuck awake.”
  • The Queen of Code | FiveThirtyEight: A short and lovely documentary of the great computing pioneer Grace Hopper
  • Why we offer childcare | Write/Speak/Code: “At Write/Speak/Code we know that if we really want to empower existing women engineers, we need to acknowledge the reality of our lives. The fact is that the time when women have the greatest opportunity for visibility and leadership, they are also most likely to be starting a family. Women (and marginalized groups in general) are more likely to be caregivers — for children or other adult family members. Ignoring these facts would directly contradict the mission of Write/Speak/Code – we cannot increase the visibility and leadership of woman software developers without accomodating the needs of mothers and caregivers.”
  • 2015 Leadership Awards Finalists | Women In Technology: Women in Technology Announces Finalists for 16th Annual Leadership Awards: “The awards program honors outstanding women working in the Greater Washington, D.C. region who have exemplified unique vision, leadership and profound success in the technology industry.”
  • Starting your own feminist backchannel | Valerie Aurora: “I’ve started or been part of many feminist backchannels in years past, and lately I’ve been surprised by being invited to several new feminist backchannels by people I don’t even know. I thought it was time for a step-by-step guide to starting and maintaining your own feminist backchannel, in the style of “Start your own b(r)and: Everything I know about starting collaborative, feminist publications” which I had fun co-writing with Amelia Greenhall.”
  • Remembering Octavia Butler & Examining Diversity in Science Fiction | The Marc Steiner Show: Podcast episode discussing diversity in science fiction; guests include “Ytasha L. Womack, author, filmmaker, and dancer, whose latest book is Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci Fi and Fantasy; adrienne maree brownco-editor of  Octavia’s Brood, sci-fi writer, and Emergent Strategy facilitator; K Tempest Bradford, speculative fiction writer, media critic, gadget head, and board member of the Carl Brandon Society, an organization dedicated to supporting and highlighting people of color in science fiction, fantasy, and horror media; and Jason T. Harrisauthor and editor of REDLINES: Baltimore 2028.”
  • Stuck in the Middle On Being Neither an Abused, Nor Ultra-elite, Woman in Tech | Medium: “From my perspective, what’s missing are the stories of women in tech who had a more varied path to the c-suite (or to whatever more senior role was their goal, understanding that goals can and do change) — those who haven’t had the editorial-friendly ultra-rapid rise to the top, who weren’t profiled in Wired, who didn’t have a book tour, and who can help bring others up behind them along the way. There’s nothing wrong or inauthentic about those who did have that experience, but it’s not reflective of those who started off as worker bees and continue to keep the hive humming.”
  • Inclusiveness Towards Non-Drinkers: FAQ (Google Doc): Lists ways to de-emphasize alcohol as primary purpose of team gatherings, and gives multiple reasons people might not be comfortable at drinking events.
  • Advice for women looking to get into game design: Part 1 | Go Make Me a Sandwich: “So I’m going to write a 2-part series here about getting started as a woman in indie publishing… Part 1 is going to handle what I’m calling “thinky stuff” – pros and cons of publishing your own content, as well as common cognitive pitfalls that women face in game publishing. Part 2 is going to deal in more practical matters. I’ll talk about my experiences as a self-publisher: how I got started, what goes into making a finished game, and the many different avenues available to self-publishers.”
  • This Month (And Every Month), Black Sci-Fi Writers Look To The Future | Code Switch : NPR: “But what’s happening now? There are more black writers of science fiction than there have ever been. Every year more of us debut to wider acclaim, find ourselves regularly on genre awards lists for the first time, and experience the pleasure of seeing more and more diverse faces at conventions. The black community has always embraced science fiction — the famous Dark Matter anthologies, edited by Sheree R. Thomas, included a work of speculative fiction from W.E.B. Du Bois. And now science fiction has, I think, finally been forced to recognize us.”
  • One Big Reason the Ellen Pao Case Matters | Nilofer Merchant | LinkedIn: “As the trial continues, the question is whether Silicon Valley and the tech industry as a whole will get a much-needed wake up call to acknowledge sexism exists. That’s why this case matters.”
  • Queer Quest 8: Trans characters in speculative fiction – GLBT News: “Sometimes, critiques of stereotypes and problematic representations can make creators hesitant to try to represent minority characters at all, but I’d argue that’s the exact opposite of the right response. The rarer it is to see a member of a given group in fiction, the greater the burden of representation is that falls on each individual character. Under those kinds of circumstances, the slightest imperfection can become seriously problematic. On the other hand, the more a group is represented in general, and the more a group is represented within a given work, the less of an issue it becomes if this character falls into slightly stereotypical behavior or if that one ends in tragic circumstances. It’s my firm belief that the way to address problematic representation is not necessarily with different representation so much as more representation.”

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.

Wednesday Geek Woman: Carrie Patel, Author and Game Designer

Carrie Patel

Photo courtesy of Carrie Patel

Carrie Patel writes both prose fiction and video games. Her short fiction has appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and her first novel is out this week from Angry Robot books. She’s also a narrative designer for Obsidian Entertainment, a game studio known for story-driven games.

I caught up with her via email to chat about how writing for video games compares to writing prose fiction. This is what she told me:

Storytelling in games is so varied – you have some (like Journey) that are beautiful and fabulous without telling their stories through words, and you have others (like Pillars of Eternity, the game I’m working on) that do most of their storytelling through text dialogue. To more directly answer your question, both media force you to examine and incorporate story structure in slightly different ways.

Books are completely linear and games, to varying degrees, are less so. With an RPG in particular, you need to strike a balance between giving the player agency and telling her a cohesive narrative that still hits interesting beats. You’re also free to define the protagonist of a novel in a way that you often aren’t with story-driven RPGs where the goal is to allow the player to define (or become) the protagonist. As a result, a lot of RPG companions and key NPCs tend to be pretty colorful–as a writer, your pour most of your big, bold characterization into these individuals. It’s fun, and it helps you provide certain reference points for the player–which NPCs do they find most sympathetic, and which do they tend to align themselves with? To sum up, working in both media has given me a greater appreciation for story structure–structure comes out differently, but it’s still critical to both media.

Her novel, THE BURIED LIFE, is a science fiction thriller set in the post-post apocalyptic underground city. Fans of steampunk, mystery, and awesome lady detectives should be sure to check it out.

Pillars of Eternity, her first complete computer game, is coming out from Obsidian in a few weeks. It’s an RPG in the style of Baldur’s Gate and Planescape: Torment.

You can catch up with Carrie on her blog, Electronic Ink, or on Twitter as @Carrie_Patel.

Spam links. Ones you like. As many as you want. (3 March 2015)


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.