- Look. Don’t Touch. Samsung’s New Smart TV | Design Milk : Samsung uses sexism to sell TVs
- Doing Science While Female | Science Careers : A discussion and review of Sue V. Rosser’s book “Breaking into the Lab”
- Trigger Warning! Sexual harassment in the world of video gaming : BBC article and podcast on sexual harassment in gaming, features an interview with Fat, Ugly or Slutty’s Grace and Not in the Kitchen Anymore’s Jenny Haniver
- Valley of the Dolls: Women’s Wage Woes in the Tech “Shangri-la” of Silicon Valley | Marriage 3.0 | Big Think: “The most cutting-edge place in our economy has the most retro wage gap.”
- The case for telling everyone what you make | Salon.com: “Asking the awkward question may be the first step toward solving pay discrimination”
- Role models are important | Tammy Butow: Role models needed for Go Girl in Australia
- That Condescending Feeling You Get From Dudes in the Office? Yeah, That’s Real | Jezebel : Summarizes a study from Harvard that, “found that employed husbands in traditional marriages, compared to those in modern marriages, tend to (a) view the presence of women in the workplace unfavorably, (b) perceive that organizations with higher numbers of female employees are operating less smoothly, (c) find organizations with female leaders as relatively unattractive, and (d) deny, more frequently, qualified female employees opportunities for promotion.”
- Free Sex Change (Inquire Within) : A Kickstarter RPG was offering to make backers into NPCs. They weren’t happy with preponderance of men and have put out a call to ask backers to volunteer to be represented as women.
- The Air Force’s First Female Fighter Pilot Becomes Wing Commander : Leavitt joined the Air Force after attending the University of Texas and gaining a degree in aerospace engineering. Since then she’s acquired four master’s degrees.
- Link Roundup: Hitman: Absolution Trailer : “This week has seen another round of discussion of rape culture in video games, prompted primarily by the release of a trailer for the upcoming Hitman: Absolution”
This is an Ask a Geek Feminist question for our readers:
We keep hearing the old chestnut “sex sells”, and we hear it most especially when we complain about how some item of geek culture is sexist – video game bosoms or ridiculous outfits on superheroines, for example – as if that was some kind of excuse for objectification.
Does sex sell? Does sexism sell? Where’s the evidence for this? I’ve got moderately good Google-fu but haven’t been easily able to turn up much in the way of useful information or anything more rigorous than blog rants and newspaper opinion pieces. Can anyone answer this one, or point me to some useful resources? Where is the real, empirical evidence for this? Are advertisers and content providers (comic artists, game producers etc.) operating on an outdated or scientifically unjustified model?
I’ve read quite a lot of your basic feminist literature. I’d like some science, or at least some vaguely scientific numbers. Can anyone help?
What do you think?
- Win a Scholarship to National Computer Camp:
GamingAngels.com and National Computer Camp (NCC) are offering a scholarship for NCCâ€™s June/July 2011 enrollment valued at $985 to a female student (ages 8-18) for one week.â€¨‘National’ in this context seems to mean ‘USA’. Applications due June 8.
- (Warning: porny presentation image shown.) Itâ€™s the Small Things That Count:
Everyone likes to say â€” gasp, oh noes, there are mostly men here! how horrible, something should be done!!!1! But nothing ever seems to be consciously done by the organizersâ€¦ to address this. Instead, all these little things seem to slip by under the radar which scream at women: it is not normal nor expected for you to be here.
- (Note: images of nudity at link.) Company Only Hires Naked Female Web Coders. Our submitter writes
I *SO* wish I coded because I would apply here. I would happily strip off all my clothing to see their reaction at a 400 lb disabled woman naked in front of them. I'm sure they only want thin,
- Prime World: “Nival is taking a huge gamble on the idea of tying playersâ€™ real-life gender into their game experience… Male and female players have different heroes available to them at the beginning of the game, with female heroes skewing more toward support roles and male heroes tending to be front-line fighters.” How about FUCK NO?!
- Futurity.org â€“ Wanted: Gender-free job ads:
Words likeSurely part of this phenomenon is that gendered language could indicate a strongly-gendered environment? What woman wants to walk into a locker-room-fest?
nurturing(female) can signal whether a job is typically held by men or women. Both men and women show a preference for job descriptions matching their genderâ€”women more strongly so.
- Fanboy: Alexander Chee on losing ground to the kyriarchy in mainstream comics.
- (Warning: account of harassment.) How I Deal With Sexual Discrimination in a Positive Way:
This past week I was banned from one of my favorite conferences because I wouldnâ€™t have sex with one of the organizers. Given that this is the third time a similar situation has happened in a yearâ€™s time, Iâ€™m learning how to swallow this pill of injustice without throwing up every time.
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.
This is an Ask a Geek Feminist question:
When choosing pictures for a conference website from the event held the previous year we have specifically looked for photos that happen to include women, to the extent that they are disproportionately represented compared to the actual attendee breakdown, with the specific objective of making the event seeming more diverse than it is, so that we actually get a more diverse set of attendees for the next one. This seems OK to me, would be interested in what others think.
A related point is where there is a group photo of everyone at an event, I would kind of encourage women in attendance to take part because avoiding group photos creates a negative feedback loop.
What do people think? I’m not sure. The kind of questions I’d ask before even beginning to answer this are along the lines of the following:
Is this the only/main diversity scheme for this conference? (I didn’t edit the question, so this is all the information provided.) For that matter, what do you want diversity for? For all that I and other people who write here really want diversity to be a concern for geekdom, I think having it as solely a checklist thing is a disservice to the people who will comprise the diversity. What are you offering those people? What are they offering you? Is it all one way? Is this about avoiding negative publicity or something more?
After that, are you behaving like a more diverse/diversity-friendly conference in ways other than your advertising? See Women-friendly events on the wiki for some ideas.
Finally, I am not a lawyer, but in some circumstances in some jurisdictions you may want a model release for this use of people’s images.
I’m a big fan of advertisement-hacking, and I think quite a lot of people here will get a kick out of this one, so even though it was linked in the linkspam I’m putting it up here:
Public transit ad depicting a brain: note pointing to one side says "Can you solve one of our puzzles" and the note pointing to the other side reads "can you explain it to your mom?". Text below reads "We're hiring hackers with people skills". Someone has added a post-it note to the advertisement which reads "My mom has a PhD in math"
Edit: If you’re crediting this photo, it was put on twitpic by jessiebennett. Some people are giving GeekFeminism.org all the credit which doesn’t really seem fair!
Edit 2: Note the appology from ITA in the comments.
I’ve just had a conversation with an acquaintance in which he proudly showed off a PSA-style advertisement that a friend of his made. The advertisement makes play on a very real and very problematic trope to get its point across, but I’m not going to say which as it’s not entirely a feminist issue and it is the response I wish to discuss here.
The ad was trying to be cute, and since it used adorable fluffy animals doing people things, it was. In that regard, it was cute. However, despite the pets-as-people gimmick, the toxic trope got in the way. It killed what I assume would otherwise have been enjoyment of the clip. Killed it dead.
See, the advertisement didn’t just use animals as faux-people; it equated a whole socially disadvantaged-by-circumstances section of society as animals, and did so in a really negative way.
The group to which this ad clip was displayed were, I guess, supposed to squee. We were supposed to adore the cuteness that the advertisement was using. But we couldn’t. I mentioned to some of the group elsewhere that I was choking on the trope. Some of those people also noticed it also, and mentioned it outright to the guy. He wasn’t impressed.
“It’s satire! It’s on broadcast TV!” he cried, as though satire makes everything ok. Or maybe it’s because typical everyday mass-media advertising morality is like totally awesomely awesome.
Then came the best part. Out he came with “You are the one who noticed it, not I, ergo you are the who thinks of those people that way, not I!”. Yep, you can mark that one off on the bingo board.
When have you, dear readers, had this one thrown back at you? How did you respond?
A friend of GF just Bcc’d me on this email, which was sent to the CEOs of Motorola and Verizon along with a number of other senior executives of those companies.
To: “greg.brown” <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Dear Sirs and Mesdames,
Two weeks ago I researched, then bought four Motorola/Verizon Droids for my family. Without my research and influence, we’d probably have bought two Blackberries for the adults and dumbphones for the children.
Today I learned that Motorola is running ads, “Pretty”, explaining that Droids aren’t for “princesses”, trade “hair-do for can-do”, and by implication are not for women. (Yes, I do occasionally call my daughter “princess”. She’s currently attending an Ivy League institution.) My daughter and I are currently discussing buying ornamental skins for our Droids; I do hope this won’t crash the Android operating system.
I make over $100,000 a year. I work in high tech. And I control major purchasing decisions. Why are you running advertisements suggesting that your product is primarily for men?
The addresses are all there for you if you should feel the urge to write a letter yourself. The email’s author tells me she guessed them based on the standard address format used by the companies in question, and says that none of them bounced. (Some guesses that did bounce have been removed from the list above.)
And here’s the ad in question:
Another blog post on the subject, which I came across yesterday via the geekfeminism tag on delicious is Girls are still icky, over at Coyle’s InFormation. I’m sure there are more out there, so feel free to link them in comments.
- TechZING! interviews Corrine Yu, 3D Engine Lead for XBOX HALO.
- Computer games company PopCap is advertising their new game Planets vs Zombies with ads featuring conventionally attractive… zombies, in a parody of the now notorious “what would make people want to play a civilisation MMORPG? PICTURES OF BOOBS!” Evony ads (see Jeff Atwood’s Coding Horror post from July for more on the original Evony ads)
- Plus Ã§a change: it’s the goals not the data: “The real battle is for the hearts and minds of these teachers, to convince them that getting a broad range of students engaged with computing is important. Itâ€™s not about media computation â€” itâ€™s about deciding priorities.”
- Cheryl M. Morgan writes about Women and SF: the numbers
- Petition for an apology to Alan Turing, who (in 1952) was prosecuted and convicted of gross indecency for sexual relations with another man.
- Only 13% of Wikipedia contributors are women, study says (WSJ)
- The Organization for Transformative Works’ election season begins; find out how run for office, vote, etc.
- Short (SF) stories by women published during August, at the Feminist SF blog
- Tim Bray interviews Ravelry founder Casey — as Casey pointed out on Twitter, it’s a different kind of interview for them, because it’s a techie one!
- Women aren’t vending machines: How video games perpetuate the commodity model of sex at GameCritics.com