It is so splendid when excellent people are recognized for their excellence! It’s delightful that Octavia Butler won a posthumous Solstice Award and that Connie Willis was given the Damon Knight Grand Master Award. And! I am personally over the moon that Jo Walton’s Among Others won the 2011 Nebula.
I loved this book so very much and if I haven’t already forced it into your hands, you are to imagine me doing it now: this is a geek feminist coming-of-age novel, and it is full of wonders.
Trigger warningMore Heartbreak: Jim Henley documents the survivor statements that Kynn Bartlett, creator of the feminist RPG proposal Heartbreak & Heroines, is a sexual abuser. (Also on our wiki.)
On being a woman and a non-physicist at CERN: Iâ€¦ feel like people here, men especially, treat me like some sort of novelty item. Like because I am not a physicist, I have nothing substantive to contribute to CERN, but itâ€™s cute that I try.
Rebuttal: Make Room In the Bubble For Everyone: Being gender-blind or race-blind or truly meritocratic is an incredibly worthy aspiration, but thereâ€™s plenty of research including new neuroscience to demonstrate it isnâ€™t possible without actively mitigating individual and organizational biases.
Questions for Nicholas de Monchaux, author of Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo: Like few others in the whole process, [the Playtex seamstresses] really had the lives of the astronauts literally in their hands. They had a skill and dedication that was unparalleled. The same women have made U.S. space suits all the way up to the shuttle and space station era, so the skill is by no means obsolete.
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).
This is a guest post by Katie Zenke. Katie has been writing about children’s books for almost ten years and occasionally writes about them in various places online. She even has a blog that she sometimes updates at Pixiepalace.com. For several years she also worked in (and was the lead of for part of that time) the childrens and teen departments of one of the largest bookstores in the midwest. One of these days she plans to officially work in the book world again.
Is there a good series of books for tech-loving less than 10yo kids that isn’t sexist?
The Zac Power series seems OK for what it is, apart from the fact that they have an unreasonable division of good characters being male and bad characters being female.
The main good characters are Zac and his brother Leon, while Caz and her sister Leoni are two of the main bad characters.
Another problem is that those books have a lot of anti-nerd propaganda, which has got to be bad for kids who are destined to be called nerds in high school.
Is there a geeky modern Enid Blyton out there?
It is sadly true that finding good books for kids that are feminist is far more difficult than it should be, however they absolutely do exist. I wanted to highlight some of the great books that we can share with kids that do have feminist themes and content.
The list is roughly organized by age, but keep in mind that kids are all different and one ten-year-old might be reading early chapter books while another is totally ready for the more dense novels to be found in the middle-school and high school lists. Kids also have their own individual interests and preferences (even little kids), so just as you might buy a mystery for your mom but never for your girlfriend, make sure the kid youâ€™re getting the book for likes the topic or genre first! Continue reading →
Didn’t we link to this geek hierarchy? I just searched the GF blog and can’t find it. Anyway, SURPRISE! All forms of geek on the hierarchy are male! At least til you get to the very bottom of the list and the fanfic writer has a bag over zir head. There’s a whole nother article to be written about the presumed and actual gender of fanfic writers, but I wanted to talk about the top of the geek hierarchy: the music geek.
Undisputed King of the Geek World, the Music Geek is without a doubt the most socially acceptable. For some reason you can be totally obsessed with going to music store after music store looking for that rare Australian-only single release by your third favorite indie band, and nobody’s going to think you’re weird or “eccentric” for doing so. This geekdom is the “coolest” because it does not repel women, and many of these geeks actually go out in public regularly to see bands perform, so they tend not to be socially awkward hermits.
Anyway, on that note, I just wanted to post a quick link to an article on one of my favourite music-geek blogs, Pam’s Newsprint Fray:
Earlier this week, Pitchfork published a list of their 60 favorite music books. It is pretty wide-ranging and there are many good books on the list. (And some I really hated.) But only one was written by a woman, and two had lady coauthors. Come the fuck on.
This has been a great year for male writers, with women shunted aside for major prizes and all-new hand-wringing about why it is so. Because, I donâ€™t know if youâ€™ve noticed, but male writers get taken more seriously. Also, stories about men, even if written by women, are considered mainstream, while stories about women are â€œwomenâ€™s fiction.â€ This despite the fact that women read more than men, and write more, and are over-represented generally throughout publishing.
As the father of two girls, one aged five and one ten months, I know why. Itâ€™s because of dogs and Smurfs. I canâ€™t understand why no-one else realizes this. I see these knotted-brow articles and the writers seem truly perplexed. Dogs and Smurfs: thatâ€™s the answer.
Read the rest here. I don’t think it’ll be news to any of you, but it’s a nicely put together article worth sharing.
The Multiplier Effect of 10,000 Women: Since graduating from the program in February 2009 (a total 119 fellow women entrepreneurs have graduated since its September 2008 launch in Rwanda), Christine’s business has increased profits, expanded into Tanzania and soon plans to venture into the Kenyan market.
You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the geekfeminism tag on delicious or the #geekfeminism tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).
Iâ€™m somewhat annoyed at all the coverage A MAN talking about lost women scientists is getting, when we have several decades-worth of women historians of science who have been saying the exact same thing. This seems to me pretty much the standard thing of no-one listening until itâ€™s said by a bloke (even if the women have already been saying it).
As a side note. I have been searching for a good book on a history of women in sciences. Can anyone recommend one?
The following have already been recommended:
Margaret Wertheim (1995) Pythagorasâ€™s Trousers: God, Physics, and the Gender War
Julie Des Jardins (2010) The Madame Curie Complex: The Hidden History of Women in Science
Lesley Hall herself also has a book chapter: (2010) ‘Beyond Madame Curie? The Invisibility of Women’s Narratives in Science’ in L Timmel Duchamp (ed), Narrative Power: Encounters, Celebrations, Struggles.
For readers just starting out on this, what works would you recommend on the history of women in science and the invisibility of women in science? What women historians of science do work you love?
Ivy is an international woman of mystery who would totally dispatch urban fantasy vampires if she weren’t so darned busy learning to be a superhero in a number of real world genres instead.
Several people have linked to a Daniel Abraham post about urban fantasy heroines and their narratives, in particular:
The typical UF heroine (as Iâ€™ve come to understand her) is a kick-ass woman with a variety of possible lovers. Sheâ€™s been forced into power which she often doesnâ€™t understand, and can face down any danger while at the same time captivating the romantic attention of the dangerous, edgy men around her. Sheâ€™s been forced into power â€” either through accident of birth or by being transformed without her permission â€” and is therefore innocent of one of the central feminine cultural sins: ambition. She is in relationships primarily with men rather than in community with women.
This annoys me about many protagonists of the genre… they are somehow dropped into the plot without agency, and they often don’t seize agency either because that might make them competent bad. Rather, they are manipulated by scheming ancient vampires, just happen to have superpowers that make them *have* to sleep with half the known universe (but only the boys) or are continually torn between them, were born with a curse/a power/a prophecy, etc. Okay, that sucks.
But really — it’s not *that* hard. Come on, urban fantasy heroines. I realize that I don’t have a cursed sword living in my mind, nor am I the prophesied hero of Chicago/Shannara, nor have I had to fend off zombies with a shotgun and an attitude. Nevertheless, I assure you that it’s completely doable to have a few dangerous, edgy men as your partners without them killing each other, and that you don’t have to give up community with women (or partnerships with women, or meaningful friendships with women) to do it. Admittedly, you may have to dump a few whiny master vampires along the way. But I’d still rather that than listen to emo-undead-is-never-happy-with-anything for the rest of my life. Also, ambition? Kind of fun! Looking forward to your future adventures where the woman who chooses her lovers and still wants to be queen *isn’t* the villain.
Open source mapping tech goes global: A group in Egypt has got so tired of women not being able to go about their daily lives without being harassed on the street that theyâ€™ve introduced a text message reporting service. If a woman experiences unwanted attention from a man in a public place she simply picks up her mobile and sends a text to HarassMap where itâ€™s reported on a centralised computer.
Nathan Torkington: Changing the Demographics of Innovation: But there are some interesting signs that the things you have to do to get women into computing is how you get more *people* into computing. That is, the things that drive away women are driving away shiploads of men too.
Aqueduct Press has announced80! Memories & Reflections on Ursula K. Le Guin, to be released on Le Guin’s 81st birthday. Pre-orders are discounted. (Via wild_irises.)
If you have links of interest, please share them in comments here, or if youâ€™re a delicious user, tag them â€œgeekfeminismâ€ to bring them to our attention. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).
Thanks to everyone who suggested links in comments and on delicious.
Here’s an Ask a Geek Feminist question for our readers (questions still being taken):
Reading Rudy Simone’s Aspergirls prompted me to crystallise this question: where are the female role models for young geek women?
I’m thinking of characters who have genius-level IQs, coupled with a lack of social skills and, for whatever reason, an absence of Significant Other. There are plenty of characters like this: Sherlock Holmes, Rodney McKay, Greg House, Spock … but where are the women?
Where are the isolated geniuses who are married to their work? Where are the women whose ‘problem personalities’ are forgiven because of their talents / gifts / abilities / focus? Where are the women who are single and don’t give a damn because they have better things to do?
I’m probably missing some obvious examples: I’m not a big media consumer. Remind me, enlighten me! TV, movies, comics, novels all welcome.
A few possibilities, from a fellow consumer of not very much media:
Dr Susan Calvin, in various short stories by Isaac Asimov. She’s the leading research roboticist on fictional near-future Earth, and a key employee of US Robots.
Unfortunately Calvin is one of those fictional characters who is a little better than her writer: Asimov lumps her with some unfortunate embarrassing romantic and maternal feelings occasionally, and the song and dance other characters make about their immense forbearance in forgiving her ‘problem personality’ gets a bit wearing. But nevertheless she’s a key fictional influence on the development of robotics, and the main character in any number of the stories.
The character Dr Susan Calvin that appears in the 2004 film I, Robot is young, movie-pretty, sarcastic and really resembles Asimov’s character very little, but I quite like her also and still think she’s a fictional geek role model if you accept that she’s very loosely based on the Asimov character: she’s abrupt, literal-minded, a high ranking research scientist and, something I really liked, she’s not shown as having any sexual or romantic interest in the lead character at all. (Shame she isn’t the lead character.)
Dr Temperance ‘Bones’ Brennan in the Bones television series; if, crucially, you can ignore or don’t mind (or like!) the multi-season plot arc about her mutual attraction with Seeley Booth.
Bones is a forensic anthropologist prone to social mistakes or at least idiosyncrasies, but key to criminal investigations due to her unparalleled anthropological skills. The writers apparently think of her as having Aspergers, but haven’t said it in the script because you can’t have Aspergers on Fox, or something like that.
I’m actually not an enormous fan of this show for reasons that are irrelevant to this entry, so I’ll point you to Karen Healey’s guide, since she is an enormous fan and that’s only fair if you want to try it and see.