Tag Archives: introductions

Open thread: hello newcomers

Let’s have a party. A better party than this party:

A monochrome unhappy looking woman surrounded by colourful balloons

Pity Party by Evil Erin on Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution

Several bloggers got keys to the Geek Feminism front page lately: Kylie of PodBlack Cat, Steph of 天高皇ä¼é¹…è¿œ and vegan about town and Restructure! of Restructure!. Welcome to them, you’ll see them posting as and when they have time and inspiration, like the rest of us.

Two champage glasses, filled with confetti, being clinked in front of a brightly coloured background

Happy Party People Toasting Cheers Holding Champagne Glasses by D Sharon Pruitt on Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution

Let’s add to the party here. Are you reading any new blogs with exciting geek feminist content? Are you yourself new here and want to say hi? Come on in. This is also an open thread, in which you can discuss older posts, ask questions, tell stories, or anything else that takes your fancy.

Open thread: Robot Roll Call

finished Tom Servo lantern, lit by a 9-volt battery, on our windowsill

my new lantern

This thread is open for geek feminist introductions, speculations, reminiscences and chatter. Please see our commenting policy guidelines.

brainwane makes Tom talk

brainwane makes Tom talk

Conversational seed, in case you need one: in my recent sewing, software packaging, and lantern-making crafty/make-y/learn-y binge, I put some LEDs inside a gumball-dispensing toy my partner had found.

The toy looks exactly like Tom Servo, one of the robots from Mystery Science Theater 3000.

So:

  • Favorite robot, fictional or real?
  • Crafted/made anything you like recently?
  • Movie you can only stand by talking back to the screen, MSTK3K-style?

Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome

This is only the second blog I’ve written for, the other being my personal blog.  I’m still getting the hang of it, and look forward to learning a great deal from the other contributors here.  I’m excited to see how quickly things are picking up, and grateful to Skud for inviting me here.

After quietly using free software for some years, I became personally involved with the free software community when I joined the Debian project in 1999.  Through my work in Debian, I met and collaborated with developers of many other free software projects, and became a founding member of the Ubuntu project in 2004.  I presently work for Canonical as Ubuntu CTO.

Earlier this year, I began writing about problems affecting women in the free software community, inspired in part by friends in the Debian Women and Ubuntu Women projects.  Along the way, I have found the geekfeminism wiki to be a valuable resource in exploring feminism, and have tried to help improve it with references and information from my own experiences.  I have never lived as a woman, and have only very basic knowledge of feminist history, theory and ideology, and so am conscious of being out of my depth at times here.

I hope that by being a part of this conversation, I can help to promote higher standards of behavior and dialog in geek communities, especially in free software, which is my passion.  I would like to see more men listening, questioning themselves and their peers, and recognizing the necessity of change.  Many discussions about women in geekdom seem to revolve around changing women to bring them into the community: inspiring them, instructing them, converting them.  Instead, I think we need to focus on changing our community, to make it a place where women are welcome, to stop excluding and driving away women who are already interested.  This begins with changing ourselves, and setting an example for others.

Hail and well met

One of my friends just got back from Pennsic, and I wish I could’ve gone, so you all get a nice Rennie-greeting.

I’m Mackenzie Morgan, but the Internet knows me as “maco” (provided I am not required to fill a char[6]) and if you’ve Googled for information on “no sound ubuntu jaunty” in the last few months, you’ve probably visited my blog. Funny bit is that the post everyone who Googles that is hitting was only relevant during alpha, but anyway… Though my blog is ostensibly about Ubuntu and neat things to do on it, it’s been turning into a little feminism rant place just like Skud’s, so I’m glad she made this blog. I also write for What Will We Use, a blog my friend Bethlynn started to track OS marketshare and how Linux can (back to Rennie mode) succeed in its Queste over the Dragonne of Redmond. So far 3 of the 4 of us who have signed on to write are women. If you’re interested in joining us, there’s a “Write for us” link at the top of that site.

If you couldn’t guess from the above paragraph, I’m a Linux user. Specifically, I use Kubuntu, the KDE version of Ubuntu. I’ve been using Linux since July 2006, and I started contributing patches in October 2007. Soon, I hope to be an Ubuntu Developer. I’m also entering my fourth year at George Washington University in Washington, DC, though it’s only my third year as a Computer Science student, since I started out majoring in International Affairs and Japanese. I wanted to get a chance to improve on the little bit of programming I studied in high school, so I started taking CS classes and eventually switched when the CS department and Japanese department had conflicting schedules. I now study Japanese and American Sign Language on my own.

OK, so I think we’ve established that geekiness is my thing (Linux: check; polyglot: check; history: check). How about feminism? As I said, my blog is starting to veer off into feminism. And well, I’m kind of sick of getting marriage proposals the moment someone realizes girl + talking about Linux, even if it’s a joke. It’s an old one. And gosh-darn-it, I’m not dating a developer so he can fix my bugs!

Also: I’m long-winded. Can you tell?

Yet Another Geeky Gal

/me waves

Hi!  I’m Sumana Harihareswara, a twentysomething geeky gal living in New York City. I grew up in various US cities and states, the daughter of Indian immigrants, loving books and Star Trek. Currently I manage programmers at an open source consulting firm. With my partner (a programmer I met via his blog), this year I edited Thoughtcrime Experiments, an online scifi/fantasy anthology.

Geek communities are home to me.  I never feel more comfortable than when I’m complaining about the end of Enterprise, or joking that the problem with desktop open source software is that it so often ships with the “usability” flag set to 0 by default.

So it amazes me when leaders in my communities say and do things that exclude or demean me.  But I’m also amazed, and gratified, at how many allies I have (at WisCon, Systers, the Geek Feminism wiki…), and how visibly the tide is turning.  It’s only right that I should be a part of this effort, and blogging here is a little bit of that.

To quote myself from a discussion on Skud’s other blog: Public discussion of our values, and explicit enforcement of our norms, is nothing new to open source. And another principle in open source is that any design that makes lots of users go through some hacky workaround (â€oh, everyone just ignores that bugâ€) is long overdue for rewrite.

The weather up here is fine

I’m Mary Gardiner. It’s also the name I am best known by in geekland: I go by lots of names online and can’t commit to any of them.

If asked about my geekdom I tend to talk about Free Software, which I occasionally write and generally am steeped in in various ways. Eventually I will also remember that I’m a PhD student in a computer science program. If asked about my feminism, I guess the most constant thing is that the question about not calling myself a feminist never made a lot of sense. Maybe it’s a literalist geek thing: if there’s a label for supporting ending of oppression of and discrimination against women, and I believe in so doing, doesn’t the label apply?

I currently like to count myself as two people whenever a vote is or might conceivably be called for: in four months or a bit longer I will be a geek feminist mother for the first time. Otherwise, the most immediate thing that I’m thinking about is intersectionality, and the fact that this is a recent thing and not a core part of my self should tell you how privileged I am: white, young, able-bodied, tertiary educated, heterosexual, among other things. I even have a slightly rare trait which is privileged because it’s more common in male bodies: I’m very tall (tall enough that I’d still be quite a tall man, tall enough that I know what its like to be the tallest person in a medium-sized room) and the things in the world that are built for average men to reach, lift, manipulate and control are right there in arm’s reach for me too.

I hope to learn a lot here about geekdom, feminism, and other things.

Changing technology from within

I bring you greetings from Corporate-landia!

Ten years ago I was one of the first employees on board a brand new technology industry analysis company. Research turned out to be my dream job. I spend my days talking to interesting people in startups and userland, and then I write about them.

The big surprise is how enterprisey and corporate my dream job has turned out to be. As my company grows, I spend more and more time with Fortune 500 companies in and out of the tech industry, Wall Street banks and pension and hedge funds. The view of feminism from here is decidedly peculiar. On the one hand, you’d never get away with using porn images in a presentation here in Corporate-landia: human resources would eat your entrails.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that women are thin on the ground here, and get scarcer as you climb the power and money ladders. In ten years in the industry I have encountered perhaps fifty or sixty women in very senior positions in banks and software companies; that probably comes to 1% of my contacts.

The glass ceiling is reinforced in all kinds of subtle and manipulative ways. A few examples: if you get pregnant, don’t be surprised if someone absent-mindedly asks if you can postpone the birth for a few weeks. It’s assumed that women won’t come back to work after having children. Because of that assumption, no proper provisions are made for their return to work; lacking this support, I’ve seen many women come back half-heartedly only to resign for good a few weeks later. And while it’s a big priority for me as a mother of two kids, motherhood is very far from being the only area in which women have to struggle for equal treatment in the workplace.

Like Liz, I believe there’s enormous power in solidarity, in reaching out to other women in similar circumstances, in sharing our experiences and what worked for us, even in the simple act of listening to one another and acknowledging the truth of our lives. And like Skud I am excited by success stories and signs of hope, and want to share news of women doing kickass and amazing things!

Geek feminism is important!

Hello and welcome!

Feminism is super important to me as a geek. On a pragmatic, day to day level, my feminism is about paying attention to other women and what they do. This is extra difficult in some geeky fields and cultures. It’s easy to default to male.

I’d like to suggest to anyone with a feminist or womanist outlook to put attention into diversifying your information feeds and your conversational patterns. Who do you read? Who do you listen to? Who do you talk with?

So I try to be aware of intesectionality of a lot of factors, and really pay attention to women, women of color, lesbian, bi, trans women, disabled women, women who are from different backgrounds and countries and incomes and educational levels and who speak different languages.

My energy and resources, personal and professional, go into supporting other women in their endeavors. I work for a women’s media and blogging company, fix women’s blogs, teach women how to code and do techy stuff, translate women’s poetry, write about women writers, and I do my open source work for Dreamwidth and for the Organization for Transformative Works.

Despite all that, I am only a situational separatist. It’s just that, in order to bond with other women, I find I have to make a particular effort. The most random men often feel incredibly entitled to my time, attention, energy, and labor. Men watch and amplify each other’s works, creating a feedback effect that means I can’t even avoid knowing about them. It takes a conscious shift in attention not to become a constant, default, man fan.

That shift in attention patterns includes: noticing, critiquing, and praising other women’s work without using the tools of misogyny and racism; being able to recognize and name problems in communities; speaking up in public to call out bad behavior and stand behind other women.

Benefits of doing this include: being less of an asshole despite my own privilege; having a broad base of information from which to judge and make decisions; less self-hatred and internalized misogyny to struggle with day to day; not having to kiss ass on men in public while rolling my eyes at them in private; being less vulnerable to harassment; and getting to know lots of kickass women doing amazing things. Instead of feeling alienated while I’m coding, gaming, blogging, or going to science fiction conventions, I have a lot of powerful and positive sisterhood in my geeky life. Try it, you’ll like it.

Welcome

Welcome to the Geek Feminism blog. I started this because I found I was often blogging about geek feminism issues at my personal blog(s) and wanted one central place to have these discussions. I also wanted somewhere to highlight the things that come up on the Geek Feminism Wiki: interesting new articles, not-so-great incidents, women doing kickass things in technology and gaming and fandom and so on.

This is a group blog. We currently have a handful of authors, each of whom will hopefully introduce themselves as they start posting. If you would like to join us, just let us know! Of course, you should have a history of blogging about geeky subjects from a feminist perspective.

As for me… I’m Kirrily Robert, but I go by “Skud” most places online. A few weeks ago I gave a keynote at the O’Reilly Open Source convention called Standing out in the crowd, on women in open source. Since then there’s been rather a lot of discussion (to say the least), and it seems like a good time for me to say “OK, I’ll blog about this stuff… over here.”

We’ll be decorating the place, settling in, and setting some groundrules over the next little while. Stay tuned!