- Why do you write strong female characters?: “The heart of the question implies that if a male character is ‘strong’ that’s to be expected, because boys and men are strong. Normal. Default. Go about your business. But if a female character leads a story, does stuff, has a voice and a purpose and changes her life or others’ lives or starts or stops a war or makes a stand or has power then it’s newsworthy, because that’s not expected, not true to life. Not normal. Not our default assumption about girls. So stop and take note.”
- You can’t determine an author’s gender from a sample of their writing: Summary of 10 sample stories and over a thousand guesses at authorial gender.
- Play with my V spot? | VentureBeat: “Guys, this is why we don’t have more women in tech: It’s a cesspool. As long as we’re passing offensive schlock like this off as marketing for a major technology conference, we don’t deserve more women in tech.”
- Don’t underestimate Viking women: “‘To assume that Viking men were ranked above women is to impose modern values on the past, which would be misleading,’ cautions Marianne Moen. She has been studying how women’s status and power is expressed through Viking burial findings. Her master’s thesis The Gendered Landscape argues that viking gender roles may have been more complex than we assume.”
- A Remarkable Number of Women: “You can tell you’re in a male-dominated discipline in the sciences when a gathering of three or more women working, standing, or sitting together in a professional setting in that field is considered ‘remarkable.’”
- Take the pledge: Don’t serve on all-male panels: “A hopeful new trend is growing: People are noticing when conference speakers are all or mostly men (and often all white as well). And they are asking questions: What kind of selection process results in an all or mostly male speaker lineup? Is it true that all the best speakers just happen to white men, or are there other qualified speakers who are getting passed over? No one thinks these conferences are deliberately signing up only men, but they do think that all-male lineups are a sign of not trying very hard to get the best speakers. One solution is for men to publicly pledge only to participate in panels that have at least one woman on them, as Rebecca Rosen proposed in The Atlantic last week.”
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Thanks to everyone who suggested links.
Over on our linkspam, jon wrote:
Continuing to follow up on the Arrington “Stop blaming men” post, I’ve got a preview of this week’s TechCrunch Disrupt conference at TechCrunch, disrupted: the third wave meets the agenda of awesome.
One of the positive outcomes of the kerfuffle was adding an all-woman panel tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. (Pacific time) on Women in Technology. Right in the middle of the Grace Hopper Celebration, how cool is that! Any chance GeekFeminism could set up a thread for people to discuss before, during, and after the panel?
OK then! Here’s your thread. But jon then writes:
The panel didn’t go well. TechCrunch’s Sarah Lacy moderated and kicked it off by saying she didn’t think the panel belonged at the conference and didn’t want to be there but Arrington had told her she had to. It kinda went downhill from there. Most of the panelists were in women near tech (I think Sara Chipps of Girl Developer IT might have been the only programmer). With six panelists on a 30-minute panel and a very active moderator, most of them didn’t get to say much anyhow. Julieanne Smolinksi’s got a great writeup on Lemondrop. Here’s my take, which also has a lot of the discussion from tweetstream and links out to other reviews.
Was anyone else there? Were you as disappointed as jon? Did you find anything to take away from it? Any thoughts on how the panel could have been better?
Ragni blogs about writing, coding and beautiful text(s) over at typotendency.net andÂ is moderating a panel of awesome geek feminists at a conference, SIGINT, in Cologne in Germany this weekend.
Five feminist geeks are teaming up to talk about what its like to be a geek, and a woman* on Sunday 23rd may at 5 p.m. The conference hosting this panel is called SIGINT, and is organized by members of the Chaos Computer Club Cologne (C4) hackerspace. SIGINT aims to discuss political and cultural implications of technology, as well as getting really techie. A hands-on soldering workshop event, hardhack is happening at the same time at the conference space.
Heather Kelley: gaming
Svenja SchrÃ¶der: academia and net culture
Eleanor Saitta: hacking / hackerspaces / security
Leena Simon: net activism / politics
Ragni Zlotos: moderation
So, geekfeminists, what do you want us to address/discuss? We already have some stuff worked out, but we would appreciate inspiration from you.
Moderator note: this is not part of the post series of the same name, your questions will be public.
Our dedicated linkspam spies have dug up a lot of critical takes on the “Girls and Games” panel at PAX East 2010, which sounds like it was a how-not-to for discussions of women in geek communities. Here’s the blurb from their own schedule:
According to the ESA, more than 43% of video gamers are female, making women the single largest untapped market segment in the gaming industry. Look at the milestones crossed and the hurdles to come as developers and publishers reach out to this previously overlooked demographic. Are current strategies effective? What does this mean for the game industry as a whole?
Panelists Include: Brittany Vincent [Editor-in-Chief, Spawn Kill], Julie Furman [Founder, SFX360], Jeff Kalles [Penny Arcade], Alexis Hebert [Community Relations Manager, Terminal Reality], Padma Fuller [Product Marketing Manager, Sanrio Digital], Kate Paiz [Senior Producer, Turbine]
- The Border House and While !Finished: “Putting up with sexism and not rocking the boat may be the best thing to do as an individual to get ahead, but frankly it does fuck all for other women in the industry.”
- Fineness & Accuracy: “Virtually no mention was made at any point of institutionalized sexism, or of the ways that banter and trash-talking with imagery of rape and sexual violence… functions as a signifier to the demographic that is overwhelmingly more likely to be targeted by perpetrators of real rape and sexual assault that they are not welcome.”
- Laser Orgy: “Obviously those present in the room were already feminist allies, but the confusing part for me was that the questioners (both male and female) seemed much more open-minded than the panelists. The five ladies wrote off GameCrush.Com as something we should ‘expect’ of gamer culture and ignore — and most of the other problems facing women got the same treatment.”
- gaygamer.net: “Thankfully the audience asked many intelligent and both general and more focused questions. Unfortunately, the panel seemed at a loss to answer them in any satisfying manner (for the most part, a few exceptions applied).”
The volume of criticism has attracted a response from Brittany Vincent: “First off, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I let you all down, as a female gamer, and as a panelist. It brings me to tears to think that you all were so disheartened by this missed opportunity.”