Tag Archives: robots

Linkspam on My Mind (7 November 2014)

  • The Dads of Tech | The Baffler: “Dad’s simplified Internet is a meritocracy, a place where the best rise to the top and competition makes regulation unnecessary. It is a realm where heroic innovators build on the work of their predecessors, steadily advancing and bettering humankind through the incessant upgrading of algorithms and apps, insistent that they are making the world more democratic and egalitarian even as they hoard wealth and influence for themselves.”
  • Codes of conduct and why my opinion about this doesn’t really matter: “Once a few events had accepted Codes of Conduct I started asking people new in the community, particularly women, how they felt about them. What they said, fairly unanimously, was that the Code of Conduct made them feel a lot better, and safer, about attending their first conference and joining the community. Of course I adopted a CoC after this, not just because they change how I felt about CoC’s, but because my opinion didn’t ever really matter. I’m a white guy, I don’t get to decide what makes non-white non-male people feel safe and accepted. This is even more important to remember during enforcement of the CoC where the goal must be to make those effected by harassment feel safe again.”
  • Handling of Sexual Harassment Case Poses Larger Questions at Yale | New York Times: [CW: Harassment, abuse of power] “A sexual harassment case that has been unfolding without public notice for nearly five years within the Yale School of Medicine has roiled the institution and led to new allegations that the university is insensitive to instances of harassment against women.”
  • Female academics: don’t power dress, forget heels – and no flowing hair allowed | The Guardian: “Essentially, the message is the same: unless women dress modestly and conservatively, they look out of place in academia, because fundamentally, they don’t have the right bodies to be academic authorities. This infuriates me, and I refuse to accept it. My intellectual abilities as an academic should be judged on my work: my research, my publications, and my lectures. This is how I have earned and now own my place in academia, regardless – or in spite of – my “feminine” appearance.”
  • They Call Me Doctor Berry | New York Times: “I was typically one of only two or three female students, and one of only one or two African-American students. I wanted to change the face of engineering by showing that the profession could be cool, interesting, exciting, engaging and, most important, diverse. In that way, insisting that students use my title isn’t just about me — it’s about broadcasting, to any female and black students who might hear it, that I am black, a woman, and an engineer, and that they can be the same.”
  • We’re Sexist Toward Robots | Motherboard: “But what’s weirder than our insistence on assigning gender to non-sentient machines is that we then sometimes treat them differently as a result. We’re sexist to robots. It would be funny in its absurdity, if it didn’t so harshly reflect the prejudices already ingrained in human society, and risk entrenching them even further.”
  • Why is Firefox tweeting Gamergate nonsense? | The Daily Dot: “Whatever strategy of back-and-forth inclusiveness Mozilla may be incorporating in order to warrant this kind of dual-sided approach, the women and other progressive gamers who have had to suffer the effects of Gamergate for the last two months (and counting) have lost all patience for it. Firefox may think it’s just being objective, but the reality is that the encouragement is amplifying the voices of Gamergate members who are already planning to branch out to Tumblr just as the rest of us are trying to declare the whole thing dead.”
  • The Other Side of Diversity — Medium: “I avoided the one place in the Bay Area I could go and feel not so different. It never dawned on me that the people who were telling me not to go there were the people who might go there and feel uncomfortable. It never dawned on me that I’d let other peoples experiences and cultural upbringing completely negate my own. It never dawned on me that I really wasn’t in the set of Us.”
  • For A Culture At War, PAX Australia Was The Perfect Antidote | Kotaku Australia: “Most of all it was reassuring to find that, face-to-face with the people who make up gaming culture, the negative element was absolutely a small group making a nasty unruly noise. It confirmed to me what I had suspected all along: the people who want to tear it all down, the people who want to harass and prod and bully: they are in the minority. And we can all applaud ironically as they finally leave the building.”
  • Gamergate and Academia | ICA Newsletter: “You might feel that these events do not relate to your research area, your position, or your students. You are wrong. The harassment members of our community have experienced is a problem that can have chilling effects on academia – both in and out of the communication field. Already, graduate students (and even some colleagues) have conveyed to us that they are frightened to speak up or study video games. When fear enters academia it is the research that suffers as all of our research becomes suspect and ‘under investigation.'”
  • Let Me Fix That For You, New York Times | Red Ink : “Yesterday, the New York Times dropped an opinion piece by Cornell researchers Wendy Williams and Stephen Ceci, making the bold claim that Academic Science Isn’t Sexist (<– that IS the title of the post, Gentle Readers)…. In order for any persuasive piece to be effective, internal consistency and logic is the rock-solid foundation upon which to pile on your massive heap of shite.  We’ll let the good people of science decipher the treatment of data, and tackle the post for the masses instead.  In the interest of bettering persuasive science writing, New York Times, let me fix that for you…”

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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.

More linkspam than sense (6th January, 2011)

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).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

Why subscribe to their feeds when you can get the linkspam for free? (21st November, 2010)

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).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

Feminists do things wrong

We are essentially a social commentary blog. We tend to grab relevant somethings that pass through our individual radar and put them up for discussion. As part of this, I noticed and wrote a quick hit critique of the character profiles listed for an indy game called “Puzzlebots” last Wednesday.

I’ve since had several personally addressed emails from people involved with Puzzlebots, including the game designer, assuring me that the game is not as bad as the product pages sounded to me. I still have not played the game nor spoken to anyone who has, but I hence publicly apologise to the team for analyzing the game without first playing it.

This apology does not, as much as I wish it could, negate the issues I had with the marketing of the game as they were on Wednesday. In my opinion, the marketing text is utterly irrelevant to how the game actually plays since it is supposed to convince me that I want to play it. The marketing is why I wrote the post.

Before I go further, I acknowledge that some of the text that this post now is discussing has changed, but it remains that the grievances I held with the text as it was last Wednesday are real issues that do genuinely deter me personally from choosing to play games.

As I described in an email later last week to Erin, the designer of the game, the primary issue I have with the marketing of the game is how the women characters are described. Women characters are 2 of the 6 humans in the game, which I really like; it is terrific that it is more than a token woman. My joy at this is however destroyed at reading that both women is either the recipient of or holds desire for “The Straight Man’s Gaze“, and that these are features of her character which take up half of her description.

This echos the expectation that an unfortunate number (and vocal minority) of men within the geek communities I frequent (or frequently hear tales of) hold. That expectation is that women partake in the geeky community either because they are looking for husbands” (desire the gaze) or to “make the community sexy” (are decoration to be gazed upon).

And that’s what hurts. We have this game that at a glance looks really awesome. Multiple woman roboteers! Sweet! That means it could really easily pass the bechdel test; it has two actual women who have actually made robots! And… they are given poor descriptions focussing on a man’s desires within a game which had (at the time of posting the quick hit, not any more) a story that posited the question: “Will Zander win the affections of the pretty new scientist?”, and the buzz was killed.

Here is the thing; all the bloggers here at Geek Feminism do actually understand that getting called out on shit really does suck. It is even suckier when you think you are already doing the right thing. The puzzlebots team have done the right thing by avoiding tokenism, and kudos to them for that. But in the same breath they have used typical stereotypedstrong female character” archetypes and scenarios that (unintentionally?) markets the game to heterosexual men.

See, that’s how easy it is to do or say sexist (or other *ist) things; Even a self-identified feminist game designer such as Erin is plenty capable of using tried and triumphed typical archetypes. It certainly does not make her a failure as a gamer or a feminist. However, at some point there really does need to be (at minimum) a recognition that just because the scenarios are common throughout various mediums, it doesn’t change how much repeating them impacts on the perceptions of women’s roles in geeklands and especially in STEM based fields.

The members of the Geek Feminism blog community call each other out all the time for anything ranging from classism to actual real genuine sexism itself. We call each other out because we fuck up too, and when we fuck up we accept it. We accept our fuck ups and learn from them because we realize that Feminism, it turns out, is really quite hard.

Feminism is so deity forsaken hard, and if it was not so hard, then it would be so over already. But no matter how easy it is for even us to fall for the trappings of the internalized sexism each and every single one of us has, letting something you notice pass by is still tacit support for that stance, and not calling that shit out because it is probably a genuine mistake sucks even more in the long run. For everyone.

Commenting note: We have a comment policy here which means we will delete comments which are anti-feminist, abusive, or otherwise inappropriate at our sole discretion. Now you know.

Quick hit: Puzzlebots

From the casual stereotyping department comes Puzzlebots. First off, I want to make it clear that this particular game is not unique in this regard at all. It’s just a convenient example that I came across today.

Taking a look at the characters page, there are 2 women in the humans (emphasis mine):

“Thanks to her many years in the Japanese school system, Yuriko is smart, industrious, and almost pathologically shy. She harbors a secret crush on Zander, which may remain a secret forever the way things are going.”

“Astrid is a bit like a flower on a cactus.  Pretty from a distance, but almost guaranteed to hurt you if you get too close.  She captures Zander’s attention right away, but can be downright mean to the other employees.”

To summarize; a lady roboteer in this game is either secretly (because she’s shy) crushing for a dude, or she is eye-candy who will probably rip your bits off. And the two girls in the team of six get to make up a disproportionate two thirds of a love triangle.

Because, you know, I can’t imagine that reinforcing any stereotypes or anything.

As for the robot characters? One Hiveling I discussed this with stated: ”None of the boy robots are cute and sassy.”

I can see other problematic things in the character descriptions too, the above is just the start.

What are your thoughts and observations about the (people and processor-based) characters?