Now that you know all about turtles… it’s time for an open thread! We have these every few weeks so that people can comment on older posts, make suggestions, and talk about feminist stuff. Nothing is off-topic for this post as long as you fit within our comment guidelines. Have fun!
I’m happy to see that the xkcd about “Zombie Marie Curie” has been making the rounds, because the “I make a sorry role model if girls just see me over and over as the one token lady scientist” bit gives voice to my long-held frustration about the predictable and repetitive trotting-out of the same handful of historical women as the go-to examples of women in science.
Those women were amazing and groundbreaking, but to always focus the discussion around them to the exclusion of actual, living, breathing female scientists is to make actual, living, breathing female scientists feel even more invisible than we already sometimes do.
Here’s an example of what I mean: the first page of Flickr search results for “women scientists” is top-heavy with results from the Smithsonian’s “Women in Science” photo set, which consists entirely of black-and-white photos of women, most of whom died in the middle of the twentieth century sometime. Why not call that photo set “Pioneering Women in Science” — or, uh, maybe just “Women Scientists from the Age of Black-and-White Film Photography”, since there were women in science before that, too? To not show any contemporary scientists under the heading “Women in Science” is to pathologize and exoticize the idea of simultaneously being a woman and being a scientist, and that’s about the last thing scientists need.
I like Photos of Mathematicians. It’s exactly what it says on the tin — one person’s collection of photos of living, working mathematicians, many of whom are actual regular human beings who you might run into on the street. Some of the photos are of women. I wish that, instead of seeing Marie Curie and Ada Lovelace over and over, we saw them sometimes, or their counterparts in physics or CS. A colorphoto of a livingperson1 feels more immediately relevant than a painting or a black-and-white photo of an (un)dead person, even if the (un)dead person has more Nobel Prizes.
There’s nothing special about the four photos I chose, aside from the fact that they are, as far as I can tell, of women. I hesitated about picking particular photos to link to, but I decided that sharing some photos of modern women mathematicians who are probably actually alive is important enough to me that I’m willing to risk being wrong about someone’s gender identification in the attempt.
Last time this happened, as far as I can tell, was over 400 comics ago, where the two women in question ended up being rescued from the RIAA and MPAA enforcers by Richard Stallman. Or has there been one more recently?
One thing I like about “Phobia” is that the two characters just happen to be women. They’re not there to tell us a very special message about women or to be part of someone’s romantic fantasy. They just… are. People. With fears and motivations and ideas and dreams.
Digital Changeling reviews Puzzle Bots: Short version: game is a bit short for the price, but the puzzles are fun and nicely made. Unfortunately, she found the stereotypes so grating that they did distract some from the fun of playing the game.
Yet another geeky campaign decides that sexism is “edgy” and “attention-grabbing” and that their important issue therefore should be addressed in a sexist way: see the wiki documentation of It’s Time to Tell Mum, in particular Electronic Frontiers Australia’s defence of the campaign, and Sky’s comprehensive review of the sexism involved.
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.
In comments on CrunchGear, Jessica Gottlieb relates an incident where a Microsoft evangelist made a joke about women hot flashing.
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. Thanks to everyone who suggested links in comments and on delicious.I hope it’s OK not to credit the sources individually: a large number of links here are now coming in from readers.