Bring Out Your Linkspam (30 September 2014)

  • The Trans-Everything CEO | New York Magazine: [CW: This piece doesn’t follow GLAAD’s media recommendations for coverage of transgender issues; there’s a lot of problematic stuff in this otherwise positive profile of a woman doing some fascinating and geeky things.] “But the highest-paid female CEO in America is not nearly as well known. She is Martine Rothblatt, the 59-year-old founder of United Therapeutics—a publicly traded, Silver Spring, Maryland–based pharmaceutical company—who made a previous fortune as a founder of Sirius radio, a field she entered as an attorney specializing in the law of space.”
  • Growing fantasy-game universe collides with entrenched boys’ club mentality | The Washington Post: “Longmore’s success, and the recent success of other female players, set off something of a crash course in diversity training for Magic players. It had to. The game isn’t just some extra-obscure corner of the offbeat nerd community anymore: It’s a $200 million-a-year industry with a fan base of 20 million and a growing pool of elite players who make their living from tournament prizes (which top out at about $40,000).”
  • The Business Case for Diversity in the Tech Industry | NYTimes.com: “The issue here was one of ignorance — the engineers and designers who created the YouTube app were all right-handed, and none had considered that some people may pick up their phones differently. It’s a small example, but a telling one. If Google’s designers couldn’t anticipate the needs of left-handed people with an all-right-handed product team, how could they anticipate the needs of women with a staff composed overwhelmingly of men?”
  • Facebook’s real name policy is a drag, and not just for the performers it outs | Comment is free | theguardian.com: “People will find a way to undermine identities they don’t approve of, and there will always be ways to write them off as insufficiently authoritative, ‘made up’ or ‘fake’. It’s not about bad behavior, or even about official sign-off. It’s just about making yourself the arbiter of someone else’s self.”
  • Why women don’t name names: Kirsten Gillibrand, Daniel Inouye and women’s calculus for survival | Salon.com: [CW: Sexual harassment] “And not all of them wear the typical mask of a villain. Some are progressives, even self-identified feminists. Men who don’t vote to strip women of control over their own bodies but who still feel entitlement to those bodies. So this is the face of harassment. The faces of the men you know, and the faces of the men you respect. How do we create space to talk about that? Maybe this is the larger conversation Gillibrand wanted to have when she chose not to name names.”
  • ‘Innocent Until Proven Guilty’: Notes for the Peanut Gallery | satifice: “From what I understand, there are some people — in the apparent interest of seeming ‘reasonable’ and ‘neutral’ — who are insisting that in the Team Harpy legal case that our plaintiff should be considered ‘innocent until proven guilty’. There are a few things wrong with this framing.”
  • Recent Events Involving Brian Leiter | For Those Who Need To Know: [CW: Harassment, abuse.] “What follows recounts the basic facts about these episodes and provides links to relevant information. There have been several other such episodes over the last decade or so, some of which involved not philosophers but lawyers. But we do not have the energy to catalogue all of them, and we are not sure what purpose it would serve. What follows, we hope, is sufficiently illuminating.”
  • Why I’m not really here for Emma Watson’s feminism speech at the UN: “Here, she seems to suggest that the reason men aren’t involved in the fight for gender equality is that women simply haven’t invited them and, in fact, have been unwelcoming. Women haven’t given men a formal invitation, so they haven’t joined in. It’s not because, you know, men benefit HUGELY (socially, economically, politically, etc. infinity) from gender inequality and therefore have much less incentive to support its dismantling. It’s not because of the prevalence of misogyny the entire world over. It’s just that no one’s asked. OMG, why didn’t any of us think to ask?! This is an absurd thing to suggest. Women have been trying to get men to care about oppression of women since…always. Men have never been overwhelmingly interested in fighting that fight, because it requires them giving up power and all evidence suggests that’s not their super-fave thing. Share a link about gender equality? Sure! Count me in! Give up real power in real ways? Nope, not really.”
  • Building a Better Breast Pump | The Atlantic: “At the close of a hackathon held at the Massachusetts institute of Technology this weekend, tables were littered with the standard fare: empty coffee cups, LEDs, joysticks, and transistor parts. There were also scraps of fabric decorated with elephants, foam models of women’s breasts and flanges. Lots of flanges.”
  • Monstrous Women in Dragon Age: Desire Demons and Broodmothers | Gaming As Women: “In this essay, I’d like to talk about a very specific feature of Dragon Age: Origins:  the female monsters. Throughout the game, the player encounters humanoid enemies (such as bandits or soldiers) that are both male and female, with no significant differences between the two sexes.  The monstrous enemies in the game, on the other hand, follow a different course.”
  • ​Tentacle Alien Sex Card Game Isn’t As Perverted as You’d Think | Kotaku: [CW: Consensual sexual content, NSFW!] “It’s easier and safer to negotiate sexual practices (whether represented in cards or with your actual body) if you talk, obviously—but when we play games, we are often looking for more danger, surprise, and challenge. Which is great! We can explore stuff in the safety of games that I wouldn’t recommend doing during actual sex, obviously! The silent games had a variety of communication styles — most people were “communicating” (so to speak) just by looking each other in the eye, but there were several games where people were touching each other, or making dirty or suggestive gestures, etc. That’s all mentioned in the rules. It’s pretty much up to players to negotiate how to play.”
  • My free software will respect users or it will be bullshit | Matthew Garrett: “The four freedoms are only meaningful if they result in real-world benefits to the entire population, not a privileged minority. If your approach to releasing free software is merely to ensure that it has an approved license and throw it over the wall, you’re doing it wrong. We need to design software from the ground up in such a way that those freedoms provide immediate and real benefits to our users. Anything else is a failure.”
  • Four Interactions That Could Have Gone Better | Bridget Kromhout: “If you’re wondering why women don’t attend the conferences, unconferences, meetups, or hackathons you enjoy, or why you don’t seem to make meaningful professional connections with the ones who are there, maybe they’ve been having these conversations often enough that they’re tired of it, and would rather spend their time doing anything else at all.”

We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

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.