This is a great blog for geeky discussion about feminism, and feminist discussion about geeky things. Covers gaming, tech, science, pop culture.
Don’t forget to check out the book club.
Ellen Ullman: the computer programmer who became a novelist
Ellen Ullman seems like a fascinating person. In this Guardian interview, she talks about her 20 year career as a computer programmer, her radical feminist background, and her current career as a novelist. She also discusses sexism in the tech industry and how that has changed over the years (not necessarily for the better).
She wrote the cult classic, Close to the Machine: Technophilia and its Discontents, based on her experience of being at the forefront of a predominantly male tech revolution in 1997, and the difficulty of translating messy human thought into efficient code. Her latest novel, By Blood, is based on conversations between a therapist and her patient, who is trying to track down her birth mother.
Anita’s Quilt, at geekfeminism.org
Gail Carmichael writes about anitasquilt.org:
“One of the big hurdles of getting more women into tech is making sure they know the job exists and providing more visible role models. Like my newest high school mentee recently said: ‘You hear women talk about becoming doctors, lawyers, and that sort of thing. Nobody ever talks about becoming a computer scientist!’
Enter Anita’s Quilt. A project of the Advisory Board of the Anita Borg Institute (of which I’m a member), Anita’s Quilt is an ongoing dialog of inspirational stories from women in tech supporting each other and individually striving to have more impact as technologists. We know things aren’t perfect for women in our industry; the Quilt is about giving people enough concrete ideas so they feel capable of taking actions.”
Anita’s Quilt features a wide range of contributions, including undergraduate students and Turing Award winners. They encourage you to share your favourites, add your own, and help spread the word.
In this story, Mexican-American woman Ann Gates responds to the notion that you need a beard to be a successful computer scientist.
My So Called Secret Identity
The intertubes are going crazy about this comic. It is about Catherine Abigail Daniels, PhD student and superhero.
“All her life, Cat’s been taught to be little, learned to keep herself small, tried to avoid attention. Don’t be too full of yourself. Don’t show off. And most of all, don’t let people know how smart you are, because they don’t like it.
But Cat really is someone special. Cat is the smartest person in Gloria City. She remembers everything she reads; she knows how everything connects. And she’s getting tired of pretending, of hiding, of acting dumb to save other people’s feelings.
And if they won’t take her seriously as Catherine Abigail Daniels, the student and cop’s kid, maybe they’ll take her seriously in costume.
My So-Called Secret Identity is what happened when internationally-acclaimed Batman scholar and popular culture expert, Dr Will Brooker, decided to stop criticising mainstream comics for their representation of women, and show how it could be done differently; how it could be done better.”
The first issue is free! Go have a squizz.
Joseph Reagle on the gender gap in geek culture
This podcast episode of Surprisingly Free addresses geek feminism and the technology gender gap. He argues that inherent structural problems in the geek community can alienate minorities and undermine otherwise good intentions.
He proposes a three step solution: talking about gender; challenging notions about what it means to be a geek; and not allowing the rhetoric of freedom to be used to excuse bad behaviour.
“Reagle further supports efforts to form female-only subcultures within the geek community … Instead of the balkanization of their movement that opponents fear, these closed-group discussions actually strengthen geek culture at large, according to Reagle.”
Hostile Territory: Q&A with Gamer Jessica Price on How Gaming is (Slowly) Growing Less Sexist
Interview with Jessica Price, who is a project manager at Pazio Publishing, a tabletop roleplaying game company.
Price discusses her experiences in the video and tabletop games industries, and how it has changed for women since she started working in it.
Check out the rest of Bitch Magazine’s guest series on gender and gaming.
Images source: http://www.mysocalledsecretidentity.com/