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Geek feminism blog

On the heels of the excellent geekfeminism wiki comes the geekfeminism blog. Kirrily Robert, Liz Henry, yatima, Mary Gardiner, Sumana Harihareswara, Mackenzie Morgan, Terri Oda and Valerie Aurora are listed as contributors so far.

The about page reads:

The Geek Feminism blog exists to highlight and discuss issues facing women in geek communities, including the tech industry, open source, gaming, science fiction fandom, and more.

It’s only just getting started, but if you’re interested in reading about and discussing this subject, head on over and subscribe to their feed.


Written by Matt Zimmerman

August 16, 2009 at 11:05

9 Responses

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  1. Really interresting conecpt. I Like!


    August 16, 2009 at 14:58

  2. […] de pronto esto les sirva a las chicas a tu alrededor ? https://mdzlog.alcor.net/2009/08/16/geek-feminism-blog/ #ubuntu […]

  3. I think women and men should have the same opportunities, and I think that the IT world (among others) still has some ways to go to make that happen.

    While I am sometimes taken aback by too much activism in this direction, and while I think that it’s important to steer clear of separatism (highlighting differences in the process of trying to create equal opportunity), I generally support every reasonable effort in this direction. By reasonable, I mean that it should not go further than the goal.

    The geek feminism wiki makes me pretty uneasy, and feels like someone is tying a rope to the past and present to make it harder to move forward.

    Under the assumption that most people would like to move forward towards an equal-opportunity community, how does keeping meticulous track of all the problems of the past and present help?

    What about the girl entering the community without any predispositions and encounters this site?

    martin f. krafft

    August 18, 2009 at 11:06

    • Martin,

      The wiki is fairly blunt and at times quite discomforting, yes. History books are like that too.

      History is full of those moments where the people involved would have loved to have had something to provide them an ounce of hindsight. Hindsight is a precious resource that is never plentiful enough. Documenting mistakes is one way to share it.

      How can we as a community learn from our mistakes, the ones driving women away, if we cannot document them?

      In the past, the lack of documenting has made the problem invisible, and that invisibility has hurt us all whether or not we wish to believe so.

      Take a modern example where documenting is crucial to improvement, such as OH&S. You document each injury that occurs, and how it occurred, and doing so allows you to note how the injury occurred. If it’s a fixable issue, people with common sense exceeding that of a dust mite decide to make fixes to the processes that led to the injury.


      August 18, 2009 at 15:36

      • Melissa: I generally agree, and everyone has always said that history keeps repeating itself and that it’s thus a worthy reference.

        But times are changing, and even more so in the IT world.

        But probably the largest hole on that wiki is the lack of positive stories, of tales of achievement, and of visions. Instead, it puts the problem into the foreground, along with stories from the trenches. That might help everyone who has suffered so far to come to terms and take stock, but I don’t consider this approach very motivating for the next generation.

        martin f. krafft

        August 18, 2009 at 15:51

        • Martin,

          Define “positive story”.

          Every single name here http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_women_in_Open_Source is a positive story, because these are women who have managed to stick it out in spite of all the negative things they may have faced. It is an achievement in itself to be able to continue to volunteer for something that is a hobby in spite of such negativity. In this regard, the women in that list represent the 2% high achievers — the women who do not give up.

          Every single incident here http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Open_Source_Software#Incidents has a positive lining — someone noticed, someone said something.

          These are huge successes for those of us in “the trenches”. Those of us who on occasion bite our tongues for fear of someone accusing us of being not positive enough. Each time represents a vision that one day in the future, it really won’t matter if someone lacks a Y chromasome, they’ll be taken seriously in spite of it.

          It really depends on what you’re wanting in a positive story.


          August 19, 2009 at 01:03

        • Hi Martin,

          It is a terrible kind of lie to tell young women they will not face discrimination and harassment because equal rights and opportunity have fixed everything. That’s the particular lie I grew up with. While we have many, many positive examples and heroes and stories it isn’t all pink sparkles and struggles in the past. The struggle is now and will be in the future. Also, it seems to me that you are expressing more concern for hypothetical innocent young people than you are for adults already in the field – and who often leave that field.



          September 3, 2009 at 06:38

    • The wiki has an excellent page of resources for men which is very much worth reading. It provides valuable context for men like you (and me) who are examining the wiki material through a privileged frame of reference.

      If the incidents described in the wiki you feel uncomfortable, that’s a good sign. It should. Nothing changes when people are comfortable with the status quo. This discomfort is exactly what we need in order to move forward.

      That uneasiness is an opportunity to identify with the experiences of women in our community. Think about how much more uneasy you would feel to be in their position.

      Have you ever been in a situation where something shocking happened, but no one else seemed to notice? Maybe someone made a racist joke, and everyone around you laughed? How did you feel? Ignoring problems tells the people around you that you don’t care. Noticing the problems, and calling them out, is a lot better than ignoring them. Women often don’t have this choice, because they can’t ignore their own experience. You and I do have a choice.

      The girl entering the community, unfortunately, will not be introduced to sexism through a wiki, because it will happen to her. A majority of women in our community (80% in FLOSSpols) are experiencing it first-hand. The wiki, I hope, will show her that she is not alone, that there are places where she can find support, and that there are more than a few people in the community who do not tolerate sexism.

      Matt Zimmerman

      August 19, 2009 at 09:39

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