Rachel's Blog Rachel's Blog: Feminism

Mon, 21 Jul 2008
The Dawn Chorus/Sarah Haskins

I've been reading The Dawn Chorus for a few weeks now and it's great. It's smart, thinky and, like today, they link to stuff that's really funny.

Wed, 09 Jan 2008
Isabel Allende: Tales of Passion - TED talk

Tue, 20 Mar 2007
AussieChix and the IT sexism debate

Sarah Stokely has an article in today's Age about the formation of the Australian chapter of Linuxchix (who have a very cool logo). Reference is made to the unfortunate "softporn incident" of last year's Open Source Developers' Conference, so, as chair, Richard is quoted. To get the context of the apparently nonsensical quote you'll have to go to the original source.

Fri, 09 Feb 2007
Supergirl: Pink not Punk
I’m fond of pink. I like a number of activities that are considered feminine (see: liqueur chocolates). What wears me down is the constant, grinding creed of “girls are like this! And boys are like this! They just are, and they must remain so!” that is rarely explicitly stated and yet is constantly replicated in everything – comics, movies, TV, toys, posters, theatre, fanfic, dance, diamond advertisements, school uniforms, child beauty pageants and those awful GossipGirl books with the headless cover photographs.

Karen Healey gets all up in the face of marketeers that have rebranded Supergirl as a beauty queen princess.

Rightly so. The whole gender-specific colours, clothing and activities trend is leading me to say things to Abbey, such as, "Of course a girl could wear a wrestling costume if she wanted to." Instead of "That's ridiculous. No one should wear a wrestling costume."

Wed, 12 Jul 2006
Update: IT Girls

The Australian Computer Society has withdrawn its sponsorship of a calendar featuring female IT professionals posing as "glamorous" characters from the movies.

[I]t is untenable for us to be portrayed as supporting a publication with a naked woman on the cover, in the name of improving the image of women in IT."

Even though they're primarily complaining about the choice of cover shot, it's a start.

Previous ranting.

Mon, 10 Jul 2006
IT Girls

A new girlie calendar is about to be launched which features women who work in the IT industry posing as various screen sirens. Much as I applaud the suggested purpose here of encouraging more women into the IT field, this has to be the most arse-about way of doing it.

If you're holding back from a career in IT because you don't think there'll be opportunity to wear form fitting garments, then I suppose you'll be relived by what these images suggest. People don't buy calendars because they identify with the subjects. Witness nudie calendars in mechanics' workshops. Calendars are bought and used because people aspire to have the subjects. (Oh, please! Someone has to create a calendar of cute IT guys stroking mice in suggestive ways!) So unless there is a shortage of lesbians in IT that I'm unaware of, so far this looks ridiculous.

This calendar is not about saying that these women have brains, which they surely do, but are still primarily women. The way they are portrayed has nothing to do with their own power (with perhaps the exception of the two dressed up as Thelma and Louise - which is kind of a weird choice if you think about it) and everything to do with appealing to men. There are no images here of women using technology, because that would clearly be a turn off for people considering a career in computing.

It is male IT workers who will buy this calendar in enthusiastic support of its aims and then stick it onto their cubicle wall, full of self-righteousness. But really they're just secretly happy to have the chance to (re)introduce titillating calendars into the workplace. Because once the calendar is on the wall, all it's doing is objectifying women. It doesn't matter how talented you are in mathematics or logical thinking, nor your superior people skills, all that matters is that your have the right kind of red-lipped pout.

My suggestion for conquering the stated "geeky technologist" image of IT workers is to start handing out DVDs of The IT Crowd, because then everyone will learn that they're not to be feared, they're just a bunch of loveable old duffers.

(via The Age)