Tag Archives: default male

Guestblog: user avatars and the unmarked state

This is an anonymous guestblog entry by a cultural critic, fullstack developer, and kdrama enthusiast living in North America. Geek Feminism has mildly edited and retitled it.

“what I want (well, one of many things)”

Recently I saw a news bit about an upcoming convention for, I think it was, women game-writers. There was, of course, the inevitable bit about how women don’t need their own gaming convention, and leaving out the menz, and the usual.[…]

I’m all for safe space, but now I want one in my industry. Someplace where I could post this, and know I’m talking to people who won’t act like I’m seeing things, or practically pat me on the head with the patronizing, or tell me it’s not a big deal (or that it doesn’t bother them so naturally it shouldn’t bother me) and I should get over it, or whatever. But since I can’t find that locally, it’s all y’all instead who get to share my pain. I mean, this shit really is insidious.

user-business-boss.png, user-business.png, user-female.png, user.png

user-business-boss.png, user-business.png, user-female.png, user.png


Privilege Denying Dude (Edman)

I feel like you are trying to tell me something

This is a guest post by Elizabeth Gregory, a PhD student in Aerospace Engineering at Iowa State University.

Have you ever been watching a movie/TV show or reading a book/magazine article and all of a sudden been confronted with a reminder that you (a lady) are not the target audience?

I had no television for a few years so, although I watched The Big Bang Theory when it first aired, I haven’t watched it in a long time. A few weeks ago I caught an episode and I was struck by this scene. HA HA! Women never go to comic book stores! Because they are girls! Hilarious! I always enjoyed the show because it reveled in geek culture, but this is what I hear from this scene:

Me: I like your show.

Them: That’s cool and everything, but it isn’t for you.

Me: It’s on TV, isn’t it for everyone? It’s not even on Cable.

Them: Well yeah, but it is for geeks.

Me: I’m a geek.

Them: We mean guy geeks. You know, real geeks.

About a year ago, I was reading Diary by Chuck Palahniuk. The narrator of the story is a woman. In one part, she describes having a catheter as something plastic stuck in your vagina. Here is the thing. I don’t pee from my vagina and I haven’t ever heard of a women that does and I certainly don’t consider my urethra as part of my vagina. Here is my imaginary conversation with Chuck Palahniuk.

Me: Do you really think women pee from their vaginas?

Him: Eeew. I don’t know what happens down there.

Me: This is basic human anatomy.

Him: No, it is women’s anatomy, not regular anatomy. I’m close, right? The pee definitely comes from that general location, right?

Me: What I don’t understand is how you didn’t have one editor read this and point out that this is anatomically wrong. Especially since, throughout the book, you describe in great detail other parts of the human body and their function. This seems be a fact checking error.

Him: I feel like most people are confused by lady parts. As previously stated, Eeew!

When I was a senior in Aerospace Engineering, we all took senior seminar. It was a 1 credit class (compared to a regular 3 credit class) in which the head of the department talked to us about interviews, jobs, life insurance, firing people, mortgages, and ethics. I remember he brought in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) code of ethics. Here is item 2.3 (emphasis mine):

The member will inform his employer or client if he is financially interested in any vendor or contractor, or in any invention, machines, or apparatus, which is involved in a project or work of his employer or client. The member will not allow such interest to affect his decision regarding services which he may be called upon to perform.

This document was approved in 1978, so it is old; but it hasn’t been changed. Here is an imaginary conversation with people who do not see that this is exclusionary.

Them: But HE is the generic pronoun, it includes women.

Me: Yeah, I know, that is why when the line for the ladies room is long, I use the men’s room. You know, because the word men really means both men and women.

The message is that I am not in the club. You know “the club” Silly me for thinking that liking geeky things makes me a geek, or being a women who enjoys Chuck Palahniuk novels means that he would consider that women actually read them, or that earning 2 degrees in Engineering and paying my membership dues to AIAA means that I am a member and the code of ethics should apply to me too. I am just a girl and I see now that the sloppily painted sign on the tree house does in fact say “No Girls Allowed”

This post was submitted via the Guest posts submission page, if you are interested in guest posting on Geek Feminism please contact us through that page.

Wall of Spam, by freezelight on Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Hubris, thy name is linkspam (12th July, 2011)

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on delicious, freelish.us or pinboard.in 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.

Row of women archers, University of Wisconsin Digital Collections CC BY 2.0

Quick Hit: Dogs and Smurfs; Why women writers and stories about women are taken less seriously

This has been a great year for male writers, with women shunted aside for major prizes and all-new hand-wringing about why it is so. Because, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but male writers get taken more seriously. Also, stories about men, even if written by women, are considered mainstream, while stories about women are “women’s fiction.” This despite the fact that women read more than men, and write more, and are over-represented generally throughout publishing.

As the father of two girls, one aged five and one ten months, I know why. It’s because of dogs and Smurfs. I can’t understand why no-one else realizes this. I see these knotted-brow articles and the writers seem truly perplexed. Dogs and Smurfs: that’s the answer.

Read the rest here. I don’t think it’ll be news to any of you, but it’s a nicely put together article worth sharing.

Grace Hopper 2010 keynote update: Now “Cross-boundary Collaboration”

Yesterday, I wrote about the talk description for one of the Grace Hopper 2010 keynotes. The talk description began with an anecdote in which Le is told by a male colleague that he never thought of her as a woman, and she responds with “That is one of the best compliments I have ever received in my professional life!” The rest of the description is in a similar vein.

I saw the talk this morning and I’m pleased to report that it did not have much if anything in common with the published talk description. Originally entitled “Camaraderie & Cross Gender Collaboration,” the talk Duy-Loan Le gave today was entited “Camaraderie & Cross Boundary Collaboration,” with definitions of three specific boundaries that were not directly related to gender. It was what you’d describe as an inspirational talk – positive, not heavy on specifics, and anecdotal – and focused more on cultural and racial challenges than gender.

I am thrilled that the actual talk given by Duy-Loan Le did not resemble the talk description I found in the GHC 2010 program. I am still shocked and surprised to find that talk description in the conference materials for a women in computing conference. This kind of opinion – that women should not be women in order to succeed, and that women are responsible for becoming more like men to make them comfortable – was doubly surprising because the organizers of a women in computing conference should know better.

I do think the organizers of Grace Hopper failed their audience by allowing this talk description in the official conference program. By doing so, they gave these opinions added weight from association with “the” conference on women in computing. I would like to see some response from the organizers counteracting the effect of this publication – or, if all else fails, from the women in computing community at large.

Grace Hopper keynote “Camaraderie & Cross Gender Collaboration”

Dear Lazyweb,

How many sexist fallacies can you list in one comment on this talk description? You may link to Feminism 101 to save on typing.

Background: Tomorrow morning is the first keynote speech of the Grace Hopper 2010 conference, “Camaraderie & Cross Gender Collaboration“, by Duy-Loan T. Le, a senior fellow at Texas Instruments.


My male colleagues laughed a good laugh with me. Then one gentleman, let’s just call him Mr. Jones, said rather matter-of-factly, “I have never thought of you as a woman!” I laughed and replied, “That is one of the best compliments I have ever received in my professional life!”


What played out in that room that day demonstrates, in my opinion, an ultimate requirement one must have in order to be part of a group: camaraderie! If we women can appreciate how important camaraderie is when working with men – and our part in fostering it – the good old boys’ network becomes a lot less exclusive and less of a barrier.

Read the full text of the keynote description here: Full text | one page PDF | full program PDF [large]

Update: The actual talk had very little to do with the talk description (whew!).