The Haecken miniconf at linux.conf.au is running for the sixth time on 16th January 2012, in Ballarat, Australia. Their call for participation is open until September 30, and they are especially looking for talks and panels on issues relating to women’s participation in open source.
Women on the Line: Superhero Comics [13MB MP3 file, no known transcript] Karen Healey’s keynote address to Tights and Tiaras: Female Superheroes and Media Culture, a recent conference at Monash University.
Birth control pills affect memory, study finds: [Pill users’] ability to remember the gist of an emotional event improves, while women not using the contraceptives better retain details… [Shawn Nielsen] stressed that the medications did not damage memory. It’s a change in the type of information they remember, not a deficit.
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The apology from the organisers about Mark Pesce’s linux.conf.au keynote caused much discussion on the linux.conf.au attendees’ chat list. The vast number of responders felt the right thing had been done with the apology and were happy, however there were a small number (5 or less) squeaky wheels that insisted that the talk was fine and that no apology was necessary.
This post is an edited response to my reply in a thread discussing whether the anti-harassment policy was too broadly scoped as well as possibly unnecessary.
Warning: this entry discusses sexual assault, rape and real statistics.
The anti-harassment policy that linux.conf.au adopted didn’t set an impossibly high bar for attendees or speakers, despite the complaints of a select few. As far as I know, all of the 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 speakers, and all but one of the 2011 speakers managed to adhere to professional standards in their talks
and not use images that did or would have caused the ruckus Mark’s talk did. At about 90 (official) speakers per conference and maybe another 90 mini-conf speakers per conference that’s about 899 talks which all managed this feat, and quite a few of those talks were challenging, hard hitting, world shattering and all the things that Mark’s talk was too.
However Mark’s talk relentlessly employed the language and imagery of sexual assault as a metaphor for the loss of personal freedoms, and this is inappropriate. For all that Mark’s theme was timely and valuable, the talk would have been so much better had it been delivered with respect for those members of our community who have actually been assaulted. Continue reading →
Cookie of the Week* is an occasional series highlighting action in the geek community to fight sexism, in order to show that fighting sexism is possible and happening.
A cookie to mjg59 (who is a poster here also) for this response to rape denial on the linux.conf.au 2011 chat list. Here’s an excerpt:
You’re right, you’re not diminishing what rape is. However, you really do seem to be doing your best to. You’ve taken Jacinta’s entirely reasonable demonstration that a significant proportion of the audience may have personal experiences that would leave them disproportionately likely to be made uncomfortable by sexual imagery in a conference environment, and you’ve used it as an opportunity to throw numbers around in order to forward the argument that the number of women raped by strangers in isolated areas is lower than 1 in 6 despite *nobody having raised that subject at all*.
Here’s a cookie!
Image description: a star-shaped cookie with a smiling face drawn in icing. Credit: Lali Masriera (visualpanic)
Does anyone else have any cookies to spare this week?
* Disclaimer: cookies may not be baked weekly! This offer does not commit Geek Feminism, its bloggers, affiliates, sponsors, commenters or fans to a posting schedule. Heaven forbid!
Warning: this entry discusses a sexualised presentation, and links to slides from that presentation. Images linked include stylised sexual violence.
Note to LCA2011 attendees and other members of the technical community: discussion at Geek Feminism is restricted by our comments policy. If you want to make commentary that does not adhere to that policy, you need to do it somewhere else. Discussion of Pesce’s technical content or the importance of his main subject matter is also off-topic for this post and will not be published.
On Friday at linux.conf.au 2011, Mark Pesce gave a morning keynote that resulted in complaints citing their harassment policy. I made one such complaint, here is an excerpt:
The Haecken miniconf at linux.conf.au (January in Brisbane, Australia) has extended their Call for Papers until October 22.
Sir, Can You Help Me With This?: a transman comments on becoming a goto guy: This is not the first time I’ve been singled out since transitioning. It even happens with people who knew me before and after the physical changes began to take effect. As a young woman, coworkers and friends never asked for my advice on anything mechanical or technology-related.
A million starfish stranded, I’ll throw back what I can: Annie on Kotaku: I am a woman who games. I am one of millions. I enjoy gaming. I am not asking for it by being bold enough to play games online and interact with other human beings. I do not deserve to be treated this way.
Melissa Silverstein reviews The Social Network, a movie based upon the story of the early days of Facebook. She enjoyed it as a movie, but …as a woman and a feminist, the film illuminates another instance of just how superfluous women are.. Laurie Penny also has a review: Woman-hating is the background noise of this story. Aaron Sorkin’s dazzlingly scripted showdown between awkward, ambitious young men desperate for wealth and respect phrases women and girls as glorified sexual extras, lovely assistants in the grand trick whose reveal is the future of human business and communication.
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Thanks to everyone who suggested links in comments and on delicious.
LCA2010 (the conference usually known as “linux.conf.au”, but in New Zealand for 2010) has an initiative to sponsor diverse attendees. Google is sponsoring the LCA2010 Diversity Programme in which Open Source contributors who are members of a minority group, including women, can apply to receive up to NZD1000 towards attendance at LCA2010 in January in New Zealand. Applications for LCA2010 assistance from this program close on Friday 2 October 2009.
They’ve also just announced their programme (I co-chaired the selection committee, but aggravatingly can’t attend due to conflicting commitments re bringing new life into the world, talk about poor timing kid). Women speakers are:
Update, per pfctdayelise in comments, see also the LCA2010 Haecksen & Linuxchix miniconf, now accepting submissions from women. This will be the fourth time a women’s miniconf has run in addition to the main programme.