Tuesday, 10 April 2012

deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
Yesterday my brother linked me to this article about a creepy app that can be used to stalk women. (Side note: I think the author did a great job in both this post and the follow-up ones of being even-handed, consistently pointing out the larger issues, and addressing his own male privilege and gradual unpacking of it.)

The part where I had my own smug grin was where the author referred to his 'bearded Diaspora friend'. Because see, I was the one with the Diaspora account who had passed along invitations to my male relatives and friends. And I got my own invite code from a lady friend, who, along with the other lady friends I have online, were the ones talking about privacy and social networking and online safety.

Every now and then when I have to google search for a tech solution I am exposed to the larger world of fora and tech blogs where the commentariat are overwhelmingly male. And I give thanks again to fandom, because (besides providing me with quality porn) it is filled with female geeks. I always have a minute's surprise when I read the statistics about women in science and technology and the challenges they face because while I know that those statistics are true...

I am actually living in the future. The feminist future where it is absolutely, routinely normal for me to default to assuming that the sys admins, coders, tech bloggers, greasemonkey script writers, privacy issues alerters, are women. Because around me, they are. Where a Gender Like Me owns the servers and the blogging platform.

And it's as much about being geeky as it is about hard sciences or tech. Because when mainstream media talks about geeks, it paints them with a myopic male brush, but when I talk about geeks, I mean us. Women, mostly, are the ones I have shared enthusiasms about tv and software and movies and gadgets and books and science with.

I was delighted when my last post got the responses it did, and that's the norm. The hospitable, friendly fannish friends who have let me into their homes and fed me nommy home-cooked meals and given me a toothbrush and a towel and a couch to crash on in the very best traditions of the grihini, and house-proud hostess are the geeky tech manual editors and physics and neuroscience academics and security consultants and webmasters and site designers in their day jobs, and they are the ones whose faces I associate with those professions. (And the more women of colour I get to meet through fandom, the more techy women I get to know, because it isn't an inverse ratio!)

I know how much it sucks being a woman in the larger patriarchal misogyny ridden tech and geek worlds. And I certainly ain't aboard the 'fandom is post-feminist' train.

But thanks to you, the women around my cyber neighbourhood, the average geek is not defined for me the way the larger world says it should be. Dispite the title of this post, I don't actually call myself a geek because the standards seem set for people with much more depth and breadth of knowledge than mine, but when I say I am geeky, I know that it is women who are the geeks I am comparing myself to.

My average geek:
has shown both sports fans and soaps fans how to set up their VCR and set top boxes and tivos
can recommend two different ways to download stories from fanfiction.net
calls attractive men 'pretty' and means it as a compliment
can configure her own router
knows html markup
isn't afraid of photoshop or premiere because her best friends wrote the fandom tutorials for it
has invite codes for the coolest torrent sites
has made at least one post about her period
will link to a peer-reviewed academic journal article to make a point in her meta about sentient spaceships
doesn't think gay vampires are more worthy of disdain than robots with a savior complex
will spend an hour on chat teaching a friend how to flash a custom rom to her phone
will go visit a stranger two continents over because they have a common friend on the basis of a yuletide fandom
will abandon a popular social networking site because it doesn't allow pseudonyms
complains continually how the pretty boys in that popular show get all the jargon wrong
watches Iron Man for the interface porn
spends half a day doing a statistical analysis to produce pie charts to show gender breakdowns of speaking characters who survive on a show
questions the questionnaire because it didn't meet the IRB guidelines
has customised the privacy settings on every program, website and app she has used
knows how to get a hold of an astronomer to beta her Space AU fic
gets her tech news from her friends list
can tell you the difference between geek-speak and misogynist-slur
configures google analytics for her vid site and installs ghostery for her browser
has already read the fucking manual, and can tell tech support which page number they are supposed to be referring to
thinks science and technology is sexy
identifies as female.

Girl, am I happy to have every day be like Ada Lovelace Day in my world.

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deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
Deepa D.

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