Firebee Dispatch #10: Maybe the internet raised us, or maybe people are jerks

date2014-10-26
7 min read

Yet another week of a late dispatch with the firebees.

What I’m Up To

  • Work is still super-busy. ::dies::
  • I tried hot yoga. I did not like it. I think that was the closest approximation to hell that I have ever experienced in my life. From now on, I will be sticking with forms of yoga that do not run a high risk of heat stroke.
  • It’s Ada Lovelace Day: Get Angry by Garann Means. I’m not sure I fully agree with everything she says, but I do agree with a lot of it. It was also a reassuring message to hear after my recent departure from the community.

Things like that happened a few more times before a clear picture emerged: white men run the internet, white men run technology, and whatever place you imagine your work has earned you in either, white men can snap their fingers and take it away.

The women who inspire me are those who’ve taken the frightening step of lessening their culpability by decreasing their participation. While it’s courageous to remain in tech/on the internet and try to make it a better place, you can’t get around the compromise in doing so.

No, the important difference seems to be the guns. But guns have become the elephant in the room that nobody talks about. Even asking about access to guns seems unAmerican these days.

We must not just recruit women and minorities into our industry, they must be treated fairly once they are here.

Meritocracy is a myth. And our belief in it is holding back the tech industry from getting better.

The intent to be meritocratic is not a myth, but we know what road is paved with good intentions.

In short, raising the minimum wage did boost the earnings of those at the bottom of the income distribution. Moreover, workers in states that raised the minimum wage also enjoyed greater employment growth and a greater decline in unemployment than did workers in states that did not.

Gamergate

So before you lament how terrible it is to ‘let them win’ by being silent, please stop and think of a better way to phrase “I want to live in a world where the victims of abuse campaigns have a winning move.” Don’t ask women to sacrifice their names, careers, and safety to the fantasy that life is fair.

Telling women to be brave and speak up is telling them to face a violent horde unarmed.

  • actuallyethics.tumblr.com. This tumblr has a hilarious collection of images telling you that “actually, it’s about ethics in games journalism.”

This Week in Racism and Sexism

I have seen several images of white people putting together Ray Rice Halloween costumes, often including blackface and dragging a doll as a standin for his wife.

WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU FUCKING PEOPLE? BLACK FACE IS NOT FUNNY. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS NOT FUNNY. NOTHING ABOUT THIS FUCKING THING YOU ARE DOING IS FUNNY OR CLEVER OR APPROPRIATE. WHAT YOU ARE DOING IS RACIST AND SEXIST AND HORRIBLE.

If you do this, you are a bad person and you should feel bad.

This Week in Sexism in Tech

Tech companies haven’t gotten past sexism 1.0 by Kristen V. Brown at SFGate.

A few weeks ago, a startup founder showed up in the lobby of The Chronicle after hours. He told me I hadn’t responded to his e-mails. And he wanted to get my attention.

He delivered his pitch, along with a wicker basket filled with sexually suggestive gifts: the sex toy, a tube of K-Y Jelly, raw oysters and Tequila.

You read that right. A startup founder showed up at a female tech journalist’s workplace with a basket filled with sexually suggestive items. What. The. Fuck. How do people with this level of terrible judgement keep getting money to run startups?

P.S. I tried to google more info about his startup, but they named the thing “Need” making it pretty difficult to google. Good job, dude.

Misogyny is a tech industry institution that has yet to be disrupted.

Mass Media Musings

Film

Dear White People

I have been looking forward to seeing this film for a while. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend others go see it.

Quick description for those who aren’t familiar --- it’s a thoughtful and witty take on racism on college campuses in a supposedly “post-racial” world.

I am not the best person to write a review, so I’ll just share a few bullet points.

  • It’s a very character focused and dialogue heavy film, so basically it lives right in my happy place.
  • Tessa Thompson totally steals the show as Sam White.
  • I suspect some white people will watch this film and think characters like the college president, his son, and his son’s friends are caricatures. They aren’t. People like this do exist, and they are not rare.
  • Just in case the audience thought the film was being hyperbolic, the credits include newspaper clips and imagery from real life incidents that are just as bad as those shown in the film.
  • If you didn’t know this already, DO NOT DRESS UP AS BLACK PEOPLE (or any other race/culture/etc.) FOR HALLOWEEN. DON’T DO IT. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, OTHER WHITE PEOPLE. STOP IT!

Television

Gilmore Girls

I continue to work on Gilmore Girls. I am a little bit into season 3 now. The random comments continue. They include some spoilers.

  • The baby shower was scary. I went to my first baby shower recently and was terrified it would look like this because it was my only exposure to what they look like. Thankfully, feminist baby showers do not look like this.
  • Devilled egging Jess’s car was pretty amaaaaazing.
  • RORY FINALLY BROKE UP WITH DEAN! Well, actually he broke up with her, but close enough. I have been looking forward to this for many episodes. I can’t stand Dean.
  • Let’s all fight about which incredibly overpriced ivy league school Rory should attend. HARVARD! NO YALE! NO HARVARD! NO YALE! Good thing your grandparents have so much money.

My Writing

I am working on a few more entries for the Life and Times of a Tech Feminist Killjoy series. Stay tuned.

I am considering doing a series about some of my favorite childhood books. I would revisit each one and then do a writeup about how it holds up as an adult and what I remember from my childhood. Would this interest you? My current shortlist is below. I still own my childhood copies of most of these.

Miscellany

  • I tried to look for a bee costume at the Halloween store. This is all I could find. The child in me that loved Halloween more than any other holiday despairs.
sexy bee costume
  • Dispatch title from “A World Alone” by Lorde [youtube]

Cuteness

I help out with socializing the cats at one of the local animal rescues. This week I took some really cute pictures.

Cuteness Therapy: Animal Rescue Edition