Social Justice Warriors and the New Culture War, by Laurie Penny and her in-your-face feminism. [more inside]
Women as Background Decoration: Part 2 – Tropes vs Women in Video Games (28 min 33 sec; here's a pointer to the identical video at YouTube). Warning: contains graphic sexual and violent game footage. Presented by Anita Sarkeesian of the video blog, Feminist Frequency. The website version (first link) is annotated to include links and resources, an "about the series" section, games referenced in this episode, and a transcript. [more inside]
In refusing to address the problem, Gawker's leadership is prioritizing theoretical anonymous tipsters over a very real and immediate threat to the mental health of Jezebel's staff and readers. If this were happening at another website, if another workplace was essentially requiring its female employees to manage a malevolent human pornbot, we'd report the hell out of it here and cite it as another example of employers failing to take the safety of its female employees seriously. But it's happening to us. It's been happening to us for months. And it feels hypocritical to continue to remain silent about it.Because somebody is spamming Jezebel with violent porn gifs and Gawker has been lackadaisical in dealing with it, the problem has now spread to other Gawker sites.
Editor’s note: We don’t publish many anonymous pieces on Forbes.com, but this compelling first-person account of sexism in the startup world merits an exception. I met the author several months ago and was floored by the stories she had to tell about her dealings with mostly male investors. Like many men (as she writes), I knew women in tech faced a certain degree of chauvinism and harassment, but I’d had no idea it was so barefaced and routine, in an industry that thinks of itself as egalitarian and forward-looking. After much persuading, she agreed to write about her experiences but asked that I omit her name, for several reasons. First (again, as she writes), the startup community is a small one, and founders rely heavily on social capital and goodwill to navigate it. Speaking up carries big risks. But fear of retribution wasn’t her only concern. While putting an individual human face on an issue, it can also be a way for critics to short circuit the discussion by engaging in ad hominem attacks. ”I don’t want it to be about me, but about the issue at hand,” the author says. “When we get into a witch hunt around particular personalities, we lose sight of the problem we should be tackling.”
Robot Hugs: a comic on harassment Leigh Alexander: But what can be done? to combat online sexism [more inside]
Last year at WisCon 37, I told a Safety staffer that I had been treated by another attendee in a way that made me uncomfortable and that I believed to be sexual harassment. One big reason I did was that I understood from another source that he had reportedly harassed at least one other person at a convention. I learned that she didn’t report him formally, for a lot of reasons that aren’t mine to say. I was in a position where I felt confident I could take the hit from standing up and telling the truth. So I did.Elise Matthesen talks about what happened after she reported being harassed at Wiscon 37, in a post also posted at C. Lundoff, Mary Robinette Kowal, Stephanie Zvan, Sigrid Ellis and John Scalzi's respective blogs. [more inside]
I didn’t expect, fourteen months later, to have to stand up and tell the truth about WisCon’s leadership as well.
This Woman Has Been Confronting Her Catcallers — And Secretly Filming Their Reactions The videos aren’t meant to highlight specific dramatic confrontations, but the “cumulative daily impact” of street harassment, Lindsey said. Since she began filming, the “only interactions I haven’t been able to capture are car honks.” Earlier this summer, Lindsey began handing out cards to Minneapolis men, explaining what’s wrong with street harassment. (via Buzzfeed). [more inside]
NPR reports on a recently-published PLOS ONE article describing sexual harassment and assault perpetrated on (overwhelmingly young, female) researchers in the field.
In a survey of scientists engaged in field research, the majority — 64 percent — said they had personally experienced sexual harassment while at a field site, and 22 percent reported being the victim of sexual assault.
A study (pdf) released by the nonprofit Stop Street Harassment shows that 65% of American women have experienced some form of street harassment – 41% of women were subject to physically aggressive harassment in public like being flashed or fondled. Men also report being harassed (and men who identified as LGBT were much more likely to be harassed than heterosexual men). No matter who was being harassed, men were most likely to be the harassers.
Whether it's the constant fretting over Miley Cyrus' influence on school girls or the growing (and troubling) tradition of Purity Balls, it's clear that society has a fascination with young women's sexuality — especially when it comes to controlling it. But what are we actually teaching today's girls about sex? Fueled by outdated ideals of gender roles and the sense that female sexuality is somehow shameful, there seem to be certain pernicious myths about girls and sex that just won't die. That sex education in America has gaping holes in its curriculum hasn't helped much, either; in a recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report just 6 out of 10 girls said that their schools' sex ed program included information on how to say no to sex. This lack of personal agency was reflected in a forthcoming study by sociologist Heather Hlavka at Marquette University as well, which found that many young girls think of sex simply as something that is "done to them." Knowledge is power, and we can promote a healthier relationship with sex by encouraging a more open dialogue, teaching girls to feel comfortable with their sexuality and, most importantly, emphasizing that their bodies are theirs and theirs alone. [more inside]
A sex worker has been awarded $25,000 as compensation for sexual harassment from her manager. [more inside]
How well do you know (American) sexual harassment law as it relates to conferences? Attorney and Popehat blogger Ken White has created a short quiz to find out. [more inside]
In the wake of a questionable article about feminist programming languages, a group of trolls leapt on the idea to create a parodic implementation. GitHub promptly removed the code repository, as did BitBucket, but the latter restored it amid the controversy. More commentary from Slashdot and Twitter.
Qahera the hijabi superhero, in Arabic and English
Hannah Price’s series, City of Brotherly Love, features portraits of men in Philadelphia captured just moments after they’d harassed her on the street. [more inside]
I had my students fill out mid-semester evaluations last fall. No big deal, just answer these four questions: 1) What am I doing to help you learn? 2) What could I be doing better to help you learn? 3) What are you doing to help yourself learn? and 4) What could you be doing better to help yourself learn? I had them turn the evaluations in anonymously to allow more genuine feedback. Later that afternoon, I started going through the responses. It was encouraging to see that, in general, responses to the first two questions indicated I was getting better, which was gratifying given the amount of time and energy I spent re-developing the class. For the most part, students were surprisingly honest when responding to questions 3 and 4, showing they understood their responsibility in their progress, or lack thereof. Somewhere towards the end of the ~160 evaluations, I came across one that answered question #2 with: “Teach naked.” [more inside]
"Developers, both named and those who wish to remain anonymous, tell Polygon that harassment by gamers is becoming an alarmingly regular expected element of game development." (Previously)
The dam of stonewalling and denial regarding sexual harassment is breaking in the Skeptical community, just as it has been toppling recently in the world of Sci-Fi and fan conventions. Prominent Skeptics Karen Stollznow and Carrie Poppy have come forward with their experiences of harassment while working at the Center for Inquiry and the James Randi Educational Foundation, respectively.
A 21 year old man was arrested for tweeting rape threats. The target of the tweets, Caroline Criado-Perez, had successfully campaigned to have a woman (Jane Austen) shown on the UK's new 10 pound note, and has been subsequently receiving incessant rape and death threats via twitter, a violation of UK law. Twitter's Terms of Service are being repeatedly and flagrantly violated in this episode, and the company appears to be having issues responding to a backlog of reports; it responded to Criado-Perez only that she take the matter to the police. This resulted in shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper asking Twitter to review its policies for handling abuse complaints. [more inside]
Colin McGinn, a distinguished philosopher at the University of Miami, is resigning his post due to allegations that he sent sexually explicit e-mails to his research assistant, a graduate student in philosophy. [more inside]
The Everyday Sexism Project collects user-submitted reports from women to document their day-to-day experiences with normalized sexism, including sexual harassment and job discrimination. Entries can be submitted at the site, in an email to founder Laura Bates or to their twitter account. [more inside]
The NYC Stop-and-Frisk Program (wiki). Previously. Previously. Previously. And previously. Now there is new audio of how the stop-and-frisk program is being carried out by the NYPD, revealing the discriminatory and unprofessional way in which this controversial policy is being implemented. Includes some discussion on the culture of being a cop and how these orders are being handed down from the top.
Three conventions compared in the great geek sexism debate.
FlyRights is a smartphone app designed to provide a quick and easy way to report complaints of air travel harassment, profiling, and discrimination. Within the first ten hours of its launch, FlyRights had fielded two complaints of harassment and profiling. By contrast, the DHS's report to Congress on civil rights and civil liberties listed only 11 complaints in the first six months of 2011. FlyRights was designed by the Sikh Coalition, the nation's largest Sikh civil rights organization.
Nadia Naffe describes herself as a former accomplice to James O'Keefe (oh so Previously) but last year filed a harassment claim against him, which was dismissed in December. Now she is telling all on her blog: [more inside]
Shit Men Say to Men Who Say Shit to Women on the Street, a project by Stop Street Harassment and Meet Us On the Street for International Anti-Street Harassment Week (which runs through the 24th). [more inside]
Starting from a proposal by vito_excalibur, the Back Up Project tries to intervene in sexual harassment at fan conferences. [more inside]
Just A Smack On The Ass: A Tale of Sexual Assault, Vengeance and Nervous Swearing. Stop Street Harassment offers further ideas for targets and bystanders to think about. [more inside]
"I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought and certainly pray about this and come to understand why you did what you did. OK, have a good day." [more inside]
In August, Google added a feature to Gmail that lets you make phone calls — for free, if you live in the US or Canada and you're calling someone in the US or Canada. When you make a call, your number shows up as 760-705-8888. Judging by the nine pages of complaints found here, the service is often being used to prank, harass and scam people. [more inside]
The FBI has a long history of targeting peace and social justice activists. Now activists across the country are sounding the alarm. It's happening again.
"Race & Gender of Judges Make Enormous Differences in Rulings, Studies Find," is the headline of a February 6 ABA Journal article. The article refers to two studies reported in law reviews, linked here in pdf format, on the effect of gender and race on decisionmaking in harassment and discrimination cases.
A teenage girl named Hope Witsell died after being tormented for sending a nude photo of herself to a boy. [more inside]
In the wake of some pretty nasty harassment directed towards women at San Diego Comic-Con, Rachel Edidin from the Inside Out blog at Girl Wonder has established a means of constructively dealing with the problem: the Con Anti-Harassment Project. [more inside]
Twitter refuses to uphold own Terms of Service. After being shown the very definition of harassment, Twitter alters its terms of service rather than protect one of its users from behavior that its own TOS prohibits.
On September 7, Brett Darrow drew national attention when he recorded video of an abusive police officer threatening to lock him up on "made-up" charges. The police officer was subsequently fired.
Now, the local police are staking out his home. [more inside]
Now, the local police are staking out his home. [more inside]
The conservative city of Rajkot (Gujarat, India) received something of a shock this week when Pooja Chauhan, 22, stripped to her "inner-wear" and walked through town, brandishing a baseball bat. She was protesting against the mental and physical harassment she's had to endure at the hands of her husband and in-laws for dowry, and for having borne a daughter, and also to denounce the local police's inactivity despite her repeated complaints. Controversy, video, her side, follow-up.
"Three years of legal education has been wasted because of an unmoderated message board." 3rd-year law student Anthony Ciolli has lost a job offer due to his association with law school message board AutoAdmit.
Meet the Landlord. Mr. Bobby Veal, a class act guy, decides to harass and rape mothers living alone on Section 8. Oh, but it gets better, when they refused sex and began to complain, he'd evict them, change the locks and keep their furniture inside. Even after an eventual trial and conviction, what are the women doing now? Living in cars, furniture stolen by Mr. Veal and waiting for the court settlement that many believe will never come. Poverty ain't pretty.
Since 1996, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network has sponsored an annual national Day of Silence event to help create safer schools for all students, "regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression". Today is the 7th time such an event has been held across the country. Are you participating? What is school like for you in this context?
Did you hear the one about the Harvard girls and the large snow phallus? Oh, and here's the response featuring the memorable line: "it means that we, as women, must be subject to erect penises whether we like it or not."
Rachel Marsden Back in the News: A few years back, a Simon Fraser University (Vancouver) swimming coach was fired after it was found that he had sexually harassed a student. But then the coach was "later reinstated when an external mediator found procedural errors in the university's investigation of the case." The student later became a right-wing journalist. Now she herself is being charged with harassment. By the way, her own site is down from all the traffic today.
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