A series of BBC News Magazine articles on the office as workplace: (i) How the office was invented; (ii) The ancient Chinese exam that inspired modern job recruitment (previously); (iii) The invention of the career ladder; (iv) The arrival of women in the office; (v) Do we still need the telephone?; (vi) Are there too many managers?; (vii) The era of the sexually charged office; (viii) The decline of privacy in open-plan offices; (ix) How the computer changed the office forever and (x) Why did offices become like the home?—by columnist Lucy Kellaway. [more inside]
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]
"The high street is becoming a no-go area for kids, which is really unfair. Why shouldn't they be able to go into a supermarket, or a newsagent? The people who make the displays aren't thinking about it from a child's point of view. I don't think David Cameron goes to a supermarket with his kids very much." Following the No More Page 3 campaign and a backlash against lads mags, the Guardian asks readers to send in and comment on sexualised images of women on the high street. But is this just another form of censorship, hypocrisy, or even sexual repression?
The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that it is legal to fire someone for being too attractive. An Iowa dentist fired his assistant because his (unreciprocated) feelings of attraction to her might have tempted him to try to start an extramarital affair. The Iowa Supreme Court, an all-male body, determined that it was not a case of sex discrimination because it was based on feelings rather than gender. Many disagree, seeing it as a clear case of cultural, institutional, and even religious sexism (the firing was advised and encouraged by the dentist's pastor.)
There have been some high profile examples of sexism in the UK media this summer. Are we seeing a groundswell of strong female voices calling out sexism? Big Brother has in the past caused the UK media to focus on uncomfortable issues such as bullying and racism. Following the removal of a housemate for aggressive behaviour towards a fellow female housemate, how will the conversation continue this summer? [more inside]
How being a writer helped me rewrite a sexist trope...for real. Submitted for your approval: a writer (Chris Brecheen) uses his narrative skills to turn the tables on an everyday creeper.
There's no sexism in gaming: "Furthermore, reasonable people would see that asking to put male soldiers in the Call of Duty series is simply not do-able. Since the age of the Amazon, women have waged wars, because they have a higher pain threshold than males and have more stamina in every area of war. Who would take a male Battlefield seriously? Including men would simply cloud the matter; when crawling through tunnels, as is often necessary in war, our eyes would fall on the male backside - from then on women would be irreparably compromised."
No stranger to controversy, Mike Krahulik, gabe of Penny Arcade, has found himself embroiled in yet another debacle over a series of transphobic tweets he's made, coming right off the heels of public criticism and outrage over an apparently racist/misogynistic panel that was to be held at the upcoming PAX Aus convention. Citing this and past controversies, The Fullbright Company, the indie developer of "Gone Home", has pulled out of PAX's coveted Indie Megabooth. gabe has issued a pair of apologies for his tweets, swearing off ever talking about topics other than comics or video games again. [Previously]
David Gaider, senior writer at Bioware, delivers a talk on sex, sexuality, and sexism in video games and the gaming industry at the 2013 Game Developers Conference. (single-link 49-minute video)
These images of cisgendered, scantily-clad females reclining salaciously with books with quotes touting ownership do very little to promote reading and much more to bolster sexism and classism.
"In 1961, Phyllis Richman applied to graduate school at Harvard. She received a letter asking how she would balance a career in city planning with her 'responsibilities' to her husband and possible future family. Fifty-two years later, she responds." [more inside]
"So. I get it. The world used to agree with you. You used to be able to say things like, “I really like those lady writers in this industry, especially in swimsuits!” and your fellow writers, editors, agents, and other assorted colleagues would all wink and grin and agree with you, and Asimov would go around pinching women’s asses, and it was so cool!" -- Kameron Hurley is not amused by the ongoing sexism problems in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America or the idea that criticism of this is censorship. [more inside]
"On Sunday, Joseph S Blatter attended a ceremony on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius to celebrate the renaming of the country's FA headquarters in his honour. The Fifa president would perhaps say it was a fitting tribute, given his promotion of African football and the amount of "development" money poured into the continent over recent decades. His critics would say it was typical of his egomania and note the importance of African votes in keeping him atop world football for 15 years." [more inside]
A female data scientist working on HAWKEN (a videogame) takes issue with the poster of a scantily clad comic character her CEO displays on his wall, and while he is away, replaces it with something else... [more inside]
Women do not do any of the creative work in connection with preparing the cartoons for the screen, as that work is performed entirely by young men. For this reason girls are not considered for the training school.
Video game character design is frequently questionable, but some designers don't like being questioned. Penny Arcade imagines equal opportunity questionability, while their reporter Ben Kuchera examines the broader issue.
"I don't want to have to compromise my morals in order to make a living" - Claire Boucher, a.k.a. Grimes, has apparently canceled her 2013 tour via Tumblr. (previously)
An Orange Prize nominee speaks out about her experience as a woman in literature: weakened titles, pink covers, snubbed for reviews. [more inside]
Sexism at the border: A personal account. "For me, carrying my own condoms (in purses, wallets, camera bags; everywhere) is a routine act towards safer sex. For someone else with the power to not only deny passage but judge, moralize and intimidate, it has become enough evidence to put a woman through hell. My story has brought a number of women out of the woodwork stating that they have had similar experiences." [h/t Alex Grossman]
"The snobbishness has struck me as irrational. They want the end of Page 3, but claim to be "sex positive" and pro porn. It's as if pornography for the upper classes - tasteful monochrome Testino images of nudes, Mapplethorpe coffee table books or vintage Tom of Finland* prints are acceptable, yet accessible muck for the working classes is simply de trop. A catwalk show for a milliner featuring chilly looking models completely nude apart from the hat is applauded as high art: Sandra from Dagenham, in a pair of lacy pants, is not."
Women enjoy video games, to the astonishment of local TV newsreaders. Women enjoy science, to the astonishment of Facebook users.
Developer evangelist Adria Richards snaps a photo of two men at the recent PyCon whom she overheard making quips about "big dongles". PyCon responds, following which one of the men is fired. Adria justifies the callout as a step towards securing the future of programming for women. Full discussion at Hacker News.
Feminist Frequency has released the first video in the "Tropes vs Women in Video Games" series: Damsel in Distress (part 1), hosted by Anita Sarkeesian (previously). It was funded by a kickstarter campaign that was notable for the level of backlash (previously).
'I'm sick of being ashamed." Three days ago, an anti-harassment activist said those words to me in a flat above Cairo's Tahrir square, as she pulled on her makeshift uniform ready to protect women on the protest lines from being raped in the street. Only days before, I'd heard exactly the same words from pro-choice organisers in Dublin, where I travelled to report on the feminist fight to legalise abortion in Ireland. I had thought that I was covering two separate stories – so why were two women from different countries and backgrounds repeating the same mantra against fear, and against shame?[more inside]
“We Saw Your Boobs.” The Academy is supposedly a trade group, and yet it devoted its opening number to degrading a good part of its membership. [more inside]
Another Day, Another Press Conference. Yesterday's Playstation 4 announcement was perhaps most notable in what it didn't include: any female presenters. Also discussed by Kotaku and The Verge. (The Verge also notes similar trends in press events from Nintendo, EA, HTC, and Apple.)
When family and work obligations collide, mothers remain much more likely than fathers to cut back or drop out of work. But unlike the situation in the 1960s, this is not because most people believe this is the preferable order of things. Rather, it is often a reasonable response to the fact that our political and economic institutions lag way behind our personal ideals. [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]
HaterfreeWednesdays, a new tumblr to help comics fans find shops that are friendly to those of us who aren't straight white guys. [more inside]
As the culture evolves, people who benefitted from the old ways invariably see themselves as victims of change. The world used to fit them like a glove, but it no longer does. Increasingly, they find themselves in unfamiliar situations that feel unfair or even unsafe. Their concerns used to take center stage, but now they must compete with the formerly invisible concerns of others. If you are one of the newly-visible others, this all sounds whiny compared to the problems you face every day. It’s tempting to blast through such privileged resistance with anger and insult. Tempting, but also, I think, a mistake. The privileged are still privileged enough to foment a counter-revolution, if their frustrated sense of entitlement hardens.
The New York Times asks seven 'experts': Does makeup ultimately damage a woman’s self-esteem, or elevate it? [more inside]
What It's Like to Be a Woman Who Plays Professional Poker is an Atlantic piece profiling Vanessa Selbst, an amazing poker player who just got engaged last weekend, as well as an examination of the challenges of being a professional poker player in an often hostile and sexist community.
I am BUSY today, far too busy for a rant, but then I felt one coming on, and was worried I might end up with a migraine if I tried to stifle it. You know how it is. So let’s talk about sexism in history vs. sexism in fantasy. [more inside]
Women in the gaming industry have taken to twitter to talk about the sexism they've faced under the hashtag #1reasonwhy [more inside]
I Was A Teenage Sexist - "Girls – the ones we think of as “cool” – don’t trust other women, women who play by gender “rules” that the rest of us cannot quite understand. The most important things those women can seemingly do are spend money on clothes and appeal to the opposite sex. Meanwhile, we ourselves don’t feel particularly female. We only feel like people. It’s a tough fall. People intuitively detect that attitude, go out of their way to remind you that you’re not fooling anybody. You are a woman, and you will only ever be a woman." [more inside]
Erin Gloria Ryan asks: Is America ready for a white, male Secretary of State? She's not the only one satirically contemplating this question - John Norris over at Foreign Policy magazine has also wondered: Is America ready for a male Secretary of State? [more inside]
"Hipster Sexism consists of the objectification of women but in a manner that uses mockery, quotation marks, and paradox: the stuff you learned about in literature class."
From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating, popularity, preparing for being drafted, and shyness, as well as to children on following the law, the value of quietness in school, and appreciating our parents. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health, what kind of people live in America, how to keep a job, supervising women workers, the nature of capitalism, and the plantation System in Southern life. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
“My husband and I stared at our daughter for that first year. She was worth every cent. Better than a new car, or a kitchen reno.”
How to Buy a Daughter: Choosing the sex of your baby has become a multimillion dollar industry "Gender selection now rakes in revenues of at least $100 million every year. The average cost of a gender selection procedure at high-profile clinics is about $18,000, and an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 procedures are performed every year. Fertility doctors foresee an explosion in sex-selection procedures on the horizon, as couples become accustomed to the idea that they can pay to beget children of the gender they prefer... Much of the evidence that Americans preferentially choose girls is anecdotal, as no larger body tracks gender selection procedures. But data from Google show that “how to have a girl” is searched three times as often in the United States as “how to have a boy.” Many fertility doctors say that girls are the goal for 80 percent of gender selection patients. A study published in 2009 by the online journal Reproductive Biomedicine Online found Caucasian-Americans preferentially select females through PGD 70 percent of the time. Those of Indian or Chinese descent largely chose boys."
Whenever the subject of women in science comes up, there are people fiercely committed to the idea that sexism does not exist. They will point to everything and anything else to explain differences while becoming angry and condescending if you even suggest that discrimination could be a factor. But these people are wrong. This data shows they are wrong. And if you encounter them, you can now use this study to inform them they’re wrong.
Three conventions compared in the great geek sexism debate.
The Political Persecution of Australia’s First Female Prime Minister "Can it really be the case that a tax – a carbon tax – could spur so many people to such levels of hatred? I find that impossible to believe, so I have to conclude that the persecution of Julia Gillard has to be about something else." Warning - some text and imagery may be NSFW or offensive - a "Vanilla" version is available
I’m about to tell you a story about videogames, kitchens, and internet forums that has a happy ending. Stop laughing, I’m serious. - A woman gamer declares Gaslamp Games's Dungeons of Dredmor forums awesome.
Sofie Peeters, a student in Belgium has sparked controversy with her film about being intimidated simply for walking down the street. [edited to add: English subtitles version] [more inside]
Two writers discusses race, class, feminism and its intersections in this wide-ranging discussion about what feminism can mean for women of colour. Refreshingly substantive.
In May new French minister caused a stir by wearing jeans to inaugral cabinet meeting. On Tuesday she wore a floral dress when addressing the Parliament. [more inside]
"'whether a domestic traditionalist can also be an organizational egalitarian?' The answer we posit is 'no.'"
Researchers found [.pdf], after a series of four studies that "husbands embedded in traditional and neo-traditional marriages (relative to husbands embedded in modern ones) exhibit attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that undermine the role of women in the workplace." The potential resistors focused on are husbands embedded in marriages that structurally mirror the 1950s ideal American family portrayed in the “Adventures of Ozzzie and Harriet” sitcom. [more inside]