bring it on

Feb. 6th, 2014 06:18 pm
radhardened: (storm trooper hello kitty)
[personal profile] radhardened
So I'm gradually going public with my plans to start a feminist hackerspace in the DC area. Which is to say, I'm steeling myself for heaps of anti-feminist crap, starting from the hackerspace I've been involved with nearly since its inception, HacDC. These plans have been brewing among a very small group of us for months. I had been growing disillusioned with the feeling that I was the only person around who was willing to put significant time and energy toward starting this hackerspace, so it was dormant for a while. But between yet another round of anti-diversity awfulness on the global hackerspaces mailing list1 and [personal profile] badgerbag's excellent article on feminist hackerspaces, my energy was rekindled.

At this point we're working on identifying people who are interested in actively helping drive the establishment of the space, in the sense of volunteering significant time and effort to work through a vision and plan, incorporate, find sources of funding, and establish a physical space. Reaching out to my hackerspace community has produced some leads, as well as some baffling WTFs like this e-mail exchange that I've reformatted as chat for easier reading:

Me, onlist: I'm feeling especially heat-resistant today, so I'd like to share an idea I've had simmering for a little while—namely, establishing a feminist hackerspace in the DC area. Model View Culture just published an article by Liz Henry that describes to a T what I mean when I say "feminist hackerspace". If you are interested in joining me and my cohorts in this effort, please contact me on- or off-list. Note that this is not meant to be a space that's "against" HacDC or the other existing regional hackerspaces, but part of a healthy ecosystem that offers folks lots of options. I'm not planning on leaving HacDC anytime soon. If you're interested in explaining why feminism and feminist spaces are a bad idea, I can't stop you, but you can be sure I've heard it before and I likely won't use my energy to engage in arguments about it.

[rest of conversation is off-list]

Dude: Could you share with me why you're deciding to do this? I'm hearing a lot of talk from a lot of my Girl-Friends that they want Woman only hacker spaces. I just don't see the point to it, I've always looked at women in the field to be awesome if not inspiration in some cases.

Me: Have you read the linked article?

Dude: Yes, the perspective I'm trying to understand is why exclude men entirely? It seems like an overreaction.

Me: Who said anything about excluding men?

Dude: You're not being very clear. If you want a fight, pick it with someone else.

1 A previous round from last year included the infamous "e-textiles" message, a hilarious dramatic reading of which you can hear here.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-02-07 04:45 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] vaurora
Hurray!!! I am very excited for you. Please feel free to reach out to me or Leigh or anyone else - there will be some bumps in the road and it helps to know they are normal.

I love the "But it is great for the rest of us when women are around! I like having women around!" argument. Dude, can you even conceive of a world in which women's desires and feelings are important? Where "we" is defined as "including women?"

(All that being said, I super recommend a women-only space. :) It isn't that controversial and it saves on fights later on. )

(no subject)

Date: 2014-02-07 06:44 am (UTC)
brainwane: My smiling face, including a small gold bindi (Default)
From: [personal profile] brainwane
I look forward to (I hope) visiting your space when it exists!

(no subject)

Date: 2014-02-07 09:42 am (UTC)
altamira16: A sailboat on the water at dawn or dusk (Default)
From: [personal profile] altamira16
Hackerspaces involve permanent spaces which lead to needing to make rent and dealing with the tragedy of the commons in the form of either people dumping things in the space or in the form of certain people using a lot of the space making it inhospitable to others. In addition to these issues, a lot of spaces are under utilized. People will show up for the weekly meetings, but the spaces are filled with mice of the furry variety at other times.

These are shortcomings of hackerspaces in general before we even get into most hackerspaces being filled with men who do not know how to interact with women.

Since I have moved off your coast, I joined Women Who Code which has been nice. It's a meetup, and it meets once a month. We have corporate sponsors for food and beverages, and we learn things. There are various study groups that meet more frequently as the group grows.

We had arduino night. Last night, we learned about Bootstrap for making webpages.

Anyway, I want you to make a chapter of Women Who Code instead because it is not burdened with all of the hackerspace baggage.

But if you really want a hackerspace, carry on.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-02-08 01:42 am (UTC)
jesse_the_k: Bitmapped "dogcow" was subject of Apple's Knowledge Base 13, and appeared in many OS9 print dialogs (dogcow)
From: [personal profile] jesse_the_k
Lead on, Darth Kitty!

(no subject)

Date: 2014-02-08 04:44 am (UTC)
selki: (Default)
From: [personal profile] selki
"You're not being very clear. If you want a fight, pick it with someone else. "

So Much Dude. Wow. Very projection.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-02-09 05:14 am (UTC)
annalee: The US Capitol Dome against a bright blue sky. (Capitol Dome Blue)
From: [personal profile] annalee
Just dropping a note to say I am super excited about this and definitely want to help!



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