[hackerspaces] An interesting point of view : "On Feminism and Microcontrollers"

Matthew Forr matthew.forr at gmail.com
Mon Oct 4 15:23:57 CEST 2010

> Some of the best female hackers I know are more into hacks of various kinds
> in the pursuit of art and expression.  Not to over-generalize but there does
> seem to be more of that.

I would agree with this statement and I wonder if we made a mistake in
naming our movement. The term 'hacker' is confusing for most people outside
of tech communities, there's been countless times that I've had to explain
that we don't 'hack tehz gibs0n'.

Moreover, it shouldn't be surprising that in naming our workshops as
hackerspace's that we end up attracting a bunch of males that want to build
crazy robots, electronics and software, their minds have already been primed
by the word 'hacker' and come ready to engage on that level.

In talking with my girlfriend about this (a non-technical woman in tech) she
explained that she doesn't fully grasp what the point/purpose/goals of a
hackerspace are. I turned around and called it a makerspace and she
instantly understood and then went on to describe some things she wants to

In the end this leads me to believe that the name we've chosen is inherently
excludes certain groups we would like to attract (male & female artists,
crafters and more).

On Sun, Oct 3, 2010 at 10:33 PM, Serendipity Seraph <sseraph at me.com> wrote:

> On Oct 3, 2010, at 3:22 PM, Ron Bean wrote:
> > Serendipity Seraph <sseraph at me.com> writes:
> >
> >> But when I tell a male co-worker that the system is just "prettier" that
> >> way (aesthetic sense) their heads spin around.  When "pretty" translates
> >> to better performance, more maintainable and easy to modify they have a
> >> bit more respect but still bristle at the word.  But for me aesthetics
> >> are a big piece of how I do what I do even if I have to translate it or
> >> rationalize it in other ways for a a lot of colleagues.
> >
> > What if you call it "elegant" instead of "pretty"?
> > (They're not quite the same thing, but they do overlap quite a bit)
> >
> Because I mean something a bit different than elegant.  Elegant can be part
> of pretty but it just looks, feels, moves through state and configuration
> changes in a more aesthetically pleasing way.  It is more alive or honest as
> a part of a software ecology.  So to me "pretty" sums it up.    Of course I
> have some suspicion I use it at this point in part just because of some of
> the reactions.  :)
> - s
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