[hackerspaces] hackerspace demographics
matt at nycresistor.com
Thu Jan 17 00:52:50 CET 2013
On Wed, Jan 16, 2013 at 3:41 PM, Lisha Sterling <lishevita at gmail.com> wrote:
> Sorry for the delay in response from me directly. Yesterday I was in transit
> and, while I was able to read the emails on my phone at the Newark airport,
> I didn't feel like writing a response on the phone.
> I'd like to say thank you to Michel Gallant for making me laugh out loud and
> hoot, "You tell 'em" in the food court at the airport. :)
I don't think you should be promoting juvenile language and the
projection of the very thing you are trying to combat. While it's
easy to indulge in a revenge fantasy, commentary such as this debases
every salient point you may have and erodes your own platform for
contribution. Also it can be offensive to some.
> Matt, yes, this may have come off as annoying to you, but I hope that you'll
> understand that some piece of Michel's response hit the spot. One of the
> reasons that women get sick of dealing with the issues of "feminism" and
> "inclusion of women" is that we explain what the problem is and then have to
> re-explain along with thorough defenses for each position we have taken.
> Your response to me put me in exactly that situation.
That by the way is not something that annoys just women. It annoys
all of us. But it is also a necessary thing if you intend to discuss
an issue and attempt to address it. Suck as it may be, I think it's
probably worth suffering through. Heck I suffered through the
juvenile remarks, because I thought this conversation had some real
merit. I have been very pleased with the full discussion we've had as
a result. I hope you take the time to read the full thread if you
> Sam Ley gave as good an answer to your questions as I could probably put
> forward myself when he said,
> "Regarding shared interests: Hackerspaces, almost by definition, have very
> wide interest levels, and theoretically, new interests among active members
> is taken as an opportunity to learn something new, not an "outside" activity
> to be scorned. Knitting is a form of making that is very practical and
> interesting, involves math and patterns, and is connected to a long history
> of craftsmanship. If you didn't already know that the hobby is mostly women,
> you'd assume that most hackerspace types would be interested in learning how
> to do it, in the same way they happily take up microcontrollers, bicycles,
> etc. Why would a group that tends to think of an opportunity to learn a new
> making skill as a good thing all of a sudden think it was a bad thing?"
I believe I've responded to that point in detail. My last email on
this thread I believe is highly relevant to rebuking that argument at
least in part. I recommend reading it if you have not already.
> The only thing that I can add to that is to say that I did state in my
> original story that the knitting club had been a sort of gateway drug for a
> number of women to get involved with the hackerspace beyond just the
> knitting and that the bad blood around the issue of knitting not being "real
> hacking" and other such derogatory statements led to those same women
> *leaving* the hackerspace. (Luckily, at least some of them left *that*
> hackerspace, but not the community as a whole, as I also stated in my
> previous email.)
Not being there it's hard for me to get a feel for the event. But, in
general I have no real problem with a space excluding a group of
people because their core values don't match up. I'd love to discuss
that further with the list.
> Interestingly, I watched the Queer Geeks Panel at CCCongress from 2011
> yesterday which touched on many of the same issues. There was even a
> specific reference to how sometimes exclusion comes in the form of spaces
> declaring that some forms of hacking/making aren't "real hacking" because
> only woodwork and soldering and software are real hacking. The conversation
> is well worth a watch or listen if you haven't checked it out already.
I might view it later as time allows. I'll let you know what I think
If / when I do.
In general I think people tend to oversimplify complex issues and that
does no one any good.
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