I like the way they think

22 Feb

A friend sent me info about the Geek Feminism Allies workshop (http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Allies_training). What is a Geek Feminism workshop about?

Often, when a sexist incident happens, we are so busy being shocked and amazed that we can’t react quickly. Sometimes days can go by before we figure out what to do. This is true for even for people who have a lot of experience and education in supporting geek women. For example, one experienced geek feminist who “wrote the book” on how to respond to pornographic presentations was present for a pornographic presentation. Despite knowing intellectually what to do, she was too shocked to respond in any way for several hours. If a world expert in supporting geek women can’t respond quickly, what hope to do the rest of us have?

The solution is practice. By running through theoretical scenarios and coming up with answers in a friendly environment, we have a better chance at responding in the real world. It’s like practicing a presentation.

I’m in love. The philosophy, the rationale and the emphasis on “try today tools” (to borrow from Mica Pollock’s phrase “try tomorrow tools”) all resonate with me and the work I hope that I do in my own workshops.

And I appreciate the clarity the Allies workshops put on language. Note their explanation of the terms “men” and “women”:

Gender binary language divides people into “men” and “women” and things into “masculine” and “feminine,” with no other options. Many people do not identify as either wholly “male” or wholly “female.” This means, for example, that using phrases like “men and women” to mean “all adult people regardless of gender” is inaccurate and incorrect (try “people of all genders” instead).

While I would argue they are confusing sex with gender, “gender” is commonly misused to talk about male, female and intersex identity, perhaps it’s too much to go into all at once. (Although I believe that distinguishing between sex and gender helps us better understand issues and nuances in these overlapping spheres of our identities.) And I love that last line: try “all” instead of “regardless” because there is no regardless of who I am or you are. There’s just the whole of us.

So thanks to my friend and tech go-to JL for this link. I encourage you to share the Geek Feminism Allies workshops with folks you know who work in tech, regardless of the diversity of their current employment. Because it’s not just about the tools and skills you think you need right now (because there’s a woman sitting next to you): it’s about lifetime everyday preparation.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: