Feminism, Media and Technology in the News
Bi-weekly listing of some recent articles/blogs related to feminism, media, and technology. Disclaimer: This list is obviously not all-encompassing. It likely reflects an unconscious bias toward what I find intriguing (in the interest of self-reflexivity). If you come across something YOU find interesting that you’d like me to include in the next post, please shoot the link my way. Second disclaimer: Fembot does not necessarily support the perspectives represented in all articles/blogs. Some may be included to inspire outrage, deep thoughts, and/or brilliant criticism.
Opinion: Video games and Male Gaze – are we men or boys?
Game Developer magazine EIC Brandon Sheffield makes the claim that the game industry at large still treats women primarily as a vehicle for the display of boobs and butts, not only in games, but within the culture at large, saying this is a natural extension of who we put in charge…
GIRL POWER: What Happens When Thousands Of Teen Girls Ask Seventeen To Stop Selling Them Out?
Back in April, SPARKteam member and all-around cool girl Julia Bluhm asked Seventeen to post one unaltered photo spread a month. Then, SPARK teamed up with Miss Representation, LoveSocial,, and I Am That Girl for the #KeepItReal campaign, and thousands of people responded on Twitter, Instagram, and through blogs, asking women’s and girls’ magazines to stop Photoshopping the ever-loving crap out of every woman’s body that graces their pages…
Is the social web divided by race?
The internet was once considered a great equaliser, a platform that could bring strangers together, even across racial boundaries. But internet users of the same race have recently begun clustering on certain social media websites.
Women Explain Why Google+ Is All Dudes
When Google gathered five woman technologists for a session on female-centric design at Google’s IO developer conference, it must have known the panelists would eventually critique Google itself. But the company was probably hoping the designers would stay away from Google’s soft underbelly, social networking…
New Media’s Old Problem
Women dominate social media. They’re the biggest and most engaged users of social networking sites in America, according to the Pew Research Center. But when it comes to digital punditry, women appear to have less influence. Foreign Policy magazine, which is run by a woman, included a paltry 12 women in its list last week of 100 people worth following on Twitter. In response, a group of Twitter users created a separate list of only women that was subsequently posted on Foreign Policy’s Web site, but the point had been made: in the eyes of the magazine, women in foreign policy matter less – at least on Twitter…
Woman Behind Centipede Mulls Game Icon’s Birth
One of the rare female programmers at Atari, Dona Bailey was hired in 1980 in the company’s nascent arcade division. She was the software engineer on the four-person Centipede project team. To play, you popped in a quarter and used the arcade’s trackball to move your character, shooting the centipede as it winds its way down the screen…
Stop calling it a sex scandal
Let me fix this for you, headline writers. When you’re dealing with a story that involves rape or harassment or abuse or molestation or child porn or anything that falls under the rubric of criminal behavior, you should call those things rape and harassment and abuse and molestation and child pornography. You know what you shouldn’t call them? Sexy sexy sex scandals, that’s what…
YouTube Makeup Star Lauren Luke Covers Up Her Bruises in Powerful Anti-Domestic Abuse PSA
It can be so easy to get public service announcements wrong—to veer into the cheesy, trite, or overly terrifying. But this new PSA from a group called Refuge, which helps victims of domestic violence, is kind of genius. It uses YouTube makeup tutorial megastar Lauren Luke as its spokesperson, and in the video she’s seen giving tips on how to cover up the bruises she has from being beaten up. The message of “Don’t Cover It Up” is a powerful one and is intended to reach the 65 percent of domestic violence victims who hide their abuse.
The media mommy war rages on
The media narratives about women, motherhood and work provide three chronic themes of distortion and outright falsehood. As silly as they can seem to people in the real world, they have serious social and political consequences.
Some More Ways Video Games are Like Porn (And Sex)
Yesterday, we ran a pullquote from independent game designer Eric Zimmerman in which he discussed some of the similarities video games have with porn. “Mainstream AAA videogames operate on principles akin to porn,” Zimmerman tweeted. They are “highly repetitive activities premised on visceral pleasure and spectacle.”
Some blog op-eds from our own Fembot collective:
A Straight Woman and Her Boyfriend Walk into a Male Stripper Movie…
by Whitney Phillips
Earlier this weekend I convinced my boyfriend to go see Magic Mike. Because why not, that’s the sort of thing a normal girlfriend would want to go do. For some reason Chris wanted to avoid the stripper-hooting crowds, so we decided to catch the 4:50 pm showing. This wasn’t ideal—for me, crowds are often the best and most amusing part of the movie-going experience—but I figured that was a good compromise and anyway, wanted to make sure we got home in time to watch the History Channel’s newest episode of Ancient Aliens (they promised to answer the burning question of whether or not Leonardo da Vinci had been abducted by aliens, or experienced time travel—OR BOTH).
Feminist Games Critic Harassed All the Way to the Bank
by Chris Menning
It’s no secret that if you play video games online, someone at some point is going to call you names and threaten to rape and murder you, your family, and your pets. It happens to male gamers and female gamers alike. But considering how women experience a much higher incidence of domestic violence in real life, it should come as no surprise that women experience a disproportionate amount of harassment in gaming spaces.