By now, you may have seen the street harassment video that Rob Bliss Creative published this week, showing a young white woman walking around New York City for 10 hours, while the filmmaker walks secretly in front of her with a camera shooting the oodles of harassment she receives on the street. It’s important to note that a lot of folks think that the (wonderful) organization, Hollaback!, created the video—to clarify, Hollaback! was approached by Rob, who had full creative control.
A lot of women, myself included, shuddered and felt nauseous watching at least parts of the video, if not the whole thing. There are plenty of others who don’t see what the big deal is with the simple “hello, beautiful” kind of approaches. And then, there are folks—again, myself included— upset with the racial and ethnic under- and overtones that get sort of glossed over in both mainstream discussions, and mainstream feminist discussions, when we talk about street harassment. There’s a lot to unpack, here.
Conversation about and activity on Ello has been ramping up over the last few weeks. Ello, for those living relatively balanced lives with healthy relationships to their digital devices, is a new social network that is, in not so many words, promising to be the anti-Facebook. The creators’ goal is to free us from the tyranny of being products packaged for advertisers–remember, if you’re not paying for the product, you are the product. (How this plays out with Ello shall be seen.)
It’s rough around the edges, for sure, but conceptually interesting enough to play with for a minute if you’re into that sort of thing. And I am! I’ve been playing for the last few days, and one of the first things I noticed is that it was difficult to find people I knew. As Clay Shirky put it the other night: “the only first-order feature that anyone cares about on a social network is ‘Where my dogs @?'” Heh. The search function is broken-ish, so the only way I knew how to find my people was (1) to tell people on other social networks how to find me on Ello, sigh, and (2) by looking at the few people I did find, and seeing who they follow. Read more →
I started a Tumblr blog to collect stories of violence committed against women who refused men’s advances (full background story here), and 24 hours into this project, we’ve received some incredible sets of traffic and engagement numbers. Put your nerd pants on, kids, we’re going for a ride.
Really don’t think I’ve ever participated in a project that got this sheer kind of volume right away. Read more →
So many powerful pieces to cover in the wake of the horrifying shootings in Santa Barbara on Friday night–to me, the most critical issue here is not to call this event a lone-gunman kind of tragedy, but rather the shocking result of a blend of cultures that glorify both violence and a horrendous version of American masculinity that is impossible for men and people on the masculine spectrum to uphold. They are breaking apart–not because feminism is pulling them down, but because our collective cultural response to a feminist worldview that celebrates all genders is to blame things like this on the “feminizing” of our culture.
I ache, deeply, for a world where men, boys and masculine folk are released from the cultural constructs that are tearing them up, as much as I wish the same for women, girls, feminine and androgynous folk. Elevating the status of women is not a zero-sum game: everyone does better, when everyone does better, as Jim Hightower’s dad has said.
Now, your required reading: Read more →
If you’ve not been following along in the latest brouhaha concerning sexism and the tech industry, this week saw a monster of a flame war spring up around conduct at a tech conference. Many other terrific bloggers have summed up what’s been happening, but let me offer a set of bullet points and links to bring everyone up to speed…
There’s a lot of chatter about Sheryl Sandberg‘s new book and effort, Lean In, going around the Interwebs this weekend. The premise of Sandberg’s work seems to be that women currently don’t have all that they need to be ultimately successful in their professional lives: we don’t speak up enough, we have biological clocks and workplaces that don’t deal well with those, and a variety of other gender barriers. Sandberg wants to build women up to places where they can overcome those barriers, and build a social movement along the way. The book won’t come out til March 10th, and review copies have been hard to come by. (I haven’t tried, for the record, that’s just the word in the backchannels where I hang out.) Thus, it’s difficult to make deep commentary, so my thoughts here are based primarily on the article in the New York Times, a few other other blog posts online, and private conversations with colleagues over email.
Trouble’s brewing in Germany. No, it’s not the euro crisis; it’s the good kind of trouble: Feminism is finding new life in networked voices online. Last week, a German blogger named Maike Hank put out a simple, defiant call to end harassment and daily sexism with her post, “This Is Not Normal.” It resonated deeply with many on Twitter, and people like Nicole von Horst started sharing their own stories: “The doctor that patted my ass, as I lay in the hospital after an attempted suicide.” That’s when Anne Wizorek, founder of the blogkleinerdrei and digital media consultant (and, disclaimer, a very good friend of mine), recognized what was happening, and suggested a hashtag to capture the stories: #aufschrei (#outcry). And then all hell broke loose when an article came out in the magazine Stern stating that Rainer Brüderle, Germany’s minister for economics and technology, had allegedly sexually harassed a journalist.