19 Apr

Official Blog of the American Civil Liberties Union – Just A Smack On The Ass: A Tale Of Sexual Assault, Vengeance And Nervous Swearing

I’m realistic. I knew they were never going to arrest this guy. But here’s the thing, and the point to this whole long, profane story. I know there are a lot of people who think it wasn’t that big a deal. But the truth of the matter is, what this guy did was sexual assault. "Forcible touching and harassment," if you want to get specific.

Sexual assault doesn’t always necessarily mean something as horrible as rape. And too often street harassment is unreported, and douchebags like this think they can get away with it because the girl is gonna be too embarrassed or too meek to do anything about it. Or they think it’s "just a slap on the ass." And that’s not right, you guys. I don’t know how other women feel about their posteriors, but you don’t very well get to smack the hell out of it willy-nilly because you feel entitled to do so. There will be repercussions.

To the NYPD’s credit, they did follow up, and the detective told me that if I really wanted to press charges, she would help me do that, even if it meant looking through a lot of surveillance tape and looking at lineups and all that stuff. I opted not to, figuring that they had this guy’s description, and if he did it again, he’d be in a lot of trouble. But something tells me he’s not going to. I think I scared him. Or as the detective said, "So you ran up and confronted him and screamed at him in a bank."

"Yep."

"…Awesome."

I know what happened to me could have been a lot, lot worse. But someone doesn’t have to be raped to be humiliated, violated and hurt. Sometimes, all it takes is a smack on the ass.

via Official Blog of the American Civil Liberties Union – Just A Smack On The Ass: A Tale Of Sexual Assault, Vengeance And Nervous Swearing. Just an awesome story of one woman going and confronting street harassment.

01 Jan

Truthout – Arizona Bans Ethnic Studies and, Along With it, Reason and Justice

Whereas SB 1070 focused primarily on the ostensible control of bodies, HB 2281 is predominantly about controlling minds. In this sense, it is the software counterpart of Arizona’s race-based politicking, paired with the hardware embodied in SB 1070’s "show us your papers" logic of "attrition through enforcement," which has already resulted in tens of thousands of people leaving the state. With HB 2281, the intention is not so much to expel or harass as it is to inculcate a deep-seated, second-class status by denying people the right to explore their own histories and cultures. It is, in effect, about the eradication of ethnic identity among young people in the state’s already-floundering school system, which now ranks near the bottom in the nation.

There’s a word for what Arizona is attempting to do here: ethnocide. It is similar to genocide in its scope, but it reflects the notion that it is an ethnic and/or cultural identity under assault more so than physical bodies themselves. By imposing a curriculum that forbids the exploration of divergent cultures while propping up the dominant one, there’s another process at work here, what we might call ethnonormativity. This takes the teachings of one culture – the colonizer’s – and makes it the standard version of history while literally banning other accounts, turning the master narrative into the "normal" one, and further denigrating marginalized perspectives. America’s racialized past abounds with such examples of oppressed people being denied their languages, histories and cultures, including through enforced indoctrination in school systems.

via Truthout – Arizona Bans Ethnic Studies and, Along With it, Reason and Justice. Arizona really is just a bundle of crazy isn’t it.

06 Dec

Avery’s Diaspora News – I’m Dropping Diaspora, This Site Is Now Closed

This blog was dormant for a while because I didn’t want to give Diaspora bad press. There were security and licensing issues; the team claims that they have been fixed. There were issues with the very model of the code; they weren’t game-enders. I was looking forward to having a Facebook alternative I could use with my friends.

Then I read this: Gender is a Text Field on Diaspora

This is a sign that the programming team — not some unrelated pinheads, but the five or six people who are supposed to be writing the code — have put strong, usable code last on their priorities. It comes behind marketing, behind ideology, and behind absurd identity politics.

via Avery’s Diaspora News – I’m Dropping Diaspora, This Site Is Now Closed. I would say there is a much more reasonable middle ground. Options for gender, Male/Female/Other/Prefer Not To Say/No Answer. As far as the problem of figuring out how to refer to someone inside of the app, we have pronouns that don’t require gender (they, you, etc). This seems like a ridiculous amount of complaining for something that is actually important. Gender politics for some people is perhaps the most important aspect of their live. So it won’t make developers lives easier, get over it, writing software isn’t easy as it stands today.

The author’s main complain is this:

But don’t destroy the usability of basic fields that are necessary for talking about the user.

I really don’t see that sort of change as huge problem. sure maybe it should have some reasonable level of input, like I suggested 5 choices that would allow people to pick the one closest to them and feel comfortable with their choice without trying to examine and provide a reasonable for all the different identities that people have. But that doesn’t make it impossible to talk to or about the user.

18 Apr

Why So Few Women in Silicon Valley? – NYTimes.com

WOMEN now outnumber men at elite colleges, law schools, medical schools and in the overall work force. Yet a stark imbalance of the sexes persists in the high-tech world, where change typically happens at breakneck speed.

via Why So Few Women in Silicon Valley? – NYTimes.com. Not only did the article discuss the challenges women face in the technology realm but also how women have to face the difficult decision of children or career and women can be happy choosing a career.

20 Mar

Dispatches from Guyland – Ms. Magazine Blog

This column is based on a simple premise: that the changes wrought by feminism over the past half-century have changed men’s lives as well as women’s. This means we have a choice: we can fight some rearguard action trying to stem the tide; we can run off to some purified male-only retreat to bond and lick our wounds; or we can walk, perhaps hesitantly at first, into a more gender-equal future, realizing that gender equality is not a zero-sum game in which men lose if women win, but a win-win.

via Dispatches from Guyland : Ms Magazine Blog. Awesome idea for a blog column on the new Ms. Magazine Blog.