This Is Why

I would like to start this post by saying that I am floored by the amount of attention my post on Monday received.  I would like to thank my followers on Twitter, the communities on Reddit (though I have mixed feelings about being so popular on the Men’s Rights subreddit), Nixie’s Revision 3 and YouTube followers, Y-Combinator, Rikki Endsley, Leslie Hawthorn, Laura Czajkowski, GeekFeminism.org, Linux Magazine and especially Felicia Day (I fangirled a little, seeing that) for sharing my post and contributing their thoughts. [Edit: Rikki Endsley has posted a fabulous follow-up blog.  You can find it here.]

I wrote about the experiences Nixie and I had specifically because they were sex-negative, body-policing, and they were very, VERY close to slut-shaming.   In return, some of my critics have used language that mirrors language used in victim blaming.  When one considers these experiences and the fact that the Open Source community, and the STEM studies as a larger community, are still having a difficult time attracting women and minorities, you may draw some correlation.  I certainly did.  When new faces and new voices are attacked, or made to feel unwelcome, because they do not fit into the current ideal of the community, then the community has failed.  I felt unwelcome in 2011, and Nixie felt unwelcome in 2012.

I used the term “geek feminism” because those experiences were couched in language found on the Geek Feminism wikia page.  While I understand that these experiences do not represent the geek feminist community as a whole, they should not be discounted.  As you can see from members of your FOSS community, our experiences were not unique.

For those of you that poked around a little further than that one post, you realize that aside from being hosted at WordPress, my blog has nothing to do with FOSS.  Nothing.  I have attended OSCON for the past two years because people who are near and dear to me, like Nixie and Fiance, are heavily involved in Open Source.  I don’t have a dog in this fight, but I do hope that by speaking out about our experiences, Nixie and I have helped make the Open Source community a little more welcoming for the next generation of young girls who may be interested in FOSS.  At most, you can expect maybe one post in a hundred to reference the Open Source community.

Nice Girls Like Sex Too is about creating a sex-positive culture for young people, but especially for young women.

Take a look at my tag cloud.  That is what I am here for.

I am trying, in my own little way, to build a world where a 16 year old girl can ask her parents or her physician about her interest in sex without fear of judgement.  Where teenagers don’t feel shame in taking the free condoms in the nurse’s office at school.  Where dating more than one person doesn’t automatically earn a young woman the term “slut”.  Where being harassed for the crime of being female while walking down the street is not normal.

I want to see a world where a teenage girl can enter the STEM studies and not be judged more harshly than her peers just because her outfit of choice includes frilly dresses.  Don’t you?

Posted on August 2, 2012, in Personal Stories, Sex Positive and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. I left the following comment on Nixie’s blog. It applies to you as well:

    As a straight guy, I generally think it’s best to just shut up and listen when it comes to topics like feminism. There are enough women in the world to speak for themselves. They don’t need guys to speak for them. Besides when men talk about feminism they generally come off sounding patronizing (in the best cases), ignorant, or just plain sexist.

    What I would like to say though, is thank you for sharing your experience and opinions. Regardless of who is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ about this issue, I think it’s good to have the discussion, to hear about personal experiences (on both sides), and to give all of us (with or without a Y chromosome) more fuel for thought.

    So thanks again for being true to who you are, for standing up to those who would try to shame you, and for sharing your experience with us. Please keep it up.

  2. I’d just like to say, as someone who does identify as a geek feminist, that I’m sorry that people were being shitty to you. That’s Not OK and I’m glad you spoke up about it.

    If women can’t show up at a tech conference in the same level of dress as male attenders, in the bodies they have, with the lives that they have (which sometimes include dating someone more technical than they are, gasp, shock), well, that conference is no more welcoming than a conference where women are being constantly othered by porny presentations.

    As far as folks getting on your case for attending with your boyfriend, just– what? A big part of the reason the whole ‘are you here with your boyfriend’ question is offensive is that it’s nobody’s effing business who you’re with. Telling you to lie about who you’re with like it’s a shameful secret only reinforces the idea that you couldn’t possibly be interested in the conference itself. That sucks.

    Basically, I’m sorry that happened to you. It wasn’t cool, and I hope the people who did it learn to understand why.

  3. Whats wrong if your story being voted up on the Men’s Rights subreddit? Just in case your wonder that is a real question and I haven’t see that subreddit before today but most of what’s on there seems legitimate and definitely not anti feminist but maybe I’m not looking hard enough.

    “I want to see a world where a teenage girl can enter the STEM studies and not be judged more harshly than her peers just because her outfit of choice includes frilly dresses. Don’t you?” Of crouse I do!

    • and right after I post my question here I see post 19 on the Mens Rights subreddit… now I understand… sorry. However, there are a lot of good posts on there and at least one pro Feminist post. Again I’m sorry for not look farther down before.

  4. I doubt that things will change over night, the feminazis have been poisoning the community for years now. Same BS and drama can be seen in the sceptic / atheist community, yet given the nature of having a certain degree in critical thinking, they weren’t able to take over as they wished. But as far as the bashings go, another reason might be simply jealousy. They can’t accept someone else in their eyes being more successful, more attractive, more competent. It’s not that they are less of the mentioned attributes, but they do deprive themselves from it, most likely due to their own insecurities.

  5. As a sex-negative brown feminist from Pakistan, let me just say how sorry I am for what you had to go through, because it sounds horrible and you’re a great person for getting through it.

    That aside, what happened to you isn’t sex-negativity. Please don’t call it that. Don’t let horrible people make you tar all sex-negative feminists with the same brush. After all, would I really feel terrible for your experience if I was a body-policing sex-negative feminist? :) Our approaches to feminism may be on two opposite poles, but we are still feminists, and we stand up for each other, even if we don’t agree with each other! What you described about your experiences, and your friend’s, are a result of so much patriarchal misogyny, but the great part is, we have the internet to talk about it as well. It isn’t so easy to perpetuate misogynist behaviour anymore, thankfully for us.

    Sex-negativity does NOT mean that you cannot wear sexy clothes or flirt. The next time anyone identifies as sex-negative or critical and says this crap to you, tell them to their face how absolutely stupid they are. Do it with your “go on, I dare you” look. (I really wish I had such a look as well!)

    You’re a pretty great person. :)

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