Highlighted Selections from:

Gendering F/LOSS


http://libregraphicsmag.com/2014/02/out-now-libre-graphics-magazine-issue-2-2-gendering-floss/

p.5: In the world of Free/Libre Open Source Software, and in the larger world of technology, debate rages over the under representation ofwomen and the frat house attitude occasionally adopted by developers. The conventional family lives of female tech executives are held up as positive examples of progress in the battle for gender equity. Conversely, pop-cultural representations ofmale developers are evolving, from socially awkward, pocket-protectored nerds to cosmopolitan geek chic. -- Highlighted mar 16, 2014

p.5: Both images mask the diversity of styles and gender presentations found in the world of f/loss and the larger tech ecology. -- Highlighted mar 16, 2014

p.14: A 2006 European Union report analyzes the reasons for this disbalance. Within “hacker culture,” a great focus lies on the willed acts of the practitioners, on what people, themselves do: Your position in the community is based on the contributions you make and is thus “meritocratic.” More structural reasons why minorities are dissuaded to make these contributions in the first place, structural reasons that go beyond the single individual, are thus out of sight. 2 -- Highlighted mar 16, 2014

p.14: Tech blogger Jason Calacanis says race doesn’t exist in Silicon Valley—one gets one top through sheer will power and perseverance. -- Highlighted mar 16, 2014

p.14: David Heinemeier Hansson, lead developer of Ruby on Rails, dismissed the critique of a female unfriendly presentation, labeling it as harmless fun, and positing that in no way this kind of attitude could be what kept women out ofOpen Source. -- Highlighted mar 16, 2014

p.19: Formost urbanites, becoming a mother is like moving to another country, with its own language, culture and politics. Forwomen artists, motherhood can be another planet. The pressure is extreme:We go from having one consuming passion that is unpaid/underpaid (making art) to having two underpaid passions (making art and people). Our own needs for community and creative stimulation can go unmet while we respond to the massive needs ofyoung children. It’s easy for mothers—and often expected in our culture—to disappear into their children. Motherhood is a hidden life, andmothers are a demographic hidden in the open. But there’s a certain kind ofhighly creative woman who won’t accept invisibility. EnterMothership HackerMoms. -- Highlighted mar 16, 2014

p.26: Our showcase this issue focuses on gendered work in craft. The term “women's work” has been variously appl ied to such diverse tasks as household chores, chi ld care, texti le labour and virtual ly any task deemed un-manly at a given moment and in a given cultural context. Conversely, if someone is said to have “done a man's job,” it may wel l mean that some task was done with competence and ski l l . In this showcase, we seek to show work which overturns standard conceptions of what it is to do women's work or a man's job. In the fol lowing pages, images of computerized knitting, code-inspired embroidery and women infi ltrating F/LOSS offer windows into sites of subversion, in which the gendered natures of crafts and tasks are blurred. -- Highlighted mar 16, 2014

p.36: Lelacoders is a cyberfeminist research project about women's contribution to computer science, Free Software and hacker cultures. Those contributions have been l ittle-studied and seldom made visible. Lelacoders’ research has sought out women developers and hackers in order to better understand their motivations, practices, and technological perspectives. The research questions why women are under-represented in computer science, studies which practices and initiatives have been successful in overcoming barriers, and analyzes the experiences and subjectivities of many programmers who have chosen to use Free Software for their techno-pol itical practices. The project aims at developing a documentary with Free Software that wi l l be released on the internet using a free l icense. -- Highlighted mar 16, 2014

p.44: About the meritocratic ideals of Free Software, which do so much work to make invisible every other issue by saying “oh no, look, we give people a chance.” Our judgements are based on this abstract technical thing that we say we can quantify, not based on their ability to fit into a community. How do you feel about the meritocratic blind? I think it's a huge problem. It's a homogeneous community that somehow manages to ignore the fact that most of the people who voluntarily come forward and are able to not only reach the community to get involved but to stay there once they've gotten there are mostly men. So we therefore have to attribute these differences to inherent differences in people that have nothing to do with the way the Free Software community behaves, or who's representing it or any of those issues. What I assume most people think is that decentralization comes first and then after that, diversity and these other problems will just trickle down out of existence. And [they] don't realize that there are other problems that don't depend on centralization and that, in fact, decentralization and networks can be far more oppressive than top-down organizations because of the fact that they're so culturally ingrained in whatever community it is that holds the values that keep people out. -- Highlighted mar 16, 2014

p.46: And calling out how software embeds the views of the people that make it. And how different ideals are encoded into software. -- Highlighted mar 16, 2014

p.46: For me, I would really like to see us create or write and produce materials that explain Free Software and Free Culture from our perspective. And in doing such, form coalitions with other maybe anti-racist or anti sexist organizations about issues ofmedia ownership and software ownership and all those things. So that's something I'm interes -- Highlighted mar 16, 2014

p.52: Hanging on to stereotypical representations of desire like cars and girls is boring and limits the playground of f/loss to the constraints of proprietary, misogynistic values. A more ambitious approach would be to ask for images that experiment with diverse realities, bending the rules of both gender and software. -- Highlighted mar 16, 2014

p.52: F/loss is playing its part in constructing alternative imaginaries of how people might relate to technology. The potential of these shared and participative software projects lies in negotiating new visions and utopias based on the powerful idea that we not only consume but also construct our coded environment. -- Highlighted mar 16, 2014