Archive for July, 2006

winding down a little

A nice day spent winding down with Susan Kitchens in my kitchen. We surfed around, read stuff to each other, did a goofy photoessay on using the “natural” sweetener (mugging with splendid irony), washed dishes, and ate guacamole. I think we both wrote a lot and told a bunch of stories. I promised her the story of the Fremont Hills, the time I realized I was being a total asshole and must figure out how to be more of a grownup.

then hanging with Moomin. (In the morning we read Tarzan. In the afternoon we had a long discussion of what was Cool and what was Not Cool. )

Then we saw Minnie briefly… all too briefly alas … and took off to Dragonboy’s house for Jo Spanglemonkey’s birthday collage-making. I was cranky in the car. My stomach is back to hurting. I decompressed desperately with some “Discover” magazines and then made 2 lovely collages for Jo. Realized things about my collagemaking process. Talked about science fiction books with the Hippie and his friend whose name I forget. Played with Sophie, Eliz, Moomin, Dragonboy, and the other two extremely awesome sisters outside – we had complicated crabapple wars.

I felt happy and centered again tonight, but I still need a whole day of lying in bed reading Pollyanna’s School Days and What Katy Did and Herodotus, maybe with some introspective crying, before I feel like myself again. I do like being “on” and energized and thinking and talking and meeting a ton of people – I love, love, love it – but then I tend to overdo it & collapse. Must rest tomorrow so that I don’t collapse.

Regendering Dave Winer

I love men’s epiphanies! Especially when they’re sweet and have utopian visions of collective social action – that rocks. I strongly believe in this:

Neither of our work is done, but I have a strong feeling that the connection betw Grace and myself is going to create a path that lots of men and lots of women go down, working together, to make the world a happier, more fair and better-running place.

But I have some problems with the tone of the article and want to pick on Dave a little – and on various other men whose names I don’t remember. It is not like Dave is an especially awful example of sexism – quite the contrary – it’s just that he’s visible. Plus, he can take it.

I promised Dave that my jackbooted feminazi foot would be gentle, this time. Even perky! I’ll try! I’ll show him my underwear and giggle while I explain what yanks my chain.

So here is an opportunity for some more learning… let’s look at Dave’s take on BlogHer, regendered:

Post BlogHim Thoughts

They are beautiful hunks, but not like like booth bimbos, more like Thomas and Louis. So you got a great ratio, and they’re smart and driven, but that’s not all — they’re also bloggers! Which means I don’t have to explain what blogging is.

Heh heh… Read it and think about the places where the language is off-key & think about why that is. It does have a tone that Dave expected to feel unwelcome, or expected to be surrounded by unattractive, frowning bitches? Or feels that his readers might have that expectation and he wants to reassure them that it’s not true?

I can’t even start in on the stuff about how the 20 to 1 gender ratio was heaven for men. Grrrrrreat! Because women exist to make men feel loved and comfortable!

I’m just trying to imagine ever feeling like this at a conference or workplace full of men and I’m coming up short. There’s hostility in those situations, but it’s mostly about having your “self” be invisible – about men automatically paying more serious attention to each other’s ideas and opinions; like there’s a game field where they interact (homosocially) and their attention to women, if it exists, takes place off that field. It’s being at a meeting and saying something that is ignored, and then a man repeats it 5 minutes later and everyone attributes the idea to him. It’s being at Bloggercon and the IRC channel being full of comments on the female Bloggercon attendees’ looks – along with links to photos of them in their underwear. Was there a BlogHer backchannel where we compared the men’s looks, and bodies, and winning smiles, and how cute they are when they cock their head to the side and giggle, and gossip about their qualities as ex-boyfriends of one or the other women in tech?

But every guy who’s talked with me about Bloggercon has talked about how *I* was fierce and scary on the IRC channel – because I pointed out sexism – and even then I hear how they’re surprised that they consider me nice-looking, or that I’m smiling at them, or they even flirt and tell me that they wonder why they are always attracted to fierce scary feminist women: they make sure to let me know that even my empowerment and anger, to them, is a sexual commodity.

There is a subtext in what Dave says that if women aren’t sexy, flirty, smiling, glad to see him, and good-natured, then they’re not worth listening to, or they’re not going to be listened to. There is a message for women in that pervasive societal message. I feel sure he didn’t mean that – but honest to god that’s how it comes off to me.

If I expected men – in tech or anywhere – to be sexy, flirting, good-natured, smiley, welcoming, and happy to see me, I’d be waiting a long time . . . Do men compliment each other at conferences on their friendly sexy smilyness? I’d like to see it.

So with that in mind, why do I flounce around in ball gowns? Okay… number one, it’s fun. But two – it doesn’t matter if I do or not. I can dress utterly butch in my jeans, techie polo shirt, belt, leatherman tool, and boots, not smile or cock my head to the side, and just be “neutral” — and still be dismissed, not included, sexually harassed, paid less, and the target of misogynist jokes. In fact, the butcher I dressed in tech, and the more serious I acted, the more misogynist jokes I was subject to hearing – I was expected to participate in them to prove I was one of the guys. Even though my girl cooties would never, ever, go away. Since it doesn’t matter . . . as many women who either butch it up a little bit or who dress in professional-lady drag discover. . . I might as well do whatever the hell is fun for me – which includes ball gowns, bikinis, nakedness, suits, and scruffy jeans with tshirts. It would be nice if men were also “free” to play with all those images and identities for themselves. But because of misogyny & patriarchy, they aren’t. It’s so awful to be girly that most men don’t dare.

I’d like to challenge any men in tech who are reading this to think about their very own workplace. How much do the men get paid and how much do the women get paid? Why? Are all the women in lower positions and the men in higher? Anything you can do about that?

Do you get asked, guys, during your techie job interviews, and networking events and stuff, if you’re married and if you have kids and if you’re planning a family? Are you ever present at a conversation where men wave their hands and dismiss some woman b/c she will probably just have babies anyway and then be less productive or involved at the workplace? I’ve been there for those conversations.

So, saving the world is important, helping disaster victims is also important, but look a little closer to home. Look in what is in your own power. Next time some other dude says something messed up… speak up and call them on it… you can do it gently, just by asking them a question, like “Do you think it’s okay to say that in front of me? Why?” You’ll find out then, probably, that just questioning as nicely as possible will get you called the PC police. But it will also get you any women in earshot thanking you privately later.

We’ve all heard this rant before. I do feel like I have to keep saying it, though mostly I try to move on to focus on other women, what they’re doing, and positive changes and action.

Things *are* changing, and men are coming along on a journey of their own thought and consciousness of these issues… it’s nice to see.

refreshed in spirit if not in body

A little hard-ass blogging later, with Rook and Susan K. all lying on the couch with computers… It’s past midnight and I look up in consternation.

Me: Hey. Ow. It’s late. I forgot to move, or pee.

Susan: Well, if you’ve got a three-post bladder, use it.

the good and the tired

next time… i sleep more!

blogher. woolfcamp. dinner at susan m.’s house. I was … for once… actually too busy to blog.

intensity junkie – on overload.

Tomorrow I’m sure I’ll be bright & bushy and will be able to tell all the wonderful stories of this weekend!!! I’m so grateful for BlogHer, for everyone I talked with – so many mind-blowing people – and for everyone who came to my house for a whole day of talking at an amazing level of intensity, passion, vulnerability, and honesty.

woolfcamp sunday !

It’s okay to drift in late, y’all. The info for Woolfcamp is at the wiki on Socialtext and under “location” you can find directions & etc.

Do bring *chairs* if you live nearby! folding chairs!


– badger

Overwhelmed by Blogher

I had a great time yesterday. The podcasting workshop was particularly good! I liveblogged it over here. My blogging is a bit slow because my “g” key doesn’t work right. So if anyone is going to the Apple store… I need a small-size iBook G4 keyboard!!! hell!

I am mad at myself for not derailing Marc during the tagging thing and because of my conversation with Chris Heuer, realized I had to go personally talk with Marc. Did that. I’ll write more later. Why can he not see how much space and time he takes up? That, if he’s talking nonstop in a room full of people, interrupting the panelists, answering questions that women in the audience are asking of the panelists, and generally never shutting up about his own rather high theory view of the politics of who owns tagging, then he is *shutting down a different discussion* that would have happened – one where the women in the room might have had a different focus of what they wanted to say. I think next time I will just stand up and say “Marc, love your ideas, but please shut up and let someone else talk now.” It was weird to try to say this to his face, politely and at length and with more clarity than I’m typing it here, and then to see that it just didn’t get into his head. He thought I was disagreeing with what he was saying! No… actually not. But the reaction of much of the room… would have been “wow, sounds complicated, I guess I don’t know very much about this stuff… ” and to ignore the loud bellowing dude.

Anyway. That was my one “annoyed” moment yesterday and otherwise it was all golden.

No, I lie. Some of the marketing stuff was annoying. The “water! for women!” … um. You know how some stuff marketed to women is actually useful, and some of it blows? what can I say… the gm brochure had the tone of “women! can drive!” ??!! and while I like fancy bath stuff, cool, the Saturn stuff was much cooler and had a little memory stick in there. Yes, it’s a tech conference, we might like some tech schwag! you think?

Next year: hot pink ethernet cables in every blogher bag…! instead of diet propaganda and pasties… well no. Actually I like the pasties. They shoudl just make some that look like computer motherboards, and fake chainmail. Then we could run around the conference with robot boobs!

At some point in the afternoon I went all deer-in-the-headlights & ran off to the pool party. The people had temporary tattoos! We all made fun of the “nippies” boob bandaids, but were fighting over them at the same time. I have pink star ones.

Then a strange dreamlike swirl of people talking with me and me only vaguely knowing who anyone was. I showed Daily Dose of Denise my underwear, finally. The >underwear thing was hilarious though I know it must make a large bit of the conference wonder WTF… what’s with the raucous dumbass… “How sad that that girl needs attention so bad she shows everyone her underwear!” No… I just like to be bold and silly.

People kept coming up to me and saying “Badger! come over here! This person wants to interview you!” or suddenly cards would whip out and it would be a Media Person. Talked to McVlog dude – who is he? What? What? For real? Or is he sort of a nut case? Does it even matter? Met Lauren from Feministe, & Lindsay, but was in full-on “stunned by social activity” brain death. I deal with stress or anxiety by silliness – so then I dressed up in a ball gown for SJ and Minnie to push me in the pool.

Barb Dybwad glowing described world of warcraft and its beautiful life-sucking MUDdiness.

Yay, room service is here! SJ and Minnie and Kari and I hung around drunkenly telling stories of jobs we’d had. SJ had one at a Lone Star Cafe where whenever a certain song played, about a woman getting run over by a train, they’d have to get up on the tables and do a little choo-choo dance. In short-shorts. Another one of us was fired from Chevy’s because her skirt was too short, though she was required to wear this low-cut hoochie-mama off-the-shoulder “Mexican wedding” shirt. “My Humps” played on repeat. Minnie’s a belligerent, punchy, funny drunk. “Where’s my room key! What the fuck are you looking at! The fuck!”

I haven’t been able to blog much because I’ve been talking nonstop. SJ and I explained the endings of our first marriages to each other at 7am. It’s intense here all the time!

one of those “coincidences”…

city lights reading
Originally uploaded by Liz.

I can’t help it if we both dress up like Velma and Action Girl were in an accident on the way to a ska concert in 1981… that’s just how it is. So…. both in the skinny ties, loosely knotted (same tie from hot topic in ska-checkered, mine white, hers red)… black jackets… short black skirt sort of thing… red and black… in fluevogs and believe it or not I had black and red socks rolled up in my backpack for when it got chilly later in the evening. The book sounds extremely fabulous (marxist analysis of U.S. monster movies) and I had many interesting conversations over the course of the evening but will I have the energy to blog it properly?! Anyway, you’ll see what I mean about the weird outfit matching because it’s my same outfit for tomorrow. It was pretty funny and people must think we are (or I am) either totally retarded or kind of psycho. I prefer to think we just happen to share a similar, extremely fabulous aesthetic….

– write about the book / reading on

– read the book, send it to Rolf

– do some reading, write up stuff that anne is working on with the guatemalan archives (wow – and I found it comforting that the data is being preserved in such a careful sensible useful way)

Dear Appleworks,

Why do you blow so bad?


– badgerbag


Hey! Who sneaked over to my house and left me an enormous book of “subversive stickers”? With just a post-it note that says “badgerbag” ??

Whoever you are, I love you! Now… which one… ones… to put on my car?

I’ll bring the book to bad moms coffee so we can all cool up our laptops. I had this whole pile of stickers to give to Elkit last night but forgot they were in my bag.

the outfit of punky frivolity

Originally uploaded by Liz.

Hey, I think it came out damn cute. And usually I hate pictures of myself laughing really hard, but this one is good. My hair came out that way accidentally, out of the shower. If only I could make it that way on purpose… kind of mildly fucked up but not too explode-y.

The dinner was great & I’ll post about it in a minute over here.