You know, awhile ago I took this psychological test which was supposed to suss out ingrained prejudices, by figuring out if you subconsciously associated words with other words via your reaction time. The test told me that I had a prejudice towards women in science, probably because my reaction time was fastest when clicking on words that I think of as part of my identity. I tell you this because all my feminist links this week are about science, and that makes me quite happy.Scientists are “normal” people, some children discover
: "It looks like a visit to Fermilab has no impact on boys’ gender stereotypes about scientists, but it has a strong impact on challenging girls’ gender stereotypes about scientists. For girls, there was a 58% increase in female scientist representation in their drawings; for boys, there was a 0% increase in female scientist representation in their drawings. If boys grow up to be men, and empirical evidence has no effect on males’ gender stereotypes about scientists, how do we challenge males’ association of science with maleness?"Gals And Computers
: "Jonathan Kane, a professor of mathematics and computer science at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, recalls the mid-1980s, when women made up 40 percent of the students who majored in management computer systems, the second most popular major on campus. But soon after, the number of students majoring in the program had fallen about 75 percent, reflecting a nationwide trend, and the number of women fell even more. "I asked at a department meeting," he says, " 'Where have the women gone?' It wasn't clear." His theory is that young women earlier had felt comfortable pursing the major because the male subculture of action gaming had yet to appear. Globe review shows that the proportion of women among bachelor's degree recipients in computer science peaked at 37 percent in 1985 and then went on the decline. Women have comprised about 28 percent of computer science bachelor's degree recipients in the last few years, and in the elite confines of research universities, only 17 percent of graduates are women. (The percentage of women among PhD recipients has grown, but still languishes at around 20 percent.)"Courtney Stoker on Feminist Geek
: "While sci fi fans don’t mind (and often excel at) criticizing their sci fi shows, they are generally only supportive of criticizing that focuses on “literary” details—plot holes, bad writing, continuity in the canon, inconsistent application of science. But as soon as you start talking about the bigger structures in a show’s texts, like racist logic, sexism, classism, whatever, some douchey white dudes with serious entitlement issues are going to dismiss you. (It’s actually sort of funny, because they can’t really, like the rest of the world of douchey white dudes, tell you you’re reading too much into the show, or taking the show too seriously, because ten minutes ago, they were posting about insignificant detail x in an episode that aired 20 years ago.) If I complain about the complete lack of plot in Avatar, for example, I’ll hear murmurs of consent in a room full of geeks. If I say Avatar is inexcusably racist, however, that same room will suddenly get defensive."Make Your Dude-Dominated Subculture More Accessible to Women
: "It seems like there’s a participation gap between the men and women who play the game. The bug reports and feature requests that I get via email show a much smaller gender gap than the forum membership would indicate. I spoke with a fellow developer about this subject and she told me some of her internet horror stories. She said that she’s always been treated with respect in our community, but we didn’t reach any grand conclusions about the big picture. What to do when the members of a community are of all genders but the voices in the community are predominantly male?"Male geeks reclaim masculinity at the expense of female geeks
: "Most male geeks believe that they are subverting traditional masculinity by reclaiming and self-identifying with the term “geek”. For most male geeks, geek identity is defined partly as a rejection of the “jock” identity. According to the traditional high school male social hierarchy, jocks are high-status males and male geeks are low-status males; jocks are alpha males and male geeks are beta males; jocks are masculine and male geeks are “effeminate”. Thus, when a man proudly self-identifies as a “geek” in response, what he is doing is redefining what it is to be a man, redefining geek identity as masculine.
Typical male geeks argue that to be a geek is to be masculine by interpreting the scientific, mathematical, and technological achievements of overwhelmingly male persons as definitive proof that science, math, and technology are inherently male and define maleness. Such male geeks typically argue that there are innate differences between male and female brains that make success in science, math, and technology exclusive to men. Thus, arguments and studies that suggest otherwise are perceived as a direct attack on the masculinity and male identity of male geeks. According this male geek worldview, if women are equally capable in science, math, and technology, then male geeks lose their claim on masculinity and become low-status, beta, and “effeminate” males once again, because there would be nothing left to separate male geeks from women. Thus, male geeks—much more than non-geek men—tend to be emotionally and socially invested in maintaining the idea women’s brains are hardwired against understanding science, math, and technology to the same extent as men."
By the way, as a coda, my favorite webcomic EVER is the story of an awesome mad scientist in a steampunk fantasy world. Of course the main character is female, why do you ask? It's called Girl Genius
, it has great art in addition to a fun and enjoyable plot, and here is one of the first covers:Read it from the beginning
! You know you want to!