Friday, September 17, 2010

Chicago gets on board!

The anti-harassment movement is getting recognized by more transit authorities, it seems. Here is one of the CTA's posters.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Virtual Revenge -- "Hey, Baby"

And now we have this: a new video game in which a presumed-female (it is First Person Shooter, so you never actually see yourself, just how people act toward you) retaliates against the catcalls of a walk through an urban setting. Interesting to me is the number of comments that focus on the (poor) graphics and sound effects of the game -- not the premise. I fully expected full-on rants, not just one recommendation for a psychiatrist and one reference to the "punch" packed by "feminist atheists." Also missing are defenses of the male-characters' behavior or street commentary in general. Color me surprised.

Indeed, one strong point of the game may be its ability to unite multiple audiences in their disdain for it. If only we could all agree so readily that street harassment is a) real and b) bad. Research by Carol Brooks Gardner and others reveals that most men do not intend to harass, but rather are motivated by boredom or a desire to impress their buddies. Kudos to Ms. Magazine blogger Kate Whittle for concluding, "society needs to teach men that making women uncomfortable should not be a casual pastime."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Artificial Gender

A friend stumbled on this and I'm playing with it this morning.

This 'analyzer' looks at a blog and guesses/predicts the gender of its author. Breaking the Code was rated as likely written by a woman: 67%. My other blog was got a 72% 'woman' rating.

I've seen these kinds of programs for other types of writing in the past and remember trying out some of my grant language years ago when Peggy and I were working on increasing assertiveness in our professional language.

What reminded me of that was running another friend's (now somewhat neglected) blog through the "genderanalyzer" and finding it got a 55% woman rating.

Hmmm... the last group of students in my Women and Public Space class regularly dissolved into debates over whether the internet was a truly or at least potentially gender-free public space. I think I will send them to this site next time around and let them play with it. Will they argue that gender is fluid, that gender can finally be divorced from biology, or that, based on the existence of the website in the first place, gender persists as a fundamental category of social organization even in realms where physical bodies are not present?