Sideswipes

May 26, 2011 § 7 Comments

[Edit: I recommend that you read the comments, as the author of the poster has explained her reasons for creating it in more detail.]

Yesterday, Glyn Moody linked approvingly to a poster on the G8Internet site, saying: “Failminism – http://bit.ly/mExbAz ever noticed how many women are involved in copyright enforcement initiatives? @sinkdeep has…”

The fact that there are at least four women (yes! a whole four women are pictured on the poster!) participating in the eG8 is framed as:

a) cause for comment, and

b) clearly the fault of feminism.

On the first point, I wonder how male-dominated your environment needs to be before you think that having a few women involved in something is worth making a poster about? And I’m fairly sure that the eG8 isn’t dominated by women, because if it was there would have been discussion flying around the blogosphere about it. People notice that kind of thing.

On the second…yes, in a roundabout way, feminist struggles have been responsible for opening up opportunities for women to be involved in powerful institutions, and inevitably that means that some women have chosen to participate in institutions that are not progressive. Because women, like men, are a mixed bag. People are like that: some of them will disagree with you and do things you disapprove of.

This poster is implicitly asks: “why are so many women involved in the eG8?” and comes up with the answer: “feminism”. There’s no accompanying poster that asks: “why are so many men involved in the eG8?” or “what is it about men that means they dominate messed-up institutions like the eG8?”

There’s also no acknowledgement that feminist struggles have helped to pave the way for the many women who have become lawyers and computer scientists and activists of a thousand stripes who can contribute to the digital liberties movement.

Every little unnecessary sideswipe at feminism, every misogynistic joke, every bit of homophobia, helps to make the digital liberties movement just a little more unwelcoming for people like me.

On my way to work I was listening to Silvia Federici’s excellent talk on how movements can heal us, and she said something like, “you should not be alienated from the processes that are meant to liberate you”. And I thought: why am I working so hard to contribute to a movement when so many of those involved take every opportunity to devalue my involvement? And some days I don’t know the answer.

Tagged: ,

§ 7 Responses to Sideswipes

  • sinkdeep says:

    Hai.
    ok first. the poster assume everyone knows the women in the poster. My bad. They are 2 ministers of culture promoting repressive copyright in Spain an Brazil and 2 functionaries on form Europe and one From USA constantly promoting crazy copyright enforcement. One of them actually was a lobbyst before work for the EC.

    So my critique is more about *exposing* the logic of lobbying… and given the feminist struggles i found it very very unfortunate to be women the ones leading the crackdown on civil liberties.

    I dont think is cool to get power for abuse society and completely surrender to private interests, like copyright enforcement.

    I defend absolutely both my question about why women lead the © crackdown and also i defend absolutely my right to expose and captured regulators.

    As you know eg8 was a lobbying fest…. i was just making a critique with real examples (the ones in the picture) about how industry sneaks in govts.

    Sorry, i guess you need to be a bit informed of who they are. I work hard too for internets and i think is a shame what this women do.

    • sky says:

      I absolutely agree that holding people to account for their involvement in copyright crackdowns is a good idea. My point is that this was tied to a sideswipe at feminism: by labelling the poster “Failminism” you imply that feminism is to blame here… and as I’ve said, feminism has played a role (by opening up more opportunities for women), but it’s also played a role in facilitating the involvement of many women in the struggle against bad copyright law.

      The other issue is that gender only becomes visible here when it comes to women. You mark out women as a target, but don’t ask the corresponding question about men: why are so many men involved in copyright enforcement?

      I do see an alternative reading of the poster that’s possible. I suppose it could be read as saying, “You women call yourselves feminists, and because of that we expect you to do better on this front.” But I’m not sure that’s the meaning you intended, and I’m not sure that’s how it will be read.

      • sinkdeep says:

        As i say in twitter in a pun. my point exactly is that they undermine feminist struggle

        I dont ask why so many men are involved in © enforcement because sadly the ones that have gone off the hook (the public face) are women.

        I had criticize lobbying in many ways is not the first time and not the last one. And in the case of the 4 figures in here…

        since they are in their positions copyright war have scalated. Which is exactly my point… Even though is completely their desition, myself, feels © industry is using women actually…

        Im sure can be read in many ways though but hey we can read everything in many ways, even feminism.

        I understand your point though and i hope i was clear with my explanation.

        :)

    • sinkdeep says:

      also i dont even know if they were there eh? is about lobbying.

      Finally i think gender can be revealed too when it’s used as cannon fodder :) (or bait) Which is my point.

  • sinkdeep says:

    ok first. the poster assume everyone knows the women in the poster. My bad. They are 2 ministers of culture promoting repressive copyright in Spain an Brazil and 2 public functionaries from Europe and one From USA constantly promoting crazy copyright enforcement. One of them actually was a lobbyist before work for the EC.

    So my critique is more about *exposing* the logic of lobbying… and given the feminist struggles i found it very very unfortunate to be women the ones leading the crackdown on civil liberties.

    I dont think is cool to get power for abuse society and completely surrender to private interests, like copyright enforcement.

    I defend absolutely both my question about why women lead the © crackdown and also i defend absolutely my right to expose them captured regulators.

    As you know eg8 was a lobbying fest…. i was just making a critique with real examples (the ones in the picture) about how industry sneaks in govts.

    Sorry, i guess you need to be a bit informed of who they are. I work hard too for internets and i think is a shame what this women do.

  • David Cake says:

    A bit of a failure on the statistical sample size. There are women involved in the enforcement side, and women involved in the progressive side. I agree with everything you say – blaming feminism for women involved in a single event seems totally lacking in perspective, and is neither appropriate nor helpful, and does the movement no favours, selling out basic feminist principles for a cheap shot.

    My experience is very much that women are involved in leadership roles against copyright enforcement very much, perhaps more so, such as Robin Gross of IPJustice, Wendy Seltzer of ChillingEffects.org and TOR, Rebecca McKinnon of Global Voices, Gwen Hinze and Katitza Rodriguez at EFF, Irene Graham of Libertus.net and formerly EFA, Avri Doria of the ICANN GNSO, Lilian Edwards in academia and ORG, and so many more. I hope soon I get the opportunity to introduce you to some of them, and you feel a bit more welcome in the movement as a result.

    • sky says:

      Thanks, Dave. Both your response and the response from sinkdeep has done a fair bit to remove my general feeling of despondency around this.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading Sideswipes at skycroeser.net.

meta

%d bloggers like this: