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Posts tagged feminism

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LEGO to Produce Female Scientist Minifigure Set

Maia Weinstock guest blogging for Scientific American:

Two and a half years ago, the LEGO Corporation made a move that set into motion a chain of events that has led, circuitously but unambiguously, to the following exciting announcement, released yesterday via YouTube: In late summer or early fall of 2014, the company will release to the public an official set of female scientist minifigures – a paleontologist, an astronomer and a chemist.

I’m linking this because it contains more information about the battle for representation in Lego figures than I ever thought I’d read today.

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Yes All Men: Assassin’s Creed Bro-op Controversy Escalates

Alec Meer for Rock, Paper, Shotgun:

I’m afraid this is going to be a long one, because the debate around Assassin’s Creed Unity not inculding any female avatar options in its co-op mode didn’t half snowball overnight. Ubisoft are now backtracking on their initial defence that this was a workload issue, and instead claim it’s a deliberate narrative-based decision – however, this only opens up more questions.

In the meantime, a former Assassin’s Creed animation lead has called foul on the original claims that animating a female character results in an unbearable workload increase, while elsewhere at E3, a Far Cry 4 dev claimed that excessive animation needs are why there are no playable women in that game.

A pretty good example of how not to handle something like this in the year 2014.

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Shame, Virginity, MRAs and the UC Santa Barbara Shooting

Dr. NerdLove on the Friday shootings near the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara:

Let’s just imagine a world where Roger could have gone to somebody - his father, a therapist, a priest, somebody and said “Help me. Please. I’m hurting. I’m scared. I need someone to help me right now” without fearing that this made him weak. Without believing that this made him less.

Without believing that the answer to feeling weak was to try to reassert himself through violence and pain.

Maybe seven people would still be alive right now. Maybe seven more wouldn’t be in the hospital.

It’s on us to make this world a reality.

My heart goes out to both the families of the victims and the family of the alleged shooter Elliot Rodger.

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Female Representation in Desktop Dungeons

Rodain Joubert of QCF Design on adding female portraits to Desktop Dungeons halfway development:

Quite frankly, we wanted the women in DD’s universe to be adventurers first and runway models second. This adjustment turned out to be startlingly non-trivial – you’d think that a bunch of supposedly conscious, mindful individuals would instantly be able to nail a “good female look” (bonus points for having a woman on our crew, right?), but huge swathes of our artistic language tended to be informed by sexist and one-dimensional portrayals. We regularly surprised ourselves with how much we took for granted.

… Shorthands for the feminine kept crawling into our work when we weren’t paying attention – smooth skin, homogenised facial structures, evidence of makeup, you name it. Even characters who we thought would easily sidestep trouble (like the female wizard) simply looked like young, pretty women in grunge costume rather than hardboiled dungeoneers.

It’s a pretty honest assessment of where they succeeded and where they failed.

This isn’t especially related to the content of that post, but the trailer for the game on the front page of their site is fairly bizarre.

Colin: What on earth @ the end of that video

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BBC chief: no more comedy shows with all-male panels

Vanessa Thorpe, The Guardian:

Danny Cohen, head of the BBC’s television output, has promised viewers that the corporation will not make any more all-male comedy panel shows.

Following recommendations made by the BBC Trust last year, Cohen has underlined his determination to see women appearing in the habitually macho environment of panel shows such as QI and Mock the Week. Talking to the Observer about his plans for better representing his audiences on screen, Cohen said: “We’re not going to have any more panel shows with no women on them. It’s not acceptable.”

That’s cool. Women are hilarious, we need more of them in comedy.

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Americans See 25 as Ideal Age for Women to Have First Child

Oh boy, I sure am excited to share this Gallup poll with you. Writeup by Lydia Saad on Gallup’s site from November 8:

In light of the importance that child rearing has on gender roles in society and, ultimately, on families, workplaces, and the economy, Gallup recently asked Americans what they think is the ideal age for men and women to start having children. The majority, 58%, say 25 or younger is ideal for women, whereas the majority think men should start having children at 26 or older.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT

WHY DOES ANYONE CARE

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Button Poetry:

Lily Myers, performing for Wesleyan University at the 2013 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational. This poem was awarded Best Love Poem at the tournament.

Her poem, “Shrinking Women,” is absolutely incredible. You can hear the audience totally flipping out, too.

The video description also includes the full text of the poem.

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thereconstructionists:

Not only did Scottish mathematician, science writer, and polymath Mary Fairfax Somerville (December 26, 1780—November 28, 1872) defy the era’s deep-seated bias against women in science, she was the very reason the word “scientist” was coined: When reviewing her seminal second book, On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences, which Somerville wrote at the age of 54, English polymath and Trinity College master William Whewell was so impressed that he thought it rendered the term “men of science” obsolete and warranted a new, more inclusive descriptor to honor Somerville’s contribution to the field.
Reconstructionist Maria Mitchell, herself a pioneer who paved the way for women in science, captured Somerville’s singular genius in a May 1860 article for The Atlantic:

To read mathematical works is an easy task; the formulae can be learned and their meaning apprehended: to read the most profound of them, with such appreciation that one stands side by side with the great minds who originated them, requires a higher order of intellect; and far-reaching indeed is that which, pondering in the study on a few phenomena known by observation, develops the theory of worlds, traces back for ages their history, and sketches the outline of their future destiny.

Somerville came to science by way of the arts, the era’s traditional domain for young girls. When her art teacher made a passing reference to Euclid and his theories of geometry to explain perspective in painting, noting that they also illuminated the foundations of astronomy and physics, young Mary found herself mesmerized by the promise of a science so expansive and dimensional. So she pleaded with her brother’s science tutor to help her learn about Euclid. But her ascent to science was far from smooth — this early initiative was met with adamant resistance by her father, who found mathematics not only unsuitable but also sanity-jeopardizing for his daughter. Somerville recalls in her journals:

My father came home for a short time, and, somehow or other, finding out what I was about, said to my mother, ‘Peg, we must put a stop to this, or we shall have Mary in a strait jacket one of these days. There was X., who went raving mad about the longitude!’

To correct young Mary’s intellectual aberrations, her parents put her on a steady diet of illustrated ladies’ journals. But those happened to contain puzzles and logical riddles, many of which required mathematical solutions. It was in them that Mary discovered the curious symbols of algebraic equations and was once again enthralled.
Rather than thwarting her budding crush on mathematics, her parents had inadvertently turned it into a lifelong love.
Even so, however, they were bent on sending their daughter down the traditional path destined for women of the era. When she was twenty-four, Mary was married to her distant cousin, Samuel Grieg — a severe man with little faith in women’s capacities beyond their childbearing ability, who forbad Mary from pursuing her studies.
When Grieg died three years later, he left Somerville with two young children, but also with an inheritance and a freedom that opened a new horizon for learning. She soon began corresponding with the mathematician William Wallace at the University of Edinburgh, who mentored her studies in math and astronomy as she at last indulged her intellectual calling.
In 1832, Somerville married another cousin, Dr. William Somerville — a bright and gentle man who thought the world of her, encouraged her studies, and relentlessly helped her master the physical sciences. After the couple moved to London, along with their four children and the two boys from the previous marriage, Somerville met some of the era’s greatest scientific minds, from legendary astronomer William Herschel to computing pioneer Charles Babbage. It was there she became the first mathematical tutor of reconstructionist Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer, thus illustrating the beautiful daisy chain of brilliance that unfolds when the hunger for knowledge is set free from the shackles of stereotypes and cultural norms.
In 1835, Somerville and Caroline Herschel, sister of William Herschel and a trailblazing astronomer in her own right, became the first female members of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Above all, however, Somerville embodied the richness of mind and spirit that marks out the true scientist. Maria Mitchell, who had met her in 1858, poignantly observes in her Atlantic essay:

No one can make the acquaintance of this remarkable woman without increased admiration for her. The ascent of the steep and rugged path of science has not unfitted her for the drawing-room circle; the hours of devotion to close study have not been incompatible with the duties of the wife and the mother; the mind that has turned to rigid demonstration has not thereby lost its faith in the truths which figures will not prove.

Learn more: Personal Recollections, from Early Life to Old Age, of Mary Somerville | Wikipedia

The Reconstructionists is a very cool art/biography project that you should totally check out right this second.

thereconstructionists:

Not only did Scottish mathematician, science writer, and polymath Mary Fairfax Somerville (December 26, 1780—November 28, 1872) defy the era’s deep-seated bias against women in science, she was the very reason the word “scientist” was coined: When reviewing her seminal second book, On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences, which Somerville wrote at the age of 54, English polymath and Trinity College master William Whewell was so impressed that he thought it rendered the term “men of science” obsolete and warranted a new, more inclusive descriptor to honor Somerville’s contribution to the field.

Reconstructionist Maria Mitchell, herself a pioneer who paved the way for women in science, captured Somerville’s singular genius in a May 1860 article for The Atlantic:

To read mathematical works is an easy task; the formulae can be learned and their meaning apprehended: to read the most profound of them, with such appreciation that one stands side by side with the great minds who originated them, requires a higher order of intellect; and far-reaching indeed is that which, pondering in the study on a few phenomena known by observation, develops the theory of worlds, traces back for ages their history, and sketches the outline of their future destiny.

Somerville came to science by way of the arts, the era’s traditional domain for young girls. When her art teacher made a passing reference to Euclid and his theories of geometry to explain perspective in painting, noting that they also illuminated the foundations of astronomy and physics, young Mary found herself mesmerized by the promise of a science so expansive and dimensional. So she pleaded with her brother’s science tutor to help her learn about Euclid. But her ascent to science was far from smooth — this early initiative was met with adamant resistance by her father, who found mathematics not only unsuitable but also sanity-jeopardizing for his daughter. Somerville recalls in her journals:

My father came home for a short time, and, somehow or other, finding out what I was about, said to my mother, ‘Peg, we must put a stop to this, or we shall have Mary in a strait jacket one of these days. There was X., who went raving mad about the longitude!’

To correct young Mary’s intellectual aberrations, her parents put her on a steady diet of illustrated ladies’ journals. But those happened to contain puzzles and logical riddles, many of which required mathematical solutions. It was in them that Mary discovered the curious symbols of algebraic equations and was once again enthralled.

Rather than thwarting her budding crush on mathematics, her parents had inadvertently turned it into a lifelong love.

Even so, however, they were bent on sending their daughter down the traditional path destined for women of the era. When she was twenty-four, Mary was married to her distant cousin, Samuel Grieg — a severe man with little faith in women’s capacities beyond their childbearing ability, who forbad Mary from pursuing her studies.

When Grieg died three years later, he left Somerville with two young children, but also with an inheritance and a freedom that opened a new horizon for learning. She soon began corresponding with the mathematician William Wallace at the University of Edinburgh, who mentored her studies in math and astronomy as she at last indulged her intellectual calling.

In 1832, Somerville married another cousin, Dr. William Somerville — a bright and gentle man who thought the world of her, encouraged her studies, and relentlessly helped her master the physical sciences. After the couple moved to London, along with their four children and the two boys from the previous marriage, Somerville met some of the era’s greatest scientific minds, from legendary astronomer William Herschel to computing pioneer Charles Babbage. It was there she became the first mathematical tutor of reconstructionist Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer, thus illustrating the beautiful daisy chain of brilliance that unfolds when the hunger for knowledge is set free from the shackles of stereotypes and cultural norms.

In 1835, Somerville and Caroline Herschel, sister of William Herschel and a trailblazing astronomer in her own right, became the first female members of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Above all, however, Somerville embodied the richness of mind and spirit that marks out the true scientist. Maria Mitchell, who had met her in 1858, poignantly observes in her Atlantic essay:

No one can make the acquaintance of this remarkable woman without increased admiration for her. The ascent of the steep and rugged path of science has not unfitted her for the drawing-room circle; the hours of devotion to close study have not been incompatible with the duties of the wife and the mother; the mind that has turned to rigid demonstration has not thereby lost its faith in the truths which figures will not prove.

The Reconstructionists is a very cool art/biography project that you should totally check out right this second.