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Bathroom humour

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Are people really that freaked out over enforcing who goes into which bathroom?

Forgive my lack of patience with the oh-so-frightening oh-so-mythical spectre of an iOS user pretending to have a Google Nexus and sneaking into an Android bathroom. (Frankly, a lot of my fellow iOS users are plenty creepy in their own washrooms. Dude, put the iPhone away at the urinal. That’s why the good lord gave you back pockets.)

Look, I can get how disorienting this can all be to people who cling to a rigidly-enforced binary model of the mobile marketplace. But the fact is our understanding of it is changing, and changing rapidly, to a more inclusive one.

Really, it’s just a question of human decency. I’d hate to see politicians being this harsh around something far more central to your sense of self than your choice of mobile OS. Something where a group of people face abuse and discrimination from community, employers and the state alike. Something where political consultants demonize them as a way to polarize the electorate and mobilize a fearful base of voters.

That would be unconscionable.

Recreational misogyny

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I’m starting to think we’ve reached a tipping point on the issue of misogyny in video games in particular, and a big chunk of tech culture more generally.

To get here, it’s taken a lot of courage from a lot of women. One of the most notable is Anita Sarkeesian, whose video series has done more than anything else I can think of to force a conversation on the issue. It’s also drawn a backlash: some of the ugliest, most vicious responses I’ve ever seen.

There’s a lot further to go. If you’d like to support her work, you can make a donation here.

Updated: Lloyd Dewolf added a link on the N2S Facebook Page to Sarkeesian’s talk at the XOXO Festival, where she described the range of attacks she’s received after launching Feminist Frequency. Well worth watching.

Certified!

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Originally published on ReadWriteWeb

So, speaking of certification:

Becoming an Eagle Scout is a big deal. It’s a lifelong title, and involves not only earning a fistful of merit badges, but organizing and leading a community service initiative. So returning that Eagle Scout badge in protest is a big deal, too… and as of today 150 one-time scouts have done it, in protest against the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to uphold its anti-gay membership policy.

I found out about it when fellow speechwriter Hal Gordon, who wrote for the Reagan Administration, blogged the letter he sent to the BSA (along with his badge), and linked to this Tumblr blog, Eagle Scouts Returning Our Badges. Have a look – the letters vary widely in tone, but I was struck by the passion and, very often, sadness.

On a happier note, have you checked out Mozilla Open Badges? To make it easier for people to get recognition for the skills and knowledge they’ve gained, Mozilla has created an infrastructure that allows organizations to issue and manage badges that people who earn them can display across the web. (Naturally, the first badge you earn is the “I really get badges!” badge.) You collect your badges in your Badge Backpack, and the idea is you’ll be able to display them on your blog, a company web site or your LinkedIn and Facebook profiles. It’s still a work in progress, but this could be the beginning of something awfully great.

Vogue meets PC World

Vogue meets PC World published on 1 Comment on Vogue meets PC World

Jolie O’Dell sparked a fascinating thread on marketing to geek women – specifically, marketing cutesy pink stuff to them.

Okay, so maybe there is a long-tail market for Barbie’s Dream Server Farm. But my experience in shopping for consumer electronics says there’s plenty of room for folks who sell technology of all kinds to get a little more savvy on how gender relations have changed.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve walked into tech stores with Alexandra and had the salesman (I use that word advisedly) glom onto me… despite the fact that Alex is the household video, audio and telecommunications geek. Some get it after a few not-too-subtle hints (Alex: “Now is that true MEMC 240Hz, or just scanning backlight?” me: “TV’s hard! (giggle)”), but a surprising number of them can’t seem to resist directing their pitch exclusively to me.

I’d like to think times have changed from the days when cars were sold to women on the basis of how many cupholders they had. (The cars, not the women.) But I wonder.

Originally published on ReadWriteWeb.

Problem solved

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