I don't really like end of year lists much, although I'm sure at some point during New Year's Eve I'll drunk tweet some kind of fangirlish braindump. I've done so much this year though and writing it down is helping me to comprehend it.
In the last couple of months, I've done a couple of talks about people who do not fit or identify on the gender binary of male and female. I've always been interested in gender and how society uses it to make assumptions and judgments about people. The interest stems partially from being a woman in technology and how that makes me stand out and also from my own discovery of my gender identity. It's important to raise awareness, and the talks I've done have been well received.
I really love Barcamps. First Play Sheffield was born out of a talk I did with Liam about games at Sheffield Barcamp a few years ago, I've been to the last 3 Gamecamps and this year I've been to Manchester Geek Girls Bracamp (Misspelling intentional) and Barcamp Manchester.
The thing I took away most from the Phil Fish video was the conflict between the 'true' self and the social media persona. On Twitter there is a demand on us to be informative and insightful and if we are not these things then we are unfollowed. Instead of a person I am an RSS feed. Because what goes on the internet stays on the internet, we are constantly censoring ourselves. Self-censorship and the need to please our audience makes it impossible to portray yourself as a normal human being. Weakness is not allowed, either because we may offend, create disagreement or cause people to become bored with us and move on. I do this too, I unfollowed some people this morning because I found myself disagreeing with them more often than I used to. My relationships with people who have never met me change and this involves (on my part) all the emotional stuff that any relationship change incurrs.
Have you ever experienced that feeling where you can't stop noticing something once it's been pointed out to you? Since reading Bad Science I can't help but really notice the wonky 'science' in cosmetic adverts, since learning the concept of heteronormativity I take mental note of how many adverts have a straight romantic couple for no reason.
There are lots of qualities that make someone a good software developer. We are often an entire company in ourselves; backend, frontend, DBA, sysadmin, designer, client relations. We are logical and precise problem solvers as much as we are creative and cautious. Creativity within boundaries, that's what we are and that's the kind of people this profession attracts.
So one of my goals for 2014 is complete; I have now spoken at a conference! I've done lots of public speaking before (see my page) but this has been mostly non-technical and for small groups of people.
This Wednesday (14th August) I'm doing a talk about pornography and the law for the Open Rights Group Sheffield meetup (http://orgshef-13-08.eventbrite.co.uk/). As part of writing this talk I've had to think about things like trigger warnings and setting my own position clearly. This is a massive topic and one which is difficult to judge the appropriateness of the content. As not many people have signed up so far, I have decided to write this blog post introducing the talk so people can better judge if this is a talk they would like to see.
This post has been a long time coming, mostly because it's a sensitive and difficult subject to talk about. First a little background.
So I'm no stranger to male-dominated activities and spaces. I did an electronics GCSE, a physics A-Level, a Software Engineering degree. I've worked in game retail and I'm currently one of three female programmers in my job making web applications. I've had to defend myself and my interests to the kind of sexist dicks currently the subject of all the Everyday Sexism stories.
I'm quite deeply saddened by Game and Gamestation going into administration today. My reasons are twofold; firstly that as an ex-Zavvi employee I've been through the unpleasant experience of being stuck on a sinking ship and secondly that as an ex-Gamestation employee I know that it didn't have to happen this way.
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